The Long Walk Home (1 of 3)

I guess the price I have to pay for aiming a notch higher career-wise would be abandoning writing here for most of the time I’m doing post-grad studies. Countless events and issues passed yet my busy everydays kept me from revisiting my turf in cyberspace. That in spite of promising myself (at least twice if I remember it right) to devote an ample amount of time here.

An important reason for doing so is the relative ease and speed in the realm of paperworks both at work and school surprisingly afforded to me by blogging here. That and the attachment to content here more than 5 years old now. Or maybe old habits are just hard to give up.

How’s it been?

Not much really. And there would have been nothing worthwhile to push older stuff down here except for my Ondoy experience last week. Dated, yes. But what can I do? I just find it ironic that keeping watch over our place in the midst of another typhoon affords me to recount just now how I found the last week worrisome and wearysome.

To call it such is pretty much an understatement really. That’s not to attempt, however, to rank my efforts against the tides then among the saddest scenes presented in TV news coverages elsewhere in Metro Manila and Rizal. I still find myself rattled from the experience somewhat even though life’s pretty much back to normal.

It’s just pretty much one of the many stories you’ll get to hear about the disaster really.

How it was?

I was actually at UPD taking my IS 272 finals. Sure I was on my way to the venue when the rains started pouring but that didn’t give me much of a concern that instant. I was actually midway in the exam when I noticed that the rate at which the heavens was pouring was somewhat constant. If it did change, it was only for the worse.

It was raining hard mostly. Then harder. Then just hard after sometime.

I was never one to worry about rains since I was so used to such situations having been a commuter since high school. That time was different however. I forgot my cellphone and it figured out to be the most costly oversight that day. Apart from having to post something bland because of the absence of pics from that weekend, I had to station myself near the payphone at Vinzon’s after the exam to get access to communication to my family I was starting to get worried about.

Since I was practically stuck, it was planned that my brother was to fetch me since 2 hours passed and the rain was still pouring hard in the campus. Public transportation was thinning out as commuters were filling up the waiting sheds so things were indeed turning sour for me. My hunger wasn’t even the first of my concerns then inspite of me having practically no food since I woke up that morning. Nor was it the fact that I needed to doze off in bed since I had to stay up until 3am that morning for review.

It was my concern for my family that had me restless and worried from where I stood. It was practically frustrating to be left nearly helpless from there. Another hour passed and after a couple of calls more, my brother relayed that he was still stuck far south of Metro Manila because vehicles were already stuck in the streets and highways. There was nowhere else to go and nothing much he can do then.

I had to make the push that time. A few more minutes of waiting got me in a jeepney to Philcoa from where I ate a long due brunch. A meal to catch up on missed meals and more importantly to prepare me for the worst just in case.

Stalemate

It was a stalemate along Commonwealth that time in both directions practically. Actually the directions weren’t there anymore as counterflows to avoid high water rendered either side of the island free game. Same goes for the Elliptical Road which saw the counterflows more constricting to traffic. Floodwater held the Philcoa side to University Avenue impassable to vehicles.

It was a stalemate among commuters too. At least among a lot of us for nearly two hours after I arrived there. I found it difficult to find a place to eat as a lot of persons were also helping themselves for the long journey ahead. Outside from where I ate, there stood a lot more of stranded souls waiting for the weather to lighten or the waters to recede to give some semblance of safety for at least a little while.

It was a procession for those who dared brave the waters though. Judging from the numbers of those who did so, it seemed that the flood has been there for so long that they had been forced to march along that submerged portion of Commonwealth in an attempt to push through to their destinations.

I was to go to the opposite direction however and I had to wait until at least I could get to the pedestrian overpass. That is, I had to hike towards the direction of SM North. I had to make the decision and brace myself for the worse because the scenes I had for the day until then was only getting worse.

SM

I made the push when the waters receded a little bit.

It was around 4:30 in the afternoon already if I remember it right. It was quite surprising that I made it to North Avenue from Philcoa in less than 30 minutes. I took the jeepney towards SM North from there as the gridlocked elliptical road prevented them from wandering far into the loop. The wait for other passengers and the time it took for us to get to the mall had me making the most out of my remaining cash for supplies– some crackers and mineral water for an uncertain but definitely time-consuming travel home. BPI ATMs already offline that time and stores closed by the time I got there didn’t look exactly comforting to someone having to literally inch his way closer to home that time.

I was keeping my fingers crossed because the last time I heard of EDSA that day, vehicles there were non-moving since that afternoon. It would be sensible to anticipate a possibility of a walk until Monumento with the way the afternoon panned out.

That would be the worst case decision then. It would still be sensible to wait if things turned out better– that I would be able to get inside a bus that would somehow at least crawl its way towards the next destination point on my map.

While there were people already braving the long walk northbound, there were still some people staying along the covered premises of the mall. Maybe I could give waiting a few minutes to see if things might turn out fine. It never hurts to hope in such times anyway.

It sure did hurt much to be well on your way to do the worst case however.

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