Now, I’m not a blogger.. This is I think the 1st real “blog” I’m going to put up aside from a few small thoughts I’ve put aside as well as some tweets (I’m pretty sure those count as blogs too).
But I’ve had a realization today (September 19, 2014) of how amazingly tragic or amazingly beautiful our lives here in the Philippines actually are. Now this morning we just experienced the wrath of Tropical Storm Mario which is one of the strongest storms we’ve probably had in a while, and all you Filipinos who are reading this blog know what I’m talking about, but when I say a while it actually isn’t as far back in the past as you might think. We’re talking probably every other year of storms just like this one.
Back in 2009 Typhoon Ondoy hit the Philippines and by far that was the worst storm I’ve ever experienced. The story actually goes that I was a sophomore in college and I’m thinking how young I actually was then. I had just gotten my first DSLR Camera and I was playing around with it inside the house while the storm is surging outside. I fell asleep to the sound of the incredibly hard rainfall outside, and I woke up to the news that we could go to school because the roads are already flooded. Now being the Filipino kid I am I wasn’t really surprised by this because this literally happens every year. The Rainy season comes, the roads get flooded and the cars can’t pass. It’s like celebrating independence day.. there’s always the holidays brought by the typhoons. But Typhoon Ondoy was special. I think that was the storm that brought actual terror in the hearts of the Filipino people.
Here’s a few shots of experiencing Ondoy here in Cainta,Rizal
For me the terror of typhoon Ondoy was seeing the flood water climb the steps up to your house. That feeling of you’re trapped and you’re at the mercy of this force that you know you can’t beat. You can only survive. And what’s even worse is that your girlfriend, your loved ones in the other housed are experiencing the exact same dread.
Now like i said before, I think Ondoy was a special typhoon that started it all. It started this dread in the hearts of the Filipinos that “hey, this thing is real. Lives are being ruined. People are dying. We have to take this seriously” because it was after Ondoy that I started hearing about local governments getting rubber boats, amphibious vehicles, and sounding storm alarms for safety purposes. And every year since Ondoy, when the strong rains and the typhoons start coming around June to November there’s always that dread that “Is this going to be the next Ondoy?”
And true enough in 2012 a southwest monsoon hit that actually almost matched the record of amount of rainfall set by Ondoy. Ondoy brought down a month’s worth of rainfall in 24 hours while this southwest monsoon or “habagat” in Filipino brought down about half that. although it was only half it was still a lot for all those affected. because it was the same story as before for them. They had to evacuate their houses as the floods rush in. It just brought about the same terror brought about by Ondoy. The terror of that you and your entire country is at the mercy of this force you can’t beat. You can only survive. Now this also hit Metro Manila although i wasn’t directly affected. Although the fear hit me as well that I made this (i don’t know what to call it) it’s an artwork to ask for prayers for the Philippines.
Now I’ve only talked about storms that hit the Metro Manila Area and that have affected me directly. But just last year a Super Typhoon hit our country. And those of us who live in Metro Manila we’re lucky enough to dodge it, unlike those who live in places like Tacloban.
Yolanda was also known as Super Typhoon Haiyan internationally. It didn’t bring down that much rainfall or caused flooding, but it had record wind speeds. The residences in Tacloban captured and posted videos on facebook of the strong winds literally tearing houses apart.
And those of us who live in Metro Manila could only watch in horror and feel so lucky that we we’re not the one’s who experienced this. Now at this time I was already working, I had a smartphone, I was active on the social sites, you could say I was more tech savvy. And you can see everything that was on facebook and twitter, instagram and what ever social media apps is all about the devastation that our brothers and sisters had to go through. And you feel it again. That terror that you feel pretty much every other year. The terror that you’re up against a force you can’t and no one else can ever beat. You can only hope that they’re strong enough to survive it.
I think what made the whole Yolanda experience even worse was the clean up afterwards. The news rippled on for weeks that poeple are stranded in Tacloban, people who are starving. They’re on the news begging their loved ones to send food, send help or anything. These people literally lost everything and don’t know anymore how to start over.
And I’m going to take this opportunity to point the finger at our government. You guys did a terrible jobs of aiding those people. How many people had to die from starvation or from looting because the damn relief goods we’re never allocated properly. Some locations are just not “priorities” i guess. I mean it scares me to think how long it took before these survivors could get their lives back on track. It’s just sad and sickening how wrong that is.
Now let’s fast forward to this morning, to Typhoon Mario. The experience was honestly just like back in 2009 when the large amounts of rain was falling down hard outside. You’re already used to it, but you’re feeling it again, that dread. It’s also worsening every minute because you see the water outside is rising fast. My mom asked me to move the car to higher ground and once I stepped outside the water was up to my knees. I call the office and tell them that It’s flooding again in my village that’s just notorious for these kinds of things and realize that it’s happening again. It’s bad everywhere. The experience for me was a little different now. I’m older, I’m more tech savvy than ever, I was on twitter a lot today. My girlfriend and I monitored the news and did everything we can to keep an eye on our friends and pass useful information to anyone that needed it. Here in Village East, Cainta facebook has become very useful to let all the residences know the situation of flood levels in flood prone areas of the village. We actually got the chance to help out a girl in the same village as us asking for help on twitter as her mother needed medical attention. I pray to God she got the help she needed. I think she did though as a lot of people other than me and my girlfriend responded. A lot of them were administrators from our home owners association. So yeah, I think that worked out.
So what’s the point of all this?
I don’t really know. I don’t necessarily have a point with this long blog or a central thesis.
Is this a story about me growing up in these situations and taking advantage of the technology as I grow up? Maybe.
Is it pointing the finger at governments and administrations about dealing with situations like this? I guess
I’m really just telling the story of these big storms that hit us and how each experience was pretty much different. But I’ll tell you what. This blog is about us, The Filipino people. Everytime a huge storm like Ondoy or Yolanda hits, yes we fall down. but we get right back up again. So many people thought that when Ondoy happened that that was it. It’s back to zero for them. And well, it wans’t really. So many people, so many families got right back up to face the world proud to withstand these tragedies. And as the years go on more and more you get that fighting feeling in you that you’re not just going to lie down and feel that dread again. You’re going to fight back. You’re going to live.