Today is 27 September 2009. Sunday.
Let me go back to the hours spent the night before which is 26 September 2009, the day the typhoon Ondoy stayed in the Philippines for several hours, leaving several places in State of Calamities in just a matter of 5 hours non-stop heavy rainfall.
26 September 2009.
Saturday work schedule, I was able to reach our office at Pasig City while enduring simple rain showers. I even enjoyed walking in the rain for quite some time. Then as time passes by, I noticed that it won’t stop raining at all. So I just thought that, like the usual, it will stop after some time. Boy, was I so wrong.
Around 10:30 AM, we noticed that the rain flood won’t subside, and it just keep on going up and up and up. Ok, we started to sort things quickly, our branch at the 1st flr was not spared. It was almost knee-deep, so the guys needed to “rescue” important files, cables, servers, equipments that were fully needed for operations. Then, given that it was already flooded, we got stranded at the 2nd floor. Then, time passes by again. 1 PM… 3 PM…flood was already around the waist! Oh my!
Never in my life was I able to experience sinking myself into that pool of dirty water, so I thought, hey, its alright, might as well settle here in the office for a night then will go home tomorrow morning.
However. A big however, my mom decided to fetch me,for she became worried about my transportation drama, true enough, I was starting to feel my own drama. Haha. Feeling uneasy about my mother’s safety, I decided to be brave. With the help of our “kuya jerry” I board the “floating kariton”, with 4 men pushing me against the current of the flood towards the stairs of the covered walk inside the City Hall of Pasig. Alas, I survived the battle.
When I got to SM Megamall, feeling of relief got through me as I saw my mom cheerfully waiting for me inside a Fast Food Chain. So as to prepare ourselves, we bought food with us to munch during the long bus ride for we know we will be stranded for several hours. Boy, we are surprised to find out that no Bus are available along EDSA! as in zero, for they are all stuck in Munoz and Balintawak.
So what we did was, Plan B, we took the MRT. My mom never liked these trains so much, for there were lots of pushing, and pushing and pushing. No space in between. But we have no choice but to fight the human barrier, and we did it. When we got to LRT Monumento station, we have to walk a long way, but no jeep, taxi, or bus are in sight. So we took a pedicab just to somehow close the distance, even just a few meters before the notorious Tullahan River. No luck. For we learned that the water level reached up to several establishment roofs. We entered a nearby Hotel in the are, with no such luck, all rooms are occupied. And the lower ground has been used as evacuation area for Malabon residents already.
It seems like a thousand people are inside! And all vehicles are stranded before the river, lots of people are stranded at the highway, they all look helpless. No correction, we all look helpless. I can see fear, hunger, stress, pain. My mom and I thought about helping the misery ease up a little bit, like bringing foods over for snacks. But, we have no means for any delivery. No vehicle can ever pass, even if we wanted to have some snacks prepared.
Then, another frustrating happened again, it rained. A little bit harder, so with no roof above us, I felt lost with nowhere to go to, and I know my mom is tired already, our phones are giving off low battery signals. And it was dark, just so freaking dark. So off we walk again and found a miraculous jeep bound back to Monumento. I suggested that there are three more small hotels in Monumento, and we tried it. Again, with no such luck, all hotels are fully booked already. Even fastfood chains are no longer open 24 hours, due to bad weather issues. So around 9:30 PM, we saw buses who were able to pass Munoz and Balintawak already, and we instantly jump inside the moment one opened its door.
Inside the bus, we felt safe, because it is drier and well lit. However, we endured almost 12 hours in it, slept in it, with strangers at the back, I also felt fear for hold-ups, and all. Good thing, none happened, although some body threw rocks at the bus, good thing that was all. So off went 11 PM….2 AM…4 AM…6 AM…8 AM…Whew! We started to trudge along other stranded individuals, looking for a place or restaurant to pee (our insides are already pleading for relief), but with no luck, they are all closed. Mom found an open truck warehouse (imagine!), and she shyly asked if we could use their comfort room, to my surprise and expert eye, the man who allowed us ushered us shyly forward, gave us a pail of water and turned his head in the direction. So we went, lots of trucks were in there, parked, but no man in sight (thank goodness) and then I saw why he got shy! Their comfort room was just literally an “equipment for relief” no doors, “mga yero lang na pinagdikit dikit at hanggang bewang lang ang taas, at may maliit na inidoro sa gitna, kapag tumayo ka, kitang kita kana”. But, what the heck, still, the man showed us respect and hospitality, so we had no fear and went on to relieve ourselves so that we can face the battle ahead once more.
As i returned his pail, I said to him “kuya salamat, isa kang anghel…” he does not know us, but, he offered us hospitality way better than anybody did. So for that man, “maraming salamat po”.
As we got near the Tullahan River, we saw how much damaged it caused. Cars are stranded everywhere, rescuers are already there, looking for somebody down the river, it is a havoc. Lots of people have died during the night, the flood swallowed several establishments so fast such as: Jolibbee (students and customers have been trapped on the roof), 7-Eleven (somebody got trapped inside and died), pharmacy store, several bars, San Miguel brewery, Cosmos, a hospital, a funeral home, houses. Gasoline stations, flower shops, hardware stores, jeepneys, cars. Good grief. Our once beautiful city has now been transformed into a Ghost Town in a matter of hours. Streaks of Oil is everywhere. It is just so sad. My heart goes out to everyone for that dreadful night. We all have been victims, in any aspect.
As we got near our home, I felt I wanted to faint already. I am just so happy to be back home, and so grateful that me and my mom and my family are okay.
What a traumatic experience, let us all help those who are in need in any way we can, prayer is the most powerful tool.
God, we give it all to You.
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