Driving along the coast, amid flying debris
The New York Times reporters Hannah Beech and Kimberly dela Cruz traveled along Luzon’s western and northern coasts on Saturday. Foliage, trees and rolling coconuts were strewn across the roads, which were deserted except for volunteer crews removing debris to make them passable and the occasional emergency vehicle.
In one community after another, they reported seeing downed trees and badly damaged buildings. Signs, tin roofs and gates that had been torn free flew about.
In Claveria, a corn- and rice-growing area on the northern coast, the Antonio family had fled their home about 1 a.m. for sturdier shelter. Marck James Antonio, 24, stayed behind and was struck and gashed in the right temple by flying debris. But he was conscious and still moving around.
“This was the strongest and the worst storm that I’ve ever experienced in my life,” said his mother, Teresita Antonio, 54. “I was crying before because I don’t know how I will be able to afford to fix my house.”
“It was shaking like an earthquake,” said another resident, Robert Tumaneng, 55, a fish farmer. From a road above, the area where the fish ponds once were looked like a giant lake, with the tips of submerged palm trees and thatched roofs sticking out.
Further east, in Sanchez Mira, more than 270 people had sought shelter at a community hall.
“Some people didn’t want to evacuate their homes but I forced them,” said Rewin Valenzuela, 48, a local leader. “We evacuated everyone to prevent loss of life.”
The winds made it difficult to stand outdoors but some residents were returning home, carrying mattresses and plastic buckets with food and other provisions. The roofs had been torn off other houses and a few that were built on stilts listed dangerously.
Flooding but limited damage in Manila
The 12 million residents of the metropolitan Manila area, one of the world’s most densely populated cities, appeared to have been spared major destruction as the center of the storm passed hundreds of miles to the north.
The megacity was hit by heavy rain and strong winds, with trees uprooted and flooding in some areas. Among the inundated roads was Roxas Boulevard, a major artery that runs along Manila Bay and often floods during storms.
More than 1,600 families were evacuated after the Marikina River, which runs through part of the city, began rising quickly because of runoff from nearby mountains. The police said the body of a child, about 10 years old, was found floating in the river under a bridge in Pasig, one of several cities that make up Metro Manila.
By Sunday, the river had subsided and the families were allowed to return.
The Manila area sits near sea level on the shore of Manila Bay, making it vulnerable to the typhoons that sweep in from the Pacific.