LAOAG CITY, July 12 – “Rain! Rain! More Rain!,” a local farmer was overheard yelling with joy describing it as manna from heaven.

This jubilant sight probably was not uncommon in Ilocos Norte after farmers have been praying hard for weeks for heavy rainfalls in order to irrigate their drought-stricken farmlands.

Thanks to relatively weak Typhoon “Egay” as it brought substantial amount of rain to Northern Luzon provinces including Ilocos Norte, which have experienced prolonged dry spell since summer during the months of March, April and May, a spokesman of the agricultural sector said.

The continuous downpour spawned by storm Egay turned out to be very beneficial to the Ilocos Norte farmers, majority of them had now planted rice seedlings after several months of absolute no rain.

Following the torrential rain last week, Provincial Agriculturist Normal Lagmay reported that at least 9,000 hectares of farmlands in the province were planted with rice, adding that more rice fields would follow suit as continuous rain is expected these coming days as enhanced southwest monsoon weather was forecast by local PAGASA based at the Laoag International Airport.

The Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (PDRRMC)-Ilocos Norte under Gov. Imee Marcos, however, had estimated initial damages worth of P388,106.46 in agriculture crops due to Typhoon Egay.

The provincial agriculture office disclosed that about P100,000 worth of vegetables and watermelons were damaged mostly found in the farms of Batac City and Bacarra town.

Engineer Pedro Agcaoili, head of the administrative unit of the PDRRMC, said the damages may climb as incoming calamity reports from other towns would be consolidated.

He said that based on the reports that have been tallied, the combined damages to agriculture and infrastructure projects in the province have reached P36,845,106.46 mark. (Tsg with report from Freddie G. Lazaro/PIA- 1 Ilocos Norte)