Tuesday, July 29, 2014

A Day with Glenda

Nice name, yet Filipinos dreaded this name last 15th of July, Tuesday. This was the local name given to typhoon Rammasun.  

My sister lives in the Bicol area. We had been exchanging text messages about the situation in Bicol. Manila was also part of  signal number two then later number three.  I was telling her Monday evening the weather inside our unit was still warm. It was my day off.  I kept vigil at the news on television. I am at the inner unit and I cannot hear rains or wind from the outside. At around two in the morning I heard some neighbors talking to our lobby guard. While some were busy on their cell phones.  I went down to the lobby.  My unit is at the second floor. There it was the rain and wind.  

The wind was too strong that made me worry about my niece who reported for work at around six Monday evening. I sent her several text messages from my cell. I got no reply. Cell phones are not allowed on their work area, I knew it.  I thought of sending her the messages to caution her of the strong wind by any chance she checked on her cell phone.  At around three in the morning lights went out. I heard wailing of high pitch sound, emergency lights came on at the corridors. The guards on duty were frantically pulling and pushing alternately some levers and buttons at the ground floor.

Emergency lights went out. Lights at the corridors came on.  It was a generator. Inside our unit I fumbled for my big LED flashlight, some candles I stored. At four thirty in the morning. I heard a loud knock at door. It was my niece, who took a taxi from work going home.  She had no time to check on her cell phone. They were advised typhoon will be arriving in the morning. No more text message from my sister. I knew it, typhoon visited Bicol Region ahead of Manila.

Few hours passed, my two cell phones went out of batteries, no electrical power yet. I noticed some neighbors charging their cell phones at the corridor.  I took one of my power bars with at least three meters cord.  I used a stool to reach up and unplugged the outlet on the EXIT sign and plugged in my extension cord.  My cell phones were charged in few minutes. My butane stove saved our lunch and dinner.  Our electricity was restored at twelve noon after being out for nine hours.  

Electricity was restored in Metro Manila by piecemeal due to uprooted trees and broken poles. Albay province was hit first by the wrath of Glenda. Albay is one of the provinces in Bicol Region, home to the Worlds famous Volcano, Mayon.  My accolade to Governor Joey Salceda who reported zero casualties in the province, despite the uprooted trees and blown off houses.  While in some places, some unfortunate individuals were not as lucky as the Albayanos.  We never expected the typhoon to be too strong when it had its landfall in Manila, nearby provinces and almost all places in the Philippines. 

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