Tuesday, October 6, 2009

DAY 2 Sept. 27, 2009 (Sunday)

Having had a bad night's rest because of the unfavorable circumstances that we had to live through for the night, the only thing I want to do the next morning was to curl up in my bed and sleep. Which proved to be impossible because upon opening the front door, what greeted us was 1 inch thick mud covering the entire floor and we had to mud skate our way inside because it was so slippery. My ice skating teacher would've been proud.

Flood water still ankle deep.

Compared to our neighbors, our house was the way we left it. No refrigerator, sala set and dining table floated around the place and nearly all our appliances survived potential drowning. I did find out, however, that I forgot to salvage my high school memoirs from its bottom shelf so now my yearbook and handwritten short stories etc. are all wet and muddy. :( Add to that, the tremendous amount of work to be done to clean up our house made me weak in the knees.

No choice but to walk in the muddy water.

Because nobody was expected to do it but me, I started mopping a years worth of mop work. And I hate mopping. At first it seemed as if I was getting nowhere but after many hours and cycles of repetitive work which I absolutely dislike, our floor finally resembled a floor and not forest ground.

At about 5pm, my tita was still stranded somewhere in Junction (after a day and a half) and my tito started to have stomachaches and chest pains and we needed to buy medicine. Flood in our street had already subsided and somebody said that Junction was already water free so my Mom and Grandma decided to throw me and Tito in a wild goose chase for medicine and my tita with the sun already setting and no electricity anywhere nor flashlights.

I knew it was a bad idea from the start but everyone insisted, so I was forced to accompany my tito in a quest for an open Mercury Drug and my aunt. Streets near ours were already flood free but as we neared our subdivision's gate, water went as high as waist deep and we waded through it because my tito kept saying, "Dito lang yan, pagdating sa labas wala na yan, sa Junction wala na daw baha e..", even though I really wanted to head back, walk barefooted in my newly mopped floor and sleep in my comfy bed. Instead, we were half walking, half swimming in mudder water in pitch black darkness with only the moonlight to show us the way.

By the entrance of our subdivision, there is a gasoline station along the main road going to Junction and Sta. Lucia Mall. And I thought that when we get there, we would be greeted with lights and signs of civilization. What we saw gave me the chills.

Everything was dead. There were no signs, whatsoever, of life except for the few people walking in the middle of the highway going both ways. The warm light that I thought would be coming from the gas stop and the hi-way lights were turned off because the streets were still flooded with knee deep water.

I really wanted to go home at that point but since we've already walked and waded for so long and so far, we decided to walk further to Junction. Thank Obama there were people who were also braving the dark and creepy flood water or else I would've thought we were in a twisted episode of The Twilight Zone.

I will never forget the instance where we walked past the gates of Gruar I and II subdivisions. There were rumors that a lot of people died in those places because of the sudden rise of water and the shanty-ish houses occupying the said place. The eerily shadowed entrance of the village was enough to give me goosebumps but what really scared me off was the smell. It smelled of decay and death. I was so afraid that my legs blindly walking through the water would catch an arm or something. Thankfully, it didn't and after that, water started to subside as we reach Junction.

So the rumors were right. Junction was flood-less. Technically. They didn't mention how flooded it was still in all the streets leading to it.

The epicenter of Cainta, a once busy bustling intersection with roads leading to Ortigas Extension, Marcos Hi-Way, Cainta "Bayan" and Taytay looked like an industrial graveyard that night. No lights were on, no cars nor buses passing through, no life. And surprise surprise, Mercury Drug was also wiped out by the flood. So, no medicine.

To add salt to the gaping wound that was the uselessness of our midnight adventure, I could not, for the love of Obama, contact my missing tita. Her last text said that they were staying outside Robinson's Mall right across Mercury Drug (because they were rudely "asked" to exit the said mall in the middle of the storm) but she was not there. There were only a few people milling around the place and most of them looked sinister. In fact, on our way to the drug store, I saw some guy in a black leather jacket looting bread and Obama knows what from an abandoned Buy 1 Take 1 Burger stand.

At the same time, my tito decided to thicken the plot by saying that his chest hurt and that he could walk no more.

In front of Mercury Drug were couple of guys selling candies and crackers. My tito bought all the crackers he could find and sat on an empty monoblock chair to eat. I started texting my Mom and another Tita in panic mode, fearing it would be the last time I would get to use my phone. Every one of the people around us looked like robbers and drug addicts. And as if to prove my point, minutes later, some man (who I was 90% sure was crazy in the head) started talking to us and interviewing my tito on why he was sitting in his chair. My tito said he has hypertension and needed to rest and Loopness started talking about how doctors were idiots and that he defied all sickness without ever taking any medicine.

My other tita, in Ilo-Ilo, replied to my text plea, and said that my missing tita texted her and said that they went to Tuhog Tsibog etc., a restaurant by Park Place entrance, a subdivision walking distance from Junction. I said to my tito that we should go there to check. He refused to do so and wanted to walk back to our subdivision and seek shelter from his friend (who lives near our subdivision gates) so he could rest.

I started fuming inside. Pano naman ako? I cleaned our house all day so I could be mud free for the remainder of the night and sleep soundly, now he wanted to spend the night in the house of some friend? I really wanted to abandon him at that moment and head on to my friend/boyfriend's house but, fortunately, a plot twist came about.

Who knew talking with Loopness was worth something? My tito mentioned that if some kind of ride, may it be tricycle, pedicab, anything, was available, we would gladly pay for it so we could get back to our subdivision without walking. In the end, after a few minutes, 2 guys with a padyak with no seats surfaced. Ready to serve for P300. We jumped at the deal despite the horrific fee.

With the pedicab at our disposal, my tito asked if we could pass by Park Place to see if tita was still there. The 2 guys manning the pedicab surprisingly agreed.

When we arrived in Tuhog Tsibog, the open area of the restaurant/bar was barricaded with metal fences. Inside was darkness and more darkness. I could not see a thing and it was easily deductible that the place was devoid of people except for some men trying to start a 10 wheeler truck which got stranded in the middle of the road. In a twist of fate that made me believe in the power of miracles, just when I was about to leave because it seemed as if no one was there, something, or someone moved in the darkness and I saw a shadow stand up. Without thinking or seeing anything but shadow, I yelled, "Tita!". Ever so slowly, someone walked to me and, lo and behold, it was my missing tita.

Turned out, she was still with an officemate so the 4 of us crammed our way into the pedicab and went on another adventure back home. And even though it was still a long way back and we still had to wade through waist deep water for the second time, I didn't notice the time nor how tired I was because I was just so glad we're on our way back home and our peculiar padyak journey was filled with stories and various screams of

"Wag jan may manhole jan! Kaliwa kaliwa!"


"Oh! Kanal! Kanal! Sa gitna lang!"

Tito and I left our house at about 5PM. All 4 of us arrived at about 10PM. That was one of the longest and most unforgettable 4 hours of my life. And it made me believe more in miracles especially after sharing stories, we found out that the only reason tita stood up from her slumber in the Tuhog Tsibog etc. and allowed me to see her shadow and call out was that she felt cold and not because she saw me. If she hadn't stood up, if Loopness hadn't arrived and chatted away, if tito didn't have the stomach aches, we would not have this happy ending.

And that is nothing short of a miracle.


Jena Isle said...

These are incredible stories, Clarisse. I'm glad all's well now.

Clarrise said...

Thanks for reading this long post. :) God was with us the whole time, or else we would not have survived such ordeal.

Badong said...

at least we can all say " I survived Bagyong Ondoy!" kaya nating lahat to!

Clarrise said...

Yes, we can! :D

sexylegsandbody said...

Woow, that is a lot of water.. Glad you are all ok!

Anonymous said...

Say my regards to your Tita in Ilo-Ilo. =)

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