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Typhoon Ondoy and the Bayanihan Spirit

Updated on September 15, 2012

In the Midst of the Aftermath of Typhoon Ondoy, the Filipino's Bayanihan Spirit Continue to Thrive...

Two week-ends ago, my country experienced one of the worst flooding for the last 40 years. It was so bad that in some areas, the floods reached the roofs of several houses and cars, killed almost 300 people, injured a lot of my countrymen and rendered homeless thousands of Filipinos. Even after more than a week, a lot of places are still submerged in flood, mud is a common sight in various cities and various evacuation sites are still filled by the homeless.

Despite all these, one thing rose above this catastrophe: the Filipinos’ Bayanihan Spirit. Help was (and still is) everywhere. Filipinos from all walks of life and from all ages volunteered their time, skills, money and experience to help out those in need. As the typhoon and the floods spared no one (even the richest of the rich and the poorest of the poor), it also brought out the spirit from everyone, regardless of their status in life.

This hub is a tribute to that Bayanihan spirit and to those Filipinos who went out and gave a little something of themselves to help out those who are in need. If there’s a good thing that happened through this typhoon it is that it united our people in our quest to help speed up the recovery of our kababayans (countrymen) and our country.

Individual heroisms abound during these trying times. A trial court judge braved the storm and the flood to rescue 100 people, by using his jet ski alone. One-third of this number he rescued all by himself, and the others were rescued with their (his and other people) combined efforts. An 18-year old construction worker who risked (and lost) his life, saved more than 30 people, including a mother and her baby. Famous local entertainment personalities went out and saved people and animals alike just using their surfing gear. Still others lent their equipment, their rubber boats, their jet skis, their big cars (a Hummer) and trucks just to help bring a lot of people to safety. Even after the typhoon, stories of these individual heroes continue to circulate. There’s this family who cooked rice and viands to distribute to their neighbors, another one who distributed clothes to those who need them, and still others who opened up their homes (and hearts) to those rendered homeless by the typhoon. There are people who gave their own stock of canned goods and noodles, despite the fact that they also need these things as well. The list can go on and on, just showing that during these hard times, Filipinos are more than ready to serve their fellowmen in their own individual capacity.

Volunteerism is also very much alive in the aftermath of the typhoon. Volunteers flock to the TV stations, to universities and to other sites. Their purpose? To group the various items donated or bought, pack them in bags, carry these bags to the waiting vehicles and deploy them to those areas hit by the typhoon. Hundreds of volunteers willingly gave up their time to rescue other people or to bring relief goods to affected areas. Medical professionals, doctors and nurses also volunteered their services to aid those who are injured or suffering from diseases brought about by the typhoon and the resulting flood. There are also these therapists who volunteered their time and expertise to give free consultations and to ease the mental anguish and trauma of those directly affected by the storm. Even the volunteer rescuers and the disaster teams are also counseled by these therapists.

Donations are pouring in from all over the country, from Filipinos in other countries and the international communities. Local TV stations, banks, financial institutions, other companies and the Red Cross have opened up their lines and bank accounts to those who want to donate to the flood victims. One shipping company even offered to ship relief goods from various areas in the Philippines to Metro Manila for free. Remittance companies (such as also offered money transfers for free for Typhoon Ondoy’s victims. Filipinos from other countries have also mobilized to raise funds for those who need them. Fund-raising projects are also underway to gather more donations, whether in cash or in kind. The international community and foreign governments have also given their donations and have also pledged to give more to fast track the recovery of the country.

Typhoon Ondoy may have flooded a lot of areas in the country, but it did not really sink our spirits. No matter what happens, Filipinos still continue to rise above any catastrophe or calamity. It is during these times that we really feel how it is to be one nation in our quest to recover from the devastation brought about by these forces of nature. To the Filipinos out there who have given a part of themselves to helping our countrymen, I salute you! Mabuhay ka Pilipino!


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