… that makes me practically a Manilan, right?
Hey guys! Just arrived back in KL, but I thought I’d share my experience of a flash flood in Manila while it’s still fresh in my mind lol.
Owning and driving a car in the Phils is a privilege – something a lot of Malaysians take for granted (Malaysia has the third highest car ownership in the world at 93%, according to a Nielsens report). Since the Boy didn’t drive, we did a lot of commuting while travelling around the city. Filipinos will agree with me that this isn’t always pleasant (being squashed like sardines into a van/train, smoke and diesel fumes, jeepneys loading and unloading all along the road, etc) and can be very time consuming.
Add heavy rain to that equation and what do you get? Utter chaos.
We had just finished visiting a museum near Rizal Park at 5PM on a weekday, when it started to rain. Wasn’t just the mild English summer kind, mind you – this was a full-blown, torrential downpour of the tropics. We managed to get shelter by the sidewalk, but the rain was relentless, and we ended up spending an hour at a Chinese restaurant sipping tea while waiting for it to cease. It didn’t.
By 6.30PM, the rain was still going strong and our repeated attempts to flag down taxis / get a Grab came to nothing. I suggested that we walk to a mall nearby (it was 800 metres away) to see if we had better luck there. After much hemming and hawing (he was reluctant to walk in the rain), the man finally agreed. Bought an umbrella and started down the street. Initially it went well, but we underestimated how bad the drainage was, and soon found ourselves wading into puddles of water that rose higher and higher.
The roads were literally flooded everywhere we turned and people were walking in the middle of the street (in between moving vehicles!) in an attempt to avoid the water.
It got to a point where the street was not cross-able, unless you were willing to wade into it, so we stopped at a hospital area. Moving vehicles passing by caused the water to slosh up the ramp in waves. The rain had stopped by then but the flood waters didn’t seem like they’d recede anytime soon. After much hesitation on the boy’s part (he’s a hypochondriac) we decided to brave the flood waters. Of course, this was after considering that we had no open wounds on our legs, and we had to be very careful not to step into a hole and hurt ourselves, since visibility in the water was limited. The water level came up to the middle of my calves. Good thing there wasn’t any shit floating around because I think the boy would have lost his shit xD
After wading through for about 10 minutes (?) we finally got to ‘dry’ land. Still no taxis or Grab – traffic was at a standstill at this point – but we managed to get a shuttle bus heading to the airport, which was close to our hotel. I think our decision to brave the route to the mall was a good one, because originally, the boy wanted to try the train station at Taft Avenue (pic above) lol.
The entire ordeal took us five hours, before we were safe and snug back in the hotel.
So there you have it – I survived a flash flood in Manila! I’m practically a local now, lol.
PS: Flash floods can be dangerous. People have been swept away in cases and drowned. In our case, the rain had stopped and the water wasn’t deep, so we made a calculated decision to walk through the streets.
**I laughed way too hard at that last orange barrier hitting the van.
Photos from Manila Bulletin