Filipinos’ Resiliency and Silent Complains

“Since time immemorial, we are tested by countless calamities; volcanic eruptions, devastating earthquakes and lahar flows, super typhoons, flash floods, and landslides.

Victoriously, we surmounted these ordeals and pains, beyond imagination of the human race”

  • The Resiliency of a Filipino by William G. Bacani
Photo courtesy of Nicole Reyes | ©Nikki Photographi All rights reserved. Please do not post or distribute without the owner's consent and crediting the owner.
A photograph of kids in Manila

What other countries admire about us Filipinos is our positive outlook. On whatever kind of circumstances we face, we always find the silver lining on it. We always have the reason to be happy and smile. And our smile is a sheer force that lifts everyone up, one after another, in face of defeat, challenges, and even tragedy. It’s contagious. We may bow down and kneel for a day, but we go back up the next day smiling, enduring all the pains and wounds of the past storm. We are resilient.

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They said it, in front of challenges and calamities, we Filipinos exhibit every good trait that we have. Camaraderie – a group of people rescuing an old lady due to flood, with those people lining up, trying to carry her to the rescue boat. Resourcefulness –a group of teenagers using water containers and jags which serve as their floating device as they swim through the flood. Resiliency – doing all of these with smiles on their faces.

Those traits will always be the narrative every time we triumph over any adversity we face. And most people will find these uplifting and inspiring. Indeed, those scenes showcase genuine Filipino heart that helps and hopeful of what tomorrow could bring after a disastrous day. But behind those heartwarming scenarios, there are ice-cold realities that we have to face.

The only thing we can do is laugh it out.

“Wala, ganito na talaga eh, nasanay na lang.”

That’s how most of us, affected by the flood react whenever we are asked how we are able to overcome such challenges. Few words, just a single sentence but it scream a lot about how everyone and the rest of our countrymen feel. It’s a resounding cry that echoes through the rest of the archipelago and slaps our government’s faces. We just grew with it. That’s the way it is and we felt we can’t do anything about it. Even if we want to change the same old scenario, we can’t because we got our hands tied. We had no choice but to accept it. We were forced to adapt; that’s the basic rule of survival. So instead of whining on one corner and wait for help, we tried to stand on our own, take the matters we can control on our hands and be hopeful that sooner all of these will end. Instead of wasting our energy for continuously asking for concrete solutions, we focus all our might in preparing to overcome the flood. In the end, our last resort is to be positive and just laugh it out

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We easily adapt and turn trauma into acceptance. We learn to simply let the problem to pass instead of banging our government’s doors and seek for a concrete solution. We got tired waiting for change and we simply accepted that this will be our lives.

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Filipinos are stoic; not resilient

We’re resilient because we smile during and after the storm. But we are stoic because behind those smiles were extreme pains and unhealed wounds. We just chose to smile and never cry. We never complain. We just endure all of the adversities that this life has given us. Whether it’s an Ondoy-like flood or a several kilometers long traffic in EDSA, there will be no sense in complaining. The government has no ears, and if they do, they can only offer band-aid solutions to the enormity of the problems we have.

Filipinos are resilient – that’s how the rest of the world will continuously view us. The same old narrative will flash the same stories – that our country is a country of resilient and smiling people. And that romanticism over such human interest stories will forever be the same unless we stop neglecting our right to demand a better life. But if we choose to just stay with how it is, no one will be surprised. No wonder we endured 300 years under the Spanish colony, decades under a dictator and eternity under corrupt officials bouncing from one government seat to another. We are resilient. And indeed, we will definitely surmount these ordeals and pains, beyond the imagination of the human race; while we stay and hope that someday someone from the government will do his job and give us concrete answers to our silent complains.


Reynald is a thinker by day and a storyteller by night. His stories are told through his lenses and pens.


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