I live in a country visited by typhoons at least twenty times a year. Today, we experienced yet another strong one, Typhoon Rammasun or Glenda as we call it. I have seen them all but I can never get used to it. The sound of the howling wind and the sight of frantically swaying trees and all kinds of debris flying always keep me worried, no matter how prepared I think I am.
We lost power starting around 3am and wanting to conserve my batteries, I would only occasionally check my phone and Facebook for messages. I was unable to sleep but couldn’t do much around the house in the absence of electricity, save for some cooking.
I got used to getting hooked to all kinds of electronic devices. I’d work on my laptop and check my social networking sites, while listening to music or watching TV. Today, I had nothing. I didn’t want to spend precious battery juice on non-emergency reasons. But I could not complain. I was dry, still comfortable and with food, compared to others who are battling the elements or sharing cramped space in an evacuation centre. And really, I welcomed being disconnected from the world.
My daughter and I read books instead. And I told her stories of how, when I spent time as a kid in a small town in Surigao del Sur, we never really had electricity. We would all have dinner by 6pm and by 7pm, we’d all be in bed. The only exception would be when there was a full moon, and we kids would all be out playing on the street, sometimes barefoot. We didn’t have television, we had transistor radios running on batteries. Our refrigerator was powered by gas, I remember seeing a square gas canister with a flame placed under the ref. Our lights were called suga, improvised lamps made of glass jars containing gas, their tin covers pierced to make space for a rag wick. Those with a little more money had Petromax, a brighter, pressurised lamp. There were no gadgets, but there were Pinoy comics. And we spent time talking to friends face to face, not thru texts or FaceTime! We might have been lacking from what the big cities have (from which I originally came from) but looking back now, all I remember is having a great time despite the lack of modern comforts!
Writing this has triggered many good memories of growing up in the province. Perhaps I should start writing about them, when life was still simple, yet exciting, and we were still disconnected.