There are so many sunken places in the world. Some are discovered accidentally and some are discovered intentionally.
Some are still undiscovered and waiting to be discovered. All of these discovered and undiscovered sunken places hold a mystery, a history, and a knowledge that may change the perspective of people about the history. According to Cassimally (2013), rediscovering the grandness of past city is one of those few things that can take your breath away because of the new discoveries and new learnings that may be shared by the researchers to the whole world. Studying the archaeological findings of the discovered sunken places may lead to the recovering of the identity of the forgotten sunken city. The mystery of how some great city sunk is still unknown, there are many theories suggested by the professionals about the city of Thonis (called by Egyptians) or Heracleion (called by the Greeks). They suggested that it is sunk because once upon a time the Thonis was at a perfect place for marine port, but building a port comes with a risk and the city of Thonis took the risk and paid ultimately with its life.
Some suggested that Thonis sunk because of the rise of sea-level coupled with a sudden collapsed of unstable sediment-heavy earth caused the city to carve in and plunge into abyss (Cassimally, 2013). Intang, as one of the sunken city submerged to be a gigantic water reservoir that supplies hydro-electric power to its town and nearby cities also holds mysteries that are waiting to be solved. Researchers decided to discover and unfold some of these mysteries to dig in the deeper sense of its history. The reason why Intang was sunken is clear for it purpose is for the benefits of larger number of people. According to Chris White (2015), Many cities or towns have been submerged and drowned intentionally or naturally to provide and create dams and reservoirs as a solution for the need of water and power resources for the present and especially for the future times.
Some sunken places are located in China, America, Brazil, Venezuela, Romania, Spain, Portugal, Macedonia, Russia and India. Some reminders of those sunken places were the structures that point above the water like churches and buildings. Ferdinand Marcos as the current president then, authorized the project in 1969 as per enactment of Republic Act 5499. The construction was started in 1971 and ended in 1974. The number of population nowadays is increasing, so more water and power resources are already needed. The solution by the government for these needs is creating dams, and to be able to do that, there are places that they choose to drown but also, doing this has consequence or problem.
Residents of those places are forced to go or find for another place to live and start their new lifestyle after their relocation. (White, 2015) Along with the submerging of the town of Intang is the relocation of the people to a “new town”. One of the recent events similar to submerging of Intang is the relocation of the whole city of Kiruna in Sweden which started since 2004 and is still in the process until the present, in which the relocation of seven old buildings has already been finished along with the relocation of some of the residents in a new town 2 miles away from Kiruna, where new necessary establishments are being built for the new town and its people (Lo & Macguire, 2017). It is a relocation of “the whole town” to a new place, for the reasons which can be seen from the outside as purely an intention by the government to ensure the safety of the people in Kiruna, but looking deeper, one of the main reasons is economical which mirrors the very same reason why the town of Intang has to be moved and submerged. According to an article in CNN written by Andrea Lo and Eoghan Macguire in 2017, Kiruna is being moved because the people in the town are suceptible to sinking because of the fast growing iron-ore mining beneath the town. With a continous operation of the biggest iron-ore mining of Sweden, Kiruna is expected to sink in the near future leaving the government into the dillema of shutting down the mining activities and lose one of Sweden’s highest income generating activity, but the government decided to move the “whole city” instead (Lo ; Macguire, 2017).
The governments choice is a complicated and costly project that is expected to be done within 100 years but the project is bidded and approved for 20 years thus expecting results fo the year 2024 (Lo ; Macguire, 2017). In the efforts of keeping the economy of a country growing for the development of the country as well, the people has to undergo some tough process which will eventually benefit everyone at the end, the very similar situation that the town of Intang has to undergo. But in comparison with what is currently happening in Kiruna, along with the government trying to keep the economy intact, is also their very clear efforts of trying to keep and preserve the identity of the town of Kiruna (Weller, 2016). According to Mark Szulgit, one of the architects involved in the relocation projet of Kiruna, as stated in an article written by Weller (2016), “Our biggest challenge is not the design of a new city, which is sustainable and attractive and modern. The biggest challenge is to move the minds of the people, and to move the culture.” Relocation of a whole town is indeed costly and complicated and keeping the original structure of the town wiil be impossible.
Even the long-planned relocation of Kiruna doesn’t guarantee that 100% of the town will be relocated and that it will stay the same as it was before relocation (Weller, 2016). But other than preservng the physical structure of a town upon undergoing the process of relocation is also the significace of keeping the towns identity, which is likely to be lost along with its history and is a harder thing to do. But the Swedish government is trying their best to keep the project on the right track in trying to achieve both of these goals in the end. There are two major lessons to be learned in the submergence of Intang according to (Helin, 1996), planning ang government responsibility.
This is what the incident of submergence of Intang have overlooked, unlike what is happening in Kiruna, the submerging of Intang didn’t undergo a well-planned relocation plan resulting to various mishaps for the residents of Intang, and the lack of government responsibility upon the completion of project. However, the construction of the Pantabangan dam resulted in submergence of old Pantabangan town and seven villages. The residents of that sunken town and villages were resettled to the upper portion of Pantabangan and given a land in place of submerged properties (Leary, James, Barros, Kulkarni, ; Routledge, 2008) If ever the irrigation supply in Nueva Ecija province would be cut down due to reconstruction of canals, a way will always be found because that is the one of usages of Pantabangan dam sustaining irrigation water for every farmers. For more clarification in the assembly, the suspension of irrigation supply is just a possibility because of some contractors wanted to work without supervision of higher officials which is not justifiable (Castillo, 2017). If the bridge has already been crossed, only the end tail of irrigation service will be affected dry season cropping. Not just Nueva Ecija province is being sustained by Pantabangan dam but also some parts of Pampanga, Bulacan and Tarlac provinces (Roque, 2017).
This is one of the usages of Pantabangan Dam formerly known as Sitio Intang. The sacrifices, that former residents of the said town did, did not go to waste. The residents were given a land as compensation to the submerged properties but nobody knows if that land is already sufficient for them. People who had lost their house also lost their livelihood which supplements their family food and clothing. Nobody knows if the compensation given to them is already enough to patch up what the residents had felt and had truly sacrificed.
For the construction of Pantabangan Dam, around 3000 families had sacrificed their established lives in the old town of Pantabangan and had undergone sufferings. Most of the Pantabangan residents were resettled in a place called Tanawaan and in two other sites. Before the costruction of Pantabangan Dam, the relocation process is distressing for the residents as they watch how their houses and the different buildings in the town were being demolished and submerged. Everyone had to relocate everything from their personal belongings to the bones in their graveyards. “To be uprooted from a place you had known since birth was heartrending,” said Circa, now 85.
(Roque, 2017) But their sufferings did not end after the relocation, restarting a new life from scratch is hard as it is but being deprived of the basic necessities they need to start again is another problem that they had to face. “Life in the new town site of Pantabangan was really difficult,” recalled retired Army Col. Bienvenido Reyes, now one of the municipality’s councilors. The relocation site was described as “oven-hot during summer and muddy during rainy days” by the residents. Having no source of livelihood also adds up to the hardships of the residents of the new Pantabangan which keeps them from comparing their situation before the old Pantabangan was sunken.
“In our old place, residents derived income from logging, fishing and farming. Fishes, edible ferns, crabs, shrimps, vegetables and other food were abundant,” said by Reyes, who was 17 at the time of the mass evacuation, as he compares their past and present situation because of the construction of Pantabangan Dam. (Roque, 2017) To compensate the relocated families, the government provided them with a lot, a core house, 3-ha farmland each and properly compensated them with their properties affected by the construction. Furthermore, rice rations, flour, sorghum, powdered milk, canned goods and other supplies were given as a start-up. But the assistance stopped and the land given them was “mostly rolling terrain.”.
“Most families had to fend for themselves,” Reyes added, so most of the residents resulted to going abroad to provide money for their family. The Sitio Intang have been submerged in 1973 and up until now, its impacts still in the heart of its former citizens and its benefits have been taken advantage by other people who has power to do so (amangpintor, 2011). There will always be two sides of the story, one is positive and the other one is negative just like what happened during the construction of Pantabangan Dam which resulted to submerging of the old town of Sitio Intang. Many says that it helped the growth of economy but little did what everyone knows, there are a lot of former citizens of the said town that was greatly affected in a negative way as they have felt like their home have been taken away from them. A video documentary is entitled “Kasaysayan ng Lumang Pantabangan” (The History of Old Pantabangan) in which they have composed a song wherein they open what they have felt before or the negative effects to their lives of the said construction of Pantabangan Dam.
They described how much they loved their hometown and the pain they have been through cannot be measured. Also, according to the video documentary, only few have been benefited to its contruction. There was a time that it appeared and only they can see the remnants of their memories as they lived there before (amangpintor, 2011). They will never forget what happened because it left scar through their hearts, but they have been accepted what happened to their hometown. Furthermore, it discuss to the video how it feels to watch your birthplace to sink into the water and cannot do anything about it.
Moreover, the purpose of this research is to verify if it is really true that there are people who have taken advantage in regards to the construction of Pantabangan Dam and to collect the data to support the argument about how the former citizens of Sito Intang react and feel during those years. Leaving a town where most of the people’s memories are made is already heart trending. What more if it is being submerged and destroyed? They will no longer be able to revisit and see the same old home they had back then. According to John Spinks in his photography entitled “The New Village”, “Anyone who grew up in and left a village will sense that apprehensive approach and fractured sense of belonging, the one informing the other. It may remain elusive to anybody else, though.” (O’Hagan, 2017).
When people migrate to other places they sometimes come back and reunite with their old friends and acquaintances. They gather up and have a small celebration reminiscing what they did back then. It is because, it is a part of their whole being. They go back when they feel missing their sense of belonging.
However, those people having to see their town’s destruction while leaving and having the inability to fulfill the missing part of their whole being with the town they once lived is heart shattering.