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Write Up Flash Flood

Write Up Flash Flood

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Published by Ian Martinez
This article recounts our near tragic experience of hiking in Ipo Watershed and almost being swept away by a flash flood during the night.

It highlights the problem of illegal logging within the watershed and tries to explain the complex nature of issues surrounding the protection of the same.
This article recounts our near tragic experience of hiking in Ipo Watershed and almost being swept away by a flash flood during the night.

It highlights the problem of illegal logging within the watershed and tries to explain the complex nature of issues surrounding the protection of the same.

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Published by: Ian Martinez on Dec 31, 2009
Copyright:Traditional Copyright: All rights reserved

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07/04/2013

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Do you know that flash flood has a taste? It tastes like a coin, infused with a hint of moss made complicatedby the gritty texture of dirt and unbridled fear. That’s how flash flood tastes like. I had my face dunked intosuch a sordid concoction one weekend when we set out for Ipo to find a waterfall that the dumagats havedescribed as immensely beautiful. We were also there to collect evidence of illegal logging and documentthe damage caused by widespread kaingin within the Ipo Watershed.Ipo Watershed lies south of Angat Dam in Norzagaray, Bulacan. It supplies 12% of Metro Manila’s water thatcomes from the system of watersheds that includes the veritable Angat and Lamesa watersheds.Most city-dwellers in Quezon City are not aware that they live at the fringes of an urban complex that isGreater Manila, where the foothills of the great Sierra Madre Range begin. A quick bus ride from Philcoatakes you at the boundary where city chatter and indigenous folklore effervesce into an early morning sceneneither rural nor urban; where there exist banks but no ATM machines; where there are motor vehicles yet
 
petrol was sold by the bottle; where towns are named “Bigte” and other such names that piques your curiosity.We arrived topside of the Ipo Dam at around 8am. The sound of water rushing through the dam’s spillwaywas disconcerting. To see both the large expanse of green still water on the catchment side of the dam, andthe lethargic river on the downstream toe of the dam more than a hundred meters below was disorienting.Your imagination will irresistibly be drawn towards the side where sheets of water flow just underneath your feet only to disintegrate into white mist and spray at the bottom of the gully.
 
As I packed and repacked my bag amidst this scene, I was nudged by an ominous feeling which was madeeven heavier by the dark rain clouds that hung over the watershed.Our trip even before it started was typified by uncertainty on almost all levels. The weather was uncertain asthe system that was crawling across Luzon was relegated to low pressure area status by the weather bureau, even as it dumped rain all across the Metro for the most part of the week.As to how we were to get to the watershed, there was a problem with the vehicle that was reserved to us byManila Water - apparently, it was no longer available. There was also uncertainty on whether we could enter the watershed owing to the weather. Ipo dam is a secured facility with its own complement of private securityguards augmented by an army outpost. Manila Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) is presently incharge of security and if they deem it too dangerous for us to proceed owing to the rain, they may refuse togrant us entry into the watershed.

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