NOV. 15: My neighbor’s housekeeper had been despondent for days, sleepless and unable to eat, with the news that her eldest son, who is 19 years old, had disappeared without a trace in the eye of the Tacloban storm. She had planned to make the 22-hour trip by bus to try to find him over the weekend.
The boy was discovered outside distant Ormoc, apparently swept away by the wall of water to an outlying field some two towns away. He had gone in search of his pet dog and the pair had survived clinging to each other through the flood. A kind stranger found the boy wandering on the road, the dog in his arms; the stranger took him to safety.
Lying in a hospital bed, the boy will not let loose his embrace of the dog, and they are being treated together.
Nov. 16: The story just got better. Yesterday I shared a story about a missing boy who survived a two-story-high wall of water with his dog in his arms.
His mother shared more details: Both the boy and the dog were washed onto a riverbank some meters from the Ormoc highway—an hour or so away from his home in Tacloban. He lay there for four days, so weak and hungry he could not stand, much less cry for help.
It was the dog, also wounded and starving, who would run back and forth from the river to the highway, barking and scampering until at last a kind stranger ventured down to the river, found the boy and helped him and the dog on his way to Ormoc.
Nov. 18: A happy ending. A kind stranger took the boy to the hospital in Ormoc. The boy and his dog were turned away because there were simply not enough beds to go around; a visiting doctor from Cebu offered to take him and his dog across the sea.
Meanwhile, back in Tacloban, a policeman who had heard reports of the miraculous discovery of a boy and his dog sent word to Manila: Maybe, just maybe, this could be the missing boy? My neighbor’s housekeeper asked her relatives in Cebu to scour the hospitals—and, indeed, they found the boy, the dog lying at the foot of his bed, inseparable, both hooked up to dextrose bottles.
The name of the boy’s mother is Rosemari Rigana. She said, “We would save money to give the dog milk when he was little, so he would grow big and strong. Even my own children never had milk to drink.” She will return to Tacloban in December to rebuild the home that was utterly flattened by the storm.
Nov. 20: A boy. A dog. And the paparazzi. My Facebook entries seem to have attracted attention. The boy and the dog had to be moved from their hospital bed in Cebu to a boarding house, since he was being mobbed by the media for interviews.
The boy is not quite himself yet, screaming when spoken to by strangers. His father (a jeepney driver from Tacloban, now without a job) and siblings are coping with difficulty. If you would like to help Regie (the boy) and Hana (the dog), please contact his mother Rosemari Rigana at 0946-6470916.
Lizza G. Nakpil says she counts her blessings every day.