What was your experience with tropical storm 'Ondoy'?
() - September 30, 2009 - 12:00am

Armando Tavera, Las Piñas City: The flash floods brought about by Typhoon Ondoy came as the biggest shock of my life. This would serve as a stern warning for everyone.  

Renato Taylan, Ilocos Sur: Ondoy’s wrath, and that of the other typhoons before it, spared our province. The rains it brought were more of a blessing than a curse.  

I lost my private collection

Ishmael Q. Calata, Parañaque City: This is the most disastrous happenstance in my life. First, let me say that since I was 12 years old, I have been collecting things which I cherish. When I had too many of them later in life, I converted my basement into a mini museum and arranged them into sections, putting some of my collections in shelves and cabinets. There was a shelf for my stamp albums, a cabinet where coins from almost all the countries in the world were displayed, and two cabinet-tops dedicated for paper moneys of the world. Many of these three had valuable rare collections. There was a section for all sorts of head gear, about 350 baseball caps, 80 per cent of which were from abroad. I also had a section for about 400 keyholders. There were sections for about 40 different cameras from five decades and for about 50 wines from Europe, about 70 different kinds of wristwatches, many of which are signature ones; a section for antique jars, ashtrays from many countries and other artifacts; many different kinds of rosaries, many rare, and other religious items; live stones which I personally picked up in all the cities we visited here and abroad, the Americas and Europe especially; and many, many items, like gifts and souvenirs. In the late morning of Saturday, September 26, there was a sudden onrush of floodwater from the street, which broke into my basement via its front window, filling it up to about two meters deep. The cabinets tumbled and floated, with the items thrown out all over the basement. And this happened when I was stranded in school at the Don Bosco Center of Studies in Parañaque City. Those stamps and paper moneys are now worthless! The breakables were damaged. Now, the private museum that I used to show my visitors is lost! It will take me months to identify and sort out the saved items. Ondoy was a ruthless tropical storm!

’Twas the longest, heaviest downpour ever

Benjamin Nillo, Las Piñas City: I experienced the longest and heaviest downpour ever. I also personally witnessed a tragedy wherein a young couple was swept away by floods.  

C.B. Manalastas, Manila: During the early hours of Saturday, we were expecting Typhoon Ondoy as ordinary rains passed outside Metro Manila until noon time.  

Public schools were used for shelter

Arthur Saquilayan, Pateros: I just want to share what happened to Pateros last September 26, 2009 during the height of heavy rains in Metro Manila. Most of the public schools were used as evacuation centers for displaced families, with an estimated count of 275, due to floods around the town. Thanks and more power.  

Stuck in traffic

Jayson Biadog, Mandaluyong City: Edsa Crossing to Edsa White Plains, which should take about eight minutes, with traffic, took eight hours to cross with heavy flooding in the national highway last Saturday.  

We should protect the environment

Eddie Yap, Kabankalan City: Kabankalan City in Negros Occidental used to be flood-prone.  But we plant trees in our mountainsides with the help of various organizations and clubs in the city. We call that tree-growing because these trees are checked from time to time to make sure they are really alive and we immediately replace those that do not survive. This program has been very successful and we have observed that our city has been spared from floods for many years now. If we can do it here in a city bordered by a huge river, then it is possible to do it in other parts of the Philippines.  

Elpidio Que, Vigan: Ondoy was the worst tropical storm that I have ever encountered. Its fury centered on Metro Manila and I happened to be here to be by the side of my loving son in the hospital. That must have been the effect of global warming, pouring tons of water all of a sudden, at a time when the typhoon season would have been over. We should follow what Al Gore prescribed to escape the onslaught of global warming, by stemming its causes and repairing our punctured ozone layers. Rivers, canals, and other water arteries in the municipalities and cities should be cleaned to avoid clogging, which aggravates flash floods.  

Stranded at a relative’s house

Lucas Banzon Madamba II, Laguna: It was raining cats and dogs and I was stranded with my mother, sister, brother -in-law, and pamangkins in the South Luzon Expressway. Luckily, we managed to seek refuge and shelter in the house of my relative in Southwoods, because the SLEX Carmona, Cavite, and Calamba exits were already flooded and impassable. As we were stranded in Southwoods, I was able to contact some of my friends in Calamba and Manila as well as some government and local officials to help Laguna and Manila. Typhoon Ondoy is almost like Typhoon Milenyo, which almost ended my life years ago. Luckily, I survived; maybe because I still have a mission to fulfill here on earth. I also contacted the National Disaster Coordinating Council (NDCC) and ABS-CBN to extend some help to some of my relatives in Manila, particularly in Quezon City and in San Mateo, Rizal, which were really affected.  

Family was affected

Dr. Dencio Acop, Quezon City: Fortunately, our home is on relatively high ground so we were able to avoid the floods. However, my in-laws (mother, brother, sister, nephew, niece) were not so lucky. They live by a river in San Francisco Del Monte, Quezon City and so they had another one of those flooding episodes wherein they had to move stuff upstairs only to find out that even this would not be sufficient this time around. They are used to experiencing floods. My wife and her siblings are only too familiar with such episodes, which had been part of their growing up years. The floods have become more frequent these past three years, however, perhaps due to overpopulation, congestion, and global warming. Ondoy was different. It had enough fury to submerge entire houses. Many did not expect such intensity. We certainly did not. When it struck on Saturday morning, my in-laws thought it was just like any of the earlier typhoons, which would usually flood only parts of the house, not the entire house. My family watched TV and felt the helplessness associated with seeing families on rooftops, especially in Marikina and Cainta, with no help in sight for hours. Frankly, I feel the government could have done more to promptly rescue those people. Help finally came to some of those people but, sadly, it was a bit too late for others. I thought that relief goods came in substantially and prematurely, but not the lifesavers, rubber boats, or chopper, which in prompt and sufficient quantity could have saved more lives that dreadful Saturday.  

Joseph Villareal, Ilocos Sur: My experience with this tropical storm Ondoy was not really so tragic, because here in Ilocos the storm was not that violent. But my mother and I were really worried because my siblings are studying in Manila. As expected, they were flooded. They spent the night on their rooftops. We were so nervous about it and we did not sleep at all.  

Daniel G. Castillo, Bulacan: I visited my relatives in Cainta. Although they were still submerged in almost knee-high flood and still without electricity, they are coping well by God’s grace. The water could be stuck there for several days due to poor drainage. Thanks to those who prayed!  

Juan Deveraturda, Subic, Zambales: I thank and praise God that my granddaughter, Yenyen, who is three years old, and her yaya were kept safe on the second floor of a neighbor’s house in Malanday, Marikina at the height of the heavy rains and flooding on Saturday night. Her parents, my son Christian and his wife Emilyn, got stranded in SM Marikina on their way home from work and were unable to communicate with the yaya. I would like to thank Cheri, the neighbor, who kept my granddaughter and her yaya safe when the flood, as high as two feet, struck their apartments on that nightmarish night. God bless you for your act of goodness and selflessness.  

Had to wade in floods

Dennis Montealto, Mandaluyong City: The whole day that Ondoy was lashing out, I was at the San Carlos Seminary for a conference. We had to walk from San Carlos back to Boni Avenue after we were dismissed just before 6pm. Good thing some courageous jeepney drivers were still around to take us back to inner Mandaluyong, where there was deep flooding. We had to brave through the flood waters just to get back home.  

Prayed for the victims

Randolph Hallasgo, Misamis Oriental: Here in Misamis Oriental, we didn’t experience what Marikina, Quezon City, and other places in Manila experienced. Here, we had slight rains and a little thunderstorm. We just hope and pray that what happened in Mindanao in January 2009 will not happen again. We pray for the victims of Ondoy.  

Dandrei Gazmen, Ilocos Sur: How I thank God that we were not affected by tropical storm Ondoy. However, as we watched television, we saw that many people in Metro Manila were severely flooded. Many were forced to go to their rooftops to save themselves. People were walking in the streets, despite deep floods, because cars and buses were all stranded and they could not move. I sympathize with them, but could not do anything to help. My mother led us to pray for them. This is the best way we thought to help them, to ask the ever- loving assistance of God, the One who really knows what is best for all of us.  

Athena Charanne Rafanan, Ilocos Sur: Honestly, I didn’t feel the tragedy that Ondoy brought to our country. There were just raindrops in our province and the wind wasn’t that strong. But, as I watched television, I saw the anguish of the victims, claiming that their properties were destroyed, and that they were stranded atop their roofs. I just hope that they will overcome the crisis. They should be strong and have faith in the Almighty. My prayers are with them.  

Geraldine Mae Anne Ruelos, Ilocos Sur: First of all, I want to thank God that we were not affected by the disastrous storm Ondoy. It didn’t rain that strongly. I can say we are lucky. But I pity those who experienced the raging floods and strong rains. I pray for the victims.

Sahlee Reyes, Las Piñas City: I thank God that our house is on high ground, so that there was no overflow of water in our vicinity. But my husband arrived home late, as he was stuck in traffic somewhere down south. We watched TV and my heart went out to all the causalities of Ondoy and those who were helplessly stranded.  Today, I’m going to pray for these poor people and tomorrow my husband will be heading to the ABS-CBN Foundation to give our donation.  I was watching Kris, Tina Palma, etc., as they were asking for donations on air. Thankfully, many have already heeded their call.  

The scenes were heart-wrenching

Elsa Mendoza, Quezon City: Thank God, my family was safe at home during the storm. Just the same, it gave me great stress to find out that some kin could not go home from their workplaces due to impassable roads; other kin and friends could not be reached so we couldn’t find out how they were faring, because of dead landlines or blank cell sites. It also made me worried, watching TV showing people, including babies, on rooftops, waiting for succor and people wading in waist-deep, chest-deep, neck-deep waters (some raging) to reach safe ground. I was also saddened by hearing how those unreachable folk were without food, drenched and shivering in the cold. It was truly heart-wrenching to watch such plight of humanity. One would think of silly wishes, like putting one’s hand inside the TV screen to pluck them out to safety. Seriously, all I could do was say a prayer for them all, including that pregnant woman who was about to give birth.

Genica Gale Lahoz, Ilocos Sur: In our province, we didn’t really encounter the strong rains and the raging floods that our fellow Filipinos experienced in places like Marikina and Rizal. For me, I was really worried about all the persons affected and how they could survive this catastrophe. It was very heartbreaking. Typhoon Ondoy may have caused a very big disaster, but I also thank it for bringing out the best in every Filipino.  

Ricardo Tolentino, Laoag City: We were not directly hit by Typhoon Ondoy, but we also felt the suffering of those affected as we watched the news.  

Social networking sites were helpful

Robert Young Jr., San Juan: Facebook, Twitter, and my cellphone proved very useful during Typhoon Ondoy. Our cable TV was out and my Facebook friends Jen, Anna, Noni, and William kept everybody updated about what was happening around Metro Manila. Video clips were also shown on Facebook. Twitter provided a lot of real-time news updates. I ran some errands and, on the way, took some pictures with my mobile phone, which I posted on Facebook. It’s the first time we felt the tragic experiences of flood victims without leaving our living room.  

Only brownouts

Jimmy Donton, Puerto Princesa City: Nothing so tragic, only heavy rains and brownout. I hope that people in Manila would think of the long-term effects of Ondoy and think about going back to their provinces.  

Carl Angelo Saribay, Ilocos Sur: All I can say is that tropical storm Ondoy didn’t affect us so much here in Ilocos, but there were short brownouts here at our place that made me angry because I was doing my project when the lights went out. But thank God because the rain was not that strong and we were not flooded here.  

The wrath of God can destroy everyone

J.R. Mondonedo Jr., Parañaque City: It’s a message to everyone that the wrath of God can destroy everyone, whether rich or poor, in a matter of few hours. I like rain because it makes the weather cool. My house sits on higher ground. But when I saw water coming in, this time I prayed for it to stop. When I think about the 40 days and nights Noah experienced, it made me more aware that God is in control of everything. So let that be a message to those people who think they are in control of their lives because of their wealth.

Joe Nacilla, Las Piñas City: God allows all natural phenomena to batter the planet severely to punish the people because they already do not believe in Him, despise Him, or do not have time for Him. God, however, will help the world, but all of those who do not show fidelity and loyalty will be destroyed. Those lacking charity toward others and those who do not love their neighbors like God, who loves us all, cannot survive. The calamity we recently experienced was not the first sign. There were previous acts of nature to warn us, but we didn’t care, especially our government officials. Instead of loving their neighbors, they love money more by continuing pushing the people deeper below the poverty line.  

Thank God we are safe

Jim Veneracion, Naga City: For a change, perennial typhoon “whipping boy” Bicol didn’t suffer the brunt of Typhoon Ondoy. Perhaps, the Bicolanos are just too religious.  

Charissa Tuazon, Ilocos Sur: I can say that I am really lucky because Ondoy didn’t really affect me that much. The rain was not that strong and no disaster really happened. Thank God we are safe, and nothing serious happened here in Ilocos.  

Johann Lucas, Quezon City: I had my own flood experience though wala pa siguro ito sa kalingkingan ng naging karanasan ng iba. I feel blessed. The Lord is kind in many ways. I hope the nation can recover and learn from this.  

Kaeneille Antonette Rabena, Ilocos Sur: Here in Ilocos, Ondoy was also strong, but thank God that despite that, our house and our street weren’t flooded. I pity those in Manila, especially those in Marikina, Quezon City, and some provinces that were really affected.  

Romeo Coloma, Ilocos Norte: I hope that those who were spared by typhoon Ondoy, especially those who are financially capable, would give a hand to those who were badly affected by this typhoon. Those who were spared have something to thank God for and the best way to thank Him is to help the victims. Ilocos Norte was spared by typhoon Ondoy and I’m sure that my fellow Ilocanos know the best way to thank God for this.  

Those who were spared should help

Rod Villar, Iriga City: The Bicol region, particularly Iriga City, was not seriously affected by the fury of storm Ondoy, except for intermittent downpour. I kept glued to the TV set for the latest information about the floods in Metro Manila and other areas. I hope there won’t be too many casualties among our kababayan in the affected areas and we should unite to extend any form of assistance to them in this time of calamity.  

Thank God for communication facilities

Germi Sison, Cabanatuan City: I have experienced many tropical storms in the past that I can say that Ondoy was milder than Yoling in 1971 and Frida in 1960, when I could not see objects three meters away from me due to super strong winds. It is fortunate today that we have good communication facilities and I was able to contact relatives and friends who were adversely affected by the flood. My only regrets are that the cute Japanese Spitz puppy of my son-in-law drowned in the flood and that I failed to send my views to Inbox World when the power went off, thus disabling our computer.    

Views expressed in this section do not necessarily reflect the editorial position of The STAR. The STAR does not knowingly publish false information and may not be held liable for the views of readers exercising their right to free expression. The publication also reserves the right to edit contributions to this section as it sees fit.

NEXT INBOX QUESTION: What lessons can be learned from tropical storm ‘Ondoy’?

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CENTER CITY COLOR GOD ILOCOS SUR ONDOY
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