Tag Archives: Mt. Pinatubo

MSC Origins Part V: Keeping Students Safe During Calamities

MSC occupied the second floor of the Jesusa building along A. Flores St. for less than two years.  In that short span of time, we experienced two of the most devastating natural calamities recorded in Philippine history – the eruption of Mt. Pinatubo and the Luzon earthquake.

It was Monday, the 16th of July 1990, almost 4:30 in the afternoon when the deadly earthquake struck.  It was felt in almost the whole of Luzon and caused more than a thousand deaths and massive destruction particularly in Central and northern Luzon.

Though the earthquake caused minimal damage and no deaths here in San Pablo City, it was a frightening experience.  It was a working day at MSC and everyone was tinkering with the PCs when the earthquake occurred.  Remember that MSC was on the second floor and the shock felt stronger when one was above ground. Everyone in the building felt it and immediately turned their computers off and made way for the exit.

Almost exactly a year later, in June 15, 1991 Mt. Pinatubo erupted in what was the second largest volcanic eruption in the 20th century.  The eruption was felt worldwide as vast quantities of magma, ash and volcanic debris were emitted.  Global temperatures dropped by about 0.5 °C (0.9 °F) in the years 1991-93, and ozone depletion temporarily increased substantially.

At MSC, June 15, 1991 was the schedule of the first acquaintance party of the two-year course students.  Days before, Mt. Pinatubo has been showing signs of an impending eruption. However, since the volcano was more than 200 kilometers away, the party pushed through.  Little did the students and staff of MSC know that on that exact evening, the volcano will erupt.  And erupt it did on their party night!  Before midnight, ash reached San Pablo and as the party ended and people went out of the restaurant where the party was held, it was raining ash!

To keep the students safe they were ferried a car-full at a time to the MSC building where they all stayed till morning.