Fire, rain and a mozzie

Well, I've definitely had a very eventful few months.

First, I was admitted for dengue fever for the third time in my life in the last week of August. I was admitted for four days but, thankfully, my episode was complication-free. The key to surviving dengue is early detection, staying hydrated and being closely monitored. When you suddenly develop a high-grade fever that lasts for 3 days or more, be proactive and visit your doctor instead of self-medicating and waiting for more symptoms to appear or to get worse. Never take anything for granted especially when it comes to your health.

Then, our city came under siege when Nur Misuari's band of MNLF bandits entered Zamboanga with the intent of taking City Hall and flying their flag there to assert their independence in the early hours of September 9. What ensued was 19 days of fighting with hundreds of hostages taken, homes razed to the ground, many lives lost and terror taking over our lives. Here's an article that chronicled what happened: Timeline - The Zamboanga crisis and what went before.

My husband, our two kids and myself were able to leave the city on the 13th day of the siege when flights resumed. Despite being safe away in QC, I was still worried sick because my parents had chosen to stay in the city. My brother, who's a soldier in the PAF and a member of the medical rescue team, had to go into the hotzone several times to pick up wounded soldiers with only a kevlar vest for protection. You can probably imagine what that was like for me and my family.

Then, on October 6, the boys and I were scheduled to fly back to Zamboanga. The city had been experiencing nonstop rains for two days already and I thought the airline would be cancelling our flight but we took off anyway. On the plane's final descent, the pilot suddenly pulled up and diverted our flight to Davao because the runway in Zamboanga was flooded. After 19 days of intense fighting and continued clearing ops, Zamboanga had to deal with severe flooding the likes of which hadn't occurred since the 50s.

After refuelling in Davao, we were flown back to Manila and our tickets were rebooked to another date. We stayed another five days in QC before we were finally able to return home.

Today, our city is trying to rebuild what was destroyed in the fighting and the flooding. Hundreds are still homeless and hungry. People are still fearful and paranoid. It's going to take some time before any of us can say that life is truly back to normal but we're trying. With God's blessing, we will get there.

Mood Music: Hey World (Don't Give Up) by Michael Franti