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Sep 28, 2006

Typhoon Milenyo

This is why one needs to listen to the news.

I decided to go out from my room this afternoon to cool myself because of the power outage. When I stepped outside my door, I notice that the hallway was full of litter and it was creating a haunting sound. I was bewildered by the scene as I was walking to the exit. I opened the door and a strong wind was flowing through me but it was warm and it smelled bad. Debris of trash was flying everywhere and people where running up and down (don’t ask where the trash was hitting). I have never seen an emergency exit to be so crowded and not all where using it in the same direction, some went up and some down. It made me more confused as to what was going on. When I reached the main floor it was pack full of people tenants, visitors, kids, office people, pets, etc. Turns out there was a typhoon and I saw chaos outside the window - branches flying, roofs ripped, window glasses rattling violent (but it didn’t stop people from watching the storm behind it), wind was amazingly strong, the violent and loud haunting sound from it, rain pouring heavily, vehicles broke in the middle of the road (or raging river), people soaking wet and flood water was about knee high, probably even deeper.

As I was staring how high the flood water was, it reminded me of a day dream I had of going to the beach weeks before this. It’s different living in Makati since back home, in Davao beaches is accessible. I was pissed that God was being sarcastic at me. Floodwater is not something you enjoying swimming in. I don’t even want to think what’s in there. I know it’s not Sebastian...

Growing up in a typhoon free zone, I have no knowledge on what to do in this situation. I had no food stack, not even junk food ‘coz I already finished them days before. No clean drinking water and the nearby groceries were all out. I was miserable and hungry until I saw McDo’s delivery motorcycle. It was cruel to make their employees tread in such a dangerous condition but at the same time grateful ‘coz I know where I can get FOOD. The yellow arches was 2 blocks where I was at but I had to wait for the water to subside. I thought typhoon Milenyo would mellow down after 2 – 3 hrs and looking forward to my nearby warm meal.

I waited and waited and watched people and workers walking in the deep flood w/ their leather shoes, heels, bags and office clothes. Some of them decided that they’ll walk from Pasong Tamo Tower to EDSA w/c was a long walk. They’re better off swimming in the flood towards their destination. Later on, the lucky ones who were about to do the same was greeted by a passing bus (lucky bastards). By and by, some were leaving and some arriving. Alas hours upon hours of waiting and panic was settling in my nerves even though I found a bag of chips and a soda, I was getting irritated and hungry. Turns out I was waiting for the storm to stop or at least slow down for about 5 hrs (Geezus!). Getting frustrated made me even more hungry so I decided to climb back to my room where it was hot, dark and hibernate. Counting sheeps didn’t work ‘coz I felt like a bunch of well-done steaks were jumping It was difficult but I was able to shut my eyes.

I woke-up, prep up and went down to hunt for food. It was night time and almost pitch dark since the electricity wasn’t back yet. You can hear the noise of electric generators everywhere. The flood water was subsiding but still the road was full of "it." I hopped, jumped and walked like I was on a tightrope on rocks and elevated spots and dots avoiding the dark water and waves that every vehicle made. I was doing my best not to soak my shoes, AGAIN. I just washed them from the recent rain prior Milenyo. I had to go around a mall and under a bridge since the shortcut to the destination was closed. I walked about 3 blocks but it felt like even further since I had to make a lot of detours to get across. I wish that a straight path of blocks would emerge from the wretched water but no. You got to do it like any other mortals would do.

When I saw those yellow arches, I was so relieved and elated even more when I entered where a cool air welcomed me in. I felt like an addict in a withdrawal state ‘coz I was restraining myself from shouting, "GIVE ME EVERYTHING YOU’VE GOT." I was feeling sick before eating. I ordered the 2 pieces chicken and tried eating it slowly – TRIED. I was so happy with my meal but finished it so quickly I had to pretend I was still eating and waiting for the 2nd to last customer to leave. The last customer would be me. I had to savor the comfort of being in a cool and dry place. Ah...

After regaining my sense of relief, I went back to Pasong Tamo Tower but stayed outside to soak and inhale the fresh air (can you believe it?). For almost 24 hrs, I heard someone yelled, "may koryente na!" and heard a choir of angels singing in the background. I went back up and the 1st thing I did was switched on the TV (quite too late) and see the magnitude of Milenyo’s havoc. The typhoon was signal #3 and it created a waste land not only in Makati but everywhere else in Luzon.

This is the only country I know that people ignore the signs of DANGER when a typhoon is coming. You saw the pictures and videos, people are still going to work during a disaster. What the hell? Back in the late 90’s, I was in Hongkong w/ the family and we wondered why the streets were empty. We were told by the locals that there was actually a typhoon over the city but I looked around and it was just a drizzle. We were probably protected from the elements due to the high rising buildings. I think people should be safe in their homes when a typhoon visits with food, water, 1st aid kit and stuff you’ll need in such situations.