Thursday, August 9, 2012


The barrio girl just had her taste of urban tragedy. And was ill-prepared for it. 

It has been raining incessantly the last ten days. Monday, August 6, was no different. I braved the rain going to Greenbelt to meet up with my friends for dinner. We couldn't postpone it, Joyce is already based in Jakarta and would be going back there soon. 

We finished dinner early. I waited for Tyrone in his car. I passed the time reading while thinking how nice it felt to hear the pitter-patter of the rain. 
Boy, I thought it was just a simple rain.
An hour later, my easy-breezy night turned into a nightmare. All roads going to my place are no longer passable. Our last hope was the SLEx but sedans can't pass anymore due to the high level of flood in the are. Only big trucks the likes of 10-wheelers can afford to traverse. With a heavy heart, we all turn around. The counter-flow was madness by itself. Thank goodness for good Samaritans. Someone, who was drenched and in his shorts and shirt, decided to direct traffic. Thank you, Sir. We didn't get to thank you. 

Running out of options, we parked across our office thinking that a few hour to pass would be enough for the water to subside. The authorities would already announce that roads are cleared for light vehicles. The clock ticked; hours went by. I slept intermittently. 

Six hours and a painful stiff neck later, water levels have instead gone up. After a heated deliberation, I decided to ditch a mandatory FCPA Training. We left the car at the office parking lot and to fate, the way home.  

We took a cab. The cabbie was all nice. And brave. He said, we could get through the flood. Ten minutes later, we were in the deepest part of the flood when he judged that his cab won't make it. 

Turn-around, we did. Being almost half-way through, we got off at McDonald's. We ate for sustenance, not really out of hunger. In my mind, we might be out of shelter, indefinitely. 

Our options were few. Either we take a tricycle or hitch a ride on a truck. Definitely, the truck is the most viable. But they're not many. The entire time we stood at the steps of Kingswood condominium, there was only one that passed by. I didn't have a chance coz I only saw the back it. Zip. 

Then, one tryke driver who wasn't sure if he can do it but had the stomach for it, offered to take us home. Ah, the hope it spring forth. We trudged on. I braced myself. I leveled my feet to the platform-like part of the vehicle. It was a nice and easy ride. Suddenly, we were dipping low. Water started to fill the tricycle. I feared for the worst. 

Then, I had an idea! Why don't I step on the seat? I can't be wet. It's the time of the month...the red flag is on. So, I tapped the driver and shouted my request amidst the humdrum of the rain and wind and the flapping of the tryke curtain. He misheard me. He thought I said,  go easy, am pregnant. Whoa. Manong! 

Never mind. The waist deep water was only about a ten meter stretch of the road. Afterwards, the water level was already safe for passage. But it was one ride, I shall never forget. I know it pale in comparison to the rest of the ones who were affected in a major way. Nevertheless, coming from the point of view of one who has never experienced anything remotely of the same intensity in my whole life, I think I am entitled to be scared. Nothing like it in my province. Life, especially water irrigation in the banana plantation, is very controlled. It's the lifeblood of the community.

My neighborhood became a water world. Water everywhere. The water was already at the front steps leading to the reception of my building. Never happened before. 
My street as viewed from my 7th Floor unit. I've seen how the water crept in on the houses to the right.
When I reached my unit, I felt that all of my energy were drained off me. The adrenaline going home just took all of what I have. I fell asleep after promptly taking a shower. 

Woke up, several hours later to a wet pillow and still raging weather. The rain was just relentless. 
Dateline: Manila. This, at 3 o'clock in the afternoon.
Ayala Museum led a digital art campaign about Filipinos being water proof. I think it went a bit viral. I agree that the Filipino Spirit is Water Proof. But we need to be more responsible in our action towards the environment so that we don't have to test the indomitable spirit of each and every Filipino when faced with calamities or tragedies. 

I think we can channel our energy to more positive things like sustainable development. 


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