Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Sinking Feeling

Manila International Book Fair
September 16, 2011

I should have taken it as an ominous sign. 

It was a sunny late afternoon. I was pushing my mom's wheelchair towards the Shrine of Jesus the Way at the Mall of Asia when I caught glimpse of the bay. The azure expanse at the end of the road was a sight to behold. It was a well-spring of tranquility spilling over my gloom-afflicted shell.  

As we neared the sanctum across the convention center, I found something odd about the bay. It was a bit swollen. "Perhaps it was high tide," I mulled over while looking at the shimmering blue horizon. It was like the ground was tipping over and the line between the terra firma and the aqua marinus was separated by a mere solid block of concrete higher than the esplanade. Take it out from the landscape and the bay might actually engulf the reclaimed property extending from Roxas Boulevard.  

And then I imagined a not-so-far future when islands in the Pacific would actually disappear beneath the ocean. Scientists all over the world have already warned that shore lines will retreat should climate change remains unchecked. Cities from New York to Dacca would have to be given up to the sea as stronger tempests pound the coastal regions. In my head, I imagined a massive sea barrier higher than some of Manila's landmark buildings. The city, which had sunk below sea level must be constantly walled.  

I shrugged at the thought upon remembering Baby Lenin. For Christ's sake, the kid is just one year old. He deserves a better world than the one I'd leave behind. 

I would like to think the idea was just a figment of my dystopian imagination, but after seeing pictures of the Baywalk and Roxas Boulevard this afternoon, with the peripheries between the sea and the coast overlapping under the monstrous storm surge, it seems my sinking feeling just two weeks ago is justified.   

I remember before I went to bed at 8 in the morning, as the sky began to howl with the arrival of gale-force winds, a government official in Malabon worried that the high tide set that morning would further inundate the city. Nobody knew what would happen next. Fortunately for us, the government was prepared.


Mr. Hush Hush said...

hay. i heard that the ceiling of MOA collapsed also. :( mawnen Mugen

Marvin De Gracia said...

seems like a huge disaster.. keep safe!

ZaiZai said...

the pictures gave me the scare mugen. mala tsunami ang dating! sana tuluyan ng umalis si pedring :/

the green breaker said...

Even higher than the coconut trees. Chills. Actually, I wasn't able to sleep well because I still was carrying this trauma since Ondoy. The nonstop rains... always gets me braced.

dabo said...

The International Resilience Project defined resiliency as the human capacity to allow a person, group or community to prevent, minimize or overcome the damaging effects of adversity.

Therefore as person or we as a Filipino Nation, when we are faced with adversities like this, all we have to do is hack each others potential. The resources are already here, one American blogger mentioned that the world doesn't need a great invention, policy or theory or whatever anymore to solve all the world problems... All we need is awareness. Then everything will fall in it's place. Action and commitment, I believe they always follow after awareness. Anita Roddick of Body Shop fame said, it's the annoying repetition that get's thing done. We will need all the storms, flood etc we need until the message hardens in our mentality. So don't wonder why history always repeat itself, it has a purpose in repetition: to annoy us and not really to doom us.

Sabi din nun sa nabasa ko about resiliency, children are among the most resilient specially if we can believe in them, support them and allow them to contribute and be valued. If we will be able to give them that, the human spirit will always triumph, and typhoons or sinking islands are nothing.

Lyka Bergen said...

Frightening! The Philippines, Taiwan and Japan are the first ones to sink.