HomeIAMURE International Journal of Ecology and Conservationvol. 29 no. 1 (2019)

In the Midst of the Unthinkable: Phenomenological Life-world Approach to the Experiences of the Survivors during the Sea Tragedy

Rolando A. Alimen | Ma. Cecilia D. Alimen | Victor B. Jaleco



The aim of this study was to highlight the different experiences of survivors during the Guimaras-Iloilo Strait tragedy, Philippines last August 3, 2019. The researchers used qualitative research design by employing narrative inquiry through the questionnaire, interviews, and documents from testimonies, social media, newspapers and radio reports of the survivors. A phenomenological lifeworld approach, inspired by the French philosopher Maurice Merleau-Ponty, was chosen for the theoretical framework. The findings showed three main features: the motion, the stillness (events before the tragedy), and the change in perspective (event during and after the tragedy in the middle of the sea). The motion comprised the motion of the wave caused by the sudden hurl of the wind, the locals call as “pugada” (tornado in the sea) and the action it caused the passengers. When the sudden force of the wind and the waves withdrew, it was followed by stillness. The feeling of the unthinkable was present, accompanied by anxiousness and endless waiting. Another prominent feature was the passengers’ incapacity to answer ‘‘how long’’ they had suffered before being rescued. The Iloilo-Guimaras Strait tragedy seemed to be a timeless event. Thinking about their loved ones and praying intently meant a change in perspective in one’s own shattered world to that of another person. The shift between focus and struggle, contributed to the making of life-saving decisions among the survivors themselves and for other survivors. The findings derived from the study were the realizations land experiences of the survivors during these times of uncertainty.