Thursday, September 17, 2009

End of the rain and a beautiful sunset

On Monday the sun came out for the first time in over a week. The weather suddenly changed from lots of rain—thanks to a series of three typhoons—to lots of sun. Our solar panels prefer the sun, as do we.

One of our readers, an American WWII veteran, made the following comments about rainy season:

Steve and Marcia,

When we landed on Leyte October 20, 1944 it started raining that evening and we had over 30 inches of rain the next 30 days. Being outside, my fatigue uniform almost rotted off me. What we called Jungle Rot became a serious problem.

Don D.

First of all, Don, we want to thank you for serving your country. Secondly, thirty inches is a lot of rain in a month. That amount of precipitation is fairly normal for an entire year in Minnesota and in the lower peninsula of Michigan. We had a total of 26 inches on Corregidor during those nine days! It got so drenched here that the run-off is still evident. In fact, the former three-million gallon water reservoir, which is very near our house, has become a waterfall for the first time we’ve noticed in the almost-year we have lived here. It and one other on Topside were built of concrete, including their surfaces, which were used for tennis courts, presumably as a disguise to conceal their true purpose. In fact, they simply may have been convenient places to put tennis courts, since the gun batteries and other strategic structures were never camouflaged. In any case, where the surface has collapsed, run-off water now cascades over the edge and into the ruins of the former storage chambers.

We have probably mentioned previously that it is quite common for it to be sunny on Corregidor while there are storm clouds over the Bataan peninsula to the north and Cavite province to the south. We have observed an interesting phenomenon since we have returned here. For the first couple of weeks, when we had mostly sunny skies and little in the way of rain, we would regularly hear thunder off in the distance, more often during the day but at nighttime as well. In contrast, during the entire nine-day rainy period, we heard thunder at most once or twice. As soon as the skies cleared over the island, the thunder started up again. Here on Corregidor, the last four days have been absolutely beautiful for sun-lovers such as we are, although there certainly have been heavy thunderstorms in the vicinity.

Last November we met Jeff C., his wife, and their three children while viewing a sunset from Battery Grubbs. Recently he asked Steve to give him and two of his friends a private tour of the island. The three of them traveled via Sun Cruises on Friday. Since his friends are presently active duty American military here in the Philippines, we won’t name them or show you their pictures, but we are including a photo that Jeff sent us of himself standing by the statue of General MacArthur. Unfortunately it rained the entire time they were here, but nonetheless Jeff emailed us and said that they said they really enjoyed the private tour. We hope for and expect others of you to join us over the coming years. Jeff says that he and his wife are saddened by the prospect that his employer is probably going to transfer him out of the islands by the end of the year, which we take as a tribute to the Filipinos for making their stay here so enjoyable.

On Saturday, Steve gave a private tour to seven young professional Filipinos who arrived by private yacht. When he introduced himself as the tour guide, one of the young ladies said, “I read that there is an old couple from America staying on Corregidor,” to which Steve replied, “That’s my wife and me. Do I look old?” she quickly recovered, saying, “Oh, no, you’re not old.” (Steve is 57, Marcia 56. We guess it’s a matter of perspective.) She then went on to correctly recall several of the things about us that were in the Philippine Daily Inquirer article. But did Ross call us old? We’ll have to go back and take another look! It reminds Steve of a story about Admiral William Halsey, commander of the U.S. Third Fleet during the Battle for Leyte Gulf, the 65th anniversary of which is only a month away. One of his sailors once confided to a crewmate, “I’d go through hell for that old son-of-a-b---h.” Halsey, who was out of sight—but within earshot—walked up to him and said, “Young man, I’m not so old!”

Once again, it rained the entire time that this group toured the island. They kindly invited Steve and Marcia to eat lunch with them. They had brought along pork adobo, prawns (jumbo shrimp), bangus (milk fish), vegetables, grapes, crackers and cheese, and of course, rice. One of the young men is a doctor practicing in OB/GYN at Makati Medical Center, the same hospital and clinic as our GP, so now Marcia has someone whom she can see when necessary.

Tuesday evening was probably the clearest that the skies have been at dusk since the onset of rainy season several months ago. So we decided to take a drive up to Battery Grubbs in hopes of witnessing a beautiful sunset, and indeed we did, with the sun disappearing from view precisely at 6:00 PM. Some bamboo shoots have started to grow in the viewing area, which may enhance the photos we took, but the rapid growth will soon make it necessary to do some clearing to recover the view. As you can see in the photos, we were treated to a very pretty scene.

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