It has been more than a week since the Metro Ayala fire broke out at the Cebu Business Park. It took dozens of brave men and women of the fire bureau at least forty long hours to tame the growing beastly inferno, where walls of the crackling structure had to be audaciously torn down from outside so jets of water from fire trucks below, across the streets, may have a chance to reach its target far up and deep. It took a few more hours since the blaze had been under control for every bit of smoldering pyre in every corner of every floor level to be extinguished, and the emergency officially called off.
I watched some of the firemen snatch a few minutes of sleep ‘round the curb, while others squatted on the ground, watching the conflagration grow stronger every hour open-mouthed. They looked all in and teary-eyed against the heat of the blaze. I watched from the sundered section as new batches of firemen came in from a nearby city to relieve their counterparts, with a prelude of a long and winding wail of their siren.
I do not know how my beloved owl creations are at this moment, but initial reports say the vicinity surrounding our kiosk is all right. That is enough, I say, for the time being. To know that they have not been consumed by the inferno. I think of my tubby cat and wonder if she’d grown famished in the ensuing days and nights. Oh, I hope they do not think they have been abandoned by now. I imagine those large and searching eyes looking for answers in the dark, and of course not seeing anything that’d answer their queries weep.
To while the time away, and to take my mind off my owlie troubles, I have come up with a design which I hope would give honor to the local heroes of the fire department. Let this be my own simple way, being an artist, to show my appreciation to the firefighters here and elsewhere who continue to fight for life, property, and environment versus an enemy it cannot negotiate with; who, God forbid, may not call on a ceasefire when cornered against a burning wall, in danger of structural collapse, explosion or electrocution; whose minds must be on their families as they ascertain their own survival. Let us do what we can for them in our own special capacity.