Saturday, August 11, 2012

Ordinary People in Extraordinary Times - Portrait of the Southwest Monsoon Floods

Our lives are shaped by the tiny hurdles we overcome in our daily grind.  We are unaware but we are actually sharpened, strengthened, and polished.  It's the giant hurdle that creeps like a thief in the night that measures our worth!

First, let's put things in the proper perspective.  The recent unusual phenomenon that hit the Philippines caused massive flooding in Metro Manila and nearby provinces of Luzon.  The heavy rainfall brought forth by the freakishly strong southwest monsoon that was further enhanced by a certain Typhoon Haikui (interestingly located outside of the Philippine area of responsibility) is they say comparable to that series of typhoons in 1972 that caused the Luzon Great Flood that lasted for a month.

If you were following my blog posts, you probably have seen the pictures and videos I posted.  They were shot at Sandoval Avenue in front of Palmdale Heights Condominium where I live.  The whole of Sandoval Avenue is flooded.  To get a good idea of the extent of the flooding in our area, the Google Maps satellite snapshot of  Sandoval Avenue is shown above.  Sandoval Avenue is quite long that is about more than 3 kilometers, and probably longer if it is indeed part of the Circumferential Road 6 (C6).

The flood started at Mercedes Avenue and extended through Sandoval Avenue to Nagpayong. That whole stretch is about 4 kilometers.  This was the flood scenario in August 7, 8, and 9.  The flood is receding but as of today, 11 March 2012, you will still find waters that are ankle-deep to knee-deep along Sandoval Avenue.

(Please note that I am just talking about Sandoval Avenue.  Some parts of Barangay Pinagbuhatan as well as other "barangays" as of this time are much worse, especially those that are near the Manggahan Floodway.

A "barangay" is the smallest unit of administration in a Filipino society consisting of a certain number of families - that is, from several hundreds to thousands.  The barangay is headed by an elected official known as the Barangay Chairman.)

Would you believe that people have to tread the waters in order to get food and potable water, and probably do some other important things like go to work?  I would think that some of them have no choice because they are paid at work on a daily basis.    Yes, that is right.  Undeterred!  Here you will see what they refer to as Filipino resiliency.   You will also witness Filipino ingenuity.   Necessity they say is the mother of invention.  The need to trek the flooded streets gave birth to "flood monsters" - makeshift transportation.  See more here...

Okay, so without further ado, I present you, Portrait of the Southwest Monsoon Floods - ORDINARY PEOPLE IN EXTRAORDINARY TIMES.  

(Note: please forgive my quirky annotations.  I was just trying to be funny.  That's part of the Filipino charm, you know.  Spinning things to the lighter and funnier side.)

"I told you.  This plastic washtub is better than that hairy dog of yours"
"Heigh-ho,  Heigh-ho.  It's home from work we go..."
"Heigh-ho, Heigh-ho.  It's off to work we go..."  Shuttle transport.  LOL.
"Flood Monster" - makeshift deluxe transport.  Wanna ride? 
"Yo, what's up, dude?  See the balcony section of our Flood Monster?  Great, isn't it?"
"Ah, ha, haaaa.  Ah, ha, haaaa."  - Princess Ariel
"Honey, I don't like the color of our canopy.  So boriiing."
"Honey, why is that we don't have a canopy like theirs?"  "Quiet, this is cheaper!"
"We have a huge umbrella as a canopy.  So cool, honey."
"Our Flood Monster is better.  You can sleep while we trek the gorgeous, calm waves of this awesome flood.  First class, indeed, ma'am, sir!"
Waiting for customers.  Economy class (without canopy) and business class (with gorgeous plastic canopy).  You choose.
Okay, this is not so ordinary.  He's got money to carry his red baby out of here...
Thanks for the ride, Philippine Navy.  Salute!
I like your 6x6, and those gorgeous shorts.  Weeeh! LOL!
To the tune of Yellow Submarine - "We'll all leave in a yellow garbage truck... yellow garbage truck... yellow garbage truck!"


  1. Thanks so much for this daily updates on the flood in sandoval. I'll be visiting this blog often. :)

  2. Great post! Very detailed. thanks.