The Bayanihan Spirit alive and kicking in cyberspace… Despite “Ondoy’s” Onslaught.

The origin of the term bayanihan can be traced from a common tradition in Philippine towns where community members volunteer to help a family move to a new place. The process involves literally carrying the house to its new location. This is done by putting bamboo poles forming a strong frame to lift the stilts from the ground and carrying the whole house with the men positioned at the ends of each pole. A mural by Filipino National Artist Carlos “Botong” Francisco illustrates the process. The tradition also features a small fiesta hosted by the family to express gratitude to the volunteers. (sourced from Wikipedia)

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Last Saturday, A house was moved to a new place, but not by people with large bamboos. The house was moved literally by mother nature itself and a whole lot of rain too.

September 26, 2009, the Philippines was ravaged by one of the worst storms to hit the country in more than 42 years. The phenomenal weather disturbance roared across northern Luzon, dumping a record 455 millimeters of rain in 12 hours (hurricane Katrina that submerged New Orleans has a rain fall of 380 millimeters) that inundated at least 25 percent of Metro Manila.

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An aerial view aboard a Philippine Air Force chopper shows devastation brought by Tropical Storm Ketsana in Cainta, province of Rizal , eastern Manila .

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Aida De Leon grieves in Pasig City , east of Manila.

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Residents are evacuated by police boats during flooding in Cainta Rizal, east of Manila .

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A boy is lifted onto the roof of a building to escape the flooding in the Quezon City suburban of Manila . Nearly a month’s worth of rain fell in just six hours Saturday, triggering the worst flooding in the Philippine capital in 42 years, which stranded thousands on rooftops in the city and elsewhere.

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Residents clamber on electric wires to stay out of floodwaters while others wade neck-deep in Cainta Rizal, east of Manila .

Typhoon Ondoy (International Name: Ketsana) has left the country and left our country in ruins. A total of 25 provinces and Metro Manila were placed under state of calamity. Thousands of families have been displaced, loved ones missing, an entire town still submerged under flood waters.

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Rich and poor, people from all walks of life are not excused by this raveging act of mother nature. We have heard news about celebrities like Jean Garcia, Jennica Garcia, and Christine Reyes trapped in their respective homes.

But despite this tragedy, the bayanihan spirit shined through in the most unlikely place… where else but in cyberspace. Just last Sunday Twitter & Facebook were almost the only means of communication available for people to get in touch with what was going on. The online world became a convenient means to keep connected as land lines went busy, cell phone networks conked out, and government websites bogged down. Immediately the internet was flooded(pardon the pun) with pleas for help. It became a hotline for help to those people who were either stranded or who’s homes were washed away. People who were stuck for 12 hours in traffic and who’s cell phone batteries had died found refuge in the internet to broadcast what was going on. The social networking site Facebook was also flooded with calls for help and wall posts on information about relief centers and hotline numbers. GMANews.TV’s Bagyong “Ondoy” Facebook page became an interactive bulletin board where Filipinos can post contact numbers, addresses, calls for help, inquiries and various messages of people stranded in flooded neighborhoods and buildings, vehicles trapped in gridlock, and travelers stuck in ports and terminals.

Even prominent Celebrities on Twitter such as Aston Kutcher & Demi Moore expressed their support to the Philippines in this global crisis. Celebrities such as Alyssa Milano, Paul Coleho and Josh Groban started calling thier fellow Americans to help out the Philippines. Local Celebrities such as Bianca Gonzalez, Miriam Quiambao and a host of others sent out numbers to the Red Cross and donation centers for the relief goods and cash donations.

This tragedy is far and beyond human comprehension, it makes us think how we have taken life for granted, it keeps us grounded, it makes us appreciate life’s simplicities. Ironically, this catastrophe also binds people together (especially us Filipinos). It showed to the world what bayanihan really means.  It shows how a handful of people with limited means come together as one and make a big difference! It makes the Filipino people unite and once again rise from adversity.

My sister once told me that “…the true measure of character is how one stands back up after taking a hard fall.”


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The Philippine RED CROSS is accepting…

Monetary Donations

1.  CASH or CHECK
Please send cash or check donations to the PNRC National Headquarters in Manila. Checks should be made payable to The Philippine National Red Cross.  We can also arrange for donation pick-up.

2.  BANK DEPOSIT
Account Name:  The Phil. Nat’l. Red Cross

PNRC PESO ACCOUNT

ALLIED BANK
Intramuros Branch
PESO ACCOUNT :    1941-01347-1
Type of Account :     CURRENT
SWIFT CODE  : ABC MPH MM


BANCO DE ORO
Port Area Branch
PESO ACCOUNT :    453-0018647
Type of Account : SAVINGS
SWIFT CODE  :    BNOR PH MM


BANK OF PHILIPPINE ISLAND
Port Area Branch
PESO ACCOUNT :   4991-0010-99
Type of Account :   CURRENT
SWIFT CODE  : BOPI PH MM


METRO BANK
Anda Circle Port Area Branch
PESO ACCOUNT : 151-3-04163122-8
Type of Account : SAVINGS
SWIFT CODE  : MBTC PH MM


PHILIPPINE NATIONAL BANK
Sta. Cruz Branch
PESO ACCOUNT : 3623-3680-0011
Type of Account : SAVINGS
SWIFT CODE  : PNB MPH MM

or visit their website @ http://www.redcross.org.ph

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