Thursday, October 15, 2009

A place called Manila (A Blog Action Day 2009 Special)

One paradox that this blog W.A.M. has is the fact that it never mentions anything on the capital city of the Philippines, Manila. I was thinking way back then that I would soon have to write a travel article about Manila in a way more special than I did for the rest. That was until two strong typhoons hit the Philippines a few days back.

I wanted to write about the hustle and bustle of Manila, its frenzied traffic and its gregarious people, all smiling and noisy as they head off to work, but times require that we write about how cries echoed throughout the Philippine capital, with families upon families trapped on their roofs of their houses as floodwaters submerged their homes, taking away all their possessions from them and leaving a trail of mud and grime and death.

I wanted to write about how well we eat in Manila, but times ask that we think about how people oxymoronically had no water to drink, even though rivers had overflown, dams let out water so as not to break and a month’s worth of rainwater fell into the city for just 10 hours. The devastation that ensued afterwards — people infested with skin diseases and high fevers, hungry mouths satiated with instant noodles and canned tuna, children unclothed and men in tattered clothes — belies the Filipinos’ reputation for good hygiene and vanity.

I wanted to write about travel — hell, I wanted all of you folks to visit the Philippines! — but there is something greater and far more important than leisure and that is the sad realization that if we do not take drastic and immediate measures right here right now to combat climate change, there will be no more stories to tell about this magnificent island-nation of smiles caught in the destruction of a fast-changing planet.

(***W.A.M. is greatly indebted to Rodel Enríquez for the pics of his hometown, the city of Marikina, which he says has experienced this kind of flooding for the very first time ever after the onslaught of Typhoon Ondoy "Ketsana.")

1 comment:

Anonymous said...


This is Gladys Arañez and I’m one of the volunteers for Design Against The Elements. We are asking for your support to please help us spread our message in raising awareness re: Philippine Climate Adaptability Challenge. Please take time to visit the links below and please post comments and ratings. Below also is a message from our Executive Director, Illac Diaz.

Feel free to ask questions. You can reach me on my email:

Many, many thanks! :)

Climate change is real. Addressing climate change requires a mix of
mitigation and adaptation. This requires more mitigation for
industrialized countries and more adaptation for developing countries.
This can be translated into one simple scenario : While the
industrialized world continues to send up tonnes of carbon into the
atmosphere, whether or not we blur the amounts through carbon credits,
hopes are fading for those who will be receiving the sharp end of the
Damocles sword; the developing world. The urgency is to realize that
this is not going to stop at 350 ppm, or even double at 600 ppm, the
Philippines has to realize that despite all the petitions and feel
good campaigns of dreams for a climate stabilized world, real
solutions need to be done. We have to get to the part where we learn
to start dealing with this. The country is located right beside the
warmest parts of the ocean that is in the perfect storm of vulnerable
coastlines, intense winds, and an observation of growing dumping of
large amounts of rain. We need to live in a world where climate will
hit the poorest of the poor first, regardless of where they live, it
will test our resiliency as a city, as a village, as a community, and
specially as a people. This song is dedicated to the awareness that
dealing with one ONDOY is not the victory, but a climate of change
will be the battle of this generation

Illac Diaz
Executive Director
Design Against The Elements