Residents of the towns within Bantayan Island thought they were hit by a storm surge because of the huge waves which they have seen for the first time
BANTAYAN ISLAND, Cebu – The residents of the towns within Bantayan Island were frightened after seeing huge waves as high as 1.95 meters to as high as 10 feet approach their shoreline on Friday night.
The huge waves were blown toward the scenic island by a combination of high tide and the northeast monsoon or hangin Amihan.
Bantayan Island, a parcel of Cebu Province, is composed of three towns including Bantayan, which is the largest among the municipalities and covering the central part, the Madridejos which covers the northern portion and Santa Fe which is at the eastern part of the island.
It is a few nautical miles away from Cadiz City in northern Negros Occidental, which was also hit by strong winds and high waves over the weekend, damaging 50 houses and 100 motor bancas along the coastal areas.
In Madridejos, the sea level rose to as high as 10 feet, damaging about 86 motor bancas used by local fishermen for their livelihood.
According to Madridejos Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction Management Officer (MDRRMO) Jessie Estillore, they thought they were already hit by a storm surge because of the huge waves that followed after strong winds.
Meanwhile, Santa Fe MDRRMO Lea Escarlan said they saw about 1.9 meters high waves, based on the data fed by weather sites.
Bantayan Mayor Art Despi said that at midnight the seawater rose to 1.95 meters high, blown by 40 to 50 kilometers per hour northeast monsoon, which damaged properties.
The affected local governments are now assessing the actual damage in their respective coastal barangays exposed to Amihan.
In Bantayan town, there are no reported casualties and only damage in motor bancas docked along the shorelines were recorded in the hitting of Amihan combined with high tide.
Meanwhile, in Madridejos, Estillore reported that 186 motorbancas were damaged by the wind wave.
In Santa Fe, there are three pump boats remaining missing in Barangay Kinatarcan and one boat was wrecked in Barangay Talisay.
Mayor Despi and the two MDRRMOs echoed each other, saying that they were not given any advisory that huge waves would hit Bantayan island on Friday night.
The chief of Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) in Mactan, Al Quiblat, said that there is a big difference between a mere wind wave and storm surge.
He explained that what Bantayan island experienced last Friday night was a mere wind wave, which is generated by weather systems like the northeast monsoon, southwest monsoon and thunderstorms.
Storm surge, on the other hands, is a wave gebnerated by a low pressure area (LPA) or a typhoon.
What took place in Tacloban City at the height of Super Typhoon Yolanda on November 8, 2013 was a storm surge, Quiblat added.