Here Comes The Rain Again…
Late June marks the beginning of the rainy season, which lasts until November. The Philippines sees weather cooler but more humid than what the locals call “summer heat” during April and May.
However, what might be inconvenient for those fortunate to live in the high and dry areas of central Makati, Bonifacio Global City, Ortigas and Alabang, for much of Metro Manila the often torrential rains threaten livelihoods, homes and health.
Manila’s relentless growth, inadequate planning and decaying drainage has meant that thousands live in areas that regularly flood. Here surges can destroy whole neighbourhoods as happened with Typhoon Ondoy in 2009 which killed 500 nationwide, and in 2012 when 8 days of continual rain left 100 dead.
For those not used to the tropics, the heaviness of rain and speed at which it brings flooding and create traffic problems can be a surprise. We advise that you limit journeys, use the internet or media to assess the latest situation and postpone or cancel all but necessary journeys, especially those to flood-prone areas.
Also consider using the trains on the Light Rail Transit (LRT) or Metro Rail Transit (MRT) lines, and consider also any staff that you have.
So which areas to avoid?
Flood Prone Places to Avoid
There are many places within Metro Manila that are notorious for flooding, and the map illustrates these city wide.
The northern fringes of the city where the rivers flow down to the Pasig River are vulnerable. Therefore, it is best to avoid Caloocan, Malabon, Navotas and Valenzuela (collectively known as the CaMaNaVa area), should be avoided especially during high tide.
The Marikina River is an attractive part of the metropolis and is well maintained in what is regarded as the best kept of Metro Manila’s 13 cities. Whilst it’s highly recommended for a Sunday stroll it can become a raging torrent after a heavy rain and can flood the vicinity.
España Boulevard, Sampaloc
Despite major repairs to prevent flooding, this part of Manila City still gets flooded from time to time which is a big problem for students and employees of major universities in the area like University of Santo Tomas, Centro Escolar University and Far Eastern University.
Parts of West Makati, especially near Washington Avenue, and the area near where Pasong Tamo/Chino Roces and Gil Puyat/Buendia meet are the wettest parts of Makati and whilst not deadly can mean water too high for cars.
Cubao, Quezon City
Consider rescheduling your trip or avoiding East Rodriguez Avenue and Santa Mesa areas which get flooded easily as well.
Taft Avenue, Manila
The area near Taft Avenue should be avoided particularly from Quirino Avenue to Padre Faura St. and also at Lawton Plaza.
Health Risks Of Floodwater
One other consideration. Floodwater is also a threat to health. Skin exposed to flood water is vulnerable to infection cause by leptospirosis. Leptospirosis is a bacterial infection caused by a bacteria with the genus Leptospira which comes from rat urine. If wading in floodwater cannot be avoided, it would be best to wear waterproof boots.
Be extra mindful of wading in floodwater if you have an open wound on your feet as that could be a point of entry for the Leptospira. Once you reach home, make sure to thoroughly wash your feet with warm water and soap. If possible, use a strong antibacterial and antifungal soap.
How To Behave
One thing that is very evident in rainy season is the cheerful and friendly nature of local people. We should always remember two important things about being here.
Firstly, you are a guest, and complaining may offend or embarrass people. The problems of this country are largely because of foreign intervention, and efforts are being made by many sincere people. For example in reducing the use of plastic bags.
Secondly, getting angry or abusive will embarrass those around you, who will lose any respect for you.
So deal with adversity the Filipino way – smile, and remember – all this moisture is very good for a young looking complexion!
Author: Rueben von Hanen
Top photo, pretty girl with umbrella – http://purehdwall.com/beautiful-wallpaper/beautiful-kid-under-red-umbrella-hd-image.html
Ayala Avenue Underpass when it rains – https://whattaworld.wordpress.com/category/uncategorized/
Flood Map: http://www.nababaha.com/flood/metro_manila/metro_manila.html
Flood in Espana St. – http://radicalmind.org/newsblog/index.php?picturesShow/129/
Flood in Lawton Plaza – http://www.westernpacificweather.com/2012/08/07/westpac-weather-interactive-live-update-typhoon-12w-haikui/
An Expat’s First Flood by Derek Stewart
Flood Precautions: A Necessity during Wet Season in Metro Manila by Pacific Strategies and Assessments