The September 26, 2009 storm will certainly be in the country’s historical records of worst and unusual storms ever. Though it was only classified as Storm Signal No. 1in Manila, the rains were unusually heavy and almost non-stop. News said it surpassed the biggest rains that happened in 1967 and even more than the the rain recorded for the whole of September 2009.
I got to the office quite late Saturday to attend a seminar spearheaded by the former head of my new group. By noon, we received news of how bad the roads were. Floods were everywhere including the main highway which is normally the safest and least flooded route to take. We were stranded. Though we were told we were free to go home, several decided to stay as we would not get anywhere and only get ourselves stuck on the road for hours.
I checked on the kids at the apartment. We were lucky, the water was just on the road and never reached the apartment. If it did, they could have just moved up to the second floor. The walls along the main highway of one the biggest subdivisions in the city collapsed a lttle past noon and that area was reported to have water waist-high or even higher. It was no longer passable.
I still wasn’t really worried. Historically, the main highway I regularly use would not be flooded. And even if it was, it would totaly subside an hour or two after the heavy rain stops. I tried my luck around 3pm but traffic had stopped moving just a few kilometers from the first turn I made to the highway. I decided to go back to the office.
I got back in time. The three other group heads I was with in the meeting had decded to go to the mall nearby and wait it out. If things got worse and we had to stay overnight, we could buy food from there and just go back to the office until it was safe to go home. One of the female group heads who left earlier and also cameb back decided to check in at a hotel nearby and offered to share the room with me. I was hesitant. Knowing my sense of direction, I may likely get lost going to the hotel alone and end up in some dark sidestreet though it was just nearby…and it was already dark. I decided to just go back to the office with the other guys later if we had to which we did.
I wasn’t worried about my situation as others were who got in touch with me once in a while to check how or where I was. The only road I was going to use was the highway and once that’s flood-free I knew I could go home safely. By midnight, I decided to go home. The main areas of the highway that were heavily flooded and unpassable earlier were reported ok and traffic was fast and moving. I decided to take a chance and check if the area where I got stuck earlier was also moving now. I could just try to go back to the office again if I had to.
Traffic was slow in that area but moving. I decided to go for it. The area at the Metro Rail Transit intersection was still flooded but passable to light vehicles. After a few meters of that, it was smooth sailing. Got to the condo by around 1am. I was already quite sleepy and with a headache but sill ended up sleepinbg past 4am…there must have been a reason why I was kept awake that long, lol.
I just received a text message from one of my Admin Staff officers. One of my Division heads who left yesterday a little past noon is still out on the road. They cannot reach home. Their bungalow is still flooded wth water 6 feet high. Her 2 kids left at home had no time to save anything when they braved the floods on the street already 5 feet high to go to a neighbor with a 2-storey house. I instructed my Admin Staff to organize something tomorrow for the Division Head and other co-workers who were victims of yesterday’s storm.
Today, the weather is gloomy but calm…
I'm thankful that my family was safe and never near any harm throughout the storm; thankful that despite some inconvenience, I made it back home after being unable to go home for hours; thankful that company Management is showing all-out support for the employees victimized by the storm...I am blessed...