Massachusetts Filipinos coalesce in the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan

Philippines, November 2013. Typhoon Haiyan struck Philippines 8th November, 2013. Philippine Red Cross volunteers delivering emergency water and food at Juan B. Dosado Hospital, northern parts of Cebu. Photo: Jarkko Mikkonen/Finnish Red Cross
Philippines, November 2013. Typhoon Haiyan struck Philippines 8th November, 2013. Philippine Red Cross volunteers delivering emergency water and food at Juan B. Dosado Hospital, northern parts of Cebu. Photo: Jarkko Mikkonen/Finnish Red Cross

As the Philippines reels from a storm that claimed as many as 2,500 lives, Massachusetts residents and local Filipino-Americans are scrambling to send help to the ravaged island nation.

“It is still a dire situation there. Clean drinkable water in many cities is in short supply. Over 2 million people have been displaced,” said American Red Cross of Eastern Massachusetts CEO Jarrett Barrios, adding that the non-profit has 1,000 employees and 600,000 volunteers in the Philippines.

Michelle Denise Ferreol is one of about a dozen students within the Filipino community at Harvard University that are organizing a campus benefit Friday, called “Singing in the Rain,” to help typhoon victims.

“There is a saying going around right now that ‘the Filipino spirit is waterproof,’” said Ferreol, who left Manila to study at Harvard. “Filipinos have a lot of grit. Our culture is one that really rises from tragedy and mobilizes very quickly.”

Fellow student Shannen Kim, also from Manila, said she was shocked to learn of the severity of the storm.

“It really is difficult being so far away from the Philippines. I don’t think it really hit me when I first saw the news,” she said. “I think that’s maybe because typhoons are a frequent occurrence in the Philippines. Manila was not hit so badly, however a lot of my friends and relatives are still waiting to hear back from (people near the coast).”

The women, both juniors, have also set up an Indiegogo.com account for the benefit, which will feature music, traditional Filipino dance and comedy.

Census data shows there are approximately 11,000 Filipino-Americans living in Massachusetts.

Many who migrated to the United States have been unable to reach loved ones since the disaster, however those wishing to reach Filipino citizens can go through the The American Red Cross Restoring Family Links service.

“In a globally wired world we become spoiled into believing we can talk to anyone anytime anywhere storms like this remind us o fragile our telecommunication system is, and not being able to speak to loved ones at least is somewhat helped by resources like The American Red Cross Restoring Family Links service.”

There is still a great need for clean water, food, shelter and basic supplies, according to the Red Cross, and Massachusetts residents can help by making monetary donations.

As aid makes its way to survivors, Ferreol said she is confident that Filipinos will hold tight to their “Bayanihan” spirit.

“‘Bayanihan’ alludes to practice back in 1800s where Filipinos would help each other move huts from place to place. They’d help carry houses on bamboo sticks. Today it is used more colloquially,” said Ferreol.

“It has filtered down throughout the years because it is something we prize greatly. Even now, our community is coalescing despite being scattered across the world. There is a level of connection that I personally haven’t seen anywhere else.”

For more information, or to donate, visit www.redcross.org/ma/boston.

Follow Morgan Rousseau on Twitter: @MetroMorgan
Follow Metro Boston on Twitter: @MetroBOS


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
News

Boston Strong: One year on from Boston Marathon…

  For more than a century the Boston Marathon has been an even centred around sportsmanship, endurance and athleticism, but there's no denying the face…

Local

Monday is the deadline to register for Pennsylvania…

If residents want to vote in the May primary, which includes a vote for a new City Council member, today is the deadline to register.

National

Miss America thinks school should reconsider discipline of…

A Pa. student was suspended for asking Miss America to prom.

Local

Aria Health Torresdale workers caught selling prescription drugs

Two Aria Health at Torresdale employees were fired amid accusations they sold prescription drugs out of the Northeast Philadelphia campus.

Television

‘Mad Men’ recap: Season 7, Episode 2, ‘A…

Peggy and Lou are horrible, Bert's racist, Don is honest(ish) and Roger and Pete are frustrated. "A Day's Work" not quite worthy of "This Will Be Our Year."

Television

'Game of Thrones' recap: Season 4, Episode 3,…

The problem with the devil you know is that ignoring them doesn’t mean they simply lie in wait. It allows them time to do things…

Television

Discovery cancels 'Everest Jump Live' special in wake…

The Discovery Channel has indicated it will not be moving forward with "Everest Jump Live," a planned special about mountain climber Joby Ogwyn's effort to…

The Word

'X-Men' director Bryan Singer drama continues

  News broke late last week that "X-Men" and "The Usual Suspects" director Bryan Singer is being sued by a man who said Singer molested…

NHL

Ray Emery steps up in Flyers’ Game 2…

Sure, he allowed two goals in the Rangers’ first four shots Sunday afternoon, but it’s about how you start, not how you finish.

NHL

Flyers come from behind, even series with Rangers

The Flyers overcame a two-goal deficit to get a much-needed win at Madison Square Garden Sunday.

MLB

Phillies get set for four against the Dodgers

The Phillies will face tough starting pitching out west against the Dodgers this week.

MLB

Phillies notebook: Cole Hamels returns this week

The Phillies should receive a big boost when Cole Hamels returns during the Dodgers series.

Travel

Packing: The one thing you need in your…

A new survey that looks at the travel habits of 50,000 people around the world has revealed that Western and Asian globetrotters have different priorities…

Home

Is your chair making it hard to talk?

Ever wished there was an office chair that could make impromptu meetings and discussions more private? The Cristiana Wing Chair is an asymmetrical armchair which…

Travel

Live large at these luxury hotels

From Thai boxing lessons and macabre Dracula tours to the Australian Outback, the Four Seasons hotel chain launched a series of new travel packages this…

Parenting

4 things that every summer camp should have

Alan Saltz, director of the 92nd street Y program lists things that every summer camp should have.