Typhoon Memories

It’s 9:15PM, typhoon Santi looks like it’s gonna give us a hard time tomorrow when it lands on Aurora. Too bad, I won’t enjoy the long weekend that much. Yes, our HR swapped the October 15 holiday to October 14. Maybe there will be a little sunshine on Sunday. Who knows?

There are good memories that I remember during typhoons. The earliest typhoon memory is when I was only four years old. My father would get out of our house to go to Mama Dely’s (my grandmother’s sister) store to buy two large packs of Kiddie Curlz. Maybe it was his way of comforting us during the gloomy season. Our house was not comfortable to live in during the wet season. Humidity inside the house was high and everything seemed to be wet to the touch. The noisy sounds of frogs were like a group of young kids practicing a song.From where I grew up, the area was the catch basin of Balanga so everything around the house was water. A school of fish was a common sight. When I grew a little older, grade school in particular, I realized that there was nothing cool about typhoons. I hated the dampness inside the house. I hated the improvised walkway from the front door of our house to the gate. If there was something good about the typhoon, it was our little gathering at the living room for small talks because either Mama would not allow us to watch TV due to heavy lightning or there was no electricity. My brother and I would try to scare one another until his jokes would get on my nerves.

I was a high school freshman at T.Del when the heavy winds embarassed me by lifting up my green skirt to the full view of the people near the Balanga Arcade.

“So what? I am wearing shorts!” I repeatedly said to the onlookers. Two decades later, I realize that who the hell are they to deserve my explanation? Lol! Maybe I was being conservative two decades ago.

As if I was not embarassed enough, I was forced to remove my shoes and walk a few meters to our house barefooted. Some schoolmates saw me and teased me about it. Again, two decades later, I realize that who are they to react that way?

Baguio shocked me with the pestering sound of the typhoon winds. It was similar to the sound of wolves and it scared the hell out of me! Being young and naive, two of my dormmates went to sleep with me at the living room. In the middle of the night, the lady dormmate went back to our room and I was left sleeping beside the male dormmate! Our caretaker saw the two of us sharing a Uratex foam at the living room and she awakened us. Being stubborn and non-malicious, I told her that I was scared to sleep at my room. The caretaker had no choice but join us at the living room to sleep. I did not get her concern then because sleeping beside my male dormmate was nothing to me; he was like a brother.

Ah, the best typhoon memory in Baguio was when my brother and I got stranded in October 1998.We were running out of grocery and food when a good-natured neighbor gave us a big cabbage. We made that into cabbage soup and we survived one and a half days on that (with rice and fish, of course). My then boyfriend checked us and I cried the moment I saw him! Hahaha! I was so emotionally harassed and I was pining to go home only to be stranded with a little cash left.

October 2011 (?), election time, I was forced to take the SBMA-Morong route instead of the Layak route because of the floodings in Dinalupihan. It was my first time to see Morong and I appreciated the simplicity of the place.

Of course, who could ever forget Ondoy? I was supposed to give birth on the 3rd week of September but good thing I had my CS on the 2nd week. When the bridge connecting to Catmon and Patag was disconnected, transportation was paralyzed. We had to walk on a temporary bridge and take a ride from the other side of the bridge. Hassle! Just imagine the pain that I had to endure just to go to the bank because I had to withdraw manually since the ATM’s were not available then.

Typhoon Santi, please give me a good typhoon memory. Don’t be too harsh on us, please?

PAGASA and The Weather

Some people are criticizing PAGASA for its inaccurate weather forecast. Since the time I was born and as far as I can remember, you can count on your fingers how many weather forecasts are predicted accurately per year. Is there something wrong with the way PAGASA is doing its weather forecasting? Or shall we believe their age-old alibi that it is really hard to predict the weather forecast because the weather is erratic by its very nature?

So the problem is: PAGASA cannot give us accurate weather forecast.
Why? Because the weather is erratic.
Another why? Because their equipment is not capable of accurate weather forecasting.
For the first WHY, case is closed. We can never do anything about that.
For the second WHY, there are possible solutions like purchasing and installing a more state-of-the art equipment capable of giving more accurate weather predictions at a six sigma level so that you have a 99.99966% chance of an accurate weather prediction.We can also take a look at PAGASA’s workforce. We can take a look at their competencies. Of course, this is not to say that they are not competent enough to be there. What I am saying is that, their people must be constantly trained or be updated when it comes to weather forecasting. Why? Because we do not know how a certain area will react to the intensity of the typhoon especially if that area is rarely visited by a typhoon. It’s easier to say to Batanes residents or those living near the coastal area to evacuate once a typhoon is forecasted to be coming because its the nature of their geographical location; to be visited by typhoons. Yes, PAGASA can predict the volume of water that a typhoon or a heavy rain will bring but a typhoon is not just composed of water but water PLUS strong wind.

So speaking of the latest typhoon Chedeng, PAGASA deserves commendation and NOT criticism for advising people to prepare for the typhoon. It was forecasted that Chedeng could have been another Ondoy and PAGASA gave the necessary information and warning to the people especially those living near bodies of water and landslide-prone areas. Ms. Dinky Soliman said during a TV interview on Wednesday morning that the government is aiming for a zero casualty that is why the cooperation and understanding of the people is really needed. Yes, sleeping in an evacuation center is hard but it is nothing compared to losing someone due to typhoon.

PAGASA rocked us all by telling us to prepare and we listened. Yes, the forecast is inaccurate again but isn’t it right to consider this (our place not being hit by Chedeng) as a blessing? Instead of criticizing PAGASA, why don’t we thank them for a job well done in informing us that a typhoon as strong as Ondoy COULD have hit us?