Typhoon Ondoy (Ketsana) Water is Cursed

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In Cainta the day after Ondoy
Morning After Ondoy

Our Sunday was filled with cleaning and scraping the mud and trying to rescue anything that was left from the flood. When the rain died down around 6am, we decided to leave Mrs. Cruz’s and brave the barely streaming yellow muddy water to check up on my Tita Nanet’s house. The flood was up to my calves in some parts, and up to my chest as we got closer to the house. I was afraid of getting whatever diseases that was left in the water. We didn’t have any access to electricity, so we didn’t know what was going on in the news or radio, but in my mind, I knew in some way the water was cursed.

Tita Nanet’s house was trashed. The furniture had fallen and was placed in different areas and thick, black mud covered the floors. It also smelled gross. Injuries, sickness, diseases, and sadly death was lurking in the waters and mud. The smell was unbearable at first, but you get used to it after a while.

Right away we saw Mona already cleaning, so we jumped in to do the same. The city had shut down all electricity as a safety precaution, but the water in every home was in use to clean, so all we got was trickles of water coming out of the hose. All we had to use to clean was a small *walis, a broom, 2 buckets, and a hose that trickled few drops of water. It felt like we were part of the American Red Cross rescue mission.

Trickle the water, sweep the mud out, trickle water, sweep the mud out. For hours and hours that was our flow and slowly the place was coming together. Pictures, books, and memorabilia was all found under mud. It was heartbreaking to see someone else’s things trashed by mother nature. You can never tell what she can do to your life. As the three of us tried to clean more and more, we had to remind ourselves to eat and drink. It was tough from the heat, smells, and dirt everywhere, but we needed the strength. Luckily, I bought a few snacks a few days before and because I wrapped them up in ziplock and garbage bags, they were saved and untouched. Oreos, a few Filipino snacks, and a jug of water helped us get through the rest of the day.

Dinner was approaching, so we went for a walk towards the main road. All we saw was hills of mud everywhere. A few sari-sari stores were still open even though there was no electricity. They used ice for refrigeration and candles for light. Anything helps and money was still needed to be made.

We were starving and luckily the Philippines doesn’t thrive on electricity, so there were many street BBQ places available to choose from. We went straight to Baliwag Lechon Manok BBQ. For 2 hours we waited patiently for our plastic bag of chicken *manok.

Before heading back home, my Tita Lou said to meet them at the *simbahan 2 blocks away from the house for night mass. Even though we were starving, muddy, and tired, it was important to attend that night after what happened to all the people in the flood. We paid 10 pesos for a *paja bike ride to the church. As we came upon the church, it was very dark everywhere because of the *brown out, but the inside had many candles lit and the attendance was very small. In the other room, there was a funeral and sadly due to the flood in our neighborhood. We were confused as to why the attendance that night was every small. It was the only mass that day because the flood didn’t subside until the afternoon hours. We figured there would be many people thankful to survive the calamity that happened just a day ago. I suppose it was either everyone was busy cleaning and eating their first full meal or sadly had mixed feelings about their beliefs in God.

We finally got back home to the half cleaned house, one side with white floors, and the other with black floors. We used the hose to bathe, used 2 candles in our room, and prayed that all the mosquitos in the room did not carry any diseases.

Tagalog Translation
Manok: Chicken
Simbahan: Church
Paja: Bicycle driver, side cart fits 2 people
Brown out: black out, no electricity

Kitchen after Ondoy
Tita Nanet’s Kitchen
Living Room after Ondoy
The Living Room
Baliwag Lechon Manok
Baliwag Lechon Manok on the Street
Jollibee After Typhoon Ondoy
Jollibee 2 days after Flood

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