Sunday, October 11, 2009

the day that i want to forget (part 1)

notice: this is the 1st part of the blogger's journal on the recent devastation of typhoon ondoy (ketsana) on september 26-27 2009. though based on actual event, some of the people's names, locations, and places were changed to protect their identities.

sept 26, 0500am. it was just a typical saturday morning. the noise that my stomach's making woke me up, so i've decided to get up and check the fridge. there was nothing but cold water. it was pouring rain since last night. "i need to eat something hot," i told myself. i got out of my room and headed to my parents' house next door and knocked. it was already bright outside though the skies were still murky from the dark heavy clouds. my mom was already up. "what are we having for breakfast? i'm starving," i said. "we haven't bought anything yet," she replied. so i gave her a hundred pesos and asked her to buy things for soup. "soup is nice on a rainy morning," i've told myself.

my mom was starting to prepare the soup, when my little cousins came to visit with their mom, maring. they live in this small house only a few meters away from ours. i told them about this one movie that i saw online called earth and how much i would want to show it to them. it's really a good film documentary about animals in different continents and how the climate change messed up their lives to a very noticeable degree. really an eye-opening film. i turned on the computer and watched the movie online. it was really a good and fun morning. we were watching a good film while eating a bowl of hot creamy soup.
0900am. rain continued to pour and checking my facebook account was getting kind of boring. i was actually expecting that there would be a power interruption today. there was nothing much to do. it was a little flooded outside and we couldn't go anywhere. i've checked my phone and got a message from my church friend floyd, asking me how we were. i said we're doing fine, and replied to him and asked him how they were. i've waited for an answer but he didn't reply.

1100am. i've got a message from floyd. he said, "please call the marikina emergency hotline, the flood is getting high, and it already went inside our house. please send us some help." i thought he was just fooling around, so i asked him, "are you dead serious?" and he said "yes." i came down to my grandmother's room and grabbed her wireless phone, hoping that it wouldn't be too late to get help. i was about to dial the number and "dang!" i thought, "i do not know the number to contact." i've asked everyone in the house for the right number to call but no one seemed to know it. quickly, i thought of checking the official marikina city website. i came up the stairs and headed for my computer. "dang!" i thought again. there was no internet. leaving me no other options, i thought asking my father would be the best thing to do at that time. i came down the stairs and got out our front door. first thing i've noticed was the flood on the street. it got a few inches higher and its color wasn't clear anymore. it was brown. i thought that the montalban dam had already opened and released water. i've tried asking my dad for marikina's emergency hotline, but unluckily, he didn't know it either. it's funny how nobody in our family knows the number to call for an emergency like this. floyd texted me again and said that the 1st floor of their house was already under water and that the water had almost reached their 2nd floor. i couldn't do anything but to guiltily focus on my own family's freedom from danger.

1130am. the flood continued to rise and the rain kept pounding. a slight commotion in our neighborhood started to build up as the water got deeper. this water was unusual and it looked so mad. i immediately checked on my parents' house and told them to bring up all the important things to their second floor; television, cellphones, computer, radio, anything that might break when immersed in water. i've looked at the flood on the street again. it was already chest deep and there were some guys running and swimming in the unclean water. an old guy living in front of our house started to carry his 80-year-old mother on his back and jumped into the murky water and swam to our porch for safety. they were followed by another family, and another family, and another family. my aunt maring wasn't lucky enough to get clean clothes from their house for her kids. her husband, luis wasn't present at the time. then i realized, we have our own house to save. i came back inside our house and i saw our helper, ning, trying to save my other aunt's things from their already flooded room. ning's a very slender lady but seeing her carry my aunt's television, clothes, and bags, made me think she could also be a very strong person. she took everything from my aunt's room and told my tiny cousin to put everything on our couch.

12nn. everything happened so fast, but i had to be calm and attentive. our street was completely covered with water, and so was our entire community. the water went up to our front porch and it was only 2 inches away from our door. we've been living in this city for more than fifteen years, but never had the water gone this high. i thought it was going to be a really bad day. my sister was hurrying to salvage her clothes, books, and her things for school. her motorcycle was left in our garage and she had no other choice but to leave it. ning was also salvaging her clothes. i've told them that they keep their money and their cellphone. i've also moved the water jugs up to the stairs so they would not get contaminated. i had to make sure we had enough food to eat and water to drink in case the flood goes higher. then the unwanted thing happened. the water started to enter our house. (continue...)


Anonymous said...

Wencel, I am glad you are all OK. I can't wait for the next posting. Take care.

Ed Binanay

Melinda Morco said...

Wow. Talk about suspense. I'll definitely be reading the continuation when it's posted.

Anonymous said...

That day was indeed a heartbreaking and devastating encounter with nature's fury. Then came a dawn of realization that human resilience and compassion are a nature's way of reminding mankind that we only have one another in the end.

Stay safe.

-Rhay and Stine

joandarling said...

abangan ang susunod na kabanata... i was in makati when the flood happened... gotta blog it too, but then, it wasn't as exciting as yours, we weren't flooded, though i have my own flood experience back home a few years back ( it was really terrifying i can totally relate to the flood victims of today... hay, wencel, am glad you're alive and well to tell the story.

biyahengpinoy said...

Thank you Ed. We are all okay. We had no food to eat, clean water to drink, and clean clothes to wear, but we're doing a lot better now. We thank the people that helped us get through this.

Minnie, Thank you for reading.

Rhay and Tine, I'm glad that you're also safe.

Joan, it was so traumatic, we didn't want this to happen to any of our loved ones. Not even to our friends. Thank you Joan.

Ishie said...

That was the saddest and the most tragic weekend I ever knew.

Sa kabilang banda, iniisip ko na...

Bakit kaya instead na maghanap ka ng work sa call center, e bakit hindi mo subukan sa 'world of journalism'. Magagamit mo pa lahat ng iyong talento..writing, speaking and photography. Bongga diba! In fairness Wency pwede kang gumawa ng nobela..haha!

Favorite character ko si Ning. Astig sya. Funny naman si lola. Sana tumulong rin sa inyo si Robbie.

Ah basta, isipin mo na lang na 'Life is a race and God is your rider. So if you are in pain, it's because God wants you to win. In short, think positive, wag kang aayaw!