Today, a few of my officemates and I went to help the relief drive in the neighborhood. There were a lot of people there: students, residents, employees — that we really didn’t get to do much. About an hour or so, we left, saying that we’ll go back later.
This afternoon, we went to talk to some of the families who took refuge here. They told their experiences and some really made me cry. They were all devastated that they lost so much, but they weren’t angry, and many of them had the same sentiment: “We’re glad to be alive and are with our families. Our things are the least of our worries.”
I’m finally online. My ISP went down on Saturday afternoon, and I couldn’t get a signal on my mobile, so I spent most of the day reading or playing Ravenhearst. Around early evening my brother Dion told me to look outside.
Brown, muddy water had completely covered the street where our building was and water had reached the first step of our building. Some of the residents were outside, looking at it and talking with the security as to what could be done next. Others, who had cars, waded into the water to pull them to higher ground.
Later in the evening, the water had risen to the second step and was slowly creeping up the elevated parking areas. Around 9 pm, the water was about an inch or two the first step, which was level with the building lobby.
My brothers had gone down to buy some food from the store on the first floor. We had a small sack of rice that our parents brought (which they regularly do) so we were good. We managed to get some canned goods and water, and decided to stock up a bit just in case.
We could only look at the water outside and monitor its rising. Thankfully, the water stopped and began to decline around 10 or 11. One of the neighbors, desperate to get provisions, took a rubber raft (the one for kids) out to the grocery at the crossing. It was a spot of humor in a rather scary situation.
With my meager signal I managed to keep in touch with my dad, who went to Bambang earlier before leaving for Zambales. He was stuck in Bambang, but thankfully, dry and not in a flooded area. He stayed there til Sunday morning, and reached Zambales around 8 in the evening. My sister was also texting us, asking for updates.
Victims I had also received some messages from friends and family about their situation. My mom told me that her siblings in Marikina had to evacuate their house and move to a neighbors as the water had submerged their home. My classmate had to flee with the family he was staying with as well. Last I heard they were at the evacuation center, so that’s good.
My brother was worried about his friends who lived near the creek and the river in our area. So far the news about them seemed to be ok.
Aftermath Sunday noon Miks and I decided to check up on the situation at the Santolan/Manggahan crossing. Since there were no tricycles available we decided to walk as it wasn’t far. I figured that many of the drivers and their families were also affected and driving was the least of their worries that day.
Upon reaching the crossing, we saw this really long line at the Ever supermarket and Pan de Manila. Residents were stocking up on food and water as possibly 90% of the barangay was heavily affected. Since Miks and I weren’t really out to buy anything, we didn’t go to the supermarket. We just walked around trying to look for a place where we could have our cellphones reloaded with credits.
McDonald’s and Chowking were closed, so was Mercury Drug and the Mini Stop stores in the area. 711 was open but their shelves were literally empty of food. Julie’s Bakeshop was also not selling any bread but pandesal, and they were still baking it. We tried buying load but the stores that normally carried them said that all they had was Talk-n-Text and TM, services we don’t have.
One of the buildings at the corner had a basement parking and that was fully submerged. I saw a car floating in it and the water was already level with the street. Some men were trying to pump water out of it but with the size of their machine, it looks like it’ll take days.
On our way back, Miks ran into some of his friends, who updated us on the conditions of their other friends. Many of them, as expected, lost their homes and belongings. They told us that SM Marikina’s basement parking was really messed up, what with the Marikina river overflowing. One of the security guards lived in the area that was completely covered in water. He was here earlier and the residents gave what they can. I was glad that we could give something but I didn’t feel that it was enough.
Nunik was able to buy some groceries. The grocery store at Anonas wasn’t full, he said. It seems that since the area wasn’t really that affected, people weren’t in a hurry to buy supplies but for areas like ours, there’s a rush for them.
We were able to get updates from family who had Internet and cellphone service. Nunik was able to go to his shop and check on the status of various relatives. Some of them had their houses flooded, while others were stranded in various parts of the metro. My aunt and uncle were rescued earlier on and was recovering at another aunt’s house.
They weren’t able to save much of their belongings, which is really sad but I’m just so thankful that they are ok. A lot of their things can’t be replaced, like the old family pictures and mementos, but that is the least of our worries.
I also heard that one of my uncles (a cousin of my mom) succumbed to his illness last night. He was undergoing dialysis for his sickness and was going on a decline for the past few months. My prayers for him, his wife and kids, his father and his siblings.
Office Today, I decided to try and go to work today. I was worried because I had to pass Marcos Highway but although it was muddy, it was passable. Along the way, I saw some people cleaning out what’s left of their homes. From the train, I saw the damages as well. Marikina river had risen and many of the young trees on the banks were down. The roads level with it were also full of mud and debris.
UERM and SM Sta. Mesa was also a mess. The underground parking of the mall was full of water.
Some of my co-workers didn’t go to work to deal with their homes. Even our boss wasn’t spared. I really feel so thankful that we were spared from any harm or less. Best thing we can do is help out. I’m seeing a lot of links on Facebook, Plurk and Twitter about how to help. Will pass them along.