|Marikina River 2 days post Habagat|
Okay, so let's pretend it's still August and I haven't completely abandoned this blog for more than a month now. As you get your bearings on what month this is supposed to be, I will also pretend that I'm working on my beloved 14" Lenovo Ideapad laptop with his wonderful clicky keyboard and not on my sister's 11" netbook with horrible Asus cramped keys. See, my ever so loyal laptop have been struck down with a nasty bug that has rendered him useless especially for type-heavy functions like writing this post. No virus scan / anti-malware program have detected anything so I now have to wipe these sentimental tears off my face and reformat the entire thing and start from scratch. So help me God.
Anyway, back to the Great Flood that has yet again brought Metro Manila to a standstill.
I was having my graveyard duty (10PM-6AM) at the hospital the night of August 6, 2012. There was already gutter deep flood on my way out of our subdivision but never did I expect the rain to continue like it was the biblical times all over again. Throughout the shift we could hear the relentless heavy downpour from outside and I already got the feeling that I won't be able to go home the next day since we admittedly live in the freaking flood capital of the East.
Come endorsement time, our main concern was that will there be nurses to endorse to. Amazingly almost all of them made it to the hospital, wet trousers and all. C'mon, a round of applause, people. These were the ones who have braved the floods just to see to it that patients are taken care of. Not all wards were that fortunate though. I know of some nurses who had to extend their shift to 16 straight hours. All in the name of health care, of course.
All of the elective cases in the OR have been deferred because of the rains and flooding so it was a happy day for the morning shift. Us, night shift nurses, were a different story. Numerous calls later from home and a glance at local morning news (Marikina River drowning everything in sight!), it was obvious that there was no way any of us will be able to get home without being stranded somewhere. We then decided to just stay in the hospital until our next graveyard shift and try to get home the next day.
After spending some time in a local carinderia in front of the hospital for breakfast and some news-watching and shopping for toiletries and other essentials at the local market we went back to the hospital to get some much needed rest. Believe me when I say that the extra scrub suits in the hospital were life savers and having 2 uniforms (white and our own scrubs) were an unbelievable advantage that time. Without these extra clothes, we would be stuck with a single uniform all throughout our stranded period. Little did I know that for me, it would mean most of the rest of the week.
Another 10-6 shift has ended. Floods have subsided in most areas and rains have stopped in the metro. All my shift-mates / stranded-mates have decided that they will take the risk of acquiring Leptospirosis just to get home. I was no exception. I disregarded the warnings from home that the main roads and more importantly, subdivision entrances were still impassable. Lagpas Tao / Hanggang Dibdib type of impassable. But I persisted.
Needless to say, I got as far as the junction in the Sta. Lucia Mall / Tropical Hut intersection. All the roads from there on were flooded. The picture above was the entrance road to Marikina. And even those going to Antipolo/Cogeo area were knee deep in water. And do I even need to mention the Waterworld that is Cainta?
With nowhere to go, I waited near the entrance of Sta. Lucia East Grand Mall hoping to be able to crash in an air-conditioned restaurant while waiting for the floods to subside. Plus, I really needed to buy a contact lense case for my lenses which I've been wearing for more than 48 hours. I wasn't able to sleep at all in the hospital because of them. I managed to soak them in sterile water for a couple of hours but since I didn't have my glasses with me, I had to put them back on because I couldn't really see anything without them.
It was already past 11 AM and the mall was still closed. They opened it a few minutes later but when I entered, there was almost no customers and half of the shops were still locked up. Thank heavens Executive Optical opened that day.
Since I already have a case and solution for my contact lenses and could finally sleep without worrying of being forever blind upon waking up, after calling home and determining that the flood was not going down any time soon, we decided that it's better if I just checked-in in the friendly neighborhood hotel standing conspicuously in front of the mall in its red and yellow glory. The Sogo Hotel.
Any concern of mine regarding the, uhm, reputation of the said hotel chain evaporated the second I stepped inside the lobby. There were people, and surprisingly, kids everywhere. Throngs of families milled around the place watching the news on the large screen at the lobby, looking up at the sky for signs of more rain and talking on cellphones asking if they could already make their way home. It was like an Upper-Middle Class Evacuation Center. With entrance fees, of course.
After a few minutes of waiting, I fortunately got the cheapest room available. To my handy dandy credit card, I'm sorry I ever doubted your usefulness. Without you I would be stuck in the streets like The Script's The Man that Can't Be Moved, although in a sleepier and less emo version. The room was not bad at all, fairly clean, although I would drop dead before I step inside the bathroom without slippers on. After 48 hours of no lasting sleep, the huge bed was heaven on earth.
I woke up at around 5PM, officially famished for being NPO (nurse's fancy way of saying no food nor drinks) since that morning's breakfast. After calling home and discovering that I had no choice but to extend my stay in the hotel to overnight since roads were still impassable, I decided to go back and shop for food and additional clothes at the mall. Good thing I went there early because minutes later, the sky was again in a grumpy mood and stores left and right were closing early in fear of another bout of heavy rains.
I tried to look for restaurants that would accept credit card because I was already running low on cash but there was none so I had to spend my last remaining hundreds for a cheeseburger value meal and ate it back at my room. All in all, it was not a bad existence. It definitely could have been worse. I was all alone and couldn't get home but I was safely inside a hotel room with a dependable cable tv, bathroom with hot shower, a/c unit and that trademark red light which made me sleepy for some reason. This was being stranded in style.
Woke up to the sound of my cellphone ringing bearing the news that the roads were still flooded but can now be treaded without drowning even if one does not know how to swim. There were also jeepneys already who were having trips up to the flooded areas so people didn't have to walk all the way, just from those places where only the most enduring of legs and Islander slippers would survive. It was time to go home.
It was 3 days after the climax of the torrential rains but still the flood in our area was still this prevalent. I came prepared with my rolled up pajama-ish scrub suit bottom, black shirt and scrunched up hair ready for battle. We in the East were so used to floods like these it was like a kamot-ulo moment instead of a devastating terrifying one to be honest.
|Posh executive subdivision submerged in water.|
|Start of our exodus back home.|
Starting from this point, we needed to embrace the Leptospirosis and feel the muddy water and unidentified floating debris enveloping our legs. Being 5'5, the water reached just below buttocks area, still unbelievably high three days after the rain. And this was on the main roads. The subdivisions were no doubt much worse.
To make the long story short, after treading thigh deep flood, getting in a dump truck full of stranded residents looking for an easier way home, walking again a short distance to our subdivision and riding a pedicab worth 40 php per person because of the still chest deep floods, at around 12:45PM, after 4 unbelievable days, I was home.
I, literally, hugged our gate.