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Trapped by Typhoon Gener

Monday, August 6, 2012, first day of work – after my shift, together with Karen, we took a bus.  The weather was incredible; we knew that something’s going to happen at night.  That day, supposedly I will be going to buy some grocery items, like bread, rice and some personal stuff, but Karen told me: “try to do that next week, on the salary day.”  Of course, since rain was beginning to drop on the bus windshield, I decided to do it next week.  When I reached my apartment, I did my ordinary choir every time I went home from the office, so that means everything was like an ordinary day.  For dinner: Oatmeal with milk and bread with butter; watched TV, online surfing, watched Olympic games, washed my face, listened to an FM station to get asleep and that’s my routine every night. 

Tuesday, August 7, 2012, 4AM my BlackBerry rung, a sign that means I need to get up and prepare myself for the new day.  Suddenly, my team mate Ara, or (I mean former team mate) because she’s under a new TL supervision now, texted me.  I read it, “Papasok kaba? Sabi ni Dennis, baha daw sa Marcos Highway, walang madadaanan . . . .” (She was asking me if I will be going to the office, Marcos Highway is currently flooded and and it’s impassable).  Since I just woke up, I knew that it was raining, but I have no idea if theirs flood.   So I opened the door, cold wind breezes on my face, everywhere was dark (maybe because it was 4AM).  I looked on our neighbour’s garage, since that area has a light (I don’t know if that’s a street light or what), WOAHHHHAA! I was shocked, that was not just a flood, and I saw chocolate flowing on the streets and I am hearing splashing water.  That sound was like I am in a resort with a falls on the background.  When I saw what’s happening, I texted back to Ara: “I also can’t go to work because our area is now a centre of the water world.”  I texted my team mates and my TL about my situation, so I thought everything were fine.


8AM, the same day – the rain was really hard, the flood still has a destructive current, and I knew it because I already encountered the same situation before, (worst scenario before – the same area: I was waiting for a tricycle, after few minutes, water came- high – higher – highest, until it reached my above the knee level, so I decided to go back to my apartment and the water current was really strong, if I don’t have a formal training with the Philippine Coast Guard Water Safety five years ago, I don’t know what happened).  Anyways, let’s go back to what’s happening: The whole Monday, I was just watching TV and waiting for any updates in every river that surrounds my area.  My laptop was opened with facebook and twitter while updating what’s happening in my area.  My phones were connected to the power sockets, I need to make sure that they’re fully charged, and at least if there will be a power interruption, everything will be fine.


Early in the morning, maybe which was about 8AM, the same day, here’s what I did: I cooked two cups of rice (that’s probably the remaining amount in my rice canister) using my rice cooker; I made sure that every water containers are full; I prepared my mountaineering stuff like my head lamp and medical kit.  After those preparations, I repeated the same thing, facebook, twitter and such while outside my apartment; I am seeing the flood extremely flowing on the street, bringing garbage like plastics, banana stalks, woods, etc.  

12NN, the same day – I was still updating my office mates about what’s going on outside my apartment.  I was very critical in observing the flood and the rain, trying to think if Ondoy will repeat this year.  My TV was open for seven hours now, in different channels, but the same coverage – the monsoon.  I focused on Marikina River coverage since that’s probably near in my area.  Report said: Marikina River is now reaching the critical water level 18 meters and still counting.  According to news video coverage, the water was like almost hitting the base of the bridge while the people were still there, I don’t know if what they’re thinking about. 

6PM, the same day – had my dinner alone, while the TV was open.  Some regular TV programs were cancelled due to the weather condition and some replaced it with the Flash Report.  I adjusted my TV volume because the rain outside was really hard and I can’t hear the report.  

8PM, before I went to bed (as if I have a bed in my apartment?) I looked outside through the window and there were no changes yet.  I am still hoping that tomorrow will be a good day. Good night!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012 – my BlackBerry again rung as an alarm, I stood up to open the light but that was frustrating, BLACK OUT. Since I was hearing wind blowing and the rain was hitting roof hardly, I looked outside through the window, and you know what I found? Strong flood current was hitting the trees and bananas beside the street.  I can easily recognize that even it was too dark, because of the falls like sound that I was hearing.  Since I know that there is no way to get out the subdivision to get to work, I just texted my office mates and supervisor about my situation.  I also opened facebook and twitter to have updates about what’s happening.  


8AM, the same day – since there was no electricity in our area, I wasn’t able to cook my foods, I wasn’t able to prepare for a hot coffee of chocolate early in the morning as a part of my day.  Early in the morning I ate biscuit and water instead of bread and coffee.  After an hour, my stomach was starving for a perfect breakfast.  Again, I got a piece of biscuit then drunk a glass of water, just to ease my starving stomach and to prevent from intestinal diseases.  

9AM, the same day – still no electricity in our area and I can feel that my body is weak.  My hand and knees were shaking, so I grabbed another biscuit and a glass of water and did the same thing.  I tried to prepare oatmeal in a mug and I put cold water in it since I can’t prepare a hot one due to power interruptions.  While starving, I still didn’t forget to update my friends on facebook.  I texted my friends and families about what I feel, and they replied: “so sad, try to go out the subdivision and go here in Quezon City.”  If I can do that, why not?  But the problem was the water that surrounds me in the entire area.  Our neighbors said that the water was in the waist level, so that’s really bad and I can’t sacrifice my life in that situation. 

 12NN, the same day – lunch food: biscuits and water.  If others survived in the middle of the sea without any food, just by eating styro foam and drinking salt water, I think I can also survive by eating biscuit and a glass of potable water – that was in my mind.  So instead of walking that exerts more power, I just laid down, got my ear piece, connected in my phone and I listened to an FM station.  After few minutes, I fell asleep while my phone’s playing the same station.  

3PM, the same day – I woke up, no electricity yet, I don’t know if I expected too much about it in the whole day.   My stomach needed another biscuit and a glass of water, I think.  When I looked at the cabinet in my mini kitchen, only three biscuits were remaining and that’s absolutely a BAD sign.  I went outside my unit, and Kuya Frank passed by; I asked him if the store nearby was open, and he said: “yes, it’s open.”  I just smile at him and went inside, I changed my white boxer short into an above the knee brown jogging shorts, got my sling bag with my camera, phones and lots of money in it, hahaha and umbrella in my right hand.  I walked downstairs, since my unit is in the second floor, I opened the maroon gate and walked two steps and there’s the water level, reaching above my ankle.  I walked 30 meters, oopppssss, water level was almost in my knee.  Since children were playing in the water, I kept on walking together with the old lady, I really don’t know her because in my one year and four months stay in this area, that day was the first time that I went to that store and see her. 



In the store, I asked the lady if she still bread, she responded: “no! We don’t have bread now; we can’t bake because of the brown out.”  So I spread my sight; sardines, corned beef, corned tuna, noodles, junk foods, biscuits are on the shelf.  So I bought 10 biscuits, 1 pack junk food for 90 pesos tax free.  While I am on the way home, I again saw those children playing, two old guys bringing an eel and fish on their hands.  I am 10 meters away from the house when the rain got so hard, so I ran quickly because I am afraid that the water will get higher and I don’t want to do backstroke, breaststroke or freestyle, hello, I know that Olympics is ongoing in London, I am into Track and Field, not swimming in chocolate water on the streets.  When I reached my apartment, I just placed the goods in the cabinet.  Bringing my phone and camera, I went outside to capture the beauty splashing water.  That time, if I will be going to measure the flood, maybe that’s three to four feet.  I was able to speak with other tenants about everything and that’s also my first time. 

4PM, the same day – water was already reached first floor, so the tenants put their appliances on the higher tables, that’s not my problem anyway.  So I went to the gate and captured photos, while they’re on a hurry saving their things. Hahaha.  After that scenario, I went back to my unit, ate biscuit and drunk a glass of water again.  That time, everywhere was dark, it’s like 6:30PM for an ordinary day, the rains was still hard and the water was still rising, so I just closed the door, then the window and grabbed my phone and ear piece, listened to an FM station for an hour while writing this article.  

5PM, the same day – I tried to prepare myself; I picked two t-shirts, one jean, two pairs of socks, one jogging pant, a pair of shoe, towel, and personal stuff and put it in my 50L bag together with my headlamp and medical kit.  I was thinking that if there will be rescuers passing through my area; I really want to go out with them.  But, the problem was, in the Subdivision’s entrance, the water level was more than five feet plus the strong current and the open manholes – that was terrifying.  

7PM, the same day – before I slept, I ate biscuit and drunk a glass of water first.  I prayed and I hope tomorrow will be a new day and will be fine.  I got my IPod and played the songs of Hillsongs United that made me to fall asleep easily.  

Thursday, August 9, 2012 – my BlackBerry rung as an alarm.  I stood up and tried to open the light, but I was frustrated, still the same thing – total black out.  I open the door to check if everything was fine, ahhhhh, I got sweaty even though the wind was cold or I am just hungry, I really don’t know.  Kuya Frank again passed by and he asked me: “are you planning going out? Do you know the way in Brookside?” I just replied: “yes I am planning to go out, but then the water is still there at the gate,” “then go with us, we’re also planning to go out, we’ll teach you the way in Brookside area.”  And that’s what happened, after 30 minutes, we started to walk for maybe 400 metres, then we took pedicab going to the gate of Brookside.  

6:15AM, the same day - together with Kuya Frank’s eldest son, we waited for any vehicle that will pass going Pasig City area, but buses don’t have any spaces inside, so I walked alone for about 300 metres until I saw this scenario:


This is what I've said: the chocolate water on the street, hahaha, of course, I tried to pass on the center island just to make sure that I will not be getting any skin disease like fungi.


While walking, I saw the garbage clogged under the bridge, and I think that's the reason why we are encountering this disaster.  After the long walk, when I reached Junction area, I went to a convenient store and bought one piece chicken with one cup of rice only, I am afraid to eat a heavy meal.  That was my first rice after two days of eating biscuits.  After eating, I felt warm, maybe because of the carbohydrates entered my veins, hahaha.  So after 15 minutes, I started to walk again in the water which was reaching my knee level.


At last! after walking 2 kilometers in flooded streets, I was able to reach the passable area and I was extremely excited to see those vehicles. hahaha.  Then I took a jeep going to EDSA,  then a bus going to Philcoa, Quezon City and so on and so for.

So, when I reached my uncle's house, my grandmother prepared me a coffee and breakfast, and she's like a TV reporter, asking lots of questions about what happened to me, hahaha.

1PM, the same day - my cousins and I went to PCEC (Philippine Christian Evangelical Churches)  and we helped in repacking the goods that will be distributed to different places. Here are the photos:



After the devastating typhoon, I learned a lot; never panic, just take it easy.  After being a victim of the typhoon, I still helped others in a simple way like the repacking.

THAT WAS AN AMAZING EXPERIENCE

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