Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Typhoon In The Middle Of Summer

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Around three weeks ago, typhoon Ondoy (Ketsana) struck Metro Manila and its nearby provinces flooding most of the country's capital. A week after Ondoy, typhoon Pepeng (Parma) made landfall in Northern Luzon killing dozens and destroying crops and infrastructures. When everybody thought typhoon Pepeng already left the country, it made a U-turn and hit the provinces of Northern Luzon once again causing great floods, landslides and killing hundreds of people. These circumstances reminded me of another flood and typhoon experience earlier this year. During the "summer" month of May (when it was supposed to be sunny and dry), we were greeted with typhoon Dante (Kujira) during our trip to the Bicol Region.

During that time, the Philippines was celebrating the Labor Day long weekend. Being summer and all, my friends and I planned to spend it in the beautiful Bicol region. Our initial plan was to spend one day in the butanding (whale shark) capital of the Philippines, Donsol and 2 days in the beautiful Caramoan Islands in Camarines Sur. We were expecting sunny weather since techinically it was still summer. However, a day before departure, we heard that there was an active low pressure area near the Bicol Region. Since we have already prepared for this and we had already bought our bus tickets, we decided to push through hoping it would be just a false alarm. But we were wrong.

Thankfully during our first day, the rain stopped for a while so we were able to push through with our butanding watching. We were lucky because even if the weather was not good, we were still able to spot 2 whale sharks. However, our guide told us that on a fine day, you can spot as much as 20 whale sharks. Butanding watching season is said to be from February to June, but the best time to go is around March to April, with the butanding festival being held around the last week of April every year.

In the middle of butanding watching, heavy rains started to fall. We had no choice but to go back. For the next few days, the rain did not stop. As a result, we were stranded in Donsol for the whole duration of our trip. All flights coming in and going out of Bicol were cancelled. Landslides slowed down traffic in the northern area of the region. And roads going in and out of Donsol were flooded so there was no way for cars and even buses to reach us. Since we were all working, we had to leave Donsol on time. Thank God the rain stopped and we were able to get out of Donsol. But in order to do so, we had to brave 7 floods in Donsol alone since all roads were still flooded. Thankfully, the people in our homestay in Donsol were nice and they sent a guide (Kuya Jay) to help us go out of Donsol. If any one of you is going to Donsol, you can contact Eve's Homestay at +639164155783. We finally got out of Donsol and took the bus out of Bicol from Legaspi City. When we arrived in Manila, we heard from the news that typhoon Dante left 27 dead in the whole Bicol Region and some provinces in the region were placed under the state of calamity.

Braving the floods (taken on May 3, 2009)

Carrying our bags (taken on May 3, 2009)

Boats (taken on May 3, 2009)

Nipa hut near flooded rice fields (taken on May 3, 2009)

Typhoons hitting during the summer season is pretty unusual in the Philippines. I once heard in the news that because of global warming, the Philippines should expect a rainy summer and a even rainier rainy season. Typhoons Dante, Pepeng and Ondoy are just a preview of what the next typhoons will be. If we continue to abuse our environment, we would see worse and deadlier typhoons in the years to come.

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  1. It's so scary about the nature changing, most certain because of global warming.

  2. @ana yes it certainly is.. we must all do our part in order to protect our environment

  3. Glad you were unharmed and returned safely. It's sad all this havoc being wreaked by nature on our account.

  4. @nothingprofound thank you for your concern :D yes... its sad but its a wake up call for all us.. if we do not start protecting our environment, we would suffer the consequences of all our actions

  5. Adding you right now. Take care.


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  7. @Sikat ang Pinoy hi! added you to my list :D thanks for visiting my blog