This is how Filipinos dealt with flood in the early 1900s
Yes, they braved floodwater in their baro’t saya
Sep 12, 2017Typhoon “Lanie” and Tropical Depression “Maring” are now both in the Philippine area of responsibility, and boy are we feeling it. Aside from gloomy weather, streets made impassable by flood are solid proof of the two weather disturbances.
Filipinos aren’t waterproof, but they can sure put up a fight when typhoons hit. Call it resilience or the Filipino spirit or whatever you want, but the point is, we survive (because we have to)—and some of us even find time to pause for the camera even when we’re swimming in nasty, murky floodwater.
Don’t believe me? Turn on the news now and I bet you, somewhere in that news clip, you’ll see what I’m talking about. Or better yet, take a look at this:
Of course it isn’t all smiles for everyone—it’s still a calamity after all. But Filipinos are no stranger to natural disasters. The country has been dealing with flood ever since the the Spanish occupation. How did our ancestors deal with typhoons? Did they have it worse? Did they, too, pause for the camera to smile even when they were braving flooded streets?
Apparently, the answer is yes. But some weren’t as pleased as this family casually posing in front of their flooded home in the ’30s. Just take a look at this kid, who was walking along one of Manila’s flooded streets in 1904. She might actually remind you of how you looked earlier today on the way to work.
Much like how we get around by car—or in worse situations by rubber boat—when streets are flooded, Filipinos in the early times also developed ways of traveling in floodwater.
Sometimes, the animals that pulled the kalesas around had to be taken inside when the water levels rose. The kalesas would then have to be pushed around by its owner. Luckily, bayanihan is common among Filipinos. Bystanders would willingly help push the kalesas to higher ground (if there was any).
Typhoons at that time also led to a lot of infrastructure damage.
But even as time passed and technological advances allowed us to prepare more for these natural disasters, what shone through was the Filipino’s distinct adaptability and willingness to look on the bright side even when things got a little gloomy—or in this case, very wet.
Are you stuck at home or at the office? Or maybe stranded somewhere in between? Wherever you are right now, it looks like the weather’s not going to improve soon. So stay safe and have your flood survival kits ready. And most importantly, don’t forget to smile. The weather’s too gloomy as it is.
Header and featured images courtesy of Pinterest
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