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Monday, August 13, 2012

Flooded Out Temporarily - SAFE NOW

Last Tuesday August 7, 2012 started out like any other day. I worked out, walked to the bakery through puddles (as always) and got my pandasal (bread).  However, the puddles were now spreading into the streets, but just a little and not enough to concern me.  I found out that school was cancelled when my counterpart teacher texted me saying that 'Olongapo is being flooded.'  After reading this, I looked out my door and although it was wet, I didn't think I would be leaving me my place to stay at another friend's anytime soon, but that's exactly what happened.

After buying my pandasal, I cooked my usual oatmeal and then started packing an emergency pack just in case (again, not thinking I would need this).  Once this was done, I started reading, but couldn't concentrate because of the thought of having to leave my place in the case of a flood.  Then, instead of rain, I heard the sound of water/flood moving outside.  I peaked out and it was already at flood level, but not close to my place yet.  I started piling things high quickly moving my clothes to the second shelf.  I should've piled them higher.

After gathering as many things as I could to higher ground, I took a walk around the block IN THE FLOOD.  It was pretty weird neighbors standing outside and kids playing basketball like nothing as if there's no water around.  At 11am, I ate lunch an hour early, just in case power would go out (I was surprised it didn't).  Around noon, my friend who lives up in the hills said I could stay at her place.  Once I made the decision to leave, some locals down the street said the floods were too high in the direction I was heading, but I had no choice if I wanted to avoid sleeping on the roof or second floor of someone's place.  At first, I resisted & stayed back at my place, but figured the floods are just going to get worse.  I might as well get wet now, but sleep in a dry spot later.

I started walking and already the water was up to my thighs, two more blocks and it reached my waist.  I was ok, until I came to the first intersection and the currents were going against me fast, at that moment, it became tough to walk, but I continued on towards the jeepneys.  My worst fear started coming to mind and that was that jeepneys would stop giving rides up the hills.  However, I didn't want to trek back, it was all systems go now - No Turning Back. When crossing an intersection, I had to take baby steps to keep my feet closed to the ground.  If I didn't, I would've gone with the currents.  After walking against the current for nine blocks, I finally made it to the jeepneys.  I got in line to board a jeepney to New Cabalan, where one of my fellow batch mates lives.

The Aftermath
I came back to my place the next day, opened the door and I didn't see any part of the floor, only mud.  When I opened the bathroom, it just looked like a muddy mess.  My friend took a measuring stick & measured 16 & half inches of water came into my place.  After this piece of news, we started cleaning up what we could & then headed up to her place again.  On Thursday, I met with my Regional Manager & he saw my place, he couldn't believe, but there were many others that were worse than I was, in fact my old training spot in Dinalupihan got hit the hardest.  I felt bad for them & realized how luck I was.  After his visit, it was time to withdraw pesos to buy some cleaning supplies from Ace Hardware.  Yes, there is Ace in Olongapo.  I bought a squeegee & that was a great buy because that cleaned up the mud fast.  Then, I washed the floors (They were dirty anyway).  After that, I went back to my friend's place to get my things because I could now  move back into my place.  Plus, it was now time to clean the school the next day and since my new bed is sleeping on my yoga mat now, I needed to get as much sleep as possible.  Some of the classrooms were flooded too, but not as bad as mine or some of the other homes around here.

Items lost
My mattress was toast & I'll have to get a new frame.  My external hardrive went bye bye, but that's it. My computer stayed dry, as well as my food & kitchen appliances.  I will have to go to the dry cleaners this week for few loads, but I'm very lucky, compared to others in Dinalupihan, lower parts of Olongapo & many parts of Manila, where there is still standing water. Ingat na!  

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Rain outs & Brownouts

This week week we had one day off from school & two half-days off because of the rain.  Yesterday, we had an eleven hour brownout (no power) in Olongapo City.  Today, it seems back to normal, but this is just the early beginning of the rainy season.  Not many updates since last time, but I hope to have students bike ride with me next Saturday to SBMA (Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority).  We would start at Kalalake National High School and then bike ride to Waterfront Rd, the last street before you hit Subic Bay.  Once we're on there we would bike ride along that road and then stop to take some photos.  That's the hopeful outcome, but the reason we're doing this is to bring kids outside & to let them know they can transport themselves without using a trike or jeepney to do it for them.
With extra time on my hands lately, I guest-blogged on another site "The Gotham Foundry."  My post was about biking in the Philippines.  Check it out at http://blog.bikegotham.com/
Ingat na!