The recent scenes of devastation caused by Typhoon Ondoy bring me back to the July 1990 earthquake, when my family and I camped out in the park for several days.
The park became an evacuation camp, with many families sleeping in makeshift tents. Everyone was too scared to go indoors. There was no water, no power, no phones for 2, 3 days I think.
We had no other food except canned sardines and instant noodles from relief dole-outs, and sayote of course. Just as it is today, help from the government came so painfully slow.
But thanks to the goodness of people in our community, we all got through the experience.
One day, boxes of ice cream and popsies were being passed around. The store owner decided to give them away instead of letting them melt. While there were bad seeds who jacked up prices, some stores reduced prices especially of perishables. My family even got to sleep for a night in the sala of one of the wealthier Baguio families. 😀
Today, it’s no different.
The government was still painfully slow in bringing relief and rescue to the places that badly needed them.
Meanwhile, as officials are busy blaming each other, communities came together.
This was one time I was proud to be an active part of the online community. My Plurk timeline and Facebook Wall were filled with posts – about people who needed help; areas that needed rescue; calls for volunteers; info on various donation venues.
The power and speed of the internet were put to good use. There were bad seeds, of course, but they won’t get airtime here.
What’s more important – beyond the virtual, people were coming together in real time. Private individuals and groups are working within their own capabilities to help. Families are coming in droves to volunteer at donation centers.
Bayanihan – one innate Filipino trait – is alive and well, after all.
Bayanihan was originally used to refer to people coming together to move a nipa house by literally carrying it to a new location. That was how our folks used to move homes in the ancient times.
The spirit of bayanihan is moving the Filipinos to give of themselves – their time and resources.
It’s amazing how something as bad as Ondoy or the 1990 earthquake can bring out the best in the Filipino people.
There are many ways to send your help for Typhoon Ondoy victims:
My mommy-blogger friend, Jane, posted a comprehensive list in her blog: How You Can Help Victims of Tropical Storm Ketsana / Ondoy
To send donations from the comfort of your home/workplace, there are online venues:
Let us all continue to do all we can to help. Every little thing, every peso counts. So don’t think your help is too small. There’s so much need all around us. Let’s not wait for government to move. Now is the right time for bayanihan.
Bayanihan in the time of Ondoy – [To be updated as I gather more.]