Friday, September 29, 2006

A Fleeting Weather Report

A DRIZZLE OF raindrops coming from a window left ajar, started to tickle my face while in the middle of a lost dream about being a warrior embracing his inevitable defeat.

The sound of tee-teet, tee-teet from the ever reliable 3310 phone woke me up further at half hour past 6 o’clock in the morning. It read a message from Lea Kristine saying that there is no work for Hicap employees because typhoon Milenyo, which I later learned to have been named internationally as Xangsane, the Laotian word for elephant, was about to wreak havoc over most of Luzon’s center.

I took an effort to spread the news via sms to my housemates who may still be lingering in deep sleep.

And so, the morning seemed to become a drag already. I wasn’t able to get back to sleep. The scattered newspapers were old but rose to become a passion to help me escape the fangs of boredom. I held the guitar and sang a couple of melodies while they rested and went back to dream land. Unnoticeably, the typhoon casualties were slowly rising up.

Electricity was out since the break of dawn. Water from the faucet dried up even before noon came. Globe’s network began to fail. Smart was intermittently failing and searching, but sms were still ok to send. Sun Cellular literally was a failure as soon as the sun was hidden behind the angry clouds. The rain was a downpour coupled with whistling waves of strong winds I could hardly describe its strength. It must be the worst typhoon ever to hit this country for several years now.

Staple food

Good thing, Pizza and I bought some food the other day, a pair of milkfish, three pieces of bisugo, a can of tuna and a handful of quail eggs, supposedly to be consumed for the rest of the week. They became a dire staple enough to supply breakfast, lunch and dinner for two.

Sad thing, several comrades got nothing in store to pamper their weeping stomachs. So when the eye of the storm passed, I wasn’t surprised to see them geared up and wished they would hurdle on every fallen tree, flying roof, flood water along the roads of Belair and weather the storm to go to the Mall of Asia! Sooner, the hopes dwindled down when another blast of strong winds came, but this time, it was even stronger and the rain appeared to have wanted to smash the roof and wet us all inside our nifty hut. I got the opportunity to collect water using the empty pails from the neighbors gutter which came very useful to wash the dishes and flush the toilet.

Then suddenly a honk of Kristofferson’s Space Wagon invited them to head out for McDonalds.

We ate lunch while awaiting for their return.

They came after more than an hour with plastic bags containing what can be bought from a 7-11 store in a panic buying mode.

Cards and Tycoon

When the electricity is out, the tv is just a huge black box in the corner of the house. Glenn made it a point to bring a deck so we could entertain ourselves with Pusoy and Pusoy Dos. A very good move, I should say.

We also have a board game that used to just gather dust stowed in one of the open cabinets but came very useful.

For a couple of hours, we were in fantasy land as Mark would portray himself as a gazillionaire with millions of play-money to buy miniature plastic buildings that represent as business establishment for the game. Once a player rolls the dice and lands on an already owned property, he is obliged to pay the amount required to the owner, who rejected the words "thousand pesos" as a form of money. That was the rule of the board game. And for four hours, we fancied ourselves not realizing the looming dark hours without water and electricity.

(I promise I would never ever play that tycoon game again.)

Batteries without a flashlight

Flashlights are handy especially if you got fresh batteries. But Pizza’s light saber was missing and no where to be found.

It’s dinner time and I felt utterly disgusting as I have never bathed yet since the day before Milenyo struck.

Laguna Belair has already ran out of resources to save its people from famine and drought. Its water tanks are full of water but the motor cannot run without power to circulate within the neighborhood.

Several stores have suddenly become a hot spot for buyers of candles, water, and food. Mr. Yellowman or Lando, who grills barbecue in a house turned sari-sari store in Gardena street, was too busy marinating all cue sticks with pork meat above a flaming coal. I think these were sold out too.

Belair have beautiful houses and splendid surroundings and these weren’t spared from the harsh the typhoon caused. They don’t have generators at least to power up water facilities. And it seems to me, that calamity preparedness wasn’t included in the list of its Belair features when they lured the now homeowners in buying the real estate some years ago. And it's very likely that the current situation in Belair wouldn't be ok until saturday or sunday.

Or maybe, Milenyo is synonymous to God. He just reminded us all of His existence, and may we relearn to conserve water, electricity and all resources that today we have. Because someday, there might come a time when faucet drips no more water and electricity will become a part of history, that I can't imagine!

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