A pavement with coconut trees on each side
Travel Stories,  Travels

The One with the Accident in Siargao

There was a loud screech, thud and a crash. The next thing that we know, people were shouting and wailing. There’s blood on the pavement. There’s an unconscious man bathing in his own blood in the arms of his son who was shaking him and trying to wake him up. At that moment, I felt numb and my knees failed to keep me standing upright. Little did we know that a dreadful accident in Siagao will happen before our eyes.

A Fine yet Gloomy Morning

It was a cloudy yet fine day in August 2019. It was the third day of our almost-a-week stay in Siargao. I, together with my Jeepsetters PH Bloggers Family along with other friends boarded into the tourist van that would take us to our destinations that day. We were scheduled for a land tour and everyone was excited because it was our first time to travel together outside Luzon in a group as big as that.
a group of friends at a beach in Siargao
The bloggers of Jeepsetters PH with friends

The Land Tour

The tour started with a stop over at Siargao Mountain View. The next destinations got us even more excited so after a few snaps, we hurriedly went back to our van so we could drive fast to the jump off to Kawhagan Sandbar and Sugba Lagoon. The gloomy weather didn’t bother us. Jokes and puns were thrown here and there ever since our day started. Laughter lingers in every corner and if there would be a dead air, that’s because most of us were asleep at the van. We may have been taking a lot of photos but we managed to still find some time to enjoy the attractions. We ran around barefoot feeling the sand between our toes and against our sole in Kawhagan sandbar. We jumped countless times from the most photographed dive board in Sugba Lagoon after conquering our fear on our first jump. Despite the seemingly endless shuttering of the camera, there were still a lot of undocumented epic fun that will always be remembered and will give us a good laugh every time we’ll talk about Siargao.
a girl sitting on a concrete bench overlooking the top of coconut trees
That gloomy morning at Siargao Mountain View
We had lunch at Magupungko and had a short dip at the rock pools. We kind of budgeted our time since we would still have to drop by the most photographed Coconut street and of course, get that most awaited swing at the bent coconut tree in Maasin River while the sun is still up.
a gloomy day at the rock pools of Siargao
Gloomy Afternoon in Magpupungko Rock Pools

The Calm Before the Storm

We sang songs in the van. Most of us even tried to groove and dance to it albeit seated. Our tour guide spoke on top of the music we’re playing. He said that we’d drop by the Coconut Street first before Maasin River. After several minutes on the road, we pulled to the side and once again, I found myself in that familiar street. I have been there in 2018 yet I still felt as if I’ve never been there. Hundreds, perhaps, of towering coconut trees in a long stretch at each side of the road give that tropical vibes to everyone who would pass by it.
We prepped ourselves up and got off the van to take photos. There was a couple taking photos when we arrived so we waited for them to finish since we didn’t want to photobomb each other. It was as if they will never get out of there when their Polaroid camera ran out of film. That’s when they left. We waited for their ride to be out of sight and of course, the frame. When their ride was finally out of sight, we took turns of running to the middle of the highway for that shot. For safety, our tour guide positioned at the end of the coconut street while a group of us were on the other side. Every time we see a vehicle approaching even if it was still several meters away, we would tell our friend at the middle of the road to walk to the side first until it’s gone.

That Family

After a few of us have had their photos taken, a multicab parked in front of our van and a family of tourists, as we reckoned, got off. They started taking photos at the spot next to us, well, basically photobombing us, so we decided to let them finish first. We went near our van and Brye of Rizanoia took this chance to get an aerial shot of the area while Riza runs but on the farthest end of the coconut street.
We waited for the family to finish taking photos. While one of them poses, everyone had their cameras pointed at him or her. We noticed as well that no one was looking after the vehicles that may pass through. Perhaps they were thinking that the riders would slow down upon seeing the tourists in the middle.

The Accident

Riza and Brye continued with what they were doing as we watched. Most of us were looking at the screen of the phone operated by Brye in flying the drone. The next events happened fast.
A motorcycle came speeding up. There was a loud screech, thud and a crash. The next thing that we know, people were shouting and wailing. The driver might have pulled the brakes abruptly as he speeds through the highway which suddenly made him lost balance. In a blink of an eye, he was under his motorcycle; wounded, immobilized for a moment. We looked for Riza whom we found standing on the side – dumbfounded as we were. On one side, a middle-aged woman in white shirt was thrown off the road and could barely stand up. Some of her company tried to support her so she could compose herself. There’s blood on the pavement. Who’s blood was it? The young man crawled out of the motorcycle weighing on him towards an old man. There’s an unconscious old man bathing in blood! Soon enough, the young man started crying. He cried so loud that each word pierced through us. It was one of the most dreadful scene I’ve ever witnessed.

The Dreadful Scene

“Tay! Tay! Gising, tay!”
He cried as he shook and tried to wake up the unconscious man in his arms. At that moment, I felt numb and my knees failed to keep me standing upright. Is he dead? He shouldn’t be shaking him like that. Someone should help them. Words failed me as well as my friends. One of my hands was on my mouth and the other on my heart. I was breathing heavily. We were equally shocked as we stared at them; unmoved, unblinking. Our faces were filled with terror. I could see in my peripheral that some of my friends were either leaning towards the scene or leaning on the van because their knees might have also felt weak. 

Pointing Fingers

People stopped and stared at the scene. The area started to be filled with resounding voices, drowning my thoughts. The family of tourists were blaming the locals whose motorcycle crashed on them. They said they should have slowed down because there were tourists taking photos at the middle. The young man with the unconscious father in his arms seemed not to bother. He started wailing and asking for help.  He had bleeding wounds and scratches on arms and legs. Blood started to stream down from his head, too. He might be in pain but it might be more painful for him to see his father bathing in his own blood. We can hear the locals putting the blame on the tourists telling them that they should have walked to the side when there are vehicles passing by as it’s still a highway. ‘Tulungain ‘niyo na! Dalhin niyo na sa ospital agad yan!’ They shouted. Despite the rage and exchanges, no one seemed to bother and help the wounded men. No, no. This ain’t the time to play ‘let’s point a finger’. He’s dying.

Out of the Picture

“Ma’am, Sir, pasok na po kayo sa van. Baka pati po kayo madamay,” said our tour guide as he opened the door of the van for us. I struggled to be back to my senses and gain strength to be on my feet. I saw and heard everything but I could not feel my body. I tried to take a step and another, and another. My knees still felt weak but at least I managed to walk to the door. As we walked to towards the door, we saw that the driver of the multicab took the wounded father and the family of tourists. They might go and drive to the nearest hospital.
Once settled, we left the scene and decided not to go to Maasin River. We were no longer in the mood to have fun with all that has happened. We told our tour guide that we would want to be back to General Luna instead. As we depart, the last thing that we saw was the wounded young man crying like a small child on the floor. They did not take him with them? A police mobile arrived at the area, too.

The Aftermath

Everyone fell silent. Some of us were shaking and caught staring blankly. My heart was still pounding as everything played on repeat in my head. The images were crystal clear. Is he going to be okay? I hope he’s still alive.
My friends tried to calm the shaken ones. We were thankful that we were unharmed. It could have been us. We were so close to it. But what if it was us? Were we  just overreacting that we are so shaken about what happened?   
No matter how hard we tried to shake the accident in Siargao off over a good laugh about something else in the evening when we returned to our hotel, the images still sit at the back of our minds causing a dead air and stare with a heavy sighs for a moment.
a girl with her back on the camera at the middle of Maasin river
Few days after the accident in Siargao, we managed to return to Maasin River
To date, we don’t know what happened nor we didn’t hear any news about the accident in Siargao after. We don’t have any idea what happened to the families involved in the incident; but we have been hoping that may they be alright and such incident won’t happen again in that street. We also hope that both the tourists and the locals learn from it.
That accident in Siargao is one of my many untold stories of misadventures. Tales of Untold Misadventures is a series of my unfortunate experiences while traveling. Let these stories entertain at the same time inform you of what might go wrong when traveling, how can you deal with it or what can you do to save yourself from the inconvenience of the mishaps.

Anne Elizabeth Gumiran, also known as Queenie, is a 20-something, full-time public school teacher, a part-time travel blogger and a freediver. She started putting her stories of adventures and misadventures into words and pictures in 2017 and continues to do so as she shares her advocacy, Sustainable Traveling.

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