Typhoons, Aftermaths and Memories
To say that the Philippines is a calamity prone area would be an understatement. The country lies within the typhoon belt of Western Pacific and on average we get to have at least 19 typhoons each year. It doesn’t stop there, we are also on the northwestern fringes of the Pacific Ring of Fire so earthquakes and volcanic eruptions are not rare.
Just recently Typhoon Frank (Fengshen) have wrecked havoc on our country and a capsized ferry leaving some dead, hundreds homeless and others missing. It’s really sad and I hope more would be rescued and I hope to see more survivors.
I grew up in Bicol Region and this area is one of most commonly hit by typhoons. And not only that, the region is also home to two active volcanoes. In my home province, Albay, we have the most active volcano in the Philippnes – Mayon Volcano. So when we have typhoon and continuous raining, lahar and mudflows won’t be far behind.
While the typhoon was ravaging Metro Manila area yesterday it brought back a lot of childhood typhoon memories. When I was less than 5 years old I was so ecstatic whenever I hear that a typhoon is coming. Why? Our place in Bicol has a big lot area with lots of trees, and my dad has lots of banana plants and after typhoon comes all banana trees are down as well as most of the coconut trees and me and my sister would pretend they are bridges and would have our “make-believe” adventures. At that time I didn’t understand the horrors typhoons brings.
I could still clearly remember when all eager anticipation I had for typhoons disappeared. It was in November 1987, I was in Grade 2, Super Typhoon Sisang. The storm had landfall with wind gusts of over 200 mph and hit directly our province late at night. I remember not sleeping, we stayed in one room, all of us. Whenever I hear the wind howling and windows rattling I’d cling to Ma’s skirt. It was scary and was literally shaking with fright and cold. Most of our windows were shattered, our roof had gaping holes but thankfully it stayed put. Later some of our neighbors dared the winds and the rain and transfered to our house. All of their houses were gone. They had nothing on their backs, except their wet clothes.
The morning after, it was so quiet. Everything was so bright. You won’t see any trees and most houses were heavily damaged. Our neighbor’s house was totally destroyed and crouching down under a narra table the whole night with the typhoon still releasing its fury, the whole family survived. My grandparents house was cut in half but thankfully my cousins were fine. The town church torn in half too and with hundreds of evacuees inside. Some of my school playmates were gone, they drowned.
They were nightmares for me. It left me so fearful and paranoid whenever I hear there is a typhoon on the way.These scenarios can be really depressing, but natural calamities are something we have to live with and adapt to. It took me a long time to learn to face it, not without fear but with more courage.
I just hope we would learn lessons and be more prepared. Damage to properties can be rectified but loss of human lives is really regretful and cannot be taken back and we should take measures to avoid it. Experiences like this can be heart breaking yet it is also in this times that I am so thankful for the miracle of life.