Mayana: A Village that Lives and Survives

By Vic Odarve

At dawn on July 11, 2005, triggered by an earthquake few months earlier, large limestone blocks slide along a steep scarp in Sitio Balikbayan, Mayana. The debris fell on an area underlain by older limestone landslide and destroyed large agricultural areas and 67 houses.

New houses are now sprouting the area.

New houses are now sprouting the area.

Nine years after the landslide, I revisited the place and saw the catastrophic event left a giant scar that could be seen the entire village- an iconic picture at the steep side of the mountain — an awesome reminder how mankind is vulnerable to the forces of nature! As Nature simply is, landslide happens without the slightest consideration for human inhabitants! The result of the destruction is still firmly felt; the ghost seems to haunt the memory of the affected villagers.

Harvesting rice

Harvesting rice

But nature’s life springs as usual in the village. Early morning is often beautiful scenery – mountains covered with mists and fogs, and early sunrise gives color to the mountains and trees everywhere. As the sun faded in the western sky, beautiful sunsets paint the horizon marking the end of the hard day’s works.

Today, we can witness children playing in the streets; peasants going home from the farms with loads from harvest. Happy and peaceful life seems to be everywhere. This is the picture what I had seen nine years ago…. before the landslide! Villagers show no sign of giving up. Daily activities are the same as before. Rain or shine, they go to their farms and make their everyday living. Plowing the fields with buffalos and harvesting rice with the mechanized threshers become the common sights.

mayana village landslide

Mayana village landslide

The village appears to have flourished in a rigorous manner; new houses develop in the landslide area and commerce and trade boom. People enjoy the quiet life set slightly apart from the rush and jabber of the modern urban city. Some families own cars and motorcycles for the transportation while others have smart phones and other paraphernalia of modern living…frantically a growing urbanization.

As I visited with one of the new occupants, I saw a living room, clean, high ceiling and spacious, with videoke accessories in a nice flat-screen television and a Wi-Fi internet connection. There were modern furniture and fixtures, and shelves arrayed with the medals and trophies of a lifetime family achievements and academic awards.

Despite the destruction by the landslide nine years ago the village of Mayana still lives and survives! Life must go on!