Sunday, October 01, 2006

typhoon of the Milenyo

the last time Metro Manila was directly hit by a mega typhoon was in the previous millenium (early 1990's). how appropriate is it that the most recent storm that shook the city was named, Milenyo?

in case you lived under a boulder (a rock wouldn't suffice) for the past week,
Milenyo is the tropical storm that wreaked havoc in the metropolis, leaving
hundreds homeless, a death toll that is continually accumulating, broken down homes, and, not to mention, a clear reason why billboards should be banned. at least along major thoroughfare.

by wednesday afternoon, i really didn't know what to expect. PAGASA reported a typhoon signal 3, something that shouldn't be taken lightly. we haven't experienced a storm that strong in years and i was hoping that the findings were exaggerated. when i woke up the next day, i could hear the wind whistling, the trees flapping their branches, and the rain slowly turning into a downpour. and Milenyo hasn't hit MM yet. looks like PAGASA was right.

a few minutes later, NAPOCOR and Meralco shut down electricity all over MM. it was starting.

by noon, the wrath of Milenyo bombarded MM with winds powerful enough to topple 10-wheeler trucks, old mango trees, and those pretty Baywalk lamposts that i photographed last year. after the storm, majority of those posts were bent like a stick of bubblegum.

A River Ran Through It

our street has been flood-free for the past years. Milenyo changed that. our family was worried that the water would reach our front door.

Mico and Boogie, whose playful romps and barks are a daily event in our house, were uncharacteristically subdued and could only look helplessly as the flood quickly entered their playground.

i checked the street scene from our balcony and could only get a couple of hurried shots since the rain was splattering on my poor camera. i'm just grateful my digicam couldn't talk or i would've been dogding nasty expletives for hours.

our street looked like a miniature Pasig River. i saw that my uncle's dog, Batman, took an unexpected bath, minus the bubbles. when i noticed the flood was creeping in our garage, i prayed it wouldn't reach my car, even if it was in desparate need of a bath.

luckily, the waters subsided.

Burning the Evening Oil

despite the brownout, mama, gelli, and i kept ourselves busy. mama had to finish some drawings for her client. how she was able to measure and draw the dimensions of the house with three small candles lighted in front of her is beyond me. gelli "studied" her notes for her upcoming college exam (i think it was more of "stared").
i kept myself busy by finally re-reading Steven Covey's The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. this time, i wrote down notes. oh, and papa? he was in the office (across the street), of course. tonet was working in pampanga that time and, according to her, completely oblivious of the storm (which really didn't leave a path of destruction in their area).

ahhhh, such was the life of a workaholic family.

by 6:30 pm, the electricity was back. like clockwork, gelli and i dropped our books and sat in front of the TV. hm. did i just say workaholic?

The Aftermath

as quickly as it came, Milenyo was out of the Philippine shores the next day.

but even if he was gone with the wind, the whole of MM still felt his presence. it'll take months until the homes, roads, buildings, and structures are fully restored. i wish i could say the same for the grieving families, though. those hours have completely changed their lives, at the expense of so many others.

it is at this moment that i am reminded of what Oprah said in one of her episodes. "Your life didn't end. It was altered."

Milenyo forcibly altered thousands, of lives. but the Filipino people are resilient. and i know that we will rise above this with our heads held high and spirit strong.

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