I refuse to watch the news these past few days. The truth is I’ve always been that “mababaw ang luha” (someone who tends to cry over the silliest of things) and I don’t want to embarrass myself by crying in front of the TV screen while several news anchors deliver the sad news from those places devastated by typhoon Haiyan or Yolanda as what we called it. But I still get my daily dose of melancholy every morning as the bus I ride to work would be tuned in to the news.
At least for the citizens of Luzon, there was nothing unusual that Friday morning, 8th of November 2013. Storm signals were raised earlier that day but things were by far okay. The country has been hit by countless super typhoons in the past; the people already know the drill. I can even recall some news presenters exchanging jokes with their fellow news anchors deployed to several places likely to be hit by the typhoon. The strength of the typhoon were nothing like the others that have visited the country; that was given. But I guess nobody thought that things would go totally out of hand.
“What’s the storm signal again?” I asked a friend while we shared an umbrella as we crossed the street to our office. He replied that Manila was under storm signal number two. “Is this it already?” I asked with a hint of mockery. It was only drizzling and the wind was not at all unusual. I never thought that down south, many Filipinos were already fighting for their survival. That could have explained why mom was too anxious over the phone and was begging me to leave work and go home. That day went like the usual. But for the others, particularly the Taclobanons and Warays, it was close to doomsday.
Several missions to provide relief to the affected communities have been going on for more than a week now. People from different parts of the globe have been coming in to offer everything they can from financial support, to supplies, to manpower, up to medical relief. Countless Filipino volunteers flood the relief goods repacking centers and a lot has pledged unimaginable amounts of money for the whole operation. But things are not yet okay.
Many bodies have been discovered but some are still missing. The affected places reminiscent of a post-apocalyptic world are in a state of disorder as everybody tries to do what they can to survive. Issues are being encountered here and there. Some people are being disappointing and their competence are being questioned.
Enough support has been given. I believe, as with the others, that things now rest to the Philippine government. I’m not saying that it’s easy to sit down and try not to get disappointed but this is not the time to condemn anybody as that won’t do the affected communities any good. Right now I only wish for the government to get itself together, put personal interests aside, and put the needs of its people first. It has tried but the people still deserve better. It is, by the common view, still disheartening. All the units, all the members have to act as one.
But Pinoys will always be Pinoys. Amidst the crisis, I believe that these people’s resiliency would still shine. Some will find it ridiculous. Some would say it’s foolish. But when there are countless reasons to grieve, that tiny reason to be happy could be just what we all need.
For my people, I know that this crisis is indescribable. But with our spirit we get by; we always get by. Here’s to the strongest people I’ve ever known and for the souls of the people they love. -aB
Featured image by: ~Alorn