Excerpt from Ondoy

Having operated in Karangalan, Cainta for almost two years, Homer and Sol were used to the recurrent rain and occasional flood water in front of the office but the 2009 flash flood was something else. When the water started to rise inside the office, the first items they saved were the computers. They carried everything to the second-floor bedrooms and grabbed as many files as they could. When the waters reached waist-level, they only had a small window to open the Toyota Vios' car windows to keep the car from floating away.

But the flood water didn't stop. It rose up to chest-level that Homer and Sol decided to let go trying to save the printed products and paper supplies that lined that small business office, not to mention the stockroom at the back filled with more supplies and items ready for delivery. At that time, the couple told their youngest child to stay in UP and not attempt to go home because the whole of Pasig and Cainta were in complete chaos.

Sol (S): [There were] thousands of copies of books na ready for delivery, naitaas namin sa mesa pero yung mesa nagiba sa sobrang taas ng tubig. Nakita namin kung paano nabasa ng mga dapat ide-deliver na. Even the machines! Nalubog yung printing machine. Nalubog yung cutting machine.

Homer (H): Nalubog din yung car.

S: Tapos nagbibiruan pa nga kami ni Homer kasi yung tubig kapag dumikit sa katawan mo para kang nag-lotion kasi nga lumabas lahat ng oil ng mga makina. Lahat lumutang wala kaming nai-save. Even the car, one-year old palang yung Vios that time. Lahat lumubog, walang natira, sa bahay, sa office.

H: Tapos yung tatlong anak namin hindi ma-contact. Yung dalawa nasa bahay walang communication. Tapos yung isa hindi na nga nakauwi, natulog nalang sa waiting shed sa school.

When the sun came out and the waters finally subsided, it was a heartbreaking scene everywhere you look. The so-called Ondoy of 2009 ravaged homes, killed people and destroyed livelihood. Back then, it was so easy to be angry because of the lack of proper disaster management program in the two cities but it was even easier to feel so small and so helpless in the middle of all the chaos.

 

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Edits: Jacquie Bamba S. Zamora

Make A Colorful Impression

Philippine Copyright © 2016 by Katherine C. Eustaquio-Derla

Kath C. Eustaquio-Derla is a journalism graduate from the University of Santo Tomas in Manila, Philippines. She wrote Bedroom Blog by Veronica, a relationship blog for Cosmopolitan Philippines from 2009 to 2011, which covers most of her single dating life. In 2015, she published her first book Before I Do. She’s passionate about coffee, red wine, books and Mad Men. She stopped collecting hearts when she got married in 2013 and went back to collecting Archie Comics ever since. Send the author a tweet @kceustaquio.

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any written, electronic, recording, or photocopying without written permission of the publisher or author. The exception would be in the case of brief quotations embodied in articles or reviews and pages where permission is specifically granted by the publisher or author.

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