CLAVERIA, Misamis Oriental — Hundreds flocked to this landlocked town Thursday to hold a mass and light a candle in a shrine dedicated to those who perished in a plane crash, 19 years ago on Feb. 2, 1998.
Cebu Pacific Air Flight 387 crashed in Mt. Sumagaya, a 7,375 ft. a mountain in Claveria, about 50 kilometers from the Lumbia Airport in Cagayan De Oro City, killing all the 104 passengers and crew on board.
As early as 8:00 a.m. Thursday, the convoy of private and public vehicles moved toward the foot of Mt. Sumagaya where the memorial shrine now stood as a silent witness to the worst accident in the country’s aviation history in recent decades.
Misamis Oriental Governor Yevgeny Vincente Emano said that the Memorial Shrine was developed as one of the province tourist attractions to remind everyone of the value of life, love and kinship.
While the identities of the passengers of the ill-fated Flight 387 were listed in the manifesto, the physical bodies were no longer identified in spite of the rigorous forensic examination.
The concrete Memorial Shrine, designed after a hand clasped in prayer, has the names of those who perished etched in the marble stone on its base.
The site was the exact location where the mangled of unidentified body parts (retrieved from the crash site) was earlier dumped before they were transported to Cagayan De Oro City for a mass burial.
Family members, relatives, friends and visitors trooped to the Memorial Shrine early Thursday morning to offer a mass, prayers, and lighting candles.
A relative who refused to be named, said he visits the place every year for the last 19 years to offer a prayer to the family members who perished in the plane crash.
“While the bodies of my family and relatives were not recovered and identified, I made it a point to visit the place every Feb. 2 of the year to reminisce and offer silent prayers to them,” he said.
From Claveria, the relatives, friends, and visitors went to Cagayan De Oro City Thursday afternoon for a separate mass and candle lighting in one of an upscale memorial parks in the city where the unidentified bodies were buried in mass graves.
The passenger manifest of the Cebu Pacific Air Flight 387, identified 94 Filipino passengers, including five children, one passenger each came from Australia, Austria, Japan, Switzerland, and Canada, and five crew members.
While the debate among the aviation industry in the country, on who was to be blamed of the accident continue to rage 19 years after, the air disaster enlivens the lethargic town of Claveria as the memory of those who perished is commemorated every year here. Cris Diaz/PNA-northboundasia.com