Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Sad, Sad, Tragic Day for AMCI and fellow mountaineers.

Members of my AMCI family were on a recon climb in Zambales when storm Frank hit. 3 of the climbing group's members and 1 guide were washed away by a flooded and raging creek. Bojo Torres, was found alive yesterday and is in the hospital. Jhoana Pimentel's (2k6) body was found on sunday. Thads (2k5) my batchmate is still missing. I'm still hoping for the best. Please include them in your prayers.

Here's a news article written about the incident, which i got from TonyBoy's site.

2 mountaineers drown, 1 missing, 9 rescued
By: Mamer BaƱez

SAN Antonio, Zambales -- Two mountaineers drowned while another
was missing when they were swept by flashfloods while crossing a
creek at the foot of Mount Pundakit at the height of
typhoon "Frank."

Nine of their companions were rescued by the police, Navy and
barangay officials of Pundakit. Police chief Insp. Modesto Dadural,
Jr. identified the fatalities as Joseph Felarca of Project 8, Quezon
City, and Joan Pimentel. Missing was Thaddeus Reantaso. They are all
members of the AMCI Mountaineering Club, Inc. based in Makati City.

Rescuers recovered the bodies of Felarca and Pimentel floating off
the coast of Barangay Pundakit.

Rescued were Robert Joseph Torres, Kimberly San Juan, Teejay Sakuma,
Suzzeth Santiago, Joseph Paulve, Marris Zapanta, Virgilio Zapanta
Lean Vellongco and Broji Forcadela, all from Metro Manila.

SPO2 Roberto Llorico said the group climbed Mount Pundakit Saturday
and went downhill at 12:30 p.m. yesterday when the accident occured.
A large volume of water cascading from the mountain swept the
victims downstream. The survivors were able to hold on to each other
and anchored their feet on the rocks in the middle of the creek.
Torres, who sustained bone fractures, was taken to the San Marcelino
District Hospital.

Rescuers continue their recovery operation for the other missing

The last time i saw Jho was Friday, June 20 just before they went to Pundaquit, Zambales for the Recon climb. It was Genie's bday and AMCI was there in full force to celebrate. I remember screaming Hitad!!!!! When Jho and Kim arrived. I even danced with Jho when we were already tipsy and enjoying the music. She was even telling me to join TC 1 where she was supposed to be an assistant team leader. Who knew that when i gave her a kiss and hug as we said goodbye, that it was the last time i'll see her alive.

Jho described herself as a Mountaholic, because she really loved mountain climbing and nature. She was an outdoorsy girl, always challenging herself and pushing herself to the limit. There was no mountain she can't conquer with her positive attitude and a sense of humor. She was also one of the Raspakids' drinking buddies. And when we would get get drunk and silly up in the boondocks, there was no dull moment. Laugh-Out-Loud happiness everytime Jhoanna was with us in a climb. Tag team sila ni Kim --and i fondly refer to them as the Hitads. Jhoanna was also very compassionate, try searching for Jhoanna Pimentel in Google and you'll find an article about her organizing a book drive for public schools in the mountains.

She really loved the outdoors and nature, and she would join a climb every chance she got. It's just so ironic that nature would be the one to cause her untimely death. She will be missed tremendously. She was truly a wonderful person. And her Multiply signature bets captures how she lived her life- -"Live, Love , Laugh."

Whereever you are sweetie, keep us your fellow moutaineers safe in the mountains. I know that once a mountaholic, will always be a mountaholic even in the after-life. See you when i do. Dapat may welcome drink ako ok? Rest well my mountaineer friend. This is how i'll remember you. :-)

P.S. Thad is still missing, but i fervently wish that he be found alive.

My 2k5 batchmates and other AMCI members have volunteered to help in the search and rescue of Thads and are en route to Zambales. I was supposed to join them, but when i asked permission from my Mom she went ballistic. Now i feel so guilty and helpless for not being able to actively look for Thads along with Janz, Joven, Ryan, Mercy and some other AMCI batchmates. I really wish we find him soon. It's his birthday tomorrow and that would be the perfect birthday gift.

by: http://solitaire6.multiply.com/journal/item/76

1 comment:

james said...


The passing away of our fraternity brother, friend, and my one and only batchmate Thaddeus “Tadz” Reantaso marked an outpour of sympathies and flood of comforting messages. I hope people won’t get me wrong, I am dearly grateful for these expressions of sympathies and its good intentions. But as much I would want to appreciate kind words for Tadz now and appreciate people texting and saying to me "there is a greater purpose or plan" or words like "he died for a good cause," I cannot achieve to see the glory in his death if there is any. There is no glory here except tragedy. I respect people when they would like to view this unfortunate event as a glass half-full rather than half-empty, to see the brighter side of things. But for those who still feel the loss and would like to mourn, then let them mourn.

Right now I’m asking myself, "why would Tadz engage in mountaineering?", "Why would he join an outreach program?" Someone told me during the wake that probably that’s where he found his further enlightenment. Im sure people feel good helping and connecting to other people. Although I remember him telling me when I joined a similar group during college, that such welfare endeavors are not sustainable, that it could be just for guilt-washing purposes. Maybe he changed in that aspect (I'm glad that he did). Im not sure if he found his god there or found answers to his existentialist questions, surely the mountains and the experience of climbing it is truly breathtaking aside from the fact that it is highly conducive for sex, booze, doobies and other forms of bourgeoisie adventurism. I cannot hide my obvious angry inquiries on his intentions. If he is alive now, i would tell him, "You want to find enlightenment? You need not go far! Just look at the side streets of Manila, bro’. There you will find a mountain full of our society's trash and it’s up to your conscience to climb and conquer it or not. You’ll find it not in an escapist and adventurist exploit in the wilderness but in the center of our daily urban dwellings. There the truth awaits you! And it awaits your decision to do something sustainable about it or turn around and walk away." But I’m sure he knows that already. He had a better grasp of social reality long before I did. So I guess I’m telling this to him because I am partly guilty of apathy and because I badly wanted him to be safe and alive right now.

As my grief is settling down, i try to find objectivity in a mesh of rage that i am experiencing. I struggle to see through the eyes of everybody who have known Tadz in varying degrees. I try to understand the different levels of grief and guilt (if there is, to some people) so as to avoid prejudice. But my heart is crying for one thing here - THE TRUTH!

What really transpired during that moment when his team was crossing that river? What exactly happened? Is there a rope that the team could have used to assist them in crossing the river? If there is, why didnt they use it? What are the protocols and S.O.P.s when there is a typhoon? Should mountaineers proceed with the climb even if the typhoon signal is low or the affected area of typhoon is far? Whose call is it to proceed? Whose call is it not use the rope? Tadz dont know how to swim. Was it not a prerequisite in joining mountaineering clubs since crossing rivers is an integral part of trekking the mountains? Was there anyway to prevent such tragedy from taking place and taking the lives of people???!!!!!!!!!!!!! And finally, was it enough to say that people never wanted such thing to happen?

I am sure that if such tragedy fell on me or to you, Tadz will be writing here, unapologetic for razor-sharp words that he normally lashes out and throw everything including the kitchen sink God knows who gets hit! I’m sure it’s going to be a lot better than this “child-friendly”, edited down version of what I originally wrote (puro mura kasi yung original).

As much as i want to bury the dead and let my batchmate-brod and his companions rest, I cannot turn away from the urge of getting to the truth. The truth cannot bring back the dead, i know, but it can help reassure not just mountaineers, but rowing teams, diving and surfing groups, and other outdoor activity club members, people with similar families and friends that may grieve their loss if ever, of their safety and compel organizations to be more proactive in protecting lives. I am sure that we are all one in wishing that such tragedy will not befall other people especially those close to us. Outdoor and recreational groups must take concrete steps including ADMITTING OPERATIONAL LAPSES AND RECTIFYING THEM.

Now i call on everyone who has even a tiny grain of regards for TADZ, to those who openly express their utmost admiration and respect for this fallen friend, to come out, FREE the TRUTH, and let true healing take place.

The truth must come out. Justice must be done. Lives must be further protected.

-James C. Hermogenes
Fraternity Batchmate/Brod, friend

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