A rare look at the eye of a typhoon

Oldtimers remember the time when the eye of typhoon “Sening” passed over Virac in the morning of Oct. 13, 1970.

After the winds of the eyewall passed, then came clear sky and a barely perceptible breeze. People went out, thinking the tempest was over, and began clearing the debris and sweeping their yards.

Minutes later, the stormy winds returned, with the surprised residents running back into the safety of their houses.

It was in 1995 when Viracnons experienced being near the typhoon’s eye when Rosing came by on the night of Nov. 2, 1995. As I and two others tried to brave the storm inside the farmhouse in Palnab, we could see lightning flashing, but no thunder, in the sky above.

Before the roof came flying off, we went inside the comfort room, taking with us a thermos of hot water, bread, coffee and sugar.

By the time it was light, we could not budge the door open. A GI sheet had struck the door right in the middle but failed to pierce it while a coconut tree fell on the roof of our shelter.

It would be three years later, on the night of Oct. 21, 1998, when typhoon Loleng’s eye came right over Virac. From our rented apartment, my wife and I, together with our then one-year old eldest son, had evacuated to the two-storey house of Noel Sampag.

When the weather turned calm, my wife asked me to go over to her parents’ house about 200 meters away. Armed with a flashlight, I went outside and came upon a wondrous but chilling sight: the eye of Loleng right above me.

I was staring into a sky of blinking stars, framed by a wall of dark clouds forming half of a circle, the other half somewhere to the other side of Virac near the sea. The blackness of the eyewall was constantly broken by flashes of soundless lightning.

I managed to shake myself clear of the terrifying sight and rushed towards my in-laws’ house, gingerly stepping over or under wires and electric posts leaning towards the south.

Reaching the house and finding them safe, I helped close the windows at the back kitchen just as Loleng’s ferocious winds came back.

When it was morning and safe to come out, I went back to my family, treading my way past the wires and the posts now leaning towards the north.

FICELCO has already energized Viga town and Palumbanes island in Caramoran last Saturday, and then the capitol building on Monday afternoon.

Its crews, assisted by the Meralco and Task Force Kapatid crews sent by the national government and PhilRECA, are now installing posts and stringing wires along Moonwalk and at the main highway in San Isidro Village.

It could take probably before the end of November to light up a large part of the poblacion, as the priority of the rehab work are the vital government facilities like the hospital and key offices.

Last week, the Missionary Families of Christ (MFC), through the No One In Need ministry last week sent 300 relief packs for its members in the Virac district who were affected by super typhoon Rolly.
The ministry is now gathering data on MFC members who lost their homes so it could ask for assistance from the national leadership headed by Servant General Frank Padilla.

There were supposed to be seven (7), not six, deaths directly attributable to Rolly.

This last addition is Winnie Suaverdez Subion, a resident of Cabugao, Bato, who was seriously injured when the wind blew a door into her face as she was cleaning the flooded floor.

She was brought to the hospital just after the typhoon but fell into a coma. After she was rushed to tbe Bicol Regional Training and Teaching Hospital, she died from her injuries on Nov. 4.

Why she was not included in the list of casualties in Bato remains to be determined.
Her husband, who will now raise their three children on his own, was disappointed that he was not able to get the P30,000 assistance given by PCSO to the families of those who died in the storm.

IT IS NOT WIDELY KNOWN that Adolf Hitler was very keen on the occult. He went to a fortune teller hoping that the woman could tell him how long he would live.

After careful charting, she said, “I can’t predict the exact date of your death, but I do know that you will die on a Jewish holiday.”

“And which holiday will this be?” he asked.

“It does not matter,” she replied. “Any day that you die will be a Jewish holiday.”

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