Thursday, October 29, 2009


Does the sign of the cross.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Top 10 Weirdest Phobias

10. Fear of things to the left side of the body - Levophobia
Fear of things to the right side of the body - Dextrophobia
Levophobic and Dextrophobic patients are also often mistaken to have perpetual cervical injuries.

9. Fear of Friday the 13th - Paraskavedekatriaphobia
Don't worry, it only comes once every year.

8. An unusual and abnormal fear of chins - Geniophobia
Don't watch Jay Leno.

7. Fear of looking up - Anablephobia or Anablepophobia
Pedestrian #1: Look it's a bird!
Pedestrian #2: No, it's a plane!
Pedestrian #3: *seizure*

6. Irrational fear of the youth or teenagers - Ephebiphobia
Does being afraid of Miley Cyrus count?

5. Fear that somewhere, somehow, a duck is watching you - Anatidaephobia
Beware of ducks. They might quack.

4. Fear of the color yellow - Xanthophobia
Am betting one is not a Coldplay fan.

3. Fear of Peanut Butter sticking to the roof of the mouth — Arachibutyrophobia
A persistent, abnormal, and unwarranted fear of peanut butter sticking to the roof of the mouth. And I thought Homer was just afraid of Salmonella.

2. Fear of Phobias (a morbid dread or fear of developing a phobia) - Phobophobia
If one fears of developing a phobia, then one already has a phobia. Does that mean one fears oneself?

and the #1 weirdest phobia is...

1. Fear of Long Words — Hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia or Sesquipedalophobia
This is just cruel.
Psychiatrist: I'm afraid you have Hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia.
Patient: Gaaaaaaah!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

What if you have been committing English grammar and syntax errors all your life yet know nothing about it? Fear not and brace yourselves as I present this eye opening list of Filipinoisms at its best (or worst?).

Top 10 Entries in the Pinoy English Dictionary.

10. XEROX --> Proper name, much? Should be PHOTOCOPY.

9. Do you mind waiting? YES, I'll wait. -->  Say what??

8. CR (Comfort Room) --> Technically speaking, comfort room could by any room which provides comfort. So if your bedroom is one of those places, you may be sleeping in a comfort room for all you know. Universal term: TOILET.

7. No Parking on BOTH Sides --> Wow, I had no idea a car could park on BOTH sides at once. Unless somebody invents a mutating car ala Transformers, then the correct term should be: No Parking on EITHER Side.

6. For a WHILE --> For a MOMENT. (Ahem call center agents. :) )

5. TAKE your medicine --> DRINK your medicine. A patient will not get well by just taking the medicine from the nurse on duty.

and another one..

4. TAKE your seat --> Reminds me of my elementary and high school teachers. I would have bought home my chair if it wasn't so heavy because my teacher said I could TAKE it. Correct Term: HAVE a seat.

3. LONG CUT --> If there's a "short cut" then there's a long cut. Ha. Anyone bothered saying the LONG WAY?

and yet another one...


and in honor of the upcoming 2010 Elections, I present thee the No.1 entry in the Pinoy English Dictionary...

1. Presidentiable / Senatoriable

I dare you to type the one or both words in MS Word and spell check it. Google them if you like and I bet you'll only find them in Pinoy websites. It's amazing how these words have become a normal part of our vocabulary with even reporters quoting such term in nightly news. I am also waiting for the words Governable, Congressmanable and Mayorable to enter the Pinoy English dictionary. Not to mention Barangay Captainable and Tanodable. Then they could all unite into one entity called The Corruptibles. (Ref.)

Monday, October 26, 2009

Yesterday, I came to a not so shocking conclusion that... I am getting FAT. No, not morbidly obese fat, just plain fat. The kind of fatness visible in a person, like, when you see somebody walking down the street, you can easily deduce that that somebody is fat. Fat fat fat.

I have repeated that word in the last paragraph so many times that it temporarily lost its meaning in my brain.

The truth is, I was never really the thin one in the group. I was always the tall and sometimes chubby, sometimes skinny of the bunch. And being born with a ridiculously slow metabolism made matters worse. Constant yo-yo dieting brought about highs and lows and at this moment, I want to go back and get high.

So, last night, I dragged out the key to my salvation. A year old manual treadmill resting for months in a dark corner of my mom's bedroom. The funny thing about exercise machines is there's this certain belief that one will get thin instantly by just purchasing the machine. Only after minutes of trying it out will one realize that things are not as easy as they seem on TV.

In living up to the common expression of "Here we go again" I am presenting to the whole cyber community my very own Weight Loss Program Ver.10.2. What it is exactly is yet to be known but for now it includes lots activity, internet activity, that is. And probably 10 minutes of treadmill strolling. Ha.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Wordless Wednesdays.. eh, THURSDAY EDITION.
Blame previous absentminded post.

New addition to my bag. Every commuter's best friend.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

I am having a hard time writing these days. It seems that there is a huge traffic jam in my brain where words and ideas collided with each other straight to the ER. Even writing this post pains me. This really isn't a good thing since I'm training for an exam which requires me to write a total of 400 words in two essays within an hour with probably a topic I know nothing about. And those essays need to be breathtaking pieces of work, the kind of compositions I would look back on and think, "Damn, I'm good."

As far as I know, Writer's Block is not and has never been close to be considered as a medical problem. They should though, and I strongly advice medical researchers to find out the causes of such phenomena and create a revolutionary drug to treat/prevent it. Ha. For now, there are thousands of sites and blogs giving tips which you can choose from on how to overcome such dilemma. Not to say that they're helpful or anything, but at least they exist. For me, writer's block is something one have to deal with on one's own. No single tip could really get the ball rolling and make everything right with the world. If the words are stuck, then one should just try to fix the traffic lights or at least hire a non-corrupt traffic officer to sort things out.

Easier said than done, though.

Sunday, October 18, 2009



2009 May-Dec Ielts Test Dates

I'm not yet sure but I'm planning to take one of the December test dates if by that time I'm comfortable and confident enough to take it. If I put my mind to it, I think a month and a half could be enough time in preparation for the exam since I somewhat consider myself as moderately capable of handling the English language. Let's see what happens. Upon starting review I think I can measure my abilities and the time needed to ace the exam. Practice, practice, practice is what counts after all.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Yesterday was a refreshingly action-packed day for me. For the first time in two weeks, I traveled past the border of our town and revisited my beloved UBelt. Me and my friend/classmate/groupmate Vanessa were supposed to meet at 10am but due to highly time-wasting circumstances that were not my fault, I arrived at St. Thomas at around 12nn. She was already processing her preliminary application for NCLEX at a center there. They also process IELTS applications for a fee of 300+ pesos. I grabbed all the IELTS review center fliers I could get my hands on for additional resource. When she was done, we visited a neighbor center ISCEC-KAPLAN and asked for rates and such.

Their rate for the IELTS review is 7,500, which is a bit on the higher end of the market as review fees commonly range from 2,500 to 10,000 pesos. I also didn't like their program which is comprised of non-flexible lecture schedules and the limited time in which you can use their facilities (maximum of 2 months). Plus, their latest review season has already started last Oct. 12, 2009 with only 13 students enrolled. Now, some people would say that a one-on-very-few approach is better. I say, depressing.

Next stop was another center I found on the internet which I dutifully labeled as interesting. So we looked for Niner's IELTS Review Center along the PRC street and found it right away. The office was small and homey packed with students coming and going as they please. On the front desk was a handwritten sign which said "Lunch Break" and there was no one there to talk to. I looked at the time and it was quarter to 1pm so we decided to wait until the break was over so we could inquire about the review program. I grabbed a paper from a box marked "Schedule" and written there was the schedule of all the lectures of all the branches of Niners for the next two weeks.

Each lecture runs for 2-3 hours and there are 3-4 lectures per day. 9-12AM, 1-4, 4-6 and 6-9PM. When the information lady arrived, I inquired about the program and lazily pushed a laminated piece of bond paper sitting on her desk. A long list of subject was there as well as the fees. P2,500 for the Crash Course which consist of only 8 lectures and P5,000 for the Unlimited Course with Final Coaching at SM Megamall or P4,500 without the final coaching.

I asked about the schedule, whether there will be a fixed schedule that a reviewee should attend and she said no. So that means, if I take the unlimited course, I can attend any scheduled lecture when I want, wherever I want. Also, even if I enroll in the branch in Morayta, I can still go and attend classes in other branches. Sounds great to me. Complete freedom!

I asked how many students per class and she said that the lecture hall could accommodate 50-100 students per session, which I thought was fantastic even though some would be appalled by the number (considering that other centers boast having a maximum of 10 or 15 students per class).

Here's the weird thing about me. I am not comfortable with a class with only a few number of students. I hate it when the teacher/reviewer is right in your face. It makes me uncomfortable and pressured. I've never been tutored and the one-on-one review style for me is just ridiculous. Hence, I would be perfectly comfortable blending in with a large crowd than sharing a class with only 9 other people.

I looked up the other centers on the brochures I got (Speakwell, Allgen and Rachel Allen) and found them not that suitable for me. Speakwell is more affiliated with IDP Australia and I'm quite concerned about that as I need to file in British Council and that they also have very limited slots per class which I hate. Allgen and Rachel Allen, I have the impression, is more concerned with NCLEX rather than IELTS and I want a center with IELTS as their forte.

So in the end, I am not completely decided yet but I'm veering on the direction of Niner's. Any suggestions for a review center?

Enough about this ramble fest on reviews and tests. Going back to my (yester)day, after inquiring, Vanessa and I decided to go to SM Megamall because of the 3-day Sale. After the long fx ride, we arrived at the mall famished so we decided first to eat at Shakey's before taking a look around. There were so many people but also so much stuff on sale. We had so much fun window shopping but in the end I bought a lip gloss from The Face Shop and 2 beautiful Fibrella Umbrellas, 1 for me and 1 for my future mother-in-law (haha) because it's her birthday. I was about to go home really happy with my purchases, until I saw the long line at the FX terminal. Long story short, it took me more than 1 hour before I got a ride. The fatigue and the hassle of commuting home did not dampen greatness of my day. I was still a happy camper when I arrived at home, my bed greeting me with soft and cuddly pillows.

I missed the outside world. Yes, I really did.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Oh, the irony! But, yes, it's true. The student who have always excelled in the English subject in high school, who aced the TOEIC exam in college, the one who has been reading and writing all her life, is a bit wary in taking the English Tests of all Tests.

IELTS or International English Language Testing System is the leading English proficiency exam required by various English speaking countries. It consists of 4 parts which are Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking. As of my understanding, I need to get a score of 7 in all the categories (even though, technically, there is no pass or fail in the said exam) to be qualified to enter the United Kingdom, where I plan to study and work.

My searches in the internet made me realize that I do need to work for this as much as I've worked in passing my NLE because unlike the multiple choice TOEIC, which was pretty easy btw, IELTS is composed of identifications, essays and even an interview session for the Speaking part of the test. Now, listening and writing almost come naturally for me, but I'm pretty sure I suck at formal writing. I like articles, adjectives and adverbs way too much that when I write, a sentence can go on and on in sarcastic circles without much point in it. Which is, sadly, a major no-no in the said exam.

And I'm worse at interviews. The last time I had an interview was upon admission to FEU Institute of Nursing 2 years ago. It is an experience I wanted to forget. I bet I either sounded too cocky or completely boring. The ancient C.I. who interviewed me barely cracked a smile. Thank Obama my battery exam results were exemplary so I was not that concerned about being dropped out of an institute that I haven't entered yet.

Multiple choice is my forte. I know that for a fact. I have this knack in feeling out the right answer even though I have no idea what the question is about. I think that's the reason how I got a line of 8 in the NLE without even memorizing the developmental tasks in Pedia or any drug of choice for a given disease. If I were to take the NCLEX, with ample time and guidance for review, I'm pretty confident I could very well pass the said exam. This special power (both a gift and a curse), however, will not help me in any way in acing the IELTS.

I spent the whole day searching Google for a great review center for the IELTS. I found a couple, Niner and Kaplan. Are they any good? I know that some or most of the examinees just self review at home either by instructional CDs or via the internet. I've read that there are also many resources available at the British Council for sale. Those are all great alternatives but I'm so sick of being at home all the time right now that I'm yearning for a classroom setup.

I miss commuting and having somewhere to go to, something to do. I know it's my fault that I'm still stuck now at home with nothing but internet and TV for company because I refused to lower my pride and work in a call center or even volunteer somewhere because I have nobody to go with me. But those 2 1/2 months since passing the board exam are now over, there's no use crying over spilled OJ. So now, I really want to find a review center I'm comfortable with, study, and get my life back on track.

By the end of this month, I must be enrolled somewhere and studying my favorite subject. I'm optimistic about the review sessions because I love the language and any information about it will probably be accepted by my neurons with open arms. I've always wanted to enroll in a creative writing class but haven't got the chance since our units and subjects in nursing college is pretty much set (unlike other universities e.g. UP where you can pick your own minors).

I know this is a far cry from that. It's just I'm so ready for something to do. Watch as my BuddyPoke avatar jump up and down from excitement and her anime face light up in a comic smile.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

My life is so stagnant right now mosquitos are going to start breeding on me. We were supposed to line up really early last week for the IVT Training reservations in the Lung Center of the Philippines but since Pepeng was threatening to wind up the whole of Luzon that day and one of my friends who was supposed to go with us was still in an evacuation center, we all opted to just stay safe and warm at home for the time being in fear of being stranded somewhere in a middle of an endless lake.

Now, I have nothing to look forward to. No plans at all. Hospitals normally open their reservation slots at the start of the month for a training schedule for the next month. And if some hospital decided to kick the tradition, I don't think I have the energy nor the patience to do a telephone marathon, for the 4th time, calling the same institutions and asking the same questions and hearing the same answers.

Right now, I'm stuck at home, with terrible cramps and feeling overall useless. My semi-long goal for the meantime is to review for the IELTS examination that I need to pass in order to work abroad. Maybe early next year, I'll be able to take and pass the exam. Then we'll see what happens. If things work as planned, I won't be spending the whole next year here in the Philippines. I'll be working in the line of work I've studied for 4 years and earning my own money.

Here's to optimism. *raises glass of water* :)

Monday, October 12, 2009

I've been using Mozilla Firefox for quite some time now, Google Chrome once in a while. But when I opened the latter browser, I saw the flip page image in the lower corner of the homepage and clicked, out of curiosity. What greeted me was the wonderful page of google chrome themes that I've been waiting for since trying the browser. I loved the refreshing cleanliness of GC's UI 'cause it makes you see more of the screen rather than the annoying tools hogging all the space. Great for watching a video in the internet you don't want to full screen. And now that it's prettier and more fun to use, I think I'm switching again to GC until I become irritated on how I can't format my picture properly while posting entries here in my blog. Ironic, really, since Blogger and Google Chrome is both owned by Google. How can they make a browser not perfectly compatible with their own site? Weird.

I don't mind the unibar in GC. It's the address bar for most browsers but you can type search queries into it and google will wind up search findings for you. But I do prefer Opera's customizable Dial Pad for websites rather than GC's version of it which offers a thumbnail of your most frequently visited sites.

My new tab looks like this, btw. Pretty, eh?

So, what do you think? Ready to switch or still a Firefox loyal? Opera fan or, worse, IE user??

Sunday, October 11, 2009

I've been using this phone since May this year. It's a graduation gift from my mom because I lost my Nokia 3230 last January and have been using an ancient Nokia model as substitute phone. Orginally, I was supposed to wait for the release of Nokia N86, my previous dream phone, because its Nokia's first 8MP and I was a loyal user of such brand and I love taking pictures with my phone. Compared to a digicam, my cp is something I take with me everywhere and it should be ready to take those impromptu stills. And upon researching about it for the nth time, as if fate decided for me, I discovered this beautiful Samsung touch on, my favorite phone web resource. And it was love at first sight.

It was one of the prettiest mobiles out there. Still is, actually. Plus, it has everything I ever wanted in a phone (except wifi). It has an ultra responsive touch screen that pops with vibrant colors. I still have so much fun changing the wallpapers because all of which I tried looks great.

You need not press the screen for it to respond. The phone is heat sensitive so it measures the amount of heat of your thumb instead of the pressure on the screen so you just have to 'touch' it, literally. Downside is that, stylus, nails, pens, other items and cold-blooded vampire Edward Cullen cannot be used in handling this mobile. Otherwise, this feature is pretty cool.

Key features:

  • Classy touchscreen slider with an alphanumeric keypad
  • Commendable build quality
  • Quad-band GSM and 3G with HSDPA support
  • 8 megapixel autofocus camera with LED flash, geo-tagging, face and smile detection, image stabilization, wide dynamic range and D1 video@30 fps
  • 2.8" 16M color AMOLED touchscreen display with 400 x 240 pixel resolution
  • Anti-scratch screen surface
  • Accelerometer for screen auto rotate
  • Proximity sensor for auto screen turn-off
  • MicroSD card slot (up to 16 GB), 1 GB included
  • Built-in GPS receiver with A-GPS support, Google Maps
  • Stereo Bluetooth (A2DP)
  • DivX/XviD video support
  • Stereo FM radio with RDS, FM recording
  • Document viewer
  • Photo Contact
  • Smart dialing
Main disadvantages

  • User interface sometimes lags, especially when viewing pictures. Can be irritating.
  • No Wi-Fi connectivity. That means I'm stuck with Globe's horrible internet connection with appalling fees.
  • It's hard editing text, going back to a word and putting the cursor in the right place using only your fingers as there are no navigation keys. Takes practice but it's doable.

No virtual QWERTY keyboard, but who needs one? I text with one hand, sometimes even looking at another direction and the virtual keypad works great for me. I hardly use the actual keypad anymore as I find it hard texting with it with one hand because the phone is hard to balance with an open slide as it is too long.

As for its main feature, the camera works fantastic. Every shot looks crystal clear. The problem is that viewing the pictures you have just taken requires patience. Lots of it, as picture browsing sometimes hang and the transition is not as smooth as I would have preferred. Just transfer the pics to your PC with the handy dandy USB cable for viewing and problem solved.

With regards to battery life, the standby time's more than what I expected. The phone could last up to 2-3 days with minor usage, profile set on silent and no vibration, (as what I did with the Ondoy blackout phenomena). However, I could have set the backlight brightness and duration to a minimum and I'm pretty confident it could last another day.

Heavy usage of the phone's features (especially the camera, web browser and games) may drain your phone in less than one day's time. A flaw on the otherwise superb phone. :(

All in all, this mobile definitely suits me as I love touch screens and an amazing camera built in my phone. I'm not the kind of person who changes phones every month (I've only had 3 phones my entire life, this is the 4th one) and I'm pretty sure I'd be staying with my Tocco for at least a year. Hopefully, it doesn't get taken away by professional snatchers like my other phones. That would be pretty depressing. And costly.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Rotating brownouts hit Metro Manila

MANILA – Distribution utility Manila Electric Company (Meralco) said that it cannot determine until when rotating brownouts being implemented in wide part of Metro Manila will end.A fire affected one of the four 300 MVA transformers in the sub-station in Taytay, Rizal Wednesday night triggering the tripping off of the other transformers and the 115-kiloVolt lines of the Meralco sub-sector areas.It took firemen almost an hour to control the blaze.Authorities also had to use firefighting chemicals and retardants since the transformer reportedly contained oil.The fire was declared under control around 10:30 p.m.

The other transformer units available at the substation have also been cut off from the system because its control cables have been affected by the fire incident.
The affected transformer supplies power to 11 Meralco substations that service eastern Metro Manila.

Meralco officials said close to a million households are now suffering the three-hour rotating brownouts as a measure to mitigate a more massive, widespread power interruption caused by the transmission trouble at the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines' (NGCP) Dolores substation in Taytay, Rizal.

These brownouts affect areas in the eastern part of its franchise.

Meralco further said had the manual load dropping (MLD) not been imposed to, the power outage would have been more massive and may have resulted to a "system wide blackout."

The company could not say up to when the interruptions would be implemented, saying that “it all depends on the resolution of the transmission problem of the NGCP.”

The series of power outages began late Wednesday night in several parts of Metro Manila and Rizal after power was cut off to 13 Meralco substations including those situated in St. Anthony, Manggahan, Parang, Masinag, Marikina, Santolan, Cainta, Shangri-la, Mandaluyong, Hillcrest, Dolores, Cubao bank no. 2, and New Teresa.
This resulted to outages in various portions of Mandaluyong, Pasig, Marikina, Taguig; parts of Quezon City including Cubao.

Outages were also experienced in Cainta, Angono, Taytay, Binangonan, Antipolo, San Mateo and Montalban.

As of 11:40 p.m. Wednesday, power has already been restored to most of the affected areas after Meralco opted to shift load or transfer sourced power to operational substations.

Only Dolores 44 XM and portions of Dolores 47 XM were not restored.
At 6:39 a.m. Thursday, Meralco resorted to MLD affecting circuits served by Cubao and Marikina substations in order to ease the critical loading of Araneta-Kamuning 115 kV line.

Three-hour rotating brownouts may also be implemented Friday during noon-peak and three hours during the evening-peak periods.

Meralco though is doing its best to shorten the duration of the brownouts.

Energy Secretary Angelo T. Reyes ordered to fast track the repairs to unburden consumers suffering and experiencing the three hour rotating brownouts.

“I am confident that Meralco and NGCP will be able to re-establish connection of power in the areas and this should be done immediately. Restoring power will restore balance in those areas,” Reyes said.

Soonest possible time
Earlier, the NGCP, operator of the country’s transmission system, assured that supply of power in the eastern part of Metro Manila will be restored the soonest possible time.

Meralco had warned residents of eastern Metro Manila and Rizal province to brace for rotating brownouts ranging from three to four hours.

The warning came after Wednesday’s incident where a transformer of the NGCP in Taytay town was damaged.

Pasig, Mandaluyong, Marikina Quezon City and parts of Rizal including Cainta, Angono, Taytay, Binangonan, and Antipolo City went out of power supply around 9 p.m. Wednesday, minutes after Dolores substation of NGCP caught fire.

Meralco has at least five 115-kiloVolt lines that draw power from the Dolores substation.

Because of the power shutdown, Meralco is implementing a three-hour rotating brownout in the affected areas.

Meralco external communications manager Joe Zaldarriaga said the power interruptions will be implemented to minimize the disruptions in the affected areas such as Mandaluyong, Marikina, Pasig, San Juan, Quezon City, and Rizal province.
“We are implementing rotating brownouts to accommodate those affected (by Wednesday’s incident) … we appeal for understanding.”

Repairs, rehabilitation
But Ma. Cristina Cabalhin, head of NGCP’s corporate communications, said repairs and rehabilitation of the damaged transformers at its Dolores substation in Taytay, Rizal now are ongoing.

NGCP started conducting the requisite system test and one transformer unit “could be restored tonight,” she added.

“If we could restore one transformer it is likely that the rotating brownouts will be reduced,” Cabalhin said over a telephone interview.

Meralco said it will implement rotating brownouts lasting three hours maximum twice a day in its franchise area in Metro Manila while the transformers are not yet available.

As of 9:30 a.m. Thursday, 180 megawatts of power load have already been dropped from the Luzon grid.

To recall, Meralco said there are still 41,000 of their clients who remain without power due to Typhoon Ondoy which hit the country last month.

Areas with no power due to floodwaters include parts of Marikina, Cainta, Pasig, Taguig and parts of Binan, and Muntilupa.

NGCP meanwhile failed to give any timeframe on the completion of the rehabilitation and repairs of the Dolores substation.

“We really do not know when we could complete it (the repair) but we hope to do it soon,” the NCGP official said.


Grr. Fate is playing a cruel joke on us Ondoy survivors. And it's not funny.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Photos of Bagyong Ondoy (Int'l Name: Ketsana) from the internet.

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.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

September 29, 2009 Tuesday

I am sitting in a wasteland as I am writing this on a pocket notebook with the only pen I could find (which happened to be a violet inked one). There is still no electricity, no communication with the outside world, running water is weak and traces of mud still occupies the corners of our house, a trademark reminder of the past days which rendered our town horror-struck and clinging for its life. Streets are still covered with drying remnants of those days while the sun is mocking us with its sun-shiney brightness. This is Day 4.

DAY 1 Sept. 26, 2009 (Saturday)

If you had told me this would be the day our belongings would half half-drown and we would have to sleep in our upstairs warehouse with the stocks, our neighbors and various pet dogs in a plywood covered with curtains and throw pillows, I would not have believed you.

We, Cainta-enos, are used to floods. Being a catch-basin of flood water coming from Antipolo and Taytay, houses are built in high grounds and cars are parked in high parking spaces and gasoline stations way before the storm as a common precautionary act. But no matter how water-savvy you are, nothing could have prepared anybody for that day.

Brown water was already past the gutter mark as I woke up that Saturday morning. I ate spaghetti as my Mom and I chatted casually about the storm and how my aunt was still stuck in our office warehouse near Junction. We were unconcerned about the rising water because never, in our 9 years of living here, did it reach our house, which was built a good 2-2.5 meters above the sidewalk, far higher than our neighbors.

I called my grandma to check how she was and if she needed help. She was already trying to put stuff in higher places and told me she didn't know how to disconnect my aunt's computer so I decided to put on my contact lenses and help. I was supposed to go there the normal way, walk down the street to their door, but the knee high current was way too strong so we decided to do an over-the-bakod stunt with a small chair and a ladder.

I concentrated on the mystic knots of the cords and cables of the PC while grandma was running around the place. 5 minutes later, water was already inside the house rising with frightening speed. I barely had time to salvage the CPU. 30 minutes later, the water had already reached thigh area and we were still scrambling to get things on higher ground. I kept telling her to evacuate already to our house but my grandma insisted to stay a bit longer. Minutes later, I heard my mom yelling that our house were nearing flood water wipeout and I needed to come home immediately.

Me and grandma did the over-the-bakot stunt and we scrambled to put important things in higher places and turn off the main power switch to avoid electrocution. We managed to lift the washing machine to the sink and the refrigerator up dining chairs.

Again, minutes later, flood water was inside the house and we had to evacuate to our warehouse upstairs. Armed with food, blankets and pillows, we tried to settle in our inhabitable upstairs landing. It was a bodega for our stocks and was not built for human habitation. While transferring things upstairs, my grandma saw our neighbors with nowhere to go because they don't have a second floor so we invited them to seek shelter with us.

View of our street at the peak of the storm.

Another angle featuring our drowning car with its lights automatically blinking as if asking for help.

It was like a movie in the making. The current was so strong that they had to tie a rope from their house to ours just to swim through. Everyone was soaking wet and shivering from the cold. Thankfully, we have lots of towels, bed sheets, canned goods and water stored so we made it through the night sleeping on plywoods on the floor. I had a horrible night because the dogs kept barking and I had to retie my pet Wuffy 5x I think because he kept getting out of his collar and scaring other people.

The next day, people were up before dawn even though we can't do anything before sunrise because there was no electricity and you really can't see anything. What greeted us that morning was gutter level flood water and a house full of slippery mud.

It was everywhere. It's like Mother Nature pooped on us all. Or gave us tons load of melted chocolate that smells funky. Whichever you prefer.

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