Showing posts with label typhoon. Show all posts
Showing posts with label typhoon. Show all posts

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Aftermath of Typhoon Glenda (Rammasun)

Typhoon Glenda (Rammasun) turned out to be a howler with powerful winds that knocked out a lot of trees, electric poles and other structures along its path. I took some photos of the aftermath of the typhoon and the work that followed afterwards, clearing roads of debris.

The main branch of our mango tree crashed into the street in front of our home. Fortunately, it didn't bring down the nearby powerlines or phone lines. And luckily, it didn't damage our home.
Debris are strewn everywhere and blocking the streets in our village.
We tried to cut and clear whatever we could of the branches to clear a path for people. We didn't have the equipment to cut the larger branches so we had to wait for village personnel for the major work.
Village personnel were right on the job and going around to clear the roads. They made quick work of the large branches of trees along the village roads and cleared the most roads right after the typhoon passed our area.
We only had to sweep away the leaves, small branches and chips of wood after the workmen did their job. The road was passable by vehicles by mid afternoon.

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Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Typhoon acid test

As I write this short post, there is a typhoon approaching Metro Manila and Rizal. This will be our first typhoon since we moved to our new home in Antipolo. One of our criteria when we chose the location of our home was that it should be flood-free, meaning the area has no experience of flooding. We have experienced and survived some severe flood events including the record floods of Ondoy (Ketsana) in 2009 and the freakish Habagat (monsoon) floods of 2012. Last year, as our new home was under construction, we experienced two more floods but with us already looking forward to moving out of our old home. Fortunately for us but unfortunate to so many that we were spared from Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) last year.

And so, we will finally have what many would term as an acid test with Typhoon Glenda (Rammasun). This is the first significant typhoon of the 2014 season and the first of several that we expect to affect our area this year given the average number of typhoons passing through the Philippines in a year. While I am not worried about floods anymore, it is the winds that has me concerned. Strong winds are always dangerous as it can bring damage in a number of ways. I have no doubt about the sturdiness of our home but then there might be debris flying from anywhere that could bring about the damage. Hopefully, there would be no significant stuff carried by the winds that we expect to batter our area by early morning tomorrow.

Whatever the case may be, I implore on everyone living in the areas along the path of the typhoon to be ready, be prepared for what may or may not happen. You cannot say you're prepared until the rains pour in and the winds start howling. You can only confirm your preparedness once the typhoon passes and you make your assessment of what had actually happened. I think this is one case where it is always safe to expect the worst rather than be complacent.

Keep safe!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Near miss

Lost in the past days' heavy rains and the resulting floods that threatened to enter our home last Friday night was the close call I had last Thursday night as I returned from Korea. I had just attended the 9th International Conference of the Eastern Asia Society for Transportation Studies (EASTS) held in Jeju, Korea. From Jeju, I took the Air Busan domestic flight that was codeshared with Asiana Airlines to Busan, where I was to connect to Asiana Airlines flight OZ 705.

I had a long layover at Busan and asked for information about the city and what I could do for the 7 hours available to me prior to my flight back to Manila. I had already checked-in my baggage so I was practically unencumbered to move about. Unfortunately, the transit system from the airport to downtown Busan was not operational (surprise!) and I decided that the trip downtown where I would just probably walk around a mall was not worth it. I thought I would just end up spending on unnecessary shopping or dining.

As I entered the departure area after the routine immigration process, I proceeded for some Duty Free shopping for pasalubong. Afterwards, I took advantage of the free internet services at the airport, replying to emails received that day. There was no free WiFi at the airport so I had to make do with the terminals made available to departing passengers near the airline lounges. Afterwards, I proceeded to the gate assigned to our flight. This was about 4 hours prior to the tentative boarding time indicated on the electronic signboard near the gate.

As I had quite some time before my flight, I tried to catch up on the latest issue of Wired magazine that I had brought along specifically for the long lay-over. It was while I was reading that I noted an announcement for an Asiana flight to another Southeast Asian city being delayed due to technical problems with the their aircraft. I also noticed upon looking around outside the terminal that quite a few planes were sitting out from the terminal where passengers were brought to the aircraft by bus. I had experienced this before when our aircraft arrived in Jeju the Monday before, and at NAIA Terminal 2 in past domestic and international flights that couldn't be accommodated at the terminal due to congestion. It was then that I noticed the Asiana Airlines Airbus A320 sitting across the terminal, and it looked like it was being serviced based on the vehicles parked beside it and the activity I could see from where I sat. I assumed that this was the aircraft that was supposed to be used by the delayed flight announced on the airport PA system.

A few minutes later, however, the airport PA announced that the delayed flight was now boarding. A while later, I saw an Asiana aircraft taking off, about 45 minutes delayed from its original flight departure time. The other aircraft still sat where it was, and still apparently being serviced. I noticed later that there were no other Asiana aircraft arriving or departing prior to our flight though there were many Korean Air, Air Busan and Jeju Air planes arriving and taking off. I also saw that a PAL flight left for Manila ahead of us and a Cebu Pacific flight left for Cebu one hour before ours. That was when I suspected that the plane sitting from across the terminal would be our aircraft for the trip to Manila.

Upon boarding the aircraft, we already noticed that the airconditioning was off along with the plane's engine. This was already unusual for me considering a plane that was supposed to take off within the next 20 minutes normally had its engines running already. The Koreans on that same flight apparently were not pleased with the conditions as the cabin became warmer as more passengers settled in their seats for the flight to Manila. Not a few were already voicing their displeasure and were doing so in a way we usually see on TV. It seemed to me that they were already berating the crew. When the pilot started the plane's engines, the cabin suddenly became dark and a weird sound was heard from outside the plane. Minutes later, the pilot announced that the plane was having problems with its electrical system and we had to wait out for it to be repaired. What followed were more complaints and possible offensive words from the Korean passengers who didn't like the idea of being delayed. We were, after all, originally scheduled to arrive in Manila at 12:00 midnight. Any delay meant we were arriving early morning of Friday.

Abotu 30 minutes later, the pilot again attempted to start the plane and for the second time, the electrical system failed. This resulted in what I thought were insults and other offensive words from the Korean passengers. I could see that the flight attendants were already quite embarrassed and they could do nothing but try to assuage passengers on the situation. I was already thinking about whether we will be asked to deplane and wait our for our plane to be fixed or another aircraft to take its place. No such announcement was made and we had to wait it out for another 20 minutes. I thought that it was good though that there were cooler heads among the Korean passengers who were able to calm down others who were already threatening the pilot and the crew due to the displeasure about the situation.

The third time around, the plane finally responded and we were able to taxi and take-off without any hitch. The pilot continued to apologize even after take-off and assured everyone that the electrical system was repaired. Nevertheless, I could not sleep in the plane no matter how hard I tried to as each shake and rumble due to turbulence made me think about the possibility that the plane's electrical system will fail, resulting in a crash. It was no light matter considering that we were traveling 3.25 hours between Busan and Manila, and we will be flying between two typhoons including one whose path was to cross ours. Such assured us of much turbulence throughout the flight including a couple that made me quite nervous as I could not even see the plane's wings from my window seat due to the thick clouds around us. The only thing I could do was to pray silently that we don't have a breakdown in midflight.

I was only able to relax when we finally landed in Manila. In fairness to the pilot, it was one of the smoothest landings I ever experienced even despite my being too conscious of the turbulence throughout the flight. Yet, my worries were renewed when the the cabin blacked out momentarily after we stopped at NAIA Terminal 1. I could not help but think about what could have happened if this occurred earlier while we were still in the air. Moments later, my suspicion was confirmed by an airport supervisor who was going around the conveyor belt telling Filipino passengers that our bags will be delayed due to the difficulties experienced by ground staff in opening our plane's baggage compartment. I could not help but feel relieved that I "survived" that flight. Perhaps it was my prayers? My faith? No matter. I am truly thankful and grateful to the One Who watches over us and did so formally while in Church this morning to celebrate the feast of Corpus Christi.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Ondoy all over again?

It's Saturday early morning and I'm wide awake. The simple reason for this is supposedly another storm watch. The storm, however, is already creeping past Batanes with such a slow pace that it's bringing a lot of rainfall to Luzon and especially the NCR. There's a flood just outside the door of our home and so far, the water seemed to stop rising. I'm informed that its much worse elsewhere so I won't complain much of this experience, only that much could have been done to avert such flooding.

The news have been reporting that Metro Manila's drainage system is more than 35 years old (probably much older) and clearly does not have the capacity for today's rains. Combine this with the fact that we seemed not to have learned our lessons in as far as garbage is concerned. Evidence of this is that most footage shown on TV and my observations when crossing the bridge across Marikina River earlier this afternoon show a lot of garbage floating along the rivers, streams and flooded streets.

Well at least now, there's a ton of info including more from PAGASA. In fact, their info on the status of dams and the flood monitor for major water systems in the NCR have been quite helpful. I don't even remember these being available back in 2009. [Click here for the status of monitored dams in Luzon Island.] Yet, much is desired about rainfall information. Friends have been posting questions about whatever happened to the much vaunted Doppler radars the government acquired to supposedly inform the public about rainfall intensity. Such info could help at least warn people of impending doom especially after such info was not available back in Sept 2009.

It looks like I won't be sleeping much tonight and it is already early morning. It's quite tough knowing the waters could enter the house anytime and especially if it rains hard again tonight. A lot of people prayed or are praying right now that the rains would stop and that the floods will recede soon and hopefully, quickly. I'm just glad the Clairvoyant is in Singapura and won't have to experience this. I am also hopeful that this won't turn out to be a sequel to Ondoy.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Post deluge

My mind was full of ideas of what to write after going through what water resources engineering or hydraulic engineering textbooks term as a 40- or 50-year flood. From my experience (and I am a certified flood veteran) I am more inclined to say that what hit us last September 26 was actually a 25-year flood. I am basing this interpretation from the 1985 flood that inundated our village of Kasibulan in Cainta. Our whole family and all others from the subdivision had to evacuate our home when floods reached waist-deep at road level. We found safe haven in the factory across Imelda Avenue. The guards allowed us to seek refuge in the huge steel structures that housed heavy machinery no longer operating after the factory shutdown because of a labor problem. The striking workers actually assisted many families in getting to higher, safer ground that day.

Fortunately, no one from our village drowned from that 1985 flood. But it left a lot of deep scars that painfully reopened every year for the next 10 years that we were to experience flooding - not as terrible as 1985's but some comparable if you weren't used to them. A lot of memories were lost in those floods. My parents' wedding photos were lost including many of their photos before they got married. We were able to save many photos though - mostly mine and I'm afraid those were all damaged if not wiped out by typhoon Ondoy. We shared the same losses with our neighbors and made people closer in our village. In fact, we there were many of use there who studied at Lourdes Mandaluyong and one of our neighbors happened to be the high school principal at the time. Mr. Ben Dayo would always vouch for us when we claimed we had to miss classes because we had to help in cleaning our houses after the floods receded. I believe those floods have somehow influenced me as I grew up.

I wanted to believe that the floods in Town & Country wouldn't be deeper than what I had experienced in Kasibulan. I desperately wanted to believe that it could get deeper. But it did. When the clairvoyant and I bought a house there, one of the information I sought was about flood experience. Referring to the designs of the houses as well as neighbors stories, our home was supposed to be safe with the deepest flood experience in our area reaching only our gate. We were fortunate to have ample space in our second floor rooms. The clairvoyant and I were able to transfer our books and other personal properties with the help of Manang Aileen with an efficiency anyone can be proud off. Most importantly, we didn't have to abandon our home like many of our neighbors and we always had non-perishable food and drinks stocked. Many, we discovered afterwards, weren't as lucky as we were. We all lost our vehicles that day. Most cars went under overnight and emerged still parked in what everyone thought were garages that were flood-safe. But that's another story.

I was able to save my stamp collection from my parents' house in Kasibulan. Many items from an old brief case (what was my school bag when I was in high school)survived including old letters and bookmarks I had put aside as souvenirs from visits to Kamakura. These included old bookmarks from Tatay's visit to Kamakura in the 1960's.

The past days were blessings in that another super typhoon veered away from Metro Manila and still another will not hit the country. I honestly want to believe again that I won't experience another flood of that magnitude in say, 25 years (not the 40 years that would probably be much more damaging). If there was one thing I didn't want to share with the clairvoyant I guess an actual experience of such a flood would be it. But we did share the experience and we came out survivors (not victims as other people might label us) and I would rather believe that we came out better and will be stronger for this. We still have, after all, our faith.