My cousin loaned me a copy of BBC's Pride and Prejudice on DVD starring Jennifer Ehle and Colin Firth ... the TV movie which was mentioned in the book Bridget Jone's Diary. Watched in with my sisters and a friend of ours who got hooked into it. He ended up staying until 10pm just to see the end of the movie. The problem was it was an old copy and some parts were not as clear as it should be. We missed the part where Colin Firth is suppose to jump into the water exposing a bit of ass - Sayang. Every time the video konks out, my sister would say, "Insufferable!" It was. But we didn't stop watching until we reached the end.

I've read the book once and loved it. I also loved every movie which mentions it in part or base a whole plot from it. To name a few: You've Got Mail (Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan), Bridget Jones Diary (Colin Firth), Pride and Prejudice (Keira Knightly) among others. And I've just read in Wikipedia that the Japanese manga Hana Yori Dango by Yoko Kamio, was loosely based on Pride and Prejudice. Hana Yori Dango was also the basis for Meteor Garden.

Hay, I just love, love, love, love ... Jane Austen and her books.

Next to Atticus Finch, Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy would come as a close second. :)


Love Machine

In an effort to escape the desolate state of the flood-victimized house, my friend and I decided to disappear into the cinema. The criteria for a good escape movie: (1) it must not make you think, (2) it must have lots of hunky men, (3) it must be fun and minimum drama. And the last one, (4) it must have a kick-ass soundtrack. So we went to watch Mama Mia. :)

The thing is, I hate cheesy movies. No, I extremely detest them. But the mission was escape and surely, Mama Mia will transport me to another time. And that is just what it did. We found ourselves singing with the Abba movie. As In. WE ARE THAT OLD? We grew up with these songs. I remember singing to "Hasta Maniana" and "Fernando" even if I didn't know what I was talking about. And hey, I'm sure everyone cannot deny that they had danced to "Dancing Queen" and "Money, Money, Money" at least once in their lives.

I thoroughly enjoyed myself - hehehe. And yes, Pierce Brosnan and Colin Firth are effing love machines even in glittering bell-bottoms.

To see how much we enjoyed ourselves, my friend and I downloaded the song "Honey, Honey". Read the lyrics. To think that we sang these when we were six? I would prefer the soundtrack to the old Abba version though. The ah-hah sound is so much different in the new version. Giggle. Smirk.

Honey Honey
Honey honey, how you thrill me, ah-hah, honey honey
Honey honey, nearly kill me, ah-hah, honey honey
I'd heard about you before
I wanted to know some more
And now I know what they mean, you're a love machine
Oh, you make me dizzy

Honey honey, let me feel it, ah-hah, honey honey
Honey honey, don't conceal it, ah-hah, honey honey
The way that you kiss goodnight (The way that you kiss me goodnight)
The way that you hold me tight (The way that you're holding me tight)
I feel like I wanna sing when you do your thing

I don't wanna hurt you, baby, I don't wanna see you cry
So stay on the ground, girl, you better not get too high
But I'm gonna stick to you, boy, you'll never get rid of me
There's no other place in this world where I rather would be

Honey honey, touch me, baby, ah-hah, honey honey
Honey honey, hold me, baby, ah-hah, honey honey
You look like a movie star (You look like a movie star)
But I know just who you are (I know just who you are)
And, honey, to say the least, you're a dog-gone beast

So stay on the ground, girl, you better not get too high
There's no other place in this world where I rather would be

Honey honey, how you thrill me, ah-hah, honey honey
Honey honey, nearly kill me, ah-hah, honey honey
I heard about you before
I wanted to know some more
And now I know what they mean, you're a love machine


Flash Flood Drama Final Episode

June 22 - Sunday

6am. Braced ourselves for the catastrophe that is our home. Mud covered every inch of the lot and the insides of the house as well. Furniture and appliances scattered everywhere, some ransacked and covered with mud. Some walls and doors have been destroyed and will need to be replaced. All beds wet. Hardly recognized my room. Winced when I saw all my books and notes ruined. All my clothes covered in mud. Yet felt so grateful to have survived it. Immediately started shoveling mud out of the house after cups of coffee and a can of sardines.

8am. Called everyone we know affected by the flood. Everyone ok. Just happy with that thought.

8pm. Had our first bath in two days at the neighbor's house. Cousins sent money, dry clothes and food. We bought drinking water. We had to borrow each other's dry underwear. Tired and desolate. Still had difficulty sleeping.

June 23 - Monday

Brother-priest arrived and helped out. He bought us supplies and groceries. Cleaned backyard and maid's room first. Cousins kept bringing us cooked food. They are such angels. Hired someone to clean water well and fill-up water tanks. Semi-cleaned toilets first, kitchen and living room second. Bedrooms will have to wait. Was so happy to see white floor again.

June 24 - Tuesday

Cleaned my room and ny older sister's room. Discovered all my manual cameras soaked and muddy. Threw away all my journals, loveletters and other mementos. No time to grieve for them just yet. Younger sister started to get blisters on her feet from being exposed to wet mud. We started wearing garbage bag boots on our feet and gloves on hands. Also started drinking meds for leptospyrosis. Water pump broken. Moved back home. My sisters and nephew all shared a bedroom.

June 25 - Wednesday
Cleaned last bedroom but it will not be liveable until walls and floors are fixed. Bought washing machine because old washing machine unusable.

It took us a week to get all the mud out. Another week to take care of laundry, and clean up the stuff we had salvaged. Maybe another month to grieve for the lost photo albums, teddy bears, documents and things we couldn't let go of but have to. And probably another year to get rid of the trauma and fight the panic every time it starts to rain. House still in shambles but it has gained back it's homey glory. Will need to replace a lot of cabinets, doors, walls and furniture. Will need to treat it for termites and molds to prevent sickness. We will need a lot. We will try not think of the expenses for now and just play it by ear.

On the bright side, we have less mess to deal with, more space in all the rooms, more stories and jokes to tell our folks. We are grateful for all the people who helped us through. Our cousins and Titas who made sure we wouldn't lose too much weight. Our maternal relatives who sent monetary help. Classmates, officemates, online-friends, priest-friends, relatives - all overwhelmingly generous with encouragement, prayers and support. Even the Bishop popped up for a visit to check on us. We are oh so so soooo grateful. As I keep saying, we are truly blest and we are the luckiest people in the world to have so many people look after us. Hikbi hikbi hikbi. :)

To all of you God-sent folks, thank you!


Flash Flood Drama Episode 2

4:00 pm. We reached the corner store but could go no further. Water was now up to my shoulders. If we continue, I was afraid we would drown. Someone called my name on top of the second-floor of an apartment building. “Diri na lang kamo”, (Stay here!). We struggled to open the gate of the apartment building while holding on to the gate to fight the current, then went inside. It was an apartment with 4 units – 2 units each floor. On the second floor, we joined other wet families who had left their homes also – neighbors we’ve seen around but never talked to. It was strange to see all of them there, wet and scared as we were. Relieved to be out of the water, my sisters and I managed to squeeze a joke here and there but we couldn’t believe what was happening. We discovered that in her panic, my sister had three high-heeled shoes in her bag, none of them were a pair and one was silver. We laughed at it but she was smart to have lots of dry clothes in the garbage bag. It floated when we were boldly treading the waters.

4:10pm. Shivering in our wet clothes, we tried to crouch to keep away from the rain in the second floor hallway. People continued pouring into the second floor. Like us, they couldn’t brave the walk, the rising water and the strong current and found safety in the apartment. We worried about Tatay, Doray and Bob. A bottle of unopened Coca-cola floated pass below and everyone pointed. Ironic that there was plenty of water but not a drop to drink. How good that Coke would have tasted.

4:30pm. A thin woman shivered beside us. My sister gave her some of the clothes from the plastic garbage bag she carried. Someone was praying the rosary aloud. We joined in. A guy asked if he could leave his bag with us. I was about to refuse, afraid it will get lost. He said he was going to walk to the next block to check on his family. He had a new-born there and was on his way home when the flood started. We took the bag and gave him our names so he could find us. It was getting dark and cold, my sisters and I decided to get into some dry clothes from the garbage bag. One apartment unit was open, a studio-type with kitchen and bathroom. The bathroom was clogged and there was water on the floor. It was a good thing that there was no electricity to see whatever is floating in there. But we braved it to change into some dry clothes.

5:00pm. There was a truck stuck in the road in front of the apartment. We based the depth of the water by the red stripe on the side of the truck. It was slowly disappearing into the water. Paolo decided to go back to the house and try to convince his grandfather to join us. There was no electricity and we wonder if they were able to save candles and matches from the flood. It would be terrible to stay in the flooded house without light. I told him to try to salvage some food and drinking water too.

5:30pm. Paolo still not back and there was no way to get news on what is happening at home. People stopped navigating the floodwaters and stayed where they are. It was growing dark and water still rising. We busied ourselves with trying to contact our friends and family. My brother can’t leave the house. They were on their second floor, too, and water inside their house was thigh-deep. His cars were floating and bumping on each other inside the garage. Told those who were safe that we needed rescue. Asked our friends in the neighborhood if they were able to leave the house safely. I had a new sim card and couldn’t call anyone. My phonebook was still empty. Decided to turn my phone off to save battery.

6:00pm. Paolo and Doray arrived in the dark. Doray struggled with the current. Water was up to Paolo’s chest which meant it would have been up to my ears. Bob was with Tatay. He still refused to leave his dogs. He said that they found a way to elevate him and the dogs. They say they had left the house with drinking water and food but had to let it go on the way because of the strong current.

7:00pm. We moved deeper into the open balcony of the apartment to get away from the cold. We had changed into drier clothes but still we shivered. I had two sets of shirts on but was saving my last dry laundry pair of shorts. I was still wearing the pajamas I had the night before. If we had to pee, we peed on the stairs where no one passes. In that crowded apartment, there was no place for privacy. It was dark too. The only light was a candle inside the apartment unit and an occasional flood light from a rescue team trying to make their way into the neighborhood. We prayed the rosary.

8:00pm. Someone said water was subsiding slowly. It was too dark to be sure. We worried about Tatay and his damn dogs. We argued about trying to walk towards the hospital or staying where we were. I just know I didn’t want to get back into the water until I can see where I’m going. I know we were going to survive this and I was willing to shiver until morning.

9:00pm. Bob arrived to check on us. He said they found a way to elevate Tatay. They had positioned the feet of the bed on top of sturdy dining chairs, and then placed a plastic chair on the bed for Tatay to sit on while his dogs sit around him. He had a candle to see in the dark. He also said that our next-door neighbor had offered shelter and we had room there if we want to move. It never occurred to us to seek shelter there when we left the house. We didn’t know the place was occupied with tenants until now. Bob said that the tenants had broken into the second floor even before the owners gave the go because the water was rising so fast. We had permission to stay there too. We argued what to do. The priority was to get Tatay out of the house if we can and the house next door would probably convince him. It was the nearest and the safest.

10:00pm. Waded back into the murky waters again. It was lower now but still waist deep. With just a flash light, we moved slowly in the dark and headed towards home. A rescue boat passed us and asked if there were any people deeper into the lower parts of the neighborhood. We said we don’t know. We reached the neighbors house and went in. They offered us a bedroom, mattresses and a sofa to sleep in, and glee, pillows! We changed into whatever dry clothes we got left while Paolo and Bob went back to the house to convince Tatay to move. The old man refused to budge. We all shared one glass of water. It started to rain again.

June 22 – Sunday

12 am. Paolo and Bob went back a second time to get Tatay. This time he went with them. It was raining and water might rise again. We have to lock up the house to keep our furniture from floating out of the gate. We had instant noodles from a cup and some water. We counted ourselves very lucky to be in beds, dry and with food and water. Paolo then silently started to cry. He had been complaining of back pain from all the heavy lifting and worried about his friends living in the deeper parts of the neighborhood. I guess everything started to sink in and he was overwhelmed. Like a man, he tried to hide his tears in the dark and buried his frustration on a pillow. Tatay then told us how he fell into a man-hole on his way back home during the flood. He couldn’t see the road, was avoiding debris, and fell full-figured into an open manhole. A tri-sikad driver saw him fell and grabbed his hand to pull him back out. We were shocked to learn about the news and relieved that he made it out. He had bruises to prove it.

It was a long night. I tried not thinking about people in worse places than us but I didn’t get any sleep just the same. Rescue boats passed but the neighborhood was quiet. Even the dogs stopped barking.

4am. Water subsided faster than it rose. We still couldn’t see the road but we saw people passing below. Tatay, Bob and Paolo went down to check on the dogs. They were gone for a long time. When they got back, Tatay was no longer with them. Paolo said that Tatay took one look at the damage done to his home and his voiced cracked. “Diri lang ko a. (I’ll stay here)”, he said. He stayed there alone until morning. I cried after that.

I consider myself lucky, but I can't shake off the feeling of huge loss, not only for me and my family, but everyone who suffered through that night.

to be continued ...


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 ...