Nature, Humans, and Dogs (?)

Nature has its way of manifesting itself so that people would realize how powerful it is. What I mean is that people – we – take nature for granted: the big tree in the yard that we used to play hide-and-seek on while we were kids, the rivers that we used to bathe in as kids (well, some of us did!), the trees that lined the boulevard and streets, the trees that lined the many roads and avenues of Dumaguete, and so on…

Yes, I, like so many of you out there, take nature for granted. Then, things happen. Things that we’d rather not happen but happen they did, anyway. Things that make one think that nature should not be taken for granted because, when we do, it catches us offhand, unaware.

Of the many instances that make me appreciate nature – and Dumaguete! – the craziest but best memories I could dig up were the following:

My Cebu Life

Back in 2005 to sometime around 2007, I was working in Cebu. Well, I actually started living in Cebu City in April of 2005 because of the review for the board examination. When I got my license (as Chemist) in September, it was but natural that I continue living in Cebu. Of course, jobs for the profession are a dime a dozen in Cebu, whereas, finding one if Dumaguete would be very difficult. It was my luck that by October, I already got a job at a well-known Cement Factory. Cebu, being a highly industrialized business city, is bustling with life but has only about 10-20% greens (plants or trees). The air was so polluted that one could hardly breathe without feeling the grit and smoke of the passing cars.

Living in San Fernando, Cebu was almost like home – trees, grasses, the beach, and more bushes. Still, because of the cement factory, the air was still grimy plus the place was still almost as hot and humid as the city even when it is 30 km away! I managed to group my days at work so that I work for 10 days straight then have 4 days of rest – enough for me to go home to Dumaguete. Those 4 days were among the most treasured days every two weeks. My  siblings and Bobby (then, my boyfriend) would look at me like I was crazy (well, they actually tell me that I am crazy) because I would spread my arms in the air as we ride our motorcycle home and breathe the air of Negros, of Dumaguete. They would then laugh at me because they say that the air in Dumaguete is polluted but I didn’t care – the air here smelled of trees, of grassses, yes, still of cars and motorcycle exhaust but the smell of the acacia trees overpowers the pollution.

You don’t really believe me? Well, try living in Cebu City for months, then, come back – you’d probably hug a tree when you arrive 😀

Nature Strikes

I had recently blogged about Jolina, the storm. Still, even when she was such a pest and made our lives miserable, she didn’t do much damage – unlike Kiko, the one that came right after her. Kiko was the storm that Maree and I feared when we saw the PAGASA bulletin because the clouds were super large. Still, it didn’t bring much rains to Dumaguete. Still, it brought strong gusts of wind that could possibly be pointed as the reason for the two large acacia trees falling to the ground – one in Bacong (which is 200+ years) and another near the north side of the city.

This is probably nature’s revenge – revenge for what, I do not know. Still, it brought 1 death and hours of traffic at the north highway. The Bacong tree fell away from the street – towards the bakery that stood to its west side. I am not good at gathering news stories but because Bobby and I passed there on the same day that it fell, we saw that it damage a portion of the building and some electrical wires that was on its immediate vicinity. I assume that the incident did not harm anyone.

The tree near NSO fell with a dramatic swoop – slamming on a passing motorcab-for-hire, killing the driver. It was a gloomy Saturday for Dumaguete. The electricity was out until afternoon for some of the northern barangays while the whole city with abuzz with news of the driver’s predicament. People, as usual, went to see the proceedings – of getting the driver out from under the tree. Even when the driver was taken out and brought to the hospital (but DOA), people continued to flock there as related by my cousin who also went to see the event. It was indeed a sad day. Then, just this morning, it was mentioned on the radio that the driver’s family was so poor that the wake was held on candle-light because they do not have electricity. Tsk tsk… shouldn’t somebody from the government assist the man, his wife, and three young kids? Yes, it was a tree that killed the man – nobody’s tree, perhaps, but it is within the city’s jurisdiction, along the city’s roads! It is but proper that assistance be given to the man’s family and for his burial even when he is a citizen of the adjacent municipality of Sibulan!

On Dogs

On the lighter side, our dogs are having fun (or are tortured) walking/jogging with us down the tree-lined avenue near our home 😀 Alvin said that exercise wouldn’t make me thin but it could make me lose some of the arthritic pain on my knees and joints 😀 Twingkay is getting bigger – she’s almost 6 kilograms already!

Smartie aka Wingkay aka Brownie aka Bulldog

My cousin Noel gave me a little doggie. When she arrives yesterday (from Cebu), she was so tired and scared that she kept on hugging my hand. With hugging I mean that she was holding on to my arm with her two arms. I tried to pry her away but she clung tight and her claws would come out 🙂 So, I allowed her to stay that way until she felt that she was already safe.

A few minutes later, she slowly started exploring our living room. The floor was so shiny that she kept on slipping 😀 Still, she wouldn’t bark but kept on exploring until she got the hang of walking on the slippery floor.

Because she was seemed thirsty, I gave her water but she wouldn’t lap on it. I then gave her some fresh milk that I was drinking and voila! she lapped away as if it was the only meal she has ever received 😀 Here’s a video of her having a meal. She even had second helpings.

My cousin had named her “Smartie” but I laughingly called her “Wingkay” after “Winkle” my pet name for my cousin Noel. Still, my mother-in-law calls her “Brownie” and Auntie Aling calls her “Bulldog”. Uh-oh! Too many names for such a little fella 🙂

A sleeping Wingkay

A sleeping Wingkay

pensive mode

pensive mode

 

P.S. My cousin wants the “Wingkay” to be renamed to “Twingkay” so that the name won’t be so obviously linked to his name LOL

Mermaid in Dumaguete

I’ve always believed in mermaids as a child – I loved the idea of beautiful maidens with long hairs and fish tails (who doesn’t?).

However, at the heels of the recent flood in Dumaguete and nearby towns came the story that had the city – well, the province – buzzing with wonder and delight: a mermaid (or three of them as per some accounts) was caught of the seas of Amlan, Negros Oriental. According to the grapevine (of text messages, etc.), the mermaid/s was caught some days before the floods happened. A foreigner bought the mermaid then donated it to Silliman University Marine Laboratory – in some accounts, he donated the littlest one then brought the other two home.

The mermaid (at the marine lab) died but not before dire warnings were issued by the merpeople left at sea to return the captured mermaid/s. Most of the fishermen that caught the mermaid/s have already died and the only one alive is in a 50-50 condition. The merpeople allegedly vowed to cause destruction if the mermaid/s is not returned to sea. Also, the mermaid at the marine lab was a suckling baby – that is why it died.

When I was asked about the story, I had some doubts – although, honestly, I wished really hard that it was true. After all, I love mermaids and to see a real one in my lifetime would be a dream come true.

However, so many questions came to my mind that it was getting more and more difficult to believe that the story was true.

  1. Why did the foreigner buy the mermaid then donate it to the marine lab? If I was the one who bought it, would I donate it? Definitely, not! 😀
  2. Why were there no real reports on newspaper about the find? If it were a real mermaid, the TV people would have been informed. After all, this is a really spectacular find!

    the mermaid and the fisherman - but definitely not the one from amlan LOL

    the mermaid and the fisherman - but definitely not the one from amlan LOL

  3. How did the people understand the merpeople’s words when they “talked” about reclaiming their captured member?
  4. Why is it that after more than a week into the supposed “event”, no one has ever said that he really saw the mermaid – and it is supposed to be “displayed” over at the marine lab?

The clouds were very ominous this morning – really huge and black ones can be seen over the mountain. A neighbor fearfully remarked that the mermaid should have been returned but since it is too late then we just have to live with constant floods {sigh}. I remarked a bit sarcastically that we are now going to die :D.

So, is the mermaid real? Based on the reasons I had stated above, it probably isn’t. Oh, I still believe in the lore but this is just another urban legend that people conjured to “understand” why the flood was so huge and damaging.
The one who spun this wild tale must be really pleased with himself right now as the story is still the talk of the city one week after the supposed “capture”.

However, I still wish it was a real mermaid.

Dumaguete Flood – Destruction of SacSac (Bacong) Road

After the flood last Saturday, one can say that many parts of Dumaguete and nearby towns will never be the same again. Perhaps, it might be possible to reconstruct the roads but can the city still manage to reconstruct the lives of thousands of people affected?

Let me share the pictures that my brother and I took of the destruction at SacSac, Bacong – this is the “bridge” portion. This is perhaps the biggest damage located south of Dumaguete. Of course, the biggest damage can be found along Banica river but let allow me to start with that farthest from the city.

The road is so damaged that all 4-wheel vehicles are not allowed to pass through. Oh, they can still fit through the undamaged portion but that part may crumble further due to pressure. So, Ceres buses and large trucks are a common sight along the Bajumpandan barangay road.

I am not an engineer but I can say that the damaged road will surely need several months before it can be used by large vehicles again. That means that  south-bound people have to take the long route via Bajumpandan then Valencia. This also means that the barangay road will become damaged in a few weeks time. That is because the road is a small one in the first place – most of the road can only accommodate a large truck and a motorcycle. When two trucks meet, both of them have to share the small space and the right wheels pass over the soil portion right next to the road. I’m hoping that it won’t rain again or the trucks are going to have a lot of trouble.

Also, the barangay road already has a lot of potholes due the the recent flood. Yes, give it two weeks and the asphalt road will have very large potholes.

Anyway, back to SacSac road, you can check out the following video to see a portion of the damage.

Video: Damaged SacSac (Bacong) road

Flood in Dumaguete – Roads and Highways Turned into Rivers

View Video:
(1) Baha na jud.

(2) Another video sa baha

(3) View from an upper area

Yesterday started like any other Saturday, except that it was rainy. But the rains were only a little stronger than a drizzle – what we call as “inday-inday” in local tongue. However, the rains had been falling since Friday – enough to have us wondering the dried creek at the back of the house will be flooded again.

I managed to go to work at 6 AM without any mishaps or whatever – again, this might just turn to be an ordinary day. On and on it rained as we worked – enough for people at work to talk about floods and stuff. Predictions of floods were abundant around noon break when the rains started to pound much harder than it had been during the morning hours.

At 1:15 PM Adonis (who is on the 2 PM shift) arrived. We laughed at him for being too early but he countered that the road at the City limit will be impassable because of floods at 2 PM. This is a constant joke at work since the triple floods last year. We had some laughs predicting what time that particular part of the road will be flooded.

At 1:45 PM talks about floods intensified as the rains continued to pound. Second shifters were asked the same question, “Baha na?” or “Is it flooding already?”. All of them said that the roads are still clear but signs of flood are already starting to show – the roads have about a few inches deep of water. We worriedly glanced at the clock – so much can happen in 15 minutes!

At 1:55 PM people were already milling at the login/logout area – everyone was determined to go home at the soonest time possible to escape being trapped by the flood cutting off the passable road to Dumaguete. By 2:00 PM talks of flood have reached very high intensities – yes, the city limit is already flooded but motorcycles can still pass if the drivers hurry. That was enough to send the people scurrying to easy rides or multicabs. The canteen’s van was also offering free rides to employees – a first, I think.

Bobby came at 2:15 PM and said that the roads – even those from our house to the highway – are starting to look like little rivers. Students at the university near our house were drenched and walking the 1+ km to the highway as they played with their mineral water bottles – converting them to little boats. The city limit is starting to be filled with vehicles slowing down to allow the others to pass through first -such is the way of people here.

The waters had already reached the St. Peter area near our work place – considering the little time it took for the water to reach that place, I could say that this flood is going to be a big one. Because the highway is already on traffic jam, we passed through the back roads (dirt/muddy roads). By the time we reached the house (2:35 PM), the overflow near our house was already filled with water – this is really a flood because that creek is a dried one all year round.

On and on the flood waters raged. At first the area at the middle was still shallow and people can still pass through. Within 15 minutes the middle area was completely flooded – cutting us off from civilization quite literally. That’s 2:35 PM.

With the floods raging we had nothing to do but watch the waters as the electricity had been cut off at 2 PM. People are bored at home so we gathered at the creek area like we usually do in times of floods. Because the right side (as we see it) of the creek is deeper than the left, we were not worried that our homes will be swept by the flood. We’d start to worry if the waters will fill that part of the creek!

On and on and on the flood waters flowed. By 3 PM, the area (opposite to where we were standing) at the right portion of the creek started to crumble – called it a mini-landslide (which turned out to be a real mini-landslide).

At 4:45 PM the area was still not passable. It was also around this time that we learned that many parts of Dumaguete have been flooded. Little by little the news trickled.
• City limit. See above account.
• Banica River area (the area has recently been flooded last New Year’s eve). This is the saddest account as some houses were swept away – even those of my cousin’s girlfriend and our neighbor’s son. The river became really large and the dike cracked. A portion of this flood can be seen in the news by GMA.
• Calindagan area. This area is often flooded, too. Well, now the waters are already waist-deep as opposed to the usual ankle-deep that the area is used to. The area has never been impassable before – until now.
• PRCC area (where the road to “Ihawan” crosses). This is another flood-prone area. As expected, it was impassable.
• The highway. The four areas listed above are flood-prone areas but the stretch of the highway between them are also on varying depths of water – some are knee-deep while some are waist-deep.
• Downtown area. Who would have thought that the stores in the downtown area would close at 5 PM? Well, with some stores in knee- or waist-deep waters, who would still want to buy stuff? I can only imagine how Lee Super Plaza’s basement supermarket and electronic sections look.

With the roads turning into rivers, vehicles were not moving – those who tried to pass the flooded areas suffered with their vehicles stopping in the middle of the road or the engines stopping as they reached the opposite “bank”.

With no vehicles running on the streets, people walked. Yes, those who worked downtown walked the 5 or so km to their homes. Those who worked at the outskirts of the city had to walk in flood waters to their homes in the city – much like our team leader and a lot of coworkers had to do to get home! The usual 10-15-minute ride home became 2 to 3 hours (or 5!) walk home.

The waters receded at night fall in higher areas but others (Banica, for example) suffered all through the night.

Rainbows – I Don’t Hate Them

My hubby and I were on our way home from church when we saw this really thick and beautiful rainbow up in the skies. Now, I might hate my job but I can never, ever hate the rainbow. It’s beautiful, magical, and thrilling.

Anyway, we hastened to the city’s boulevard to maximize the view. When we arrived, we realized that there was another rainbow forming really fast so that within a minute there were double rainbows (take a closer look at the upper left part of the rainbow)! It was a breathtaking moment.

Isn’t it really amazing that nature still holds that power to capture our hearts so that, even for just a moment, we forget our problems and fears? Those twin rainbows had that effect on me. Somehow, the day was more beautiful. The rainbows almost magically held some powers to lighten up my load and made me feel that something is about to turn out well. Hmm…does that mean that within some days I’ll have some good news to blog out? Well, I really don’t have any idea but for the first time this year, the day just seemed most promising 😀 But wait! There’s going to be an annular eclipse tomorrow…now, that is something to really blog about. Hopefully, I can capture that in film but if it could not be seen in full tomorrow then I wouldn’t risk damaging my camera. 😀

Yes, nature has been fascinating to me these days. I had found myself searching for “Pluto”, “Saturn”, “Kuiper Belt”, “Eris”, “dolphin”, “shark”, “big cats”, and just about anything related to nature and creation. Hmmm…I’ll do “rainbow” now. 😀