LOOK: Tacloban residents help stranded commuters through 'baluto' rides
MANILA, Philippines – Nonstop rains brought by Tropical Depression Agaton has left thousands of stranded passengers in ports and bus terminals across the country. Based on initial reports, the storm has also caused flooding in several areas along its path.
Among those affected by the flooding is Larry Portillo and his family in Barangay Nulatula, Tacloban City, Leyte.
In an interview with Rappler, Portillo said that they have been stranded on Tuesday, January 2, due to the waist-deep flood in the area that has paralyzed the operations of vans and tricycles. He was on his way to work by then.
"Medyo malakas ang ulan. Nagmamadali kami kasi papasok ako sa office. Kaya napilitan kami na sumakay ng maliit na banka kasi mahigit dalawang oras kami stranded," he said.
(The rain was strong. We were rushing because I was on our way to work. That is why we were forced to ride a small boat after waiting for more than 2 hours)
Fortunately, residents were there to help ferry stranded passengers across the flood in an admirable display of the spirit of bayanihan.
"Siyempre natuwa kami kasi nagawan nila ng paraan upang matawid namin ang mataas na tubig baha," he said.
(We were happy because the residents were able to find a way to ferry stranded passengers like us)
Residents used a “baluto,” a Waray term for boat. In the video posted by Portillo, residents can be seen pushing the boat, carrying at least 5 passengers at a time, through floodwaters.
The residents charged only a minimum fare of P10 for a boat ride.
The first storm to hit the country in 2018 is expected to make its 6th landfall in Palawan on Tuesday evening.
In its latest bulletin, state weather bureau Pagasa said Agaton is already 265 kilometers west of Dumaguete City, Negros Oriental or 245 kilometers east southeast of Puerto Princesa City, Palawan, still moving west at 28 kilometers per hour (km/h).
It is expected to leave the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR) on Wednesday morning, January 3. – Rappler.com