Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Surviving Milenyo

PAGASA predicted that typhoon Milenyo (Xangsane) will hit Luzon on September 28, 2006 (Thu) at around noon. Well, PAGASA hit the jackpot this time and the government did a good job by cancelling school that day. HICAP also suspended work and with Mat (my car’s name) already 500 Km overdue for his periodic maintenance (PM), the following thoughts took shape in my head:

“I have my work cancelled, Milenyo will come by noon, 5000 Km PM takes three hours max, I’ll be back home before lunch and let the storm pass while playing with my daughter.”

I left home and reached the dealership service center at 8:15AM. The job was finished by 10:30am but Milenyo came early and by that time he was already all out in pouring all the water that he had and was blowing all the wind he can blow – sign posts were falling, things were flying, mobile phones signals were cut and electric supply stopped. All the cars in the showroom were moved because the building’s glass building façade was vibrating back and forth as the wind hits it. I was stuck and can’t call home.

At around 11:00am it stopped. It was probably the calm while the eye of the storm passed by. I started driving home. Traffic was bad because there were uprooted trees and concrete posts blocking the road. A lot of employees were walking to get home due to scarcity of jeepneys. Part of the road between GMA and Pala-Pala was waist high in water so traffic was not moving. Milenyo caught up with me as the eye passed and the strong rain and wind continued. The strong winds rocked the car and I was busy looking all around worried that a tree or concrete post will fall. I had to turn back and seek shelter in Jollibee GMA to have lunch and some rest. With the road to Pala-Pala still flooded, I headed back to Carmona exit planning to take the long way home through Tagaytay. Traffic was horrible and I patiently drove to Carmona exit only to find the road also flooded. I turned back and took the Southwoods route. Wow! It was like driving inside a rainforest with all the trees blocking a full kilometer of the road where you need to sharply zig-zag through them while driving in shallow water and under a dark and thick canopy of dead trees. If there were monkeys around, it would have been complete (well, I was the only monkey out there, hoo-hoo-ha-ha!). After passing it all, the Southwoods entrance gate was closed. Waaah! It will be dark soon and taking the Tagaytay route without street lights, expected heavy traffic and with many road blocks a bit dangerous. I gave up and just waited an hour in Walter Mart Carmona. I got home at 5:00 PM. What a day.

Many trees lining the main road of our subdivision were uprooted and damaged.

The next day after the storm, we took rare photos with the fallen trees.



All pigs of a family piggery along a nearby creek were washed away as the water level rose suddenly. Thank God nobody died.

Electricity was restored only on September 30 at 9:30 PM. There was no electricity and water for two and a half days. During that time our drinking, bathing and dish washing water were bought from the few remaining water refilling stations left open. Many of the other water refilling stations were closed. For toilet flushing needs our family and a lot of home owners made a pilgrimage to the subdivision’s club house and scooped water from the swimming pool. Others lined up in the one and only manual pump inside our subdivision. The swimming pool trip is faster because many people can scoop water at the same time. It was also a lot more fun seeing your neighbors do the same. Our rechargeable lamp with radio and electric fan really came handy at night. Good thing I also bought an additional battery for its available slot to extend the operating time.

There were long queues in gasoline stations and ATMs everywhere. No ice can be bought to keep frozen goods from spoiling. Again, Jollibee helped because it was open during those two and a half days without water and electricity. To conserve water when dining at home, my wife wrapped our plates with food grade cellophane bags so we don’t have to wash our plates. This is the same technique used during birthdays and fiestas.

Super dad and super daughter doing their share to remove an unstable tree that was about to fall down anytime. Super mom was holding the camera.

"Hannah, on three... One, two, three, push!..."

With nothing else to do without water and electricity, we escaped to MOA on September 30 (Saturday) to have free cool air and restrooms with lots of water. For the 7:00 PM fireworks, we headed for the al fresco area of Café Breton, a good spot to view the fireworks.

Their Breton Mozzarella Burger (PhP165) was messy to eat but was so very delicious and juicy – excellent burger! It has a thick and awesomely juicy beef patty that is bigger than the burger bun then topped with mushrooms, lettuce and mozzarella cheese that extends like rubber bands after you take a big delicious burger bite. Mmm. Your finesse will be gone while eating but it’s worth it. The side salad is a good match.


Café Breton is famous for their French crepes so we ordered a crepe called La Pinay (PhP135). It is filled with mango then topped with a scoop of ice cream and chocolate sauce. Yumyum.


I ordered espresso long (PhP50), cappuccino (PhP60) for my wife, and fresh mango shake for our daughter (PhP75)

Jammin’ Jamaica serves pasta, pizza and patties. Their best sellers are their patties but these were not available when we went there so we ordered pasta and pizza. Port Royal (PhP120) is baked pasta with ground beef, cheese and cream sauce. Normal. Reggae pizza (PhP155) is their version of a thin crust Hawaiian pizza. The crust is crisp, powdery but lacks taste. Greenwich Hawaiian pizza is better.

Before going home, we passed by Shepherd Staff which is an inspirational books and gift specialty shop. But aside from being a book and gift shop, they also have a dessert and beverage bar in the center which is called Revive. Sebastians ice cream is available here. We had a single serving of the Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough (PhP68). It is made of pure vanilla ice cream with a blend of buttery cookie dough chunks, walnut bits and sweet fudge chips. Delicious.

When we reached home, electricity and water was already restored. I immediately took a long, relaxing, and well deserved bath before bedtime.

We survived Milenyo.

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