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Tropical Storm Ondoy and Park 9

3:01 am PHT

First of all, please go to this blog post by Manolo Quezon to see the destruction of Tropical Storm Ondoy and to learn how to help those in need.

Our house and immediate vicinity was pretty much spared from all the flooding that beset the metropolis and the surrounding areas. Aside from the fact that our terrace completely flooded due to inadequate drainage and which almost brought some rainwater into the house, it was a pretty much run-of-the-mill stormy day for us in our household. So I was pretty much oblivious to the widespread calamity and record-breaking rainfall. It was only a few hours ago when I decided to browse around that I freaked out with what I saw.

The picture above of Park 9 alley in Loyola Heights/Katipunan (and this YouTube video) hit a particular nerve in me. You see, I used to live along that street back in college and it was there that I had my worst flooding experience. Park 9 alley is right beside the Diliman Creek and it notoriously floods during heavy rain. I and my housemates have seen the street flood but it was generally pretty shallow, only up to the knees in the middle of the lowest part of the street. Well, that was until one particular storm.

I can’t remember which storm it was or what year it happened but I woke up one Saturday morning and was surprised to find that the whole floor of the apartment unit was wet though there was no water anymore (it had subsided by then). I checked and was thankful that the water apparently only reached around the ankles. The main casualty inside the apartment were the tons of soggy school papers that were stacked on the floor.

Unfortunately, I was left alone in the apartment since my three housemates (batchmates from high school) went home for the weekend (I stayed because I had to do something in UP, though it was canceled). So I was left with the unenviable task of cleaning up the apartment. I called my housemates and appealed them to come to help with the cleaning but they couldn’t come. Thankfully, my next door neighbors (and incidentally, schoolmates as well, though from a different batch) were there and they helped me clean up (after they tidied up theirs). They had this nifty sponge mop that I was able to borrow.

I thought that was the worst of it until I checked the Tamaraw FX which I had with me and was parked along the street. Well, it turned out that the flood inundated the vehicle and its engine wouldn’t start. I had to resort to calling my dad. He came later that night we towed the Tamaraw using our other vehicle all the way home to Las Piñas.

Seeing that photo above brought back those memories. I have never seen the Katipunan end of Park 9 get flooded and so seeing the photo above with raging flood waters really freaked me out. I’m guessing that the flood water would have reached chest-high (!!!) inside my old apartment. I have also seen some parts of Katipunan under water (notably the low area near National Bookstore), but I wasn’t prepared to see portions of the avenue near Ateneo Gate 3 and Miriam looking like a river as seen from various photos online. Aside from the Katipunan area, the photos of the submerged Makati pedestrian underpass and flooded Bonifacio Global City were also pretty scary.

People are asking which is worse, Typhoon Milenyo (which happened almost exactly three years ago) or Tropical Storm Ondoy? Well, one brought too much wind while the other too much rain. Personally, Milenyo was much worse for me because we lost electricity and running water. I actually went to the gym just so that I could take a bath!

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Comment times are in Philippine time (+0800).

1

On 3:18 a.m., 27 Sep 2009, drei wrote:

I think Milenyo’s wrath was more on the very very strong winds. I was on a Boni overpass at the height of the storm and people were literally holding on to their lives. Ondoy naman was really more on the very heavy floods. I think Ondoy is worse in terms of areas affected.

2

On 5:12 p.m., 28 Sep 2009, bulokilong wrote:

Re: Marikina Flood 26 Sept. 2009, death toll in Provident Village alone: Official( according to MCF)= 16 dead unofficial = 58 dead

The recent flood is very unfortunate result of both natural and man made calamities. The release of excess dam waters was done without thinking of the consequences. it is both a criminal and insane act.

“The Angat Lake created by the Angat dam is the main potable water supply source of the Metro Manila Area. However this water when in over abundance, due to very heavy rainfall, is also the cause of widespread flooding, deaths, and accompanying misery affecting not only the provinces of Bulacan and Pampanga but also the Metro Manila Area. This happens everytime the dam water reaches its maximum height and the spilled water races down through the gullies and streams to the east of the dam and this rampaging water joins the water of the Marikina river system multiplying the floodwater volume of the Marikina River system thereby causing rapid increase in the volume of floodwater in the Marikina Valley. This happens everytime very heavy rains overfills the Angat water reservoir. The solution to this problem is the construction of water diversion/power generation tunnels to divert excess water towards the east emptying into the Pacific Ocean. It will also generate power. It is not enough that the excess water is emptied into the heavily populated areas, i.e, Bulacan, Pampanga area,Marikina Valley, as it definitely will cause multiple death and destruction downstream. Diverting the excess water to the east will save so many lives as the east side is relatively sparsely populated and at the same time generate power for electricity. The Government of the Republic of the Philippines must consider this as a permanent solution to the recurring problem of flooding in the central Luzon area and Metro Manila.”

I’m sorry for encroaching into your space but I do not know where to start. Please think about the opinion I expressed above. You may freely share this thought with your friends, hoping that someday, the people criminally responsible for the release of Angat dam water, on the morning of 26 September 2009,shall face the bar of justice. An in-depth study and analysis of google maps and wikimapia maps will prove my point.

3

On 10:48 p.m., 28 Sep 2009, seav wrote:

@drei, I agree.

@bulokilong, I appreciate the thought that a diversion system towards the east would solve the dam overflowing problem, but what you are suggesting is far too expensive. This would entail digging through the Sierra Madre mountain range and I seriously don’t think that even 1 trillion pesos would be enough to fund such a large engineering project. It’s simply not feasible. So other solutions need to be looked at.

4

On 5:58 p.m., 7 Oct 2009, Harrison wrote:

Floods are occurring more often than they used to be in the past.Call it the result of global warming or whatever,one thing is sure that the climate patterns and behavior is changing the world over. It is time we acted on our part to help our home our earth breathe easy of the pollutants,get rid of the melting glaciers etc. Though some people say that this is very ’natural’ of the earth to change its climate trends,we do not have that much of recorded data available to say so very confidently. Better act now or else we could end up in a mess of rainwater,storm,snow,deserts and all else really messed up to the areas which know them to exist in !

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