Tuesday, September 28, 2010

One year after Ondoy

As the flood waters rose steadily on that fateful morning of September 26, 2009, my sister and i decided to go to the Zen Center (zendo) where i work (which was three houses away). After securing our stuff and shutting off our main switch, we locked our house and went to the zendo. There, we were met by the center's treasurer, Juju Tan, who was in the zendo moving the important items of the zendo to the second floor. Juju then waded through chest high waters to meet his driver near the gate of Provident.

My sister and i made ourselves at home on the zendo's 2nd floor, where the dormitory is situated. We were later joined by the de Guzmn and Pineda families who live next door to the zendo. Luckily for us, the de Guzmans had a ladder and a big roll of insulation foam, while the Pinedas brought their lunch with them.

By noon, we were on the roof, waiting to be rescued. An hour later we were joined by Dominic and his wife, along with Nero, their german shepherd. The men in our group spent the night taking turns holding up our makeshift tent which kept the women and children dry. Early next morning, Atty. de Guzman arrived with a rubber dinghy which rescued our neighbors. My sister and i chose to stay behind. We waited for the water to recede up to the waist, then waded the flood waters to reach the gate of Provident Village.

One year after Ondoy, i still live in Provident Village, quite aware that the drainage systems have not been thoroughly dredged and cleaned, and knowing full well that the Marikina River has become shallow. Armed with this "knowledge", i made my own version of a grab bag. My friend gave me a dry bag which i can use to store a small AM Radio, flashlight, waterproof matches, a couple of shirts, some cigarettes, easy-to-open canned goods and a whistle.

One year after Ondoy, i still keep hearing government officials claim they are ready for another Ondoy. But really, who can ever be ready for another Ondoy? Honestly, i'm not putting much faith in local government to resuce me from another disaster. The Zendo today is being renovated, and an escape hatch to the roof is being added to ensure a quick exit in case of another flood.

One year after Ondoy, our neighbors are still here, a little wary but still suriving. I am still in awe that despite the disaster, we managed to stay calm and composed during the entire ordeal.

One year after Ondoy, i am still in awe of the inviolability of the human spirit.

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