Of Typhoons and Buhawis

Sep 29, 2011 by

When the historic Typhoon Frank hit the Philippines in 2008, it sent Iloilo City and the neighboring provinces in Western Visayas to its knees, screaming for salvation. Hundreds of lives were swallowed by the raging flood that came flushing down from the barren mountains of Panay. It was the most horrific natural phenomenon that the Ilonggos have experienced in contemporary history.

When Frank reached its peak battering our region, I was at SM City Iloilo waiting for the 2 PM screening of Sex & the City. When I realized the panic painted in the faces of the people at the mall, I checked out what was going on outside and there it was, in full glory: Mother Earth trying to teach her child a very tough lesson. It was literally drowning the world in a matter of minutes.

The exit gate of SM City Iloilo was impassable due to the waist-high flood.

The parking lot submerged and the flood carried away most of the parked vehicles.

I was stuck inside the mall (with Resy, Chip, Kevin and Francis) for hours — so were the others. We had to wait until the water subsided once low-tide came. The fear of the unknown enveloped the entire mall despite the number of cold, homeless people now taking shelter outside the mall doors.

A heartbreaking scene outside the mall entrance. They weren't allowed inside the mall, or else there would have been chaos.

I wrote a feature story in Premiere Magazine a month after Typhoon Frank slammed Iloilo in memory of those who perished in the storm — and to leave a note to the people that we need to be more aware of the worst that can come if we continue our irresponsibility and carelessness.

Yesterday, Pedring came to the country prepared for battle. It whipped and spanked everything in its path, unforgiving. It did not leave room for mercy. It had so much wrath to unleash. And it’s not even the worst that can be produced by the vastness and the unpredictability of the Pacific.

We all know the things we ought to do to appease our raging earth. We have been watching about it on TV, read about it in every magazine (even Cosmopolitan writes about it), heard it from people around us. It’s about caring. Simple as that. Now if that is still something puzzling to you, then brace yourself for another match in the coming years. Fear it more than you fear Carry Bradshaw’s stilettos.

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