Super Typhoon REMING (Durian)
November 29 – December 1 2006
After the traumatic visit of Super Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines, we’ve seen different kinds of efforts to help the victims, especially those from Visayas. There were lots of news about the dead and missing people, families at the relocation areas, relief goods that were donated from different parts of the globe, and many more. Volunteers and medical teams are gathered in Samar and Leyte, as well as here in Villamor Air Base and Camp Crame. We can also see those TV networks that brag about the overflowing donations in cash and in kind. It feels great to see the ‘Bayanihan’ among the Filipino people, and of the foreign lands as well. I might be miles away from the affected area, but these situations remind me of one of the most tragic experiences that I passed.
It was November 30, 2006 when Super Typhoon REMING hit the Bicol Region. I was 14 years old that time and living with a broken family. I lived with my mother and my three siblings, one of which has a chronic heart disease. I know my family is prepared for the coming disaster, but I never knew that my life will be changed by that. Well, a bit changed in some ways.
We moved to my aunt’s house since we all believe it’s a lot stronger than any other house in our barangay. Before the storm’s landfall, we already moved there for the sake of my youngest brother. We don’t want to risk his life with the coming typhoon. We started lifting our TV, electric fans, and other bags full of our clothes. Since I don’t have a father to help us with these preparations, I worked with my mother as we secure our roof, windows, and even the door. After all the tiring task, I was confident enough that our house will survive the storm.
I can still remember the strong wind and the heavy rains that makes me feel so sick. I was sitting at their porch while I can see and feel the heavy rain and the strong wind. I can remember my uncles and cousins sitting beside me as we see those coconut and banana trees dancing with the wind. I think there are more or less 20 families inside my aunt’s house that time. We’re too crowded and the kids are all noisy. We’ll they’re really enjoying their chance to be together inside one house. They’re playing freely and running around, though the boxes and bags of stuff are blocking their ways.
One funny incident that lighten our mood was the drunken man who just came out of their house. We knew he was drunken ’cause he was continually shouting and swaying as he walk. He went to the side of their house, a very small and unstable house, then he started kicking its siding. One of my uncles started yelling at him and told him, “Don’t use your energy to ruin your house. REMING can do it for you.” We’re all laughing as we look at that hilarious scene, but we’re all shocked when a sheet of tin roof just dropped in front of us. We all went inside the house after that incident and no one was allowed to go out then.
I’ll never forget the adobo that we ate that night. No one has the will to cook. No one wants to go to my aunt’s dirty kitchen since it will be knocked down any moment. One of my uncle went back to their house with some of the boys. They cooked chicken and pork adobo that can be shared for all of us. It tastes very nice, though there was a pretty little secret that was revealed after everyone finished eating. He told me that he was shocked to see an increase of water in the pan as the meat boils. He taught it was just because of the water that was extracted from the meat so he continued the cooking and seasoning the food. When he noticed that the water is continually increasing, he started to look at the remaining tin roof in their kitchen. Then, he noticed a small hole that allowed some rain water to drop exactly at the dish he was cooking. After hearing at the revelation, I felt my tummy turn upside down and I feel like vomiting. It was indeed a weird thought, but I guess the rainwater made the dish a lot more tasty. :)
When the heavy rain subsided, my mother decided to come out and check our house, including my father’s house. It was really dark and cold when me, my mother, and my ex-bf went to the streets to check on the damages. We all saw both houses have damaged walls, lifted roofs, and still at risk of falling down. It was a disaster. I never knew how to spend the next days with all of them in one house. I freaked out of the thought of staying with a molester in the next days. It was a terrifying moment, but I have to pretend strong for my mother.
Good news is, my grandma’s house is still ok. It acquired small holes from the fallen branches, but it’s still good for residence. We moved the next morning, while some of our electric devices are still left there. While we’re cleaning the house, we can hear people shouting. They’re all panicking. Somebody announced that there’ll be a coming tsunami and we should look for a mountain or a high place to save ourselves. One of my aunt immediately left and traveled to Manila to prevent the announced calamity. While we’re just staying at home, praying that the said tsunami won’t happen.
You can see lots of raised roofs in our areas after days passed. However, the news covered the mud flow/lava flow in Legazpi, Daraga, Guinobatan, and Camalig. Some houses are covered by the lahar. Lots of people are left dead on the road. I can’t remember the exact number of the casualties, but all I remember those bodies aligned as reported on national television. I know the count was a lot smaller than the death counts in Tacloban today.
As I post this, it’s already November 30, 2013. It’s seven years ago. The news about the super typhoon is still spreading and they’re still looking for various solutions to the problems of the victims. History repeats itself? I don’t think so. But all I wish is that the relief goods and donations will be given freely to the victims.
I remember the time when our family wasn’t included in the list for the relief packages. They told us that my mom can earn enough and that we don’t even need the help from the government. I actually felt bad when I knew that. Our houses we’re also destructed. We’re staying at my lola’s house which was also damaged. It’s not easy to earn a huge sum of money to fix our place. My aunt was also deprived of the construction materials that we’re given by the government. They also said the same.
Today, as I witness the news about the relief operations in Tacloban, I guess it’s not just the question of what the government does. It’s also the test for the people assigned on the task. It’s hard to forget a traumatic calamity, and it’s definitely not right to hoard the things that they need.
We’ve passed so many calamities. We always prepare, but sometimes it’s not enough. Our faith. Our belief in God will eventually save us from any storm in our lives.
REMING’s anniversary should be a reminder to all Filipino people that we still have hope for the future.
We’ll rise and conquer the world again.