“What can we learn from the Japanese in times of tragedy? How can we adopt from these now?”

This was the post on ANC 24/7 Facebook page yesterday, March 17, 2011. Below are my favorite responses from FB users:


Marc Jon Flores:

“Philippine media should learn from theirs.”


Seth Tablizo Lumbao:

“To become non-political, unselfish, disciplined… To help rather than blaming others.

Nakita ko sa CNN, a guy who owns a noodle shop is giving away free bowls of noodles even though he lost his house and he’s living in an evacuation center!”


Kevinito Felix:

“Politeness in the midst of confusion.”


Pat Demaclid:

“I admire their patience. Lining up for food for hours and buying only food for the day so  that others will have enough… Filipinos should learn from it…. Not to be greedy!”


Jermaine Jordan:

“they are fortunate that they don’t have politicians like ours who would take advantage like placing tarpaulins, plastic bags and even bottled water and canned goods with their faces on them.”


Reffinaej Camz:

“Gaman – a Japanese word for endurance with grace and dignity in the face of what seems unbearable… Kudos to the Japanese people’s stoicism, optimism and patience in dealing with this terrific disaster. They are extraordinary people. Despite the ordeal they have been through and the  uncertainty of their future, they are conducting themselves in absolute calmness, they are helping one another all sharing whatever little food they  have with each other. There is a lesson here for all of us.


Cathy Veñegas:

“… I admire our Japanese  friends for their courage, selflessness, being disciplined, and above all, their optimism amidst adversities in life…. I watched “Happy, Yipee, Yehey” yesterday and some Japanese were on the audience, they held out something that says, “Japan is down now, but will rise again soon… I was so touched, I couldn’t help myself but cry. But really, we should follow their example.”


Christina Cartabio:

“solidarity, patience and self-discipline… we can learn from them, especially the politicians in our land who bicker at all times, finding fault with everyone else not in their political parties… it takes great courage to expose others’ misconducts but a great deal more to own up one’s own and move on, help each other no matter what political color or creed… in these times of dire circumstances, we need strong leadership, just like what is shown by the leaders of Japan.”


Riza P. Cebrano:

“In discipline, respect for each other, integrity and strength…”


Celia Cordova Gallespen:

“The triple (earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear plant explosions) tragedy that hit north-eastern Japan allows us to see the admirable things we can learn from: 1) how well Japan’s system of government works; and 2) how their rich cultural heritage had molded them to become resilient amidst widespread devastation.

From tv/video footages, we don’t see disorder in the manner  the search and rescue operations are being handled, and even the distribution of dole-outs to the victims. In the temporary shelters where the victims are accommodated, we don’t see clutters of garbage, chaotic sleeping arrangements nor unsanitary facilities. Even in the long line of people wanting to get water or buying food or taking lift via a boat-ride, we can observe that everyone is so patient and respectful of each other’s turn. Moreover, we don’t see street children scavenging among the rubbles of whatever items they can grab their hands unto nor going around begging for food or alms. Walang mga “meron” who gathers around the watching and discussing and debating while the search operations are going on. This is so much contrasting to the reactions of the people in the Philippines during disasters.

The areas hardest hit by the tsunami are the fishing villages situated near the coastline. Among the piles of debris scattered around the calamity-stricken area, we can evidently see that fishing folks as they may be, yet their dwellings were very untypical of the fishing villages that we have here  in the Philippines wherein most houses are “barong-barongs”, deprived of any facilities for electricity, potable water nor sanitary comfort rooms to speak of. This is not meant to down-grade our local fishing folks, but here you can see the big disparity between the lifestyle/economic status of the fishing folks in Japan and in the Philippines.

In applying remedies to prevent further explosion in the nuclear plant, their patience is being tested. Yet despite their trial and error approach, they never lose hope in finding solutions to minimize the hazard. The nuclear plant people are sacrificing their lives just to prevent a much bigger disaster. It is their patience and endurance that keeps us here in the Philippines from inhaling toxic substances.

Despite their current pitiful circumstances, I can’t help but feel green of envy of the Japanese people. Long before disasters came, they have enjoyed living in a land where their government really took good care of their needs and welfare. Long before disasters came, they were reared in a culture that aims nothing but to bring out the best in every Japanese citizen.

Kailan kaya magiging ganito ang buhay sa Pilipinas, kailan kaya magiging ganito ang mga Pilipino?

We need to seek God first so we, too, Filipinos, may enjoy the kind of government that the Japanese have, and so we may become as resilient as they are. Secondly, we need to learn to be considerate of other people. As the Bible says, “Love God above all things and love your neighbors as yourselves.”


Shawn Porter on CNN Facebook Page:

“… despite this catastrophic event, the Japanese people have shown the world how courageous and humble people they are. They have depended on each one another and by offering their last sacrifices to the hope of their children’s eyes. I am utterly grateful for their spirit and they have been in my deepest prayers…”


Cecilia Cordova Gallespen has said it all. Indeed she’s correct. The images shown in the media revealed how admirable the characters of our Japanese brothers/sisters! Something we Filipinos lack of, or do not have at all…

In ending, may I shortly put it this way, as posted on the same page, in response to the question posted in the opening of this blogpost.

“Calmness amidst adversities…

Discipline amidst chaos….

Selflessness amidst scarcity…

Optimism amidst hardest trials…

May we, Pinoys, learn from the humble plight of our Japanese friends.”


A touching story from a news excerpt at Yahoo! News

Immediately after the quake, Katsutaro Hamada, 79, fled to safety with his wife. But then he went back home to retrieve a photo album of his granddaughter, 14-year-old Saori, and grandson, 10-year-old Hikaru.

Just then the tsunami came and swept away his home. Rescuers found Hamada’s body, crushed by the first floor bathroom walls. He was holding the album to his chest, Kyodo news agency reported.

“He really loved the grandchildren. But it is stupid,” said his son, Hironobu Hamada. “He loved the grandchildren so dearly. He has no pictures of me!”



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