Filipino families pay it forward

Travis West | Managing Editor

It was a city on the rise, it’s where U.S. General Douglas MacArthur landed to take back the islands from the Japanese and now it will never be the same again.

Starting on Nov. 7 the Philippine island of Tacloban was hit by typhoon Haiyan that left up to 10,000 people estimated dead and 600,000 displaced, leaving an entire island in ruin.

Even though many precautions were put into place and warnings were given well before first landfall, nobody expected what has been said to be the worst storm to ever touch ground.

As a half Filipino-American, I can tell you that the Filipino community is close, very close.

As a matter of fact, my mechanic, my dentist and my doctor are all Filipino and it is not unusual for many Filipino Americans to reach out to their
own once they have made it to the United States.

Filipinos are quick to ask another if they are Filipino and once that connection is made…it lasts.

From that point on talks about chicken adobo, lumpia and the Lakers usually commence.

This camaraderie extends far beyond borders, binding Filipinos in the United States to those still back on the islands.

My mother, who is of Filipino descent and of course a registered nurse like many filipinos, taught me early on to give back and she was seen in our living room the day after the typhoon putting a bag of rice into a cardboard box.

No doubt there will be more.

Many countries have come to the aid of the Philippines, and while China, who has the second largest economy hands over an insulting $100,000, most countries donated millions in supplies and aid.

Meanwhile, Filipinos all over the United States are packing boxes with goods and clothes to send back.

This comes from decades of generosity that has been passed down.

Looking back on my childhood I can remember being taken to Filipino parties and being bombarded by the chant of, “ eat, eat, eat…” and “you want
coca cola?”

Typhoon haiyan’s destruction has caused many Filipinos to lose their homes and be forced to find refuge in the capital of Manila.

Like many of us during difficult times, Filipinos found a way to get their minds off the destruction by falling back on sports.

Many have turned to basketball and even before the typhoon, Filipinos have always taken a huge interest in the sport.

Often played in flip-flops and on the street, Filipinos all over the islands enjoy reenacting their favorite NBA stars on their home court.

Despite the temporary escape, thousands of displaced Filipinos lives will never be the same. Filipinos will show how resilient they are once again and with the help of their families here in the United States they will  soon be able to sustain the life they once were used to living.

No amount of money can bring back a loved one and no home can replace a lost one’s warm embrace.

But typhoon Haiyan can never take the Filipino spirit away. They will always welcome, they will always give back and most importantly they will never
forget the land they came from.