Monday, September 28, 2009

No-Ass Flood

Saturday. I woke up thinking it would be just like the normal rainy day it has been the past few days. I had my daily double-dose morning coffee, saw our laundry woman out back, ate two bananas and then started doing my "rounds" in Pet Society and consumed my stamina in Mafia Wars.

Lunch Time. News of people getting denuded by flood is starting to come in. My mom tells me of a local artista getting trapped on the roof of her house. Felt sorry for them. I thought things are really getting freaky with nature nowadays. We have seamen neighbors and I have a seaman uncle who shares that waves in the open sea are at a terrible height like they've never seen before, sometimes being higher than the gigantic oil tankers threatening to engulf them. And the people I know are ship captains, they are not people who will exaggerate just for the sake of storytelling. They are so close to quitting they say. And so, I was contemplating... it is really virtually impossible for our house to get flooded. It has never happened before and we were on a small hill...

Then it started, water appeared in the street, started getting higher towards our garage which is elevated 1.5 feet from street level. Thinking this was as high as it could go, I wore boots and went out and took photos.
Outside my house water a little above the ankle
in the early part of the flooding. I didn't think it would get
any higher than this. Stupid me.

Our small subdivision is on the dead-end of a street. Think of the crooked end of a cane. Put it on the ground and that's where our small subdivision is. And surrounding around 60% of the backyards is the Dario Creek. Well our house's back is fortunately/unfortunately not to the back of the creek. The subdivision called Rivera Court is also at a height and the street's "trough"(the deepest part) is located just outside the subdivision so we're sort-of "on a hill." And so, the point of telling this little fact is that when apparently the creek started to swell up higher than "our hill" first water came out of holes used to drain backyards to the creek and started pouring out of my neighbors land unto the street out into the lower part of the street creating a massive river shank deep high...
I'm not sure if you can see the movement of water
but here it is... A River Runs Through...

One big wave of water poured water into my boots. So much for the wading boots. I asked my neighbors with basements if they already had water in them. "Yes." they answered. I then saw people coming in from the other side of the street's "trough." At the street's deepest part, water was up to their chin. I realized these are the staff of my neighbor who had a catering service. My mom later told me that they had to still deliver the food and go through their "event." Poor staff.

Can you see the people? When water was at its highest,
it submerged the lower parts of those coconut leaves.

I saw our neighbor who lived in a bungalow and had a low fence for a backyard being rampaged by the water. He lived on the incline towards the deepest part of the street. His gate suddenly gushed open on its own apparently forced open by the accumulating garbage that came with the water. And so out came water, water and garbage, garbage and more garbage...

Water and garbage coming out of my neighbor's gate...

Water got higher still. I went home and logged off from facebook. Turned off the computer and switched off the Breaker. My mom, my brother and me started frantically carrying all important stuff upstairs. Photos, Plush covers of the sofa, drawers filled with CDs and tapes. I disconnected all the wires from our component and carried it upstairs. We raised our washer and dryer on chairs. Our oven range on a chair. 2 LPG tanks on chairs. Water got higher! and entered the backyard first (lowest part of the house)!! My mom and brother were going crazy! My mom shouting while my brother is spaced-out... Herded our dogs upstairs. My mom's doll collection upstairs. Turned off the power. The three of us managed to carry our big refrigerator to our stair landing about 5 feet from the floor of the house... 7 feet from street level. More water reached inside... then shouting ensued...

Our house was burning!!! My mom was freaking-out outside. I saw black smoke coming out of doors and windows of one of our apartments that we rent out. I shouted at my mom to leave the place and calm down and that I will deal with it. I grabbed a plastic garbage bin I saw, emptied it and went in. Almost zero visibility inside. It was a miracle I did not had an asthma attack. I cannot see flames everything was a blur so I just wildly doused the supposedly burning room with the flood water I was immersed in. Smoke was still coming from somewhere I cannot see but there wasn't any flame. I can't see where it was coming really so I just doused and doused. We checked the upstairs unit to see if it was burning upstairs. No fire. We calmed down a little.

After the exciting incident I noticed we had strangers in our house. Apparently, I now had 10 adults, 3 infants, and a toddler aside from the 3 of us upstairs. Neighbors who had children and lived in bungalows who were afraid that something might happen when high waters come. We herded them into one of our rooms.

After everything calmed down, water inside the house was shank-high approx 1 foot. It was around 3 feet of water from our street -- but we're on the highest part of the small hill... and just outside the gate of the subdivision "the downhill part" the ground floors of houses are completely submerged...

We didn't have those big batteries that could power our radio so we didn't know what was happening via the radio. Stupid cellphones apparently only have FM. WTF?! Cellphone manufacturers, is it so difficult to also put AM?! And so we waited out the flood. I could hear alotta frogs croaking a noise that dominated all others. At least it was frogs and not wailing people. Our mongrel refused to go on dry land and instead was still guarding downstairs. Good job, Magic. He also went out for a swim in the deep parts when water got a little lower. By nightfall, the water was already gone and we have turned on the power upstairs but we let our neighbors sleep in our house just in case water suddenly came back when everybody was asleep.

Water left a lot of muck, shit, mud and the fire left soot. A lot of cleaning up to do. But we are still very very very lucky. A lot of people lost everything, some even the lives of their loved-ones. It is sad. And all of this happened days before my birthday. I decided to fore-go with the planned dinner with my DOH groupmates here at home. I can't go through it after seeing what happened.

I pray God gives everybody the strength they need to overcome this trial and the wisdom to pick-up and learn something from this experience. I hope the Filipinos will be their usual happy selves by Christmas time. It amazes me when I hear the bravery and bayanihan spirit of the proud Filipino people. Mabuhay ang mga Pilipino! Mabuhay ang Dugong Kayumanggi! Mabuhay ang Pilipinas!


*More of my flood photos can be found in my Flickr photostream.

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