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.")