It came trickling in Wednesday evening, and by Thursday morning had become a howler. I woke up to find that Typhoon Milenyo's (international name: Xangsane) 150-kph winds and apocalyptic rains had turned my neighborhood into a cesspool.
Not entirely unexpected. Where I live in a proletarian part of Makati, ordinary monsoon rains often inundate low-lying streets. (Common joke: "Dumura ka lang, baha na." Literally, "Spit and you've got a flood.") This part of town has been subjected to all sorts of civic "improvements"--canals cleaned, swamps drained, roads torn apart, raised and repaved--but like a bad joke that refuses to die, the murky floodwaters reappear every June and thereafter.
The storm reached its peak around early afternoon, and then died rather suddenly by 4-5 pm. In its wake lay a waterlogged metropolis, and at least in our neighborhood, roads rendered impassable not only by knee-high waters, but by debris scattered all over by the fierce winds. The steel cages that protected the laundry area on our condo's rooftop level had a new location: down on the street, mangled and twisted beyond recognition. It had also struck a man, who ended up in a hospital.
Power is still out as I write this. I am at the newspaper office where the generators are on, making our building the only lighted structure in the area. The dark streets remain littered with rubbish, but hordes of hungry families are out, descending on the only two fastfood outlets nearby--Jollibee and Chowking--that have remained open.
Another day in Manila.