Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Marooned {Hugo}

Living around the Pacific ring of fire has its disadvantages (major understatement). Two days ago, the whole island of Luzon (where we're at) was paralyzed by Typhoon Pedring (Nesat). As early as Monday (Manila time), I already knew the typhoon was a strong one by the winds that came with it. In fact, it was the wind that was most frightening: sometimes it whistled, sometimes it howled, all the time it pounded on our building windows. And this was just the night before the typhoon would make landfall.

By Tuesday, Pedring had arrived in full force. It brought back memories of  two years ago, when I did not heed typhoon warnings and went out of the house at 8 o'clock in the morning of the day Typhoon Ondoy (Ketsana) came to town. By 11am, the whole city was submerged in flood waters as Ondoy dumped a month's worth of rainfall on us with one go. Even if I was out for just 2 hours, I could no longer go home until the next day because of the flooded roads. 

Manila Bay as seen from the Hotel Sofitel during Typhoon Pedring.
There used to be a pool and a playground in that area where the trees are. Photo from

 Spirals @ Sofitel during Pedring. There used to be a great buffet spread here. :( 
(Photo from

This time, I was not taking chances. I woke up early to check the television for any announcement, including THE announcement of government work suspension (I work in a government corporation). I immediately went back to bed as soon as I heard the cancellation.

So, what have I learned about preparedness? My mind goes back to the basics in times of disaster. During typhoons, I make sure we have a lot of clean drinking water (10 liters distilled water for Hugo, 20 liters mineral water for the adults). I also make sure there is a thermos full of hot water (in anticipation of power outages); a pot full of soup (very comforting in cold weather) and a loaf of bread (and a lot more food inside the pantry cabinet); fully charged mobile phones and batteries for the flashlights; a tank full of gas; and money in my wallet for just in case. I also have a scanned copy of all our personal documents like passports, birth certificates, and the like. (Obviously, I'm a veteran of disasters.) Finally, it pays too to keep an ear on the ground, in our case, eyes on tv, monitoring the news. With a toddler in tow, I have to be doubly prepared. (Read here for how to make your own disaster preparedness kit.)

Thankfully, Hugo did not think anything out of the ordinary of what was happening. He mimicked the wind ("Woooo!") and pointed to the windows when rains slapped on them. When darkness fell at around 6pm and there was still no electricity in our area, we had to open the door leading to our hallway to let some hallway light in (the building's common areas were run by a generator). Hugo had a blast saying "Hi!" to each and every  neighbor on our floor. He also slept for a good part of the day. Good thing too I just bought him new wooden puzzles and books that him busy for, oh, a good 20 minutes.

So this is where we live. For good or bad, we have to love where we live and just be prepared by anything Manila dishes out on us.

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