Born in Bicol Region, I grew up amid typhoons and floods. Literally.
I thought it was a common occurrence and part of life everywhere. A year will not pass by without a typhoon or flood.
But I learned I am wrong when I went to Lake Sebu and Polomolok in Mindanao in 2010.
The good people I met there told me that they never experienced flood or typhoon. I thought they were joking. I told them they were so lucky because I grew up seeing floods,typhoons and devastated crops and shall I say dead people?
I remember my mom giving away sacks and sacks of rice and old clothes to our neighbors, relatives and friends right after every disaster even though our own home was flooded too.
Growing up, I and my cousins would look forward walking in our flooded barangay in Cam Sur so we could play. But almost always my mom won’t even let me go downstairs.
While she distributed food, rice and old clothes to our ka-baranggay I would be sitting on the steps of the stairs and wait for the floodwater to subside so I could join her.
In 2006 my mom died:( Then another typhoon struck our region. Thousands of people became homeless and died.
The classmate of my niece age 16 years old from Oas, Albay died of drowning because the landlady in their boarding house in Legazpi City thinking about the safety of her boarders in the eye of the storm, padlocked the gate of the boarding house and went home.
That particular error in judgement claimed all the lives of six young and vibrant students who were all trapped inside the boarding house when the flood went up to the roof.
My niece who also lived in a dormitory in Legazpi City was so lucky because her dormitory has a second floor. She said the flood was just a step away from the second floor.
Since my niece and the other boarders could not go out to buy food, they stayed together in one room at the second floor. She said she remember the wind to be so strong that the roof was almost blown away. That’s why all their things got wet.
They tore the pages of their notebook and cooked a few packs of instant noodles they had on stock using a mug. They shared one pack among eight of them.
They waited for somebody to rescue them. But nobody came. When they ran out of food and all their clothes were wet, they decided to walk home from Legazpi to our place which is a good one hour away by car.
She said that after walking for an hour from her boarding house in Legazpi to Daraga, they were able to board a jeepney to Guinobatan where they transferred to another jeepney because some portions of the road in Guinobatan were littered with dead people who were victims of flashfloods.
BTW, she survived the ordeal. Shocked as she is she slowly got over it through the years.
Please help Mindanao by donating either money or your labor of love to repack goods to be distributed to our kababayan in Mindanao.
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