18 Jan The tragedy that reminds us that we have each other
Tragedy reminds us of what is important to us – of what we treasure most. It reminds us the importance of friends and families. But most of all it reminds us to be thankful.
It was just an ordinary day in Cagayan de Oro City, although it was raining, people were pretty busy doing their usual Monday routine. I, for instance, felt the “Monday Blues” of not wanting to go to work because of the cold weather, however, I brisked on taking a bath and went to work anyway.
Outside our house, the cold breeze were off the mark – it felt like it could rain anytime. Not long after I got into the office, heavy rain came pouring outside. It wasn’t until around three (3) in the afternoon that we felt something was really off with the weather. The rain didn’t stop which caused our ceiling to break and the water leaked inside.
Just moments after, people were suddenly posting all bunch of flood reports in nearby areas. Our colleague, who was on the road, gave live updates on Facebook on how bad the weather was and it wasn’t until someone posted a video of what was happening at outside Limketkai area that we realized that this was not just an ordinary rain.
ATM – Limketkai Area (c) Opet D Man
Posted by About Cagayan de Oro – Acadeo on Monday, January 16, 2017
It was around 5 in the afternoon when we left the office, hoping that it wasn’t that bad in our area, however, we were greeted by a knee-high flood which caused us to be stranded. The situation around us was chaotic: vehicles were struggling to pass the road; people were scrambling to find a place to stay dry; and some just brisked the flood just to get home.
There were a bunch of us stuck in our office building in Carmen and everyone was just hoping the rain would stop and the flood to subside, however rain just kept on pouring. Some of us really felt the need to go home, so a bunch of us went on to face the flood.
We strode along the middle of the road to avoid getting stuck in manholes or canals. We passed by the bridge along J. Borja Extension and the river was just raging and getting bigger.
Moments later I found myself in Cogon area going to Limketkai, since I was getting home in Lapasan. I strode along the flood going to Ketkai however people in the area started to warn me not to pass there. I kept pushing and it wasn’t until I reached the Rosario Cres St. that I felt the need to get off Limketkai. The flood was waist deep and swimming was not an option.
I went on along Rosario Limketkai Avenue and got into Lapasan highway. The traffic was overwhelming which was stretched a mile away. I walked the road going to our house soaking wet with my phone inside a plastic bag and finally was at home.
After taking a bath I felt the need to stay online and be updated of the situation. When I opened my inbox, messages kept pouring in. Some were asking for help, others were looking for updates.
I went on a rage and started posting messages from the inbox, since I couldn’t do anything about the situation. I heard that students were trapped inside USTP, PHINMA-COC, and LICEO. Others were trapped in Limketkai, Gaisano, Shopwise and other areas. About 1,000 students were trapped and exhausted in USTP and they badly need water and food.
Emergency hotlines were busy and the only thing I could do was to relay messages hoping that someone from the authorities would read it and take action.
It wasn’t until around 11 in the evening that I started hearing stories of rescuers being dispatched to USTP area. I also heard stories of parents risking their lives trying to reach their children trapped in USTP bringing along with them food and drinks. Some good-hearted politicians also offered free rides for those who were stranded along Gaisano and Liceo areas.
Others were also posting online how to give food donations for those were trapped in Ketkai and saw photos of people having the heart to hand them out.
The night of January 16 was an unforgettable experience for everyone in Cagayan de Oro City who were affected by the sudden flash floods. It was a night of an unexpected tragedy that gave way for people to come along and help each other. It was a reminder of how important our lives are and how important our friends and families are. Although it was a night of adversities and misfortunes, let us be reminded to be thankful that we have each other.