The Rain


Most of us love the rain while there are others who hate the rain. Why so? Summertime is just around the corner here in tropical Philippines. This is when we experience very hot and humid weather (35-40 plus degrees celsius). During summer time people wish for rain to quench the heat, water the dried up earth and agricultural land and fill-up the depleted dams, water sheds and irrigation canals.

In fact, during dry spells much effort is exerted to produce rain. We have special types of rain making aircraft that sow iodized salt to potential clouds to induce rain. It is a trial and error exercise in most cases. Cloud seeding is not a sure method of producing the desired amount of rainfall needed. Being a Catholic country, bishops and priest receit a special prayer just to have rain. American Indians and some African natives practice a rain dance. It is during times like this that people loves rain.

If the summer heat is prolonged, the fear of drought occurs. And when this happens, famine is not far behind. Many countries in Africa are hard hit by drought due to extreme hot weather. Thousands die of starvation and disease. That’s how valuable rain is to mankind. For me, I love rain. It cools down the temperature and is very conducive to sleep and relaxation. Where I live I am not really bothered by a hot and rainless summer. Lucky me I have the beach for myself. But during late the months of May to December, the sea is teeming with jelly fish. I would avoid swimming lest my body would turn itchy red from their sting.

Anyway, when June arrives, it heralds the start of the rainy season and stormy weather in this part of the world. That’s when we get tons upon tons of hard rain. Because of this over supply of rain water, people start to hate the rain. In places where the ecology is abused, rain can give rise to deadly flash floods and landslides. Even the urban areas and cities in Manila are not spared by the destructive effects of extreme flooding. Many people are displaced from their homes and damage to property can be horrendously expensive. Transportation grinds to a halt while work and school are suspended. Much more when super typhoons of nearly 200-300+ kph hits our country. Utter devastation and thousands of deaths are the end result. You must have heard or read about typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) that ravaged a large part of our archipelago. It is the deadliest and strongest super typhoon to make landfall in recorded modern history. Packing a maximum sustained winds of 315 kph near the center, typhoon Yolanda resulted in the death of nearly 7000 people and destruction worth over billions of dollars. During times like this when rain is overly plenty and destructive, people start hating rain. If there is a special prayer to induce rain, there is an equivalent prayer to stop the stormy rain. Funny, isn’t it? Rain brings about a love-hate relationship with people. Perhaps a mild rain is what people love. Specially in the country side. But come to think about it, a cool and romantic rainy night may contribute to over population. That’s if you know what I mean, LOL! Naughty minded me. No matter what, rain can give life and destroy life. That’s Mother Nature’s way of maintaining the balance of life for us earthly beings. It’s up for man to be ecologically conscious.

Grow more trees, stop clogging waterways with garbage and stop illegal logging are just a few ways to appease Mother Nature. If man destroys nature, nature will surely destroy us. I do remember a poem when I was a child — “Rain rain go away come again another day little children wants to play”. The poet must be a rain hater. If the rain goes away for a long period of time, will the children still want to play when they are half starved? Or, should the rain and wind come pouring down with all its might, will there still be children around to play?

LIFE is surely an irony folks!

[Originally published at rated 4/5 Star]

“In Unity There Is Strength”


Filipinos are known for their hospitality, or the wholehearted acceptance and reception of vistors, guests or even strangers. They willingly share their food, home and their warm smiles and laughter with their known or unknown visitors. That kind of virtue is amplified when we speak of collective concern for their community as a whole. We call it “BAYANIHAN” or social spirit of communal cooperation, understanding and togetherness. It is simply the individual ability to lend a helping hand to members of a community specially in times of need without the benefit of expecting any kind of reward or remuneration.

During the Spanish colonial period up to the mid 60’s, community members would help in moving an entire house made up of bamboo and “nipa” or footstool palm by carrying it on their shoulders and transporting the house by foot to its pre-destined location. And that can be more than a kilometer in most cases.

“Bayanihan” is also manifested during town fiestas, where every member of the community has a role to play. Food is served potluck style for everyone to enjoy.

In times of calamities or disasters, “Bayanihan” is displayed at its finest. Genuine and sincere concern for their fellow men is the heart and soul of “Bayanihan”.

When a someone passes away, members share whatever they can to show their sympathies and give their assistance to the bereaved family in many ways.

“Bayanihan” is unique to us, Filipinos. It is perhaps due to the tightly knit and clannish nature of a typical Filipino family, anchored in spirituality and togetherness. The family is the basic unit of society.

The bloodless EDSA People Power revolution of 1986 is another classic example of Filipinos binding and bonding together at will for a common cause. And indeed, it succeeded in toppling a dictatorial regime.

Try to dislodge a stick broom and you can easily break each of its numerous sticks in half or in many pieces. But binding the sticks together will only frustrate you in breaking the whole stick broom in half. Aptly said, “IN UNITY THERE IS STRENGHT”.

[Originally published at rated 4/5 Star]