It happened so fast. On Sunday, the sun was shining. When we woke up on Monday morning, the skies were gray and the garden was drenched. Apparently, it had been raining all night. But having gotten used to the unpredictable weather, I thought it was just one of those things. It is the monsoon season, after all, and it is not uncommon to have sunshine one day and rainshowers the next. Sometimes, the sun shines in the morning and it rains later in the day.
After lunch on Monday, Speedy and I went to the supermarket. As usual, we bought meat and vegetables and very few canned goods. I went online a few hours later, started scanning the news and that was the first time I learned that a rather common storm had developed into a typhoon — the scary kind of typhoon. The dark mood was made worse by the fact that, exactly two years ago, typhoon Ondoy (Ketsana) hit the country and left a disaster that had not been seen in half a century. And those who had the worst experience went through a ritual of commemorating the event. It was eerie, to say the least.
The girls were supposed to go back to the condo on Monday evening but since they both have afternoon classes on Tuesday, we agreed that Speedy would drive them on Tuesday morning. By Monday evening, the winds were howling, tree branches were getting torn and I didn’t want them to go back to the city at all. BUT. They’re big girls. They’re 19 and 17, and it wasn’t right for me to just dictate that no, they couldn’t leave the house. Alex had obligations (rehearsals) apart from classes and she’s big on obligations.
The only thing that could keep them home was an official class suspension. I desperately wanted one. I volunteered to stay up all night to stay glued to the news but the government agency that had the power to suspend classes in the tertiary level left the decision to the individual colleges and universities. I would have wanted the girls to rest and sleep in case they did have to go back on Tuesday morning but Sam stayed up with me. She made onion rings around midnight and I baked cinnamon rolls at around 3.00 a.m. And we devoured them. After that, we were just too tired. She fell asleep and so did I.
Alex and Speedy were the first ones up on Tuesday at the crack of dawn. I was getting up at 6.00 a.m. to pack the girls’ cooked meals for the week when Speedy, who had the TV in the living room on, announced that classes at CSB had finally been suspended. What a huge relief. We all went back to sleep when power went out a little before seven. But it was a very cold day and we slept through the morning.
Typhoon Pedring (international name: Nesat) battered the eastern coast of the Philippines all day. We kept the radio on all day and listened to the sad news. The downpour submerged many parts of Metro Manila. Roxas Boulevard, less than a kilometer from the girls’ school, was chest deep in water in some portions. In front of the US Embassy, the water was waist deep. Elsewhere, there were landslides. Eight million households were without electricity. There were evacuations left and right. As of writing time, the death toll is at 14.
You can just imagine my relief that the girls were safely home with us while all that was happening.
The blackout didn’t really bother me at first. The girls kept themselves entertained with the iPod and iPad, playing games. I didn’t start to get antsy until nightfall. That was when the faucets ran dry. The pumping station needs electricity to supply the subdivision with water. Without electricity, we were consuming the contents of the tanks. When that ran out, our faucets went dry. I started to get nervous. The worst part was that the girls’ condo in the city was still without power too.
Power was restored in the part of the boondocks where the pumping station is located. Water supply was restored a few hours later. Power supply would not be restored until 11.00 p.m. No one wanted to sleep. We asked Speedy to buy junk food. While we waited for him, we played Hangman.
Speedy will bring the girls to the condo tomorrow morning. Power has been restored in the condo too. They will leave our house with my heart in one piece because the worst of the typhoon is over and I know that they will be okay until I see them again next weekend.