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  1. Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Posts
    22,704
    #1
    Hi all... have a very long story to tell, bear with me.

    Last Thursday, I had happily reported the delay of our audit due to a typhoon. After a short celebration, everyone in the office went home happy.

    The next morning, I woke up uncommonly early. I couldn't sleep, and I didn't know why. I got up, and the wind was whistling outside. My wife asked me if I’d turned off the electric fan… the air conditioner had automatically cut hours ago… ah, that’s it. The power is out.

    I put on some clothes and went outside. My cousin from the upstairs apartment, Tom, and his buddy Randy were standing in the doorway, the wind whipping around them briskly. We chatted for a while, cheerful because every one in the school was on break for the day. The wind, in the meantime, got stronger. My assistant manager from the school press came in, saying they can’t work because the power is out. I told her to send as many people home as she could. It’s a useless day for work, and one wasted.

    The wind picked up in another hour or so… gusts of over 100 km/h came barreling down the road. I calmly and logically decided that I didn't want the car parked out in that weather and I drove it into the garage. I was soaking wet and standing back out in front of the house when a tree next door toppled almost straight into the parking lot on the other side. Poor tree! That thing was almost as old as me! The eye of the storm soon passed over us, and all was calm.

    That was quick. We hopped over next door to another cousin’s house to tell him to move his car, as power lines were dangling precariously over it. The boys decided to make a road trip of it and were soon gone. As I stood there enjoying the momentary lull, my cellphone rang. AJ, another cousin who lives in the city, told me his workers were warning him of flooding. Still not scared. The places that were flooding get four feet of water almost every time it rains. Our house hasn’t gotten wet for almost seven years.

    Still, I was disturbed enough to move the car to the bowling alley across the highway. The parking slots sit six feet or more higher than the surrounding ground. I went back to warn all my first floor tenants, including my wife, that we should start taking precautions, because it might just flood. My neighbor Mona is a veteran at this. Six years ago, she lost all her stuff to a flood, and she and her friends started putting stuff on tables. We moved the baby upstairs to play with her Grandmother, and because it was kinda dark inside our apartment.

    I walked outside to check on the car, then down to the river to check the water. Gosh, kinda high. Mohammad, the shop owner across the street was standing in his doorway. He’d walked and commuted from his home in the north to check on his store and make sure things were okay. We were still in the eye of the storm, it was one in the afternoon, and I told him if we made it to three, everything would be okay. The storm would be over by then. He dropped a bombshell on me after I told him that… the dams were open.

    -----

    Flashback: Six years ago, the worst flooding we’d ever seen was one or two feet of water after the rains. But that was before the Cavite Local Government got the idea to build reservoirs up in the mountains. After five or six days of steady rains due to another typhoon, they had to open the floodgates, to keep the dams from giving way under the weight of the water.

    We were devastated. I’d gotten out of bed too late to save our car or any of the downstairs tenants’ furniture. It’s a heartbreaking thing to be pushing a car in four feet of water, alarm screaming as the water crept up into the engine bay… only to hear it die just a hundred feet from high ground. Portions of Binan were six feet under, and our place had three feet of floodwater for days. My family’s printing press was ruined. We spent a small fortune repairing the machines and making the building water-tight, with windows at least four feet off the ground and a doorway three feet high, in preparation for a second flood that never came. At least, not until now.


    -----

    Now, I had a wife and kid sleeping downstairs, because we didn’t fit into my upstairs apartment. I had about two years worth of new furniture and appliances, as well as items inherited from my dear departed grandmother. Now I was scared. As I walked back to the house, water was pouring in the front door. I made a desperate wish that the water would top out at a foot, but it just kept coming in. Tom was still out on the highway, stranded… I broke down his door and drove his car out to higher ground, but it died halfway there. We pushed it up onto the curb and waded back to the house.

    The water just kept on coming. Though forewarned, my wife and the other tenants hadn’t been able to save much, and carrying waterlogged furniture with ruined books and clothes in them seemed a futile task, but we kept going. With my brother and a helper assisting my wife and our kid safely stowed with my Mother in their second floor apartment, I walked down to the press. The inside was safe for only another five minutes, and then the water crested the doorway, nearly five feet deep at that point, and poured like a waterfall into the building.

    I went numb. Millions of pesos in equipment and tens of thousands of pesos worth of paper were now sitting chest deep in water. After another check to see how high the flood was outside, and to check on our Crosswind and Lynx, I went back inside and folded up.

    The water was still rising though. It was three in the afternoon, and the rain had fallen to a drizzle, but the water still kept coming. I looked out the windows at the devastation, a friend’s Mazda, his first brand new car in seven years, soaked to the roof. Four of my uncles’ cars and all of his furniture and appliances. A cousin’s sports sedan and van, bought with hard earned savings over nearly ten years of work, submerged alongside his wife's store, her inventory floating out the front door. My 626, floating up to the windshield in water… dreams of restoration and reconditioning now down the tube.

    I still didn’t want to think about what it meant for our businesses. Last time, it’d cost us millions. This time? We’d survive. Most of our offices were now on the second floor, but there were still dozens of computers on the first floor, not to mention millions of pesos worth of heavy engineering equipment on the first floor of the College building. The hospital generator in the next building was spluttering and cutting in and out well into the night. Though it was on a platform far off the ground, water had gotten into some delicate components.

    Around five, the water stopped rising. Around five thirty, it started going down, then it stopped, with about two feet of water still left outside. A gaggle of first floor refugees sat eating dinner in my Mom’s apartment, trading stories of lost medical reviewers and television sets. My brother and sister were playing with the baby, and they were in high spirits… and why not? They hadn’t lost anything. For the students, it was bad, but this was a temporary home for them. For us? It was the end of the world. I was seriously contemplating taking out a loan and buying a house in Manila, even though it would make a pauper out of me for the next twenty years. My spirits were in the dump.

    Later that night, around ten, my cousin and the possible future President of our school (or at least one of the campuses…), Richard, came by and asked if we needed a lift. Desperate for running water for our baby (for bathing, washing bottles and other stuff) we happily accepted. We packed what stuff we still had and still came up short. No clothes for me and my wife, no Nokia charger (as if we’d ever find power for it) and no shoes.

    We went down to the hospital, but with the generator coughing and dying every fifteen minutes, they had no running water. We drove down to the Lynx, still parked at the bowling alley, high and dry, transferred our stuff and a very sleepy little baby, and went hunting for a place to stay.

    Driving down the road was an eerie experience. No one was outside. Silt and debris sat nearly a foot high on the road in some places. Driving through six inches of water in total darkness, with steam coming out from under the hood as water hit the exhaust manifold felt alien. It was almost like watching a movie happening to somebody else as we drove down the deserted highway to Alabang.

    The hotels were all full. Damn rich people and their love of air-conditioning. A quick call to relatives in Las Pinas revealed that their house wasn’t in a suitable condition for the baby. We bit the bullet and drove all the way to my wife’s house in Cubao. We got there just after midnight. Normally, I’d have enjoyed such a quiet and relaxing drive, but the scenes of devastation on the way had just sapped all enjoyment out of me.
    Last edited by niky; October 1st, 2006 at 09:19 PM.

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  2. Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Posts
    22,704
    #2
    Here's some pics:


    Last edited by niky; October 1st, 2006 at 06:52 PM.

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  3. Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Posts
    22,704
    #3
    The next day, I sat there in the pre-dawn light, waiting for the power to come back on, looking at the streaks of mud and dust on the car. My precious new mags have survived a flash flood, sharp-edged potholes, dead cats and stray logs, only to succumb to early morning dog pee (don’t worry, it’ll wash off). With all the gravel, silt, mud, broken glass and sharp pebbles now on my week-old tires, I suppose their life span has been cut in half., but that’s okay. I had promised to myself that I would never let another car of mine drown, and I did that. But with all the other things that have happened in the past twenty four hours, that’s small consolation.

    Our baby slept very soundly. She’d had an exciting day, and while the rest of us were dragging ourselves through it like zombies, she was all smiles. A real trooper. I wish I could say the same for me. We’re going hunting for a condominium or an apartment now, as we have a lot of work to do before we can move back in, or, hopefully, back up to the third floor loft.

    But I'm considering buying another AUV and leaving the car in Quezon City. Buying new furniture hurts, yes, but buying a new car every time it floods is more painful than open-heart surgery.

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  4. Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Posts
    21,301
    #4
    hehe, ang haba, wala bang summarized version?

  5. Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Posts
    1,496
    #5
    whoa... a grueling ordeal indeed, Im glad you and your family are now safe and dry.

    stay stong man

  6. Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Posts
    139
    #6
    and here I was complaining that we had no cable.

    Glad to hear your family is safe. That's more than enough reason to celebrate. May the Lord continue to bless your family.

  7. Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Posts
    22,704
    #7
    Thanks guys. It wasn't really that bad, as I was numb through the whole thing. Having had my house flooded previously, burned two or three times, eaten by termites and robbed twice, I'm kinda numb to a loss of property. What really hurts is how much work I'll have to do to restore it, and how little extra money I'll have at the end of the year because I'll be spending a lot in repairing the presses.

    Here's a shot of the Elementary school beside the house:


    I did manage to ruin one of those new wheels, because of this:

    400+ pounds of water in the trunk, and typhoon gouged potholes don't mix...

    But I had it worked on by Miller West Ave... only realized that this was the Miller made infamous in Tsikot after they finished... but they didn't dick me... now it's almost as good as new:


    Medyo mababaw siguro, but at least I have something to be happy about...

    Ang pagbalik ng comeback...

  8. Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Posts
    2,719
    #8
    you are not just a survivor ... you are a survival expert !!!

  9. Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Posts
    1,526
    #9
    You should change host partypoker FTL.

    just be glad everyone you care about is safe.








    :fly:

  10. Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Posts
    394
    #10
    its just a temporary setback, you'll get through. it'll just make you work harder... at least you're with your loved ones and everyone's ok...:goodluck:

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A Survivor's Tale: