Damaged home
Violent shaking left a WV staff’s home in disarray after a 6.9 magnitude earthquake struck near Sarangani in Mindanao, southern Philippines on November 17, 2023.

Staff blog: A heart-stopping earthquake in southern Philippines

by Shirley "Lei" Kimmayong, World Vision Communications Manager in the Philippines

My experience was heart-stopping, and I also learned that the earthquake disrupted the lives of my workmates as well as some community partners. 

“I was so nervous yesterday, my heart was really beating so fast. I cannot explain. I thought that was my end. There were so many people running,” shared Nilda Masibay. She was inside the mall in General Santos (GenSan) City in Mindanao when the 7.2 magnitude earthquake, was later downgraded to magnitude 6.8 by the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology. 

Nilda is one of the community partners of World Vision. She is from Kidapawan, two hours away from GenSan. She joined a trade fair organised by the trade industry in the said province. 

“All I know was that there were a lot of falling broken mirrors, and portions of the ceiling, so I could not go out. I hid under the stairs, facing my display booth, when I saw with my own eyes how it was suddenly crushed by a portion of the ceiling that collapsed,” she added. 

The Abaca products in her booth like bags, wall decor, and hats that they made in their community were damaged. It was the second day of the fair, and it was supposed to run until November 21. 

She shared, “I was so, so afraid. I really thought I was going to die. All I could think about was my children. So, I prayed that hopefully, the building would stop shaking because there were a lot of people inside.” Nilda was able to go out of the mall when she no longer felt any tremors. 

Meanwhile. my colleague Beth was in the middle of an important online meeting when she suddenly felt like falling from her chair. 

“My head was spinning, it took a few seconds to realise it was an earthquake. I ran out of the house, but I was still feeling dizzy. It was the strongest quake  I have experienced so far,” she said. 

She then went to check on her colleagues in Mindanao, their status and location. Beth was able to breathe easier when all the World Vision staff were safe and accounted for. She also worked with partners to monitor the situation of the children in the communities where the organization is working. 

Erlinda, another staff in Mindanao, was preparing her expense report at home when the earthquake happened. 

“I was busy working on my laptop, when I felt the quake. I immediately stood up and hugged my 10-year-old son who was afraid, he was shaking,” she said. 

As she was focused on her son, she did not notice her laptop was falling from the table. “My laptop was slowly falling off from the stand. Good thing my son saw it, so he was able to catch it.”

A day after the earthquake happened, my colleagues and community partners are still feeling the shock of what happened. 

I am just grateful that we were able to survive the heart-stopping earthquake that hit the southern Philippines. I am still hoping that the children and their families in the communities that we serve across Mindanao are all safe as World Vision is currently monitoring the impact of the earthquake.

World Vision has been operating in the Philippines for 65 years and is the Civil Society Organization’s representative to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council. 


For inquiries, media arrangements, and interviews please contact Lei -- mobile: +639499964619 or email: lei_kimmayong@wvi.org