On the tube: Fury of the elements

Overwhelming on the ground and breathtaking from the sky.

Expect that view when nature comes blazing, crashing, and flooding. And expect it captured on television.

After the storm of politicians, the days between President Aquino’s inauguration and his State of the Nation Address lent themselves to a flurry of other tempests.

They piled upon each other, a mix of man-made and natural, involving great doses of water and the disco-sounding trio of earth, wind, and fire.

* * * * *

First it was typhoon Basyang (International name Conson). I was at the PAGASA center the night it hit, listening to worsening predictions of its path.

Teams were deployed to south and central Luzon, the office wary of storms after the wrath of Ondoy and Pepeng. (Read: In the eye of 2 storms)

Yet from the looks of it, the weather bureau was assuring all that the “Lola” would wreak minimal damage to Metro Manila.

And then the lights went out.

Minor in rain, Basyang majored in wind. It felled trees, electric posts, and anything thin and tall. Plus this giant crane at Paranaque that became a metaphor for the day-long toll of power, mobility, and the Filipinos’ capacity to cope.

Niko Baua’s team reached it first early morning and stayed till evening.

* * * * *

Everything else stemmed from the storm’s course. A vendor made a killing after we bought almost 2 dozen kilos of her P40/kilo bangus that night in Sucat.

Fish pens wrecked by the winds set loose the milkfish on the shores of Laguna de Bay. They assured us it was fresh, and the red gills said so.

More fish figured in the news days after. Sky Patrol caught “islands” of rotting fish floating in the hundreds on the lake.

Nearer ground, the smell was worse. Apples Jalandoni went live on Bandila inches from the dark shore, permeated with the stench, to tell that locals were having the fish for dinner.

* * * * *

Further south, fish and aquatic life were also reeling from Basyang.

A ship outside the coast of Rosario, Cavite had to let down its anchor during the storm. It secured the ship, but pierced a decades-old oil pipeline below.

Fisherfolk lost their wares, as the largely rural town was surprised to find a pipe and ecological nightmare under its waters.

The team battled traffic to reach Cavite in time for TV Patrol. After the boys improvised holds for our antenna mast amid the strong wind, I had to balance editing for two reporters–Niko Baua and Bernadette Sembrano.

* * * * *

Remember “Water, water, everywhere, nor any a drop to drink?”

First it rained. A week later, faucets in parts of Metro Manila stopped dripping. And then with all timing, fires began to burst.

A blaze struck the shanties bordering the Department of Agriculture offices. Our AM team was about to call it a day when we were advised to head out there.

Our van crammed with a number of fire trucks into the corner of North Avenue and the Quezon City Eliptical Road. What water they were supposed to ration around the city they poured over the fire. And some still ran out.

Another group replaced ours, but when I returned to the newsroom, I was sent back to edit a VO for Wheng Hidalgo, 1 of the 3 reporters there.

One thing you could thank the rains for. By the time we hit the top story of TV Patrol, they had doused all the flames.

* * * * *

No package of these stories would be complete without Sky’s aerial shots. Thus, despite the crunch time, we had to transmit the edited stories back so a segment producer could add in those very exclusive takes.

The combined fury of these elements show how unpredictable our world has become, and highlight the many problems our people and President have to address.

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One comment on “On the tube: Fury of the elements

  1. Pingback: Mina’s mixed signals « PinoyJourn: Stories behind the Stories

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