Our geographic location has a big influence in our culture. We are in the Pacific Ring of Fire and also in the Typhoon Belt. At least 20 typhoons visit the country in a year and we have 22 active volcanoes. Just imagine the chances that we will be hit by a natural calamity every year. The Philippines is a dangerous place to live but rather than sulk over it, we have embraced our situation armed with our faith, humor and each other.
Filipinos cope with a problem with prayers and humor. Thus, despite all the problems we have, we still have the propensity to joke about our predicament. Some culture may find it strange but this is what helped us survived over the years and will remain part of Filipino life.
A calamity always brings out the best in Filipinos. We can always hear stories of heroism form ordinary people in times of crisis. The bayanihan is at work during these times too. We have little to give yet we always share what we have with those who were victims of natural calamities.
We cannot do anything about natural calamities but we can do something in mitigating its effects. The Philippines is one of the countries most vulnerable to climate change and after experiencing Typhoon Yolanda hopefully we have learned our lessons. The effects of typhoons were magnified by our lack of preparation and environment degradation. Let’s stop being the problem and become part of the solution. Disaster preparedness is not only the responsibility of the government but of everybody. Hopefully, the next time we will be battered by a natural calamity, we will be ready.