06-26-2008, 11:02 PM
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Explanation of my disappearance
Dear forum members,
I would like to apologize, first of all, to those who have noticed my long unexpected disappearance in the forums. I will henceforth explain my reasons ensuring that you will fully understand why I disappeared without leaving a note, and what had really happened.
As some of you may have known, last June 21, 2008, on Saturday night, the Philippines was battered by a typhoon locally named “Frank” with Visayas being hardest hit directly by the typhoon. I lived in Visayas where my province is among those that were hardest hit by the typhoon as it shifted its direction very slowly northwest.
It was Saturday morning when I noticed the power was out. The rain was thundering down hard and wind blowing very hard as I had never seen before. Before I knew it, the radio announced that the typhoon was actually picking speed, apparently, at 140-170 kilometers per hour with our province under signal no. 2.
This was the third time in my life that the province was put under that level however it seems the weather was as though it was not what I had experienced before. It seems far stronger and more powerful. I had noticed the trees bending dangerously. Dead leaves remained stuck to the trees but the live ones were detached and falling to the ground with one almost destroying our hedge lined to the wall completely.
After nearly four hours, I began to have misgivings with the power outage. I kept wishing it was back as I began to notice my aquaria’s temperature was falling dangerously. I feared the cold temperature especially oxygen depletion will eventually lead to an outbreak of diseases, not to mention, I had already suffered a big blow two years ago when an outbreak destroyed all my stocks in one tank resulting in heavy losses. I therefore had to do something.
While I was not able to stop the temperature from falling, I had to do a few water changes ensuring the fish will be okay with enough oxygen level from the surface movements. However I was warned that we might run out of water supply because our electricity may not be back for 24 hours or even less. I decided not to continue and simply stir the water because I did not have some full batteries in store. I wished I had known enough to store even just two pairs of batteries if I knew something disastrous will come and again. So this was all I could do at that time in my desperation to save the fish from stress which might lead to disastrous consequences and even their demise.
At 6:00 PM, my father had not returned from the office. My mother kept telling me he was stranded in the office. I was really in doubt because I had never heard before of their office being flooded. Apparently, it was the first time some of the places were hit by raging floods. Pavia, Oton, Mandurriao, Villa, Arevalo and a few others were hit by surprise as never happened before. This news quite shocked me because this seemed impossible with all the flood control projects coming in the past few months, whether they were finished or not.
At 9:00 PM, I read a text message of my father in my mother’s cellphone. It seemed clear that if he must risk going home, he will have to wade through the raging floods 6 feet and more in depth. He rode a truck with several other employees who were stranded in their office as well. When he went home at 10:00 PM, he told us everything that had happened. I asked him why he risked going home especially in that situation involving the raging floods. He replied that all he wanted was to come back with us. He may not be able to get his rest in there with floodwaters rising rapidly and dangerously. I had to answer him back that what is important is his safety, not merely the risk of going home when he could have been killed.
I could hardly sleep that night. I was not comfortable enough to sleep and kept having misgivings of the consequences wrought by the storm so all I could do is stare at the candle for a few minutes and then sank back to bed staring at the ceiling while thinking how long will the misery be over.
The next day, I was informed my parents returned to their office to inspect the extent of damage done so far. The water had risen in their office by knee-deep although the water is even deeper outside it at chest level. One of our cars parked there was deluged in the flood much to my shock because to be honest, we have never had it happened before and I have the tendency to worry how much it will cost to repair a vehicle.
By 12 at noon, I went to my grandparents’ home where we will stay there the whole afternoon as electricity was restored by my grandparents’ generator while our own generator was still under repair.
On the way to their home, I got a glimpse for the first time what Frank left. Fallen trees, overturned and flooded cars, mud piled on the street with some cars slipping dangerously, power lines sagging, dead animals around, people asking desperately for help on rooftops and many confused and angry passengers stranded…This was the first time I ever saw such destruction. It was far beyond my imagination. I simply stared at the scene in disbelief. Water meanwhile continued to rage dangerously when we passed bridges.
We reached our grandparents’ home about 30 minutes later. The stadium was full of people who evacuated to higher grounds after their houses were destroyed or else were deluged by floodwaters. I talked to my grandfather everything I saw and he said with a grim that this was the first time in his memory that he ever saw some damage. It was the most powerful storm he has experienced yet. He explained that the floods were also contributed by a dam that, if it had not been opened, would have burst open leaving far more disastrous and deadlier consequences. The rivers had already overflowed but they did not have the choice hence the dam was opened resulting in rushing waters destroying everything in its path.
At 3:30 PM, I asked for news updates and discovered that apparently in Pavia alone where Frank hit it hardest, over 70 people died. This was the highest death toll that ever happened in my area. I simply stood in disbelief.
At 5:00 PM, after we went to the church, we decided to come to the cemetery for our usual visit to the graves of my aunt and uncle however as we entered it, the street was really almost knee-deep with mud. Our van kept slipping and we narrowly avoided accident. We decided to call off the visit as the path ahead was too dangerous.
At 9:00 PM, power had been restored but not the phone signals. Although I was happy that the fish will not face any more consequences than they already had, I was not satisfied as the phone signals kept disappearing thus preventing me from sending word to others asking how they were doing, etc.
I tried to switch on the computer the next day in my desperation to contact everyone on internet explaining my disappearance and to assure everyone I was fine. This was the very reason why I failed to get online, one of the consequences of the typhoon. This happened for a few days and had me in frustration because I dreaded what others might think, that I will no longer come back to chat with everyone. For this very reason, I would like to apologize again for the inconvenience I may have caused you by my long unexplained disappearance.
As for the fish, I am sorry to report I was not able to save the two that seemed to have been weakened by the falling temperature and oxygen depletion despite by desperate attempts to prevent it from happening. As far as the school was concerned, classes were suspended for a week and without internet for the past few days, all I could do is watch the television drowning my misery in hours of watching movies, listen to music and even simply do aquarium maintenance to occupy my time.
In the coming days, more typhoons will come but we will be more prepared than ever before and we will brace ourselves for whatever disasters that may come our way.
Everyone, I am back on foot and will try to log in when the internet at home is back. Please bear with me if my absence has caused you a lot of inconvenience.