2 Sipalay fishermen found adrift in Zamboanga waters

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Two fishermen from Sipalay City, Negros Occidental braved big waves and survived turbid currents for four nights and five days in the waters of Negros to Zamboanga Del Norte.

Alex Alagao, one of the survivors, told NEGROS NOW DAILY how they were able to conquer the rough seas at the onset of Tropical Storm Auring early this week.

Fishermen Rico Norcuia, seated, left, and Alex Alagao with PCG Siocon sub-station personnel in Zamboanga del Norte. At right, the damaged fishing boat, named ‘Bestfriend’. | PCG Siocon Sub-Station Photo

Alagao, 72, and Rico Norcuia, 52, were found adrift in the shorelines of Barangay Balagunan in Siocon town, Zamboanga del Norte Monday afternoon, Feb. 22

The two went on fishing Feb.17 afternoon from Barangay 5, Sipalay City.

The following day, they contacted their family to inform them that their fishing boat, named BESTFRIEND, encountered an engine trouble. 

The local disaster team last communicated with them in the afternoon of the same day and the fishermen were then situated around five nautical miles from Sipalay proper.

The supposed rescue operations on Feb. 19 did not push through because of the strong waves and rough seas brought by the incoming storm.

Alagao said they mustered enough courage to survive by eating fish and salted shrimp paste (ginamos) to sustain their energy.

He added they just followed the wind direction, hoping that they will be swept to the nearest land.

What was important for them was to make sure their fishing boat will not capsize, they recalled.

While on rough seas, the two survivors kept removing the sea water off their fishing boat.

Their fishing boat was almost wrecked upon reaching the shorelines of Zamboanga del Norte and local fishermen tried to help them by giving them dry clothes and food before they were brought to the barangay hall of Balagunan in Siocon town.

Sipalay City CDRRMO head Dionilo Bogtae was able to talk to Alagao on Tuesday morning, Feb. 23.

Alagao said that the two of them are already safe and taken care of by barangay officials of Balagunan.

The barangay officials also referred them for a medical checkup.

The Sipalay City government already sent financial assistance to them in Zamboanga del Norte and the fishermen are waiting for their scheduled trip to Negros.

The local DRRMO of Siocon headed by Engr. Marlowe Echem will turn over the fishermen to the Provincial DRRMO in Dipolog City to facilitate their trip back to Negros Occidental. – MML