The Typhoon Ondoy Aftermath

September 26 , 2009 — I woke up earlier than I usually do on a Saturday morning. I had to prepare for a company activity in Pasay City. At 8am, the skies are already dark indicating that the rest of the day is going to be rainy. I haven’t checked plurk or watched the TV before I left the house so i didn’t have any clue that an incoming calamity will hit Metro Manila.

I grew up and lived most of my life in the south where typhoon is as rare as the solar eclipse.  We experience hard rains but not as bad as the ones Ondoy brought (or not even close to be classified as a storm or typhoon). At about noon that day, I received a text from Kuya Erik that Dela Rosa’s flood is about knee high. I wanted to go home. I anticipated that going home will be difficult. Right after lunch, I decided to hitch a ride with my officemates and they agreed to take me someplace where I can take a cab back to Makati.

For approximately 8 hours, we’ve been circling Roxas Boulevard and its nearby exit roads looking for an accessible path going north. That long eight hours was torture for the people inside the car. I was surfing the internet and read some plurks and twits about neck-high floods, flooded ground floors, stranded people, etc. My friend’s boyfriend kept on trying to reach his family members after hearing from a friend that their church’s first floor (which is near their house I suppose) was already filled with flood waters.

My friend’s family was just one of the thousands of families devastated by typhoon Ondoy. The 12-hours of heavy rains washed with it the investments, and even memories, which took years to build. It left us wounds that no one knows when to heal.

Despite this, after the typhoon left the country, Ondoy taught the Filipinos something. It taught us that everyone can become a hero. Quoting Mark Gosingtian, “Where I’m from, everyone’s a hero”. We saw people from different walks of life giving their time and effort to extend help to the typhoon victims. Different institutions, like the Lopez Group, helped in the distribution of relief goods to cities and provinces which were in distress.

Sagip Kapamilya

Cheryl Cosim, originally uploaded by LopezLink

Sagip Kapamilya in Action (photo above): TV personalities doing the hard work by distributing relief goods collected by the Lopez Group.

The bayanihan efforts by our fellow Filipinos didn’t end after Ondoy left the country. Just this week, our nation was hit again by another calamity brought by Pepeng. Our brothers in Northern Luzon need our help too. For inquiries and news related on how we can help the victims of these calamities, you may participate in the Facebook page of LopezLink. If you wish to pledge your support or do volunteer work, you may check this link to their forums.

We are forever rooted in the bayanihan culture.