Commuters’ umbrellas, raincoats not enough for ‘Falcon’ rains
MANILA, Philippines—Makati city commuters seemed prepared for Tropical Storm “Falcon,” armed with umbrellas, rain coats, and even flip-flops for the flood. But they seemed to be caught off-guard by the storm’s strength.
Commuters were left stranded and soaked at the MRT Magallanes station on Thursday evening as PRC-bound jeepneys usually plying Chino Roces Avenue were scarce when rain, wind and floods brought by tropical storm “Falcon” became worse.
“Wala nang dadaan diyan (No jeepney will come anymore),” a vendor packing up his makeshift stall pointed out to the hopeful commuters still lined along the sidewalk, huddled under their umbrellas.
While seemingly prepared and willing to brave the ankle-high floods in flip-flops, the small crowd soon abandoned hopes and ran for cover as rainfall became so thick the wind direction was visible.
A ‘padyak’ driver tried to brave the low flood, but strong winds ripped off the tarpaulin coating of his pedicab before he could even pick up passengers. He ended up pushing his pedicab back under the safety of the Magallanes train station.
Umbrellas proved futile as strong winds would only turn them up, leaving owners struggling to hold on. Broken umbrellas could be seen stuffed inside trash cans, or abandoned along a nearby overpass.
A couple who were on their way to Bicutan, Taguig, instead of boarding a bus, chose to wait the rain out at the Magallanes train station, which was near a commercial center. “We may be able to board a bus, but we’ll have a problem when we disembark,” the man complained, in Filipino.
Jackets also proved futile against the rain. Despite the strong, cold wind, a man waiting the rain out at the station’s stairway started to remove his jacket, noting it only made him feel colder because it was soaked.
Even at the overpass above the train station, passersby were trying to keep the wind and rain at bay with umbrellas, hooded jackets, rain coats. They would reach the other end soaked, anyway.
Inside the station, water trickled from the ceiling and onto the wet floor. A janitor was scooping up puddles with a dust pan and transferring the water to a pail.
A janitress inside the commercial center patiently cleaned up the foot tracks of stranded customers, all the while saying, in Filipino: “Be careful, the floor’s slippery.”
People started to trickle out of the commercial center an hour before it closed at 10 p.m. The rain had abated by then.
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