Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Emergency Broadcast

Everyone sleeps as the storm Basyang passes over our heads. Mom lay secured under the sheets, certain that the roof will never get carried away by the punishing winds. Her faith mesmerizes me. I told her a week ago that my part of the ceiling is falling apart. Traces of rain water has been seen in several dilapidated carton boxes on top of the closet. But still she wouldn't budge. She will find a carpenter when her other concerns has been resolved. Utol is in her room as well. Tired from her new job and a heaving baby on her belly, her arms were probably wrapped around her husband's warm body. They were both sound asleep, unmindful of the tempest howling outside the windows. Even if the house gets blown like deck cards, they would still slip into dreamland without any care in the world.

And that leaves me the solitary wakeful at this ungodly hour. Roused from slumber by the beast in the sky - with its evil eye causing trouble across the unready city - returning back to sleep is the least of my worries. First, all living creatures must be accounted for - sentient or otherwise. That includes the dog who seldom stays inside the house out of fear of the terrorizing maid. The cat, who in the middle of the heat affords to mate with a stray tabby even under the relentless rain. I had to get up from the bed just to go outside the house and shoo the cat in who is yowling under the car. Finally there is the maid and the driver. After weeks of uneasy peace, word is that they are beginning to speak again. Their verbal trade-offs may be less flattering, but they are now careful not to antagonize one another.

Pandemonium awaits once they disturb the peace.

Armed with a small flashlight, I searched the empty corridors for meaning. I made useful of my time flooding the four corners of the house with blinding light. Electricity went off at half past midnight so with nothing to distract me and nothing to damp my hidden fear of the little tremors produced by the downbursts shaking the house to its base, I had to rely on a transistor radio borrowed from my mom to drown the silence.

The transistor radio, small but powerful is made from China. To operate the device may appear complicated, but it receives signals up from the mainland itself. Switching from station to station, Chinese was spoken by every commentators. As to what they say maybe reduced to propaganda but no mention of the storm - not even the dreadful voices announcing the end of the world were ever heard. Sliding the tuner a little further, the word of the Lord begins to dominate the airwaves. Promises of salvation awaits the listeners, but with the urgency of the moment and the need to know what is happening beyond my cocoon, I slid the tuner once again until the familiar monotone voices of the late-night announcers became distinguishable from the static.

"Kasamang Dan, kadadaan lang namin dito sa Guadalupe at yung mga tolda ng mga tindera ng prutas ay nagkalat sa daan!" A citizen journalist reported. "Sa kahabaan naman ng Calumpang ay may isang lalaking nakuryente nang hawakan nito ang live wire ng Meralco na nakakalat sa daan!" Meanwhile, there were no journalist on the field reporting on another station. Instead, the radio announcer lazily reads text messages of listeners whining about the brownout in their area. Between the casual reporting and description of scenes as the storm pummels the city, no word from the government was ever heard on the radio. Not even from DEP-ED or CHED, whose very pronouncements spell joy or sorrow on the face of students everywhere. There were no news briefings from NDCC about their heroic attempts to rescue hundreds of families living on stilt houses and flimsy structures near the waterways. Perhaps the President is stuck at Times Street complaining about the brownout as well. News of him coordinating government agencies to address the varied concerns of a nation-in-crisis was beyond my imagination.

The authorities were simply caught flatfooted to prepare for the onslaught of Lola Basyang.

It's already past 3 am. Time to turn off the radio and end this draft for my next blog entry. The tempest will not end soon. The heavy downpour will continue pounding the roof, but with the lashing winds already dying out, I am assured the ceiling will stay intact when I wake up in a few hours. The storm will continue to pirouette its way across the rolling hills of Cavite, towards the western sea as predicted by the ever-unpredictable PAG-ASA. But like the swift clouds heralding the coming storm long before its wind gusts sheared its way around trees, houses and other human structures,

In the end, everything is just in transit.

Life will return to normal.


wanderingcommuter said...

kelangan kong bumili ng ganyan... hehehe! gusto kong matuto ng chinese.
pero namove naman ako sa, everything is just in transit. lagi talagang dapat may un expected subtleness?

paci said...

ako rin nagising sa lakas ng hanging humahampas sa bubungan.
buti na lang kanina..WALANG PASOK!!! weeeeeeee parang estudyante lang! =)

anteros' dominion said...

UGALI ko na dati yung magbukas ng am radio at piliting makakuha ng signal mula sa china o taiwan..epektib yan kapag nasa bukid ako at mataas yung pwesto..hindi ko man naiiintindihan yung pinagsasasabi nila, naaaliw ako kapag nakakarining ako ng mga awitin na kalimitan ay sinasabayan ng matinis na boses ng isang babaeng mangaawit

Mu[g]en said...


Maniwala ka man o sa hindi, di ko alam san bumibili ng transistor radio. Kung hindi siguro sa Raon e sa Divisoria. Heheh.


Sarap naman ng buhay ng isang guro! Hehehe.


Matagal na akong hindi nagbubukas sa AM station. Di ko nga alam na ganun na kalakas ang signal na nanggagaling sa China eh.

red the mod said...

That semblance of normalcy, a latent idea, is sometimes the only strength that propels people to prevail, resilient and persistent. That things will once again return to normal.

Truth is, they never do. For even the concept of normal shifts with experience, and our perception of acceptable reflects the zeitgeist of our society, and moreso our personal convictions.

I was actually out that night until around 2am. Strolling along Boni. Beside deserted roads, watching the segue of highwires, and being cradled by the vehement wind. And it felt peaceful and liberating to be there. Amidst her tempest, alone and awaiting.

looterS said...

akala ko u use that transistor radio para makinig ng chinese radio dramas ,meron ba silang Gabi ng Lagim ba yun? ahahaha:P

iurico said...

I can just imagine kung nasa Manila pa ako nung nagbagyo. My going to and from work would've been crazy.

I've had first-jand experience back during Ondoy.

Mu[g]en said...


Medyo lenient sa office namin. Palibhasa eh nasa kabihasnan ng San Juan ang building kaya understandble bakit marami ang hindi nakapasok sa isang shift.

Pero yeah, I could imagine. Nakipagkarera ako kay Milenyo dati eh. Hehehe.

Papa Hoots:

Halatang matagal ka na sa USofA ah! Matagal na yatang walang gabi ng lagim sa radyo. Lolz.


But sometimes, all you have to do is ignore the intricacies and see things on the surface. This way, normalcy is restored and people, no matter how drastic the undercurrent changes are, moves on with their lives.

You should be careful when strolling out at night, especially on a stormy weather. You may never know what enlightenment you will find in the eye of the tempest.