A day after Tropical Depresssion Ondoy left most of Metro Manila and nearby provinces devastated, I walked from my house towards Provident Village in Marikina City. I was eager to see what happened. Then it struck me, the tragedy left both the rich and poor on equal footing. Many were left with nothing as floods reached on top of two to three story-houses, most buried in mud and floodwaters.
The irony of it, as I went towards Marikina, many people in their own cars, some walking and in bare foot, are leaving the city. They are going towards Quezon City. They obviously wanted to seek higher grounds, safety because I recall there were unconfirmed reports that more waters will be released from the dams.
The scene was Sept. 26, 2009, about two years ago when rampaging flood waters from the rivers, and dams submerged Metro Manila.
Yes, flood waters were as high as 10 to 20 feet, engulfing houses, bulidings, cars, sofas, beds, toys, and even people — families — who were caught off guard by the sudden rise of the waters. The Marikina River overflowed to villages, barangays, devastating what was left of a once vibrant city. The Cityhall, a church, the running field, a sports complex, the entire city were flooded. The scene was the same, even worse in nearby cities and provinces such as Laguna, Cavite, Bulacan and even Pampanga.
Many families were worried. Hundreds were stranded on the road, where they may have spent the night after being trapped in huge traffic jam that made the entire Metro Manila into a huge parking lot.
On that Saturday, I remember seeing the horrendous floods at the Riverbanks area where flood waters reached two-story buildings. I went to the barangay hall to see the extent of the rains, and the floods.
I am lucky that our house was on a higher ground that the flood waters did not reach our place. But floods were all over the next barangay…
But I did not realize the magnitude a day after the big flood when I saw pieces of furniture, clothes and other wares all washed up along the muddied road. What was left of stores were scattered, muddied, and glasses shattered.
Automated Teller Machines (ATM) were left grounded, stores were closed. Lives were shattered.
A day after the tragedy, it seemed the world stood still. The cars which piled up along a street going towards the main road, A. Bonifacio Avenue, was like a scene in a movie, where drivers and passengers flew hurriedly, leaving some doors wide open, windows and doors unlocked. One can imagine, how they scampered away for safety as the waters from the nearby Marikina River conquered the land, leaving nothing unscathed.
Days after, many sad stories were told in news, among neighbors and relatives who tried to console each other after the tragedy.
Then there were efforts to rebuild. Lives to be lived. Life must go on.
It was not easy for many, and trauma is still there every time there are typhoons coming in. I am glad that me and my family were spared from this tragedy. Being safe and so, I decided to help those who needed some help…I reached out to them in my own little way.
Now, barely two years after the Ondoy tragedy, the people of Marikina City and the rest of the country had survived, picked up the pieces of what was left. But what remained is the painful lesson of all –your precious life can be snapped away in a second. And we ought to help together in saving Mother Nature from further destruction.
Typhoon “Pedring” (international codename: Nesat) slammed into the Philippines Tuesday (Sept. 27, 2011), leaving still undetermined of properties devastated. Metro Manila is placed under Storm Signal 2.