It's been almost a day since Typhoon Xangsane hit the Metro. And yet the effects of the worst storm in almost a decade lingers like phlegm stuck to the roof of your dry mouth. (Eew.) I would've written about it sooner, but when I woke up the day the storm struck, power was out and my laptop was already running on a battery. Of course even if I get to write about it, I wouldn't be able to upload it anyway..but that's beside the point.

It was a good thing my parents' flight to Singapore was early morning yesterday, otherwise they would've been stranded in the airport and they wouldn't get to enjoy the sun. Yeah, and my mom was calling us yesterday telling us how sunny and warm and clean it was there...bite me. Hahahahahaha...

I didn't go to work yesterday. My boss texted me not to go. I should've gone though, because I just found out today that there were people working, and we aren't gonna get compensated for that. So now, I'm in the office, enjoying the air-conditioning and the internet access. By the way, the house still has no power...and water. On my way to work (I was late.), I was able to see the devastation of Xangsane: trees uprooted, branches strewn about Ayala Avenue, HSBC had a broken window and got part of its paneling stripped off, the big flame trees in front of PhilamLife had its branches shaved off, not to mention this big billboard causing traffic in EDSA's Northbound lane.

In front of 6750 where I work, the newly-renovated park's trees were literally uprooted. And they were not just any trees; they were big flame trees and tall palms. There was a small acacia on the sidewalk that brought part of the pavement along with it.

"Some of the exclusive residential compounds around Metro Manila were not spared, as massive trees some 60 feet (20 meters) high were uprooted by the gale force winds," says Inquirer, "One resident of Forbes Park, who did not want to give his name, said: 'This is the worst I have seen it. Manila has been hit before by typhoons but not like this. Some areas around here look like they have been bombed.'"

I wonder how much it would cost the Ayala Corporation and the Forbes Rich to re-renovate their properties.

Meanwhile, the murderous billboards along EDSA proved that, for once (OK, maybe twice), MMDA Chairman Bayani Fernando was right. He's been trying to get those billboards torn down because they were an eyesore and a distraction to motorists. And when he tried to dismantle some, his office gets slapped with a TRO. Could the storm be a blessing in disguise for BF and responsible advertising advocates?

A bill's already been filed at the Senate calling for the dismantling of billboards along major thoroughfares and limiting the placement of large-formate advertising to 100 meters away from roads. The storm could be the push it needs for Senate to enact it. But in Philippine politics that is as stable as a rubber dinghy in the middle of Manila Bay during Xangsane, the bill might not even make it to the second reading...I hope not.

I am touched by the resiliency of Filipinos. The storm showed me that the people would emerge as survivors who, although bruised, would still get up. I guess that's why Makati experienced early morning commuter traffic: nothing really could deter a Filipino from working...except joblessness. (Labo.) But seriously, driving in the village, I saw people cleaning up the streets as if the storm was nothing but rain gone beserk. In Ayala, I was amazed at the DISCIPLINE they showed while driving...save for the occassional "swapang driver," these guys are really following traffic enforcers. In EDSA, AFP marines and MMDA workers are clearing up the debris caused by billboards.

I guess it would take a super typhoon to jolt our senses and start working together instead of tearing each other down. Thought: Maybe the billboard bill will get past the second reading after all.

I just hope we wouldn't wait for the next typhoon...It's expected to hit Luzon by next week.