Weekend with Frank (the Typhoon)

After 36 hours of no TV, electric fans, computer and Internet – we are back online. Warning: extremely long post. You gotta give it to me, I itched to post!

Tropical Storm Frank changed course and hit Manila directly on Saturday night/Sunday morning. Alfred and I left work together and were both surprised at the strength of the winds and the rain that welcomed us as the glass doors of the building opened to let us out.

As the cab took a right on our street, it was so dark – there was no electricity in our neighborhood but those living right across the creek from us still had their lights on. Since the typhoon had cooled the house, we didn’t mind not having electricity, we did hope that power would be restored when we awoke. It was not to be.

At 3PM, we went down to eat and then confirmed that not only was power still out, but that my grandpa’s house had already been flooded though the water was already receding. My nephews had spent the day with my mom and dad and they even ate our share of lunch. Their moms and dads were already scrubbing their floors when I went out to check on them and the flood waters were already outside our gates. Our house was only built 6 years ago and the floor was elevated to the highest flood level recorded in this area, so we were safe from the flooding. My brother and his girlfriend got off work in the morning but were not able to come home because it was already flooded. They spent the day at Trinoma and were only able to come home at around 4PM when the water cleared.

Though it was still raining, the wind had died down and it was evident that the worst was over. We had also hoped that it meant that power would be restored very soon.

We had planned on malling because Alfred was on leave for Sunday night. We had not been to the mall since he moved to the night shift, and we were both itching to check out some shops. Off we went as soon as the water receded back to the creek and out of the road. We had to walk on the rip-rap though to avoid the stinky mud that was left by the flood. I had to concentrate on avoiding so much as glancing at the water lest I’d feel like falling into it. Eventually I asked Alfred to walk beside me on the sidewalk instead of behind me just so he could hold my hand. Haha.

Getting a cab was easy and so we were in Cubao in no time. The weather was conducive for a cup of coffee so we had some with muffins before we set off window shopping. When we finally went up to Gateway, we hit the shoe stores first but I didn’t find anything I really wanted. Next stop was Fully Booked – since seeing it in Yummy mag, I’ve wanted to purchase an Envirosax and so I did.
This is how my lovely bag looks like and I am totally bummed out that I can’t show you the pic of Alfred modeling the bag for me last night. After purchasing the bag, I met him at the mall’s lounge and I went in to take a pee, leaving him with the rest of our stuff. When I came out, he had already unfurled the bag and put my purse in it. I also actually used the bag for shopping too. We went back in to Fully Booked and I finally got the sequel to the only Garth Nix book I’ve ever read, Sabriel. This one’s titled Lirael and it’s the first brand new book I’ve bought this year. I’ve just been buying previously owned books, remember? I also refused the Body Shop paper bag for my purchases and just plopped them in my reusable shopping bag. 🙂

Speaking of Body Shop purchases. White Musk is my new favorite scent and I love how the Chiffon Sheer Body Mist is so light – it feels soft, smells pretty, and you won’t feel sticky when you spray it on. Mom had it and I just had to get one for myself too! I also bought a gift box that had small bottles of White Musk Sumptuous Silk Shower Gel and Smooth Satin Body Lotion. Body yum! (the shimmer fragrance in the picture is on my wish list)

I also asked the attendant if they still collected the empty bottles of their products and she mentioned that they still do and they returned them to the factory, but there was no promo for it, meaning I won’t get anything in return if I took the bottles back. I don’t care. Knowing that I returned those plastic bottles for recycling is enough for me.

Alfred has been wanting to checkout the Adidas sale since he heard about at the start of the month, so the Adidas shop right next to Body Shop was one of our stops. He didn’t see any of the shoes he wanted on sale but he did see some jackets that he has been wanting to buy since time immemorial (of course he will only be buying one, if he actually gets to buy any). We’ll probably go to Trinoma next weekend (after payday) because he wants to checkout the stocks there too.

Last stop before having dinner was grocery shopping and of course we came prepared with the reusable canvass bag. I restrained myself from buying anything unnecessary and I really do congratulate myself for it. 🙂 After all our purchases were tallied I found that I had enough receipts to get a ShopWise card and earn points. The system was offline though, probably because of the intermittent power outages.

After dinner, we were confronted with a challenge – transport. There was a long queue waiting for cabs outside the grocery and after waiting in line for about 5 minutes and seeing no taxis, we decided to wait somewhere else. Out came my jacket (with hood) and our big umbrella and we walked towards Gateway. After another 15 minutes of waiting and only one other couple getting a cab we decided to move on to another stop, and then another. When we least expected to get a cab while walking towards the main road to just get public transport, we got one. 🙂

As we approached E.Rodriguez, we were hopeful because there were lights on the street and establishments. As we turned right at Sunny Side Drive and then through the streets of our barangay, there was hope because they too had power. Sadly – our street was still cloaked in darkness. Yes, just our street.

And I could not sleep. It wasn’t hot, it was still raining a bit and it was still quite cool. There were a few mosquitoes buzzing around but they weren’t bothering me – afraid I’d whack them I guess. But while Alfred was sound asleep, I couldn’t. When he woke up, I was just drowsing off. Haha.

I had to call Meralco several times over the evening, early morning, and yes, until this afternoon, to follow up on the reactivation of our service. I swear, between me, my cousins an uncle, I can’t count the number of times we’ve called their customer service hotline 16211. We understand that it’s because of the storm and that they have to address consumers from all over the Metro. But we didn’t even get an explanation for why were the only street that had no power for more than 24 hours already!

What’s worse is that the first time I followed up on my initial report, they said that a crew was sent over and was already at the site – and since my report was specific to this street, naturally that’s where I’d assume they’d be. We waited another hour, then two. Nothing. When we called back, the feedback was that power was restored. Well, duh?! Would we be calling back if it was? So they gave us a new report number. This time, response was not as fast. Up until 3PM all they can say when we called was that we were lined up on queue to be addressed. I asked that they trace whoever it was that reported that power was back in our area because obviously they didn’t go to the actual street that was reported! After I asked for such a report, on the next call, the rep mentioned that the team didn’t actually go to the site, but was just patrolling the area. That’s clear misreporting and mishandling of the report! Ugh.

Anyway, I do not want to continue hating the power company Meralco. There’s no use, right? I was upstairs when their crew finally came and I heard my cousin welcoming them sarcastically. They (including the kids) were singing the Meralco jingle that one would hear when they call the support number (their hold music). Apparently, they had to disconnect our lines yesterday because there was a tree that was in danger of falling due to the winds. They just didn’t come back to fix it right away. Now why didn’t they just note that in our reports and told us that in the first place? At least we’d know that they knew the reason why we didn’t have power!

Please offer prayers for the victims of the tragedy also caused by typhoon Frank.

Anyhoo… I am off to browse and watch TV and DVDs, and charge my phone, and drink cold water, and just show appreciation for our electricity. Haha. 🙂 Oh I do hope I still get to catch a sale or two in the digi world.