Anna Velas-Suarin

Tornado hits my neighborhood in New Manila, Quezon City

We were caught by surprise. We were preparing our late breakfast of toasted bread and sunny side-up eggs when suddenly, the winds outside roared angrily, as if crying out, warning us to take refuge. We hurriedly looked outside our kitchen windows and realized those are not ordinary winds…

We were shocked when we went outside to see the fallen trees and electric posts.

Indeed, we are witnessing the brunt of a buhawi (tornado). The angry wind was whirling and pulling and out of fear, JR and I grabbed each other and ran to our bedroom, thinking it was the only safe place where the glass windows are not open. We remember closing the windows last night. Just as we were about to go right inside, we saw that the third window (which we cannot even open before this day) was wide open and, therefore, there will be a danger that it can be pushed by the wind, breaking the glass in the process…so we stayed under the door frame, partially covering ourselves with the door, and prayed loudly, “Lord, please save us!”

We stood there, holding each other, the sounds of the winds and possibly, of roofs and falling trees all around us…All these happened in about ten to fifteen seconds. And then there was quiet.

We checked each other, hugged, and shouted, “Thank you, Lord! Thank you, angels, we are safe!” And then we checked our house. The eggs that JR were cooking are now with twigs and leaves from the trees outside. There were debris of dust, leaves, and twigs everywhere, even on our bed and pillows. My laptop was covered with big particles of dust and soil. All our picture frames on top of the refrigerator toppled over. The laundry area is a total mess although the protective wall (of steel and thick wire) remained intact. Splattered on the white walls up to the ceiling are debris of leaves and soil.

Outside our unit, we were met by the family who lives just next to ours. They, too, were still in shock. We exchanged stories about how we dealt with the tornado. They asked if the protective wall in our laundry area was also destroyed like what happened to theirs. Amazingly, we told them that it seemed ok.

Even in the middle of a disaster aftermath, we still kept our sense of humor. We told them how our breakfast eggs are now covered with twigs. Not to be outdone, they went to their unit and came out again and showed us what happened to their newly-cooked rice—now covered with leaves and twigs, too! Apparently, the winds blew away the cover of the rice cooker! I told them they can re-cook it as fried rice!

We checked the damages outside and were shocked to see the fallen trees in Poinsettia Street (which intersects our street). The old and lovely trees of the convent across our house fell over. A Meralco post fell on the street, too, as if defeated. A piece of a roof that flew from a house now hangs from a cable of an electric post. Looking up outside our veranda, we saw someone’s pair of pants hanging from the top of another electric post! (Photos of the tornado’s aftermath are below this post).

Back in our unit, we also wondered how the third window in our bedroom opened. Most of all we wondered why the glass windows did not break, not even one, when the roofs of our neighbors were blown away. Must be that the glasses are much stronger and safely secured than the roofs or…we were saved by our angels.

Indeed, there are mysteries that we cannot answer. We are still shaken–dealing with the aftermath of our own adrenalin rush—and somewhat tired, almost feverish, but we know we are safe. Thanks to our friends and families who sent concerned text messages, love, and prayers.

We share with you all this part of our journey as we also pray for the safety of other Filipinos who are still dealing with the floods and the aftermath of typhoon Falcon. I also take this chance to ask all of you to do a little deed like planting a tree when you have the chance. Global warming certainly affects atmospheric conditions and aggravates the impact of storms and weather disturbances so even the simple act of planting more trees will definitely mean a lot to many people particularly those who are living in risk- and flood-prone areas.


Below are photos of the aftermath of the small tornado that hit New Manila, Quezon City. Photos taken through HTC Tattoo phone camera.

Street sign across our house. The convent across our house (their main gate is in Poinsettia St.) lost several of their well-loved trees.

Fallen Trees in Poinsettia Street

Another shot of the fallen trees outside the convent.

These are the trees that fell down near our house.

A Meralco electric post that fell near our house.

This piece of metal that hangs from an electric cable used to be part of the roof of a house near ours.

Pants blown away to an electric post. I wonder whose pair is this…

A tree branch now hangs from a cable near our veranda windows.

Our house was luckily spared although the laundry area was in a complete mess after the tornado. The next-door unit’s protective wall and grills in the laundry area were smashed though.

The picture frames on top of the refrigerator toppled over. We consider it another small miracle that nothing was broken despite the very fierce winds.

There were leaves and twigs everywhere our house after the tornado.

Our breakfast eggs were quite “seasoned” with twigs and soil debris.

Our neighbor showed their rice to us. The cover of the rice cooker was blown away and the debris of twigs, leaves, and soil literally covered the top of their steamed rice.

Media coverage teams went to check the damage and get footages. ABS-CBN reported live from the site, in the evening. This photo was taken from our veranda.

Quezon City Mayor Herbert Bautista also came to check the damages. Here, he is being interviewed by the media.


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