A Year After Ondoy: A Volunteer's Story in Marikina





The rain hasn't stopped and it's 6AM already. I hear the wind  banging the roof and corners of the building where I used to work along Ayala Avenue, Makati producing an eerie sound. Who wouldn't forget Sept. 26th last year?  While walking in a knee-deep flood  along Legaspi Street where the weekly Sunday Market is held, "Boom!" An explosion happened. "Guys! A generator two blocks away from here exploded! Hurry, let's go to the nearest dry place. We might get electrocuted! "  Said one of the guys walking with us while we try to walk faster because if not the ripples from the flood created by the passing vehicles can make anyone stumble down. Sleepy and at my weakest as I just came out from a graveyard shift, I stomped my feet away from the flood as fast I can like there's no tomorrow. Thanks God, not a worse thing happened!






A week later an officemate invited me to join as a volunteer in a relief operation and feeding program sponsored by the Cultural Center of the Philippines. "Yes!" I said. Two vans carrying food supplies, a bus full of students from Philippine Science High School in San Pedro, Laguna and another van full of volunteers squeezing themselves in between the goods to be distributed. A woman in her 30's and an authority at CCP I forgot her name already, guided us all throughout. One thin man in his 50's, wearing his eyeglasses approached us. "He looked very familiar, can't remember though..." The woman said "Guys this is Nanding Josef, a theatrical actor, director and you see him in TV & movies." "Now I remember!" From time to time, we glance at him but he seemed not  bothered at all. We went to Marikina, not to the Providence Village but to the nearby barangays where most of the people a re poor. The sun is so high, it was so hot and the thick mud covering the road when sprayed by the sunshine does not, not smell good at all! Garbage wastes are everywhere. The line is so long.








I saw different faces and different attitude. One said 'Thank you' after we gave her a plastic bag full of canned goods and a few pieces of clothes. Another old woman said "Is this all you can give?" I just replied a smile at her. The students all wearing a blueuniform seemed to be enjoying their feeding session. I hear them laugh from time to time as one of them cracks a joke, maybe to forget that they're under a scorching heat of the sun. The barangay kagawad who guided us to the place was very charming and eventually became a tour guide as he gives the names and landmarks of every place we pass by. He generously offered his number to anyone who wanted to visit local tourist spots in Marikina.  Most of the volunteer ladies got his number. I saved his number too... well the museum of Imelda Marcos' shoes is great to visit too!







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