The Nightmare That Was Pedring

Word of warning: This is a long post. I decided to write almost all the details of what happened to us here not mainly for everyone to read, but for me to look back to after the fear has faded.

It was around 3am of September 27, 2011 when I heard the loud howling of the winds outside my bedroom window. Typhoon Pedring is making his presence felt with all his might. It was scary as if there’s a lurking twister just outside our home. But, I tried to focus on what I’m doing and not let it bother me.

Tropica Storm Pedring

I remember back in 2009, the same week in September, when Ondoy hit the country. I was in Cebu and I feared for the safety of my family who were left here in Malabon. But, they reported back that there wasn’t even flood on the streets so I figured Pedring couldn’t be worse, right?

Going back to that fateful morning of the 27th, I stayed up late waiting for announcements if Ken’s culinary class will be suspended. We have a scheduled foodie event in the afternoon that we really wanted to join. So, I was ecstatic when they made an announcement that the classes were suspended. But, after a few more minutes, I received a text message from the organizers of the event that they also decided to postpone it because of the bad weather. I was glad they did because it was already pretty scary out there, with the strong winds accompanying the heavy rains with gusto.

I turned off the A/C ’cause it was already pretty cold. I decided to sleep since I got all day to relax and continue whatever I need to get done later in the afternoon. I was unaware of the events that were about to happen that’ll shake me to the core.

I was badly awakened by my dad knocking and yelling at my door, telling me to check on my computer shop ’cause the flood’s coming in. I vaguely remember how I responded, but I remember going to the CR first without the faintest idea of how serious the flood situation was.

There was no power so I struggled my way towards our living room. To my surprise, there were about six people already there, mostly our neighbors, standing quietly as they watch what’s happening outside. It was then when I realized I need to get moving… QUICKLY!

Note: I managed to take photos AFTER we were done moving and packing our important things and documents.

Scene at our living room, with our neighbors camping in for safety

When I finally reached our main door, I fearfully looked at the flood situation at our gate. It was fricking almost an inch away from reaching the top level of our front steps.

Flood at our gate as it starts to rise

So, I scurried towards the door of my shop and opened the lock. By this time, my mind was already blank, but my body knew what it needs to do so I went to the closest stations and grabbed the keyboards and mouse to move them on top of the CPU. As much as I’d like to take all the CPU inside our house, there’s just no place for them there. Besides, if the water gets too high to reach the highest shelf where the CPUs were, then, there’s no way I can save them when I move them inside. I decided they were safer to stay inside the shop.

 This is an old photo of my shop. Just want to show you how the stations are set up.

Then, it hit me. Dang! My server computer’s CPU is almost on the ground at the counter! So, I ran towards the counter, took out all the cables hastily and lifted the CPU off to higher ground, which was the chair near the back door of my shop where I entered a few minutes ago.

I then wanted to save my new printer so I asked one of our neighbors who was there to help. He’s one of my customers so he was also concerned. He gladly entered the shop and asked what help I needed. I gave him the printer and begged him to place it somewhere high and safe. I didn’t even bother knowing where he placed it.

My arms were in pain for the past week and it was all the adrenaline rush that made me forget about it. I was carrying things like they were weightless, I tell yah.

As soon as I’ve moved some of the stuff under the counter, flood already started entering the shop. It was when I wondered if my bro Kenneth’s already awake. He sleeps on a one mattress DIY bed that sits comfortably on the floor. His computer and most of his stuff are also on the floor. So I yelled with all my might, calling out his name from inside the shop, asking others who were in our home to wake him up. I couldn’t leave the shop because I needed to save my computers as much as I can.

After a couple more yelling, I just couldn’t stop worrying so I headed inside our house to check on him. Thankfully, he was awake and was already starting to move his stuff. His mattresses were soaked in floodwater, but he was focused on getting more of his stuff to higher places.

Ken's bedroomKen’s room

He rushed into my room afterwards to help me move my stuff. I COMPLETELY FORGOT! I was so focused on my shop that I forgot I have important stuff laying around my bedroom floor. My desktop computer’s CPU was on the floor, too, and all the electrical wires!

My room with knee-deep flood water My room… ugh!

We all moved my belongings on top of my computer desk and my bed. There were other stuff already soaked from the floodwater that I didn’t bother picking up anymore. Stuff like press kits, loot bags, freebies from events we attended, and even my shoes!

My bed with all our important stuff on it

I managed to take my cameras, especially the DSLR, to safety. We packed them in zip-lock bags just in case.

I, then, asked Ken… wait, I begged him to come help me with the shop. I didn’t know if I should do something else or what. So, a few seconds later (it felt like hours), he came to my aid. I was already feeling hopeless as I started to cry my heart out thinking I may lose all of my investment because of the flood. The water was almost knee-deep inside the shop and at that time, it felt like it’s going to rise even higher. We all feared it’s going to drown us.

Good thing my bro was thinking more clearly than I did. He didn’t quit and instead moved all the monitors on top of the CPUs. I told him that if ever they all survive and we lose most of our valuables, I’ll just sell the computers and pay off the rest of my credit card debt so we can start anew. That was panic settling in. I was already quitting and thinking of positive things I could do after the worst scenario I could think of comes true.

After we were done with the shop, we scrambled inside our room. I looked for my mobile phone. I didn’t have load anymore so I was worried how we can contact people from outside or even our nanay who was at a seminar.

Nanay left early morning of that dreadful day. She was headed to a 4-day seminar in Sta. Mesa, along with some of her colleagues. Ken and I were asking her to not go anymore because the winds were really scary. But, she couldn’t miss it. Looking back, we’re glad she didn’t stay. We can only imagine how scared she would be if she experienced or saw what we did that day.

Going back to my phone, I was shocked to see that someone sent me Php 300 worth of load. I thought it could be our nanay ’cause I told her I don’t have load anymore. So I started texting people. After I sent my first batch of text messages asking for help, Jeman of Orange Magazine TV, our media partner and where I perform duties as a web admin, called up. He asked if I already received the load. I profusely thanked him and told him about our situation. He didn’t have a clue so he was surprised himself. I told him to ask for help ’cause we fear that the water level will only get higher by the minute. We hung up and I continued on texting people.

We then tried calling our nanay to no avail. None of her numbers seem to work. We even tried calling her mobile landline number. No answer. We were scared shitless that something might have happened to her. But, we brushed that thought off and prayed for her safety.

I asked a couple of the bloggers who called or texted me if they can also try to reach our nanay. Cielo of Brown Pinay got a hold of her first and she reported that she’s okay. Our nanay was, expectedly, so worried that she was insisting on going back home. She had poor cell signal that’s why we couldn’t reach her. But, Cielo calmed her down. (Thank you, sistah! *mwuahugs*)

Ken, who was thinking and acting like the older sibling, started packing things up for nanay. He then asked me to help him look for our important documents like our land’s title, etc. We headed to nanay’s room and searched everywhere.

Our parents' room Our parents’ room

After we found them, we went back to my room and checked on what else we could pack. I replied and answered texts and calls from friends who were worried about us. I was overwhelmed with gladness to know that I have people who I can count on in times of need.

Most of my blogger friends who I texted reached out to the government agencies who could help us. Cielo, who has been the greatest help during our predicament, started threads in multiple groups we were a part of. She calmed me down by making me smile with her caring, but funny text messages. She gets me. 🙂

Joy of Notepad Corner, who I consider one of my closest friends now outside of the blogging world, called me up to check on me and continuously texted me.

Jing of eSports Daily News called me up too telling me she already reported our situation to concerned government agencies and even to a senator who was also leading a series of rescue operations.

My close friend from my previous work, Saji, called me up telling me they already reported our situation to authorities who’ll be sending a rescue team to us. But, after our conversation, I figured we’d be the last they’d rescue since, for sure, there’ll be a ton more they’ll pass by before they get to us who’ll need their help more than we do. So, I was already preparing for the worst.

Our kitchen area - with Marcel at the sofa

Ken and I managed to also contact our nanay an hour after. We told her we’re okay, and she even thought we were bluffing when we told her the water was only inches deep inside our home. I can hear the panic, fear and worry in her voice, but we didn’t let her feel we were having the same emotions at that time. We assured her we’re okay and that there’ll be help coming in case we need to be evacuated. After the conversation, we felt relieved and even started joking around like we should’ve talked to our nanay like we were already drowning just for the fun of it. I know, what a sick joke, but that’s our kind of humor. *LOL*

Our bathroomOur bathroom

Since we had nowhere else to go, I shrugged my shoulders while hoping and praying the flood will stop rising. It was then that I felt how tired I was with all the carrying I did. I decided to catch a few winks while we await the ending of this whole ordeal.

A couple of minutes past 1:00 in the afternoon, I woke up to realize that the floodwater already started to subside. It was just a couple of inches from my ankle so I felt relieved. And after a couple more minutes, the floodwater inside our house was gone. So, we all decided to start cleaning.

Look at all the mud and dirt from the flood

It was just a blessing that Ate Susan was there. She’s our part-time helper who come around during weekdays to do the laundry, iron clothes and clean our house. She was so diligent in cleaning that day, I couldn’t believe her energy.

Clean up time in my computer shop

Oh, by the way, I made sure to take photos of the flood because I wanted our nanay to see what has happened, you know, just in case we survive.

After the cleaning was over, I was praying in my room. My bro and I checked the calendar a few minutes earlier and the high tide was scheduled to come in exactly at the time the floodwater rushed into our home. Low tide was at 1pm, which was when the water started subsiding. And, then, we feared that the high tide predicted at 11pm might bring in more flood. So we had to stay awake.

I struggled not to sleep, but I was really exhausted. But, I woke up a few minutes before 11pm and checked outside. Ken was also awake and we were glad there was no more threat of flood flowing in our house.

Our pet dogs who were scared as hell

I completely forgot to tell you about our pets. Our dogs were all scared, but Marcel, our youngest pup, started playing in the water. Our cats, on the other hand, were too frightened to even come down. Maui, the oldest, almost fell a couple of times just walking around the tables. She’s the slickest of them 2 and so I knew how scared she was when I saw her almost fall from our coffee table a couple of times. Orange, the other cat, won’t even come down from the ceiling to eat.

Marcel slept beside me and our helper, Ate Susan, that night. He was scared of the dark. I didn’t mind that he was lying beside me, all dirty and stinky *LOL*. I was just glad he would jump off the bed to pee or do the #2.

The next day, Ken’s classes were already resumed. He decided he’ll sleep over at the hotel nanay’s staying for the seminar. He texted me in the afternoon when he finally arrived there telling me to come join them. I was a bit hesitant at first, but when my phone’s battery went dead, I took a quick bath, packed my stuff and left our tatay and helper at home. But, not without taking a photo of our next-door neighbor’s home. *sigh*

Our neighbor's home

At the Robbinsdale Residences hotel, we stayed ’til Friday. I did get some decent sleep, but was completely bothered and restless the first 2 days. Power was back when we got back home last Friday. I cleaned up my room and lit a scented candle to try to get rid of the stench.

My room now My room now

There were a lot of documents that I lost from the flood – clearance letters from my previous jobs, my diploma and even my transcript of records were all soaked! We also found out yesterday that most of my nanay’s certificates and important documents were also damaged from the flood. We were all panicking at that time so we thought we already had what needed to be saved. Oh well, we’ll just have to get new copies of them.

All our drenched documents

Since the incident, I sometimes see myself blankly staring at my bedroom walls. I’m still in shock. Some may say that I’m over-reacting over what we experienced when others had it worse. But, it did affect me. It was my first time to experience that fear of losing everything I’ve invested on in a blink of an eye. Well, not literally, but you know what I mean. It was the first time I felt helpless ‘cause there was no way out or nothing I could do but hope and pray everything will get better.

Now, whenever I hear the rain pouring down or the swishing sound of flood water outside our home, I cringe. I know this won’t go away soon, but I’m trying my best to stay positive.

I am very thankful that we are all safe and sound. There might be a li’l damage caused by the flood, but at least, we didn’t lose our home to the typhoon and we’re alive.

I am now praying for all the lives that were lost during typhoon Pedring, and everyone who was affected by its destruction, most especially the people from our area here in Dampalit, Malabon City who lost their homes and a lot of their belongings to the flood.

It's Venice in the Philippines!

We are now planning on moving out of Malabon. We need to get out of here. I feel like it’s just gonna get worse and I don’t think I can handle it. We hope to move to somewhere safer in the next 2 years.

The day after - look at all the trash!

For now, I need to focus on getting my shop back up and running. I need to earn me some money for that plan!

I want to end this post with a happy note so let me introduce to you our new pet, Patty AmPATOan. Ken thought of the name and I just find it so funny. He’s the duck that came to us to shelter himself (or herself, not sure) from the flood and storm.

Our new pet Patty AmPATOanI hope you lay some golden eggs so we can get out of here!

I would like to thank EVERYONE who sent me text messages and called me, who prayed for our safety, who thought of us, who posted about our predicament on Facebook and Twitter. May God bless you all. *hugs*