Pablo (2012) Flood in Cagayan de Oro City, Misamis Oriental

7 December 2012

Less than a year after the onslaught of Tropical storm Sendong, Typhoon Pablo (international name, Bopha) wreaked destruction across Mindanao on the first week of December 2012. Pablo entered the Philippine Area of Responsibility on December 3. It made landfall on December 4 over Bangaga, Davao Oriental, and traversed through Compostela Valley, Bukidnon, and Negros Oriental. Over 6 Million people were affected from cities and municipalities of Regions IV-B, VI, VII, VIII, IX, X, XI, XII, CARAGA and ARMM.

Cagayan de Oro (CDO) City in Misamis Oriental was one of the areas that were declared under state of calamity on December 7. Flood waters in CDO only started to rise after rains from Pablo ceased pouring. It rose due to the strong rains in Bukidnon which caused the Cagayan River to swell by up to 5 meters. From a water level baseline of around 4450 cm, the reading in Kabula Bridge in Bukidnon went up to 4927.9 cm on December 4, according to stream gauge data.

Pablo Flood, Cagayan de Oro

Residents try to cross the flooded Macanhan road in Barangay Carmen leading towards Barangay Balulang as flood waters caused by Typhoon “Pablo” blocked the main road as the Cagayan de Oro River overflowed on Tuesday afternoon. Source: <>. Photo by: Bobby Lagsa

Fortunately, preemptive evacuation was implemented on December 3, and forced evacuation was enforced on the morning of December 4. City officials judiciously monitored the water level sensors of Cagayan River to ensure informed DRRM decisions. More than 20,000 people (out of the entire city’s 602,888) temporarily vacated their homes in an attempt to curb casualties—a warranted response given the amount of destruction Sendong wrought the previous year in their area. According to NDRRMC reports, only one person died from drowning in CDO—a small number compared to the 1067 declared dead all over the country due to the typhoon.


NOAH sensor data showing the rise of water in the Cagayan de Oro river. This was documented safely by onlookers by evacuating ahead of time.

NOAH Flood Depth map and Flood Hazard map (first 2 maps on the left) vs Local Flood map surveyed by Xavier University in 2012. (Source: DOST Project NOAH)

NOAH Flood Depth map and Flood Hazard map (first 2 maps on the left) vs Local Flood map surveyed by Xavier University in 2012. (Source: DOST Project NOAH)

NDRRMC. (2012). NDRRMC SitRep No. 38 re Effects of Typhoon “PABLO” (Bopha). NDRRMC Update.

Lacuata, R., Sepe, F., Salano, A., Francisco, R. (2014). A Tale of Three Disasters: The Wrath of Sendong, Pablo, and Yolanda. ABS-CBN Multimedia.

NSO. (2010). 2010 Census of Population and Housing. National Statistics Office. Total Population by Province, City, Municipality and Barangay: as of May 1, 2010.

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