Jullie Y. Daza
Typhoon. Wind and rain. Thunder and lightning. Floods everywhere, some swallowing rooftops. Earthquake. Pandemic. Forced evacuation and its attendant miseries. All in one day.
At 2:20 a.m. the noise was so frightening it woke me up. In the dark, I heard Fabian Jr.’s fury as he tried to beat down our black metal gate, “Let me in!” As if he were the Big Bad Wolf commanding Little Red Riding Hood to open the gate and then the wooden door. The rain was coming down fast and furious, the thunderclaps roaring with decibels rising as if the storm were just outside my ears, paving the way for bolts of lightning to strike, complete with all the special effects of a disaster movie. For 50 minutes there was no letup until at 3:10 the rush of torrential rainfall began to taper off. I knew it was not a nightmare because the rumbling thunder had muted itself to a mere grumble.
Cinematic. Epic. Apocalyptic. A pity there were no disaster reporters and cameramen around at 3 a.m. to record the phenomenon of another day in the Philippines during the monsoon season.
I thought of Jeff Bezos, the planet’s richest man, stepping out of his rocketship and cheerfully proclaiming, “It was so normal!” after 10 minutes in outer space, three of those without gravity. Let our Tourism people invite him to this part of the world and enjoy a normally exciting day. How normal was it that 24 hours after Fabian Sr. exited the Philippines, Fabian Jr., aka “the enhanced southwest monsoon,” was induced to behave like his father?
Climate watchers see us as most vulnerable to natural disasters; woefully, that label is not about to be trashed, not even in the next 10-20 years. We blame extreme climates, global warming, climate change, Nature’s wrath, the consequences of environmental abuse, etc., but how do we change the worst of our habits of dumping litter, waste, garbage, broken furniture, dead bodies into the dirtiest river, the blessed bay?
Pity the workers who dig out trash that clogs streets and neighborhoods -- the same Sisyphean task every rainy season, year in year out, for these men who are so able to hide their anger and dismay at their fellowmen.