The search for 21-year-old Honorio Encabo, who was swept out to sea in As Teo last Sunday following a hiking trip gone wrong, continues with no luck.
According to Department of Public Safety spokesperson Dre Pangelinan, DPS had no updates on the whereabouts of Encabo as of yesterday, and would resume their search at first light today.
Pangelinan said the U.S. Coast Guard, Division of Fish and Wildlife boats, Department of Fire and Emergency Medical Services, and the DPS Search and Rescue Unit have all joined forces in search of Encabo.
Encabo was part of a group of three who had gone to the area for a hiking trip. He was with Analyn Pabilona, one of the victim’s companions, and his girlfriend, whose name could not be immediately ascertained. They were reportedly along the edge of a natural formation called “infinity pool” in As Teo when Encabo slipped and fell.
According to Pabilona, Encabo fought as hard as he could to rejoin them soon after being swept to sea, despite being weakened by the numerous cuts and scrapes on his body, an injured knee, and his head crashing into a rock.
Pabilona said they arrived in As Teo at around 2:30pm on Sunday and started their hike down the cliff that leads to the “infinity pool” to go swimming. When the group got to the bottom, they each had about two bottles of Smirnoff before taking a dip into the shallow end of the pool.
At about 4:30pm, Pabilona said the three of them walked farther out from the shallow end of the pool to take photos. After taking a few photos, Pabilona said they followed behind Encabo who walked further out to the end of the “infinity pool” where a huge wave crashed into them.
Pabilona said the huge wave almost took them all out but she and Encabo’s girlfriend were only knocked over and were able to grab on to some coral. Unfortunately, they soon noticed that Encabo was no longer where he had been originally standing and they soon saw that he had been swept out and dragged to a spot full of sharp rocks. That’s when they noticed he had a long slice on his jaw and his head was bleeding.
Pabilona said Encabo still managed to fight the current and transfer to another spot where he was able to get on top of a rock but he was bleeding everywhere and seemed to be slowly losing consciousness from the loss of blood.
That’s when Pabilona called for help to another group of people who were just about to leave. However, because of the shock that she was in, she could barely call out to them. Luckily, Pabilona said, she knew a person in the group and managed to get to him for help and told him about their situation. He and his friends immediately rushed to the spot to try and help.
Upon returning to the spot, Pabilona said she recalled Encabo was still on the rock and he was still alive. Pabilona added that Encabo could still talk while they called the police.
At a little past 5pm, Encabo fell into the water again because of another large wave, Pabilona said, and although he tried to fight the current for a while, they soon lost sight of him.
Police arrived past 6pm, according to Pabilona, but they couldn’t dive into the water because the current had gotten too strong.
Pabilona recalled that two police officers came down to the pool while the rest waited at the top to interview them. Police called off the search around 7pm.
Before letting go of the rock he was holding on to, Pabilona said Encabo managed to tell his girlfriend don’t try anymore and just go back for the sake of their 1-year-old son.