It started with a bit of rain. That's what I thought it was anyway. Throughout the evening we lost electricity a few times, till around 1am when it disappeared completely. I've only ever experienced minor signal no. 1 storms in Manila, but this was different. The wind was howling and the windows rattling, getting louder by the hour as the nearby palm tree smacked into the bedroom window.
I couldn't sleep so I went outside. The blinds on the terrace were flapping furiously. The sky looked ominous as it covered the city in darkness. I creeped further towards the edge only to be taken up by a strong gust and pushed forcefully into the wall. I retreated back indoors, my curiosity still unfulfilled.
Peering from the safety of the bedroom I could see spotlights in the distance, along with the sound of sirens. This could not be good. My aunt walked in to tell me the signal had been raised to no. 2 and that people were being told to stay indoors in case of being incapacitated by flying objects.
It was noisy, hot and I still hadn't fully recovered from the flu. I was not having fun. By 3am I managed to doze off. At the first sign of dawn, the wind was still howling but at least it was light - I could finally see how bad the damage was. The same terrace I was on the previous night was completely flooded.
Downstairs water had seeped in and outside the table and chairs were scattered. Outside at first glance the street seemed fine. People were out in hoards, on their doorsteps and on their roofs. It could have been worse. So a tree was uprooted and the streetlamp was dangling off its post....
What followed was a painful 24 hours without electricity. Flights had been cancelled or diverted and the International airport shut down. It wasn't even the lack of tv, light or internet. It was the heat and lack of up to date news. What I would have given for a wind up radio and fan.
Anyway all was back to normal the next day. The children were saddened their two day holiday was cut short and others were happy they could get back to being couch potatoes once more.
I've been told that once they had no electricity and water for three weeks the storm was so bad. I'm hoping it won't happen again, but I wonder what it's like to live through that....