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Breaking The Habit

Taal Volcano eruption sparks Bayanihan

The Taal Volcano eruption has already disrupted so much. Everyday life for hundreds of thousands remains at a standstill. As of writing, it still remains on alert level 4 – “hazardous eruption imminent”.

Hopefully, we’ve mitigated the damage Taal could do, as most areas within the danger zone have been evacuated already. It’s scary what happened, especially since the eruption seemed to come out of nowhere. However, despite the circumstances, a glimmer of positivity presented itself.

This catastrophic event sparked the bayanihan spirit of the Filipino people, almost instantaneously. Acts of selflessness have been constantly making rounds on social media ever since the eruption. It’s amazing how immediate our drive is to help each other, especially during times of disaster.

You know what they say about the resilience of Filipinos? We are resilient precisely because at the end of the day, we always have each other’s backs.

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The Bayanihan spirit’s immediate spark

We were all caught off guard with the Taal Volcano eruption last Sunday. However, the bayanihan spirit sparked almost immediately, as people were evacuating the affected areas.

TINGNAN: Hinangaan ng netizens ang pagtulong ni Roger Villa sa mga motorista na malinisan ang kanilang mga sasakyan sa kasagsagan ng nararanasang ashfall sa Tanauan City. (Kuha ni: Marj Jorie)

Posted by ABS-CBN News on Sunday, January 12, 2020

It’s amazing how scenes like the one above greeted people fleeing the sudden ashfall. Private citizens, out of their own good will, were washing windshields of vehicles so motorists wouldn’t get into accidents. Strangers helping strangers. It was wonderful.

The collective desire to help

A day later, at the height of the evacuation, that bayanihan spirit really got going.

Free food to all evacuees!! Malapit lang po sa kanto ng manghinao 😇 Feel free to come po! 💖 Salamat din po sa mga nagbigay ng tulong mapapera, raw meat,softdrinks and water 😇God Bless us all

Posted by Angel Efryl Castillo on Sunday, January 12, 2020

People hurriedly fled their homes, and did not have time to take care of their basic needs. Luckily, some good samaritans opened their doors and provided help for the evacuees.

READ: [Duterte is right, we need a Department of Disaster Resilience]

A few days after the Taal Volcano eruption, the mechanism for providing relief goods got into full swing, as several relief activities were being organized throughout from different parts of the country.

Yung walang tulugan sa repacking with @therealangellocsin & @teamangelph is a day well-spent for a good cause. Salamat…

Posted by Angela Colmenares on Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Against those who are opportunistic

This is not to say that only good things have happened ever since the Taal Volcano eruption. People also started panic buying, and abusive business owners drove up prices to capitalize on this.

N95 face masks, the ones that filter out deadly ashfall, became a valuable (and at times overpriced) commodity.

However, some Filipinos have been quick to counter this:

Guys sa tapat ng savemore gma, Cavite. may namimigay ng face mask for free. God bless sayo kuya 😇

Posted by Karmela Dasig Ramos on Sunday, January 12, 2020

Some were giving masks away – a stark contrast to the abusive capitalists who drove up prices. Some even went as far as making their own masks to distribute:

Ung mother mo n d alam kung pano tutulong…. Ayan po dahil mananahi ang trabaho nia naicip niang manahi ng facemask…

Posted by Mary Ann Mantuano on Monday, January 13, 2020

This vlogger and Syrian national earned praises on social media, as he even absorbed the price hikes of the masks. He bought every mask he could find, no matter how expensive, and headed to the evacuation centers to distribute them for free:

VOLCAN KA LANG, FILIPINO KAME 💪https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iexvGxWV8Ss&t=116s Went all around the Metro trying to…

Posted by The Hungry Syrian Wanderer on Monday, January 13, 2020

It’s payback time

In one of the most inspiring displays of bayanihan, volunteers from Pampanga rushed in to help their fellow countrymen in the south. They deployed a 50-vehicle convoy, complete with medical teams, social workers, and search and rescue personnel. They brought with them food packs and all sorts of supplies.

#SalamatPampanga: As Governo Delta remembers the time they survived and were given help during the 1991 Mt. Pinatubo…

Posted by Batangas Republic on Monday, January 13, 2020

Pampanga Governor Dennis Pineda led the convoy, as he saw it as a means of payback from all the help the Kampampangans got during the catastrophic Mt. Pinatubo eruption in 1991.

“We Kapampangans are paying back. Noon pong pumutok ang bulkang Pinatubo, marami po ang tumulong sa amin para iligtas kami at makabangon. Ito pong pagtulong ay pasasalamat namin,” said Pineda.

“It’s time to give back the generosity and care of those who helped us before.”

The light in the darkness

Remember, in times of darkness, light shines brightest.

The bayanihan spirit truly shows the best of the Filipino people. And while the Taal Volcano eruption is all the more manageable, we can do better in responding to other calamities as well. Why? Simply because we know we will always have each other’s backs.

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