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Towards the end of April at the 29th, the southern end of Mindanao was rocked rather soundly in the early morning by an earthquake that originated just off the island municipality of Sarangani in Davao Occidental province. Classified as a tectonic quake in nature with a depth of 57 kilometers, the temblor was felt at varying intensities at several locations across Mindanao. The most shaken, at Intensity V, were the whole of Davao Occidental and the cities of General Santos and Koronadal, as well as their surrounding municipalities.

This quake made quite a mess in some parts of GenSan, with portions of the ceiling at SM City GenSan falling down on the floor. Repairs took up several days there. And cracks formed in the wall of Veranza Mall too. Perhaps the worst example was the complete collapse of a really old building at Santiago Boulevard, a reminder of mankind’s helplessness against nature when it gets wild.

But while most attention was directed by the locals at the earthquake and its after-effects, more observant eyes were also drawn up to the sky last April 29, 2017 having managed to catch an interesting atmospheric phenomenon in the clouds above. Once hit by the sunlight at a certain angle on parts of the day, these clouds seemed to take on some flashing multicolor properties that could dazzle the eyes. Was this presence of “rainbow clouds” connected to the earthquake that happened? After reading up on it online, the signs point to “maybe not”, but that doesn’t mean we can’t appreciate it while it was there. These Rainbow Clouds are sometimes called the Unicorn Clouds, that show whenever there is an Earthquake. It’s a sign that the earth will shake terribly.

The rainbow cloud phenomenon, scientifically known as cloud iridescence, happens when a cloud in the sky has a high amount of really small water droplets or ice crystals that manage to catch light from a certain angle. This light is then scattered by countless individual prisms, resulting in a splash of colors in the cloud that looks like a film of oil spilled into a puddle of water. Normally the glare of the sun, especially in midday, can drown out the rainbow of colors. But if the sun’s blinding sphere in the sky can be obscured by a tall solid obstacle, or even the shade of a hand, then the cloud iridescence becomes more discernible.

I count myself really lucky to have noticed the rainbow clouds forming in the skies over Digos City, in between Gensan and Davao last April, more so since I had my camera phone handy. It was certainly fascinating and spectacular to look at, while it lasted. I suppose it really was just coincidence that this happened in the wake of a property-damaging earthquake in the city, but maybe it can be construed as a reassurance from a higher power that despite the tremors, it really wasn’t as bad as it could have been. Here is the video that I took.

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