Lessons Learned from a Tragedy

After a week of emergency grocery shopping, volunteer-in-the-morning and corporate-slave in the evening week, my life some Filipinos' lives are somehow resembling a normalcy. I said 'some' because I know there are still a lot of people who don't know how they would go back and rebuild what they have built for their lifetimes. I do not know the answer to that but I do know that even if I was not directly hassled by the typhoons, I was able to pick up a few lessons I thought of sharing.

1. Loosen the grip on material things because no one really knows when they will be taken away. I am very sensitive about my belongings and I get antsy whenever I lose an item even as small as my favorite ballpen. Seeing people lose everything made me realize that there is nothing we own, even our lives, are borrowed.

2. Heavy things float! I did not experience this myself but according to my friends who have, fridge, piano and other heavy stuff float in flood. The next time you encounter this, tie your stuff with rope so they won't float away.

3. This was the rainy day the popular saying 'Save for the Rainy Days' was talking about. Shortly after Ondoy created a chaos out of Manila, Typhoon Parma came in and scared everyone. In the groceries, people were panic buying. What if you didn't have extra money to spare? What if *knock on wood* you lose your home and all your belongings and you'd have to start from scratch? Popular finance author Suze Orman says that before anything else, start funding your emergency fund, an amount approximately equal to six months of your salary. I haven't been practicing this, too, as religiously but with the trauma that Ondoy has caused, I am slowing down on shopping.

4. The Filipino is worth living and dying for.*

via The High Definite

An 18-year-old construction worker, Muelmar Magallanes, braved rampaging floods in the Philippines to save more than 30 people, but ended up sacrificing his life in a last trip to rescue a baby girl and her mother who were being swept away on a styrofoam box.
5. I have never been more proud to be a Filipino.You know when you're driving to work, or even sitting inside a public transportation and you've been on the same spot for an hour and nothing is moving and you hate the country so much? I do. I feel that  all the time. Except when these typhoons came, battered so many people and yet, everywhere you look, even the victims themselves are helping out, giving what they can

 One of the most reblogged images in Tumblr.
Image by Mark Gosingtian

6. I've never been more proud to be employed by my current company. On Sunday morning, I checked my mobile phone only to see about a hundred text messages and calls from colleagues who were asking how I was. Our HR Department SMSd to everyone to know who needed immediate rescue and who needed loans. I replied that I was thankfully okay. Apparently, the whole HRD and CMT [Crisis Management Team] had been at the office on Sunday with a team who's in charge of packing goods, and a team armed with a truck and goods to deliver. Since I had colleagues who were stuck in their roof since Saturday, CMT made sure that they were all rescued and were brought to our building so they could stay in the vacant rooms for the mean time. On the 29th, our 13th month bonus was released to give way to necessary needs and extended 0% calamity loans.

On the other hand, my friend's boyfriend, also from a multinational company was SMSd by his company on Sunday night. It went like this: "Typhoon Ondoy has left the country. Please report to work tomorrow." Concern much?

7. There is no more excuse. We all need to exert more efforts to save our environment.

8. When all else fails, God does not. I am not the most religious person I know and I am known to skip mass every now and then but knowing that God listened to our prayers when Typhoon Parma was approaching was another [of many] humbling experiences I've had. As they say Ask and you shall receive.

I know it will be hard to transition back to normalcy, as you see, I still cannot get over it. But our country, most especially Filipinos, known for resiliency, will pass with flying colors. I just hope in the future we'll do better, and that no more lives need to be taken.

Do you have lessons to share? I'd love to hear :)

*Rapa Lopa