September 23, 2009. I was in the kitchen soaking up the reports of Ond0y in the newspapers. My morning tea had become tepid, although it was just a moment ago that I had prepared it.

Isabelle, my house help, came in through the back door at eight. ‘Malamig’! ‘Malakas ng hangin’! That was how she greeted me that morning. Not with the usual good morning, ma’m. I wondered why she spoke Tagalog. Maybe Tagalog expressed the feelings of ‘cold’ and ‘strong’ better.

It was unusually windy and cold outside. Quite different from the time I landed in Manila about five months ago. The wind was so strong that Isabelle had secured the garden chairs with raffia. 

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