Thinking Aloud at the Height of Habagat’s Wrath

Note: This write-up contains my musings about the not-yet-totally-over deluge that happened weeks ago. I blame procrastination and my slobbish self that these thoughts weren’t actually published until now.

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Sometime in August

I love the rain.

The pitter-patter of droplets I hear on our roof has lulled me to sleep for these past few days. Yet it never really gave me quite the satisfaction of slumber because the thought of my fellow Filipinos being drenched wet and homeless keeps me worried.

For the heck of it, why the hell did this monster monsoon Habagat choose to mercilessly inundate the fresh, and recently-devastated poor survivors of the killer storm Ondoy? T’was as if we are tested by the heavens – but no, I won’t buy the RH Bill reason. I know God doesn’t work that way.

I can’t sleep well because I feel guilty. I know I shouldn’t be guilty if I’m lucky enough to be living in a higher ground, unaffected by the deluge. Yet somehow, in the deepest gut of me I feel undeserving to sleep neatly tucked under the sheets while hundreds of flood victims cry for help having lost their homes. It makes me uncomfortable that I can happily wake up the next day (and even extend my snooze) while just in the nearby city a lot of people haven’t even slept yet. Yes, I am dry and safe and I shouldn’t really worry. But I do – not just because my conscience tells me, but as a Filipino, somehow I take part of the blame on why these flood problems have risen. I am part of this nation… and we all are. We should all be accountable for this horrific mess, shouldn’t we? (Oops, maybe too much for my “save-the-world” ideations.)

But c’mon. Seriously? With just a little downpour we have a massive flood? I give a sharp no that this problem is the fault of the government. Let’s stop pointing fingers on whoever is in position. No one man army can practically put a solution to this age-old problem of the Metro and of some provinces too.

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What Could Have Gone Wrong?

I believe it’s a combination of several factors. The inevitable surge of informal settlers plus the proliferation of massive construction projects near sea waters have greatly interfered with the natural flow of things. Not to mention, the growing problem on waste management is unfortunately still – growing. If it reaches maturity I dare not speak what more tragedy can happen. Metro Manila has technically become a big trash can for its inhabitants.

Consequently, all these things have contributed to one main event: every time it rains, water has nowhere to go. It’s trapped like a stranded traveler facing a dead-end, with no detours and no turning back. It’s H2O stuck as hell in the middle of the metropolis. I fancy likening this phenomenon to pouring a pitcher of water into a large, deep bowl. Applying metaphors: the pouring of water is the endless rain, the bowl is nothing else but this damn whole flooded place (and we’re like tiny pebbles inside it barely hanging on to our lives).

habagat

Next question: Is there any way out of this peril? Is there something we can do to avoid getting drowned inside this big bowl of doom? There is a way to reverse things and avoid this grave predicament – it’s change… for the better.

Thought Bubble: I don’t wanna die drowning in the flood and the thought of crossing a river with a raging current is enough to break off my sanity given that I am not an expert swimmer. I don’t wanna experience losing a home or any loved one because I didn’t build an Ark – and so now I’m going to.

A Call for Action

Perhaps instead of finding who’s the real culprit for these unfavorable consequences, let’s just all start to assess ourselves and try to be part of the solution. I do believe that simple acts of random kindness (ARK – remember the movie?) can go a long way – like being responsible for our own trash.

When the flood waters ebbed away, the affected areas were welcomed by a massive chuck-load of filth and garbage. Yes, looks like Mother Nature is just giving us back what we have thrown away to her. I hope that this incident becomes an eye-opener for all Filipinos. After Ondoy though, we have made little progress.

Nevertheless, we still have a lot of things to do as a nation. Rebuild homes, actively participate in anti-flood projects, donate to those who have been affected, clear our drainage system, minimize our trash, and I leave the rest to you.

Restored Faith

Forget Olympics, we were glued to the tube for almost three days, hearing reports from here and there about shanties being washed out by torrid currents, landslides taking place in highly-populated areas, missing persons gone for hours (or days, only to be found dead), people trapped without food (and I thought it can only happen in movies), yada yada. All these unfortunate stories make me feel like the best and only way I can help is to get down on my knees, pray for these souls and ask for a miracle.

Okay, so perhaps I/we can do something. Donate. Volunteer. Help. On the lighter side of things, it’s heartwarming to also hear extraordinary stories amidst the turmoil. An expectant mother “unexpectedly” giving birth, 24/7 rescue operations of unsung heroes, dogs being saved by owners (and vice-versa), volunteers showing up from everywhere, help being extended to those who need it, a just-married couple kissing under the gushing rain; I’m not quite sure why I’m saying this, but I guess my faith in humanity was actually restored.

In addition, it surely goes without saying that the humorous nature of Filipinos turned this disaster into a viral laughingstock in Facebook. It’s amazing how some people, after being stripped away of everything they own, can still manage to pull out a joke out of the matter – just like this lost mermaid/man. It’s more fun in the Philippines, indeed.

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For the record too, Pag-Asa foretold that by Thursday the terrible weather condition will start to improve – and it did. Today, I woke up sensing that something’s different. The welkins are free from the “gloomy atmosphere” and radiant corpuscular rays are shining through the clouds, quite an indication that the downpour is over.

Unfortunately, the flood still remains and people will have to deal with it.

Oh, I love the rain.

Image Courtesy: I don’t own the pics posted. All images were linked to the source site. 

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One comment

  1. Pingback: A Poem for Nurses from an Old Man « Chopstick Lady

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