MANILA, Philippines — Ella dela Rio is not only happy at the gift of a second life but will forever be grateful not only to God but also to a mango tree which helped save 17 people.
On the night of December 16, when the rains of storm “Sendong” fell incessantly and the water began to rise to alarming levels (about 12 to 15 feet), Ella, her mother, father and husband climbed the mango tree in their backyard and watched as the debris-filled rampaging water slam into houses and turned their neighborhood in Bayug island, Iligan City into a virtual sea.
Aside from Ella and her kin, there were 13 other people who clung to the mango tree for hours drenched in the rain pleading to God for help. Some were pregnant women.
“My belief has been strengthened that there really is a God who is the only one who can help you in times like this,” Ella said in Filipino in an interview over DZRH. She appealed to loggers to stop cutting down trees. “I hope all of us learned a lesson from this experience,” she added.
As tribute to the mango tree, Ella said, “I will go back one of these days and hung a sign that will read: This tree saved our lives!” One of the pregnant women who was saved already gave birth, according to Ella but whose whereabouts she did not know as each went their own way when they went down the mango tree early Saturday morning.(AMOR A. LOPEZ/Manila Bulletin)