disaster eating (Ondoy series part 5)

I haven’t mentioned anything regarding food except our breakfast last September 26. No we didn’t live by relief goods. There were none that came into our area. We were lucky to have saved the ref but since there was no electricity, most of the food left inside will soon spoil. In the evening of that Saturday, when it became apparent that we will remain underwater for at least one more day, I went on a cooking spree. I had to cook everything there was to be cooked so we would have food while we’re stuck in the flood. We can’t go out, except on foot, because our vehicles were useless. And even if we did go out, there was nothing that can be bought nearby.

makeshift kitchen & dining area

From our freezer I was able to dig up talakitok, bisugo, galunggong, pusit (don’t we love seafood?), ground pork, and burger patties. There weren’t much options as to how to cook them. Adobo, paksiw, prito. It was all I could do to make sure we could preserve the food in the absence of a refrigerator.

cooking by the candlelight

The rice dispenser was rescued so we have rice. The gas stove got wet but thank God the gas range was secured and gas tank just floated in the water. The water purifier also got saved so we have water to drink. The babies had two 5-gallon bottles of distilled water stashed somewhere so they had something to drink as well. Turo was probably afraid to go hungry. Before raising some of the food stuff to the top cupboard shelf, he instinctively remembered to bring up the basket of onion and garlic and some basic condiments. The giant cleaver and the wooden stool we had in the laundry became my best buddies. They were the only stuff we could use for chopping. The chopping board and chef’s knife must be floating elsewhere.

panggisa basics

It was really a blessing that we got to save some of the basic cooking stuff. Our neighbors failed to retrieve theirs and had only been munching on biscuits for most of the day. We found this out when we asked how they were a little before dinner. The boys then got busy figuring out how to transfer cooked food from our window to theirs. I would never had imagined we were going to be exchanging food in plastic bags tied to a stick each meal for the next days. We always shared food with our neighbors, exchanged viands when somebody cooked something special, used space in the others’ refrigerators when one doesn’t have space in theirs. But food at the end of the stick, this was definitely another thing. I didn’t have photos for this as I was busy with my cooking assignment. But this went on for a couple of days more while we still can’t go out because of flood water and thick mud.

my best buddies

At the end of that day I had adobong isda (2 kinds of fishes), paksiw na bisugo, adobong pusit, ginisang giniling na baboy, and fried burger patties. This fed us and our neighbors for the next two days. On the succeeding days, we managed to survive on a basket of canned goods and fresh herbs from our garden. Corned beef, luncheon meat, sausage & mushroom a la salpicao (brother’s recipe), corn & chili soup, tuna-basil casserole.

disaster eating

I was getting worried on how much preservatives we were getting inside our bodies after eating too much canned goods, but we decided we were not going to buy anything from outside just yet. The Marikina market, where we do our palengke, was flooded. The supermarkets in Sta. Lucia and Robinson’s were probably flooded as well. I heard stories from neighbors who tried to go out to buy food and came back six hours later. Transportation was difficult and there was tremendous traffic from having most of the roads blocked by either cars on top of each other or thick mud on the streets. We prioritized cleaning up after the mess left by the flood. We had babies and we needed to sanitize our living areas the soonest possible. We can’t risk anybody getting sick because of the too dirty conditions both inside and outside our house. And when everyone is just about too tired to continue cleaning up, we had with us the biggest reward, truly a luxury at that time of disaster.

a luxury

I’m no coffee drinker, but yes, freshly boiled coffee kept us going and going and going even as we think we can go on no more.


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