Remember September 26, 2009? It was, like today, 10:30 a.m. Time for our then Computer subject. The bell rang and there was an announcement of class suspension.
I don’t know why I decided to go to school that day, it was raining and the winds are strong, the clouds are obviously too dark to say that the storm will pass in no time, everywhere I look is rain, rain and more rain.
Most of my classmates were present that day, most of us were waiting for class suspension since we arrived in school, we thought, it won’t take long before the announcement, and we were right.
Although, I can honestly say that I didn’t expect what I saw when I stepped out of the Univerisity’s vicinity. After the announcement, my friends told me to stay with them in school because we really can’t afford to run in the middle of that storm, even with umbrellas, were still going to be drenched in the rain, I believe them. But, there’s a small voice that told me to go, my mom texted me to go to our province that day and we are supposed to meet in Cubao, I ended up convincing my friends to face the storm outside of our school. My conversation with my friends and the pleadings to them didn’t take long, it was only a matter of minutes when we left our school that we heard a news that the Pasig River, which was located at the back of our University overflew. Some of my classmates and schoolmates who stayed behind had to evacuate to the 2nd floor.
It was a mess outside school, the roads are going downhill and straight to our University and so is the flood. PUP was submerged in a small flood when we left our school. I separated with my friends when we reached the jeepney stations, it was hard to ride a jeepney in that weather, not because there are no jeepneys passing, but rather, all of them are full. I had to walk from our University to the nearest LRT station. When I arrived in the LRT station, the lines were so long, when I got in line, I was on the foot of the stairs. I still got myself in Cubao though, I found my mom and my dad and we talked about the road having zero-visibility, we cannot go home in Cabanatuan in that weather. So, we decided to cancel the trip and go home instead.
We rode the LRT going home and when it stopped in Recto, the last station, we still had to ride a jeepney to get closer to our house. But alas, the jeepneys are either too submerged in water to go on driving or too full to carry more passengers. My parents and I had to walk from Recto to Divisoria, let me tell you, Tondo and Flood is the most disgusting thing I could ever have imagined to be in. But, nonetheless, I had to get pass that road so I pulled myself together as I submerged half of myself in that flood. Only my upper half was safe. But, I spoke too soon, because, the cars that have forced themselves in that flood were making waves and yes, parts of my blouse was splashed by flood water too.
When we arrived home, there was no electricity (like I expected there to be any.) I tried calling my friends to check if they’re safe (like, I expected to have a signal in my cell that day.) I listened to the radio for news, I had to know what’s going on. I heard there are some casualties already, some were asking for help and everything. When the electricity returned, I saw it, all the affected areas, what do they look like, the people. I ran to the room across ours and I cried.
When I returned to our room, the news was still on. I was watching a lot of people call for help, the t.v. was flashing numbers at the bottom of the screen which we could call to help. The number for Red Cross, for example and other organizations. I checked all of my social networking sites and this is what I saw.
It’s BAYANIHAN like I’ve never seen it before. I was so proud to be a Filipino that day. The news was heartbreaking, but the scene of people giving help, reaching their hands so that they can reach the hands of the others and help them reach a higher place, the people giving out free food and clothes to the people in the evacuation center and let’s not forget the netizens who keeps posting updates on where are the places that are most damaged, who needed help, asking for help to fellow netizens and so on was, for me, overwhelming.
When we returned to class after a week, I remember my professor asking us to make a two-paged paper on our Ondoy experience and what we’ve learned. I also found out that after my friends and I were separated, most of them got stranded to the house of our other classmates and to some, in malls.
A related story
They said experience is the best teacher, but after the typhoons that followed Ondoy has passed, and I saw the aftermath, I couldn’t bring myself to believe that. Such lies.
I remember watching a news of a Filipino family that was riding their roof, when the roof passed a bridge, he threw his kids to the people on the bridge and he jumped to the water. The guy who threw his kid survived, but his family, including the kid, didn’t.
Two years after typhoon Ondoy/Ketsana hit the Philippines, what exactly has changed? Was there a change? Will there ever be a change? Those are some of the questions that are running through my mind now.
Although most Filipinos blamed the government for misinforming them about how much the typhoon would have really affected them, I hope we don’t forget that it is also our own fault that we have experienced flood. Let’s not blame everything to them, we ought to take responsibilities too. We have long heard of the issue on Climate Change, Global Warming and Pollution that caused this. But we, haven’t changed. We haven’t fully realized the effects it would bring to us. No change = Death.
In relevance to that, I’m calling out to everyone who will be able to read my blog to change acts now! The first job that our God has given us, we always seem to forget, is to take care of our surroundings, our nature, everything that has life. It was, as they said, written.
*This blog post is an account of my Ondoy experience. I believe that my experiences are nothing compared to the experiences of others who have been less fortunate than I was on that day.