Tuesday, October 10, 2006

General Assembly

Attended the MART-ACI-TOAP General Assembly. As usual, it's a dinner function at the Hotel Intercon Makati.

Always joked about it being held at the same hotel, same room every year that I am so familiar even with the moldy smell of the carpet.

Was surprised tonight at the place. The hotel had renovated the rooms and they now smell new. Good for them.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Typhoon Milenyo Part 2

September 29, Friday

The storm is over, so there is no excuse to not go to work. There is still no electricity in Pacita when I got home. Worse, the water pump was broken.

September 30, Saturday

Still no water and electricity. Mom and I went to the supermarket to buy 2 boxes of 500ml Wilkins distilled water. Each box contains 24 bottles. Initially planned to buy the big bottles but other people had beaten us to that.

October 1, Sunday

Still no electricity. Repairman came over today to fix the pump. Was able to do my laundry afterwards. Noticed that other parts of Pacita already had electricity.

October 3, Tuesday

Finally had electricity.

Typhoon Milenyo Part 1

September 28, Thursday

Classes are suspended today. The heavy downpour last night brought floods that caused traffic this morning. I reached the office at 10AM. PNB was running on generators - there was no electricity in Luzon as some generators had been knocked out.

With the storm getting stronger as it approached Metro Manila, PNB announced that employeed can go home after lunch. Hitched a ride with Boss Dan, intending to stop by South Mall.

There was a lull in the storm when we were along Coastal Road ... which made us wary rather than relieved. Along the way, we noticed lots of billboards had been torn down, the steel frames bent by the strong wind. A couple of big trucks had turned turtle. A lot of men and boys were at the bay catching fish that had escaped from their pens, heedless of the waves slapping against the rock ... these people probably lived in the squatter areas near the bay.

Turned out we were in the eye of the storm. When we got nearer South Mall, we encountered the fierce winds. When I got out at South Mall, I had to steel myself as I walked against the direction of the wind. I couldn't open my umbrella as doing so is a sureproof way of being blown away by the wind. I was wet when I got in the mall. There was no electricity as the generator didn't work. Most stores were closed, although the employees still hung around, trapped in the mall by storm. Some restaurants that did not require electricity to cook food were still open. I had my lunch at Jollibee and the only choice was fried chicken and rice.

When the sound of wind and rain softened, I walked out of the mall to see if I could find a transport home. I already acknowledged by then that going to South Mall was a bad idea. Two ladies were already at the terminal, hoping that there's still a van bound for Pacita. When 3 of us became 5, the dispatcher looked around for someone willing to make the trip. As I stood there waiting, I can't help notice that one side of the Eurotel building had been dented by the wind.

The dispatcher came back to tell us we have a van ... the driver had planned to stay the night in his van at the mall parking lot until the storm was over, but the dispatcher persuaded him to make the trip. The van was full when we drove out of South Mall at around 3PM.

The journey was relatively fast at first, and we saw more of the damage. Big trees that lined the road fell down or had broken limbs. One jeepney was flattened to the ground when a gian limb fell on it.

When we reached Tunasan, traffic was horrendous. Some small and low vehicles couldn't pass the flooded part of the National highway because it was deep. Those who dared stalled, and those who know their vehicle can't make it, had to move back and find a space to park their car. Those behind had to wait. This is one cause of the traffic. The other is that more than the usual vehicles were on the road as some had to take a detour through the National Highway because fallen trees or blown away toll booths blocked the other southbound roads.

As most of the vehicles were southbound, only one lane was left for the use of northbound vehicles. One idiot of a truck driver who was also southbound like us decided to traverse the northbound lane and many followed his lead. Soon, he found himself in the path of a northbound truck. As every driver who stuck to the designated southbound lanes didn't like what he did, no one gave him, and the drivers who followed him, space to move back to the right lanes. That caused more traffic and consternation, but we were ahead of the truck so we were spared from that. Being stuck on the road in slow traffic had most people in the van talking to each other, even if they didn't know the other's name. I participated little and used the time to catch up on sleep.

Unfortunately, even before we reached the flooded part of the road, the driver was made aware that a couple of his tires had lost air. We stopped in the parking space in front of some store and the driver attempted to restore his tires to road worthy condition. After minutes of waiting, he apologised and told us that he cannot continue the trip. Thought we'd join the people who had gotten off the buses and jeepneys to walk home through the flood. By luck, our driver saw a friend who was making the same trip and had no passenger on his van. The other driver agreed to take us to our destination.

It was 7:15PM when I got home ... it's been years since the last time the house was lit by candles alone.

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