Who would have thought it has been 10 years already? If you ask a Cebuano who’s in their 20s or 30s about ‘Chona Mae,’ most of them will just laugh off and share their funny stories and experiences.
‘Chona Mae’ emerged on the day Cebu was shocked by a 6.9-magnitude earthquake, one of the strongest shocks ever, on February 6, 2012. Although not really an amusing event to laugh off but not until you hear what really happened. It all began when some people misheard and misinterpreted the name of Chona Mae which sounds like “Tsunami.”
From there, it was the worst pass the message game played as stories were coming up here and there like the water level was allegedly rising and that a huge wave will soon hit downtown Cebu.
Because it was literally one of the strongest earthquakes in Cebu, and the island is geographically surrounded by waters, other people basically “connected the dots” and thought a tsunami would come thereafter. But hey, the earthquake happened in broad daylight in the middle of school or office hours so maybe (just maybe) they did not have time to check the news immediately (?)
So people started running on the streets. Some were walking miles to higher ground, people in their homes were preparing to evacuate. The screams, the last calls to their loved ones, seemed like total chaos. And all that just because someone was calling out for their daughter “Chona Mae.” And eventually, people figured there was really no tsunami happening.
Every time this story comes up, everyone just laughs out loud or face-palms. The stories are just too funny and others are still disappointed by how they reacted that time.
As we remember the 10th anniversary of the “Chona Mae” event, we look back into the comments shared on Facebook:
What was your most unforgettable memory during this day? Share it with us in the comments section!