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Typhoon Xangsane (Milenyo) swept through Metro Manila last Sept 28 and downed heaps of trees and severing powerlines. This plunged the city into darkness and as of this time some parts of the city are still without power. The economic costs are now in the billions. Many businesses are still shut. Gas stations are still shut.

A day after the storm I made a round of the trees in the UP Campus and observed that the introduced trees like acacias were downed but the indigenous trees like narra and dao are still standing. We have been promoting the planting of native trees for quite sometime and some people scoffed at our ideas. They said these trees don't grow fast, don't give much shade and were not pretty. Yes some of the native trees do not grow that fast, but slow growing trees tend to root much better. Trees that don't root well are easily toppled even by a tropical depression.

Looks like we have been proven right! :)

The typhoon also did deflate some politicians. For the schadenfreud crazy, the storm is a time of unbridled joy. I saw a GMA cares billboard impaled on a tree with the President's face stuck on a branch! :) All those silly self-promoting billboards of local politicians were blown down! :) And best of all, one of Bayani Fernando's trademark urinals was blown away! Also his "fascist" pink fences and signs were ripped apart! The storm slaughtered the posters of the Left too. I saw a CPP-NDF propaganda streamer ripped apart!

Typhoons do not respect politicians! And neither the marketing gurus who placed those billboards on EDSA.

It was quite refreshing to see those billboards gone. Xangsane knocked down almost all of them save one. And that single sign that was spared was owned by the San Jose Seminary that advertised "Priesthood"! OK, Xangsane feared God but was not impressed with Dr Vicky Belo. The Belo billboard with its enhanced beauties were blown away and so was the one owned by competitor, Dr Calayan. The storm thumbed up at banks too. Credit card adverts were cut into pieces. Sic transit gloria mundi.

On a more serious note it took a storm for government to start thinking about the safety considerations of advertising. It was tragic that a lorry driver was crushed by one of those toppled signs.

It seems that energy officials have a lot of explaining to do. At first they couldn't even find out the real score why all the powerlines were downed. Duh! While they really were overwhelmed by all the felled trees, their job should have been made easier if we had a culture of volunteerism. Communities should do the clean-up and not wait for the authorities.

Well I think we have learned something from this storm.


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