My thoughts on October 1, 2009:
Typhoon Ondoy brought with it so much loss, fear, anger. Galit lahat, finger-pointing has begun, and will only get worse. My brother told me he doesn’t want to watch the news anymore, he just gets depressed.
Ordinary citizens are rallying behind something though, something that’s mobilizing them and getting them on the streets. Everywhere people are helping–rescuing, donating, packing, cleaning, coordinating, passing on critical information. In one weekend, we have begun talking again, and talking about things that matter–the people around us, our people, us.
First saw this during Cory’s wake–Pinoys came out to honor a great woman, a hero to the Filipino nation. Strangers rubbing elbows in the rain, waiting in line for long hours to pay tribute and say goodbye. It seemed that Filipino apathy was finally taking a turn for the better, but I think real motives of people were still hazy then. It wasn’t clear why we really took to the streets. Usiseros aside, how many of those who came with good intentions knew what those intentions were, really? Na kinilatis, pinag-isipan, binuo? Why mourn Cory? Who was she to them? What about her and her life did they connect with, that was relevant to them? Some friends who went said they wanted to be part of history… what does that mean?
I’d like to think we went to the streets to mourn Cory because despite our pronunciations that our country is hopeless, that Filipinos don’t care anymore, the truth is we do care. We want to care. We were out there looking for hope, and Cory gave us that.
In the aftermath of Ondoy, what happened?
They say that when you take a step towards God, he comes running to you. Maybe the Cory magic was our first step, collectively as a people, towards hope (and love). And here it is now in our midst, in abundance. Hope came running to us.
Let’s dwell on hope. The Philippines will need more than material healing from this tragedy, and there will be a time for demanding accountability, but let it be anchored on hope.
We’ve already started talking to each other again as Filipinos. We’re looking each other in the eye, regardless of family, school, occupation, religion, socio-economic class. Let’s keep talking to each other. I hope this blog can help safeguard and continue this dialogue for healing–one that is fueled by hope and at the same time channels it.
– Excerpt from Ondoy Heroes
They do say all things pass–the best and the worst–and the storm that was Ondoy has passed. I pray that its lessons (and demands) have not been lost on us though….and that the dialogue for healing among ourselves lives on…Or better yet, that it has been translated into living hope, that is fueled by consistent action.
What have you done since September 26, 2009, or what have you done differently since then?
For me, the hoping (and seeking) continues in manilarat, where I still insist on finding beauty in the city (and country!) that we love to hate, and in finding the people who can help make it all happen…go go go tourism development! The green brigade lives on too, which is above all, a shift inside…
Various friends have helped campaign for their candidates for the recent elections; some actually ran (and won, yay!) for government. Others keep on fighting the good fight in NGO’s like Gawad Kalinga, and still others wave the Philippine banner in their own smaller circles of friends and families…
Wherever we are, we carry our best intentions for this country with us, so whatever it is you’re doing, whether you’re primed for the bida role or part of the supporting cast, fight on! You are not alone.
Para sa bayan!
We have a new president!