As I wrote in an earlier post, I’m thankful that my Mom and Dad and the rest of my siblings were spared from the catastrophe. One of my bestfriends, Fe, told me they had waist deep water in Justinville Subdivision in Bacoor, but the water had subsided by dawn.
I spoke with Mom and she was fine. They had a power outage for a couple of hours but had kept abreast of developments through a radio. They had ankle deep water only because the flow of the water downhill was too strong that we had some overflow even if we were on top of the hill. (I cannot even bear to think about how those who lived at the bottom of the slope and closer to the stream fared — this was where the squatter shanties were situated as well.)
My Dad was trapped on the second floor of his home along Gen. Kalentong Street on the San Juan end — the area is used to flooding so they were more or less bracing for the rising waters, but the whole first floor was flooded and it took a while for the waters to recede. I had called my siblings and had asked them to look at how Dad was doing. They brought him some food and caught them cleaning up already.
So I was rather surprised to receive a text message around midnight New York time asking me to call him as it was an emergency. Naturally, I called. I was surprised to get the request after my siblings had assured me he was well — and I was rather relieved yet at the same time a little upset that he was calling me to tell me they had to have their electricals repaired due to water damage.
I took a deep breath and told him I thought something had happened to him, and was rather distraught at his seeming panic in the midst of all the chaos going on elsewhere. I told him we ought to be thankful he still has a roof over his head unlike others whose homes were washed away. While life is almost normal for some of the more fortunate ones, there are those still immersed in trying to cope with all the tragedy that has befallen so many around them.
Dad’s electricity had already been restored. He wasn’t in the dark. The repair of the shop was far from the emergency his text message had relayed to me. Thankfully, I didn’t get a panic attack. Still, I got worried. Seeing the helpless and the old wading in the water — watching the destruction wrought by Ondoy on so many of our kababayans, I got worried.
This has been a very sobering experience for many — I know it has been for me. In the midst of the anger, the pain, and the sense of loss, we have once more been reminded about how blessed we are. And I am watching in awe as our kababayans have once more stepped up to the plate, showing us the bayanihan spirit is alive and well. For all the faults of good old Juan de la Cruz, he has that sense of brotherhood in his heart which no storm, no Ondoy, can ever wipe out.
I see the mud-drenched survivors walking towards the rescue vehicles, I feel like my worries are much too small compared to the burden these people carry. The voice from above has spoken again. And again I say, I hear You.