Yellow river red balloon

It is a story that begins with the storm, as everyone’s stories begin now, here in a small watery barangay set on the knife-edge of Pasig City. This is the stomping ground of Mayor Bobby Eusebio, a fact difficult to forget, as his face flashes red and blue from an electronic billboard. Water laps at the mouth of the main road, licking at the legs of a rough wooden walkway. Pinagbuhatan is less than half an hour from the Shaw Boulevard MRT station, but it might have been in another country altogether. Under the teetering green arch, the water slaps back against thighs, leaving behind a layer of reeking damp. Bare-chested men make their way here, pushing trollies of empty Coke bottles. There are no more little girls paddling under the yellow river, as there were in the days after the floods came, no more little boys diving from roofs. It has been three weeks since the storm swallowed the barangay, and now the stench of dead cat claws its way down dry throats.
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Oct 25, 2009 under People | 2 comments

Many waters

In my head, I call it the storm. I see the letters from, whenever someone says it, whenever I do. I don’t give it a name, naming gives a thing power, and the Storm has too much.

I’ll tell you where I was when it happened, because everyone does – I was in the office, I was in school, I was in the john when I heard – saying it, again and again, because saying it means you’re alive. I was in my apartment, and there was water swallowing cars in murky brown muck. I’ll say I was a writer first, and because I was I was out the door with a camera before I understood that flood meant I was being flooded, and the water rising in the hallways was water rising in my hallways. The water whipped sideways. Everything outside was a blur, like photos shot through foggy lenses. The maintenance man was banging at doors – get ready, get ready, it could still get worse.
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Oct 4, 2009 under General | 1 comment