Thursday, September 26, 2013

Survivor Ondoy

Today in 2009 was one of the most memorable days for the many people in Luzon including myself. It was one typical Saturday. It’s been raining non stop the night before. I was lazy to go to work but I had to because we were going to the Ronald McDonald House Charities Badminon Tournament in Mandaluyong to sell ice cream for the participants. I was assigned to take care of the cash, we were there as early as seven in the morning. On our way to Mandaluyong we passed by Marikina River by a cab, I saw that the water has started rising.

At twelve noon my husband called me and he said that the water went inside the house (that time we were still renting a small apartment). I was worried because he was alone at home and no one would help him. I tried to reach my family in Binangonan because there’s a creek right the back of the house and the water would get inside up to the streets but they were not responding to my texts and they could not be reached by a call.

At around the same time our co-workers told us via text message that the company vehicle and driver would not pick us up because the flood in Marikina has gone neck deep and they were stranded at the office, no one could go and out the streets. A few dared to go because they were worried for their families. I thought that was a joke because we never heard that kind of flood in Marikina before.

Night came, we were stranded in the street. It was the longest night I had ever experienced. We were sitting at the sidewalk along Gateway with two co-workers. A few hours later we decided to go back to Marikina thinking it was already safe but we were stranded again under Barangka bridge, that was around 12 midnight to two in the morning of September 27th.  Later we decided to go back to the plant since Santolan was not passable, we rode a motorcycle with my co-worker’s brother.

At around three in the morning September 27th, we finally went back to Sto. Niño, Marikina’s business district where our plant is located. My co-worker’s brother who had the motorcycle dropped us around the public market, where the flood was up to my knees. Before that, we passed Provident Village and I was wondering why there were too many people at the gate that time. Later I only found out in the news that many residents of that village died.

Josh, my co-worker was still with me the entire time. His brother left us because his motorcycle could not drop us to the plant (around 500 meters from the market) because the water was still waist deep according to the people who passed there. We stopped by the front of the Rotary Club of Marikina office, just across the public market. I took a seat at the stairs along with many other stranded people.

I was exhausted by that time. My bag was full of coins and my feet were wet the entire night. My celphone battery was dead, good thing I memorized my husband’s number so I borrowed Josh’s phone and texting my husband telling him I was safe. He could not sleep, he stayed with his parents house while I was at the streets of this devastated city I hardly recognize. I could not believe it was the same city I pass by every single day. It was so dark, except for one traffic light that blinked and one from a pawnshop, the entire city was like a ghost town, with few people walking by.

As a sat on that corner, I pondered about what happened. There were lives lost in just one day, one bad weather, the muddy waters consumed their dreams and many were left broken, both their homes and spirits. I thought about my family, thinking they were all safe. I thought about my dream of having my own home, with the most advanced home appliances and beautiful furniture. I realized those material things can be gone in just one day.

It was dawn finally, the light broke in. The pink city, as it was called, was not the happy city I’ve known. Cars were turned upside down and home stuffs turned garbage littered on the streets. There were still water and mud everywhere. Stranded people were walking back home, with faces you could not guess what emotions they had behind the forced smiles.

We want back to our plant, my home away from home. The first face I saw was Robert, our company security guard. “Robert! Kamusta kayo?!” I almost wanted to hug him when I saw him from the street. I fought back tears, I was so exhausted and cold and my butt hurt for sitting overnight at the sidewalks. I went straight to the office after hearing Robert’s two minute account of what happened to them in the last 24 hours. I called my husband and asked him to pick me up, the flood was almost gone but the muddy streets. Good thing the phone still worked and I looked at the surroundings while I wait. I just sat on a chair by the lobby because it was very dark in the office.

I looked out the window when I heard a chopper’s sound from the sky. There were many people, I assumed to be walking back home after the long night being stranded. The sun was a bit hesitant to shine, it seemed undecided if it would come out or not. I thanked God, the storm was over and today was a brand new day…

The shoes in the picture above are the same shoes I was wearing that unforgettable night.


  1. A lot of sad things happened that fateful day. I'm glad you have survived it. On the other hand, I also remembered my friend's wedding day. We were supposed to attend, but failed to do so because of the rain and fear of being stranded, yet they pushed through with the wedding :)

  2. A very memorable wedding for them...thanks for dropping by ;)

  3. i remember that time sis. Although I was fortunate to be stranded in a big home of one of my friends (we had no idea what was happening outside until noon of september 27). and seeing the photos and the videos the next day were really heartbreaking :( good to hear that you safely got home despite the calamity (and the time you spent outside). always take care!

  4. Wonderful post...I like your blog.^^
    Maybe follow each other on bloglovin?
    Let me know follow you then back.
    Lovely greets Nessa


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