The Filipino capacity for resilience, seen by psychologists and behaviorists as a virtue, rose notches higher once more with the offensive made by powerful Typhoon “Ompong” in Northern Philippines.
More than just rubberlike behavior, the Filipinos showed their bouncy, if kneadable, character as they helped family members and neighbors stand up to the fury of the 15th typhoon to enter the Philippines this year.
It will be days before the final toll tab—in death and destruction to agricultural crops and infrastructure—would be officially signed.
But Ompong’s immediate victims reflected the resilience of other Filipinos in the other areas of the archipelago to adapt properly and well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats or even significant wellsprings of stress.
The near knockout punch inflicted by Ompong this month underlined what outsiders have seen in the Filipino, whether he is at home or overseas, with his power and ability to return to his original form of being buoyant and strong after being bent, compressed or stretched.
How else can one explain the capacity of the Filipino to adapt and bounce back when, as in the case of those in the typhoon-whacked Cagayan Valley, the Cordilleras, and the Ilocos, the residents, whose eyes were jabbed by beaten agricultural terraced lands, have not lost their hardy character?
Perhaps, they continue to cherish family and social support, apart from relishing in their humanity the spirit of bayanihan, among Tagalogs, or the tagnawa, among northerners, which is deeply rooted in many towns where community members volunteer to help neighbors in various levels of cooperation.
Philippine society has not been deficient in this spirit, with volunteerism and teamwork at the core of the Filipino soul and character, which defines properly the Filipino, who continues to have his faith in his God.
A recipe to be pliant amid disaster.