Friday, October 9, 2009

Fun Friday – B is for "Bayanihan"

Bayanihan is a Filipino word derived from the word “bayan” which means town, nation or community. In general, Bayanihan refers to a spirit of communal unity and cooperation to achieve a common objective. Its origin can be traced from the old Filipino tradition of neighbors and community folks volunteering to help a family move to a new location. What they were doing was literally carrying the house by placing long bamboo poles forming a strong frame so they can lift the stilts from the ground using the frame with each man positioned at the ends of the bamboo poles. All this is done on a jolly and festive mood. After which the moving family will host a small fiesta to thank the volunteers.

We now rarely see this old tradition being practiced but Bayanihan has evolved and can now manifest in many forms. One recent display of this indomitable Filipino trait was during the onslaught of tropical depression Ondoy, typhoon Pepeng and subsequent flooding in some areas in the country. Like everyone else, I have been touched by the amazing tales of heroism and bravery in the face of disaster that are being told. There’s the story of a teenager who braved rampaging floods to save more than 30 people, but ended up sacrificing his life in another rescue attempt. There’s the story of a father who drowned after ensuring his family’s safety and the stories of other nameless soldiers and civilians who charge into flood waters to rescue civilians. The remarkable thing is, these stories of bravery have become ordinary in these trying times. People from all walks of life are generously lending a helping hand to the less fortunate victims of this calamity. Those who lived in higher areas opened their doors to their neighbors whose homes were flooded. There are even those who offered their roofs as temporary shelter for their neighbors as floodwaters devoured their houses. Those who were on safer grounds helped by sending text messages and calling media networks to report stranded people requiring immediate rescue. Foods were offered to neighbors and even complete strangers, sharing whatever little they had.

Even big business corporations and ordinary citizens have joined the bayahihan spirit. Filipinos continue to help their fellowmen in whatever way they can. These are hard times for everyone but they expressed support, donate money and whatever services that they can offer. Yes, there’s always something to give although there’s very little that they’ve got.

I never doubted the Bayanihan spirit of the Filipino. We may be divided as a nation but in the midst of disaster, we band together to help each other. Indeed, this is a time for us to put aside whatever differences we have and work towards helping those in need.

Indeed, crisis brings out the best in people. For Filipinos, it showed our best qualities. Generosity, courageous empathy, selflessness and heroism all these can be summed up in one word: Bayanihan. I have never been prouder to be a Filipino.

Photo credit.


Melissa said...

Leomar thank you for joining in this week. I am always touched, by stories of kindness of strangers. With all the awful things that happen in this world, it gives hope that there really is civility left in this world, kindness, and love, sacrifice, and courage. Thank you for sharing this with me, it gives me hope for this world.

meryl said...

iba talaga ang pinoy! ^_^
yan ang pinoy! ^_^

Imladris said...

Great Post!


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