Ruined: The Cherry Hills Tragedy and Cagsawa Church Ruins

Cherry Hills Tragedy


This was taken at the exact location of the Cherry Hills Subdivision in Antipolo, Rizal, a suburb in east of Metro Manila in 1999. I was there wearing the black shirt and my bestfriend Christine with the red backpack. I know we looked happy but actually we were nervous trecking those rocky terrains. Those were what’s left of the subdivision when the mountainside collapsed during a landslide because of non-stop raining.

I was there to cover the event, I even smelled the stench of death, it was not a very pretty sight. The story of the people who survived was chilling.

As many as 109 people died in the Philippines when Typhoon Olga provoked torrential rains and flooding throughout much of South East Asia in early August. The areas worst affected were Manila, Pampanga, Rizal and Pangasinan. Over 73,000 people were forced to leave their homes and seek shelter and food in local halls, schools and clubs. Some 900 families were evacuated from the town of Valenzuela as flood water rose to dangerous heights.

The majority of the deaths were concentrated in one small housing estate—the Cherry Hills subdivision in Antipolo, a Manila suburb, and home to hundreds of families paying off low-cost, concrete houses. On August 3 the subdivision became a death trap when its foundations filled with water and the whole complex slid down the hill on which it was built. (More of this story here)

Cagsawa Ruins

This was a very old photo of how the Cagsawa Church in Albay Province, Philippines before an eruption of the Mayon Volcano occured in 1814.

This is what’s left of the church now we call the Cagsawa Ruins, shot was taken in May 2007.

This is what remained of the Cagsawa church, whose bellfry has remained standing as a mute testimony of the enormous disaster caused by flowing lava. Some 1,200 people sought sanctuary in the church, thinking that they would be saved from the fury of Mayon volcano. All of them died. One could imagine that, in their last moment, they struggled to climb to this bellfry as others below tried to pull them down. It must be a tragic, horrifying experience.
Mayon Volcano remained active until now and is dubbed as the perfect cone because despite many eruptions since that big one it still kept its almost perfect cone shape very specially prevalent when photographed. It is also nominated in the New 7 Wonders of the World.

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28 comments on “Ruined: The Cherry Hills Tragedy and Cagsawa Church Ruins

  1. aryzel

    ITS SO BEAUTIFUL I SEE THE CHURCH IM TOUCHED TO SEE THE CHURCH BECAUSED THE CHURCH IS RUINED

  2. Annie

    Very nice. I love seeing photos of places in the world where I’ve never been. Thanks for visiting mine and have a great week! Annie

  3. Annie

    Very nice. I love seeing photos of places in the world where I’ve never been. Thanks for visiting mine and have a great week! Annie

  4. Sherry

    this is interesting, I have not been there before. But thanks for let me know :)

  5. reyna elena

    @ ZJ I beg to disagree Philippines has three main regions Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao, Bicol (and not Bikol) is part of the Visayas region :)

    —-
    Ateng! Si Reyna Elena to, tubong Bicol, uragon na uragon, although si Fadir eh Bisaya. Major correction: Bicol is NOT part of the Visayas Region. Unless inusog nila nung pumunta na ako nang Amerika anoh? Hahaha

  6. mama meji

    It was in the news…I cannot remember much of the details though.

  7. mama meji

    It was in the news…I cannot remember much of the details though.

  8. Dragonstar

    Cherry Hills was such a tragedy. A similar thing happened in Aberfan in Wales in the 60s, when rain made a coal-tip slide and a school full of children was engulfed. These things leave their mark on people.

  9. jam

    ‘Nice’ ruins you are showing! Have a nice week ahead!

  10. grace @ sandier pastures

    Wouldn’t there be ghostly apparitions in the Cherry Hills ruins?

  11. Heather

    Such tragedy, thank you for sharing however sad. Unbelievable disasters

  12. spacedlaw

    Interesting sites. The landslide one must be haunted.

  13. Carin

    Very interesting but how tragic. Would have felt nervous too walking those ruins.

    Happy blog anniversary!

  14. Liz

    What terrible tragedies. I’m not surprised you were nervous walking on the ruins.

  15. kanani

    Interesting story! Great photos and a good narrative. Such a tragedy, humanity lost.

  16. Mrs Mecomber

    Wow, what a post! You were brave to navigate the ruins, but I fully understand the need to explore. A sad tragedy, though. :(

    I did Photo Hunt today, too. I hope you get a chance to visit and leave your link!
    http://newyorktraveler.net/photo-hunters-ruined/

    Have a great weekend!

  17. Sarge Charlie

    wonderful photos of history, such a great tragedy indeed. I also love the Philippines, I was there for a short time in 1969, on my way to Vietnam.

  18. Carver

    Excellent photographs and post for the scene. That is so sad about the tragedy.

  19. Butchay

    i could still remember this…it was all over the news…such great tragedy indeed…nice take for the theme,

    thanks for dropping by my hunt too.

  20. Mar

    That’s a terrible tragedy and I would have been scared walking there too!!
    Beautiful shots of the church ruins.
    Have a lovely weekend :)

  21. June

    What a tragedy! Much easier to look at the ancient ruin. It too reveals a tragic end for many people, but the distance in time helps. Thanks for stopping by Spatter…

  22. earthlingorgeous

    @ ZJ I beg to disagree Philippines has three main regions Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao, Bicol (and not Bikol) is part of the Visayas region :)

    @ gmacomics yeah Cherry hills was really really bad.

    @ Hootin Anni yup scary trek it was.

  23. ZJ

    Great selections for this week’s theme!
    I’ve been to Cagsawa ruins myself and I must say that it’s really amazing to see whatever’s left of the church. By the way, Albay province is in Bikol region, and not in the Visayas region :)

    Sreisaat Adventures

  24. Hootin' Anni

    That WOULD be a scary walk along the landslide!! And the one photo of the church in the distance is an amazing work of art! You did good.

    My Native American Sonoran Desert Ruin is posted…come join me, won’t you?

    Happy Hunting!

  25. Hootin' Anni

    That WOULD be a scary walk along the landslide!! And the one photo of the church in the distance is an amazing work of art! You did good.

    My Native American Sonoran Desert Ruin is posted…come join me, won’t you?

    Happy Hunting!

  26. gmacomics

    i remember that cherry hills tragedy. it was sad.
    great entry and i love that cagsagwa church in ruins.

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