A crazy storm hit the Philippines last Wednesday morning. Unlike recent storms, rain was not the leading lady, and flooding not the looming horror. In its place, the strong winds that took the title role, shaking fear into the metro.
Everyone in Metro Manila felt the storm, some more than others. It woke most of us from our sleep with whistling and howling. The power was out. Everything swayed and shook in the wind. From the window, I watched our trees in our yard dance and swing, still graceful in the violence of the wind.
It seems everyone has lost a tree they know, or part of one at least. Either a tree in their front yard, one they know in their neighborhood, one on their path to work, or one from the house they grew up in. Some trees lost branches, or suffered irreparable fractures and splits at their trunk, or experienced complete uprooting from the ground. In addition to the lost trees – people have lost their roofs, ceilings, walls, windows, paint, gates, and fences. The busy cities also felt the disruption of black outs – for days straight, or in rotating breaks as managed by the local power provider. There are areas where power has not yet been restored.
Still, this storm had winds only half as strong as the super typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda experienced by the Visayan regions in November last year.
Over the past months, I’ve spent much time reflecting of falling and fallen trees. I remember riding around the different Yolanda-affected Visayan regions of Cebu, Roxas and Leyte; surveying the change in the lanscape, peppered with fallen trees. There is sadness and wonder.
Now, my own surroundings in the city and home have altered. Everything storm-blown as well.
The photo above is a fallen tree at the center of a town in Laguna. Below is three-quarters of the beloved mango tree in our front yard.