I was drinking coffee with some friends (4 of us) at around 7 in the morning as the rain kept pouring. It continuously rained the whole evening, but, was becoming lighter in that morning of Saturday, September 26. As the horizon brightened, we saw the river suddenly becoming larger and in a few minutes, there was water in the covered court of Balubad. It came so fast and as I wanted to go to Bagong Sibol (about 30 meters away from our block – block 11) to inform the local organization members as well as KPML members of the situation.
I could no longer reach the place as the water has already reached Kabayan Road. I had to go back and inform my family. The water rose so fast in just about 5-10 minutes. When I reached the place where my motorbike was parked, water was already waist deep. Before I reached the house with my motorbike, the current became stronger and water was still rising. SO, I decided to let go with my motorcycle-or else I will die with it.
I had to swim fast and reached the rooftop of one of the houses in block 9. I felt so desperate, that I could no longer do anything but stay on the roof. I felt that the money I had to pay for my bike was all gone to waste.
I decided to go back to our house. I had to go through rooftops, just to reach the place. I found my family members in our neighbor’s house – at the third floor. I felt a bit relieved that they are still alive.
There were already 30 of us cramped in our neghbor’s house. We were a bit happy that we were alive. We had no food for 36 hours and I had crackers later. That was all as we couldn’t cook. There was no stove, no food to cook. My son had to use a small boat to buy some coffee and sugar. But, the price was beyond our reach as we also had no money with us.
All our belongings were damaged and gone. Our house had no walls, see-through and everything was all so muddy. We only had our clothes on. I had to borrow slippers and I had no underwear because it was all so wet.
In that 36 hours ordeal, we couldn’t rest nor sleep. We were worried. The children could not use the toilets as they were in the first floor of the neighbor’s house. I told the girl who kept on insisting to use the toilet, if you want to die get down to the first floor and use the toilet. I wanted to put some humor in this kind of situation. But, I also felt so helpless at that time and we prayed that these things will come to pass.
Now, some tears fall as I relate the story to my co-members at the KPML office. I realized that we really have to be prepared in any type of disaster.
*Danilo Afante is a member of the KPML National Executive Committee and Chairperson of its Marikina Chapter. He is a resident of Balubad, Marikina. KPML is Kongreso ng Pagkakaisa ng Maralita ng Lungsod.