THE DAY AFTER CHRISTMAS IN BORACAY (Typhoon Ursula Update- Dec. 26, 2019)

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My room is pitch-dark. The only source of light is my mobile phone’s screen whose power I am trying to conserve. It has been more than 36 hours since power throughout the island has been shut down because of Typhoon Ursula. Bearing a storm signal number three, Ursula wreaked havoc on the beautiful island of Boracay leaving roofless houses and uprooted trees and electric poles in its track on Christmas Day. According to a friend who has been living on the island for five years, Ursula is the strongest yet to hit the island. Yes…. stronger than Yolanda.

The E-trikes plying the Boracay Main Road have lessened. Tricycles running on fuel are scarce and will soon cease to run once the island’s limited fuel supply becomes depleted. Some hotels have generator sets but their generator sets cannot run 24/7 to avoid overheating and would also have to be refilled. The queue in gasoline stations are long, too. Hence, hotel owners have to ration powersupply.

All communication lines have been cut off. No Smart. No Globe. No SMS. No data. No internet. No Facebook.

All ATMs are offline. My cash on hand will soon need replenishment. And, I have no idea how to produce the dough. There is also no way of receiving money via Palawan. Money transfers are offline, too.

While bar tending, a guest told me that she and her daughter have decided to cut short their vacation and leave the island first thing tomorrow because they have no means of paying for their accommodation. No credit card transactions. No Visa. No Mastercard. Further, she shared to me that she was trying to console another guest earlier in the morning who was so worried because he does not have enough cash to pay for his food in the coming days.

Some of my friends lost their houses to the raging winds of Ursula. To them, this Christmas is their saddest yet.

My room is still pitch dark. This time I am hearing one of my staff snore almost rhythmically to the beat of my neighbor’s generator set. I let my two staff stay with me since their boarding house was literally blown away.

According to rumors, power maybe restored in a week’s time. Communication lines? No one knows. ATMs going online? Nobody knows. We are, unfortunately, cut off from the rest of the world.

I reapplied a generous amount of off lotion. Only in my swimming trunks, I hope I get to sleep soundly tonight. I know that tomorrow will be better.

Merry Christmas, Boracay!

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