Lessons From Habagat

My friend and I had a conversation yesterday evening about his planned trip to Vietnam in 2013. He mentioned about the financial aspect because he doesn’t have enough. Unlike Westerners who can easily trade their dollars for a huge amount of money in South East Asia, he said we Filipinos need to exert extra effort for our Philippine Peso to make it out there. A dollar can indeed go a long way compared to the Philippine Peso, but we both agreed on one thing: Filipinos persevere and will always find a way to survive.

I remember in 2009 when flood waters brought on by typhoon Ketsana, known locally as “Ondoy”, devastated Metro Manila.  And just last week, a monsoon reminiscent of Ondoy’s wrath swept the city causing massive flooding. Despite not being tagged as a “storm” by our weather bureau, the monsoon, who got the nickname “Habagat” which means west or southwest wind, wrecked the Metro and put a halt on the daily routine of a Filipino who would usually equate Tuesday mornings with sunshine and coffee.

manila flood, manila flooding

Habagat’s wrath (photo from http://www.1224cargo.com)

Habagat was a nightmare that lasted for 3 and a half days. I turned on the TV once to watch the news and saw this horrible picture of Metro Manila and other areas of Luzon underwater.  Heck, I couldn’t even get out of my area to buy something because I needed a sailboat to cross the main exit points. But nothing is worse than hearing about those who lost not just their homes, but also their loved ones (RIP and my heart goes out to them and their families).

It has been a week since the torrential downpour and I’m relieved to know that we are slowly rising up again as a nation. Despite not being “first world” with all the advanced, state-of-the-art technology and equipment, I’m happy to know that our rescue teams still managed to save many lives. A big KUDOS to them! In fairness, efforts have greatly improved since Ondoy. Though we still have a long way to go, especially in managing our garbage problem, I believe that the future will be brighter for the Philippines.

I’m also happy to read inspiring words from people all over the world who have been praying for the Philippines (a big THANK YOU to you). One of my favorite guitarists, Dave Mustaine of the Heavy metal / thrash metal band Megadeth posted this in his Twitter account:

My prayers go out to all the good people of the #Philippines, I know you will persevere, and I look forward to visiting you again soon.

Yes, we will persevere. Living in a 3rd world country can really be difficult, but there’s no mountain we cannot climb, and many people have definitely proven that in the aftermath of Habagat.

flood wedding manila, habagat flood

Newlyweds Ram Ocampos and Hernelie Ruazol – hope shines amid Habagat. (Photo from http://www.interaksyon.com – taken from the Facebook account of Hernelie Ruazol)

I surely hope that this form of inspiration will stay with me when I begin my journey 8 weeks from now. I admit that I’m a bit anxious because my financial future is at stake and I really don’t know what’s going to happen next.

But the strength of the Filipino to rise up in the face of adversity has given me the courage to face my fears- the fear of the unknown. And my friend too has reminded me that we can make it and we will survive. After all,  we’ve faced many storms (including the heinous corruption of the past government) and we’re still standing up.


I would like to share this photo feature from juice.ph – Beyond the “Habagat” Floods: Photos that Will Restore Your Faith in Humanity

2 thoughts on “Lessons From Habagat

    • Indeed 🙂 Getting to? Well, it really depends on the airline. Cebupac of course offers cheap promo fares ranging from 2000 = 4000k. But if you’re asking for overall budget, it will depend on the # of days you’ll spend and where you want to go. If you’re on a budget, food = Php 300/day or less, drinks = 100-150 (unless you drink a lot of beer), cheap beds = 400 or less/day, sites = free or $10 (or even less). Vietnam is basically cheap (just don’t get scammed by the taxi drivers). And mind you, this budget right here will give you good/clean food and a good bed already 🙂

      Thanks for dropping by Elmer !

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