Saturday, June 25, 2011

Stranded





The torrents of mud and water carried by the tropical depression have not only inundated the metropolis, it brought back memories of past calamities that left so many homes in ruins.



Our office building is perched on top of a flattened hill. Straddling between the cities of  Mandaluyong and San Juan, this vista offers a panoramic view of Makati. While zero visibility has left much of the cityscape in a shroud of fog, the steady downpour was enough for storm drains to overflow and run-offs to cascade down the road.

At past 10 in the evening, I left my workplace with a certainty of wading across leptospirosis-carrying flood waters. I was warned not once, but twice to stay behind for the roads ahead were still impassable to vehicles.  Jeeps were hard to find, and with the ominous arrival of  more rains, people outside rushed to get home.

But the stubborn self refused to be still.  The passage home maybe deep in oblivion but I know the back roads that would lead me to my destination.  With luck, I might find myself in front of the door without dipping an  inch of  my boots in water. But such lofty goal is beyond reach. To arrive home in one piece is all that I ask.



So off I lumbered not towards the flooded Shaw, but to Wilson's crest where vintage jeeps and laid-back drivers ply the route going to Little Baguio. Despite the day-long cloudburst, the streets of San Juan stayed festive and merry. The idea was to ride a G-Liner Bus across Puregold Agora. If public transport is not available or competition is fiercer than expected, a short walk across the Santa Mesa bridge and into SM Centerpoint might get me a ride home.

The swollen river under the bridge engorged houses along its banks. Floatsam bounced off the rapids while the thought of human remains would force a curiouser to step back from the rails. On sunny days, the tepid stream reeked of human waste. But during the monsoon season, fast currents could even pull steel barges downstream.    

A submerged intersection greeted me upon crossing the waterway. Aurora and Araneta Avenue were still under water as cars and trucks cautiously  wade through. While jeeps were  abundant, a passenger must wait  at the middle of the road for the driver to take notice.  Hailing from an island, I was able to ride a jeep only to learn it will have to cut its trip short.

Another jeep ride, another downpour. Just a few blocks away and I am finally home. What separates me from my shelter was a sea of trash mixed with infinite drops of rain. My mind was set to plunging in waist-deep waters. Better yet, I could stay inside the jeep until the flood completely subsided.

But the vehicle steered right at Altura to the street going to Balic-Balic. While the waters there could be crossed in boots, the distance I have to walk is as far as Altura to my exact destination.

At least I don't have to fear for open manholes.

And could still use my boots the next time the city turns into a modern-day Atlantis.

So I got off in Balic-Balic to begin my trek towards the edge of Santa Mesa. The waters were much shallow and my boots were finally able to step foot on dry land. With my ear buds secured and my phone's FM stereo playing classical music, the wade felt more like a leisure stroll.  Even the gentle drizzle splashed a more romantic setting to a drab and desolate andscape.

It  was almost midnight when I got home: Two hours after I left the office and decided to set course in spite of the unknown. During ordinary days, a Quiapo-bound jeepney ride would take me thirty minutes to get to  Pureza. Sometimes even shorter. But it was a night of reckoning and people living in lowlands are being spirited elsewhere.

I should be grateful to find my bed waiting.

Along the journey (at that time when I had to do some wall walking outside SM Centerpoint) was an epiphany - that should something tragic happens, I would leave behind a sleazy entry for my loved ones to read. Finally the perverted Mugen has been exposed.  But more than the fear of leaving behind a tainted legacy is another realization:

That it's good to know there is still fun while trying your best not to get stranded.




6 comments:

Nate said...

@mugen: I'm in awe at how a simple entry about your struggles on your homeward-bound journey could turn into something beautiful.. almost dramatic.. it's nice to know you survived to tell yet another story.. You got home in one piece.. Yey!

Mr. Hush Hush said...

Hi Mugen. I too was stranded at the office thursday night. Had to leave my car at the bank and walk my way from Makati to Mandaluyong!! the cars were at standstill, and the roads look like a parking lot! good thing I didn't wade through flood, though I did see a dead rat along the way!! Eeeeewwwwwww!! :(

this is a nice entry Mugen. Very positive outlook on such a dampen-spirit day!

Mugen said...

Nate:

And to think this entry was born out of the thought that I don't want to leave the world with the Jacks entry as my legacy. Wahahaha!

Thanks thanks!!

Mr Hush:

IKR! Sobrang baha kaya dun sa may Maysilo Circle. Grabe dun. Glad you weren't force to wade through flood waters. Hello Leptospirosis. Kadiri kaya.

the green breaker said...

you are unbelievable, and brave at that.

it is always nice seeing you pull off your chops, Mugen, lalo na when you make kwento like this, an anecdote of a kind. conio much lang ako. haha :)

Alter said...

was always almost at point of snapping whenever stranded in a bad weather + the pressure of still being on time for an appointment where your presence is expected -

puts a smile on my lips instead, amused, that sometimes, alam mong wala ka nang magagawa kaya mapapagod ka lang pag sinabayan mo ng init ng ulo. haha

Mugen said...

Green Breaker:

Yeah, conyo much ka nga, I'm sure you will feel so icky making apak apak on those flood waters. Hehehe.

Seriously, I was only tough because I was wearing boots at that time. Lols

Alter:

If I get stuck in a bus or any public transpo, I'd take advantage of my situation and sleep. If its possible to walk, I'd walk all the way home. Hehehe