7.08.2008

Flash flood drama Episode I

I will post story on installments. Don't want you to get bored. Parang telenovela on blog. Only less dramatic. Time was added to add to drama. They might not be accurate. It might have been faster or slower. I don't know. But this is how fast I think it happened.

So what did happen?

June 21 – Saturday

6am. Typical stormy day, woke up to no electricity, load rumblings of thunder, and strong winds. I worried about the wind blowing out our aged roof on our one-story house but so far only one piece of it had fallen off.

8am. Breakfast. Rain stopped. Winds lessened. We joked about building a new house and which floor would our rooms be. There are seven of us living in the house. Now, with seven, you would think we would be sooo lucky. NOT! Little did we know that water was already filling up Barotac Nuevo, Alimodian and two hours later that morning, Pavia and Jaro.

2:30pm. Tatay leaves the house to walk to Iloilo Supermart for his daily dose of lotto tickets and today’s paper. Streets were wet from rain but flood free. I dozed off on the sofa hoping for electricity to get some work done. Website project notes scatter on the table beside me.

3pm. Still in my pajamas, I woke up to dogs barking. Thought there might be someone at the gate. Opened the door and saw the driveway flooded with murky brown water. Dogs are barking to keep themselves afloat. Called Doray and we tried to calm the dogs and place them in the cages. They started biting each other in panic. We let them out again.

3:10pm. Water started to ease into the doorway. Told Doray to close the door and called on Paolo to calm the dogs. Pao woke up and took charge of the dogs and said to keep door closed. Water started easing in from Pao’s bedroom. Doray reported that Tatay’s room is also filling with water. Woke up my sisters for help, as water started to fill the living room floor, from the back, from the front door and from the side.

3:15pm. The most obvious thing to do was to place computers on higher level. Trying to stay calm, we started pulling out computer cords from sockets and placing CPUs on top of tables. Rescued the laptop from the floor just in time. Water kept rising. Opened the folding bed in the living room and started dumping things on top of it. Water was now ankle deep. Looked into bedroom and started taking books, notes, laundry and bags off the floor and dumping them on my bed. Water continued to rise.

3:20pm. Water was knee deep. Decided table was no longer safe so started moving computers to top of the tallest cabinet in the living room. Tatay arrived and water gushed in when he opened the door. He saved the dogs from drowning by placing them on top of folding bed which was now under water. Grabbed my client files and back-up cds on the computer table and realized that I just lost everything I was working on in the sofa. Had Paolo tossed them on top of cpus, scanners and printers on topmost cabinet tier. Grabbed the modem from the water but could no longer save the submerged router. Paolo and Doray pulled out the TV and placed it on higher cabinet tier disregarding DVD player and DVDs. They then lifted the very heavy sack of rice and refrigerator on top of chairs on their own. Everybody was trying to save what they can. Water was now thigh-deep.

3:25pm. Was still packing what we can on top of cabinets. I looked into my bedroom and saw my bed floating. Grabbed my point-and-shoot cam, cellphones and mp3 player from the bed and placed them on a bag. Managed to grab the CD player and place it on top of wardrobe before water covered the table. My sidetable turned sideways, hit and turned the bed sideways and some of its contents crashed into the water. Another table filled with bags, sketch pads, books crashed and I looked at them helplessly. I couldn’t find my wallet. Water was now waist-deep.

3:30pm. I shouted to everybody that we needed to get out of the house. My sister said to grab what we can. I looked into the cabinets and all my clothes were now wet. Grabbed the dry laundry I had tossed on top of the bed and stuffed them into the bag. They were the only dry clothes I have left. I took one last look at my room and left. Paolo was throwing his cellphone, cords and small electronic gadgets on an empty 5-gallon water jug. It will just float, he said. We all started to move outside.

3:40pm. Tatay refused to leave the house. Nothing could convince him otherwise. Doray and Bob decided to stay with him. Just before we left the house, my cousin called my sister’s mobile phone and said we should get to the hospital. They had moved the kids there and will have a room ready for us if we can just get there. Butch, our neighbor, assured us that he will look after Tatay and get him to higher ground if things started to get dangerous.

3:50 pm. My sisters and Paolo left the house, wading into the water. Water outside was chest deep. Kept the bag dry by holding it overhead. We navigated the murky water as best as we could, fighting against the current. Tanod guys have tied a rope to a pole somewhere and it was what we used to drag ourselves forward. I was scared but so was everyone. I was 4 feet 9 inches tall. My sisters and Paolo were taller than me. My sister started to swim. She was carrying two heavy leather bags and a plastic bag of clothes. Told her to let go one of the bags but she refused. Paolo took one of the bags and started walking without the rope to help him. Had to push my sister to move forward in the current, angered because she wouldn't let go of her bag. What once was a few seconds stride to the corner turned into a very long walk.

Scared shitless.

to be continued ...

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