- Politics and Social Issues
Cagayan de Oro After Typhoon (Bagyong) Sendong
When I quit my previous job for health-related reasons, I have run out of financial resources to sustain some of my needs and the majority of my "wants". To date, this would be the first Christmas that I wouldn't be spending anything to buy myself new clothes, bags, or the latest paperback novels. Material things had brought my spirits down by my inability to acquire them. However, a single news advisory changed everything. And I realized I don't have valid grounds of fate to complain.
It was last night when my dad decided to tune in to one of the local television channels for the latest news. I wonder what interested him these days amidst traffic of news about political arrests and coercion, politicians’ blame-games, power tripping, or lame showbiz happenings. When you are in the Philippines, we have a great difference in ratio between good news from the bad ones, and most of the time, we always hear and learn about the latter. I was eating my late night snack that moment when a flash report broke in. A man in his most concerned voice said:
“Hindi po namin inasahan ito. Nabasa namin ito sa diyaryo. Nakikinig kami. Wala namang sinabi na kami pala ang tatamaan ng mata ng bagyo. Meron na kaming mga bagyo noong araw kaya [lang] hindi ganito kasama,”
(We are not expecting this. We have read about this in the newspapers. We listened to the news. There was no advisory that we will be the focal point of the typhoon. We have had typhoons in the past though they weren’t as bad as this.)
“Lahat ng tao, tinanggap na nangyayari ang bagyo every now and then dito sa amin, pero hindi namin akalain na ganito kagrabe ang tama sa amin,”
(Everyone knew that typhoons occur every now and then here in our area but we did not expect something this worst.)
It was Mayor Vicente Emano, whose statement was quoted above. He is referring to the typhoon that brought catastrophe to Cagayan de Oro City, a wonderful coastline island amongst the Philippine archipelago located at the northern part of Mindanao, which he provides stewardship and governance. It was peacefully beautiful until last week, late Friday night to be exact, when it was struck by the typhoon Sendong. As evidenced by his words, no one was expecting a calamity this bad. They have had previous floods in the city but none was as disastrous and debilitating as this.
I was left with mouth open as if I can take in and swallow such element of surprise. Good thing I managed to finish the snack after hearing such late-night advisory. I never knew it was happening… I thought. Thanks to the major local news channels who have been focusing more on the love life of the entertainment celebrities instead of keeping track of the recovery and rescue missions. It was a shame that CNN, an international broadcasting network, was more updated with the latest progress about the calamitous event. Good thing we have little philanthropists over the social media network who were posting facebook statuses and tweets in vain for the general Filipino populace to recognize the recent typhoon destruction.
Cagayan de Oro City is the provincial capital of Misamis Oriental, Philippines. It is known to many as “The City of Golden Friendship”, due to inherent hospitality and camaraderie among its people.
Cagayan is considered as a first-class city and is referred to as the regional center and melting pot of northern Mindanao. Tourists, locals and foreigners alike, hover the city in pursuit of its breath-taking nature spots, water and land games and activities, sumptuous delicacies, and rich tradition and culture. It is indeed a metropolis in the Philippine northern coast.
It was one of the most promising business centers the country has due to its access to cheap power source, abundantly rich agriculture, and stable climate. One thing that sets the city apart from the rest is the absence of any hard-hitting typhoons all year round.
But when typhoon Sendong made its landfall last week at a late Friday night, it seemed to have washed out almost everything. A number of infrastructures were destroyed; surrounding land fields were distorted; massive floods submerged numerous villages; and a great number of dreams were shattered as more lifeless victims are found and accounted. Everyone was completely off guard. People have to deal, right there and there, with feelings of ambivalence; distraught; torment; and sudden loss.
This is certainly devastating. Even though Cagayan de Oro is miles apart from where I am, I feel deeply for the destruction of such beautiful and peaceable city. I couldn’t imagine how the Cagayanos deal with each loss every single day. When Christmas means celebration of good will and happiness with family members came a toll which took almost every life known. These people struggle to live through chaos, lost children, missing parents, and unseen loved ones while clinging on a faint hope of finding them safe and alive. They crowd inside evacuation centers waiting for food, medications, and other provisions in order for them to have just enough energy to carry on in the coming days. For there was almost nothing left from crushed shelters, wiped-out livestock, and shattered dreams.
And here I am complaining about my failing financial resources when in reality, I have everything I need. In the absence of luxurious material things, I still have my sanity, my loving family, and my living all intact within my reach as compared to my poor fellowmen who have nothing but courage and prayers to hold on to. In lieu with this, I appeal to my fellow Filipinos here and in other parts of the world. Let us help in every way we can. it could be from donations of food, clothes, medications, or money. Monetary amount is never an issue but just a component of the gazillion things we can do and contribute. With willingness, we will never run out of efforts to give and will discover more reasons to continue giving.
This Time, Let's Put Our Mobile Phones in to Good Use.
Your extra prepaid load can be put to good use. For Globe subscribers you can help the Typhoon Sendong victims by texting DONATE (space) AMOUNT (space) MPIN (space) SLB and sending it to 2882 for free.