Marikina River Day Bill

September 26 has always been remembered as the day when the heavens dropped a month worth of rainfall in just six hours drowning 70% of Marikina with its mighty river’s flood.  That was more than a decade ago. And September 26 should be celebrated more than by its tragedy, by but the greatness of the relationship between the Marikenos and its River.

I find it bothersome and insensitive seeing newspapers asking the clickbait questions every 26th of September, “where were you when Ondoy hanppened?” Were they waiting for people to say, “trapped inside our house, hanging on the grills of the windows, hoping that the waters won’t rise further because our noses are just a few inches from our ceilings?”

Well that wasn’t us, luckily. But those who would have posted that kind of answer, could not. They were the bodies found the next day, trapped inside their bungalows in some villages and subdivisions, after the flood subsided.

We were just lucky, just because we were alive. Me and my family were lucky to have a two floor house, up-and-down as the nineties middle class would call it, and we weren’t just on the up. We were on the roof, as the flood was less than a meter away from it, before it stopped rising. We were safe there, but seeing our neighbors’ roofs surrendering to the brown murky water, didn’t give any comfort, knowing that in a few minutes, the walls might not be on its floor anymore. That was the case. Parts of the neighborhood were washed out becoming a bog, like several of the streets our area. All covered by thick mud from the quarried mountains of Montalban.

We were just lucky, just because we were able to traverse what became a filthy plain with mounds of dirt, refrigerators, a lot of lumber and planks, beds and sofa, and a few more seats hanging on the Meralco lines, and some cars on top of some other cars to get to a less wet abode. We were lucky because some had to swim just to find safety that day. And there was a family one who stayed on their house, waving at us, as the river carried them to who knows where. We just heard the next day that only the father survived as their hut hit the City’s namesake bridge.

We were just lucky, just because we have a house to come back to. But it was just a house, we were to make it a home once more, but not before we scrape all the mud that marked the house of the rivers might. So high, that I would have drowned in my own room. In the daytime, mud made everything was brown, and in the night, everything was black. Electricity came back not weeks after the storm.

We celebrated Christmas on the floor that year. The floor was shiny. More than a decade have passed and I can still picture how it glistened. Our house was never that bare for me to notice the floor before.  And I noticed that there was grass outside. On the ground that was not a ground a few months ago.

Christmas was the quietest that year. But we were just lucky to have celebrated Christmas. More than 70 couldn’t.  

That is why legit newspapers shouldn’t be asking people where people were when Ondoy happened. Because the answer that matter are from the people that couldn’t. Because they are dead.

To those who survived, remembering September 26 with Ondoy is just remembering it as a day of luck. Luck was just on our side. It can’t even be assumed as faith, because those who were to die would have called their gods the most, that day.

It wasn’t even a day of resilience. Resilience is the story of a Martial Law survivor who was tortured, but lived to tell their tale. Resilience is a story of a school, burned down to ashes, but still thrived to educate the indigenous. Resilience is the story of a country under more than six months of (x)(y)CQ , still trying to survive without a proper plan from its heads. Resilience is waiting for a vaccine while other nations have stopped the pandemic in their regions even without one. Resilience is masochism in poverty. It is something not to be enjoyed. It should be the last step in survival. Because people should be living, not surviving. And standing on the white sand on a piece of Manila Bay isn’t living.

On September 26, 2009, it took a few hours before, but Marikina River carried all the waters of Ondoy to the mouth of Pasig River down to the bays Manila and Laguna. That was resilience. That was strength in action. Resilience should be for places and things, and cultures and traditions. Not for people. Because, yes we don’t want to be done on being resilient, but can you just stop testing our resilience?

That’s why September 26 is not about the people. Not about those who survived, because a lot of them just got lucky. A few heroes maybe named, but there are names, too, to be blamed. This day is not also for those who survived not. The unlucky ones. We will mourn for them. And for their love ones, they will never be forgotten. We will let them have this date as something personal, but not for all of us. They will understand.

September 26, 2009 is not about Ondoy. Ondoy is the villain in this narrative. Let’s just leave it that way, just like we left those who were in charge of alarming the people about this storm, without charge. We should be done with worshipping our oppressor. We should stop being thankful for having a little of what we deserve. We should remember the names of those who brought us trauma, but the dominance in their fame must be relinquished. They are not heroes.

September 26 is about the river that took all those month long worth of rainfall and carried it from the land back to the open waters where it belonged. It is also about the river who reclaimed he is the boss. Showing that storms will come and go, people will live and die, but the river will be here to stay. A river that showed Marikina who gives life to its land, and who can take it away.

September 26 is about the Marikina River. It is but proper to pay respect to the river that gave the city its nourishment from the very beginning of time. To the river that stayed and survived the calamity that is mankind. To the river used by Mother Nature to humble us and show us our fragility as human.

Let’s forget Ondoy and celebrate the Marikina River on the 26th of every September. It might sound pagan but we do Christmas, the celebration of the sun, the sun of god.  Let’s put on festivities, and programs and dancers on the street to honor the river. Let’s hold masses on boats and pray that it will be gentle on monsoon seasons and flowing when dry spells are cast. Let’s fill the net with photos of life and celebration, that  when we speak of this day, and when we talk about Ondoy, our story of that storm will be one with the resilience of the river that carried it.  

Make September 26 our Marikina River Day.

Marikina River from Wikipedia

You and Your Empty Apologies

You and your empty apologies. Photo totally unrelated with the post.


One of the most unsatisfying things in life is having to hear sorry from someone who is not at fault.

Paano ka magiging sorry? Ikaw ba ang nagpaasa sa akin? Hindi. Kaya huwag kang mag-sorry, dahil mula sa’yo, walang ibig sabihin yan.

Kanina lang kasi, sabi niya sa akin. “I’m so sorry to hear that…”

“No! You can’t be sorry. You have no idea what it’s like waiting for something. No, not waiting, expecting, dahil ginawa ko ang part ko. Ginawa ko at naghintay. Pero wala. Walang dumating.”

Pero syempre, I stopped at “No you can’t be sorry.” Because as much as it was unsatisfying to hear her apologies, hindi niya deserve ang galit ko. I just followed it up “Wala ka namang magagawa di’ba.”

And she said, “Sorry wala po.”

“I’m sure,” I just said.

Poor customer service girl. Kasi kung mayaman siya, hindi niya kailangang harapin ang sama ng loob ng mga unsatisfied customers tulad ko. And I wasn’t even that rude, I swear.

What’s rude was promising an eight hour period for a Wi-Fi reconnection, pero nakita ko na si Dory, nakapagpadoktor na ako at nakapagpa laboratory, wala pa rin. But let’s not go to the waiting time sa hospital, yung pila sa HMO, then another frustrating hour of waiting for the doctor just to have a less than five minute consultation para sa recommendation for a lab test that led me back to the pila sa HMO office. Let’s not go there yet. Focus tayo dito sa Wi-Fi namin.

Bago kasi ang lunch, binayaran na ng nanay ko ang due sa Globe. Bago yun mag lunch take note. Alas nueve na ako nakauwi. 9pm, expecting na may Wi-Fi na. Pero wala. Kasi kung meron, wala akong ngungoy ngayon. Wala. Hindi ba naiintindihan ng Globe na nadagdag na ang Internet Connection sa ibaba ng Marlow’s Hierarchy of Needs?

Kaya naman kahit alas nueve na, dial ako sa 211, sabi kasi sa Globe Portal, disconnected pa rin kami. May dalawang options na in-offer. Dial one para sa free reconnection. Dial 2 para makakausap ng operator na aayos for 300 pesos. So Dial 1 ako. Matapos mabigay ang details na hinihingi ng machine, sinabi, maghintay na lang daw ng up to eight hours para makabit ang internet. Magtetext na lang daw sila pag nakabit na, level ng don’t text us, we’ll text you.

Parang ang unfair. Parang na-restart ko yung 8 hour count ng pagre-reconnect.

Kaya naman tawag ulit ako para subukan yung may makakausap na babayaran ng 300 pesos. Mind you, hindi rin madaling masagot ang tawag ko. Medyo busy ang mga operators nila. Pero hintay ako habang nanonood ng Batman. Dark Knight yata. Pero it feels like Batman Forever. Pero swerte ko na rin dahil walang forever, dahil tulad ng trapik sa EDSA, umusad din habang papalalim ang gabi.

Iyun nakausap ko nga itong si girl na puro sorry to hear that ang spiels.

Iyun naman pala, sabi niya, dapat daw pagkabayad, tumawag na kami sa 211 dahil yun lang ang way na malalaman ng system nila na nakabayad na at okay na.

Ang labo, eh phone with broadband ang in-avail namin. Putol nga ang phone. So in-expect ng nanay ko, yung babae nang nakausap niya sa Globe ang gagawa ng paraan para ma-reconnect kami, dahil other than sa logically, hindi kami makakatawag dahil putol nga ang phone kaya binabayaran, may assurance yung babae when she said, wait na lang daw ng eight hours. So ang instruction lang ay basically, wait. Naghintay. Nagpaasa. Alam ba nya kung gaano kasakit umasa?

Sabi ko, ay, hindi iyun sinabi nung representative sa Globe doon sa Innove Communications Inc. sa SM San Mateo. Sabi lang kasi sa Nanay ko, hintay lang daw ng 8 hours.

So pinaliwanag ko ang sinabi ng tao nila sa Globe Store na maghintay lang kami ng eight hours. Then nagstart na naman siya ng kanyang three sorry per minute spiel.

Doon ko na tinanong kung may magagawa siya, sabi niya wala, pero pwede naman daw niyang gawan ng report para maging priority na yung reconnection namin.

Sabi ko, ayus yun. So gaano katagal na lang ako maghihintay kung priority na ang case ko?

Eight hours pa rin po.

Uhm. Yung sense ko parang nawala. Ako ba ang mali? So na-verbalize ko na. “Hindi ba priority na, bakit eight hours pa rin?”

“Ganun po talaga. Pero para sure, 8am po, ayos na yan.”

Ay? Alas nueve pa lang kasi, pinapatulog na ba niya ako? Na may kasamang pangako nang bagong umaga? Like everything will be better in the morning.

But no! Insomiac kasi ako, at hindi magagamot ng isang gabing walang internet ang problema ko sa tulog. Hindi nga kinaya ng Sleepasil eh, yan pang 8am na siguradong connection? Anung gagawin ko ‘til then?

Inalala ko na lang na si Duterte na ang susunod na presidente. Uupo na siya. Change is coming. Tatanggalin na daw niya ang monopolyo telco, if I heard it right. Kung hindi man, tatanggalin niya ang mga nababayarang opisyal ng mga telco na ito para magtino na ang kanilang serbisyo, yan tanda ko yan at pinanghawakan ko.

Pero naalala ko rin ang satisfaction ko sa mga napili niyang members ng gabinete niya, na sinabi niyang ilalathala niya sa dyaryo para pagpilian ng mga taong bayan na hindi natupad. Ang satisfaction ko sa desisyon niyang ipalibing si Marcos sa Libingan ng Mga Bayani, dahil sinabi ko sa mga anti Marcos kong friends na pag nanalo siya ipalilibing niya si Marcos sa Libingan ng mga Bayani and they just told me na hindi niya iyun gagawin.

Well, I like Duterte, he is my president kahit na siya ay satisfyingly unsatisfying or unsatisfyingly satisfying, kasi at the end of the day, he isn’t sorry. But let’s not go there. Focus sa Globe. Iyun. Bumalik nga ang pikon ko.

Nakakapikon. Pero kalma pa rin ako. Hindi ko in-invite ang presence ni Maricel Soriano sa sistema ko. Good Vibes lang dahil naalala kong tumaya ako sa lotto. Andami nang bad karmang nauna sa buhay ko, baka nakaipon na ako ng enough para manalo ng milyon. Kaya iyun, hinga na lang ako nang malalim. Forgive, dagdag sa alkansya ng good karma. Sabi ko, “sige okay na. bahala na.”

Tapos tinapos na niya ang spiel niya na “…have a wonderful…”

Ay, nagpinting ang tenga ko. Parang nang-aasar pa. Hindi ko na ulit siya pinatapos.

Wala. Walang wonderful. Walang wonderful sa paghihintay. Level ni Maricel na sumisigaw na walang bagong taon sa pamilya na to!

Kaya iyun, goodluck na lang sa lotto ticket ko.

Goodluck sa mga customer service rep tulad mo. Goodluck sa doctor ko. Goodluck sa presidente natin. Goodluck sa Pilipinas. Na ilang taon nang naghihintay ng pagbabago. Kaya sorry na lang sa Pilipinas.

But I’m not sure if this Pilipinas would be satisfied with my sorry.

Philippines at night
This is how the Philippines looks like at night from space. Another totally unrelated photo.


Ngayon lang ako nanood ng movie na kailangan akong kalmahin habang nasasinehan. Mabuti na lang at singlaki ko ang kasama ko at hindi siya nasasaktan tuwing napapasuntok ako. Pati mga nasa harap ko, nakatikim nung magbukas sila ng cellphone na nakakaagaw ng atensyon sa screen. Enough na siguro yung review ng Captain America: Civil War.

Iyun lang. So far parang pinakapaborito ko ang Captain America franchise. At dahil sa Civil War, I felt compelled to create these Marvel Heroes Trading Cards and their Live Action Movie counterparts. Enjoy.

Yup, effort yan. Pero worth it. Favorite ko naman nung bata ako ang Avengers at si Spider-Man na madalas kong pato pag naglalaban ng text when it was pronounced as teks pa. Ito ang ilan sa mga naitago kong memories nung kabataan ko. click here

At to close, para naman sa posters ng Movie. Ito naman ang Capatain America Civil War Posters. Divided We Fall.




Pasko Ng Pagkabuhay 2016

This year’s Holy Week made me see Marikina as a Modern City with an old soul.

Since staycation is my thing this lent, i tried my best to participate in the Catholic Celebrations in our town, Marikina. Yes town, because i still feel the provincial vibe in every corner of the City. It’s pretty much suburban here, being in the outskirts of the National Capital Region. But other than its geographical location, Marikina is home to the oldest catholic families in the country, with one of the century old churches in the Philippines, leading their faith. The Diocesan Shrine and Parish of Our Lady of the Abandoned, AKA Santuario Y Parroquia del Nuestra Señora de los Desamparados; in its Spanish Era Days and Dambana at Parokya ng Ina ng mga Walang Mag-Ampon in Filipino. (Teddy Locsin Jr. wont approve of the last.)

Our Lady of the Abandoned Church
Our Lady of the Abandoned Church

I had shared the Good Friday Procession. Now this is what I got from the Salubong, the morning mass, where Mary meets her son Jesus after He resurrects from the dead. It started at around 3:30 in the morning, followed by a stage play where the Images of Jesus and the Virgin Mary meet with the participation of angels as performed by the local kids.

A mass then followed where the Tres Marias, three of the most beautiful devout catholics joined in their gorgeous terno. The priest then blessed all the participants, followed by the blessing of the saints to be paraded around the community for the last time this season.

Thanks to the devout Catholic families that keep Marikina’s tradition of faith, this “Prusisyon” in Marikina remains to be one of the most participated an praised, keeping the soul of the city for the next generations to live with.

Here are the “Santo” that went around for the “Prusisyon” this Pasko ng Pagkabuhay.


Ang Prusisyon ng Our Lady of the Abandoned Parish Marikina

Huling Hapunan Last Supper
Huling Hapunan/Last Supper ang isa sa ipinagmamalaking showcase ng prusisyon dahil dito makikita sa isang karo si Jesus at ang kanyang labindalawang apostol.

Ang Prusisyon ng OLA, o ng Our Lady of the Abandoned Parish Church sa San Roque Marikina CIty ang isa sa pinakaaabangang highlight ng Semana Santa dahil sa napakaraming santong ipinaparada ng simbahan sa nasasakupan nito.

Elementary ako noong una akong nakanood ng mga ganito. May mga pagkakataon pa nga noon na umilaw kami, o sumama sa parada na may dalang kandila. Pagandahan pa yata kami sa paglalagay ng pansalo sa mga luha ng kandila. Minsan, yung cup na binutas, pero madalas, karton na ginupit na bilog at binutasan lang para suksukan ng kandila. Matapos naman ang parada, may pakain ang may-ari ng mga more than life-size na santo. Unahan na rin kami sa pagkuha ng mga bulaklak na ginamit para gayakan ang mga karo. Iyung mga bulaklak na iyon naman ang ilalagay namin sa altar namin sa bahay.

Our Lady Of The Abandoned Procession Good Friday (1)
Naghahanda na ang mga sakristan at mga lalaking manggagawa ng simbahan para sa pag-uumpisa ng prusisyon ng Our Lady of the Abandoned Parish Marikina.

Nito ngang Good Friday ng 2016 mahigit 70 ang nakasakay sa pinalamutiang mga karo at umikot sa Calumpang, San Roque, Sta Elena at Sto Nino. Alas Cinco kami umalis ng bahay dahil sabi, 6pm daw ang start. Pero 5:30 pa lang, umaalis na ang mga Karo sa Simbahan. Binaybay namin kung saan ang simula, at umabot kami sa pagbaba ng tulay ng Marikina. Doon nga naghihintay ang mga tao sa pagsapit ng Alasais para magsimula na..

Umusad ang prusisyon at gumalaw na ang mga nagtutulak ng karo. May kanya-kanyang dasal ng rosaryo ang iba. May mga wireless mic na at hindi na maingay ang mga generator ng nagpapailaw sa parada. Madami na ang nabago dahil sa teknolohiya.

Madami ang mga taong  umilaw sa mga santo. Pero mas marami ang mga taong nanonood na lang at kumukuha ng pictures ng parada. Isa na kami sa mga may dalang camera. O dalawa kami, kaya’t may mga kuha ditong mula sa Sony Xperia at sa IPhone. Narito ang mga nakuhaan namin. I’m proud to say na wala kaming na-miss.