“Bayanihan” Tradition is Alive and Well in Marikina

PIO Department


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It’s heartening to note that the cherished “bayanihan” tradition among Filipinos is still very much alive and is doing well.

In Marikina City -- where tropical storm “Karding” flooded parts of the city over the weekend -- students, teachers, military men, housewives, nurses, doctors, businessmen, City Hall employees, aid workers, and a lot more, are all working together to help those who have been affected by the calamity.

Some are preparing food in the kitchen at the second floor of the Marikina Sports Center, some are packing food to be distributed to various evacuation centers, some are sorting out blankets, clothes and other items at the third floor that will be donated to the victims of the typhoon.

Some are delivering food to evacuation centers. Others are staying in evacuation centers making sure that everything is in order and that food and relief goods are distributed properly. Others are receiving donations and some are carrying those heavy packages containing food, toiletries, clothes in and out of the gymnasium.

"Karding" exacerbated "habagat" and  triggered rains that caused the Marikina River to climb to more than 20 meters high, prompting the Local Government of Marikina under the helm of Mayor Marcy Teodoro on Saturday to impose a forced evacuation among residents, especially those living near the river and in low-lying areas.

The evacuees are housed in around 20 evacuation centers in the city, where more than 20,000 residents are temporarily staying.

Because of the magnitude of the calamity, kind-hearted citizens, whether living in Marikina or elsewhere in the metropolis, voluntarily help by donating food, goods, while others trooped to the sports center to cook, pack relief goods, among others.

For those unfamiliar with the term, “bayanihan” is an old Filipino tradition where Filipinos help each other in times of need. It is manifested when the whole community acts as one to achieve a common goal.

Inspired by Mayor Marcy

Most of the volunteers, especially those from Marikina, said they are inspired by the leadership of Mayor Marcy, who has been relentless in helping the typhoon victims.

One of those who volunteered at the Marikina Sports Center is Lanie Anne Rebano, a nursing professor at the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Marikina (PLMar).

“Most of us here are affected by the flood, especially the students. But we are not just thinking about ourselves but about other people who are severely affected by the flood and the typhoon,” said Lanie Anne, who was helping prepare food when interviewed for this article alongside other volunteers.

“We are here in the spirit of bayanihan. Hindi lang namin iniisip ang sarili namin but more importantly ang mga taong higit na naapektuhan at pwede naming matulungan with our simple way of helping out,” Lanie Anne said.

More than 500 students and faculty members in all departments at PLMar are doing volunteer work at the sports center and in evacuation centers. They have been doing it since Sunday and Lanie Anne said they would continue to do so as long as the Local Government needs their services.

PLMar Criminology student Crismar Leones, who has been doing volunteer works during typhoons in Marikna since he was in high school, echoed Lanie Anne’s words.

“Nandito po ako dahil gusto ko pong tumulong. Meron rin po akong mga kamag-anak na nasalanta rin po ng bagyo at binaha rin po. Mga taga-Tumana po sila. Kami pong hindi naapektuhan ng bagyo, gusto rin po naming tumulong kasi sinusuportahan namin ang programa ni Mayor Marcy na tumulong sa mga nasalanta ng bagyo,” said the 18-year-old Crismar who is a first year college student.

“Kahit po nabaha kami, tutulong pa rin po ako dahil nasa puso ko po ang tumulong,” said Crismar, who is with other 18 Criminology students helping out at the sports center, preparing and distributing food to evacuees.

Another teacher, Hadji Tejada from Sta. Elena High School, is also doing volunteer works along with other teachers and parents of students from the school.

“Hindi man kami makatulong direkta sa pinansiyal, at least labor man lang ay masuportahan namin ang mga nasalanta nating kababayan,” said Hadji, who teaches Physical Education, Arts and Music.

Hadji said he is also inspired by Mayor Marcy’s generous spirit, especially in looking after the Marikeños not only in times of calamities but all the time.

“Napakasipag ni Mayor Marcy. Sinisiguro niyang lahat ng tao ay matulungan at matugunan ang pangangailangan 24/7. Kakaiba ang mayor namin sa Marikina. Nakaka-inspire ang sipag niya. Pagdating sa tao, full-force siya sa pagtulong,” Hadji said.

The “bayanihan” custom is indeed alive in the hearts of the Marikeños, best summed up by Lanie Anne: “Ano ang bayanihan? Kung sino po ang nangangailangan ng tulong lalo na sa oras ng kalamidad, huwag mo ng isipin ang sarili mo, kundi kung sino ang mas nangangailangan ng iyong tulong."

(Photos courtesy of Mae Pontevedra Patactacan of Marikina Tourism Office)

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