I used to love the rainy season. I say “used to,” because after the horrors of the past few floods, it would seem insensitive to say I still do. But I have so many memories of typhoon seasons.
First was the thrill of having classes suspended! Like clockwork, the first typhoon of the season would hit around the first or second week after classes opened, and what a joy to have another holiday right away! This would be repeated in the next few months, and there was something so comforting about being able to snuggle in bed, knowing that you had a day off from class.
In those days, we didn’t have to worry about pollution or acid rain, so after much begging, being given permission to take a bath in the rain was such a treat. In sando and shorts, I would line up with friends to collect rainwater in my tabo from the ducha or downspout.
Then there was the food. What is it about rainy days that boost your appetite? Sinangag with tuyo, chopped red egg with tomatoes and onions, longganisa, tapa or tocino, champorado… Haay.
Then in the afternoon, peanut butter sandwiches on fresh, soft white bread with the crusts lopped off.
As I grew older, as soon as the coming of a storm was announced, I would rush to the grocery to buy food, then stay in bed reading as the wind rattled the windows.
Oh yes, we had floods, too. I remember listening to radio reports of the San Juan River overflowing and the Weinstein and Lyric pianos floating down the streets, of landslides on Kennon Road, and the “siyam siyam” that inundated the Candaba swamp and cut off Manila from the north.
But the recent floods beggar the imagination.
Since I am bedridden most of the time, the remote of the cable system has been my closest “companion,” and in horror I would watch the news.
The garbage that swept up Roxas and Quezon Boulevards and the riverbanks was shocking. Didn’t we learn from “Ondoy?”
I was stunned to learn that they had picked up 160 truckloads of garbage from the seawall, and they expected to continue doing this for another three days.
The thought that even after the rains had stopped, those who had been displaced would still have nowhere to go gave me such pain.
Even worse are the attitudes of some politicos. My daughter went to school to pack and distribute food and supplies for the needy. They were allowed to use the big military trucks to go to various sites. She told me that in one area, the mayor’s staff refused to allow them to distribute the goods—“hintayin si mayor daw.”
After some time, he and his wife arrived, and two lines were formed so they could “shake hands” with the recipients. And, excuse me, these bags were from the goods the students made, not from City Hall.
My daughter was disgusted, and said that even the soldiers who accompanied them had much to say about the selfishness of local officials.
Makes one think that perhaps Mother Nature is not the kalaban. We are?