Monday, September 28, 2009

Stranded in DLSU-Manila (thanks to Ondoy) - part 2

(this is the continuation of part 1)

Lunch, and a whole lot of waitin
Tim and I got lunch at Animo Canteen (further inside the Canteen, the one that serves coffee, pasta, Japanese food) and tried to wait out the rain. Many people are eating there although it's a Saturday - because it's impossible to go out, unless you'll wade.

It's been two hours and the rain hasn't stopped. This is becoming a boring situation for Tim and me, so we decided to try and join the group of Jill, one of our LEADERS students, who happened to be eating in the same place a few tables away. After chatting a bit, we moved out to the main Animo canteen area and sat in one of the benches.

We spent the next 1-2 hours between chatting, and going out to check on the situation. The water level had been constantly rising: one minute it was barely touching the benches, the next time we checked, the water was already nearing the pebble-laden sidewalk of LS. Some students even deployed paper boats on the brownish waters. The South Gate entrance has become impassable - the main sidewalk stretching out from the South Gate has become flooded, and tricycles have begun to peddle their services inside DLSU (just outside the LS building, near the men's CR) to students who wanted to go out. At this point, students can not sit in a tricycle the same way, they had to huddle differently to avoid getting their feet and buttocks wet. At 50 pesos a ride, they will transport you a few meters to maybe the mall outside, or McDonald's.

The steps and ramps of DLSU have become a Nilometer of some sort. But the "Nilometers" failed, because the flood waters reached and exceeded their height.

Dars (he'll be videotaping th LEADERS class) said that by around 2PM, the floods at the South Gate had already reached waist levels. He braved the flood, got to the LRT station, went down at EDSA, and was soon able to get home.

LS Bldg = relief center
At around 3PM, the school (led by Br Armin Luistro FSC, Aimee Chua, John Bellosillo, and a few others) began moving people from the other DLSU buildings to the LS building. The LS building was to serve as the main holding area for the stranded students. ROTC officers, janitors, and security helped to move students and admin alike. (I was a former ROTC officer - inside I was partially wishing this happened during my time...)

The university began giving congee in plastic cups to people who were stranded in the school around 3pm. I wasn't in the mood to eat, so I just watched the TV near the accounting office. There I found the real danger Ondoy posed. By that time, water was also beginning to break into the marble floor outside the Conservatory. The path stretching from the North Gate was already a river - a coconut husk floated by as I stood there. I went back to the Canteen.

Back in the Canteen, Jill's group suggested going up to the 3rd floor of the LS building, because the water level might rise even more given current conditions. Someone was even suggesting building a raft!

We went up to the 3rd floor of the LS building, and stayed in the choir loft of the MBS Chapel. I found the handslapping game played by Jill's group quite interesting and fun.

My brother, Toffee, and MJ
My brother was supposed to go to URC in Pasig that day to rehearse for an event. He SMSed me around 1-2pm and told me he was stuck in Kalentong with waters reaching the waist. It's good that he was able to go to nearby SM Hypermarket for some much needed shelter. I was worried sick for my brother - but there was no way for me to check on him, as I can't go there and his battery died soon after. I kept that at the back of my head the entire day.

Toffee and MJ meanwhile were in Sherwood place. They finally came back to DLSU availing of the tricycle service I mentioned before.

(Side note: Jill had a Reader's Digest which I borrowed to pass the time a bit. Inside was a joke about 4 Filipinos sharing their dreams. One dreamed to become a lawyer to help his countrymen. The two others dreamed to be a policeman/doctor to help their countrymen. The fourth dreamed to be a countryman. :) That joke was quite fitting - we became the countrymen that day.)

Part 3 will come soon. I might get some photos from people to add to my story. Thanks in advance!

Part 3 is here.
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