Over the past month, there have been a number of tremors around the island of Mindanao, in The Philippines. With roughly five percent of Weyburn’s population having connections to that part of the world, through family, friends, or being a former resident, it means when earthquakes like the one Monday happen, they pay close attention.  

The earthquake Monday registered as 7.0 on the Richter scale, which measures the intensity of an earthquake. The epicentre of the earthquake was south of Davao City, in the ocean. No injuries or damages were reported in the quake. However, it was the second earthquake at that scale to happen in a month, with one registering at 7.6 on December 2nd, and more than 1700 aftershocks in the time afterwards. The December 2nd quake was reported to have killed three people, and injured eight, with 30 thousand people evacuated on Mindanao.  

“It’s very scary,” said Weyburn’s Regan Lanning about when she hears about an earthquake happening. “I immediately start to worry about my friends over there.” 

Lanning lived in Davao City in 1996 and 1997, going to school there. She made several friends during her time there and continues to keep in touch with them to this day, thanks to social media outlets such as Facebook. Despite the ability to instantly be in touch, earthquakes still cause some concern. 

“When I get a lot of ‘Marked Safe from Earthquake’ notifications and hearing my friends talk about it, it’s always very troubling and scary.” 

The location of The Philippines does mean it is prone to earthquakes. In a series of volcanic islands on the western part of the Pacific Ring of Fire, earthquakes do tend to happen with frequency. Last year, four earthquakes measured 5.9 or higher.  

Lanning noted, however, that while the concept of earthquakes may seem foreign for those living in Saskatchewan, in The Philippines, it is a way of life.  

“I experienced a number of earthquakes while I was living over there,” Lanning added. “Eventually, you kind of get used to it. You can judge right away if it’s something that you need to worry about, or if it’s just an everyday tremor kind of thing.” 

The first earthquake she experienced when she was over there, was something she will never forget.  

“I was in class, and I thought my friend was kicking my chair, and immediately, I saw that everything was moving, the building was saying,” Lanning described the experience. “I immediately went into duck and cover – I think I confused earthquake survival with bomb survival – I was hiding under my desk and I looked up, and all of my friends were still just sitting in their desks. They knew that this wasn’t one to worry about, but it sure caused panic – I wasn’t used to the earth moving under my feet.” 

Lanning said she will continue to keep an eye out on what is happening in the area, and hope her friends always come through any other seismic activity in the region.