Cate Paspos

“Malakas ba ulan? Naligo ka na e.” 

Instead of asking what station I would descend to, the ticket agent from the train station shocked me with her empathetic question, which made me curious about how I looked. Was I soaking wet? My soles were intact as I wore a high cut and avoided puddles. My clothes were not that wet. I touched a strand of my hair and realized how the agent sympathized with my situation; I should have brought shampoo if I only knew this would happen.

Cartoon by Joseph Idusora

It’s been raining in Manila, and no one should enjoy it — or those who have watched Bong Joon Ho’s Parasite thought. The rain’s enraging lightning and thunder are secondary to the fear that flooding stresses the lousy drainage system, creating discomfort for public commuters, farmers, fishermen, and our fellow citizens as it threatens their livelihood. How could you enjoy someone else’s suffering? However, these Twitter film critics who gatekeep people from liking the season forget the director’s societal commentary; everything is hard when you are poor. 

The Philippines goes through two distinct seasons, each presenting its challenges. In one, we endure scorching heat; in the other, floodwaters surge and swell. El Niño takes a toll on our underpaid farmers, destroying their crops, and La Niña does the same. We cannot change these weather patterns as it is bound to occur to sustain our environment. Rain is not the problem; it is the pre-existing societal conditions we must be resilient to.

I was soaking wet before I got into the metro rail transit for not having a public transportation option from Ortigas Center to Shaw Boulevard Station. I had to avoid puddles as sidewalks had been turned into parking lots, making them almost non-existent. A 20-minute walk is not a struggle; it is the situation where we have to walk just to get to the mountain high station. So when storms fall, we are forced to bear the already unbearable. 

You should not feel guilty for liking the rain; you should be angered by how only a few have access to shelter and food even before such disasters occur. While we appreciate the soothing downpour, it is crucial to recognize the hardships that some face during the rainy season, especially when it leads to flooding, challenging our transportation and livelihood. Rather than feeling guilty, let us channel our emotions towards empathy and concern for those who bear the brunt of such challenging circumstances.

While enjoying the rain and acknowledging its societal aspect of hardships and dangers may seem contradictory, it is, in fact, an opportunity for empathy and awareness. By appreciating the beauty of rain, we foster a deeper connection with nature and develop a sense of responsibility to protect our environment and invest in sustainable infrastructure. Simultaneously, understanding the challenges it brings allows us to be more compassionate towards those who bear the brunt of its impact and work towards creating a more equitable society. 

Let the sound of rain resonate and calm your anxious mind. But, with your privilege, remember to amplify the societal endeavors of Filipinos. We would have loved the Philippines if it were a country with a humane minimum wage, convenient transportation, and accessible healthcare. After all, if the Kim family deserves to live in a comfortable residence, Filipinos do too.