December 16, 2021 was a day we will never forget.
One of the strongest typhoon hit Cebu province and nearby islands. Philippines is no stranger to typhoons, there are about 40 storms passing every year. And Odette has been the most destructive event since 2013 with Yolanda (typhoon Haiyan).
Odette was internationally known as Super typhoon Rai. It brought violent winds that destroy buildings and infrastructures, knocked down posts and uprooted trees. I personally witnessed the strong winds rampaging our compound and we could hear the howling, roof flying and tiles being thrown around.
In my calendar, I marked that day, it was Thursday. We were supposed to close the store in the usual hour – 10pm. But due to the scary weather forecast, we are forced to close by 3pm. I remember clearly that the wind started to become stronger around 5-6pm. The peak was around 7-8pm and electricity was out by 9pm.
I have not seen such catastrophe and it’s like we were brought down to our knees to beg God for mercy. Thankfully, there was minimal damage in our property. But problems persist due to electricity outage. We lived through 6-7 weeks of no light. Water was also scarce, there was long queue in gasoline and water refilling stations everywhere. As if a doomsday scenario, and no this is not an exaggeration.
We witnessed first hand the wrath of Odette and it changed our perspective in life. Due to lack of water, we cherished every drop and bathed using one pail each. Signal was very bad and I wasn’t able to contact my family in Manila for the first 3 days. We lived one day at a time, everything was a challenge including cooking. That prompted me to try intermittent fasting. The inconveniences were too much, many people lost their houses and worst their loved ones.
Still grateful for the people who checked on us and some even offered to send help, I remember them all. My recollection especially during struggles and emotional incidents is at its height. Wishing to repay them someday. Kindness really is contagious.
Months after, and nightmare is almost forgotten but the lessons I’ve learned and the experiences are etched in my memory. I thank the Lord for all of these and for thriving with only our faith as lifeline.