What seemed to be just a usual day with heavy rains (due to storm signal number 1), that day of September 26,2009 turned to be another day in Philippine history. It was past 3am in the morning when I arrived in Manila (from Cavite) where I will be boarding the bus going to Laguna. The rain that time was not really that hard probably because it’s only signal number 1 in Metro Manila. No flooded roads yet, that’s why my travel was very smooth. When I arrived in Laguna the rain was quite hard already, (but we’re used to it, because rain is a usual thing there, even without storm). There were also areas where water on the street of Sta.Cruz Laguna was ankle deep (but its still usual knowing it’s adjacent river and the Laguna bay). When I got home, I ate breakfast and already went asleep because I came out straight from the office. To my surprise when I woke up in the afternoon about 2pm, there were already news flashing the floods in the metro, some areas in fact are shoulder deep, much worst are those human deep.
It was really surprising to know and see the situation on that day. In just number of hours, many parts of Metro Manila has been submerge into water. According to weather officials, the amount of rain that poured in that day is equivalent to a month’s rain, and noted that it last happened 40 years ago.
During that time, many text messages has been sent and received from my friends who are encountering the devastation of Ondoy. In fact one of my friends said she felt like it’s the end of the world and very worried cause her sister is stranded on the road going home because many roads are not passable. Another friend on the other hand is asking contact number of rescuers because her brother (together with his family) was already on top of their roof because their house was already submerged in water. My brother who was in Manila also experienced the flood. He has no choice but to walk thru the flood because that’s the only way he buy their food. This circumstances also proved that we are all equal when it comes to nature’s wrath. Many famous people including celebrities have been also affected. Many movie and TV stars begged for help and rescue because their homes were submerged also in water.
During those times we can’t do nothing but to pray, and check on friends and family how they’re doing during the ordeal. I myself just kept tuned-in to TV for any news and updates whilst checking occasionally on my friends and brother.
However, the nice thing about it, is the ‘Bayanihan’ efforts that many people have shown. The 2 giant networks mobilized their talents to conduct telethon programs aiming to generate funds and goods that will help those affected families. Many people also volunteered their service in packing relief goods to be delivered to the victims. Many ordinary people also in their initiative swam their way to rescue their neighbors, because rescue efforts from the authorities became really hard due the situations of traffic that made it hard for the rescuers to move and proceed to those affected locations.
This proved how resilient the Filipinos are and how helpful we are when it comes to disasters like this. It is really evident that when it comes to calamities and disasters, there are no social barriers anymore, we can always be united in efforts to help fellow Filipinos in need.
But after all this devastation, that killed many lives and destroyed millions of properties, the question is, what lessons should we learn from this? We are all caught surprised, unaware and unready for this calamity. Yes we expect government to be prepared when in comes to disasters like this, we expect them to provide the service that is due because the government is responsible to look out for the welfare of the people. But we should not toll all the work to our government, we should also do our part in dealing with situations like this. I think this really proved that earth is really getting old and we need to start our efforts to save it. We should all now be active in caring for the environment and exert all efforts not to further its destruction. We already knew that we are facing climatic change and what happened this Saturday proved that this is a serious issue that we have to think about. Let us work together to save the earth so that history will not repeat itself.