We arrived at the airport around six in the evening and after seeing my MIL pass through the gates of Terminal 2, we went on our way and decided to stay for a while in Mall of Asia while we wait for a text message from her telling us she's checked in already and passed through Immigration without any problem.
We arrived in MOA around 6:20 PM and was able to park around 6:45 PM - there were just too many people that day that made looking for a parking spot doubly hard. We proceeded to the Department Store to purchase some new beddings for our bed. I think we spent around 30 minutes there and after paying for our purchases, we went out the 2nd floor exit, I stopped by a BDO atm machine to withdraw some money and proceeded to walk. We were supposed to have dinner then when we heard a band playing downstairs. So, we walked closer to the banisters to watch the band for a while because Johan's always been in love with drums.
As we were walking away, we suddenly heard loud bangs. The hubby first thought they were fireworks and we again looked down the first level and that's when we saw the people below running away from something. I instantly became nervous and my instinct told me to look for a place where we can hide. The first store that I saw was a photo developing store which I wasn't able to know the name until I searched for the MOA map, it was Photoline. As we enter the store, rushing, the store attendant asked me what's happening. I told him that people are running at the ground floor and we heard shots being fired. He then said, it must have been just the fireworks. But by then, I know that it's not.
|The proximity of where we were to the location where the shots were fired is very scary.|
When the shots stopped, I told hubby to get out of the store and move farther away from where we are located. If they were indeed gunshots that we heard, the last thing that I wanted was for us to get stuck in the middle of it. All I was thinking at that time was they cannot take us as hostages. So, we immediately went out the Photoline store and walked quickly. Johan was getting scared by the minute and I guess it's because he felt that I too was scared. I kept on telling him to walk faster and to not stop. I was the one holding him while hubby carried our purchases, a huge beddings set with comforter and two huge pillows.
While we were rushing away, people from the 2nd floor stores came out and looked down to see what's happening. That's when the second wave of people running started and by this time everybody is panicking. The people at the 2nd floor started running back to the stores, locking their doors. I was telling Johan to walk faster since I cannot carry him nor can I run given the pregnancy. I told hubby to look for a store, a restaurant, anywhere that we can get in and hide. But, since we're almost at the bridge connecting the mall to the seaside grounds, hubby said we should just proceed to the seaside where we were parked.
Some of the mallgoers are still clueless as to what's happening and as soon as we reached the seaside grounds and looked back at the mall, that's when we saw the huge crowd of people running - everyone was just rushing to get out of the mall, they were running down the stairs and the escalators out into the street. And I was terribly scared, whatever it is that's happening inside, it is still not over. We seriously need to get out of there.
When we stopped for a while to send messages to some people, Johan was already screaming, "Let's go, let's go!". We immediately went to the car and prepared to leave. We just had to wait for a while for my MIL's reply but Johan kept on shouting at his Dad, "Dad, let's go! Drive!". So, the hubby did and while moving out of the parking lot, he asked the guard on duty what's happening inside. He did not answer and we then proceeded to exit.
While driving away, I received a text message from my bestfriend asking me if we were still in MOA and I replied that we're driving away then because we heard shots being fired. Apparently, a college friend of ours posted on Facebook that they were also in MOA, heard the gunshots and were hiding then in one of the restaurants' kitchen.
When we got home, I immediately turned on the TV and went online to look for news about the incident. I found this:
‘Martilyo Gang’ strikes again at SM Mall of Asia; 1 arrested, 6 robbers escape
(Updated 8:26 a.m., March 31) The "Martilyo Gang" is believed to have struck anew at an SM mall, using the cover of a heavy weekend crowd to hasten their escape after a brazen jewelry heist, this time on Sunday night at SM's crown jewel, the Mall of Asia in Pasay City.
It was a very scary experience, even Johan was traumatized by it and up until today, he still does not want to go back to SM.