We were saved from winds by Mama Mary and Sto. Niño’

08/20/2010 - It was a day of miracles in Argao town yesterday.
Residents said they were saved from the devastation of a whirlwind by the Virgin Mary and the Sto Niño.

Florentino Ortega, barangay Talaga captain, said a six-wheeler truck was stopped in its tracks a few feet from his house.

He credited an image of Our Lady of Fatima found underneath the tire of the truck.

The religious statue had been placed in an altar near the front door of Ortega’s house.

Gusts of wind lifted the three-ton, six-wheeler truck and moved it about 50 meters from where it was parked.

Ortega said he stepped otuside his house yesterday morning and found everything topsy-turvy.

The first thing he noticed was the icon of Our Lady of Fatima underneath the truck’s front tire.

“It’s as if Mary ran towards the truck and stopped it from crashing into our house. And it’s a miracle her face was not destroyed. It is really a miracle,” Ortega told Cebu Daily News.

The icon weighs about two kilos.

How it landed 10 meters from the altar could not be easily explained.

Antoher reilgious icon of the Sto. Niño stood intact on a shelf. Its glass case was broken into pieces.

Some G.I. roof sheets flew about 100 meters away.

“ Thank God no one was killed,” said 70-year old Valeriano Gelbolingo, whose Sto. Niño and framed picture of Our Lady of Perpetual Help were left untouched by the three-minute whirlwind.

Gelbolingo was sleeping with his wife and two grandchildren in a bedroom when a splash of water woke them up.

“I thought I was dreaming because when I woke up I saw the sky. Our roof was blown away<’ he said in Cebuano.

The family though it was just heavy rain and wind, when they heard a strong hissing sound.

In his 40 years living in Argao, this is the first time Gelbolingo has experienced a whirlwind.

Barangay health worker Elizabeth Alonzo had just closed her window but a few minutes later, a strong blow of wind smashed their shanty built atop the shore and suddenly their wooden floor gave way.

She fell into the waters and a few moments later, the roof fell on her head. Luckily, she survived.

“It happened so fast. I just prayed to God to save me. I cleared the waters and protected my head. Good thing the tide was not high,” she said.

Alonzo’s shanty was a wreck. Their house was shattered into pieces.

Her grandchildren had to dry their clothes and school supplies in the sun as all were soaked in rain and seawater.

Alonzo’s house was among of the 15 structures which were struck by the tornado.

Also destroyed was the office of the barangay water system called Talaga-Bogo Rural Water and Sanitation Services Association (Cebu Daily News)

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