On September 26, 2009, I remember waking up to my name ringing in my ear. Still in a trance, I was puzzled by the alarming tone in my sister’s voice, shouting and calling on to me, as if there was an emergency and I needed to take action immediately. I wobbled toward my sister to see what the fuss was about, and from the second floor I peeked downstairs, the situation caught me by surprise. I was called unprepared to face the terror brought by, as according to Pres. Arroyo, the once in a lifetime storm, “Bagyong Ondoy”.
There was water everywhere. My mind was able to catch on quickly to what was happening, and in less than a second, I hurriedly pitche in to help my parents get everything to the second floor. As time passed by, inch-by-inch, the flood was engulfing the entire first floor of my family’s house.
Here’s a video I shot with my phone during the flooding. It was 2:15 in the afternoon.
There was no room for complaining and murmuring, the only thing I could utter at that moment was a prayer. I stayed up all night that day. With my half-charged cellphone in hand, the built-in radio was all that I could rely on at that moment for recent news and updates. With reports of houses and properties being destroyed, hungry people stuck on their roofs, and missing people, even the radio was being flooded in with cries for help. I knew the condition I was in at the moment was much more comfortable, and with that a resurgence of hope and gratitude started to fill my heart once again. I was reminded that God was still in control.
As I ponder on my thoughts upon this great calamity and nightmare that has befallen us, surely this was not God’s Divine punishment for the Filipinos, nor an opportunity to point a finger and blame it all on Him with what we went through. Let us take into perspective that this is merely a product and consequence of our thoughtless actions. Neglecting the responsibility we have in taking care of the nature and our environment. But it’s never too late to make a change, now is the time for us to set things right. Let’s start to take on our role as good stewards of God’s gift, the planet Earth, and we, in turn, may be able to experience the benefits of caring for the environment. On a positive note, through all these disaster, tragedy, and death we are experiencing, the Spirit of “Bayanihan” was rebirth. Due to all those years of disagreements, war, and mentality of putting one’s self-gain before others, “Bayanihan” a characteristic of the Filipinos slowly withered, and only through this tough time, was it once again revived and restored. Everything was set aside, and we became unified as a nation. We must remember, the best lessons learned are through experience, and let us take into heart to put value with what God has bestowed upon us, the Filipinos, whether it be the environment, our country, the people around us, or the unique and admirable traits possessed only by the “Pinoys”.
Let’s learn to see everything the way God wants us to see it, not the other way around.
My prayers still goes out to the “Ondoy” victims. God will see you through. God bless you all.
Credits for the photos: Facebook Friends – Neil Villamayor and Ruth Anne De Leon