Life in the Fast Lane


Raining Hope

By 6:52 AM , , , , , , , , , , , ,

It's 5:45 am of August 8, 2012 and I barely slept. Thick, fat raindrops continue to beat down on our rooftop and every other surface surrounding our house.

Except for lull moments of up to an hour at most, it really hasn't stopped raining in days.

So much so that yesterday, August 7, 2012, classes for all levels in the public and private sectors, as well as work in the government, public offices, and private companies were called off.

Despite this *rainfall* not having a name (it's not even categorized as a storm; just one of those heavy rainfalls brought about by the monsoon season), it sure managed to wreak havoc all over the metro.

Families were evacuated and taken to basketball courts, dorms, or other places that could serve as temporary evacuation centers. 

Others stayed in their homes and started scooping out floodwater that slowly but steadily crept in. We know of friends who had to leave their homes once water entered through their living room.

Still others, helpless and unsure of what to do, were trapped inside the second or third floor of their homes; some even on the rooftops. 

August 7, 2012: A man waiting for help from his rooftop.

On our end, we waited to see if the floodwater on our street would enter our home. Thankfully, the waters receded before it could enter our elevated garage.

 Photo I took at 6:10 am yesterday, August 7, 2012.

Panoramic shot of our street taken by my brother, Chuck, a little after 8:00 am yesterday, August 7, 2012.

These incidents felt eerily like the sequel to a horror movie that you wish you never saw. Like you finally understood what "déjà vu" meant when, before, it used to be nothing more than a concept.

After all, not too long ago (in 2009, to be specific), we went through Typhoon Ondoy/Ketsana.

Different parts of the Philippines have had their share of horrific rainfalls and flooding. Late last year, Cagayan de Oro, Iligan, Dumaguete, and other provinces down south had Typhoon Sendong/Washi. Also in 2009, provinces in Northern Luzon had Typhoon Pepeng/Parma.

There have been many other instances that seem to escape my mind right now, but each and every time disaster happens (especially after what we went through with Ondoy/Ketsana), my heart breaks into pieces.

Yes, we are no strangers to disaster. We've had it all: from earthquakes to volcanic eruptions to yearly typhoons to periods of drought.

And, yes, the Philippines still lacks many things: resources, relief goods, evacuation centers, rescue items. We can keep blaming the government or the way we handle recycling, our continuous use of plastic bags, improper disposal of trash, etc. Or we can continue to analyze why yesterday's incident happened (be it due to erosion or some other scientific reason, or because yesterday was 8-7-12 and it may have some unfounded Biblical connections to Genesis 8:7-12).

But maybe — just maybe — at a time like this, we can stop pointing fingers first or speculating and realize that despite the numerous flaws in our system, we manage to make it up for it somehow.

I sincerely believe that the Philippines has a big heart. And it shows when its citizens band together to help those in need.

Yesterday, we saw and heard about countless stories of nameless faces who are our modern-day heroes: people who went out of their way to lend tug boats and jet skis that could be used for rescuing; people who manned their social networking sites to disseminate and collate pertinent information; people who, as soon as the waters receded, went to their nearest supermarkets to buy relief goods; students who used their day off from school to convert classrooms into areas where they could begin packing relief goods; policemen, soldiers, firemen, social workers, rescue workers, doctors, nurses and volunteers who put their lives on the line to rescue complete strangers; journalists who made sure that people were updated 24/7; and thousands of others who kept praying.

Truly, there are heroes in our midst.

I designed this back in 2009 shortly after Typhoon Ondoy/Ketsana struck.
Later on, it served as a shirt design, the proceeds of which went to flood victims.

In this time of chaos and loss, of relentless rainfall, there is a light shines through: it's this sense of bayanihan, of coming together.

We've been through this before and we can get through this again.

Today, I'm sure that rescue efforts will go on — not just from government workers or public servants. Civilians in better conditions (i.e. less floodwater surrounding their homes) will hit the supermarket to buy relief goods. Others will proceed to nearby churches, schools, town halls to help sort and pack relief goods. Others will be in front of their computers or glued to their phones to make sure that they can share/repost pertinent information. And countless others will serve as prayer warriors.

Despite the nonstop rainfall, I feel that through these acts of selflessness and kindness, it also continues to rain hope all over this land.

Chin up, kababayan. I sincerely believe that God is with us. We will pull through.

In the meantime, kindly say a prayer for the Philippines, wherever you are in this world. We would really appreciate it.


For friends outside of Manila or abroad, you can donate via PayPal or money transfer through the Philippine Red Cross. All donations will be used by the Red Cross to send aid or relief to flood victims.

For my kababayan who want to help sort, pack, and distribute goods today, here's a list of places where you can go.

For my kababayan who may be looking for a missing relative, or have information related to a person's whereabouts/condition, please see this list collated by Google.

If you can't buy goods, or run to the nearest relief center, you can donate via SMS to the Philippine Red Cross by texting RED<space>AMOUNT to 2899 (Globe) or 4143 (Smart)The following denominations are accepted for Globe (5, 25, 100, 300, 500 or 1000) and Smart (10, 25, 50, 100, 300, 500 or 1000).

And here are other useful links (artwork taken from Facebook):

God bless your prayerful, generous, selfless hearts.

God bless the Philippines!

P.S. Aside from the photos I uploaded (which were credited), the rest were all taken from Google Images.

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  1. It breaks my heart to see these photos, knowing how sunny it is here in Cebu. I pray that Metro Manila and all the affected areas get through this, as they always have, more stronger than ever. I want to help, I want to send goods to my my direct reports who are currently stranded in their respective homes. This isn't right anymore. Very depressing.

  2. Thank you so much, Rose! We appreciate all the help we can get. Please say a prayer for Manila and the neighboring provinces/cities. I hope your colleagues and their families are okay by now.


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