December 16, 2011 is the day Cagayan de Oro City will not forget.
It was the first day of the “Simbang Gabi“and the last day of work (for me). After the mass, I noticed that the sky was a bit cloudy and thought that it might rain during the day, but dismissed it and forgot about it. It was after all, a very busy day.
I had to do some admin work; prepare for the planned Christmas parties for the next day, one of my college and the other of my university; and rehearse for our supposed to be production number for the university party. We were at the thick of the rehearsals when heavy rain poured that afternoon. It was still pouring when we finished. I went back to the office to get my stuff and leave for home, then the lights went off. Black out.
That got me a bit nervous. I remembered that I saw some postings on Facebook about a typhoon that will hit the city that night but since I got so busy, I did not pay attention.
I went outside the uni and got a quick dinner. I did not feel good about the rain and the strong winds that came with it.
When I got home, it was still raining and with still no electricity, I decided to sleep.
At around midnight, I was awaken by the sound of the rain and the wind. Scary. Then the windows of my room opened, that really freaked me out! I had to get up and hold the windows so they will not open. But the wind was insistent and too strong! It opened the windows for at least three times. It was a battle between me and the wind. That really scared me a lot! I cried when I held the windows and silently prayed for it to stop. When the wind’s blow subsided, I moved my bed away from the windows, curled up and prayed. My bed was a bit dump. I could hear the sound of the rain and the wind hammering.
Some two hours later, it stopped. But I know that the damage has been done and the devastating news that came in the morning was just too much.
Many people died, many are missing, houses and vehicles washed out. And the stories kept coming as the day progressed. One depressing story after another.
This is happening a week before Christmas.
Sometimes it is hard to understand events like this. But with faith and hope, we get on. I am happy that my relatives are all safe and well, but I can not say the same for the others.
In the midst of all these, there are people who want to help. The uni has set up a relief and operations center for the victims. This, at least, makes me smile.
I know this tragedy have left the Cagay-anons shaken and shocked, but I also believe that we will rise from this experience and hopefully become better people. And the next time a typhoon hits, we will be more prepared to face it.
God bless my city and its beautiful people!
FYI: All the parties were cancelled for obvious reasons.