Last Saturday, our hometown Marikina served as the bull’s eye for Ondoy’s wrath. In just a few hours, our place (Tanong, Marikina City - which is just infront of the gravely damaged Provident Village) turned into a gushing mud-filled river with extremely fast torrent that carries trucks, carabaos, and even frantic people into destruction.
I am so thankful that I am still here with fingers rattling on the keyboard, alive except for bruises and wounds on my hands and feet. Let me relay my encounter with Ondoy.
September 26, 2009
1:30PM – I was upstairs gazing out of the window when I saw the floodwater flowing on the streets. I heard my mom shouting in panic that floodwater is rapidly moving towards us, so I went down and helped moving things. I just grabbed the AVR and wires of the PC when I saw water rushing inside the house! That’s how fast the water came in!
2:30 PM – We managed to save some significant things – TV sets, PC, laptop, important documents, etc. But the ref, gas range, and other equipment were left floating in floodwater. =( Ondoy’s wrath harshly poured non-stop and our ground floor was submerged in floodwater.
4:30 PM– Our whole family was at the 2nd floor hoping and praying that the rain will stop. Panic struck me when I heard that no rescue teams were present during that time for they cannot cross the strong current. I prayed fervently that our lives be saved, especially my 4-month-old niece, Mishi.
5:30 PM – We lost hope that the rain would subside, thus we decided to evacuate to a higher place – our neighbor’s 2nd floor for it has a way to a 4-storey house. It was almost getting dark, so we decided to go. With the help of kind-hearted individuals, we crossed the slippery roof leading to the way of safety. (I hope.) I told myself ‘Don’t ever look down, if you don’t want to see the gushing mud water and fall off the roof.’ With all the strength and courage, I didn’t mind the heavy rains pouring all over my body and crossed the roof. I waited and pulled my mom up, too.
10:00 PM – Ondoy continued to furiously sweep Marikina. There were 2 babies inside the room where we evacuated (Mishi and our neighbor’s 2-month old son). Neglecting the thirst and grumbling stomach, we waited in vain for the rain to stop. All phone lines were out so we lost communication with the outside world.
1:00 AM – I wasn’t able to sleep a wink. All the while we were inside the room; I kept listening to the sounds outside. Some of our neighbors made fun of the situation. When a carabao was carried by floodwater, they shouted “ULAM!”. When toppled vehicles came passing by, they shouted “KALAKAL!” I also saw some guys drinking beer on the roof or even shouting “Tarzaaaaan!” and tried crossing lines to go from one roof to another. Such a remarkable quality of Pinoys – to remain joyful despite calamities.
2:30 AM – The rain subsided. We waited for the water to reach knee-deep level before we go back to our homes. I chose to cross the roof again, instead of crossing knee-deep mud water (which my mom preferred). No electricity, no food, loss of belongings, but we were all thankful we survived.
Ondoy continued to pour, but without the former wrath it had a few hours ago.
I can’t remember if I slept, but the moment I opened my eyes, sunshine was creeping through the windows. Thank you...
Lessons From Ondoy:
1. Adrenalin rush can be thrilling in times like this – Our neighbor housewife managed to carry their refrigerator to the 2nd floor. LOL
2. Smart is the most reliable telecom when calamity strikes. Sun and Globe (the ones I’m using) both lost connections early. Tsk tsk
3. Properties are useless. It is our lives which are important. So, never ever be materialistic.
4. Frogs, cockroaches, snakes and floating poop can be your acquaintances during flashfloods.
5. During power shortage, the best gadgets you can have are candles and matchsticks, not IPOD, PSP or notebooks.
6. Filipinos are really entrepreneurs – Scavenger boys earned a lot from the remains of the flood and the junk shop got a lot of resources for their business. Half a kilo of pork can be inflated to P150! Imagine people fighting for the sake of a Wilkins bottle and pandesal!
7. Equality is seen everywhere – The rich and poor are walking on the streets, all soaked in mud, and holding hands with each other to cross the current. Elites, foreigners, car owners, construction workers, businessmen and the mediocre – all are equal.
8. Priorities can be redefined in calamities like this.
• There was a wake in our street for a man who died a few days before Ondoy’s wrath. When people saw flashflood gushing in, they carried the coffin to a higher level for they did not want the body to be “double-dead” in the flood.
• There is an elderly couple who lives near us. The lola evacuated early, leaving her husband in the house. The lolo didn’t have enough time to move out, so he was left in the 2nd floor. Good thing the flood didn’t carry him away. Their vow: In sickness and in health, til ONDOY FLOOD do us part. LOL
Thank you to Jehovah God for the protection during these calamitous times, and for the strength and ‘power beyond normal’ we had.
To the kindhearted individuals who expressed their concerns and updates thru all forms of communication…
To the numerous friends and relatives who visited us and helped…
To the worldwide organization of Jehovah’s Witnesses and the Watchtower Relief Operations, especially to other congregations (The help and concern is really nationwide and even international, really grateful)
And to those who went to our house and personally helped in getting our house fixed after the flood, to those who brought bountiful food, thank you so much.