Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Typhoon Ondoy: A "Thief in the Night" in Broad Daylight

The fury of typhoon Ondoy came like a "thief in the night" in broad daylight. How else can I describe the emotion that goes with what "Ondoy" means to Filipinos these days?



The video above was taken at the University of the East Ramon Magsaysay (UERM) Medical Center during typhoon Ondoy. This is the first time in my life to see such number of cars floating on the water, swept from where they were parked.



The video above was taken by a lady apparently from the second floor of their residence in Marikina during typhoon Ondoy last Saturday. You can sense the fear in the lady's voice. There were hundreds of thousands of them who said the same prayer that this lady said that afternoon.



Other houses in Marikina came under 15 feet of water. Except for the structure of their homes, many lost the rest to the typhoon Ondoy's waters.



The video above was my own contribution to the YouTube videos about typhoon Ondoy. I recorded it from a spot not far from where I live. The street right in front of our home was fine, but it's the portion of that same road intersecting with Kalantiaw that had a different story.

We had a friend along Kalantiaw Street whose home went under waist deep of water during typhoon Ondoy. We accommodated his whole family in our own home. The whole family came to us, dripping wet, with a single plastic bag of dry clothes. It was heart-breaking. Hosting them in our home was our little contribution to the relief efforts.

I salute the people who are contributing to a much large relief operation, in terms of time, energy and resources. Some of them are having a few hours of sleep these past few days. I am humbled by their dedication. I salute them.

There were also friends who used the internet to generate donations for the typhoon Ondoy victims. Just this morning, my Facebook feeds and emails were almost about generating support for the typhoon Ondoy victims.



The strength of the Filipinos' resolve to help the victims of typhoon is matching the rage of typhoon Ondoy itself. It is heart-warming. It is also humbling.



I extracted the picture above from Philstar.com about the aftermath of typhoon Ondoy. From where I stay in Quezon City, I can see and hear the military choppers going to and from Marikina and Rizal. Camp Aguinaldo is a short walk from here. The picture above shows what happens everytime they land.

It is sad enough to see people being soaked by neck-deep waters, roof tops seemingly in the middle of a wide river of water and cars being swept away like toys from the videos of typhoon Ondoy.

It is sadder still to hear the names of friends who are in the middle of such waters, who lost everything in their homes except the structure and whose vehicles were either swept or destroyed by typhoon Ondoy. We're able to help one. But there were more of them out there.

All we could do during typhoon Ondoy was to be thankful that my home and family were fine. I was thankful not just for myself but for my mother and siblings out there who called me up to find out how I'm doing. It felt like a privilege to tell them that everything was fine with their baby brother and they had nothing to worry about.

Indeed life is a privilege from above, and all we can really do as mortals---even as we struggle to live a great life according to our own definitions---is to be grateful.

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