I heaved a sigh of relief the moment I stepped into an empty taxi in Pasong Tamo near Waltermart in Makati. Terminal 3, I told the driver. He sped off and I smiled. It was already 6 AM and it was still unusually dark as it drizzled.
Typhoon Mario was enroute to northern Luzon from the Pacific and Metro Manila was wet. One and a half hour ago, I got worried when I woke as it rained. The part of Makati City where I live is prone to flooding and continuous rains can easily raise the waters. I peeked at the window and was relieved that I can still see the pavement.
But after breakfast at a carinderia, I walked to Dela Rosa St. and found it flooded already that I backtracked and waited. Five minutes passed and I got worried that when a Libertad jeep passed, I flagged it and rode till I got to Pasong Tamo Ave.
Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 3 was already crowded. There were long lines to the Cebu Pacific check-in counters for various destinations that it took me more than 20 minutes to have my turn. As I got to boarding gate 119, I just felt a sense of achievement. By 8 AM, I will be flying to Laguindingan Airport in Misamis Oriental and will be in Iligan before lunch.
People were abuzz, some were sleeping or reading a book. While others were busy with their Ipads and smartphones while I was just browsing online. Fifteen minutes before boarding and the first service announcement for our flight blurted out:
Good morning… Cebu Pacific flight 5J 383 bound for Cagayan de Oro. We regret to inform you that your flight is put on hold due to lightning alert level 3 in Manila station. Please remain seated and wait for further announcements.
Sigh. It was raining with lightning flashes. The passengers in my gate started to swell as those from other flights who were also assigned here started coming in.
Good morning… Cebu Pacific flight 5J… Bacolod… Dumaguete… Puerto Princesa… we regret to inform you that… put on hold… adverse weather conditions…
An hour passed. Two. Three. And we became restless. I was just keeping my patience as my Ipad’s battery, from 100% went down to 50%. If this flight will be cancelled, I won’t push through with Iligan, I said to myself.
Good morning… Cebu Pacific flight 5J… Dipolog, we regret to inform you that your flight has been cancelled… proceed to…
The one Dipolog flight axed. But ours and for other destinations were still put on hold. Past noon, as the rains started to lessen, PAL was boarding its passengers bound south while we were advised to remain in our gate.
Cebu Pacific flight 5J 383 bound for Cagayan de Oro, the turnaround aircraft has just landed… remain seated…
We were relieved at the announcement! Five hours after the designated flight time, we were now lined up at the counter and proceeding to boarding! Unfortunately, while we rejoiced at finally flying out, Metro Manila was inundated.