It's cloudy and the sky's a bit dark this afternoon as I squat here in my sister's office somewhere in the middle of a 50+ storey building in makati. I pondered, why not write something about rains? It's late May anyway, and the only government agency of hope (Pag-asa :-)) says it's officially rainy season this part of the month.
Earlier, I have thought that when typhoon Caloy 2 weeks ago dumped tons and drums of rains from Mindanao up to the Visayas, Bicol and southern Tagalog regions, 'twas the start of rainy season already. I was wrong. Of course it was bad that Caloy killed many Pinoys in the Visayas and Bicol, but Caloy also drenched the parched earths of nearby provinces and regions within the perimeter distance of its wings. These included the central and western visayas, island provinces of southern tagalog, and central and northern luzon. Yeah, if you're a typhoon, you can kill some people, but you also give life and respite from heat to many other people, animals and crops.
What I like about rains and typhoons aside from the obvious benefits of drenching and irrigating parched plants, crops and trees, is that rains and strong winds wipe off even temporarily, the thick smog and smoke of vehicle, industrial and household pollution, over the skies of congested cities. That's why it's nice to "smell" the air of urban manila immediately after a strong typhoon.
Strong rains may cause flooding in low-lying areas, other areas where drainage was clogged by garbage, sand, stones, other obstructions. But strong rains also help in unclogging canals, drainage, of those obstructions, wipe out stagnant and nostril-assaulting smell of near-dead canals.
On the part of motorists and drivers, the rains are some sort of an equalizer. Hot-tempered heads cool down; fast-blastin' cars are fewer because almost everybody is careful and slowing down. Well, for one, when the streets are flooded, you don't know where the large potholes are. But someone told you (that's me, most likely, hehe) that government took away at least P15 out of around P41 per liter of premium gasoline that you just paid at the gas station, and you wonder why there are still many potholes in the roads. The tax money went down the drainage? Hmmm....
Until about less than a decade ago, when May comes, the rains almost always come, with or without a typhoon. Nowadays, the rains would come early only when there are typhoons. That is, no typhoons, no early rains. Last year, one of the "driest" years I can remember, there wasn't much rain. Just some of the explicit proof of "global warming" perhaps that many people and environmentalist talk about.
Btway, the same group of environmentalists who complain of ground water over-extraction and global warming also oppose the construction of many golf courses. They say that during summer, those greeneries are a-gulping drums upon drums of water everyday. Yeah right, but precisely that those greeneries are gulping drums upon drums of water that they are useful during the rainy season. If those golf courses are basketball stadiums or tennis covered courts or malls and subdivisions, they'll be cemented. The rains fall on hard pavement, go straight to the drainage, onto a canal, onto a river or ocean. See, no replenishment of ground water extracted. Since those greeneries are not cemented, the grasses and trees are like thirsty monsters that gulp in as much water as they can, a big portion of which has filtered onto the ground water table.
Makes me think further, that people should minimize cementing their surroundings, especially around their houses. Yeah it can be muddy when it rains, but there's also less street flooding as the open space gulp in a big portion of the rainwater. Also, if you planted trees near your house, chances are that when those trees have grown big, they're like incredible hulk cracking and destroying those cemented walkways as their roots grow bigger and higher.
And finally, the romantic side of the rains. Our wedding give aways last December was a CD that contains 10 of our favorite songs, with a paragraph discussion of each song why we chose them. Yeah, you guess it, many of those 10 chosen songs are from my favorite rock bands -- Bruce Springsteen, Rod Stewart, Beatles, hehehe. I included one Pinoy song -- "Tuwing umuulan at kapiling ka" (originally by Basil Valdez, our version sung by Eraserheads band). Imagine you're in my no-walls treehouse, on the 2nd floor, atop a big tree, the rains are pouring hard and the winds are cold, and you're hugging your gf/bf or spouse as you watch the rains and the waving leaves of trees around you, what a feeling, right? Awwww! hehehe.