Bagyo Sa Pilipinas: Then and Now
Anyone wondering bakit July pa lang pero nakakalimang (5) bagyo na tayo?
The standard rainy season for the Philippines is supposed to start sometime before July. It’s weird that we have had 5 typhoons already this year. Auring (January), Biring (February), Crising (April), Dante and Emong (May) and Feria (June) have visited the nation already. March lang ang walang latay.
For those who are unfamiliar, cyclones are classified into four categories: tropical depression, tropical storm, typhoon and super typhoon. Cyclones are tagged based on four lists of names. Each list has 25 names under it. Once all 100 names are used, the experts revert to the first name on the first list which is Auring. And since they are nasty weather anomalies, everyone’s normal life is always disturbed by it which made it reasonable for an Australian forecaster to name cyclones after his most hated politicians. That was in the early 20th century and the practice is still being used today — giving names to cyclones, but not necessarily after politicians. Not anymore.
Going back to having this year as a weird one to have had 5 typhoons until June (not counting July), it seems that the weather anomaly is only logical since the world is experiencing global warming. In Philippine history, the most memorable cyclones are not the ones which are strong, but the ones which created the most damage to life and property.
Everyone still remembers the MV Princess of the Stars tragedy of June, 2008 due to Thyphoon Frank and the Ormoc tragedy of November 5, 1991 due to Typhoon Uring. If anything, such tragedies due to typhoons still managed to display the Filipino sentimentalities of compassion and bayanihan as various support groups united to help tragedy victims.
Naalala ko pa n’ung bata pa ako, the first six months of the year from January to June, the weather would be clear, pleasant and sunny most of the time. By July, maglalatag na si mommy ng mga paraphernalia n’yang plastic to cover areas of the apartment that were vulnerable to rain and strong wind. At malimit na may brown out noon kaysa ngayon ‘pag may bagyo. Since we didn’t have internet or mobile phones yet at that time, stormy days and nights would pass as if they were the end of days. We would not hear from any relative or friends for days. Even neighbors would have a hard time communicating with each other because whenever a storm passes by one area, the event took more than two days to happen. Our only friend was the trusty radio on Ever-ready batteries. And since ‘di pa uso ang instant noodles noong time namin, mainit na champurado at aruskaldo ang nagpapainit ng aming mga katawan.
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