A priest said it so well in a recent homily:  “The Filipino stops being a Disaster Himself… during a Disaster.”  Comic, but True.

There were so many instances of True Heroism during the Typhoon “Ondoy” Deluge of 26 September 2009, Saturday.  Many people risked their lives to bring others to safety.  Indeed, some of them lost their very lives in the process.  Many people went out of their way to ensure the safety, not only of immediate family, but also of friends and neighbors.  Stranded commuters shared their resources with each other during those endless hours.  Many soldiers rose valiantly to the occasion and showed amazing strength and resolve as they undertook rescue operations in very difficult conditions.

No sooner than the Typhoon “Ondoy” floodwaters of 26 September, Saturday, started receding that many, many charitable Filipinos [ ladies, gentlemen, and yes, even children ] looked at their pantries and storage rooms, and in many cases even went to the groceries and supermarkets, to purvey essential goods to share with the flood victims.  What was all the more remarkable was that many of these individuals chose to bring and share these essential goods with the flood victims themselves as one-family relief operations.  With altruistic resolve they quietly headed to Marikina, Cainta, and other affected areas and generously distributed relief goods to their devastated fellow Filipinos.  And they did it without any urging other than their own.

At posh Ayala Alabang village, which was not affected by the Typhoon “Ondoy” rains and floodwaters at all, two truckfuls of quality rice were immediately purchased by a charitable foundation and sent for distribution to the typhoon victims.  Charitable residents thoughtfully purchased imported canned goods with easily-opened tops to eliminate the need for the victims to have can openers.  Civic-minded residents voluntarily flocked to the Ayala Alabang Country Club and helped pack, send off, and distribute hot rice meals for the victims.  The kitchen team even made the effort to cook dishes without ingredients that spoiled easily, like tomato sauce.  They were simply laudable human beings.

The Filipino expatriates all over the world also rose gallantly to the calamity.  Within 24 hours of Typhoon “Ondoy’s” floodwaters, Filipino expatriate communities started gathering relief goods and big packages started arriving in Manila from the four corners of the globe.  Through TV, YouTube, and Facebook, Filipinos abroad faithfully kept track of the calamitous developments and responded accordingly.

It was a Disaster.  But the unprecedented Concern that Filipinos showed to their affected countrymen made it another proud and great moment for the country.  It was something that raised The Filipino to the High Altar of Humanity.


  1. October 19, 2009 at 7:46 am

    Has the Roxas-Sanchez wedding reception been totally canceled? That’s not Filipino custom at all. I’m not sure about that.

    According to friends, the original plan was to have the wedding reception at the most logical and the most Araneta – significant venue, the “Bahay na Puti” mansion of Mar’s grandfather Don J. Amado Araneta. However, as the guest list became bigger with Mar’s campaign for the presidency, it was decided to move the reception to the Araneta Coliseum to accommodate the couple’s estimated 2,000 guests. With the donation to the typhoon flood victims, the wedding reception has been scaled back to 200 guests, just family and good friends, at “Bahay na Puti.” It’s practically back to the original plan. Or so they say. 🙂

  2. marco philippe araneta said,

    October 16, 2009 at 11:45 pm

    Please don’t forget that Senator Mar and Korina’s wedding reception has been cancelled. You guys may get confused when you receive them because the invitation still indicates that there will be a reception and comes with a gate pass for the reception. 🙂

  3. Cris Santos-Salazar said,

    October 16, 2009 at 9:10 am

    I fear the rise of KLEPTOSPIROSIS with the flood waters.

  4. Paz Atienza said,

    October 14, 2009 at 12:39 pm


    Someone is seeing the light!!!! Wonderful and commendable indeed!

  5. marco philippe araneta said,

    October 13, 2009 at 10:46 pm

    I came across an MS thesis relating marikina valleys constant flooding with soil and fissure compression from marikina valley fault which reaches until taal. If this is true then the flood waters that still havent receded in different areas along the fault line could in fact be a warning that the fault is highly compressed. Given all the earthquakes on the ring of fire we could be next for a big one.

  6. Presy Guevara said,

    October 13, 2009 at 4:19 pm

    Best wishes to Korina and Mar for their noble gesture of cancelling their big reception and donating instead to the cause of the typhoon victims.

  7. Regina Lopez Araneta-Teodoro said,

    October 13, 2009 at 8:23 am

    Let’s help out a KABABAYAN who is seriously trying against all the windmills. Someone has to!


    Hello everyone…This Efren Penaflorida is really a hero in the Philippines and the world. Please read his story and vote for him. There is no limit to the number of times you can cast your vote. We have until Nov. 19 only to help him. Do you not think he deserves the honor? Plus the monetary award will surely help him in his endeavor to keep on doing what he is doing… to give the poor a chance at education and keep them away from gangs and drugs.

    We are grateful for someone like Efren. We may not be able to physically do what he is doing but we can certainly cast a vote to help him. Please cast your votes many times (this is allowed) and spread the news.

    Each year, CNN gives $100,000 to the winner (from a field of ten finalists—winnowed from 9,000 nominees from all over the world) of its “Hero of the Year” award. This year, a 28-year-old Filipino, Efren Peñaflorida, made it to the top ten. (A panel of 12 well-known personalities from various fields picked the finalists. Colin Powell was among the judges this year). If Efren wins this year’s award (based on how many votes he gets, which will depend on us), he will be able to expand his mobile school program for the children of the slums in the Philippines. What this young man is doing to improve the lives of the kids in the slums is truly inspiring.

    Here’s the link to Efren’s story and his Dynamic Teen Company (the organization he founded). You can vote for Efren by clicking on the link found in the article.


    Voting is open between now and Nov. 19. CNN will announce the winner and give out the award at a star-studded show on Thanksgiving night in L.A. at the Kodiak Theater (same venue for the Oscars). So, let’s all help Efren win so that he will, in turn, be able to help more impoverished kids. The more votes Efren gets, the greater his chances of winning the “Hero of the Year” award and the $100K. It will take less than a minute to click a button to cast your vote. Let’s all help Efren continue to make a difference in those slum kids’ lives. Without his mobile school and his group of volunteers, those kids will probably never have a chance to set foot in a real school and learn their ABCs. Let’s all vote for Efren! Please don’t forget to pass this on to everybody you know—Filipinos and non-Filipinos alike—-so more people can vote for this young man with an extra big heart. Thanks!!

    We must be willing to get rid of the life we’ve planned,

    so as to have the life that is waiting for us.

    — Joseph Campbell

  8. Dr. Taddy Buyson Gonzales said,

    October 13, 2009 at 2:23 am

    Yes. Everyone did his share in helping. The scope of damage was unimaginable! So many lives lost, so many left homeless suddenly. But help in all forms just kept on coming from all sectors. Everyone wanted to extend help one way or the other.

    It was in very poor taste when this popular celebrity host of ABS CBN, in full stage make up and attire irritatingly kept on mentioning the names of donors and their civic activities like it was an entertainment fund raising event, or a political convention. She seemed to be enjoying the publicity exposure at this critical period.
    The opportunists and looters should be shot in public.

    One story I found pitiful was this frantic father on the celfone commanding his young daughter and the yaya to leave their house in Provident right away.
    But the young daughter refused to wade in the flood as she was “maselan” as the father said. The kid and the yaya died in the flooded house.
    The yaya is commendable, she did not leave the kid alone although she could have easily abandoned the kid in the house and save herself.
    Lesson here, kids please always obey your elders, they only mean well.

  9. Presy Guevara said,

    October 12, 2009 at 6:16 pm

    Lea Salonga is here in the Washington DC to rally for more aid. She will attend the Holy Mass at St Matthews Cathedral tomorrow as arranged by the Philippine Embassy with support from various Filipino organizations including the Philippine American Foundation for Charities, Inc. and Feed the Hungry. A $100.00/plate dinner follows the Mass. Every Filipino organization here has its own continuing fund-raising effort because all are aware that aside from the immediate necessities, a tedious rebuilding is ahead of the Philippine nation.

    The magnitude of damage from the recent calamity demands an examination of policies and guidelines toward public safety. Good planning and management of programs that entail long range designs and protracted time of implementation can no longer be put aside. The devastation dramatized how lack of foresight is counterproductive as the Philippines quickly over-developed with improvements on unsuitable sites and weak infrastructure. The “palusot” system and bribery to facilitate short cuts should be trashed. This is a time when politicians are challenged to act as true leaders and to shoulder their moral obligation to promote the well being of the people that elected them to office. This is also a time for the populace to be serious about the significance of their votes that eventually affect their own lives. The voters should consider true values and integrity, not just popular clamor brought by glamour and publicity. Why are they quick to selling their votes to tokens of feigned kindness?

    Meanwhile, relief takes priority. Long live the spirit of Bayanihan and may the Filipino trait of adaptability and endurance elevate everybody’s aspirations toward a real strong nation.

  10. October 12, 2009 at 5:19 am

    THREE much scarier, deadlier and incredible disasters waiting to happen as the collective aftermath wrath of Ondoy and Pepeng are :

    1) The 46 billion pesos foriegn aid funds that will be appropriated for GLORYUCK’S TONGRESSMEN to steal, bring abroad and not be able to take to hell where they are all going straight to.

    2) The Secretary of Health has stated the murdering infection LYPTOSPIROSIS will kill thousands of Filipinos wading in the feces infected stagnant flood waters. All hospitals have reported record highs of incoming patients. And only unaffordable DIALYSIS can save our COUNTRYMEN. Horrors.

    3) The millions of plastic bags that held precious food, clothing , medicine etcetera will find themselves hurled like lemmings into the still clogged water ways, flood systems, esteros, landfills and lakes and rivers. The coming siblings of Ondoy and kid brother Pepeng will wreak APOCALYPTIC destruction. Expert say 300 percent higher flod waters !

    Or the idiot garbage czars may burn these countless plastic bags ( mostly in blue ) thus causing toxic fumes ascending up our atmosphere and create further global warming turning our planet into a giant shawarma and more climate change equals more SUPER TYPHOONS.

    Repent, the 2,000 year old Mayan Calender states our Mother Earth will end it’s existence on December 21 2012. Bringing with it’s the globe’s miserable population. Time to learn to save the planet or else……….


  11. Toffee Tionko said,

    October 12, 2009 at 2:54 am

    I like the story of a man whom allegedly, upon learning that his family was in danger from the flood, bought a rubber boat for 100k and proceeded to rescue his loved ones. Since he was first on the scene, he also saved many more. Great to see someone so proactive.

    The relief goods can’t stop now. Many more need help in Northern Luzon.

  12. October 11, 2009 at 8:00 pm


    From now on, comments with no real names, no email addresses that can be confirmed, and no reliable identity checks will no longer be allowed.

    Toto Gonzalez

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