When I and my family were watching on TV the flashbacks of the tsunami this morning at a guesthouse for a weekend treat for our kids, I could not believe what I heard. That unmonitored tsunami took away over 250,000 lives in 14 countries in just a matter of one hour. And I'm one of those lucky souls who escaped that disaster as I was on an island in the western part of Phuket on that very day the big waves struck with fury.
It's good we were brought by our guide to the wrong island. But I would say that it was God's hand leading us because there were islands covering the island where we were so the impact of the big waves was not that strong compared to that in Patong where most of our guys wanted to go. Thanks God our boatman was able to bring us back to the pier before the third big wave hit. I can still freshly remember how Bert, the tallest guy in our team, hurled us ladies into the boat as we could no longer reach it after the second wave. The first wave was only about 2 meters high. Then all of a sudden, the water came down like it was swallowed by the sands of the sea without us realizing it was just gaining momentum for its next stronger blows. Before the second blow, I was already terrified with panic and didn't know what to do. I ran uphill but shouting to my colleagues that it's a tidal wave. Thanks to my husband who is very knowledgeable about science. He was yet in the Philippines that time and he happened to be exchanging SMS with me while the rest of our colleagues were swimming except my friend who I was enjoying taking photos with. Dear hubby bade us to leave the place quickly. And so we did to save our lives.
When I was thrown into the boat, I got hurt but I didn't mind at all. What was racing in my mind was to secure ourselves from the terror of the upcoming bigger waves. Sad to say, both our boats didn't have any life vest at all and we noticed the mangroves and the rocks we enjoyed taking pictures earlier were now all out of sight. The floating restaurants close to the pier were no longer in their place. They were all swept away. Many seaside dwellers were carrying some of their stuffs on their head and their back as they tried to flee away from the coming waves. We could feel the panic and hear the cries of the women and children but some of us were also crying. I was praying really hard as I was thinking of my two precious kids who are still dependent on me. I didn't go to Phuket only for sight-seeing. I went there with a noble purpose to sing Christmas carols at the hotels and resorts as organized by our church there and our proceeds would go to the orphanage for their educational fund. Going out to the sea on that day was just a treat for us by our hosts. It was even out of the plan. But the One who is greater than us knows what lies ahead of us. As my daughter sings, "I know He holds the future and I know He holds my hands."
We're enjoying taking photos here just before the first wave came up.
A detailed story was posted by my friend now based in the UK. She's at the center in the photo above, the rightmost in the second and the one posing on the tree on the last.