Wednesday, August 21

Water Encounter - Ganito Kami Sa Makati - Experiencing "Maring"

Tropical storm Maring coupled with the torrential rain brought by the southwest monsoon (Habagat) bring much hassle and damage to lots of families in the very heart of the country, the Metro Manila area and its neighboring provinces. Others said 'blame it to the rain', others  vulgarly expressed 'blame it to the corrupt politicians who put to their own pockets what is suppose to be the budget for infrastructure', or the illegal loggers or no proper disposal of garbage. My opinion, each one of us has our own little share of what happened and repeatedly happening almost every year.

Monday, early morning scene in the front street.
Here is my share of experience as my weekend spent at home come face to face with the fast rising unwelcomed water.

Metro Manila has been my second home since I come and study my college eduction here, now even much longer than living in my birth province, Siquijor. And there was never looking back after that, from school to work, sum total years of over 23 now. Most of that is in Pasay City, with minimal transfers, actually 3 moves within the same city. Until last quarter last year we decided to move to the neighboring city, the business capital of the country, Makati. My postal address now sounds 'sosyal', but honestly that is just a small bridge away from where we used to live for almost 10 years. Aside from the sophisticated sounding address, we also have to pay the price of being a Makati resident, paying much higher electricity rate than the amount we used to pay before. Others said that is zoning, nasa Makati ka e. We got to live with it. 

Our neighbor's street.
And of my 23 years stay in Metro Manila, 22 of which is in Pasay and  almost a year in Makati, I had my own experience of flood when rainy season comes. From flooded streets of UST, yes 4 years of walking on the flooded streets of Dapitan, Espana, Pinoval to the long boulevard of Taft just to reach Pasay, to the overflowing creek in Don Bosco in Makati that I had to ride trysikad with my American Boss braving the waist deep water along Pasay Road and a lot more. But never was there a time that the water ever get inside our over populated small apartment.

Tuesday, Pasay Road. Grab from Bojo's album.
Until yesterday. It has been raining since Friday. Saturday was manageable, Sunday was still ok but in the evening it already started a heavy down pour. On the  morning of Monday, the front street is already flooded, almost waist high  but as the rain stop in the afternoon so is the water subsided and cleared up. But in the evening it started raining again, now with lightning and thunder on a longer duration. Other areas were already flooded. Tuesday, 3:00am I was awaken by another pounding downpour of rain. If the past nights, rain drops has been a melody in my ear as it has always been, at that time it has become scary, it's just too strong. Doze to my dreams again until I hear my sisters calling me. Water in the ground floor. Am I dreaming? No, its for real.

Tuesday, Pasay Road, grab at Bojo's album.
It's 5:00am of Tuesday. As the rain continuously pouring the water is now unstoppable. I got up groggy from my sleep got alive when I step the ground floor on ankle deep cold dirty water. With so much things to elevate, I don't know which one to attend first. My brother's boxes and things ready for their grand adventure as they will migrate to Canada in the next few days or the rest of our things. But I have to be composed and think clear and fast. With my sisters, yes 4 ladies in the house, we had to carry one by one what ever we can to the second floor. Some things are beginning to get wet but we have to keep going. In less than two hours water goes knee deep high already. We managed to bring higher most of the things except the big furniture, those that I was able to accumulate on my almost 20 years of working. As the water goes higher, we decided to switch off the main electricity switch. No electricity no internet connection now. Surprisingly, we manage to elevate the two door refrigerator full with frozen goods inside. 

Tuesday, at Jing's place.
This is my very first time to experience being flooded on my own house. Though our place is just beside the Barangay Captain's house of this area, we did not hear anything from him. I don't know when is the best time to evacuate. We do not hear any announcement from the outside either.  After things became calmer, I instructed my sisters to pack some basic personal things in case we need to evacuate, call it over acting but honestly I really do not know what to do. And despite the chaos, we still do some order.

My friend Janice's place.
Managed to cook food on the flooded ground floor and eat decent meals.
Stock more drinking water on the second floor.
Secure our main source of food, rice and lots of salted dried fish.
Flash light ready and spare batteries.
Ready with water proof jackets and some clothes. 

Here's the most challenging part on situation like this, when nature calls,  where to do it. Mountaineering style. Where to pee, first option is at the roof top by the emergency exit of the house but with some neighbors looking from afar from the higher nearby buildings peeping by their windows as they are watching the flooded street. I had to climb up several times while the ground floor is still flooded . Not so appealing but I no other choice. My sisters opted to do the other solution, use the trash can as common pee pot (improvised arenola). But when it has to poo, now comes the very major challenge. How to do it then. Use what I know on high camp waste management on high altitude climbing beyond basecamp, carry your own waste.  So into the plastic bag and put it on a much sturdy container. Yucky, but we were left with no other option.
Diane's place at Magallanes Village.
Early evening the water subsided to ankle deep high and 9:00pm it all cleared up. But we have stay awake for it was still raining but not as heavy and as long as the other night. With the water totally cleared up we also decided to switch on the electricity and we had to reconnect the internet. Thanks to the persistence of my youngest sister, she was able to make it work after several hours of finding a way to make it work.

Managed to elevate the fridge.
Most of us take turns on sleeping making sure someone is awake to watch for the water, until our neighbor Nang Edith and ER drop by the house to bring food for us at around 2:00am. The following day is so much better, we just had to clean up the remaining things that are wet for we were not able to manage to bring up the day before. 

Up to this moment, we leave all things how we arranged it yesterday, two couches elevated by monoblock chairs and big empty cookie cans, refrigerator still up on the cooking area, water dispenser at the stairs going to the second floor,  chairs for the dining table and bench are still up. We decided to leave it that way and wait for a sunny day in the next few days for we are too afraid it might rain and get flooded again. We cant even think now how to bring down the refrigerator. The two rooms at the second floor are all mess up with all our things. 

No that's not us, just taken from someone's album.
What an experience but despite all that,  I am thankful to God for keeping us safe. I thank my family and friends for all your prayers and concern, to Amy and Shine for making an effort to send an sms message just to make sure we are safe and doing fine. Thanks to Xenon for his prompt reply when I randomly thought of asking help from him, I missed few hours when he had rounds near our place but his assurance that we will will be fine in our area is more than good enough. Appreciate all your thoughtfulness. Now is the time to clear up the mess brought by the flood. 
When left to nothing to do and cannot sleep, decided to read.


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