By Steve Angeles, ABS-CBN North America Bureau
June 4, 2013
LOS ANGELES–It was horrific scene on Friday in Taguig City, as the upscale Two Serendra apartment unit exploded killing three, and injuring 5. Initial reports have not found any evidence of bombs. The condo unit where the explosion is believed to have come from is owned by Marriane Cayton Castillo who runs a home based travel agency in Anaheim. The tenant, who is suffering 3rd degree burns is her family friend, 63-year-old Angelito San Juan, who was vacationing for a wedding.
Castillo declined to be interviewed, but said the event has traumatized her, adding that only her lawyer in the Philippines will address the media. She wouldn’t give information on San Juan, and also claimed that she still had no definite departure date for her trip to Manila where her lawyers has said she will cooperate with the investigation.
Travelers say, the news of the mysterious explosion, which President Aquino vows a thorough investigation, doesn’t concern them.
“I still feel safe in the Philippines. It’s one of those remote things that happen,” said Alex Fetalino.
“It can happen anywhere all over the world,” another traveler Dr. Marilyn Yap added.
Travel agency owner Juan Francisco said that despite the popularity of renting privately owned condo-tels, there are some concerns to consider including, the possible lack of standards when it comes to maintaining and managing the individual units.
“If you stay at someone’s private condominium you might not have a big shield when it comes to liability because it’s a private owner. If something were to go wrong or someone were to break in maybe steal your belongings you might not have any protection or any claims as you would as if you were staying at a hotel,” he explained.
While investigators explore the possibilities of a gas leak, Francisco adds, that the explosion is more shocking because the area is considered one of the more up and coming destinations in Metro Manila.
Despite having the owner and the tenant of the ill-fated unit both based in Southern California, the Los Angeles Philippine Consulate General’s office said it will not get involved in the matter as the parties involved have been cooperating directly with local authorities.