It happened six years ago, on the 26th of September, 2009…
6am. She woke up from the sound of the heavy rain pouring down nonstop since the previous days. Looking at the clock on her phone, she’s an hour early from her wake up call. Half asleep, she strode her way down to the first floor and into the kitchen. Took a few bite of hotdog from the still-hot breakfast laid on the dining table, just to satisfy her grumbling stomach. Then walked back on to her bed to steal another hour of sleep.
7am. She woke up again, this time from the blaring alarm from her phone. While doing all the preparation to go to work, she notice her mother’s worried face, all glued up to the news. From the TV screen she saw that major roads in the metro are all flooded. She picked up her phone and called her boss that she can’t make it to work. All her route to work are flooded.
8am. The floodwater is now just a block away from their house. They’ve been busy moving things they can carry to the second floor of their home. They’ve placed bigger furniture on sturdy and high platforms.
9am. The floodwater is gushing in… from the window. In less than a few minutes, the inside of their home was flooded! But the water still kept coming in. The water is coming from everywhere. From the door, from the windows, even from the kitchen sink. Realizing that the flood is still rising, they started to panic and scampered around, moving the appliances they placed on top of tables to the second floor. She didn’t even realized that her petite body was able to carry things double her size, due to the adrenaline rush.
12pm. The flood water started reaching even the second floor of their home. Little by little, the murky water started kissing her feet again. They’ve been busy stacking what they can. Hungry and all drenched in flood waters, they made towers of towers of all their stuff, in an effort to save what they can. Putting important documents. phones and gadgets inside ziplocks.
3pm. They’re still on the second floor, surrounded with their all wet and floating furniture. The water is already chest deep. From the balcony’s gate, she had a little view of the outside. She saw water, a vast horizon of water. Just flood water. It’s as if they are swimming in a huge river. She can no longer see her neighbor’s roofs which has always been there. But that moment, it’s just… gone! She then thought of her friends. She thought of her sister who’s not with them at that time, who was on 24-hour shift in the hospital where she works. She’s been silently praying since this morning. Since this morning, she’s been praying for her family and friend’s safety. The thought of death even came to her mind. She asked for God’s forgiveness and repented for whatever sins she’s committed. What if they never make it alive? Will this be their last day? She kept asking God to spare her family’s life. She unceasingly asked God for help.
4pm. It’s as if a scene in a movie, out of nowhere, she received the answer to her prayer. They saw a nail sticking out of the wooden ceiling, just a few feet above them. They pulled it out with their bare hands and use it to make a hole on the ceiling, just big enough for them to fit in.
5pm. It’s already dark as if it was already night, though the sunset is still an hour away. The flood water is still rising but not as fast as it way from previous hours. All four of them lying down on the dirty and old floor of their ceiling, a few feet away from the flood water below them. Everyone were quiet. All drenched, cold, hungry and thirsty. There’s no phone signal to call for help. All they can hear is the noise of the raindrops hitting the sheet metal roof that separates them from the cold outside. They can also hear voices of their neighbors who miraculously was able to climb up on top of their roof. Their house was one of the only few houses in the area where the roof was still visible. A roof that became a safe haven to some. She still kept praying silently. She kept reminding herself of the rainbow. She kept claiming God’s promise:
Geneses 9:11. “I establish my covenant with you: Never again will all life be destroyed by the waters of a flood; never again will there be a flood to destroy the earth.”
Due to exhaustion and hunger, she unknowingly fell asleep.
4am. The water started to subside. It was still dark and cold. They relied only on each other’s body heat to prevent hypothermia. Despite the situation, you could still hear a few laughs here and there. Genuine laughs. Maybe because though all hungry and cold, no one was badly hurt. Sometimes you can hear a few knocks on the steel roof. It became their way of checking each other, from the people inside to the outside and vice versa, if they are alive and ok.
6am. The sun was finally visible again after a few days of nonstop rain. The flood is gone. Everyone’s on the ground again. Not on top of the roof, not on top of a table, not swimming in flood, but walking on the ground.
She never cried. Not at least once shed tears in her eyes. She just prayed. And again, she silently uttered another prayer. this time a prayer of thanks. She was happy that her family were all alright.
The flood left a big mess everywhere, a knee-deep mud and a lasting mark on everyone…
Typhoon Ketsana, known in the Philippines as Tropical Storm Ondoy, was the second most devastating tropical cyclone in the 2009 Pacific typhoon season. with a damage of $1.09 billion and 747 fatalities. It was the most devastating typhoon to hit Manila, surpassing Typhoon Patsy (Yoling) in 1970.
Marikina City, part of Metro Manila, was the most devastated region in the Philippines: almost all of the city’s area was submerged in water up to ten feet deep and tons of knee-deep mud. During the typhoon, the Marikina River broke its banks and transformed streets into rivers. Marikina residential areas were badly affected by flooding. Marikina itself recorded 78 deaths, the highest among Metro Manila cities. – Wikipedia