lessons from Ondoy

Sept 26,2009. I am one of the many who got stranded by this typhoon Ondoy, where East Rizal is declared to be in state of calamity. The sudden flow of water is now being compared to a flash flood that hits Marikina, Cainta, Taytay, Antipolo and other cities nearby.

It was a humbling, scary, life-threatening situation for me. Mahirap sumugod sa baha ng nag-iisa, kaya kinailangan ko ng supporta ng ibang taong tutulong saken papunta dun. It started at around 1:00pm when we walked from Floodway going towards Ever-Junction, kung saan hanggang bewang ang baha. The struggle began when we are about to pass St. Joseph subdivision, dun malakas ang agos ng tubig, the pressure from the creeks inside the village is too much to handle. I am one of the many who attempted to pass, almost die after maanod, but some good samaritans assisted you and keep you alive. I owe my life to God and to the people He used to save me.

We decided to stay in the 2nd floor of a commercial building waiting for any form of rescue or at least mapababa ang tubig baha. Wala kameng makaen dun, walang tubig, wala ring maayos na matutulugan, basa ang gamit, mabuti na lang ang matibay ang phone ko para makacontact sa bahay at ipaalam na ok ako. When I heard my mom’s voice, dun ako bumigay…I cried and very scared about the near death experience, I’m like an inch to death. Im scared that my family is not ready when it happens.

The cliche na makabitaw sa lubid is deadly, dahil once it happened, mamimili ka na lang ng kababagsakan mo: manhole or pasig river. Isnt it ironic that in times of trouble, parang napakadali nateng makipag communicate with strangers…dahil at the end of the day, sila ang kasama naten sa hirap, we feel the exact same trauma. I met Paulo, Bryce, Aloha and Lany and we share the same sentiment about this disaster. Lahat din kame ay galing sa trabaho. Sa panahon kase na wala kayong gagawin kundi mag antay, magiging napaka interesanteng makinig sa kwento ng buhay ng ibang tao….dahil baka sila rin ang huli mong makita at makasama.

Sunday na ng sumubok ulet kameng magpunta sa Ever Gotesco mall dahil hinde namen alam kung kelan dadating ang rescue or kung meron pa ba talagang dadating ganitong short na rin sa pagkaen. Ang pangalawang attempt ay masasabe kong mahirap, pero naisip ko kung hinde namen susubukan hinde namen malalaman kung kame ay nagtagumpay. With God’s grace, nakalagpas na nga kame sa malakas na agos sa St. Joseph subdivision at tumungo na ng Ever mall kung saan mas maraming tao ang nakatigil duon. Tingen ko more than 200 people ata ang naka stay dun, sa pag aakala kong may makakainan, saka naman nagsara ang Chowking at Savory dahil ubos na rin ang pagkaen. Nagmamaktol na ang sikmura ko kasama na rin ng puyat dahil hinde ka naman talaga makakatulog sa ganung sitwasyon. Nararamdaman ko na ang paghina ng mga binti ko at iniisip ko kung makakatagal ba ako ng isa pang gabi na gutom at walang makakaen. Nagdecide ako lakarin kahit hanggang dibdib na baha papuntang Junction, sa awa ng Dyos at ng ilang good samaritans, kame ay nakaalpas. Gabi na ng makarating ako ng Antipolo. I appreciate my nice dinner, nice bath and a sound sleep. Its as if i miss home. Now i appreciate life more because I know that the reason why I wanna rush home is because there are people who cares for me. Thank God for another life to live to tell meaningful stories like this.

Sa lahat ng ito, may mga bagay akong natutunan kay Ondoy:

– Ang tunay na pagtulong ay walang presyong katapat. Hinde mo kelangan ibalandra ang pangalan mo sa tv para masabeng “makatao” ka.

– More rescue boats, more people we can save. Dapat mas marami ang bilang ng taong ililigtas at hinde dapat marami ang security troops sa isang boat.

– Invest in life vests. Napansin ko na sa lahat ng mga nag rescue, ni isa walang vest.

– Trust your hunch. Kung hinde mo kaya ang baha, wag ka ng sumuong pa. Stay somewhere safe.

– Give up material stuff. Value your life more.

– Go Green. Let us empower tree planting, we owe a lot from our nature.

– Love the people around you everyday, you will never know if you still see them around.

– Above anything else, pray because you cannot help yourself without Him.

Kaya para sayo Ondoy, wag ka na sanang bumalik pa, salamat sa yong pagdaan dahil marami kang alaalang maiiwan sa amen.

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