Last week I took a long hiatus from work because for four straight days the strong rains just wouldn’t stop. It wasn’t a typhoon but just a hanging habagat (southwest monsoon) that brought those torrential rainfall which only made more worse by the pull of typhoon Maring that hovered in the northern part of Luzon. So strong it was that it would get tired from pouring then would quiet down for a few minutes, then go back again to pour out its anguish some more—causing floods in many communities, particularly the low land areas.
I consider us still lucky, my family and I, that only a clear floodwater entered our house which seeped out of our tiled floors. For four years since we moved to Rizal from Quezon City, this has been our problem each time there is a heavy rainfall for days. And I remember the first time I experienced it, seeing water inside our home during typhoon Ondoy in 2009, and because it was my first time, I was such in a panic, miserable! I was cursing, feeling like the mayor, the governor, even the soil or its topography should be the ones to blame for that inconvenience we have experienced. There was no electricity even, no water! I was in dire straits! I thought Rodriguez, Rizal was a God-forsaken place!
Then when I learned that at the same time the 40-year-old house of musician Zach Lucero in Merville, Parañaque got flooded also, destroying furnitures and precious stuff inside, Zach swore that in his entire life this was the first time that their place got flooded because of typhoon. And when I learned at the same time that certain places in Metro Manila where floods were never a problem got flooded under typhoon Ondoy, where at the same time people from all walks of life (yes, even our celebrities here) got stranded on top of their roofs, or in their cars, for twelve hours not having anything to eat or anywhere to sleep, it made me realize how pathetic my problem was.
Fast forward to present, to cope with the penetration of water inside our house (which fortunately, as always, didn’t reach our ankle, just the soles of our feet), we just mop and mop round the clock, taking turns, to prevent the water from turning into its worse state. Again, like years before and every rainy season, many had it worse, with floodwater rising beyond seven feet and more that forced many families to evacuate and leave their homes but of course, typical to Filipinos, there were also many others who stuck around, not wanting to leave their homes for fear that bad people might steal their belongings and ransack their homes. (Believe it or not, even during a very deep crisis like this—and I’m speaking both literally and figuratively—evil human beings/opportunists exist to take advantage of the plight of his poor fellow men.)
Actor Alden Richards, whose house in Laguna got flooded for the first time in his life, believed that it was just one of those “Acts of God” that we should accept and learn from. And because he doesn’t want to experience it again, he and his family would just be renting a house in another village that was undisturbed by floods. I agree with him that we should learn from this bad experience but I don’t believe that typhoons are “Acts of God.” Typhoons happen because of man’s irresponsibility and greed—cutting down trees and not replacing them with new ones, illegal logging, pollution (hurting our earth’s ozone layer), improper waste disposal (one of the causes of floods), constructing buildings and malls that obstructed or covered the waterways or drainage that would have helped in preventing or lessening the floods—and what is happening is just a cause and effect. We are just receiving what we are giving out. How we treat Mother Nature will also be the same thing that Mother Nature will treat us.
And each time a typhoon occurs, it never fails that it would be the same old story: parents crying in anguish over their child’s dead body because of drowning, a dilapidated house destroyed by the strong currents of dirty floodwaters, poor families in evacuation centers, destruction! Havoc! Killed people would be replayed over and over again.
Typhoons are not Acts of God. It’s man-made.