Mixed emotions right now.
I was in Subic for the whole weekend for an (unofficial) office teambuilding and although it was raining hard there, too, the flood was nowhere near the level that it was in Manila. We stayed at a rented house, and the TV wasn’t working very well. Hence, we actually only got to watch the news when we had lunch on Saturday afternoon at Gerry’s Grill. And we only caught a few minutes of it. One of us was nice enough to give us updates that she could read from Facebook and Twitter via her cellphone, and I’m afraid I have to reiterate what everyone’s been saying–yes, technology was a big help regarding this incident. And for this reason alone I am tempted to make my own Facebook and Twitter account, even though I still don’t understand how they work.
On the one hand, it was quite an experience.
Because it was raining so hard, my officemates and I couldn’t push through with our original plan of going to the Treetop Adventure and Go Kart track and all the rest of the things that we’d planned to do outdoors in Subic. So after lunch at Gerry’s Grill, we did some shopping at Duty Free (though we didn’t buy a lot of things, mostly chocolates, and sports attire on discount), and then stayed inside the house the rest of the time, playing Pinoy Henyo, Uno Stacko, Magic Sing, you know, indoor stuff. But it was still a lot of fun and actually a good chance for all of us to bond. It sounds way too cheesy now, but when we’re all cooped up in the office, we don’t really get a chance to talk about non-work-related stuff, so it was nice to have a break from all that and get to know each other a little better.
One good thing about the storm, however shallow you may think this is, is that it actually gave us all something to talk about. Our feelings of worry about our relatives and friends who were in Manila, far away from us, at the moment, gave us all, a common interest, if you will. And I was a bit glad that we were able to share such personal feelings like that with each other. I know “teambuilding” is usually just an excuse to go on a trip and have fun, but I think that it does have some positive results, even if all you do is sit around and eat junk food. Example: One of my new officemates was suddenly present at breakfast this morning. From what I can remember, he’d never eaten breakfast with us at the office pantry before, and I always figured that it was because he was shy. But this morning he sat down at the table with us, and contributed to the conversation, too. Again, this sounds cheesy, but it feels like he’s more comfortable with us now, and hopefully we won’t have to go through as much awkward silences as we used to whenever he’s around.
Another thing, and just because I’m a sucker for deviation, aside from the fact that we were lucky not to have been in the midst of all the destruction in Manila, I’m also grateful that my “Ondoy Experience”, if I may call it that, is different from everyone else’s. Oh sure, a lot of people were probably out of town, too. My mom, for example, is actually out of the country (and it’s her second time to be out whilst there was a major disaster happening in our country. She wasn’t here when Milenyo hit, too). But still, I get to tell a very different story from most of the people I know, who were stranded in their homes, or had seen cars swimming in the streets. And my story will involve stopping on the SCTEX and joking about the entire team being absent on Monday along with the supervisor.
My dad texted me on Saturday morning and told me not to go outside, even in Subic. He also said that we should stock up on candles just in case the electricity went out. Luckily it didn’t, but I’d bought candles anyway.
Our house isn’t prone to floods, and I’m happy that it wasn’t affected. Neither is anyone in our village. There are lots of leaves scattered on the streets, but at least they’re not muddy, and none of the houses were destroyed. So even if I’d stayed at home, I wouldn’t really have had any useful contribution to the news.
I found out that my grandfather’s house in Makati had water in it that was waist-deep, and I’m sure a lot of other people experienced the same thing. One of my officemates feels guilty for having had that much fun in Subic, while her sister was left alone to rescue their car from the flood.
So we all have our positive and negative stories, one of the most negative news I’ve received is that one of my closest friends (incidentally, he’s the one who set up my computer), got into an accident during the storm, and is now in the hospital, having trouble eating. I honestly don’t know what that means, but as it’s late, no one’s answering my text messages. I’m hoping that he’ll be fine, and that the accident wasn’t that severe.
Straight From Fiction
I’m catching up on the news and videos and pictures of the storm and its aftermath only now. And the things I’ve seen and heard are really shocking. Like they came straight from a fiction book. The first seemingly fictitious story I heard was about the actress whose house was flooded and so had to stay on the roof, to be rescued by a popular actor, on a speed boat. Now, if that’s not something that sounds like it came straight from a movie, I don’t know what is.
So, the news about robbers breaking into houses that were part of the disaster to steal stuff isn’t all that new. I even already sort of expected it, but there was another news (I don’t know how true, though) about how crocodiles escaped from the zoo, and so are maybe navigating the still flooded streets right now. Crocodiles on the city street — it’s almost like Snakes on a Plane.
And then there’s the appearance of the affected cities, in general. Looking at the pictures of cars that piled on top of each other, electric fans stuck in trees, and an overturned rocking chair in the middle of the street, I couldn’t help but think that they seemed like pictures of what a speculative fiction story would look like. Things aren’t where they’re supposed to be. They aren’t in the position they’re usually in, and they aren’t functioning like how they should be functioning.
I keep wondering how strange it would look when the water in that construction site in Katipunan clears up, and you’ll see that at the bottom of an excavation for a building, would be a car that’s upside-down.
If only it was easy to write a story, I proabably would’ve written tons by now, just from looking at all those misplaced objects around.
And Some Funny Stuff
I’m not saying that any of this is a laughing matter, but I was a bit entertained when my officemate was joking about things. We asked him how his house was, and he said, “Our house is now half-house, half-aquarium. I actually saw fish swimming in our living room.”
Fish swimming in the living room.
Not in an aquarium in the living room, but in the actual living room. If that doesn’t sound like fiction…
Another officemate is apparently stranded at home. He said that the water isn’t that high, but he has a 5-year-old daughter who’s sick an a baby who’s not even a year old, which he just couldn’t bear to leave with just their mother, while they were in the process of cleaning the house, etc.
“Hanggang ankle lang daw niya ‘yung tubig,” an officemate said.
“‘Eh gaano ba katangkad ‘yung uncle niya? At saka bakit siya ang reference?” somebody else asked.
I laughed so hard I had to leave the room, so they wouldn’t know that I was still laughing, even after the joke got old for everyone.
As much as I want to help, I think that there’s already enough information out there so I wouldn’t repost all of the emergency numbers and donation drop off points here. Instead, a link to the page that has all that information, and the pictures that I relied on, to see just how much I missed:
Plus, a post from a friend, para ‘di na kayo mahirapan mag-navigate ‘dun sa kaninang URL:
Last Minute Thoughts
And I just remembered, just now, that Milenyo happened on the last weekend of September, too. Well, technically it was on a Thursday, but it was the last Thursday of September for that year. I wonder if there’s something about September that attracts natural disasters.
This is true: The headline of Manila Bulletin on my birth day, and I know this because my mom saved a copy of it, was something like “Mt. Mayon Victims Fled to Evacuation Centers”. Because apparently, Mt. Mayon erupted, just a few days before. That was on September, too.
Oh, and for those who for some reason refer to this as “Hurricane Ondoy”, please note that that’s not actually accurate. Ondoy is a typhoon. Typhoons are from the Pacific Ocean, which affects Asia usually, while hurricanes are from the Atlantic Ocean, which affects the U.S. and other countries in that area. Hence, Katrina is a hurricane. But Ondoy is a typhoon.
Just wanted to let you know that (in case you didn’t already).
P.S. Sorry for the random/disorganized thoughts. Really sleepy now, and like I said, I have mixed emotions regarding this incident. I just hope everyone is safe soon.