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Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Weather we liked it or not

A long-delayed blogcast

With all the media hype billowing around it, and the obvious impact it was beginning to impress on anything and everyone that it touches, it was one of the worst times to be out on the streets without a camera.

It was one of the worst times to be out on the streets, period.

It was a scene straight out of the movie Day After Tomorrow, minus the snow. (Day After Tomorrow is the film where Dennis Quaid [I believe] overcame horrendous weather to get to his son Jake Gyllenhaal who along with some friends were trapped in New York City.)

Classes were suspended the day before the bad weather came because according to PAGASA, Tropical Storm Milenyo will skim the borders of the metro. There was initial rejoicing since I didn’t have to go to class and deliver my lecture on- irony of ironies- Disaster Management to 3rd year med students. However, my teammates from GK said that an emergency meeting is being called for the GK Global Expo scheduled for next week.

And so despite the warnings a-blaring on radio and tv and the obvious foul weather which greeted me the instant I woke up, I headed to our GK office that faithful Thursday, September 28th. When we got to the office, electricity was already cut off. Not the ones to give up easily, we scouted the fastfood joints along Ortigas Avenue and lo and behold- Jollibee was open and it had electricity. We proceeded with our meeting which ended a little before 11am, the time the tropical storm was expected to pass through Metro Manila.


By the time our meeting ended and all other subsequent side trips were dispensed with, the winds had already began showing off. So many branches of trees have fallen and the streets were litter-strewn. Mind you, when I say the branches, they were anywhere from finger- to torso-thick logs and the mess flailing around were a mixture of detached business signages and a host of loose construction materials like galvanized iron sheets.

The flooded streets- in some parts reaching at least half my tires- were no help either.

As we are programmed to do in occasions such as these, my sister and I decided that we should go home together. Yes, we BOTH reported for work. After arguably the scariest road trip I have taken in my entire life, I got to Glorietta and we drove home.

Trees within Ayala Center were uprooted. The stretch of McKinley was practically devoid of the darling shade provided by the decades-old acacias living parallel to the road. Lamp posts along C5 fell like dominoes. Traffic crawled at a pace that would even make a snail loose its cool with the sheer slowness of it all.

We get to our house, which had no electricity, water supply, nor phone line. With cell phone batteries barely able to send and receive messages- due to lack of battery power and the cell site system thrashed by the tropical storm.

To add to my anxiety, I was to leave for a GK workshop and surgical mission in Borongan, Eastern Samar at 5:10 am the following day. I nearly didn’t go. But all systems were back on track according to the Cebu Pacific personnel I interrogated over the phone at around 11pm. And more importantly, our bosses said the trip was a go. So, go we did.

Boy- am I glad that I DID go. Else, I would have missed these:

Milenyo practically spared the Samar provinces en route to whooping through Metro Manila hence the excellent weather there and the negligible amount of damage to property and disruption of lives.

Faiths were a bit shaken but we were steered to where we ought to be.

(In the photos: the hardly-visible Makati Shangri-La and a fellow straggler in the form of a cab, caught in Milenyo, caught by my phone's camera because my digicam's batt went dead and i left my Woca at home; sumptuous feasts wherever we were in Samar; my first real view of San Juanico Bridge; a fantastic beach along Borongan; San Lorenzo Ruiz Parish in Balanggiga town, whose bells were stolen as booty by Americans in 1901; the fine hotel we stayed in in Borongan; scenes from the surgical mission and GK workshop we conducted).

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Blogger Allan Antonio said...

You really have a big heart. I'm so proud of you.

By the way, this is by no measure shallow. :)

Thursday, November 02, 2006 2:53:00 AM  
Blogger Dorothy said...

Wow ... very vivid description of Milenyo! I never knew it was "that" disastrous!

Anyway, this is my first time to read your blog Ian! I'm glad you started one! ... I'm sure all your stories and writings would inspire millions! (especially us, your classmates! hehe!)

Carry on! :O)

Thursday, November 09, 2006 11:46:00 AM  

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