Monday, September 28, 2009

EXPLOSIVE ENCOUNTER: The Wrath of Ondoy

Last Saturday night, 26 September 2009, the moment I opened my Facebook, I saw various posts stating Manila is hit by a typhoon Ketsana (Local Name: Ondoy). I worried. Hoping that everything will be okay, that night, I opted not to chat with my family because the internet connection could possibly be affected and so I just offered a prayer and texted my family back in the Philippines. Since our place in Lagro, Quezon City is high enough, I thought, getting it flooded is impossible. Thankfully, that proved me right. My family was spared from the touted intense flooding. But that didn’t assure me of anything. As I see my country sink in floods and hammered by the typhoon, I felt upset.

My family had a share of Ondoy’s rage. My cousin was stuck in her office in Quezon Avenue. My father told me that my cousin hasn’t been eating for a day. That’s because, she and he officemates had to evacuate to the third floor of their building because the water was already at the second floor of their building. To my surprise, I never thought the flood would be that extreme. And so the news came in and I was totally saddened.


Images of Ondoy's Rage: http://fiveprime.org/hivemind/Tags/ondoy

(From the Great Flood, Juliet de Loza/Noel Abuel/Eralyn Prado/Dindo Matining/JB Salarzon/Tina Mendoza/AFP)

Ginulantang kahapon ng walang patid na buhos ng ulan na hatid ng bagyong ‘Ondoy’ ang rehiyon ng Luzon kung saan pangunahing sinalanta ay ang Metro Manila matapos nitong palubugin sa ga-hita hanggang lampas-taong baha ang 90% ng kalungsuran.

Kasabay nito ay naitala ang 9-kataong nasawi dulot ng hagupit ni ‘Ondoy’ sa iba’t ibang panig ng rehiyon.

Paliwanag naman ng Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Admi­nistration (PAGASA) flood forecasting center, ang bumuhos na ulan kahapon ay katumbas ng halos dalawang linggong normal na pag-ulan.


Nabatid pa na simula alas-otso hanggang alas-11:00 pa lamang ng umaga ay umabot na sa 112 millimeters ang volume ng bumuhos na ulan at sobra-sobra na umano ito para bumaha ang malaking bahagi ng Kalakhang Maynila.

Bagama’t sunud-sunod ang bagyong pumasok sa teritoryo ng Pilipinas nitong nakalipas na tatlong linggo, ang pinagsama-sama nilang buhos ay naitala lamang sa sukat na 300 millimeters.



Facebook made me feel the authentic sentiments of my kababayans in the time of crisis. I was even jolted that some of my friends’ places were shattered by the flood. On one hand, Youtube showed me the aftermath of the typhoon. But both sites effectively painted me the genuine Filipino spirit to help those who are in need. As I watch the devastating videos, the heart-breaking posts, and the saddening images, I was uplifted as well with all the avalanche of posts which listed how and where people can donate especially for the victims of the super typhoon.



On one hand, as an overseas worker, prayers had been my instrument to reach out to my kababayans. Of course, I have my family and friends back there. Surprisingly, a person named Jacque Bermejo surfaced as a Facebook Sensation after posting an insensitive shout out: Buti na lang am here in Dubai!Maybe so many sinners bak der! So yeah deserving wat hapend! Seriously, she should not have made such comment especially on a critical and devastating condition of “her” own country. Obviously, with what she did, the people are now in rage flooding her with ruthless responses which she totally deserves. God! It’s as if she doesn’t have any family or friends back in the Philippines. She never even thought or considered the feelings of those families who lost their loved ones!


But then again, despite such numb statements, nothing could ever replace the Filipino spirit and unity especially at these times of calamity. I was so touched with ordinary people helping each other. And mind you, they’re not politicians! They’re not distributing relief goods with their names plastered on it.

Bottom line, we Filipinos have proven that we can rise from whatever problems that may come along. We are a strong race. We are moved by our faith that there will be a new tomorrow to look forward to. We are strengthened by our past experiences. All we need now is stop blaming others and start moving, working, and helping! Indeed, its a wake up call for everyone!

I salute all of those people who braved the rampaging floods just to save others. Mabuhay kayong lahat!
Make your Share!

For those who want to help or send donations, you can check out the following:

Philippine Red Cross

Helping Through Paypal
Philippine and US based donation drop-off centers


Climate Change!
This 15 minute video is part of a larger effort to raise awareness and build capacity on climate change impacts among coastal communities in the Philippines.


All images are taken from an email I received.

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