As of this writing, Typhoon Pedring (Bagyong Pedring) has left the Philippines to wreak havoc on China. The sun is shining once again and it seems that all is well on the land of the rising sun. Yet, in certain areas of the country, thousands of Filipinos are temporarily living in emergency evacuation centers, waiting for the flood waters to abate so they can go back to their homes…. assuming they are still standing. Thirty five Filipinos are reported missing by their anxious families while nineteen are lying cold in cement floors, their families stricken with grief. All is not well.
Ondoy vs. Pedring
It’s ironic that Typhoon Pedring made its landfall in the Philippines on September 26, 2011. For in the same date two years ago, September 26,2009, Typhoon Ondoy raged against the Filipinos and left hundreds of dead bodies and millions of destroyed properties. It was one of the few storms that I vividly remember because the flood waters reached inside our home and we ended up cleaning the house for a week after it subsided.
Before Pedring, you can hear people recounting their terrifying experiences of the 2009 typhoon and using the term “Na-Ondoy” as some sort badge of honor. After all, it was one of worst storms in the last five years and many people did not survive it. Now, expect people to say “Na-Pedring” as they recall one of their worst storm experiences ever.
The Equalizing Effect of Storms
I’m not one to rejoice in the misfortune of others but Typhoons Ondoy and Pedring demonstrate the equalizing effect of storms. In the aftermath of Typhoon Ondoy, news programs and talk shows were filled of celebrities badly affected by the storm. I remember Gladys Reyes recalling in horrible detail how the flood waters entered their home. Comedian Chocolate also got his house and his vans destroyed by flood waters. Gerald Anderson swam in flood waters to rescue people. I remember thinking then that celebrities also get affected by floods.
Now, I’m expecting to hear the management of luxury hotel Sofitel to give a detailed assessment of damage done by Typhoon Pedring to the first floor of the hotel, including its restaurant. I am also expecting to hear more about the damage sustained by SM Mall of Asia. I hope that this experience will make businessmen realize that their multi-floor houses and buildings will not be safe from the wrath of nature and that they should help the government solve the drainage/flooding problem. It would be cheaper to establish preventive measures than repair what floods have destroyed.
The Filipino Badge of Strength
Where the American Indians have their scalps to prove their bravery and strength, we Filipinos have storms. I know it’s a bad analogy but it somehow works for me. Only during the most disastrous and tragic times could we fully appreciate the strength of Filipinos as individuals and as a nation. Typhoon Ondoy made a hero out of Gerald Anderson and other people who bravely helped people stranded in the floods. The aftermath proved how willful and determined Filipinos can be in restoring their livelihoods and simple ways of living. I am hoping to see the same will and determination once again as we recover from the devastation caused by Typhoon Pedring.
To prove my point, here’s a funny yet hopeful picture I saw while reading Typhoon Pedring update in Inquirer.net. It shows two Filipinos carrying a pig over the flood waters. This pig would probably be slaughtered and sold in the market. Life — and business — goes on.