Filipino pride in the spirit of ‘bayanihan’ invoked in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy

Filipinos never pass up an opportunity to exhibit their renowned ethnocentrism. In the wake of Hurricane Sandy which devastated much of the eastern seaboard of the United States, there have been many heartening reports of how the level of preparedness and swift action of the US government to mitigate the foreseen effects of the storm yielded impressive results. Indeed, Philippine lawmakers were reportedly “amazed” with Americans’ response to the natural calamity…

“Their sense of preparedness is amazing and the political will of their leaders like Mayor Bloomberg is laudable considering he closed down the subways, forcibly evacuated residents as he did in Hurricane Irene,” Senator Loren Legarda said when asked if there was anything the Philippines could learn from the US response to the “Frankenstorm.”

So it therefore comes across as a bit daft to be engaging in that usual Pinoy-centric backpatting when regarding the scale of both the disaster that has befallen East Coast Americans and their impressive response to it. Yet, daftness is the Filipino’s middle name. A photo of what appears to be Filipino-Americans who were among the few lucky enough to still have electric power in their homes making extension cords available to anyone who might want to charge their mobile phones or laptops was shared on the Twitter timeline of ABS-CBN media outlet @ANCALERTS with the caption “New form of bayanihan among Filipinos in storm-ravaged Jersey City in New Jersey..”

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Now, it is as if Pinoys hold a monopoly over civic-mindedness in times of calamity. Ironic perhaps, considering much had been said about the so-called “resilience” exhibited by Filipinos in the aftermath of several storms that hit and killed hundreds of people in key cities like Manila and Cagayan de Oro over the last 2-3 years. It is, of course, that unique brand of resilience-by-default considering that there is hardly any evidence that Filipinos have learned anything from these disasters despite the far bigger death tolls they had wreaked upon the country.

Obviously, sharing electricity in times of calamity is not a Filipino-American invention and certainly not that “unique form of bayanihan” some “patriots” are quick to label it as. Just today in sunny Sydney, a similar photo was displayed in a similar story ran in one of the local tabloids and was given the caption “A good Samaritan provides vital phone-charging in Hoboken, New Jersey…”

[Image taken from mX News (Sydney) Thursday, 1st of November 2012 edition.]

Not Filipino, not “bayanihan”, and certainly not pride in something lent some sort of perverse credibility by one’s ethnicity. Just a nod to good old-fashioned civic-mindedness that one could reasonably expect of any human being regardless of what nation or “race” she happens to be a member of.

33 Replies to “Filipino pride in the spirit of ‘bayanihan’ invoked in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy”

  1. Why does Filipinos seem to be hooked on the idea of a super race? Do you need to have a living proof to that? Oh yes, The Second World War. Filipinos indeed like to boast their so called pride while majority of its people live on hunger, poverty, constant war, lack of education, the insistence to think critically and the idiocy of our society.

    The government is run by incompetent bureaucrats who stick to past glories to cement their legitimacy as leaders. The Church still exercise significant power. I am irritated at how those patriots will shout Proud 2Be Pinoy on anything. Poor Philippines, forever it will remain a failed society unless some event will shake them up.

    1. It is because as one pundit says, “intelligent people are full of doubts while the stupid ones are full of confidence”. We have tons and tons of the latter.

  2. These two pictures are at least the fourth and fifth different ones I’ve seen today of people doing exactly this. Being a veteran of an East Coast hurricane (Isabel, 2003), I can pretty confidently assert that anonymous neighborly compassion for the sake of getting the community back on its feet — because that outcome is in everyone’s individual best interests, if nothing else — is considered normative. As in, you are not being heroic or special, you are simply being a decent human and not a selfish jerk. The constant highlighting of “bayanihan” suggests that behaving in a routinely civilized, community-minded way is somehow a challenge for Pinoys. When you constantly tell people how proud you are to be humble, the attribute kind of loses its value.

    1. Yes,during the blackout of ’03 as well,people in NYC helpin each other out,coz it is the right thing to do.
      NYC,capital of the world…absolutely the ROCKIN-est place on the planet.Nothin else even comes close.Check it out some time,GRP’ers. Oh and bring lots of money too!

    2. Pretty perceptive comment, all told. But look at this the other way: given the achievements the Philippines has made against our failures and our missteps and our dalliances and our seemingly inherent inability to make things better (never mind livable), would you be surprised if we are shamelessly plugging how civic-minded we are every chance we get? I mean, if you’re a Filipino citizen, what would be rather known for: a member of a nation that has spawned the likes of a Marcos, or of one that has spawned the likes of a Rizal, a Mabini, a Bonifacio?

      That said, I do agree with the general sentiment as it appears to me: civic-mindedness can only go so far; if no one acts to make things better and more livable for everyone concerned, we might just as well be hypocrites digging our own graves with our hyper-kinetics whenever disaster falls, and our inertia between.

  3. Americans learn from their mistakes. Like when they were hit by “Katrina” in New Orleans, several years ago. Filipinos do not learn from their mistakes. They keep repeating the same mistakes, over and over.
    Look at how they elect these stupid politicians, over and over…

    1. What you assert is not exactly true.New Orleans was underwater because the dams broke. OK,they fixed them…but not much else has been done.The people were evacuated out and now many,but not all, have gone back.In a sort of masochistic move to be drowned again.
      The Government of the U.S.A. dropped the ball on that one.Now because of election season around the corner,they are doing something.

    2. … and you really think American politics don’t suffer from the same problems as ours do? Of course a multi-party system like ours means we focus less on platforms and policy and more on personalities and telegenics and name recognition, but even in the USA, things aren’t as rosy as they appear.

      For instance, George W. Bush was carried all the way to the shores of Pennsylvania Avenue the first time around mostly due to his name and charm and seeing naivete (despite his lacking and at times dubious record as Texas governor).

      1. are you addressing me? The Philippine political system is a mirror image of the U.S.A.’s,w/a few tweaks.
        How Bush got elected? You are not even close(the shores of Pennsylvania Avenue?).What charm?naivete? That election was rigged/stolen,he actually lost.
        and when it comes to corruption,the U.S.A. makes the Philippines look like rookies,2 bit dime store hoodies/clowns!that election is minor proof of it.
        btw,who do you think really runs the Philippines? The way some people write about it,you could get the impression some people think the filipino people do.
        Sure they do.

        1. The fact of the matter, Mr. Kreig, that had the majority of the American people didn’t view the son of a Bush as somebody who’s a little dumb but otherwise telegenic (and say anything you want about Gore, but he was the opposite of telegenic), the 2000 election wouldn’t be as close as it was. (Allegations of voter fraud in Florida I leave to whoever has the balls to pursue it — I know of the hanging chads, and I know of Greg Palast’s accusations of racial cleansing, but I’m not going to talk about them except in passing.)

          As an aside, you ask me who runs the Philippines. Well, I don’t know who or what runs it, but given that we as a nation are still deep in Smoky Mountain decades after World War II, in some ways marginally better and in some ways a lot worse, it simply cannot be the Filipino people.

        2. @Suibon……..Yes,fair enough to say. Gore was just Gore and Gore rhymes with bore BUT the fact remains…Bush lost/the election was stolen,just as Kennedy’s election was BUT it did not take 25 yrs. for the truth to emerge.What has happened in the intervening 12 yrs. is beyond most peoples wildest images.I knew it was gonna be bad BUT not this bad(this is really not GRP territory so a pass is taken on the rest of it).
          Things are being done in such a way as to mask what is really being done and who is actually doing them. I am glad you at least understand that and did not have to resort to insults as the truth is not at all too tasty sometimes.The work being done at GRP by some dedicated people who want to see an end to status quo politics in a country that should be doing much better than it seems to be doing is admirable and must be tiring.Keep fighting the good fight GRP.
          My contribution here is nearing its end(imma sure you know I am not staff here at GRP),it has been brief and to say I appreciate the GRP blogging staff is an understatement. GRP ROCKS!!!!
          I have refrained from insulting anyone(although a few came my way) and only tried to illuminate one point,OK….maybe two.Redundant as it has been it is vital to understand this singular point for any change to be effected.

  4. Its goodwill and to refer to it as“a unique form of bayanihan” is politically incorrect. Whilst some may claim that bayanihan emanated from goodwill, bayanihan in its plain and literal translation is teamwork.

    On a side note, Filipinos are usually “reactive” when it comes to dealing with natural calamities. It would be nice to see Filipinos shift from being “reactive” to “pro-active,” and not just limited to a response to a calamity but also to their everyday lives.

    1. We Filipinos don’t use ‘bayanihan’ that way, or merely in that sense of the word; the term has been used most often as a catch-all term for (mostly) spontaneous civic-mindedness, especially during disasters.

  5. It’s as if Filipinos have this urge to tell everyone “hey look at me I’m doing my part” every time the opportunity presents itself. They just can’t help out quietly; they want credit for everything. But Pinoys have no sense of a greater community; instead of helping each other by default they are more inclined to step on each other to gain advantages.

    1. I think it’s beyond the contribution thing. It’s always gotta be playing the mostly-victimized card while magnifying all founded acts of charity and cooperation (which any kind of human person on friggin existing on earth could do).

  6. “Pinoys” also try to suck up a residue of pride from Manila’s moniker as the “Second Warsaw” or “the city next to Warsaw” in terms of damages during WWII. It’s as if all of their conceived nationalistic and racial aspirations and hoohahs have been tested to withstand all possible man-made destruction there could be.

    Bitches, please. Tell that to Japan and South Korea.

    1. perfect what? That is the question I propose.I’ve got a few answers too,but I will not insult anyone in this web-site.

      1. Perfect when you consider their “pride” to shame ratio. The same people jumping up and down during American Idol this year will not reveal true national embarrassments like our elected officials .

        1. What exactly do you mean by ‘Pinoy shame’? That we need to endlessly parade our failures as a nation, each and every single one of them, so that whatever else we Filipinos still value and hope for are crushed to small bits?

          I apologize if I said too much, but I cannot conceive of any other context in which the phrase can mean something else other than just tactlessly airing our dirty laundry if it hasn’t been the case time and again.

  7. If the Philippines is trying to somehow take credit for something that happened in the U.S.A. during a hurricane,that is just beyond ‘daft’.
    Take a look at what happens every time a few inches of rain falls on Manila/CDO and you get the same results year after year,so UH…wtf?.If the city-planners in the Philippines had a single brain among them,and they obviously do not,they would do something about the HUGE flooding problems they have.BUT they won’t,so look forward to the next round of floods and all the dying to come.Remember the pols are in Hi-Rises and can stare down at everyone else until the water goes back down.
    Bizarre for anyone in the Philippines to take credit for what the chick in NYC did, some balls that takes!

    1. We take credit for well damn near everything as long as we smell Pinoy blood — why not here? It’s not as if we’re flooding in positive achievements anyway.

  8. Hurricane Sandy is bringing out Pinoys of Pinas. On one hand, many politicians are clamoring to go to USA this week or next week — you know, to study how USA governments prepare. (As if Mayor Bloomberg or Gov Christie or their top honchos will break away from taking care of their citizens for photo-ops with Pinoy politicians).

    Then this —– Pinoys in Pinas don’t even pay attention to detail. Many say Pilipinas also, like New York city, have authority for forcible evacuation of citizens from endangered zones (with batons or electric prods??? ). Except had they read the details, neither Mayor Bloomberg or Governor Christie can force away from their homes the citizens who chose to ride out Sandy’s arrival.

  9. Wasn’t there a passage in the Bible that stated that those who make their good deeds known to everyone would no longer receive a reward in the afterlife for it? You think having a heavy Christian presence here would make them practice humility or something.

  10. i was in manhattan when sandy hits east coast. truth be told you can charge your electronic devices everywhere there are sockets for free around mid manhattan area! commercial establishments like SB, Macy’s, and etc. did the same and we flips made these a big fcuking deal?!

      1. ok bago ako mapilosopo ng iba – not everyone is sharing their electricity but its a common sight in mid manhattan after sandy. and consider this.. new yorkers are branded as “rudes”.

        bottom line is – the pinoy reporter/editor who decided to publish this as news or article is retarded! or is this some kind of a “feel good” for us flips? its a fcuking joke! kahihiyan!

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