For the past several days, it’s been hard to truly enjoy the fine weather we’ve been having here in the city. More so when concern for the safety of family, friends, acquaintances, and just about everyone affected by the non-stop rain in Manila is mounting day by day.
This photo, which is one of the many sad images posted here, reminds me of how difficult life can be in places where flooding is almost always a possibility each time it rains.
Three years ago, I made a tough decision to leave a life, my life, behind in Manila. It meant uprooting myself away from everything familiar, from a life I’ve built for over nineteen years, to start again in my hometown. Days like the ones Manila’s been having in the past week(s) finally drove me to that point.
It’s hard to put into words all the feelings and experiences of traveling to work through flooded streets, being stranded in the rain for hours not knowing if you’ll ever get home, constantly worrying if your home’s already flooded, feeling guilty for worrying about yourself knowing that there are others with much bigger problems, dealing with the helplessness of not being able to contribute anything tangible to effect change then repeating the cycle the next day.
Many people I don’t know gave me strength and hope during those days. They helped me put things in perspective. While I was worrying about personal safety and convenience, I see people around me rallying to help themselves and others with far greater needs than I had. Those instances don’t give me time to dwell on the bad things. Instead, they inspired me to stay strong and compassionate in the face of adversity.
I could’ve gone home years ago. Nineteen years seemed like a long time to stay in a place far from the comforts of home and a laidback city that promises a less stressful life.
I’d still choose to stay that long if I had to do it all over again though. I’d exchange nothing for the experiences and insights gained in the years I’ve spent there.
Many say that Filipinos are a resilient lot. Maybe we are. Maybe the tragedies, calamities, and events that tested us individually and collectively left us stronger. I think it’s just how things are for people everywhere who face the same challenges. We all find that strength, that second wind, in times of adversity. We can do that not only because we are inherently strong. Most times, it’s also because others help us become stronger.
It’s been raining in Manila for over seven days now. The weather bureau says the rain is expected to last until tomorrow. While tomorrow may seem like soon enough, it’s not when certain areas are already deeply submerged in floods.
But none of us can control the rain. So everyone just rallies through it. And once again, heroes everywhere have been stepping up.
Here in my little corner of the universe, beautiful days have been somewhat shadowed by rain clouds from miles away. Everyone’s just hoping for the monsoon rains to stop.