It has been more than a month since typhoon Santi devastated our province. By this time, I can say that people have somehow moved on already from that nightmare. I've actually written this post few days after the typhoon struck but unfortunately, it's only now that I am able to finish and publish it.
The morning of October 11, 2013 had been relatively normal---I went to work even if it was already declared that our province has a storm signal of 3, did what I was supposed to do the whole day and went home without any feeling that something bad is about to happen when the sun sets down. We ate dinner like usual, watched tv and relaxed. If my memory serves me right, electricity went out before 9pm because it was expected that the typhoon would make its landfall around 11pm. We went to bed early thinking that this typhoon, just like all the storms and typhoons that came the past few years, would just pass with a little to no trace at all. We hit it wrong.
Before the clock even strikes 11pm, moderate rain accompanied by strong winds started pouring outside. The rustle of the leaves and falling branches woke us all up. Afraid of what might happen next, we all huddled in one room and waited---not guessing that this was just the start of an unimaginable catastrophe.
“Nature is hungry. It is ready to take back whatever man stole from it by living.” –Isaac Marion, The New Hunger.
An hour and a half passed and the surrounding fell silent. My father told us that the absence of rain and wind that time was probably the center or “eye” of the typhoon. We went outside and squinted through the dark to see what the damages were. Broken trees, damaged roofs, scattered leaves and electric wires on the road---these were what welcomed our already scared selves.
Few minutes passed and the tail of the typhoon reached us. Much stronger winds knocked the trees in the neighborhood out and their fall to the ground made an impact so loud that sent chills to our bones. One of the glasses of our window was even shattered. There was nothing else we could do that night but pray. ..and wait some more.
Our province has always been spared from acts of nature the past few years, or decades even. Just not this time. In my 20 something existence in this world, that was the first time I've ever experienced such calamity. I still can’t believe up until now.
I wasn't able to sleep anymore so when the first ray of the sun touched the earth the next day, I went out to look around. This was what I found:
It was Saturday; so technically, I still had to go to work. However, how could I? Roads were not passable, the bridge going to the hospital was closed and we had to clean (and repair) whatever damages the typhoon brought us.
|Trees were scattered---blocking the road.|
There was no electricity all over the province and if you do a little Google search about it, you'll see why:
Majority of electricity lines were broken by the typhoon. In our area, it took 16 long days before the power was restored. It took longer for other municipalities. Crops were damaged too. Even hospitals, government offices and other structures weren't spared. The province was declared under State of Calamity few days after. But if there's one thing that we're thankful that the typhoon didn't destroy, it is the water supply. It is so hard to live each day without water, right?
When electric power was out for a few days, I realized how dependent we are now with the products of technology---from small children to adults alike. Most devices set our life in constant motion that we forget to stop and pay attention to others. Ask yourself, when you are with your family, do you really listen to the conversation or you are more interested in what's happening around the social media?
For the few days mentioned above, I noticed how people actually stopped and become "common" people again. No computers, no television and no cellphones. What made days and nights happier were conversations with loved ones. Children started playing outside again, and most people go to asleep when the sun sets down. Life indeed, is peaceful that way.
It's true that the world was suddenly set in slow motion after the typhoon. We all felt sad for the structures that were damaged, the crops that were destroyed and most importantly, the lives that were lost. It could only make you think that life really is short and God may take it away from you anytime. But as they say, life goes on. We all have to stand up, guide each other and move forward. Afterall, God wouldn't put us in a situation we cannot overcome.