June 25, 2011

Stranded in Manila.

June 23, 2011 - I woke up early morning with only 3 hours of sleep because the electricity went out the night before and although the weather was windy, it wasn't enough to keep my room bearable. As I thought any other Thursday would start, I woke up at 8 a.m. and prepared for my 1 p.m. class. I usually go out of the house at 11 to reach Manila just in time for my class.

When I got to Manila, it was raining normally with the wet season doing its duties pouring down the lovely city. I went in my class and that's when the rain started pouring pretty hard, our class was in the basement but we can hear the drops from there.

After class (1-4PM was the only time I have class) I stayed at the school press office where I work as a writer. It's where we eat our lunch, sleep, rest and have fun with my other co-workers.

This was taken in 2010 just to show you when rain starts pouring in Manila, expect pocket floods.
By 6 p.m. the school issued a suspension of all classes and advised students to go home, but as they tried to indirectly force students out of the campus (indirectly meant locking the classrooms and telling everyone to go to the lobby.) the rain just slammed the city as hard as it could. It caused minor panic for those who were not used to staying at school late at night and of course the freshmen students who's in for a rare experience.

Now when rain hits hard in Manila, every street is like this. Photo taken by me in 2010.
I thought the rain was going to stop at around 9 p.m. so I just relaxed in the student press office along with my friends and watched the Thailand classic horror film "Shutter". After a while my dad called me and said not to pass by E. Rodriguez anymore because the river had just overflowed and the streets were flooded, he advised me to take a higher route, much longer but safer, I said yes and he put down the phone and I continued watching.

I thought only a few were still in school but when the Student Council President invited us to dinner down the school canteen I saw the reality of what was going on outside the school. I saw people's pants were wet up to the knees and said they couldn't get out cause of the flood. There were at least 80 students stranded and the school served them free dinner (Well at last, we can get something free from the school) Rice and Sardines for everyone.

8:30p.m. - Our school paper in which I am part of has a twitter account so that we can get news feeds from government and media bodies. There was a twitter account for MMDA (Metropolitan Manila Development Authority) which was a Government agency that is responsible for the road's cleanliness and overall public drainage and road safety of Metro Manila.

From the twitter account we were slapped by reality really hard this time. The longer route that I was planning to take was flooded 21 inches, I couldn't believe it because it was higher grounds but it was flooded and the rain just continued on and on as I read the MMDA's tweets one by one, streets were flooded there was massive traffic jams, people were stranded and the only way to go were the Transit lines which you can use IF you can reach it.

So I told my Mom that I would most probably stay in school for the night. It was safe in our school and they were very  understanding. Our office is not any ordinary office, it is small and could only hold up to 6 people, our air-conditioning system are exhaust fans that suck air from the Student Council office. We budged in the tiny office space we have, updating traffic tweets while some watch movies and some busy playing video games and as for me, I was multi-tasking. I was watching at one minute and then look at the gamers and then at the tweets and then regularly asking my friends if they were alright.

You can see me having a few laughs with my friends.
I didn't feel scared or anything, I was comfortable, just not with what I've been wearing for almost a day already, the thick uniforms get itchy when worn a little bit longer than expected. There was an ambiance of comfort with one another with my classmates and friends, we were all stranded and would stay for the night for sure.

This is it, that's the office and 9 of us had to sleep there.
As the rain stopped from time to time, the cold rush of wind gushes in the corridors and gives that spooky feeling, we kept laughing, screaming from the horror movies we were watching and all sorts of other movies, at around 4 a.m. we actually decided to sleep for a few hours to recharge ourselves, some slept at the floor like me, some at the bench and someone actually slept on top of the table! So it was 9 of us sleeping in a small room.

When we woke up roughly around 7 a.m. we realized that we were the only ones in the school (well of course there were the guards and the people serving food for the stranded people) but we were the last ones in the building, they served us a much better meal for breakfast, Hotdogs, Eggs and Fried rice! They had a lot of time to prepare it that's why it was good. After eating we prepared to go home and said thanks to whoever and bid goodbyes and I was proud and somewhat happy to experience being stranded in school.

Sorry I had to blur some of the background but that's us and the guard at the rightmost in his sandals :)

*Last 3 photos were taken by Justin Jovellanos.

1 comment:

Christian | Lakad Pilipinas said...

Hehe kasama pala si Jo sa na-stranded.
Masaya ma-stranded lalo na pag isang tropa kayo =D