"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.


  1. Why does it always take a beating in order for us to take a deeper perspective on things?

  2. That must be a dreadful experience for you. But as you realized, other unfortunate Pinoys had more harrowing experience with Ondoy. I hope this won't happen again knowing that there's another typhoon coming.

  3. it wasn't exactly dreadful, just uncomfortable. we were still able to sing and enjoy our ride through the storm.

    somehow, i knew and i was confident i wouldn't experience something traumatic due to that raging typhoon.

    yup, others elsewhere had a harder and traumatic experience. the aftermath of the disaster had me crying.


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