Pepeng aftermath: stories of her-oism
Who could ever forget what happened from September 26 to October 21, 2009? Not I nor the 9,407,665 other Filipinos who were directly affected by the two tropical cyclones that hit the Philippines one after the other.
Typhoon Ondoy drowned the NCR (National Capital Region) and most of Luzon while Typhoon Pepeng left a trail of destruction and havoc in the northern part of Philippines, particularly Pangasinan. An article entitled Statistically Speaking estimates the damages at more than a thousand deaths and about Php 38 billion (11 billion is attributed to Ondoy and 27 billion to Pepeng), Ondoy and Pepeng have dislodged typhoons Ruping and Rosing as the costliest tropical cyclone in the Philippines. Someone quipped Ondoy and Pepeng were like two highly-paid actors/comedians; the only trouble is they were not acting and they were not funny.
Throw all the statistics away. The actual experience and eyewitness accounts of what actually happened is more glaring than the numbers. In Benguet, a whole family was buried under the rubble caused by a landslide. Cars in Sta. Mesa, Manila swirled in floodwater like sugar cubes in coffee. An aged stroke patient was drenched by the rain for two days while perched in their bungalow’s roof in Mangaldan. In Rosales, a man was seen clinging to a branch a tree as water continuously rose.
It can’t rain all the time and we Filipinos soon found our rainbow. We found it in those countless and sometimes random acts of kindness, bayanihan spirit, heroism, display of unity – seldom seen except in a Manny Pacquiao fight … and a national calamity of this scale. How does one account for the adrenalin rush as hundreds volunteered to help the victims by shelling out their money or otherwise giving of their time and of themselves?
Saying thank you is never too late. As March is recognized as International Women's Month, it is but fitting to feature and honor the women (and their organizations) who helped and comforted us during and after the onslaught of the typhoons. They are worthy of being called heroines.
The Rotary Club of Dagupan East (RCDE) of which I am a member, conducted rescue, relief and rehabilitation efforts in Pangasinan for more than two weeks straight last October 2009. These efforts were made possible through the coordination of Chris and Candy Blancaflor and Rex and Marianne Lor who were able to enlist the help of these heroic ladies.
Read the full article here: Pepeng aftermath: stories of her-oism