Sunday, September 27, 2009

Define Disaster

Saturday morning was dark and rainy. I woke up after 3 solid hours of sleep and started preparing for the UP Manila Organizational Communication 25th anniversary conference.

And the next 24 hours turned out to be one of the weirdest days of my life.

I got to school early, as my dad took pity on me and gave me a ride. The conference was good, and it was nice to listen to the speakers. But even as the conference was ongoing, we were already receiving news from outside about the flood. By 11 a.m. the water level in Pedro Gil was waist-high. I had also received news from home that floodwater had entered the car and our house--a first since we moved here 11 years ago.

After the conference, all of us were stranded. There were 8 of us in the group--Dien, Jaypee, Chris, Eunice, Monica, Brian, Jhama, and I--all OrCom shiftees. We didn't have anything to eat in school, so we decided to brave the knee-deep waters of Padre Faura to get to Rob. When we arrived, half of the stores were either closed or closing. We hit the department store because my companions needed to buy slippers. Luckily, I had a pair in my bag. How I wished I'd packed extra clothes as well.

CAS Parking Lot and Oblation Garden

After a long debate on where to eat, we settled for Shakey's. We had lunch at 3:00 p.m. and killed time until 6 at the restaurant because we didn't know where else to go. By around 7 p.m. we all wanted to go home. Jhama hitched a ride with a friend (but they were stranded for hours on the road), and the rest of us wanted to get to UN to take the train or to Monica's dorm. The water was so deep by then and the handful of vehicles passing through generated monster waves so we stopped over at CAS where we learned that people were sleeping over, so the 6 of us decided to stay, while Monica braved the flood to get to her dorm.

The sleepover was generally fun. Jaypee and Brian went out to buy supplies (i.e., toothbrushes, soap, clothes, etc.). I opted to sleep in my slacks, turtleneck top, and blazer. Aside from RH looking more like a refugee camp than anything else, we were okay. We ate countless packs of pizza-flavored Baked Sticks (they were a sponsor for the OrCom conference). Baked Sticks while waiting for dinner, Baked Sticks as a midnight snack, Baked Sticks for breakfast. I swear, we had a lifetime supply. I don't think I even want to see a pack of those corn snacks within the next few months.

We stayed in a room with the 3rd year OrCom, which were a fun bunch. They watched a movie and played games. We talked and took pictures and tried to sleep as best as we could on wooden armchairs. Power went off at around 2 a.m. but was quickly restored. At around 3, my neck was burning from my awkward position, and the floor was too cold to lie on. I got some decent shuteye at the RH lobby, when Brian and I decided to sleep on the benches.

This morning, I woke up at 6 only to find out that RH was a dead spot for Sun, and I got news from home that the waist-high floodwater had receded at around 8. I decided that I couldn't wait any longer and made it to the LRT. Even in the morning, the knee-deep water along Taft is scary. One particular bus spectacularly splashed me with a flood-water wave and I was so disgusted that the corporate attire I had been wearing for more than 24 hours was now splattered with sickly-green floodwater. But I made it home, helped with the cleanup, collapsed into a 4-hour sleep, I think, and finally had my bath.

So thank you to the people who made this otherwise horrible experience fun for me. To my shiftee friends mentioned above, for the Ultimate Bonding Experience, as well as the OrCom people for the instant sleepover; to the CAS guards and the DAC faculty--Madame Mikee Inton, Ms. Anna Aclan, Mr. Jan Bernadas, Prof. Chadwick Sy Su, Ma'am Adeva, Ma'am Pulumbarit, Dr. Bautista, and the rest whom I might have forgotten--for checking in on us, and for the people who kept me company through text (aside from my parents who were concerned and nagging at the same time).

What a day. It was some adventure, but that was nothing compared to what other Filipinos are experiencing right now. A lot of areas are still submerged in flood, there have been landslides, and people are missing. Let's all reach out to help and pray for the victims of Ondoy.

And for my kapwa Pinoys, we really can't blame nature for this. A lot of this is our fault, so let's stop illegal logging, littering on the streets, and even spitting just about anywhere. This country is all we have, why can't we seem to take care of it?

For those who want to help,
a list of some organizations you may contact.
For my schoolmates, the CAS SC and other orgs are collecting donations.


citybuoy said...

a painful reminder to lessen our impact on the environment. glad to know you're safe. :D

WV: gracci (how cute)

Koji A. Iizuka said...

I know Madame Inton :D well, not personally. i dated a guy from orcomm there and he told me about the formidable Madame.

Glad you guys are okay now. at least you're safe home with the folks.

rz fortajada said...

Thanks guys. :)

@Koji: really? Sikat ah. Haha, Madame is a real personality. :P

Koji A. Iizuka said...

Yeah, I heard :) hey, I mentioned you in my new entry. i talked about how you inspired me to blog again.

parteeboi said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
parteeboi said...

god my heart breaks everytime i think of the victims and the number of casualties... so sad.


rz fortajada said...

Hey Koji. :D Sorry for the super delayed reply, nawalan kami ng internet. :| Anyway, I'm so honored. Thank you. :D

rz fortajada said...

Hey too, parteeboi. Thanks for dropping by. :)

But yeah, I almost can't stand to watch the news, really devastating. There's so much rebuilding to be done. We should just do what we can to help.


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