Friday, September 29, 2006

Milenyo, Makati and Me

The typhoon Milenyo (international codename: Xangsane) wreaked havoc in Makati yesterday. People were caught unawares. When we woke up yesterday morning, my wife and I had no idea of the coming tempest. I, along with my teammates, was in the office doing the research our American client requested when the rain came. At first we took no notice of it because we're used to the freaky weather in this country. Then at about 10 .am. the strong winds howled... I looked outside the window and the rain was not even falling diagonally. It went in horizontal gusts like to the water coming of a car wash jet's nozzle. I saw a man on a bicycle being pushed backwards by the wind. Car alarms wailed. Power soon went out and the generators kicked in. Our internet connection (Globe) failed so we cannot work on our projects anymore. My wife called and asked if she can pick me up. Our team leader got the go- signal from our operations manager to leave, if the internet is still offline by lunchtime.

Dex and Ricky left around 12. My wife called a few minutes later and told me she's already waiting for me downstairs. I packed my stuff and went down. As soon I exited the double doors, I understood the gravity of the situation. The trees of the once-serene and orderly Salcedo Park were being battered by the 200kph wind. Some of the trees have fallen. Branches were torn-off. Debris and litter were flying everywhere. Corrugated iron sheets from construction sites lay strewn across the road as the storm played with them like they were paper.

Some of my things fell as I neared the car so I had to scramble and pick them up.
I fastened my seat belt as soon as I got in the car. The car was rocking to and fro. Visibility was limited to a few feet. The rain battered the car continuously. Every meter was a battle. We looked for a way out. The traffic signs were not working. The MAPSA officers, who are usually there when not needed nor wanted, could have restored some semblance of order but none were available.
Sayang lang yung mga kotong... It was anarchy. A taxi driver cut us off while we were trying to change lanes. A second later a falling tree hit his car's trunk. Our lane was not moving. We took a shortcut near Urdaneta village towards Ayala Ave. We reached EDSA. Billboard structures were swaying and could fall any moment. We passed by a house in an exclusive subdivision whose thick perimeter wall had collapsed towards EDSA. We took the right turn at Kalayaan flyover towards the Fort. Once we had reached the Shell gasoline station, we experienced the full fury of the storm. There were few buildings that could act as wind barriers because most projects were still under construction. A heavysignboard from a commercial area flattened two parked cars. It seems no one was inside the cars.

We decided to take refuge at the nearby Market! Market! Mall. Debris were coming at us as we crawled towards the covered parking lot. As we entered the building, the wind had increased in intensity. The car shuddered every gust. The tires were slipping against the pavement. We were able to park in the second level. We held on tight to the railings as we crossed the slippery walkway that leads towards the mall. Three men were stationed at the double doors to keep them closed against the wind. Yellow Cab and Oody's were the only establishments open. Many people took sanctuary in the Mall. We sat on the floor near the G2000 store and read the books we brought from the car. The storm passed hours later. We arrived home around 4:30 pm. We have no electricity and water until now.
We thank God for keeping us safe.

Here are some links about the storm:
Click here for pictures
Click here
for Dexter's personal account

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

The Golden Days are long gone.

Not even a slight echo. About 30% of the seats are empty. People whisper to one another.

The Path Lies Elsewhere.