THE VIEW FROM RIZAL
“Do you think ‘Filipino resilience’ is overrated?”
That was one of the questions we got this past week from some of our readers. They were apparently affected by a message on Twitter coming from a showbusiness personality. In the tweet, the said personality reportedly lamented the use of “Filipino resilience” as an “excuse” and called for what was referred to in the tweet as “solutions.”
Our guess is that the showbusiness personality referred to may have thought that when “Filipino resilience” in the face of calamities is lauded, it is being used as a cover-up for the lack of permanent solutions. This personality may be under the impression that those who are in a position to put solutions in place have not been doing their job. Instead, they may have resorted to simply lauding the resilience for which the Filipino has come to be known.
The showbusiness personality may have a point and we respect that.
However, we feel we must correct the apparent misperception.
When the Filipino is lauded for his resilience, no one is using that as an excuse – not even government.
When we point to the resilience of the Filipino, we are underscoring an important fact.
Resilience is an important aspect of the character of a person, an organization, a community, and a nation.
Resilience is also part of the solution. It has never been used as an excuse.
Resilience refers to the ability of one to bounce back – to recover quickly from a calamity, setback, or misfortune. It is the ability to withstand the many tests that we face in this life.
Resilience is proof of our tensile strength.
This quality which has defined our communities is crucial because we face many challenges that come from nature and over which we have no control.
We recall that in 2013, a Time Magazine article reported the result of a study which said that the Philippines is “the most exposed country in the world to tropical cyclones.” An average of 20 such weather disturbance pass over our country every year, some of them bringing winds and rains that knock down structures and inundate communities. Some of them are fatal, exacting death tolls in our country that have gone up to as high as 20,000.
Given our situation, we need to have resilient public infrastructure. We need transportation and agriculture systems that can withstand the onslaught of nature’s wrath. We need to have systems in place which can ensure that damage to lives, property, and public infrastructure are kept to a minimum.
We need resilient people to build these and to put them in place.
What we know for a fact is that Mother Nature will always be superior to Man.
Throughout history, Man has tried his best to put Mother Nature under control. For the most part, such efforts have been futile. Even the most advanced nations in the world reel under the power of destructive natural occurrences such as hurricanes, earthquakes, and floods. In the aftermath of these natural calamities, we only have two choices: to stay down or to bounce back and bounce back fast.
The Filipino is quick to bounce back.
Today, we can now restore systems damaged by strong typhoons quicker. We can bring back basic services faster.
More important, we can recover our spirits and sense of hope just as soon as the first rays of the sun start to shine through tiny holes of a gray sky.
The Resilience of the Filipino is not overrated. It is what defines his character. Resilience is a hallmark of our lives.
This sterling quality of the Filipino also shines during those times in our lives when we face problems and challenges that come with human relationships – like marriage.
The strength of the marital union and the institution of marriage go through trials. Married people know that the honeymoon does not last forever. Couples eventually have to face the realities that accompany our shared attempts at making marriages work – to find deeper meaning in our relationships and to discover each other in more profound ways.
Being married is a test of resilience.
Last Thursday, Mayor Andeng and I marked our 15th wedding anniversary.
As we celebrated this milestone, we looked back to our many triumphs and joys in life.
We also had to look back at those moments in our lives which tested our commitment to each other and to our shared dreams. We looked back at the sad moments, including the death of our stillborn daughter and that well-funded, well-planned assassination attempt against me and my father.
Those moments were meant to test our tensile strength, our ability to bounce back after a setback.
We would not have been able to do so were it not for the grace and gift of Resilience.
Today, as families affected by the recent typhoon continue to clean their homes of debris and pick up the pieces, we celebrate Resilience.
Calamities may knock us down, but won’t and can’t keep us down.
We are a bounce-back people.
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