Posts Tagged ‘Typhoon Ondoy’

You wouldn’t really miss something until it is out of your sight or you need it most. Sometimes, we take things for granted because they have always been there. Have you ever thought of not having that everyday necessity called tsinelas?  Call them flip-flops, thongs or Japanese sandals, those open-toed flat  footwear held by a Y-shaped  strap held between the first big and second toes on either side of your feet.  For the moneyed few, call them Havaianas but for ordinary people like me, just call them tsinelas.

I was watching the news report late this afternoon and one of the big bosses of the ABS CBN network was telling the anchor that there are  several flood victims of Sendong who are badly in need of slippers and blankets.  You may laugh at this, why of all things, tsinelas is one necessity that one really ought to have. Can you imagine yourself walking barefoot all the time without any protective covering on your feet?

So again, this ties up with my memories of typhoon Ondoy two years ago. Flood waters reached our place while we were about to have lunch and we didn’t really expect that it would rise immediately prompting us to save what we can, important papers, small appliances, books and anything that we could grab. Nobody thought of emptying our cabinets of clean clothes  just so we could save them. All I had saved on Nissa’s big beach bag when I left the house were house keys, two pairs of  change of clothes for each of us, underclothes,  my small transistor radio, cellphones, my chemotherapy drug and my camera.  We decided to leave the house when the flood waters reached my chest and transfer to a friend’s house across the street. The water was up to my neck when my son and I crossed the street and  I didn’t even know I was not wearing any slippers when I left our house. I just realized it when I reached the other side and the small stones lodged at the gutter hurt my feet and I could not go back to grab a pair.  I was cold and wet and felt that my feet were being pricked by a hundred needles. The first thing that I requested from a friend who volunteered to buy us supplies two days after  the flood was a pair of slippers and until now, I haven’t used it yet, kept along with unopened underclothes, extra jackets and our important documents in a sealed plastic box. It’s not easy to cope during a calamity  and we were lucky that my family and I were together when we experienced it. I could imagine the plight of the people in Iligan and Cagayan de Oro. A simple pair of tsinelas would really go a long way.

And prayers, always prayers! They need our moral support too more than ever.


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It’s raining cats and dogs and there is a super typhoon coming.  PAGASA named her Chedeng. I just can’t help but recall the damage brought by typhoon Ondoy – loss of lives which can never be replaced and a gargantuan damage to properties.  I remember how  we coped during those days, five families all in one roof and our belongings  destroyed by the typhoon. Even our car was completely submerged in water. It always pays to be on the alert specially now that the rainy season is almost upon us.

I want to share this wonderful prayer, we usually pray it after  praying the Holy Rosary.

Consecration of the Home 
to Our Lady Help of Christians

Most holy Virgin Mary, appointed by God to be the Help of Christians, we choose you as the Mother and protectress of our home. We ask you to favour us with your powerful protection. Preserve our home from every danger, from fire, flood, lighting, storm, earthquake, thieves, vandals, and from every other danger. Bless us, protect us, defend us, keep as your own all the people who dwell in this home: protect them from all accidents and misfortunes, but above of all obtain for them the most important grace of avoiding sin. Mary help of Christians pray for all those- who live in this home which is consecrated to you for all time. Amen

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September 28, 2009

I would not really know how to begin because this story is another milestone not only in my family’s life but also in the lives of our neighbors, our community and our own town, Cainta, Rizal.

In all of my fifty two years of existence, this is the first time that I encountered such an experience.  For the last two days, I felt that the world stopped all of a sudden.  Have you ever imagined that kind of helpless feeling and just cry your heart out in frustration?  When all you can  do is pray and hold on to each other because you are not sure if you’ll still see each other tomorrow or the following day or the next?  This happened to us at the height of typhoon Ondoy.

September 26, 2009. Saturday was supposed to be another family day for us.  Hubby and my daughter left early to do our weekend marketing. They arrived home at around 8am and we spent another hour of storing the food that they bought.  Hubby and I were scheduled to go to Sto. Domingo Church in QC upon our friend Lovell’s invitation to visit Mama Mary at her Shrine (La Naval) before they prepare her for the procession on October 11.  Although it has been raining cats and dogs the previous night, the Saturday downpour left us unaware that flood waters could reach our place in a few hours.  We’ve been staying in this place for the last fifteen years and even at the heaviest downpour, rain waters only reach our gate.  There was something unusual at the speed of water coming in so we spent the next two hours trying to save most of our possessions from being drenched and destroyed.

Nobody thought of having lunch although my daughter prepared one.  At around 1pm, flood waters inside the house  reached my waist so I told hubby that we should vacate the place. I was the first one to leave guided by my son Josef carrying a change of clothes for each one of us, cellphones which come in handy in times of disasters like this. We sought refuge at my neighbor’s house across the street.  The water outside was up to my neck when we crossed the street and I only realized I was not wearing any slippers.   My son painstakingly carried the contents of our freezer on his shoulder thinking  that we would not have enough food if the flood goes for long.  They stayed for another hour knocking on our other neighbors’ doors and helping them into safety.  We were five families who stayed in that place for about three days, helping and comforting each other, sharing the meager food that we had and trying to contact the outside world for help.

When you are tense and stressed, sleep wouldn’t come that easy.  I remember our neighbor Jomarie who went back to their place just to retrieve the favorite doll of his 3-year old daughter.  We thought he was carried away by the raging waters because he was not answering our shouts.  According to his wife, that doll that he saved was his daughter’s security blanket and that she could not sleep at night without it.  The love of a father to his child.  Silent tears were flowing freely when I learned about it.

We might have lost most of our material possessions but we gained extended families in our neighbors who went through the same ordeal with us.  I am so thankful that my own family is complete.  It might take sometime for us to have our normal lives back . It is an experience I will never forget.

The brush with typhoon Ondoy taught me many things.  Your faith in God should never waver in times like this, it’s the time that you need Him most.  It taught me that one could live simply from day to day, without worrying about what tomorrow brings.  You are just thankful that you are given another day to survive.  Thank you Lord for keeping us all safe.

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