Young widow’s wish: To bury husband who died while repairing town’s water source amid quakes

Kristine Sabillo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 03 2019 08:47 AM | Updated as of Nov 03 2019 01:19 PM

KIDAPAWAN CITY — Kyla Attic met her husband, Megue, more than a decade ago while betting on a numbers game.

She was working as a nanny in Davao City while Megue was employed at a nearby “bigasan” (rice store).

“He was asking for my number. But I said I was betting on the lotto for my boss,” she said, laughing. 

Megue had told Kyla what he actually wanted was her phone number.

Always the joker, Kyla never took him seriously. But they did become friends and from there she fell in love with his kind and easy-going demeanor.

After getting married, they settled down in Megue’s hometown in Brgy. Upper Bala in Magsaysay town, Davao del Sur.

Despite the challenges they faced, married life was pleasant for the young couple.

“He knew how to take care of his family,” Kyla said of Megue, recalling how he would even feed their children before he went to work as a farm worker.

Kyla Attic and her two children in their makeshift tent at Brgy. Upper Bala, Magsaysay town, Davao del Sur. Photo by Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News

But everything changed on Oct. 29 when Megue volunteered with other residents to check on why the village lost their water supply.

Neighbor Reynaldo Lom-oc said their group already reached the river when a 6.6-magnitude earthquake struck.

“The ground suddenly shook. They (Megue and two others) ran but they were buried under the rocks and trees (that fell from the mountain),” Lom-oc said in the local language.

Lom-oc managed to save one of the men by pulling him out of the debris but could no longer find Megue and the other man.

“It’s painful. It’s hard to accept that it happened to my husband,” said Kyla, who now has to raise her two children — a one-year-old and a nine-year-old — alone.

What is more painful, is that she cannot even bury her beloved husband.

Asked what she plans to do now, Kyla said she still can’t think straight. “It’s hard. There are so many things to worry about,” Kyla told ABS-CBN News while resting in a makeshift tent made by her brother-in-law.

Kyla and her children are now among the 200 families who have nowhere else to stay after their houses were heavily damaged by the series of quakes that hit Mindanao this month.

Around 200 families are staying in this evacuation site in Upper Bala, Magsaysay, Davao del Sur. They face daily problems of sanitation and lack of livelihood. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News

While food is not yet a problem because of relief goods, Kyla yearns for the comfort of having a partner by her side. 

“There’s just something missing. It’s different when you have a husband, a partner in life."

Kyla is still hoping that the body of Megue will be retrieved. “I want to have a proper burial for him.”

Another concern for Kyla and the other residents is that the bodies are buried in the river, which is supposed to be an important source of water from the community. 

But Magsaysay Mayor Arthur Davin said it is still too dangerous for the bodies to be retrieved.

“You have to walk along a trail that is surrounded by cliffs destroyed by landslides,” he said.

Davin said they would also have to excavate the area, which would be difficult because of how deep the river is.

“It will really take time to retrieve the body,” he said, explaining that they need to make sure that the rescuers won’t be put in danger.

But Kyla said she will wait however long it takes to ensure that her husband will have a proper burial. Everything else is still in a haze. She and her children will have to deal with things a day at a time, like the other 200 families in their evacuation area with no home, no livelihood and not knowing what the future brings.

Around 200 families are staying in this evacuation site in Upper Bala, Magsaysay, Davao del Sur. They face daily problems of sanitation and lack of livelihood. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News