A year after Typhoon Ondoy…

October 26, 2010, exactly one year since the destructive Typhoon Ondoy wreaked havoc to Metro Manila and other parts of Luzon. This day will not be forgotten by  many people including my Family, some relatives and friends because we are included in the list of victims of nature’s wrath through a typhoon named Ondoy.

It was a typical Saturday. Early in the morning, it was raining but not so heavy yet. My Mom and Dad went to the local market to buy a week’s stock of food. Only my 2 sisters, brother in law and nephew (then 7 months old) were left at home. The rain started to pour heavily.

Our car was stucked on the road due to traffic (since some roads became impassable).  My mom became worried that the water might go inside the car but nothing they can do since the traffic is not moving for an hour. She needed to use the comfort room and since they realized there will be no way the vehicles will move soon since the rain becomes heavier, they decided to leave the car on the road and go to my aunt’s (father side) house which is close to where they were stranded. Soon the flood becomes deeper and deeper that it went inside the house of my aunt. They had to transfer to a neighbor whose house is 2 stories high.

Back home, my siblings are in panic because they can’t contact my parents and the waters are rising very fast. Our home is bungalow type though it is built higher than the road and in the 20 years that we lived there, never did the floods reached inside our house…if the flood waters reached our gate, it is already above waist deep.. Except on that day when the waters reached inside up to the window pane.  My sister said the flood waters rise very fast and the current so strong, it seems like seeing the Southeast Asian Tsunami videos. They had to climb a stair to reach our next door neighbor who’s Townhouse is 2 stories as well.  They had to do it quickly and cautiously because they are carrying a baby. All the appliances and furniture tumbled down as the flood entered our home.

These events were happening while I am totally unaware of since I am in Bangkok and the weather is so sunny that time.  Never did I expect a typical typhoon to directly hit Manila since it has been raining constantly in the country during that time but it is expected in a monsoon season anyway. I even watched a movie with few friends that day.

I did not receive any single message from family members about the predicament simply because it was so quick and they are totally unprepared. They had to contact each other (my parents, my other siblings, relatives who are mostly living in Marikina or Pasig–all flood prone areas) so in a short while, all their mobile phone batteries went dead.

I was only able to check my Facebook after dinner. I got the biggest shock of my life when I opened Facebook and the wall of my friends are literally flooded with messages about the disaster, re-posting call for help from those affected and prayer requests.

Then I checked the news website and found out how big the destruction is. I got goosebumps and my heart beats faster. At the back of my mind, I am praying nothing wrong happened to my family. I tried contacting our landline as well as the mobile phones of all my family members and relatives. All are unreachable.

I was so restless but cannot do anything. I tried messaging my cousins in the US and Canada if they have any news about our families back home but unfortunately they cannot contact their respective families as well. All of us overseas waited in vain. Just imagine the frustration and anxiety we are feeling back then. All we had to do is pray.

I asked a favor from my ex-GF to try contacting any of my family members since it may be easier if the call is from Metro Manila. Fortunately, she is able to contact my brother in law and got updated that all members of the family including some of our relatives nearby are all ok. Only thing is that they can’t contact my cousin staying in Pasig so they are also worried if they are ok.

The family was able to contact my cousin after a few days. When the flood subsided, my family entered our home and everyone thought they are in a nightmare especially my parents who worked hard to build our home and improve it over the years but all these hard work, savings and memories (including our pictures and documents) are washed away in a few hours time.

I actually asked them to take pictures of our home but they all don’t want to remember it by a picture so I wasn’t able to see exactly how our house looked like then. All I know is they spend few days (if not weeks) to clean and disinfect the house, throw away the appliances, clothes and items that are no longer usable. Our car also had to be on queue for fixing because majority of Marikina are submerged in flood and vehicles needed to be fixed. Our consolation and for which we must be truly grateful for God’s mercy is that everyone in my family, relatives and friends are all safe.

I saw the Facebook note of my cousin detailing her and 2 children’s ordeal while stucked in their home in Pasig. It is very detailed that I can picture them like in Titanic trying to move around in deep waters. Fortunately for them, their home has 2nd floor. They consider the present as their 2nd life already since during that time, only few inches away and the flood will reach the 2nd floor of their house where my cousins and 2 little children were. Their village was submerged in water for few days without food, water and electricity which makes it doubly hard since the little one one is still a toddler then.

When I went back home few months after, there are still some traces of Ondoy in our home (some of the doors and cabinets are not fixed yet that time).

After 1 year that Ondoy “visited” the Philippines, the memory still remains. Let us just pray that catastrophe of this magnitude will not happen again.

Sharing some pics I got from this website: http://www.typhoonondoy.org/tag/ondoy/

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The Phenomenon of Mafia Wars

Mafia Wars

I have been into Facebook for many months now and what keeps me glued to this social networking site is the fact that it has been a constant source of information about my friends, former colleagues, family and relatives. In fact, during the time of the Typhoon Ondoy (Ketsana) wherein my home got affected and some of our relatives as well, Facebook has been the source of Free and instant communication between me and some of my relatives staying in the US and Canada. Since we cannot contact most of our family members back home, if we get any news or if someone managed to receive any SMS or are able to call any member back home, we just messasge through Facebook.  Really convenient. I even see many people trying to encourage others to extend help or give donations to the victims sent through Facebook. This is a very effective means of communication and conveying our message across the globe.

Another reason why I don’t mind spending late weekday nights and most especially weekend nights even renting computer in a net cafe is because of the very interesting and unique games which is popularly known as “Apps” short for applications. Currently, I am playing Farm Town, Farm Ville, Barn Buddy, Fish World, My City, Restaurant City, Roller Coaster World, Cafe World, Island Paradise and of course Mafia Wars..too many apps for me to be called a real app “addict” you may say. Well yes, I spend at least 2 hours a night just for me to do usual rounds of these games. Apart from going to fitness, I guess this is just my way of getting past my boredom especially since I am living alone and communication back home is limited. Sometimes if I finished work then heading to the gym and taking a quick dinner, either the folks are already sleeping or about to sleep so most of the time, I have been talking to them during weekends. At least this kind of addiction doesn’t do any harm to other people and is quite entertaining if I may say. Only thing is that of course instead of me sleeping longer, I had to cut at least 2 hours of my nightly sleeping time but just like any other fad, I am sure this will come to pass soon.

Actually even I am playing many of these apps, it doesn’t mean I have to visit them all everyday. It’s just a matter of time management and effective scheduling. Ha ha ha! For example, in Farm Town if you plant a crop for 3 days, then you don’t need to visit in the next 3 days until the crops are ready for harvest. Unless you are really hot to gain XP to level up faster then you need to visit neighbors often, work for others etc. But for my case, I am not taking it too seriously and am not in so much of a rush to level up fast. Besides, I have other “more important” things to do on other times of the day. Of course these activities doesn’t have to coincide with work or family affairs for that matter. Well, lucky for me, even I sleep past midnight every day, I don’t feel sleepy or not alert in the office or trying to do something silly because of lack of sleep. I am confident even my boss would read this post can say my work is not affected at all so everything should be ok I guess.. Ha ha ha!

Ok going back to the games..I had been hooked up in Farm Town for quite a long time and in fact the post I made here in my blog about Farm Town has been one of the most popular topics in my blog in terms of searches and visits. Truly, Facebook is a global phenomenon and many people have been trying to get information about these apps thru blogs. Lately, I have been spending more time with Mafia Wars which is one of the most popular if not the most popular app in Facebook. Wikipedia listed that as of October 2009, Mafia Wars have 25.9 million monthly active accounts.  It means, it has even more people using this app than the registered population of the whole city of New York!

But what makes Mafia Wars quite exciting if not interesting considering it is not even an arcade type game? Well for one, you gain power, money and influence every time you accomplish any job or have had successful fights. You can even grow your mafia family every so often.

You can select a character type. You can choose to become a Mogul (which means you earn money faster) or fearless (meaning you can recover energy faster so you can do more jobs) or become a maniac (to recover stamina faster so you fight more often). I actually chose the Mogul character. As of this writing, my cash which I have not deposited in the bank is more than 200 million already and I believe I have over 100 million in the bank which I have deposited earlier. Wow, if those are real money, I can take the place of Warren Buffet or Bill Gates very soon especially with the very fast inflow of money into my coffers.

I continuously am trying to improve my Top Mafia based on their profile and level so every job or fights I take, I can get more Experience Points or money. I am currently at level 60 playing less than a month. So if anyone wants to be part of my Mafia family, please feel free to let me know so we can level up together!

That’s all for now folks…I need to read John Grisham’s The Associate. Really very interesting..cannot drop the book even late at night. As soon as I finished the book, will make a post about it.