Moving on

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By Nef Luczon


Monday, December 16, 2013

A COUPLE of weeks passed after tropical storm “Sendong (International name: Washi)” washed away Iligan and Cagayan de Oro cities, I found myself overwhelmed with follow-up stories and swarmed with Manila–based desks everyday inquiring on how the situation was. The 24/7 monitoring did not weaken my spirit, until when I went home.

My parents from Davao came to the city after the storm to help me salvage of what could have been left of our things that were ravaged by the muddy floodwater at midnight of December 16 until dawn of the 17th in 2011.

Luckily, when the water rose to its highest point, almost near the ceiling, it swallowed our rented house, our important documents that were put in the bag and hanged above the ceiling were spared.

As we pulled out our things from the mud, I found myself heartbroken when I saw my portfolios that were beyond recoverable. Those portfolios were a collection of school papers where I wrote as a student journalist back in high school and college, more to that, it was a collection of bittersweet memories, not just the naiveté of idealism and grammar construction, but a larger chunk of my past that led to become who I am now.

It was a terrible loss; the portfolios were like my own version of ‘horcruxes’ where somehow at a point in my life I put a part of my soul to the pages of those student publications (don’t worry, I did not kill anyone as what in the Harry Potter books described in making ‘horcruxes’), but like anyone else especially those who were gravely affected by the storm, we have to move on.

Two years later, we asked, did we really move on? The people voted and changed the leadership but will it suffice to end the trauma that’s left of Sendong? Two years later, Pablo and Yolanda came, and we could only relate how it felt when we see our brethrens at their lowest point after the devastation.

Sendong was like the eldest brother among Pablo and Yolanda, however unlike the two, it wasn’t the strongest but we eventually fell to the ground due to unpreparedness, more or less, and when the two younger yet stronger siblings came, we now learned our lessons.

We can keep Sendong’s memories forever, but we can also keep it like it was an old friend. The deaths it caused may still be painful to some, but we were not alone in this one. We can always offer prayers and be reminded of how fragile our lives can be in times of disasters.

Today, I want to be thankful, despite unending adversities, that Sendong once became a part of my life otherwise I would be a person that’s void of consideration and understanding to those who are in need.

In a way, Sendong taught me to look into life in a different perspective: that humankind is but a fragment of this earth’s overall grandeur of diversity, much more it’s just a mere dust in the universe, and we humans never reigned supreme as we always thought we are.

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Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on December 16, 2013.


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