Posted by Abdel Kadz on Saturday, January 09, 2010 with 3 comments
4:00 am. It had been raining the previous night. I was safely tucked in bed, with the blanket over my head. Sometimes, my siblings and I used to sleep in my mom's room since Dad passed away. We settled ourselves on the floor with only a one-inch mattress making our sleep comfortable. Even though it was cold outside, we opted to turn the AC on, enveloping us in moderate gelidity as we succumbed to hours of undisturbed slumber. Then it came, this feeling of inexplicable coldness, fluid-like in my feet. Hell, I thought I was dreaming where I wetted myself (hehe). But this wetness soon crawled its way up my thighs, to my back, to my head. I woke up. Gawd, our house was flooded.

Everybody was stirred out of bed and became frantic. Soon we found ourselves saving what little we could as the gushing water became knee deep in a span of a few minutes. We brought the big, heavy sofas to the second story, the clothes in the closets and my mom's expensive bedsheets hastily thrown into a blanket and piggybacked upstairs, the TVs, the appliances--anything that could no longer be used once drenched in murky water. And adding insult to injury, the lights quivered and died on its own while the rain continued to drizzle, like nine-inch nails hammering the roofs above.

This was something we were accustomed to experience on a yearly basis, particularly when the rainy season in the Philippines was starting to make its presence known. That's why when Ondoy came and unleashed its fury to unknowing residents in hard luck cities and municipalities back home, I felt for them, those who lost their properties and life savings to the flood. In comparison to what we went through, even though the water became chest deep at times, we never lost a single life to the raging waters.

The reason for the floods and its aftermath could be blamed on a number of things. It could be blamed on the government for having not done its job of forewarning the masses that this typhoon was about to engulf their abodes and along with it their lives. It could be blamed on the GOVERNMENT for its ineptitude and lack of preparedness in dealing with a calamity of this magnitude. It could be blamed on the GOVERNMENT for having not invested in infrastructures and sewerage waterworks to curb a tragedy like this. It could be blamed on the GOVERNMENT for the delay in giving out aid (or lack thereof) during and after Ondoy's killing frenzy. I blame the GOVERNMENT too much because while everybody became heroes saving loved ones, friends and neighbors, and some dying in the process, the minions of what we call our GOVERNMENT locked themselves, of their own volition, in their towering mansions and prayed for their own arses. Mother Nature came and brought about a catastrophe everyone won't be forgetting anytime soon, and innocent people paid the price for the incompetence of others.

Now, gone were the nights of being on the qui vive every time the heavens rumble with the thunderclaps, or of roofs ruffling brought upon by heavy gusts, the sky agloom with flashes veering its way across its chemical makeup (our house was brazen down to the ground one fateful evening in August 2002). But like the fire that persists to permeate my memory of a home lost, let the tragedy that brought out the best in us and the worst for some continue to kindle in our mind, forever retelling a lesson I hope each of us learned.