Today is a little more than two weeks when Typhoon Yolanda (International Name: Haiyan) struck Central Visayas. More aid is coming in. People are slowly picking up the pieces.  To all the people of  the world, thank you for your help extended to my countrymen.

It is in a time like this that faith in humanity is restored.  Thank you to my fellow countrymen for your strength especially to the people of Visayas for showing the world what it is like to be Filipino. Instead of us helping you be strong and comforting you in this crisis, it is your strength that inspires us  and gives hope that there is a silver lining ahead.

Two weeks after the storm, much has been said about the Filipino spirit and it is one of those things that make me proud of being a Filipino and one of the reasons why I love living  in this country. To understand the Filipino spirit, I have collected some images shared on social media, blogs and news organizations to illustrate what it is all about.

A week before the typhoon struck, I was touched by these signs put up by the people of Bohol for the help they got from all over after they experienced a 7.2 magnitude earthquake.

Photo from Gawad Kalinga

Photo from Gawad Kalinga

Jeff Canoy, ABS-CBN news reporter, took this photo of Cesar, a signboard painter, doing what he does best.

Jeff Canot wrote this on his Instagram: "I have no money. I have no food. All I have is inspiration and leftover paint." Cesar, a signboard painter, says he posted all these messages outside his house to tell his fellow Taclobanons to stay, to fight and to dream again in the aftermath of the typhoon.

Jeff Canoy wrote this on his Instagram: “I have no money. I have no food. All I have is inspiration and leftover paint.” Cesar, a signboard painter, says he posted all these messages outside his house to tell his fellow Taclobanons to stay, to fight and to dream again in the aftermath of the typhoon.

Filipinos have a sense of humor. This photo appeared on my newsfeed on Facebook. I have not verified whether this signboard was put up after the storm or if this is an old photo. I am posting this to illustrate our sense of humor.

Photo shared by Dennis Carpio on Facebook.

Photo shared by Dennis Carpio on Facebook.

Filipinos are ingenious. It is said that necessity is the mother of all inventions. We can make boats out of broken refrigerators.

Photo from Damir Sagolj. (Reuters)

Photo from Damir Sagolj. (Reuters)

Basketball courts can rise up in the middle of a rubble.

Photo by Michael Caumeran

Photo by Michael Caumeran

Filipinos are people who love to smile for the camera. Even when these kids went without food for days, a biscuit from a stranger is enough reason to smile.

Photo  from ANC

Photo from ANC

We give even when we have nothing. This photo hits close to home since this child, Benjie, is from my city, Butuan. This was shared by Brown Man on Facebook. He wrote:

The boy’s name is Benjie. He is one of those whom we call “street children”. He literally begs for money everyday outside Mang Inasal along JC Aquino Ave., Butuan City. He was within the vicinity in one of our drop-off stations in our donation drive for the victims of typhoon Yolanda manned by members of the Alpha Phi Omega. One of our volunteers in the drop-off station was surprised when Benjie came near to the station and handed to him a P1 coin. Apparently, he was giving his “donation” taken from the proceeds of his begging. That caught everyone by surprise. But the story doesn’t end there. Several minutes later, Benjie came back to the station and again gave another P1 coin (apparently this was after he was given P1 by begging). Maybe he realized the his first P1 donation was not enough that’s why he came back and gave another peso.

Our local hero, Benjie.

Our local hero, Benjie.

Here is a photo about survivors sharing what they have with those dropping the relief goods. US Marine John Orio got fresh buko (young coconut) juice and a large crab from the residents in Manicani Island.

Photo collage shared on Facebook. Photos are from KomoNews website.

Photo collage shared on Facebook. Photos are from KomoNews website.

There will be a lot of work ahead and these photos are more than enough inspiration that we all can be united to rebuild from the devastation in this country.

Below is an infographics from the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs:

I hope we still continue to help Visayas. Our experiences with Yolanda show that even if we are poor, we can help others including those people in other countries when they need help. There is a realization that even a little donation matters a lot.

Again, thank you to everyone who helped. Filipinos, we can do this!


When Supertyphoon Yolanda made landfall in Tacloban, I saw the live news through Atom Araullo’s report.  I was impressed by his bravery. I laughed at the few jokes and memes about Atom that sprouted in social media after that.  Communication lines were cut so we did not have immediate reports of the damage. 

It was on Sunday that images of the damage started to emerge.  I have no words.

I have never experienced a heartbreak until the past few days. It is when tears just roll uncontrollably.

However, crying only helps me express my pain. It does not help the people in Visayas.

There are ways we can help. Below are images shared in social media. Let us help one another.





Memorial Park Envy: My Halloween Post

My family is not big on Halloween. The trick or treat activity only caught on in the country the past few years. In my city, Halloween parties are usually organized by business establishments.  The closest thing Halloween-ish we do is clean our loved ones tomb in time for the All Souls Day.  That is exactly what we did on October 30.

My uncle and I helped clean the family mausoleum. Yes, the roof needs to be painted.


This is how the memorial park looks like. It is a typical Philippine cemetery.

There are grand mausoleums at the entrance which I do not have a picture to show.

Since time immemorial, this cemetery’s lone road is unpaved.


It looks okay in the photo but imagine what this looks like on All Souls Day.  Vehicles are parked on both sides of the road. There is only one lane to use and we have to exit on a dirt road with a high possibility of being stuck in the mud. Just hope and pray it does not rain. Mind you, this is a private cemetery. At the present rate, people pay hundreds of thousands of pesos to get a memorial lot here. You would think the owner can get the road paved. No, not in this cemetery.

You would understand why we have a memorial park envy with the other private cemetery. After cleaning the mausoleum, we dropped by the other cemetery just to check out the place. This was recently developed. We have long bought our cemetery lot even before the owners thought about developing the place so buying a lot here is no longer an option. In fact, the owners still have loved ones buried in our cemetery. (When I say “our cemetery”, it means the cemetery where my loved ones are buried. We do not own the cemetery.)

This is a first mausoleum that welcomed us when we entered the other memorial park.

This is a mausoleum that the owner built for his son who died in his sleep.

See the lake up there? There are ducks and koi.

While we were sitting in that small wharf near the lake, we were waiting for the koi to surface. They did not. It was not feeding time yet.

Who would have thought this is a cemetery.

You can rent the cottage if your family needs a space to host memorial prayers and activities.

It even has a playground for the kids.

This does not look a mausoleum but it is!

Below are the rows of mausoleums. The roads are paved!

There are affordable options. One can buy memorial plots here (no, not in the mountains). The green lawn in the foreground are memorial plots.

Now you understand why we envy this cemetery. 😀

The advantage of being in our cemetery? There is this huge mango tree full of fruits.  The people inside the tomb underneath the mango tree used to be our neighbors.

Kids who lived near the cemetery said that it is okay to pick the fruits when I lamented how I wanted to eat those mangoes. And so we did.   (Yes, my cousin also wanted to show off his tattoo.)


From cemetery to the plate, this is the spookiest thing we did for Halloween. 😀

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