I am proud to say I am a survivor of Ondoy’s wrath.
Two days of almost nothing and a week of adjustment. This is how our life has been ’til today.
Friday evening of September 25, my husband and I were supposed to fetch our baby from my parents’ house in Pasig (we live in the same area, our apartment was just in De Castro Ave., a mere walk from them). It was raining already, and my mom wasn’t too keen on the idea of traveling Zee in that kind of weather. I slept at my parents’ house while hubby stayed in the apartment. He told me he’d come back in the morning.
Early morning of Saturday, the rain wasn’t letting up. I figured that it would stop by noon. I took a nap beside sleeping Zee.
10AM, my brother roused me from sleep to tell me that the floodwater was starting to seep into the house from the front door. I looked outside and found knee-deep floodwater on the street.
My mom and dad, who drove my two other sibs to Eastwood, arrived a few minutes after and started lifting our things on a higher part of our bungalow. Hubby arrived by 10:30, with the water rising fast.
11:00, Zee and I were in our parents’ mini-bookstore which was elevated compared to the main house. Cars of neighbors were already parked in that section of De Castro Ave. The rain was not stopping.
A couple of hours after that, my mom was calling my dad, my bro and hubby from the store, telling them to come up and just stop whatever they were doing. Flood inside the house was chest-deep already. We decided to move out of the house, primarily because we wanted to protect the baby.
By 2PM, I waded in mudwater with Zee in tow to a neighboring mini-mart with a second floor. The mini-mart owner let us stay in one of the vacant office spaces in the second floor. Hubby and my bro brought Zee’s bag of clothes, her food and water, and a cot for her to lie on. My dad and mom stayed in the store, trying to salvage what they can.
Around 4PM, the water was still rising. My mom, who is less that 5′ in height, swam across to where we were with the help of some of my bro’s friends and makeshift floaters. My dad followed minutes after.
By 6PM of September 26, this was what was left of my parents house:
The picture above was taken from the second floor of the mini-mart. Five other families and employees of the nearby machine shop were with us.
In a span of a few hours, what we had left were Zee’s things and a cot. As for us adults, all we had were the clothes we were wearing. Nothing more. The house — all that’s left was the roof.
We fed ourselves with Fudgee Bars, Hansel Cookies and Real Leaf Tea. But the mini-mart owner was very kind, so in between we were able to eat a bit of rice, some sardines, and corned beef until Sunday.
The second day, we saw rubber boats and small boats like canoes floating by. At one point, a rubber boat passed and the guys there were throwing small plastic bags of juice and bread. They missed their targets. Most of the goods ended up falling into the water.
Sunday afternoon, my sister’s boyfriend dropped by, but not without swimming from Floodway to where we were. He brought water, candles, a flashlight, and milk for Zee (who was, incidentally, celebrating her third month of life). By that time, the flood was ebbing. We figured that we could leave by Monday morning and stay at my aunt’s house in Cubao. And so at around 8AM on September 28, my sister (who stayed with her boyfriend in Eastwood) fetched us and took us to Cubao where my other brother and my aunt’s family were waiting for us.
Before Ondoy (or Ketsana), I already had an experience of evacuating to a neighbor and seeing our house being drowned in about 5 feet of floodwater. That was 1985. But during that time, I could still see a portion of the house, even our car’s roof. Ondoy was different, it was more fierce. And the time when the water was rising was a lot faster. That’s why many families failed to save a lot of their property. As for us, we had to say goodbye to most of our appliances and furniture, including the piano.
The aftermath isn’t encouraging, either. When before, we just had to let things dry because of the floodwater, Ondoy left us with a lot of mud to deal with. After a week’s cleaning, my parents’ house is still not in good condition. It’s literally falling apart. That’s why hubby, Zee and I moved to my in-laws in Novaliches for the meantime.
Our apartment was luckily spared, though (we rented a second-floor apartment). But because it was too small to accommodate more than 4 people, we decided to move out until my parents can completely fix, clean and disinfect the house.
It was the first time my hubby experienced this kind of flooding. Now he understands why I don’t like rains.
Despite losing most of our belongings to Ondoy, I’m still grateful that my family and I are all alive. The things we lost, we could regain in time. I am thankful that God has given us another chance of moving forward.
I know we’re down there now. And when you’re down, there’s nowhere else to go but up.
While Ondoy may have been the ugliest thing to happen to many Pinoys, it still brought something beautiful. My sincerest gratitude to those who helped us and who included us in their prayers:
The DC Mart along De Castro Ave. who provided shelter to strangers and families like us;
My relatives, the Dompors and the Varquezes, for always being there in times of need;
My in-laws, the Roldans, for their love and concern, and for allowing us to stay in their home for the meantime;
My officemates from DWH Launch Business Unit for the assistance, especially to KC, Ria, and Joyce… and yes, I’ve read “the email” (what can I say, ang saya niya!);
The DirectWithHotels management for the aid that just arrived while I’m writing this entry;
My friends from The Varsitarian (Carly, Ipe, and A), the Tomadors (Russell and Michicoo), and former officemate Fran for the messages of concern (a shoutout to A… I would have been a willing subject in your program. LOL!).
There are moments that I still cry when I recall what happened or think of my family. But I know that there is a reason for everything, and God has plans for us. Besides, this is no time for us to dwell on the past. It’s time to be hopeful for our future. It’s time to work on a better tomorrow.
And that’s what I’m trying to do.