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Disaster happens so quickly and so unexpectedly that when it comes, most of us are not prepared for it. On the evening of December 16th, 2011, this writer, along with his father and several relatives, suddenly became victims of a flash flood that tear through the city of Cagayan de Oro. Our house is located a few yards from the banks of the Cagayan River and when the flood came in, water came rushing and covered our entire home in less than an hour. Typhoon Sendong is one natural event this writer will never forget.

I was not there when the river grew and became a monstrous torrent streaming and eradicating houses and killing lives. But through the grace of the Almighty God and concerted efforts of people who literally became rescuers in a matter of minutes, this writer and his family survived the ordeal. We may have lost most of our material possessions, but I remain thankful that we are spared the fate of others who still have to bear the loss of their homes, and worse, loved ones. In the aftermath of the flood, more than 1,000 people were killed, hundreds more still missing, and thousands left homeless.

Recovering from the traumatic experience from such devastating calamity and rebuilding from scratch are two actions this writer is now facing. But with the help of some of my colleagues from the boxing circle, recovering and rebuilding are becoming less heavy than before.

I am a victim of the flashflood that struck Cagayan de Oro City last December 16th, 2011. But that being said, I, along with my family and the other victims, know that we will rise again from this experience and come out stronger and better individuals.

I would like to take this opportunity to give thanks to former two-time world champion Gerry Penalosa and Dong Secuya and Dr. Rene Bonsubre of PhilBoxing.com for helping me out after the flood. Your gestures will be remembered and appreciated.

I would also like to thank the people whose names I forgot to take note of for helping me rescue my father and the other people who were trapped with him during the calamity. I may not know your names but your courageous deeds will forever be remembered.

In ending, I would like to borrow one of the most moving lines from the boxing film, Rocky Balboa:

“The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows. It’s a very mean and nasty place and I don’t care how tough you are. It will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain’t about how hard ya hit. It’s about how hard you can get it and keep moving forward. How much you can take and keep moving forward.”

The author's house as seen from the Carmen-Macasandig Bridge

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Kenneth P. Ragpala is an award-winning sports blogger who has been covering the sport of boxing since 2008. His works have appeared in local newspapers in his home city in Cagayan de Oro and in several online publications abroad. Ragpala has written for several boxing websites, namely Fight Hype, 8 Count News, and Bleacher Report.