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As you may all know, the strongest typhoon in recorded history struck the central islands of my country. While Manila, where I live, was spared from the onslaught of such a monstrous force of nature, millions of people south of the capital were not. An overwhelming sadness fills me as scenes of death, destruction, and despair play across news channels. The new mornings now cast a light to the unimaginable suffering of my fellowmen. There are simply no words to describe the near-apocalyptic experience they had to weather.

Disturbing images of flattened towns and bloated corpses littering the streets of cities like Tacloban and Palo have been seared to my mind. But there is much more to a calamity than casualties and statistics. Whereas we all pray death would be a private matter, a harrowing public grief now afflicts those who have lost almost everything to the storm.

I count on you my dear readers to extend your kindness to the victims of Typhoon Haiyan, known locally as Super Typhoon Yolanda. Financial aid and non-monetary donations would be greatly appreciated. Many coastal towns have been wiped of the map, and many more communities have been cut off from the rest of the country, thus vulnerable to a severe lack of relief goods and supplies. Widespread looting has already been reported, survivors desperate to stay alive as communications, clean water, electricity, and food are no longer readily available. I will include in this post, links on how and where you can send your help.

A time like this is also not the time for politics. I understand many are hostile to religion in this day and age, but for many of my countrymen, faith is all they have left. So whatever your stand is about God’s existence, divine wrath, or the seeming illogicality of religion, you can temporarily leave it at the door and instead offer sincere thoughts and prayers our way. The efficacy of prayer can be argued but now, when hope is lacking, and the human toll is rising, a few words to your God or gods, and some small sacrifice in solidarity with the victims, would also be greatly appreciated.

While the immense damage and number of casualties can be measured, the human spirit cannot. I know my people as a resilient lot. Our country is prone to disasters, and millions have suffered over the decades from all sorts of natural calamities. We learn hard. We fight harder. Nowhere is this better exemplified than in the attitude of those who have survived the typhoon. Across news channels, our fellowmen – suffering and mourning their losses – are still able to gleefully wave and smile in front of the camera, letting relatives in Manila or across the globe know they are safe, and that they will be strong amidst the chaos. I dare say the Filipino spirit is the strongest. We are a tough people, ready to take huge risks, ready to bear the greatest of sufferings, and ready to make the necessary sacrifices to survive.

As one comment best put it, “the indomitable human spirit at its finest.

But we still need your assistance. Please check out the following links on how you can help the victims of the typhoon: