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
International

'Barack Obama cheats on Michelle' claims Japanese politician…

A senior Japanese politician has marred Barack Obama's official visit to Tokyo with bizarre claims that the President cheats on his wife Michelle. Kazuyuki Hamada,…

International

British Royal family devastated by freak NY death…

The British royals have been left devastated by the death of Mark Shand, younger brother of Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, after a freak fall in…

Local

Philadelphia principal has President Obama's ear

The West Philadelphia head is gathering ideas to present to the White House.

Local

Neighbors testify at Overbrook roommate slaying trial

Neighbors and roommates were called to testify Wednesday in the trial of Renaldo Robichaw, 56, charged with murder for the death of roommate Albert Smith, 48.

Television

‘Survivor: Cagayan’ recap: Episode 9

It was only an hour-long episode, but there's a lot to cover this week. The drama of Survivor strikes again as the identity of the…

Television

TV watch list, Wednesday, April 23: 'Suburgatory,' 'Modern…

'Suburgatory' The men of "Suburgatory" go camping and Tessa mentors a social outcast in a Miss Chatswin contest, which brings her, once again, into conflict…

Movies

Latin culture highlighted at Filadelphia film fest

Get ready to have a “Bad Hair” day at the upcoming Filadelphia Latin American Film Festival. We mean that in the best possible way. The…

The Word

The best lines from Oprah's ex-stepmother's Daily Mail…

Oprah’s ex-stepmother, Barbara Winfrey, is out for revenge.

NFL

2014 NFL Mock Draft: Updated, new April 24…

2014 NFL Mock Draft: Updated, new April 24 version

NFL

Eagles will spend Thanksgiving in Dallas, play four…

The Eagles have an impressive, challenging and exciting schedule in 2014.

NFL

NFL releases Eagles 2014 schedule

The Eagles have four primetime games, face the Cowboys on Thanksgiving and host the Seahawks in a dynamic, challenging and impressive schedule.

NHL

All signs suggest Steve Mason will start in…

Flyers head coach Craig Berube elected to put Steve Mason in net for the final minutes of Game 3.

Style

Pippa Middleton's Etsy pick: Golden Thread Jewelry

Get a look at the jewelry Pippa Middleton loves and find out how you can buy it too.

Parenting

What every parent needs to know to get…

Mom and author of "Small Talk," Tracey Blake, shares her five practical tips to help you develop your children's language skills.

Sex

Subway crush: Meet your soulmate on your commute

Read about a couple who has been 40 years after meeting on the train.

Tech

Happy birthday, Game Boy! The handheld console turns…

Nintendo's Game Boy turns 25 this week. To commemorate, we look at some of its better games, like "Tetris" and "The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening."