Birthdays and Typhoons II

Typhoon Pedring (Int'l Name: Nesat)

I have recently celebrated my birthday and as my other birthdays before this one, Mother Nature has decided to make it more memorable.  She sent a typhoon to mark this special occasion.  The typhoon did not fall on my birthday itself but sometime very near it.
This year, Typhoon Pedring visited the country and chose to devastate my beloved Philippines.  Large areas of Luzon (the country’s biggest Island) have been destroyed and inundated.  And although it has been two weeks since Pedring left the country, its effects are still very much felt by those people who have seen and experienced Nature’s might.
I have my own share of typhoon stories – being  stuck eternally in traffic, walking flooded streets for hours, renting a room  in some cheap ‘motel’ with a baby under my care (and I did not have any food for the baby at all.  had to do it ’cause if it not, flood waters would have engulfed our car), (minor) flooding inside my house, trees falling right  outside my gate, blocking it  – but fortunately, I have never had the same terrible plight many  Filipinos are experiencing now.
The following pictures are glimpses of the damages created by Pedring.

floods destroy acres of farmlands and millions worth of crops. photo courtesy of philstar.com

the US embassy in manila. photo courtesy of wheninmanila.com

flood in calumpit, bulacan. photo courtesy of batangastoday.com

waves higher than the coconut trees crash against the seawall near hotel sofitel, manila.

Typhoons are always unforgiving but probably  the worst one that people would permanently remember is Typhoon Ondoy (International name: Ketsana).  It has caused so much destruction and trauma  that its name will never be used again for another future typhoon.  Also, its name has become a verb:

eg. “Maghahanda na talaga ako para sa  paparating na bagyo.  Ayoko ng ma – Ondoy  ulit.”

I’m definitely  going to prepare for the next typhoon.  I  don’t want to be “Ondoy-ed” again. (= caught off guard, stranded in the streets  or rooftops, get one’s house flooded, traumatized, etc.)

I actually wonder if the name “Ondoy” has been  incorporated in the latest editions of Filipino dictionaries!

As of writing, another typhoon is wreaking havoc this time around  in the southern part of the country.   Countless people are stranded in sea ports and a lot of residential and farmlands are submerged in flood waters.   This is not the last typhoon that would visit the country, unfortunately.  The Philippines still has more or less 5  typhoons to brave by the year ends.

I would just like to reiterate something I have written in my previous blog (“Birthdays and Typhoons”) 2 years ago which I think is very much relevant whether or not there is a typhoon:

“Experts say that storms are definitely going to get more violent as the world experiences the grave effects of climate change.  The Philippines, being one of the most vulnerable countries in relation to climate change, really needs to fully understand and address this extremely significant issue A.S.A.P.  It is an imperative that everyone – government, civil society, and practically every single citizen – pitches in, so at the very least, people can minimize its devastating effects. I hope that other countries, especially the industrialized ones, also do their share in reducing the causes of climate change.  After all, they hold the bigger accountability when it comes to the distressing phenomenon of climate change. “

I might not have received any lavish birthday present from friends and family this year, but the gods have given me a  precious birthday gift … life  amidst such devastation.  And that is worth celebrating.

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