"a caterpillar doesn't just grow into a butterfly. a caterpillar must undergo metamorphosis, and a cocoon is where a caterpillar risks it all: enters total chaos, undergoes total rebuilding, and is born to a new way of living. only in taking the risk of entering that inert cocoon can the caterpillar go from dormancy to potency, from ugliness to beauty."

Monday, September 28, 2009

reminiscing yesterday

"we will go from strength to strength
until we see you face to face"

i never really fully understood just how much i and my companions have been saved from the waters unleashed by typhoon ondoy until i saw videos and photos of how high and strong the floodwaters were in a lot of affected areas.

yesterday, information about the typhoon, road conditions, and floods got to us via text messages, calls, and the reports and updates blaring from the radio. before all those, we were just trying to gauge the extent of ondoy's "signal no.1" with our eyes -- sky condition, falling rain, tarp and living plants' reaction to the winds -- as we entered the south luzon expressway (SLEX) from alabang shortly after 1pm. everything seemed according to the usual "signal no. 1" except for the alarming, more-than-the-usual, flood-unleasher heavy downpour we witnessed in alabang.

our driver had the good sense to avoid the southwoods portion of SLEX and diverted our route to one of the exit roads. as a result, we found ourselves caught in slow-moving traffic at that exit point. despite getting us stuck in that traffic because of that turn, the driver made a good call there. with whatever little i could see through the island of trees that separated our exit road from SLEX, i saw the build-up of heavy traffic on the expressway shortly after that and it was worse than the traffic that we were stuck in. then, too, one of the managers sent an alert message about SLEX-southwoods being already flooded and that in canlubang there's already a 5-foot deep flood. we knew our driver was enlightened to choose the safer track. just how much safer? i was only able to fully understand more than 24 hours later when i saw on video how the SLEX-southwoods portion resembled a wide river with all that huge volume of murky water flowing from who-knows-where. whoa! i didn't know and i found it hard to believe that SLEX could really look like that!

despite avoiding SLEX and taking the unusual route, we were not totally spared from encountering the floodwaters unleashed by typhoon ondoy. we passed through roads that were also slightly flooded. as mentioned in my previous post, navigating the water-filled roads on a van was akin to a combined jungle log jam and rio grande rapids experience minus the amusement park brand of fun, fun, fun all the way. we were clearly aware that the sprays that we saw through the closed windows as our van wheeled through the wet roads were from treacherous floodwater. despite that, we managed to somehow enjoy and not be panicky through the "adventure".

river or road? yup, we're still on the road!

we saw, too, the swollen rivers and their raging torrents threatening in vain to breach the bridges. i felt comforted to see that the bridges we passed by were built high away enough from the river level. if those were not, i dread to think about the destructive possibilities.

if there was something beautiful i saw during the time that we were finding our way back to batangas via the town roads of laguna, it was the sight of rain kissing the rice fields. yes, you read that right: rain kissing the rice fields! it's as if a gentle wind brought rain to slowly creep over the fields and to caress the top of the rice plants -- a sea of beautiful natural greens, slightly bowing with grains, ready for harvest slowly touched by rain. it was an awesome sight! i just hope that those rice fields did not end up being ravaged by heavier rain.

we got a bit lost when we got to silangan. we made a wrong turn somewhere and got on another slightly flooded road that seemed to lead us to nowhere familiar. at that point, we had to stop and turn back so we could get back to SLEX and then to the road that we're 100% sure will lead us to batangas. we were thankful this man was out and he helped us find the right direction:

thank you, kuya!

it was around 4pm when we reached the YT (yazaki-torres) portion of the highway connecting calamba and sto. tomas, batangas. we got caught in another close-to-non-moving traffic there. it was already past 6pm when we finally saw our way out of the gridlock. whew! to keep our minds from being idle, we listened to the radio news feeds. in the background, we also had praise songs playing.

massive flooding in metro manila and surrounding provinces. too much water. too little help coming. people on their rooftops, hungry and cold, waiting for rescue. rescue couldn't be mounted to reach people needing evacuation. lack of rubber boats, a lot in the way. stranded and flooded vehicles in major thoroughfares. too much rain, lack of visibility hinder helicopters from being flown. difficult to get first-hand info and scoop -- media men couldn't get to the affected areas unless they're already there and victims of the flood themselves. 3 kids escaped flood only to be bitten by snakes which were disturbed by the floods. barrage of frantic pleas for help here and there. nighttime is falling, ondoy is still dumping rains.

it was around this time -- when we were hearing all these unhappy bits -- when we got additional report that the jollibee-sto. tomas area was flooded, too. now, that's just a block away from where our apartment is. i decided not to accept the probability of our very area, our unit, being flooded, too. true enough, when we got home at around 8pm, my housemate and i found our apartment and the immediate surrounding area just as we left it -- no floodwater. wow! thank You, Lord. and thank You for the rice fields!

27th of september 2009

update on 09.28.09: the public market of sto. tomas, which is of higher elevation and also just a block away from our apartment, was also flooded with waist-deep water last saturday (september 26, 2009). being aware of that now, i'm totally amazed that no floodwater got to us.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

signal no. 1

"you have turned my whole life around
thank you, thank you."

i had an amazing day today. i learned a lot of good stuff in just a span of a few hours. it's been awhile since i last had that kind of overwhelmingly pleasant and bountiful learning experience and i am very, very thankful. i'm talking about stuff that have to do with human relationships, basic life principles, and financial prosperity.

then, too, today is also amazing because of my first hand experience of this supposedly signal no.1 typhoon in metro manila and nearby areas -- a typhoon named ondoy (international code: ketsana) -- which, despite not being a super typhoon, poured so much water and caused massive flooding.

road travel from alabang to where i live in batangas would normally take 45 minutes to an hour via the south luzon expressway (SLEX). today, however, it took us 6 hours to reach batangas. some parts of SLEX had waist-deep floodwater and deemed not safe anymore. we had to resort to the roads less traveled -- most of which were slightly flooded, too. navigating those water-filled roads on a van was akin to a combined jungle log jam and rio grande rapids experience.

because of our unusual travel route, i personally saw for myself some of the swollen and raging rivers and flooded parts of the laguna and batangas (laguna border) areas. they're disturbing sights.

based on radio reports, with ondoy, metro manila experienced flooding it has not experienced in a long while -- 20 years? in some areas, people had to climb all the way to their roofs just to get away from the rising, raging floodwaters which make rescue plans and attempts very daunting.

my newswriter friends will have to pardon me for saying this but, this time, the news bureaus' articles that i've read so far regarding typhoon ondoy are not telling it like it really is. the online pictures/videos, the minute-after-minute, area-after-area radio feeds, and my friends' updates are.

earlier today, as floodwater crept and rose, even the mass media people and rescuers couldn't get to those affected places -- too much water, too much rain, wind too strong/visibility too bad to fly helicopters. the available videos, photos and news bits are from people who are already in the affected areas.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

once upon a time: a photoblog

"each breath i take is by your grace"

i was praying the graceful moving creatures would wait for me to finish my ice cream but -- nooooooooooooooo -- they have a world of their own.

they've come closer to the edge

and, just like that, they changed formation...
...before going off to another part of the lagoon to entertain (and, perhaps, to be entertained?) by a korean family enjoying a boatride and they didn't come back -- oh well, just when i've already finished my ice cream. i had to wait... wait... wait.

i finally had the opportunity with these two...

pretentious creatures
here they look like they had nothing to do with each other... but just a few moments after this, the brown one got on top of the white one. i wasn't able to capture that brief action with my camera -- i had to dig for backup battery. hmmm.

aha! flapping after some triumph

la mesa ecopark photowalk with D60Krew
09.21.09 holiday monday

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