This was put together by Gita, Monchi’s girlfriend from the Philippines. I appreciated them sharing it with me (though I’ve never met Gita), and I’m so proud of Monchi because everyday after work he rushes to volunteer his help to the victims!

So…here’s a little citizen journalism for you by Gita. I did not post the pictures she gave because..you know lah I’m lazy and busy. (:

I don’t think the news captures how completely and utterly bizarre things are here.

Like I’ve never imagined that anyone would need to swim out of their house in order to survive.

But I guess that will happen when a month’s worth of rain falls in just 6 hours.

I have friends who were flooded, and this is what they told me. When the water started coming into their houses, they started piling belongings on tables, thinking that it wouldn’t go past that. But in 30 minutes, the water went from ankle-deep to waist-deep, and tables started floating. In a panic, they scrambled to get their belongings to the 2nd floor, grabbing appliances, food, water, important documents, dogs…. And in another 30 minutes, their entire 1st floor was submerged. Can you imagine losing your kitchen, your living room, everything… in just one hour? I have one friend who, unfortunately, did not have a 2nd floor. After vainly attempting to save their belongings, they gave up when the water was up to their necks and swam out their window to climb to the safety of their neighbor’s wall and balcony. Take note, while all this is happening it is still pouring buckets of rain and there’s a strong current. And even after you are saved, you need to wait a whole day for the floods to subside, uneasy because you’re not sure if you need to start climbing to the roof in case the waters keep rising.

Thank God that people shine during the worst of times. Immediately after the flood, there were relief operations set-up and every donation, however small (5 cans of sardines) or weird (why donate bathing suits? for the next flood?), was packed and distributed asap. Clean-up crews were also dispatched to help clear mud from the streets.

There are just so many random and bizarre stories and facebook is flooded with them. Pictures of allegedly escaped crocodiles (no zoo has confirmed it)…Video footage of a person standing on the roof of her car as someone jumps from the second floor into the water to try and save her…vehicles sinking like the Titanic…Sound patches of a movie star desperately calling her TV station for help…. and eventually being rescued by her co-star in a speed boat that he borrowed from a friend. (This is amazingly bizarre).

College rowing teams using inflatable rafts from Toy Kingdom to rescue survivors, even while there are live wires around them. Surfers and dragon boat teams doing the same thing. I never thought of rubber boats as essential household items until now.

What amazes me is how people can still laugh and joke about things. My friend has this funny story of how she left her phone on a table and when the table turned over, she had to look for her phone with her foot because the water was up to her chest. Or there’s a news item of how a man being rescued in a rubber boat suddenly realizes that it’s his birthday so his drenched fellow survivors start to sing “happy birthday to you…”.

I guess I just needed to share so you could understand what is happening here. And how we need your help. From donating to organizing people to donate, whatever amount will be a great help. There’s still so much to rebuild, and I’m scared because there are reports of one or two more typhoons headed this way. I hope it won’t be as bad as Ondoy but just in case, we’re all trying to prepare.

And please, spread the word! I am so proud that so many people have taken the initiative to help in their own way. I know that we can all do something.