My office for 5 days of Maring's unwanted visit
What a week. From Sunday, August 18 up till today, August 22, Thursday, the inappropriately named Tropical Storm Maring (she sounds so friendly and unassuming--like a "kumare") has wrought havoc on all of Metro Manila and several provinces in Luzon. Actually, TS Labuyo, exactly a week before the 18th, was already an omen of worse things to come. (Enough has been said, posted and televised about what our countrymen went through. Enough finger-pointing was done. I will not go into that anymore).
And so I prepared myself--not to cross the raging waters--as thankfully I live in an area with a tolerable flood level--but to answer the deluge of inquiries under one theme:
MAY PASOK BA BUKAS?
On goes the TV, the radio, the internet. Charged the phones. Reloaded endlessly from the neighborhood sari-sari store. Posted on multiple fb pages. Tweeted, retweeted ANC, DepEd, Pag-asa-DOST, the Paranaque Mayor, and every conceivable government agency. Reposted calls for donations and relief ops volunteers. Monitored news programs. Chatted with parents. Chatted with students. Chatted with other principals. Reposted Maring-memes. Group-texted coordinators and teachers. Brewed endless cups of coffee. Stopped only to eat, pee, sleep. Friended Paranaque Rescue Team, a couple of Barangay BF councilors. Heck, I even got queries from teachers from Las Pinas and Muntinlupa.
The view from my "office"
SO, MAY PASOK BA BUKAS?
Every half day, there's a different answer. Rappler.com is my go-to source of collated class suspension info. Manila Bulletin and DZMM gave erroneous reports which our mayor repeatedly asked to correct. Every tweet has to be counter-checked and cross-referenced. And then I post #veritasupdates. What makes these updates even more crucial to us all is the fact that we have scheduled 1st quarter examinations. Changing the schedules again and again to adjust to official Paranaque City declarations kept me tapping on the keyboard into the wee hours of the morning. Complicating matters is National Heroes Day (August 26), another non-class day, and possibly the National Career Assessment Exam (NCAE) for Year III, originally scheduled for Wednesday, August 28 (as of this post, no announcement of postponement from DepEd). Rescheduling regular classes is not so bad, but rescheduling TESTS is like prolonging the torture for students. We want to get it over with. I feel for you, students.
Of course, parents are also on their toes. Between making sure that their families, homes and property are secure, cleaning up the mess the habagat left behind, getting stuck in horrendous traffic coming home from work, and monitoring updates from the school, it's stress to the highest power. That is why I salute our parents for their vigilance and concern. Thank you for keeping up with me, for your suggestions and affirmations.
Our teachers are not exempted from the effects of this habagat. Their homes were inundated with water. Some had to spend days and nights away from the comforts of their homes, staying with friends and relatives, cold, hungry, afraid. We texted and called and shouted out to some, but we couldn't account for everyone until after the worst was over. Some teachers dropped by the school to work and check if everything is in order, and got stranded there when waters rose around the school. So please understand if some of us cannot make it back to work when classes resume.
And students, from what I read from your posts, you overcame your boredom and hit the books as often as you could. Some of you spent time posting "mental hospital" surveys, the Conjuring tales of fright, selfies, powerpoint reviewers and whatnot. Oh, and some did say that they "missed school". Don't we all! But most of all, the shout-out for prayers was very heartwarming, a testament to the true Veritas spirit of "faith in action".
To all Veritans, I give you a virtual group hug! Just to let you know that I'm glad our Veritas family has pulled through. Don't think that we didn't suffer enough, that we didn't do enough. Instead, let us spend the next few days learning to be better students/teachers/parents. That is an immeasurable contribution to society that we must not belittle. May we have future engineers, doctors, rescue workers, news anchors, educators, meteorologists, government workers among our ranks in the future, so that the next habagats (and there will be more , and they will be worse) will not be such a bother anymore.
So, MAY PASOK BA BUKAS?
Abangan ang susunod na update.