When nature plays the game
TRAVEL UPDATE - Marlinda Angbetic Tan (The Philippine Star) - August 9, 2012 - 12:00am

The continued flooding in the National Capital Region has all eyes and ears glued to the news updates on TV which is now 24/7. It wrenches my gut to see what used to be the country’s pride, Roxas Boulevard, becoming a squalid canal, brimming with the metro’s wantonly dumped, odious refuse.

My sensibilities are bruised as I watch people wading through breast-deep murky waters in the clean-up drive; of young men hauling toxic debris with their bare hands. Needling my mind is the obstinacy of those who refuse to leave their houses despite imminent floods or landslide; or the bravado of those missing fishermen who sailed out into a turbulent sea. Hardheadedness or foolhardiness? Bravado or desperation? Who can say for sure?

When an abused Mother Nature decides to play the game of Might is Right, man becomes a puny pawn in the playing field. Floods have obliterated communities in Taiwan, China, India and Japan, while similar rampaging waters are now causing as much havoc in many towns in Southern Russia as well as in the ongoing Olympic Games in London, and throughout Central Europe for that matter! (To think that it is supposedly summer over there – “the wettest summer” experienced in years by Londoners.)

Awesome cyclones are likewise causing calamities across the American Midwest even as devastating drought sweeps through Africa. You see, ours is a worldwide phenomenon – we are all in this mess, whether First World or Third World. Yet amidst the present economic upheavals in the West, the world is now leveling up. The First World may yet become an obsolete concept.

I seem to veer a bit from my mainstream topic on travel but let me point out, that the travel industry is quite sensitive to climactic changes. Lightning storms in Chicago can affect the rest of the flight schedules across the coasts. In these parts, tropical depressions can spell cessation of inter-island sea travel, even if some air travel may pass muster. Out in the islands – like Boracay, Malapascua, Camotes, Bantayan, or Palawan – even the monsoon can mantle a pall over sand and fun. That also goes for places like Chiang Mai, Bali and the Maldives. I vividly remember when we were in a luxurious yacht sailing over the Great Barrier Reef to White Island (we stayed in Hamilton Island) some strong winds swayed our craft that made the cruise unsettling, to say the least…this coming from someone like me with sturdy sea legs. The weather dictates travel in all aspects, that’s for sure!

In times like now, family trips are best shelved until the weather will prove less precarious. Remember that Pag-asa has made a forecast on a number of cyclones coming our way before the year ends. Hopefully, Pag-asa’s forecast may turn out to be wrong. But then again, who are we to contend with the vagaries of Nature that lashes back at us for our mindless actuations, continually causing the ecological imbalance that will lead to our ultimate misery? If calamities are replicated in almost all parts of the globe, can travel still be a tantalizing adventure that dangles its magnetism before us?

‘Nough considerations brought to the table! These are sobering thoughts in these overcast days, albeit of more soothing weather. Yet it rains for hours, for days, bringing floods….here I go again!

AMERICAN MIDWEST BALI AND THE MALDIVES CENTRAL EUROPE CHIANG MAI FIRST WORLD GREAT BARRIER REEF HAMILTON ISLAND INDIA AND JAPAN MOTHER NATURE NATIONAL CAPITAL REGION OLYMPIC GAMES
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