Friday, September 29, 2006
21-Hour Blackout and Counting
Filipinos are used to power failures. In the 80's, amidst coups and an unused nuclear powerplant, power failures were a way of life. It would occur at least once a day, anywhere from an hour to four. Suffice to say, over the next two decades, we were prepared whenever there was such an occurence. Rechargable lamps and old generators were put to use, remnants of the famous EDSA decade. Unfortunately, I don't think anyone could have prepared for this.
For the foreigners who are wondering why suddenly everyone in the Philippines stopped blogging, it's because of the blackout we're currently experiencing. I'm typing this thanks to the building's generators, but I don't know how that it'll last. Much like power outages, Filipinos are used to typhoons. When it was announced last Wednesday that there was one coming here the next day, we didn't imagine it'll be at hurricane or Twister-type proportions. Or perhaps it would be fairer to say that it was the worst typhoon that hit Metro Manila.
Trees came crashing down, blocking various streets and highways. Most of the billboards were ripped, landing on unsuspecting drivers and pedestrians. Construction sites were a mess. Power lines were down. And there's an extremely strong, strong wind that the guards below our building had to hold the door in order for people to come in or get out.
My personal experience was that after finding a path that lead to our village that wasn't blocked by obstruction (something along the lines of giant trees), we waded through a flooded area, only to emerge out of it with a flat tire (thankfully we didn't need to ask the question "how many Ateneans does it take to fix a flat tire"). Then one of the gate leading to our village was barred by a huge fallen tree so we had to find another route, praying that the lamp posts wouldn't fall on us (because some were indeed on the ground).
And then home was a dark place. Candles and rechearble lamps were everywhere, but after more than 12 hours has passed and still no sign of electricity, well, there's only so much you can do sleeping, praying, and eating.
Oh, and Globe mobile phone lines are down. Here at the office the signal's okay but everywhere else there's little or no signal at all.
The weather's fine now, and there's little rain, if any, but the damage has been done.