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Laguna de Bay Is Still Rising!

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From our place here in Barrio San Vicente, San Pedro, La Laguna, Laguna de Bay is only a fifteen- to twenty-minute walk for me. When Typhoon Ondoy whipped Metro Manila and its surrounding environs last September 26, the lake overflowed, flooding countless barrios (barangays), leaving thousands of families living on the lakeshore homeless. Supertyphoon Pepeng almost struck Metro Manila yesterday. But thankfully it changed its course.

The rains may have subsided, but the lake is still rising!

Rains spawned by typhoon “Pepeng” caused floodwaters around the already swollen Laguna Lake to rise by a few centimeters yesterday, forcing thousands of families to flee to higher grounds.

Parts of Calamba City and the towns of San Pedro, Biñan, Sta. Rosa, Cabuyao, Los Baños, Bay, Victoria, Pila, Sta. Cruz, Lumban, Kalayaan, Paete, Siniloan, Mabitac, Sta. Maria, Pangil and Pakil remained flooded.

Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro Jr. has raised the possibility of the need to rescue more residents living along the lake as its water continued to rise to a critical level.

“The Laguna Lake drains slowly. It is a particular concern,” said Teodoro, who informed President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo that he would personally check on the lake if weather permitted yesterday.

Below are some videos of San Pedro’s lakeshore barrios which suffered from the floods caused by Typhoon Ondoy:

I visited the Santo Sepulcro in Barrio Landayan last Friday morning for my weekly panatà. As I was walking through Calle Hernández (the main road going to the church from the highway), I was surprised to see no vendors on either side of the road. And I see many vehicles filled with wet belongings. I realized that the flood’s devastation was just nearby. It wasn’t raining yet, but the roads are all wet.

After saying my prayers in the church, I visited the gymnasium in front of it. There were still evacuees, but according to an old man I spoke with, many evacuees were already transferred to other places in San Pedro. The old man said some were already transferred to San Pedro’s bondoc area; some where at the población. According to him, San Pedro Mayor Calixto Catáquiz has already spent thousands of pesos (I heard around P100,000 in Landayan alone) for the relief efforts of his constituents.

I was heavily saddened by what I saw: there were so many children. Their situation was deplorable. Only cardboards separated their bodies from the cement floor (the situation was the same at the población which I visited later). The number of victims is so great that the country indeed needs more help from the international community.

The flood in Landayan reached the Balón ng Mahál na Señor, the miraculous well linked to the Church of Santo Sepulcro. According to one resident I spoke with, the last great flood they experienced was in 1972. But this flood caused by Ondoy (and partly by man) was even worse.

Miraculously, the church was spared. The flood waters were just a few meters away from the miraculous church of Lolo Uweng.

May Lolo Uweng tame the great lake of Laguna…


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