Good Riddance Typhoon Hagupit!!
I thought you might like to know how we fared during Typhoon Hagupit. First, let me just say that typhoons suck. A typhoon will materialize out of nowhere, march across your island and smash everything in its path — then it will disappear like a melted ice cube, leaving you cleaning up the shredded mess that used to be your lovely tropical garden. Or worse. Much worse. In the Philippines, it’s not uncommon for a single typhoon to kill more than a thousand people. Last year’s Haiyan (Yolanda) left more than 7,000 dead. Not to mention the homes, local businesses, food crops, roads and infrastructure that were destroyed.
I’m happy to say that Super Typhoon Hagupit, locally known as Ruby, was gentle with the island I live on, though I have heard rumors of a couple of deaths caused by a landslide. Despite dire predictions as it approached the country, by the time it reached us in the west, it had weakened substantially and was no longer a typhoon, but a tropical storm. Still, there were several hours of howling winds and some powerful gusts that sounded pretty scary while we laid in bed, sleepless, at 1 o’clock in the morning. By then, there was no power and no internet and no way to know what was going on in the outside world. In the morning we woke up to find that there had been flooding, a few trees were down, and a great deal of mud was strewn about the town.
At home, our open-air indoor garden caused no problems at all. Yes, there was rain — a LOT of rain — which made the whole house damp, but only one day after the rain stopped, the house is already dry and back to normal. I don’t think I’d be keen to ride out a Category 5 super typhoon with that open roof in the center of the house, though. It might get a little hairy…
I realize that not everyone was as lucky as us and other parts of the country suffered major damage. One thing I’ve learned during my almost fourteen years here is that you have to take every typhoon seriously. Everyone I know — Filipino and expat alike — took Hagupit very seriously. The entire country was prepared for the worst and more than a million people were evacuated. The death toll was not nearly as high as it might have been. Today, in my neighborhood, we are all counting our blessings. Even the power came back on after only 29 hours.
We’re all keeping our fingers crossed that we have seen the last typhoon for a while…