My Typhoon Ondoy Experience
I knew classes would be suspended later on, but I still found it a necessity to go to class yesterday. It was very rainy, as I rode the jeepney going to Vicente Cruz street on my way to UST. It wasn’t flooded at all when I got there. Everything was very normal for a Saturday class, save for the very strong wind and rains. I knew a suspension would eventually happen, I’m just counting the time ’til then.
When the clock struck 10 am, an announcement was heard from the dean via the speakers atop the ceilings. Suspension was inevitable anyway. I thought “Yeah…whatever”. I then wore my slippers and went on my way home. The streets of Espana, Manila was already starting to build the foundations of the legendary Espana river. When I hopped on a bus going to recto, the water was already ankle-high. I knew the trains were the safest mode of travel now, being that the rail it runs on is located high above the roads.
Everything was very fine until I got out at Santolan station and went to get a ride going to Rosario, Pasig. I walked my way towards the jeepney stop. I had a choice of paying a minimum for a jeep to get there or I walk it out in the middle of a rain shower and save money. I should’ve rode the jeep, walking was a big mistake.
On my way to the stop, knee-high floods, strong winds, murky, dirty waters, and a very tiring walk greeted me, together with chances of me falling in a man hole or a hole near the sewers. I smiled my way until I got to the stop safe and sound. I took the jeep there and waited inside as it slowly made a crawl to my destination. What normally takes 30 minutes took 1 hour and a half because of the heavy rain, and the heavy traffic it brought along with it.
I was supposed to take a jeep from Rosario going to Tramo because I wanted to take the “special” ride with a tricycle to my house seeing that I was very hungry, very wet, and very tired. It was already 12:30 PM.
I waited for some time and heard that Tramo was very flooded and heard news from people and bystanders how jeeps and other vehicles avoided the said road. I decided to walk to Rotonda and get a tricycle ride there, although it would be more expensive. To my surprise, tricycles were offering rides to Rotonda for 10 pesos, 3 pesos more from the minimum price of a jeep ride but it was a bargain because of the current state the city was in. As I hopped out of the tricycle, I started to walk, looking for the tricycle that would bring me home. To my surprise, the flood was too high for a small vehicle to cross. By small vehicles, I mean motorcycles, taxis, tricycles, and other modes of transportation that would just sink and probably give in to the high waters. So I came up with possibly the stupidest idea I ever thought of in my entire life: To brave it out and walk home.
I thought twice about this decision, I was in Rotonda, Pasig and my house is at Cainta, Rizal. “I walked farther” I thought to myself, so I went in the almost thigh-high flood, greeted by mud, gunk, dirt, garbage, “tidal waves”, and a fear of drowning. Yes, I feared to drown amidst the confusion. I could easily get carried away by the waves the trucks were making and fall to a sewer hole or a manhole and die there.
After about 30 minutes of walking, I looked at the road ahead of me and what I saw totally destroyed my hopes of me getting home that day. I saw floods waist-high, trucks creating waves upon waves, and people “swimming”. Not only was it tiresome to see the long road ahead, but to see the very short distance I crossed in such a long amount of time literally broke me. I decided to head back, since I saw that my chances of getting home was higher that way. To get home safe, if not sound, was my objective then.
I went to the Ministop located near Rotonda and took shelter there. I talked with people of all sorts that also have homes in the same village mine was in, and we all wanted to get home no matter what or how much it would take us. We tried desperately to ask tricycles, jeepneys, and taxis to have us taken to at least the gates of our village for a price, even if it weren’t negotiable.
None of them wanted to even TRY crossing the flooded roads. They all said that what we all need is a truck. We waited for about an hour then this lady with a white truck came to our view and we sought help from her. Thank God for this woman. She agreed to take us all home specially because she’s from our village as well. The truck was big enough to carry about 30-40 people. We were about 20, so we fitted nicely. The truck had no roof on its but we could care less about getting home dry.
And there we were, having a truck drive us to safety, crossing floods, seeing many people, having a time of our lives. We were all under a state of euphoria at the time, so much that we practically laughed, yelled, and just went all happy despite the heavy rains and how the entire day has made us more tired that we should be.
While on the truck, we all shared stories, jokes, funny side comments, and past experiences with floods. We didn’t know each other, but we all had two things in common: One being that we were all from the same flooded village, and two was the fact that we were all riding one truck. I dare myself say that I had made good friends on that truck, even if I didn’t know shit about them, including their names.
As we got to our village, crossing flooded road after flooded road, getting stuck three times in traffic in the middle of heavy rains, and shouting at cars that literally broke down in front of us, we had ourselves under another state of euphoria. We yelled in joy as we entered the gates, people were looking at us and we were smiling and yelling at them with words of joy.
The driver made a stop at her house to have a CR break when we saw what looked like her mother. We all thanked her and her daughter and told them how her daughter is a hero to all of us. It was the least we could do to show how thankful we all were.
It was near my house when she decided to make a turn, I knocked on the window, told her to stop, bid farewell to everyone on board and got my ass out of the vehicle that got me home safely. I didn’t know the name of the people on board the said truck, nor the name of the driver, but I promised myself to pray hard for their well being.
As I crossed the flooded road that was between me and my humble abode, I expected a hot bath, the comforts of home, and mom’s cooking. I got all of them and then some. The outside of my house was, and still is, flooded knee-high to which some amount of water managed to leak inside the house. Our kitchen was about 4 inches flooded due to its “low” foundation. I found my two dogs sleeping on the bench we built located on our little garden, and as I expected, there was no sign of electricity and we used candles for light.
I helped myself to what my home can always provide me: food, shelter, warmth, and family. I begin to think how lucky I was to even get home on the very same day the storm launched its wrath. Hell, I’m even lucky to have the things I;m using right now. I’m just thankful.
News of one of my friends in Quezon city reached me when my mom told me when she received the message thru text. She told me how her house was flooded up to their heads, that she and her family’s staying atop the roof in the middle of the cold shower and how they didn’t manage to save any of their belongings. It made sad, even more so that I remember my classmate who’s also living in Quezon city. I am reminded on how the news on the radio told me that villages in West Riverside, Quezon city, are one of the places badly flooded, and that is where my classmate is residing. I have no news as of now on her current situation, but I pray for her safety, for it is the only thing I could do for her.
As I woke up at 8 am on a clear sunny morning , the water outside the house has yet to subside, no signs of electricity, and, as expected, there was the silence and the peace. I found out that the toilets cannot be flushed since the flood has leveled with the sewers. We, me and my family, had to cross to my aunt’s house to do our CR deeds there since their house is located “above” the flood zones. The house is really far from ours, it would take us about 10-15 minutes to walk there, even slower with the floods and all.
And just like that the day has passed us by. The waters that threaten to flood the house are still there, but I’m happy to say that the storm is 90% gone and none of us were hurt, we maybe burdened, but we’re not hurt. I am reminded to be happy just being alive and have all these privileges at my arms reach.
I pray for those who are less fortunate under these circumstances. Let God’s will be done.