By Kristine Felva Licup
It was only a few days ago when super typhoon Yolanda (international name: Haiyan) hit the Philippines. Known to be the strongest typhoon to ever hit land, Yolanda did not only have one or two landfalls, but six. The first one was at Guian, Samar. Towns and cities were wiped out. Thousands of people died. The others injured and traumatized by the havoc that Yolanda caused. Eastern Visayas was devastated. The whole Philippines was moved.
Before the catastrophic Yolanda came into the picture, the Philippines had consecutive battles to fight: the Zamboanga crisis, the Bohol earthquake and the PDAF scam. The Philippines has been battered with so many problems, but it continues to stand still. It stands firm amid trials. The only reason I can think of? The spirit of the Filipino people.
For years (or maybe decades) now, the Philippines has been a hit by a lot of catastrophes – both brought by nature and by man. Along with this unfortunate events is the positive attitude that the world gives us, Filipinos, recognition of. We have become a nation of positivity, a people capable of always seeing the good, the light despite being in the dark.
Personally, I have seen people who smile although they have nothing. Once, I was in a milk tea shop with some friends and I saw this old lady outside the glass door. She was looking at us while we were enjoying our glasses of milk tea. I went out and asked her to get inside so she could have some waffle and a glass of milk tea. While we were talking, I noticed that her eyes were teary so I asked why. Her answer? “Lipay gihapon ko maski wala ko’y daghang diyot kay ako buhi man. Ug ako nagatuo nga aduna gihapo’y mga taong sama ninyo kabuotan na padayon mutabang sa mga sama nakong wala jud. (I’m happy because although I don’t have much money, I am alive. And I believe that there are still a lot of people like you who will continue to help those who have nothing like me.)”
That conversation made me cry. It still does. It was there that I experienced for myself the “Filipino spirit” that the world is talking about. I have seen, heard and read a lot of stories that show how hopeful and how strong Filipinos are. This, I believe, is what makes the Philippines stand amid all the trials, problems, catastrophes, and conundrums. And this is what will make us stand still until the end of time. No matter how big a tragedy we will face, we will rise because we know that we will always be intact. Together, we will rise because as a people, we refuse to be defeated by anything. As a people, we draw strength in each other. And as a people, we always see the light at the end of the tunnel. As we see that light, we move towards it… together.