Monday, September 28, 2009


Ten minutes to make this one. Sorry. I am slowly running out of poetic and figurative ideas for this entry.

Saturday, September 26, 2009:

I arrived at four in the morning in the hopes that my dad wouldn't be too mad because I stayed out late. It hadn't stopped raining. My father doubted my alibi, and was wondering why I used a different track in going home. I told him v. mapa was seriously flooded. I didn't want to walk through floods because the dump truck was there and the way I figured it out, the fluids gushing out of the truck would have made me sick. I didn't really realize I'd have done more than walking through floods until later the following day.

Why did I stay out until 4 am?

I had coffee at Starbucks with my workmate, Gles. She decided to meet up with someone, whom, I must admit, was seriously handsome for his age. Anyway, I stayed with them and had my lovely share of dark mocha frap. It was already 3:30. My hair was soaking wet, I wore a red dress in anticipation of October Fest, the so-called event for beer lovers and party goers. It turned out, that after going around Ortigas without umbrellas, we had to end up at Starbucks and stay there until the rain would finally stop.

Unfortunately, it didn't.

Jump jump, fast forward to the time I was already at home. I wanted to explain why even at 6 o'clock in the morning I was still up. It was because of 2 cups of coffee I had with Gles. It still hadn't stopped raining. My mom was already up and frantic about the awful weather. I was really amazed when my dad figured out a way to stop the flood from easily getting into our house. It was really effective. People were already trying their best to keep the water out of their houses, but it was already inevitable. It was there. The housekeeper in my cousin's house slowly tried to push the water out of their house; but instead of letting it out, the water has unfortunately found another avenue--my house.

It was 9 o'clock. The water was knee-high and awfully smelly. I had to help my dad because he was the only one carrying all the things from the living room to the bedroom on the second floor of the house. I really admire my dad. He felt a sharp pang in his chest but he didn't mind. He wanted to save all our things so he didn't stop. I felt guilty because I wasn't able to help him that much.

Anyway, it didn't take an hour before the flood had finally reached my crotch. Then from afar, while standing on the first step of our stairs, I saw Jesus-figurines my mom had kept for years. I was wearing a shirt and my underwear and in prayer of not getting any form of infection in my genital area, I dared cross the flood just to get the religious statues I didn't even believe in. I am not really a fan of religion and I have never really believed in the power of man made idols, but this incident made me believe in faith. It was like, I would have been more cruel if I had just let it float. My family believes in them. I told myself, in this time, maybe I should too.

This photograph was taken at 6 pm.
I wanted this flood to end. I wasn't only thinking of myself while saying this. I wasn't only thinking of my family or my friends. I was thinking of my neighbors and their families and pardon if it sounds too patriotic and surreal but yes, I was thinking of my country. I wasn't disturbed, I was depressed. I couldn't watch TV because the electricity had been cut off a few hours after the flood had started reaching fuse boxes from different houses. I wanted to hear how this flood had affected thousands of Filipinos all over Metro Manila.

Because of this flood, we left most of our appliances floating:
I had salted egg and tomatoes for dinner. My father wasn't able to prepare much food because he didn't expect a flood as bad as this one. We had to wait and pray that the flood wouldn't reach the ceiling of the living room, otherwise, it would reach the second floor. Other families experienced so much worse. They couldn't buy goods and they had to ask people to walk on roofs to buy cans of sardines from a nearby store. The store keeper had to bring all the items to her bedroom on the second floor of the house.
The men had to stay on the roofs of their houses. While pretending to be on guard of all residents from possible crimes and fires, they tried to ease tension by singing Filipino songs and as if those things were not enough, some of my neighbors even played Hillsong music on their phones which, on a matter of hours would definitely go off.

These people were aware of the misfortune that struck them, yet they didn't mind, or if they did, they didn't want to be too emotional about it. Let this picture be a good example:
While these things were happening, I asked myself three things:

1. Where are those politicians who gave hints of possible running for presidency? In Davao or in other far-flung areas, where they tried to publicize themselves for the upcoming elections?

2. Why did the baranggay officials in my community have to ask for a list of residents who were victims of the flood? Aren't we all victims of the flood? In these times, would it still matter to them whether these people had enlisted or not?

3. When will this flood subside?

I didn't realize I was still thinking of the answers in my dream until the time I woke up.

Sunday. September 27, 2009

I woke up at 6:30 and was pleased to see that the flood has drastically subsided to a leg-high. My father was already cooking rice for breakfast and had already started sweeping the water out of the house. All the grime, mud and dirt stayed on the floor and there was only one thing in my head while staring at the Ondoy aftermath:

It's gonna be a long day.

It was, indeed. My sisters started getting all the things that floated on the flood. The photo frames, all the medals I got from grade school, the medals and trophies my siblings got, the bottles of vinegar, soy sauce, ketchup, etc.

My neighbors started taking all their things out of the house for cleaning.

They were all talking about it, trying to make a big joke out of it, like nothing big really happened. It was funny and at the same time traumatic. It was, how should I put it? Sad, perhaps? We spent a lot of money putting up our lives in this community and we're going to spend a lot more in trying to relive it, patching it up until things are back to how they once were.

While cleaning, I saw this article in the newspaper, about a celebrity who had to climb up the roof to be rescued by another celebrity on a speedboat. Another actress was trapped in her house and had no choice but to stay on the third floor of her house.

Truly, this calamity proves that natures chooses no class, no race, no social status. It doesn't need ugly houses to hit. It doesn't choose who should suffer. Apparently, even those who are not sinners [as a facebook user may have put it] became victims. It was very random, thus very fair. In that perspective, nature has become really amusing.

Another Filipino trait has resurfaced in these times. I believe, from what I have seen, the Filipino concept of Bayanihan is not dead. It has never been. I saw it in my neighbors as they did random favors without asking for anything in return. I saw it in my father as he tried to fix stoves for 5 of our neighbors and it was really remarkable [he was only able to fix three, but that's hardly the point]. On my way to work, people tried their best to help other people in clearing out trash on the road. My neighbors helped my father in carrying some of our appliances. More importantly, people who were fortunate not to experience flood did their best in providing support to those who suffered. Thank God, even the government somehow did its part by conducting search and rescue operations in the course of the calamity. If these actions are still not enough to prove my point, there are thousands of websites that we can use to see how the Filipinos become kind enough to concerned other Filipinos.

Actually, I can't end this post.

There is only one thing can say though:
The worst part is over, thank God.