Last Saturday started out as a regular day. Since the Philippines has only two seasons, wet (June to November) and dry, (December to May) rain at this time of the year is not unusual.
By midday though, it was clear that this wasn't your average rainy day. It had been pouring steadily since Friday night, and at noon of Saturday, the area around the corner from our apartment building was cordoned off because the reservoir underneath had overflowed, causing waist-high flooding on the street and submerging the cars parked in the basement of the nearby buildings.
When Big A went online and turned on the tv to a news channel, we saw the flooding was widespread. In two more hours, water engulfed the metropolis, leaving thousands stranded in traffic, at work or home or on their rooftops. Tropical storm Ketsana, named Ondoy in the Philippines, was larger than 2005's Hurricane Katrina and left just as much devastation in its wake, albeit on the other side of the world and in a country with nowhere near as much resources as the mighty USA.
For the past three days, people have volunteered their time, SUVs, boats and personal services to rescue those still stranded. Centers have sprouted up in each city to collect and distribute relief goods to those in need. Stories of modern-day heroes are being published, along with images of despicable politicians and next year's political hopefuls using the tragedy for their own publicity purposes.
It is a sad, sad thing to think of, and see, so many people who have lost their homes, their belongings and worst of all, their loved ones. Let us do all we can to help.