“Baha ka lang Pilipino ako” (You are just flood, I am a Filipino). Again, flood devastes Northern Luzon, but as with what the tagline shares, taken from a post in a popular online social network, I get to realize deeper constructs about the Filipino Spirit and what lies in our mindset. I can not generalize though, but these are but my impressions based from what we could read and see online.
Filipinos are a happy people. We could make fun of even the worst things, just like this flood brought about by the inclement weather. No wonder, even if the water is up to the neck, we still pose and smile in front of a camera. This does not mean we don’t take things seriously, we are just not so affected emotionally because our positive outlook in life is that strong. If this situation is a problem, we would just laugh at it. There is popular belief in the Filipino that says “tawanan mo ang iyong problema“, so we don’t get terribly devastated emotianally and we rise with grace and smile over what life brings on.
Filipinos think bigger than the worst situation. The modifier “lang” suggests how we put things into their proper perspectives in relation to the nature of our spirit. It’s flooded all over Metro Manila and the threat over Luzon is still high, yet we are able to reduce both the threat and the devastation into a simple thing. Likewise, this reflects our individual construct of the self in relation to the objective world, thinking we are bigger than any worst situation. This mindset also reinforces our confidence which should also explain why we can laugh and smile amidst the worst situation in life.
Filipinos are heroes for their kapwa. In this situation, we find over the news and see in pictures posted online that there are those Filipinos standing by on the streets for nothing or wading in the waters even if the flood risks are high.To others, this is just being an “uzzisero”, but not so. This is the way we want to know the situation first hand and to check how we could help others in our neighborhood. In the same way, we see there are volunteers all over, rescuing, packaging goods to be distributed and many others posting how to help and seeking help for others. The bayani in the individual collaborates with the community in the spirit of bayanihan. Because our concept of self or sarili is intertwined to our “kapwa”, we don’t stay idle in our own island, we reserve ourself to help others, even if that is to risk our own life.
Filipinos find courage in faith.”Pilipino ako” This is a definitive statement of both the individual and national character. Adjunct to how we see our situation, we take pride in our character with confidence, believing that we can not be defeated. Our faith in the self or what we can do in our own is often carried out with a risky behavior and saying “bahala na”. This is not all about our attitude towards risk, it is about our self confidence coming from deeply rooted faith in God. Online, calls for prayer, and special prayers are being posted. It is also obvious that the intent is not just for the individual but for national interest. This describes how we cling to our religious faith in times of worst situation, and how that faith transcends to the self and with our fellow countrymen.
Filipinos are resilent people. Ingrained in the Filipino character is that resilent attitude. It is easier for us to take the situation lightly and to rise above the storm, because we know that this kind of situation will come to pass, that there are people we can count on as we go through the storm, that we know we can as we are adaptive and flexible, and that we believe the heavens hear us when we come together in prayer. Our positive mindset, our light-heartedness and the comfort we get from having strong family bonds and social ties, all make up as resilient people. The flood is just a flood and historically, of all the storms we have passed through, we know we can get this one through also.
At the moment, the media is comparing the situation with that of Ondoy to at least keep the citizenry more mindful and the government to remain more responsive. The memories of Ondoy’s devastation is still clear, but in our hearts and minds as Filipino is that belief that we made it through Ondoy and every disaster in our history, so we will surely rise from this again. See this disaster will not wash away the Filipino spirit, instead it will bring it on like a storm.
There too are the negative traits of of the Filipino emerging in situations like this, but I just find them like the trash that we’ve thrown on the streets, now coming back to us with the flood which I want to get rid off responsively.