Song: Pumapatak Na Naman Ang Ulan
Artist: Apo Hiking Society
I’m old enough now to know that this song has references to alcohol-which is probably the reason why my mother refused to teach it to me as a child, though I asked her to numerous times because I found it catchy.
Much of what I remember of the Philippines is soaking wet; streets with inadequate drainage formed temporary rivulets when the rainy season hit. Painted stripes on trees along the roads marked the levels at which the water would be cause for alarm. What alarmed me was that the markings were well above my head, and in that condition I doubted the swimming power of my own brown limbs. Our family was lucky in that our house wasn’t situated at the very bottom of a hill, and thus wasn’t likely to float away during the night (or, at least, that was ever the soothing explanation whispered by a weary parent already in bed).
Still, I don’t remember a single monsoon ever being severe enough to warrant blaring sirens and the summoning of thousands indoors into the nearest available windowless underground room. As I sat this afternoon in the basement of Lewis with my fellow Chicks during the severe weather warning, I was struck by this difference as I have grown up and come here: that now, I wait here, mostly grudging the interruption in my busy day, when back then I would be huddling over there, grasping the edge of my blanket up to my chin, wondering how long I could stand to wait before I would need to glide over to the next room for some reassurance.