Finding Purpose Among the Ruins

Friday, December 27, 2013

I have drafted this post a week after I left Tacloban for Manila post-Haiyan. But I just didn’t really had the urgency to post this, maybe I was just waiting for the right time. I realized, this is the perfect time to post this, as this is about finding a purpose or meaning to our lives at times when the world where we live in is not in its natural state. May you find your life’s purpose and live it to the fullest.


Someone said I have an amazing spirit. *cough* *cough*, and it's only because I chose to also see the other side of every event. Well,it's not me who said it. Maybe I do, maybe I don’t. I take it as a compliment. But what I do know is that it takes a lot of effort to stay positive in a negative situation. Being pessimist is not an option for me during these times. If I do become this type of person, I can’t imagine how my children would get through a situation like this. I would never be able to bring the rest of my family back up on our feet.

But, it’s not just me. There are many others who have shown their amazing spirit through the selfless acts they do.

 Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) caught us by surprise. Nobody knew it would bring that much destruction. With destruction, all the negativities in the world surfaced. And when we didn’t get the support we should have received from whoever was responsible, people went into a “survival of the fittest” mode. And from there, people were forced to show their negative character. It was indeed a big challenge to remain positive, choosing good over evil, while your stomach growls in hunger, shiver from the cold and become anxious on dark nights.


But the destruction that the typhoon brought to our beloved Eastern Visayas, more than many people were brought to finding their purposes. From the ruins, heroes and heroines have risen with their   purposes and set out on a common goal, to help those affected. 

I have seen people I know and how they took the matter of helping out on their own or through their affiliations, in the best way they know how. I have witnessed ordinary people become heroes in the eyes of their families and friends. People who on their own, in a survival mode, along with adrenaline rush, became experts in life-saving, of their own, of the people they love and even to strangers.


This catastrophe also made us realize which things are important to us. At the height of the typhoon, we were made to choose which things are worth saving. I believe, all of us chose to save our family over  possessions. Some were not so lucky, they did not even had the time to choose. Their loved ones were swept away by the surge right before their very eyes, faster than they could think.

We may have lost possessions, family members, friends and homes, but we did not lose hope in our hearts. It may have broken up families, ironically, it also brought families together. One of the first things we did after the typhoon was to look for family members. We traveled, literally walked for miles and miles in search of surviving family members. Estranged husbands and wives put aside differences for the safety of their children. Siblings separated for years searched for one another. Family reunions were common. Sad, that it had to happen in a very difficult and different circumstance.

Photo: Mabelle Lim
Looting from the remnants of an establishment
We could have not prevented the worst from happening, the looting, the chaos and the pandemonium. But more than that, kindness and generosity overwhelmed the place. Even if our very own national government has been incompetent and incapable of helping us victims, help from ordinary people has been overwhelming.
The most notable of all, countries all over the world have shown their support for our country. They have chosen to set aside their differences, and worked together towards a common goal, to help the victims of Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan). Citizens of the world cried with us and offered whatever they had in their homes and chose to donate it to help the affected.

Photo: Tindog Waray Help for Haiyan/Yolanda Philippine Typhoon Victims
Onset are 2 of my sisters, nephew and niece, sister's in-laws. Photo taken after distribution of noche buena packages to
residents/survivors in Magay, Tanauan.

I realized, that if we people could be as generous as we are now, and being initiative the way we are living out our purposes and leading the way to help, why did we have to wait for a giant catastrophe to be of service to humanity?

Yes, it is true that Yolanda (Haiyan) brought us to our knees. We need to be down on our knees once more to be able to rise again. This time, not because of anguish, but of humility and acknowledgement that there is a God.

I am deeply grateful to all those who have helped me and my family and everything they offered us. I am thankful for every clothing, every centavo, every canned good , every bottle of water, every concern and prayer offered to us.

Likewise, I am truly grateful to all the organizations, the nations, the charitable institutions, volunteers and individuals who have answered to our pleas, our cries and extended help and devoted not only their time, but strength, sweat and blood as well.


I know that at some point, they not only have helped but have found a certain purpose for their lives too.
I honor the men and women who have taken up arms against hopelessness, they that who have found their purposes among the ruins. Only a great love for others can make an ordinary man a hero. But nevertheless, we each has the spirit of a hero inside us, because, the human spirit is loving, kind and generous by nature. All it takes is one life-changing moment.
Merry Christmas!

Keeping the faith,


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