Typhoon "Milenyo" came at on Thursday 12 noon Sept 28, 2006 with very furious, whirling, "slamming" gale force winds. While eating lunch, we witnessed the very scary sight of tree branches, twigs and debris dumped into the swimming pool which turned into an open depository quite instantly. We moved to the bedroom for safety. From our window, we watched our huge mango get uprooted, tethering with only one arterial root still in the ground, swaying, bumping, denting the roof, swaying back and forth. "Oh, my God, Papa its going to fall onto the house, lets move the big screen TV." We wheeled the TV to a safe corner. As if to watch vigil, I kept on going back to the window to watch over the mango tree. Get away form the window! Manuel scolded.
When the storm left at 2:00 pm we got in the car and toured the village. We could not believe the devastation it caused. Not a still street was spared from uprooted trees bringing down with them electrical posts. There are 1, 250 homes here, only 3 houses suffered severe damage from these huge 50-year-old giant acacia trees falling onto them. God is kind. Our own 2 mango and 1 star apple trees could have caused greater damage then a dented roof and crashed gutters.
The next day, anywhere cooler was a better place. We went to the nearest mall (running on generators only) where Manuel bought an automotive oscillating fan for sleep time. He connected it to a 900 AMP charger. "This is horrible, its too hot and mosquitoes are buzzing in my ears." Papa, you were a boy scout and enjoy camping, just think you're camping. "Yes, I have been thinking that but it does not help." Sleeping without the humming of the electric fans and aircon, with Manuel and our Boston terrier Dandan snoring, I felt like was in a machine shop. Mosquitoes buzzing was nothing.
Metro Manila did not have electric power. We did not have electric power for a total of FIVE days!! Good Grief! What is amazing is that between Dasmarinas Village and Forbes Park, there are 39 ambassadors' residences (including the American, Chinese, Swiss, British, Russian, etc), and one would think that power would be restored urgently. Yes, most of these embassies probably have generators, but really only about 2% of the homes had generators. We know, every night we toured the village to see the progress of the power restoration or lack of it. After our nightly tour, we went to bed at 8:00 pm, like senior citizens. Manuel dreaded night fall. He always says I am a Benadryl addict (I take it for my allergies), well, guess what, he took Benadryl every night to sleep off the "HEAT." Papa stop complaining, its not helping your psyche. He paces up and down every night before going to bed, like an expectant father. "Horrible heat, this is horrible." Pa, stop, think of the Katrina victims, this is nothing!
ICE became a highly in demand commodity. Anywhere one went, ice was sold out. On the first day after the storm we were still able to buy dry ice, but the outlet did not have power either, so her supply was only good for one day. At the nearest super market, ice was sold only by reservation, so I got on the band wagon. My sister, Elaine's condo was also running on generator and she was kind enough to send her husband to deliver a chest of ice. It was most refreshing to be able to drink a glass of iced water. Manuel, of course, had his diet coke!
To add insult to injury, on the second day, the water company's own generator broke down, so we did not have water either. THANK GOD for the swimming pool! And thank God we are in the purified water business so drinking water was not a problem. Customers were asking if they could buy water to bathe with, we had to say no because essentially people have to drink first.
Everything we take for granted, became a painstaking ordeal for us. We had to charge our cell phones in the car. Our two business lines were down, too after the storm. We closed down the store on Friday because that area had no power either....what a horrible mess!!!
We hired 3 tree cutters to chop down 3 mango trees and one star apple tree, no more fruit trees, no more shade trees. It will be a very HOT summer!
Last night, Tuesday, at 10:00 pm, as I shone my flashlight on Ted's photo to say good night, (this became a habit with me during the powerless nights) the power came back!!! Papa turned on the lights, the electric fans and had the faucet running at full capacity. Pa, hasn't this whole experience thought you humility, lessen your use of everything, this might be a temporary relief. He replies, "this has thought me how important civilization is," the fool that he is! We are awaiting the arrival of another storm, so this email might be a temporary thing, too! And before it gets any longer, I will send it off! Adios for now, my beddings need to be changed!
Evelyn del Rosario Garcia