From Madras to Manila

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

The perfect storm - Milenyo

Wow. We witnessed one huge storm in end-September.
The day started out promising to be yet another uneventful day when my carpool would be reluctantly heading towards work. It was the kind of morning that promised to be completely boring – overcast skies, hint of rain every now and then.

So we set off, the first sign that something was amiss that there was ABSOLUTELY no traffic on the roads. That at 8:30 in the morning is IMPOSSIBLE in Makati !
Then we found out all schools and government offices had been called off because of an impending storm. So in anticipation, we excitedly called our bosses. No such luck, troop in to work, we were told.

We got to know that the eye of the storm would pass directly over Manila at 11 am. At 11:15 the power conked out. From 12-1:30 we saw the fury of Mother Nature.

Standing in our 16th floor office, we could feel the building sway as wind speeds hit 130 kmph. It was crazy. Huge hoardings across the street started to fall. Trees started dropping like nine pins crushing cars in the parking lot opposite our building. We actually saw asbestos sheets being tossed around – and the best part, the wind was SO strong that the sheet never fell on the ground – it just was swept away (I know I know , it eventually fell) I have never seen anything like this. Except when they cover Florida hurricanes on TV!

We were now panicking and then the next rumor started.
That Manila would begin flooding. Anyone who has lived any length of time in Manila will know that even a slight drizzle causes traffic to come to a standstill.

We weren’t taking chances, we decided to go home at 2pm.
It took us 3 hours to get home that day. Driving on C-5, we felt like we were on the sets of ‘The day after tomorrow’. Empty roads, flooded in many parts. Fallen trees and hoardings blocking our path

It was scary.

Got home to discover that we had left a few windows open and the place was flooded. Amit got home earlier so he had got to do the mopping :-)

Manila didnt have power for 3 days but luckily we had a generator in our condo. People who lived in villages (Alabang, Dasma, Forbes park) weren’t so lucky – they had no water or electricity for a full 3 days…..

Not my best memory of Manila.