The Storm And Expectations

The Storm And Expectations
A super typhoon struck the Philippines a couple of days back. I am a survivor... I’m such a proud survivor that I’d like to share these crucial points with you:

The Typhoon passed through our region. It was just lucky (I prefer the term “blessed” but I really don’t know if it’s a better term to use) that where we lived is not on the typhoon’s direct path.

Our house encountered no major damage except for one plastic roof (very minor). We only had power outage for two days. Water is fine, food is fine, and playing poker was fun.

What I didn’t know was that houses were destroyed at that time. People were trying to survive and seeking refuge. People were missing. People were dying...

The point is: It could have been me. It could have been my family.

This catastrophe was not a joke.

My Expectations before the typhoon

In retrospection, I almost loathe myself on how I reacted on the news of the coming typhoon a day or moments before it struck. I was like laughing at my mom that she worries too much. I nonchalantly say that everything’s going to be fine. That our house could withstand it (seeing the devastation in Tacloban, I'm dazed. What have I been thinking??).

The sad part is, nothing has been fine. It has been a catastrophe. My expectations were so wrong and I wish I could take back all the things I told my mom or to myself.

I wish I could have shared more on the awareness of how to prepare for the typhoon. I wish I could have called my relatives and friends -- to give them my “Take Cares and I Love Yous.”

Once again, I was just lucky (or blessed) that none of my relatives or friends have been majorly affected. And for this, I’m truly thankful.

What I expect of myself after the typhoon

Still in denial of the gravity of the typhoon’s aftermath, I couldn’t help but question myself, “What makes me more deserving to live than those 3,000 victims (a rough estimate) that lost their lives?”

In asking questions, we find a few answers for ourselves. The best one so far is this.

“We are blessed so that we can bless others.”

Actually, I don’t expect much from myself. I just expect myself to act, to be part of the recovery, and to genuinely be in one with the people of the Visayas (hopefully with the whole Philippines).

I don’t expect to help everyone but only hope that whatever I give can truly help at least one person or their family. I don’t expect to promote hope to all people, but I will try my best to promote hope to any victim I meet.

There’s no offer that is too small, yet there is no offer that is too big as well. I’ll take my part and hope for the best. I might not be able to expect this from you, the ones reading this, but think about it -- you always have something to give.

My mantra to this:  “I’m thankful that I have the chance to be the giver than to be the one in need.“

What do the victims expect?

It doesn’t end with what we expect from ourselves. There are REAL needs out there for the victims and survivors. They expect a lot from us. Here are some of the few expectations I think they have for us who can help:

They expect that help would come. And sadly, in some areas, help has not reached them until now! They’re hopeful, so let’s not fail them!

They expect that they can make it and that everything will be OK. Filipinos are strong and resilient people. Naturally, we stand against calamities and trials. But we don’t expect people to make it on their own now. The case is more than what resilience or having a strong heart can take. For most of them, the typhoon literally took everything from them.

Some of them expect that people/government gave up on them. This is horrible for them to think, but some of them are really giving up. It is evident when a number looted just for food -- forced to give up their morals to survive. I believe that a lot of them tried to fight for hope. But it's pure chaos out there. Giving up seems to be the only option left. All of these because they think people have given up on them. Let’s prove them wrong.

What’s the next step?


There are a lot of things to work on. If you are really “Gipit” or have no cash at the moment since you are affected as well, you can still help. Most institutions make helping so easy these days. You can volunteer on repacking centers. A lending hand could mean a lot.

Give (genuinely)

You can be creative. There are a lot of things you might have at your home that they need. Tarpaulin for one is one of the best things to offer.

The church that I’m affiliated with organized a drop off center for the victim, which accepts both relief goods and cash donations. This is perfect for those who don’t have the time to buy the goods or the time to drop them off. It's also perfect for those who are not physically able to be here in Cebu/Visayas to help. You can do wire transfer and even PayPal is available (I’ll be formally assisting you with this).

Be a source of hope

If you have thought of not posting a picture of your delicious meal because you have given thoughts of others who are not having one; if you have prayed or meditated for the victims; if you have been kind to your friends or family because you just felt like it; if you have shared or smiled at the relief campaigns that people have done for the victims; if you stayed strong for others and showed willingness to help; THEN you are one way or another a source of hope. This may be too philosophical, but you should know that you are one with the people. We all mourn and we all hope. If you have that heart, then you are a source of hope. Keep it that way or, better yet, shine brighter by reaching out.

All in all, there’s a lot of things to do and a lot of ways to help. Let’s keep up the giver's mindset. And oh, thanks for reading this. If you are able to read this, then I’m glad that you are safe with a device to connect to an Internet and probably some good food to eat for the next meal. Looking at the big picture, we have so many reasons to be thankful. Let’s all hope for the best.
(photo credit:

P.S. Just today 11/17/2013, for the first time ever since the typhoon, I weeped and mourn for the loss of this country. I really hope that we can stand again. May we have changes in our government. May this awaken our nationalism and keep it that way. I hope for a better future and I expect myself to be part of this cause.
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