Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) aftermath: How are Filipinos coping?

What might be the true full extent of the devastation wreaked by super-typhoon Haiyan (code-named “Yolanda”) has been revealed in recent reports from “a Red Cross” official who quoted horrific numbers that dwarf initial death toll estimates…

Extensive damage: Tacloban post Yolanda

Extensive damage: Tacloban post Yolanda

“We estimate 1,000 people were killed in Tacloban and 200 in Samar province,” Gwendolyn Pang, secretary general of the Philippine Red Cross, said of two coastal areas where Haiyan hit first as it began its march Friday across the archipelago.

Tacloban City bore the brunt of the power of what had been cited as the planet’s biggest cyclone of the year barreling through the Philippines’ Visayas region “3.5 times more forceful than the United States’ Hurricane Katrina in 2005”. Yolanda comes in the heels of the devastation earlier brought on by a powerful earthquake that hit nearby Bohol Island several weeks ago.

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A meme that was widely-shared in Philippine social media today described as a “privilege” the Philippines’ misfortune of “bearing the burden of [being hit] by the strongest typhoon ever recorded”. Presumably this “privilege”, if we are to understand where the creator of this meme might have been coming from, is with regard to what is likely seen by many to be a long-overdue recognition of Filipinos’ “resilience” in the face of horrific adversity…

At the end of the day, the Filipinos will just sake off the dirt from their clothes and go about their business … and SMILE. They do not complain much, they will bear as long as they can.

The above and the rest of the text in the meme is displayed next to a logo of CNN implying that this was part of an actual news report published by the prestigious international news organisation.


One can quite easily understand a nation’s search for meaning as it reels from multiple challenges thrown at it as if to test how much its people can “bear” with a “smile”. The earthquake in Bohol that killed hundreds and reduced centuries-old churches to rubble, the appalling pork barrel thievery scandal that has all but discredited Philippine “democracy”, a withdrawal of Filipinos’ visa-free travel access to Hong Kong by that principality’s legislators, and now this.

Recent on-the-ground reports, however, paint a different picture of the character of the victims of Yolanda’s “privileged” visit. Video footage published by ABS-CBN showed Gaisano Mall in Tacloban City being looted by residents

Ted Failon described the details of the mall robbery. The typhoon victims took different electrical equipments such us refrigerators and electric fan. A typhoon victim was also seen bringing out a bicycle from the mall. They were literally shopping for free.

For many, this is a time for prayer, for others a time of giving, and for many more a time for both. Maybe for those who looted Gaisano Mall, it is a time that calls for one to help themselves — to a few goods. Different people respond to disaster in many different ways. So let us not judge people’s actions after the fact. The better exercise, perhaps, lies in evaluating what a people do to prepare for the unexpected next time.

[Photo of damage in Tacloban courtesy Erel Cabatbat.]

51 Replies to “Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) aftermath: How are Filipinos coping?”

  1. Patience? Resilience? Smile and go on?
    They are more of a Curse, than of a Virtue. Our leaders can steal our tax money. And we accepted our fates. These thieveries are politically normal of our leaders. We were subjugated by foreign colonizers. And we were resigned to it for several centuries. Apathy is the characteristic of us , Filipinos, that hinders us to progress. And, to clean our government.

    1. people like napoles are those that hinder us to progress. as said by Senator Miriam, the DAP, which purpose is to improve the country is being attacked by corrupt writers.

    2. it would be better if you just let them say that to our countrymen. That is what’s left for us to brag… everyone knows what’s happening in the Philippines (of course I super hate it too, especially the leaders) and we’re not the most corrupt.. though at least we shouldn’t start making stereotypes against our own country.

  2. I think the ‘meme’ was just one of the comments in CNN’s news article about the typhoon.

    Also watched the video. Interesting–and unnerving–to say the least.

  3. How are we coping? The strongest storm in history came and we survived because we are the strongest people in the world!

    Nature dishes out its best punch but the Pinoys are not knocked out! Mabuhay ang Pilipinas!!!

    1. We “survived”? What about the people who perished in the typhoon? Reports say the number of deaths could reach over a thousand. And what about the injured and the homeless? They will suffer for a long time months after most Filipinos have lost interest in this latest disaster.

      Don’t be too quick to congratulate the Philippines.

        1. the typhoon is the result of global warming. philipinos were praised by the country who contributed most to the global warming. that’s what people need to respond to.

      1. They’re just trying to lift our spirits up.. Surviving not in a literal manner. People in tacloban tried to smile despite their situation, they lost their family members but they try to live on. And that’s what surviving means. Thanks πŸ™‚

        1. SMILING Is a defense and coping mechanism when a human being can only do so much. Everybody will go crazy if you were to experience this kind of Devastation right before your eyes.

      2. This is what i called a Filipino False sense of Pride.there is nothing to be proud about what happened. What we Filipinos need to do is LEARN FROM THIS HORRIFIC EXPERIENCE. If er don’t. it will bound to continue. This is Mother natures wrath that were unleash on us.

  4. 2 Corinthians 12:7-10

    “And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure.

    For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me.

    And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

    Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.”

    Calling all TRUE CHRISTIANS! This is the time to come together and help our brothers and sisters through the teachings of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, who was sacrificed by our Loving Creator to save us from our sins.

    We are having a fund raising at the Greenbelt Starbucks tomorrow. Some of you cynics might be asking why should we spend expensive coffee when the money can be used to help people? Well the answer is the we need a good venue for our financially blessed congregation to gather where they can use wi-fi for their latest i-phone and tablet gadgets so they can share their facebook photos of their expensive purchases, trips, and gourmet meals.

    And those who are wondering if we cancelling our “missionary” trip to Bali, the answer is that we must go and save the souls of those misguided buddhists and muslims. The Filipino soul has passed these many “tests” (typhoons, earthquakes, and Anti-Pinoys) but has prevailed because they have embraced the teachings of Christ.

    1. Pastor Ernie is the same person who wrote a blog response stating what a “good Christian” Janet Lim Napoles and the thieving senators are. WHAT A MORON!!!!!!

    2. The leading news media in the country that has done more to cause global warming than any other tells those who suffer the consequences of the consequences of global warming they are ‘privileged’.

  5. Can’t we just peacefully help our countrymen instead of having another chest-beating session of how we are “survivors” and resilient blah blah?!

    What a “privilege” this typhoon is. Parang tanga lang.

    1. Stop the chauvinistic bullshit about being the strongest. Filipinos are no better and no worse than any other people. They are doing the best they can given the circumstances they find themselves in. All this insecure posturing is just a smokescreen to keep people from seeing the real enemy= incompetent and inept politician thieves.

      1. right you are…but who are to blame for placing these thieves and incompetents? for one thing I am one. I have learned my lesson and I hope that others like me will too.

        1. what a bullshit analysis…when the going gets tough…the filipino gives up or cheats…no need to stress out

      2. I like your analogy. Time and time thru History. The Philippine
        Has been battered by typhoons. My own countrymen never learn from it. Everyone has s self responsibilty to protect yourself and your loved ones. Im seeing a continuous pattern here of either just ignoring the news. Cause and effect. You know a megastorm is coming but people didn’t took the warnings seriously. Effect: Lots of Dead people. FAIL TO PLAN AND PLAN TO FAIL. Mandatory forceful evacuation must be enforced. The problem with Filipinos is a lack of foresight. FILIPINOS like to invite CHAOS. Instead of taking preventive measures and trying to avoid it. We pinoys tend to invite it with open arms.

  6. I am loving your writing!

    I wrote a blog and shared a page and some info also about how people around the world can reach out to help. I hope you do not mind me referencing here, trying to do my part to help.

    As far as being a resilient and strong people in the face of adversary I do agree (to an extent), some are also the countries worst enemy like all the people who looted the mall in Tacloban after the typhoon.

    People should be coming together to help one another and not weakening their city with theft.

    1. Sad to say Billy, that in this kind of event where everyone is running low on food and other important necessities when the “help” they are expecting is being held up or delayed..of course they will do such drastic measures to survive.

      You can’t ask people to come together when the voice of reason is the grumble of their stomach.

      The typhoon may have killed people, but the aftermath will even have more victims and it will get worse because it is hell on earth on those sites right now.

  7. a total disgrace of an article in CNN. false BS aimed at propping up opinion of a tragic country.

    that the looting that took place doesn’t happen in Manila on the sunniest of days. Oh, wait…

    IT DOES, everyday! it is just legal, or is it? LEAVE, NOW.

    1. First of all, I don’t think CNN wrote that thing on the picture with the CNN logo on it..after all somebody may have edited it using l33t skillz~

      Loot here, Loot there, Loot everywhere..some do it in broad daylight like some of our elected representatives and some do it in the darkness of the night like most of our robbin’ hood wannabes πŸ˜€

  8. due to location china and the philippines are the two countries most hit by super typhoons since 1970. to say this has no effect on our character is ignorant

  9. God is not behind the calamities that affect so many people today. The Bible though foretell that we will be facing disasters in our time. Jesus foretell events that will occur during the last days of this old system of things. He said: Β “There will be food shortages and earthquakes in one place after another. All these things are a beginning of pangs of distress.”

    He continued: “When you see these things occurring, know that the kingdom of God is near.” (Luke 21:31) Hence, all these natural disasters, therefore, have great significance for us today.❀

  10. That CNN thing is fake. Someone edited a user comment by dudesk001 and put the CNN logo on it. Really stupid. Although the comment itself, I consider stupid too.

  11. So the country that has done more to cause global warming calls those who suffer the consequences ‘privileged’…and the Phillipinos applaud the praise…eh ?!?!

    1. Privilege? No. Try utter Stupidity and Ignorance. You know a freakstorm is coming your way. People became complacent. They assume its just a storm. well guess ” its the mother of all F…ups”. My countrymen just seems never learn FROM HISTORY. They are bound to repeat this catastrophe over and over again.

  12. Every Filipinos find its way to survive, no matter how painful it was be, aftermath they are standing still. God has gave the strongest storm ever only in the Philippines, because people there has long tolerance towards wrath…ergo they seem to be the strongest race in the world. GOD BLESS THE PHILIPPINES

    1. Now that….. is one big false sense of pride. Please wake up, ineng. The storm passed, a lot of people perished, the survivors are looting, the president is pointing fingers, relief goods from red cross got looted……. just where is the filipinos’ strength there?

      1. Filipino pride got nothing to do with this storm.sad to say it bluntly. IGNORANCE AND STUPIDITY plays a big part. You know a Freak Storm is coming your way. People did not took this storm seriously. INTUITION should have automatically kick in. People had a week to prepare and they didn’t do it. Move to Higher ground or IF YOU ARE NEAR THE WATER.GTFO!!!. Of course Time and Time again, This will continue to happen. DRASTIC PREVENTIVE MEASURES must be taken. Don’t rely on your govt yo help you. They too will be helpless.

    2. And that’s it? All the Filipino know is just to ‘survive’? What happened to ‘being able to learn from his shortcomings’ and ‘aiming not only to survive, but to prosper and thrive’? Wait a minute, scratch that, those aren’t even present in da Pinoy’s perpetually battered spirit (whether by the environment or by themselves).

  13. The people of Tacloban and other areas don’t need the constant ramblings that says ‘the Filipino spirit is waterproof’ or that ‘the ‘Filipino spirit is resilient’. Rather, they need food, clean water, clothing, shelter and order. The pride of having a waterproof spirit cannot be eaten, drank, worn as clothing or used to restore order.

    As for those who insist that the Filipino spirit is waterproof, tell that to those who died, to those who lost their loved ones and to those who lost everything they own. Apparently, the bodies of those who died were not as resilient and waterproof.

    You can’t donate pride.

    1. This got nothing to do with Filipinos being resilient or waterproof. The human spirit is what keeps you alive. Filipinos like to invite Chaos in their lives and sure CHAOS like this will happen. You know your in a path of a Freak Storm. people should have taken preventive action but did not. Either COMPLACENCY played a big part. “WHEN PEOPLE NEVER LEARN FROM HISTORY, THEY ARE DOOM TO REPEAT IT”.



        Typhoons like Yolanda are never new. Like the one in Cagayan de Oro. Goes to show the government and people refuse to learn.

        Yet I know someone who’s parents live in Tacloban. According to her parents, the city did take preventive measures like moving to evacuation centers. They never expected that even these evacuation centers were not safe. And not everyone was aware what the hell a ‘storm surge’ was. It proved to be decisive and fatal.

        Well it’s a typhoon and thousands die here every year. Yet people still remain happy-go-lucky and complacent.

  14. And it was said to that the Philippines was given the ‘privilege’ to bear the brunt of Haiyan. Apparently more 1,500 people are already dead as part of the privilege.

    For anyone who insist that it’s still privilege, you’re welcome to tie yourself up to a tree to have the privilege of greeting the next typhoon yourself.

  15. Im sorry but I can assure you, this is not from CNN. A guy named dudesk001 is the man behind that comment. You can go Tacloban and give a speech on resiliency in front of the dying filipinos out there. Perhaps they would agree with you and make you a hero. How’s that? Pnoy and the rest of his crew can back you up if you need more audience.

  16. Isa ako na residente ng capoocan leyte humihingi po kami ng tulong paano po marisulbahan an prolima sa na sabing lugar .isa po kami biktima ng typoon Yolanda na hanggang ngayon wala pang binigyan ng assistant for temporary shelter ang alam ko pagsira ang bahay mo 30 thousand ang matanggap mo paghindi sira lahat 10 thousand lang puwedi po ninyong bisitahin ang lugar naito para alamin salamat po more power. sana po ang message ko maging comfidencail.

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