I moved into my house two months ago. And in my total of four months, I’ve learned two things about Palawan’s downpours: they come suddenly and they don’t last long.
You don’t even have time to notice the clouds form. That’s how suddenly they appear. One to 5 to 15 minutes later, they just stop.
Imagine a giant shower fixture in the sky. It was just installed correctly. When you turn the handle, the water comes out. When you turn the handle the other way, the water stops.
Commercial buses in Palawan look rugged. A red pail may dangle from the roof of the bus. Those are usually empty but if it was another container, woven baskets, for example, usually contain something. It may be dried fish wrapped in newspapers. The rooftop is where passengers stow their belongings. Suitcases. Trussed-up beddings. There’s going to be beat-up corrugated boxes tied with plastic string. Who knows what they contain?
I was minding my business one day when two events occurred almost simultaneously. The rain began.
Palawan downpours contain large raindrops. These are large drops of rain. Now imagine them splattering against a GI-sheeted roof. Imagine the heavy drops and imagine that noise multiplied thousands of times.
The second event was the sudden halt of a bus and that caught my attention. The driver wasn’t going to wait. As soon as he felt that it was a Palawan downpour, he stopped driving and got to work.
The tarp that was draped over the rooftop was already half gone.
I can’t make up my mind if he had just departed or was arriving. If he had just departed, then he probably draped the tarp at the bus terminal–probably just ten minutes ago. He would have been on his way to pick up special cargo. You normally don’t see commercial buses in the area where I saw him.
He was going to protect his rooftop.
Where was the rain during all this?
It had ceased after the first photo of the bus. The initial downpour lasted about a minute. Then it stopped and after the last photo above, it resumed again.
It was that unpredictable.