Manila, Luzon. The city of the bearer of authority. Home of the divas, the songbirds, the comedians, the veteran and aspiring movie stars. The land of opportunities. The centrifugal force of politics, money, fame, and power. The reflection of the nation.
For years, it has been pictured as such, amidst its controversies, though a certainty of extremes – a haven of the rich and poor. But now, a new scenery adds to its title. It would be forever etched in the country’s history, marked in the blueprint of our catastrophes and bitterly established as the year’s most distressing episode.
Typhoons Ondoy and Pepeng hit our island in an unnerving and unexpected fury. There was but a heavy downpour, a product of seasonal monsoon rains. Nobody thought it would be a month of that, in just six hours. Nobody foresaw the dreading killer flood bound the great Luzon’s way. But, it did and it hit harder than any nuclear bomb.
As deadly and as high as a two-storey house, the flood washed over hundreds of people and more, rendering numberless missing; left thousands holding on to electric posts, trees, roofs, and whatever they can grab on to, waiting for rescue, for hours or even days.
Streets were flooded higher than sea level. The waters gobbled up almost all Luzon inhabitants’ homes. Wrecked their belongings, cars, appliances; took away everything, crushing it all with its undefeatable current. Even millionaires and famous stars alike weren’t spared from its wrath.
Hope was unthinkable, but they fought on. Fought the darkness, the raging current, fear and death only to save their family’s lives and their own.
One would wonder, after everything, how in the world would Luzon get back to form? How will they be able to regain their vigor when all they have is nothing but scratch?
Perhaps, a possible answer would be our help. One helping hand can satisfy another, how much more if we all just open our hearts and let our conscience speak for itself? That would amass maybe not enough, but at least adequate for one’s loss and misery.
Manila, Luzon. The city of the bearer of authority. Home of the divas, the songbirds, the comedians, the veteran and aspiring movie stars. The land of opportunities. The centrifugal force of politics, money, fame and power. The reflection of the nation. For years, it has been pictured as such, amidst its controversies, but after the storm, after its repercussion, after its devastating grounds – Luzon, though in a state of calamity, is a survivor.
(As published in SunStar Davao | October 18, 2009, Manila and Davao City, Philippines)