Everyone was just about to conclude their typical Monday when heavy rains poured all over Northern Mindanao on January 16. At four in the afternoon, streets in Cagayan de Oro City were already heavily-flooded leaving numerous locals with no choice but to brave the heavy downpour and floodwater.

The area severely hit by street flood was the University of Science and Technology of Southern Philippines (USTP) which lies along C.M. Recto Avenue in Lapasan Road. Floodwater has reached neck level that any means of land transportation can no longer access the University.

Rappler reports that there were over five hundred students and faculty members stranded inside USTP’s buildings with no food and water. Students who were left inside cried out for help through their personal social media accounts.

Vehicles were seen floating outside the premises of USTP’s obstructed area. Individuals stuck inside cars which were hemmed in between heavily-flooded areas also added up to the number of people displaced and stranded for hours.

Because of this, rescuers, volunteers and heroes alike rose up to the occasion by offering physical help to individuals who needed support. On the other hand, residents who were situated on safer grounds provided help by properly disseminating the right information to their fellow Kagay-anons.

Not only did key administrators took the lead this time. Several establishments readily opened their doors to accommodate people who can no longer get through major roads. For one, Centrio – Ayala Mall allowed all stranded individuals to take comfort within their premises while the floodwater was still high and while all major roads were still inaccessible. The said mall released an advisory on their social media account, informing anyone who is stuck near their area to immediately get inside the mall.

One individual expressed her gratitude through a comment right under the mall’s social media advisory. “My deepest gratitude for your generous support. If dli tungod sa inyo, i don’t know asa ko mag tambay for whole night. I was safe and sound inside your premises. Salamat pud sa inyo security guards sa pag guide sa mga stranded. God bless,” Wendy Rendal said.

Just a few blocks away from Centrio is Lim Ket Kai mall. The mall also allowed stranded individuals to get in their establishment. Meanwhile, SM City Cagayan de Oro opened their enclosed parking area so stranded individuals can seek shelter while several areas in the city were still flooded. All of the malls mentioned allowed car owners to park their vehicles inside designated areas without asking them to pay overnight fee.

While mall tenants have already closed their shops, reports say that there were several food chains which continued their operation even when it was already beyond mall hours. “This is an example of how things can work if owners of business establishments show compassion and open their doors to those who are in need,” DTI 10 Consumer Welfare Division Chief and Lawyer Fel Lester Brillantes said.

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) in Region 10 commends all these establishments, including small enterprises who made equal efforts, in providing comfort to locals who were in distress. DTI 10 Regional Director Linda Boniao notes that “the malls have provided big contributions to stranded individuals especially that what happened on Monday was one of the most difficult times the city has ever experienced by far. Despite what happened, the unity, concern and cooperation of those who can lend a hand overshadowed the negative aspect which took place during that day.”

PAGASA confirmed that a month’s worth of rain was felt in Northern Mindanao for just over six hours on Monday. Low pressure area combined with the tail end of a cold front caused heavy downpour in Northern Mindanao. The recently recorded heaviest rain of the week has put a new and dangerous level of floodwater to the innards of the city. To date, TS Sendong still remains to be the biggest lesson learned by residents in Cagayan de Oro City for being the typhoon which has killed thousands of residents back in 2011.