Upon returning to Lianga last Thursday afternoon after a short trip to the town of San Agustin some 26 kilometers away, I came upon a sight I have not seen before. What I saw were streets in the center of town awash with muddy water flowing like rivers into already overflowing canals and drainage ditches. Lianga was getting flooded.
I knew it had been raining almost constantly the past week or so before that and since early morning of that very day, the rain had been coming down in torrents interspersed with short periods of relatively light showers that can often lull one into believing that the deluge is finally coming to an end but, in reality, are actually periods of relative calm before the heavy downpour begins again.
Meteorologists are blaming the northeast monsoon winds for the persistent wet weather in the northeastern Mindanao area where Lianga is located but many old-timers here are saying that the weather patterns are changing and that the current rainy weather which has become more and more prevalent this time of the year for the last decade or so is indicative of the changing global climate brought about by global warming and other factors directly linked to human abuse and destruction of the natural environment.
The good thing is that whatever flooding Lianga is experiencing nowadays is largely transient and temporary. It's relative nearness to the sea ensures that excess water eventually manages to find ways to escape confinement and as the volume of rain slackens, the flood waters recede relatively quickly as well.
Still the vision of Lianga streets turned to muddy and flooded rivers was a new and rather disturbing sight for me and a grim harbinger of what may be in store for the town if these rains continue unabated. I had seen nearby towns like Barobo and San Francisco get positively flooded just by several hours of hard rain. But not Lianga.
Perhaps times are indeed changing.