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Cebu News

Baker loses home, income but survives with inspiration

Mitchelle L. Palaubsanon - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines - He and his family lost their belongings and house to the massive fire that hit Mandaue City dawn Saturday but if there is a silver lining for Danny Cabarsi, it is that he helped save the lives of others, including those of four children.

Cabarsi, 42, a baker, said he rushed to their neighbor’s house when he heard the cries of children inside. Thick smoke was already coming out of the house at this point.

“Ako-ang gipugos og abli ang pultahan kay pwerte na man gyud syagit sa mga bata. Aso na kaayo ang sud sa balay,” he told The Freeman. 

When the children were safe, Cabarsi tried putting the fire out with water but it spread too quickly.

Mao to, pag-abli nako sa pultahan, nanggawas ang mga bata unya gibubu-an nako og tubig ang kayo, pero di na mada. Mga usa lang ka minuto, mga upat na kabalay ang nasunog. Paspas gyud kaayo,” Cabarsi said.

The two-story house owned by Rowena and Robinson Aldion was reportedly where the fire started in Barangay Mantuyong.

“Pagpanggawas sa mga bata, wa na ko kahibalo og asa na to sila. Mga upat namo ka silingan akoa pa gani gipangpukpuk ilang mga bungbung aron makamata. Kay kung wa pa, kadtong silingan namo nga nag-abang, apil gyud unta to sa sunog,” he added.

He managed to save six people but in so doing failed to retrieve his family’s belongings, including his baking equipment, when the fire reached their home.

“Tapot lawas lang gyud. Kay ang akong asawa og anak gipagawas na nako og una. Wa gani koy tsinelas kay nagdinaganay na,” he said.

“Pwerte gyud paita. Wa na koy panginabuhi-an, way kwarta, wa pa gyud mi pinuy-anan. Ambot og unsa-on na lang ni namo,” Cabarsi said.

His baking equipment was reportedly worth around P150,000.

Cabarsi said he is sure that the fire started at the Aldion residence because he saw it happen. They lived just in front of the Aldions.

He said their house and nine others did not have electricity at that time 

“Brownout man to unya nag-kandila mi. Kay connect-connect ra man mi nganha. Ang ilang kandila natumba tingali to unya didto sa kurtina padung. Ang kayo gikan sa ubos padung sa ilang taas,” he said.

He said the children might have been left on their own at that time.

“Kay kung naa pay dagko sa sulod, ngano wa man gyuy niluwas sa mga bata? Pwerte na nilang syagit sa sulod,” Cabarsi said.

The fire left at least 2,200 homeless and Cabarsi’s family joins others in mourning for what they have lost, including the newborn son of his delivery boy. The child reportedly passed away two hours after the fire broke and just as the family reached the Mandaue Sports Complex to take shelter. 

“Basta ang bata namatay pag abot sa sports complex. Wa sad ko kahibalo og ngano,” Cabarsi said.

With their bakery gone, Cabarsi’s wife, Maryann, tries to make a living out of hanging rice.

“Mayna lang ni kung makala ko og 100 ka puso kay P7 ang bayad,” she said.

They will stay temporarily at the Cebu International Convention Center at the North Reclamation Area with other survivors while authorities clear their barangay of rubble.

They were assured they can rebuild their houses back there.

It will be an uphill climb, for sure, but for Cabarsi and his family, it will be a struggle inspired by Renz, 5; Jake, 6; KC, 3; Jaijai, 5, and the two other people who remain alive because of one selfless act.  — (FREEMAN)

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