Fear swept Metro Manila and nearby towns when storm "Ondoy" (international codename KETSANA) made its rage felt by its residents. No one was ready for this Luzon wide catastrophe. What started unassumingly on Friday evening as an ordinary storm left more than 200 people killed and many families homeless. The rivers rose, river-like streets had cars on top of each other like deck of cards, many homes flooded, and even more places isolated by mudslide and floods.
Our followers abroad perhaps are wondering how everyone at the COLUMBAN LAY MISSIONARIES - PHILIPPINES are after this devastating storm roared into Metro Manila and its neighboring towns.
WE ASSURE EVERYONE THAT, APART FROM FEW GALLONS OF WATER THAT WET THE KITCHEN OF RP18 AND JAYJAY BEING RESCUED AFTER SHE WAS STRANDED IN HER APOSTOLATE area, WE ARE ALL FINE. THANKS GOD.
Some friends are not very fortunate though. Jerry Tanaya, originally from Negros Occidental, who worked for several years at the Malate Parish before moving to Marikina to work at the City Hall lost his house and everything in it to the raging flood waters. He and his family are safe.
We tried reaching out to the families of lay missionaries living in these affected areas but we're unfortunate since communication lines are still down. The family of Virgie Tanate (Ireland) lives in Csvite, Maira San Juan (Korea) in Taytay, Rizal, Violie Villaraiz (Korea) in Makati City. Jhoanna Resari (Taiwan) whose family lives in San Mateo, Rizal told us that her parents went out that Saturday and were only able to reach home on Sunday morning tired but safe anyhow.
This afternoon, I went out shopping for some groceries at the biggest supermarket in Cubao, Quezon City. I was disappointed to see that shelves meant for canned goods and noodles are almost empty. Amidst my frustration, there was also joy and pride in my heart when I realized that most of the shoppers are buying for friends, love ones, and people unknown to them but were affected just the same by the typhoon. The very few pieces on instant noodles were generously shared among some of us.
With the many stories of volunteerism, donations, pledges of help and our own personal encounters of giving and sharing, there is so much to hope for and be thankful about. What sticks out for me from the storms' aftermath is the people's willingness to sacrifice in order to aid our flood-stricken countrymen.
Isn't sacrifice the most potent witness of love?