Go to Top

When getting to know one Pablo isn’t enough

Bits of stories while bracing for a super typhoon

By Kairos dela Cruz

Here goes another monumental super typhoon to hit the eastern seaboard provinces of Mindanao that will cut across Visayas and some parts of Luzon. It was locally called Pablo and internationally tagged as Bopha. I never had the chance of knowing much

Pablos in my life. In truth, I only knew one, my unpredictable head rector back in the days that I spent in a quasi-seminary. The coincidence of the name made me smile

but questions fluttered in my mind in the same extent as my old rector had when he discussed Latin in one of my many borderline incomprehensible classes.

Understanding the science of a storm and in this case a super storm only helped us understand how it started, how it will most likely behave, and how areas most likely to be affected should brace for it. We are able to measure and predict Pablo’s prowess as a super typhoon but just like the Pablo I knew, we never really know what will happen until he is here.

Lanuza_during_Pablo-2One of the many houses in Lanuza made of light materials braced for the coming Pablo typhoon. In the recent count, Lanuza houses only suffered partial damages due to heavy rainfall and strong winds. (Photo: Kairos dela Cruz)

A man of strong character and a storm worthy of prayers, coincidence and logic seemed to be in order.

“What the hell am I doing here?” was the first question I

asked when my van driver announced that we are looking at two to three hours of delay when we arrived at a major chokepoint on our way to Lanuza, Surigao del Sur- a muddy place made muddier by the rampant mining in some parts of Surigao del Norte. My rector would have looked me in the eyes in ask the same question. Wisdom triumphs over wants for that man but I can say that I came to Surigao for a reason, a reason worth braving a typhoon.

HELL is what the people of Mindanao are expecting when the news of Pablo first reached them. In Lanuza people are literally bracing for safety as their disaster-acquainted local officials brief them of what to do next and what not to do. I myself find it very important to listen to what the officials have to say during a community disaster-standby-lunch in Lanuza’s famed Surf Camp where I was billeted by my host. Fortunately, Lanuza’s LGU overshot preparations and Pablo changed its course before hitting Surigao head on.


A DRR (Disaster Risk Response) unit volunteer fetched goods in the mercado (local marketplace) to be used in cooking the volunteers’ meals in Lanuza Surf Camp during the brief typhoon Pablo hit. (Photo: Kairos Dela Cruz)

We are lucky and relieved for the sunshiny day that greeted us today but we also heard news of the havoc that Pablo made in Compostella Valley and Central Visayas. Again just like my rector, Pablo still got his way.

I meant no disrespect for the Pablos I kept on saying in this piece. My rector is a stern, strict but good man. Typhoon Pablo is of undeniable strength and prowess. It is just good comparison. I passed in my rector’s Latin class and fair with fewer tears compared to my batchmates in his continuous “life trials” when I was in high school; it is hard but I proved it passable. Hopefully, the same can be said for the many Filipinos being tried by the almost impassable typhoon Pablo.

Being hit by a storm is one thing, bracing for it is another game but coming back from such a hit is always definitive.