Provident Village – 1 Year After Ondoy
About a year from today, the Philippines was hit by a tropical storm, bringing in the worst rainfall in Metro Manila ever. Internationally known as Ketsana and locally known as Ondoy, this storm turned out to be the deadliest, killing 747 people and destroying about P6 Billion in properties.
Of course, on that day, no one had an idea on how bad it was going to be. I, for one, was preoccupied in preparing to be a groomsman for a friend’s wedding. My wife and I were in
our apartment in Quezon City, but I left the suit I was going to wear in my mother-in-law’s in Provident Village. By that time though, the road leading to Commonwealth Ave. wasn’t passable anymore. Long story short, I couldn’t get my suit, I didn’t get to go to the wedding and neither did the other groomsmen (the wedding went through though, but that’s another story!).
My wife and I watched the news in shock fearing for the worst for the houses in Provident Village in Marikina. Water levels reached to the middle of 2nd floors of most houses. People were stuck on their roofs for 12 hours – wet, cold, and hungry (including celebrity Cristine Reyes).
The next day, we braved the aftermath of the calamity. In my pajamas and shoes that I did not want to wear ever again, we travelled through mud, through the stink of dead dogs piled on the side of the road. It wasn’t my priority, but I took out my iphone to take photos of the ravage Ondoy left in Provident Village.
How does one start rebuilding? Where do you start? I remember when walking through the streets, I stepped on something crunchy several times. I was actually stepping on janitor fish (they were everywhere, some alive). Imagine that? Fish in the middle of the road?
Ondoy destroyed the livelihood of many. Some feared that this village would never bounce back.
Cars were nothing to Ondoy.
A year later, I write this blog on the 3rd floor of my mother-in-law’s house in Provident Village. Like many of the other residents, people came back to their houses, rebuilt their homes, and remained. Despite everyone’s (even ours) advice to relocate and move, it’s harder than one thinks to leave a place you’ve called home for so long. Will it happen again? Who knows. It was a monster of a disaster. They have a saying that “Lightning doesn’t strike the same place twice.”
Earlier today, ABS-CBN’s TV Patrol asked permission to broadcast their news live tomorrow in front of our home for their Ondoy 1st Anniversary special. As they travel the streets of Provident, and see the changes, I hope they see through the rain and mud, and see the resilience of the community and the people that live in it.
How the house looks today: