An ordinary picnic last summer almost turned into a tragedy if not for the quick thinking and courage of 13-year-old Myrene Bruno Somejo who risked her life to save her sister and a friend from drowning in deep waters off the coast of Cabugao, Ilocos Sur.
Myrene and her seven-year-old sister Neri Joy joined a group of friends in a rakit or raft adventure along the beach of Barangay Daclapan in their hometown. They were already enjoying their rafting when all of a sudden one of their friends slid off the raft and accidentally drags along Neri Joy to deep waters.
“The waters were so deep I wished I had not brought her (Neri Joy) along. I was nervous. I thought I would d*e,” shares Myrene.
In the face of danger, Myrene immediately jumped to the water, swam towards the drowning girls, and saved them both.
For her courage, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) awarded her the Gawad Kalasag, which was organized to honor institutions and individuals who have contributed to disaster risk reduction awareness and have shown extraordinary courage in times of emergencies.
“Despite her young age, Myrene’s presence of mind and strong determination to save her sister and her sister’s friend demonstrated her heroic spirit. This unselfish act of being the ‘salva vida’ (life vest) to Kikay and Neri Joy manifests her firm resolve and immeasurable love and concern for her sister in the face of risks to her own life,” read the citation for Myrene’s award.
The girl’s father Rene says he is proud of his daughter’s achievement.
“I am thankful that she was able to save lives. I thought I would lose my younger daughter,” he said.
Myrene says she will not hesitate in putting herself in danger again in order to help others in need. In fact, she has signed up to become a member of the her local search and rescue team.
Her original act of courage, however, will not be forgotten as a true manifestation of sisterly love.
“Mahal na mahal ko po ang kapatid ko (I love my sister very much),” she said.