It deeply hurts me to learn the news about the loss of 14 people who rode a GV Florida Bus in Sampaloc, Manila going to Bontoc, Mountain Province.

The bus fell 150 meters down a ravine along Talubin, minutes away from its Bontoc destination, at 7:20 this morning.

Arvin Jimenez, more known as comedian “Tado” was among the casualties. He even posted a picture of the bus they were riding on Instagram and captioned it "Long trip, as in trip trip".

Tado was supposed to work in Bontoc for his Life Begins at the Mountains; 40 Mountain Project. Green Peace Philippines has already released a poster thanking the comedian for supporting its projects. 

Casualties include the following: 

Marcial Barando Jr.
Andrew David Sicam
Natividad Ngawa
Gerald Baja
Ana Dela Cruz
Lea Reyes
Emily Gentalian
Giovanni "Bam" Morello
Katrina Gozos
Jonathan Patulot
Rosalinda Reyes
Alex Loring 
Anne Martina Adriana Van De Ven

Arvin Jimenez

Injured passengers:

Abegail Atin
James Papsa-ao
Carina Codiamat
Basilan Baranhuat
Cris
Edgar Mendoza Renon
Robert Coronado
Natty Bang-i
Dino Dimar
Christian Cavardo
Bernard Burnhard
Camille Ososrio
Melchor Suaken
Corina Javier
Teresita Sawad
Annenmik Verwegen (Deutch)
Silvestre Dawey
Agung Sicam
Jerry Agnapan
Wenceslao Ciano
Michael Negrito
Dan Echavez
Jason Melchor
Charlie Sta Maria
Paeng Cordove
Olivia Aglipay
Trina De Leon
Estella Danilo
Demetrio Danilo
Amien Sicam
Abegail Sicam
Alexander Longalong

The police is yet to release a comprehensive list of casualties once the other bodies are identified. Two of the casualties are confirmed foreigners from The Netherlands and Canada.

Injured passengers were brought to Baguio General Hospital and Lusi Hora Provincial Hospital. The bus was carrying a total of 45 people.

The police theorizes that the vehicular accident may be due to loose brakes or human errors.

Here are pictures posted on Facebook by Nayr F. Iwak taken in the accident location (credits to the photographer): 









The GV Florida Trans recently took over the Manila- Bontoc franchise from Mt. Province Cable Tours. However, reports have it that the GV Florida did not follow guidelines leading the Transportation and Franchising Regulatory Board (LTFRB) to impose a 30- day suspension on the bus company.

When I first read about the news, I was so disturbed to realize that most of the passengers must be tourists bound to Sagada. The 'Manila- Banaue- Bontoc  bus ride then Bontoc- jeepney Sagada' route, which the Florida bus participates in, is an alternative to the 'Manila- Baguio then Baguio- Sagada 2- bus ride' sequence.

Afterwards, I read a Facebook post of Debra Likigan, who manages Shamrock Tavern Inn expressing that she is grateful that her clients had their private cars.

Mountain Province is back again in the news as a vehicular accident location. Ravines along the road are everywhere in the province and I do not like to think that it is AGAIN the government's fault for not providing enough motor assistance to vehicles using the road. 

I hope the police will investigate on the lapses that the transport firm that owns the bus has looked out. We say it is an accident that no one ever prayed for now while we are grieving over the lost lives.

Now, I am convinced why my brother, who studies in Manila, does not use that route when he comes home during vacation seasons. He rides a Victory Liner bus going to Baguio then takes the GL/ Lizardo bus coming home to our native Sagada.

I also read a post of Wencel Angeles, the brain behind marketing websites of businesses in Sagada, saying that he never recommended taking the Manila- Bontoc- Sagada route due to its risks.

I salute everyone who assisted in bringing the injured and the unfortunate lives out of the ravine. We pray for the souls of the departed and for the speedy recovery of the injured ones.