"Seeing God in Disaster": A Study on Typhoon Ondoy and the Filipino Youth (Follow me on Twitter@detectivebogart)

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  • 1. “Seeing God in Disaster”: The Role of ReligiousBelief in the Survival Strategies of Selected StudentVictims of Typhoon Ondoy
  • 3. BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY• The study of religious beliefs has never been given a serious attention in sociologyof religion, much more on their significance in relation to disasters.• Sociological research on religion focuses little on beliefs but instead onorganizational structures, behavioral practices and connections to non-religiousconcerns and outcomes.• And yet the content of religious beliefs (as they related to cultures, organizationsand practices) is crucially important for constituting and motivating selves,identities, communities, organizations and movements . If the religious contents ofreligious beliefs do not matter, then religion is immediately reducible to moregeneric features of social life, and the study of religion can be readily subsumedinto the fields that study them (Smith 2008).• THE FILIPINOS ARE CONSIDERED AS THE MOST RELIGIOUS PEOPLE IN THEWORLD IN TERMS OF BELIEF IN GOD (Smith 2012 Religiosity Report).• WHAT HAPPENS TO THIS BELIEF IF CHALLENGED OR TESTED BY A MAJORDISASTER LIKE THE TROPICAL STORM ONDOY (KETSANA)?
  • 5. How did your Belief in God Help you Survive the OndoyOrdeal?1. It released my fear and unloadedpersonal anxieties.Nakakatulong ito sa pagpaalis sa aking mgatakot noong Ondoy. Para sa akin kapagnailalabas ko at naiiyak ko sa kanya lahatlahat, para bang gumagaan ang akingpakiramdam. At naniniwala ako lagi atsinasabi sa sarili ko na “meron akong Diyos namay malasakit na tumutulong sa aking mgaproblema.(It helped in releasing my fears during Ondoy.For me, If I have already expressed all my fearsand cried to Him, I felt relieved. And I alwaysbelieve at I said this to myself that “there is acompassionate God who helps me in myproblems.Lalong tumitibay at gumagaan ang akingpakiramdam. Hindi ako nawalan ng pag-asadahil sa paniniwala at pagdarasal ko. (It mademe stronger and it relieved what I felt. I did notlose hope because of my belief and prayers)
  • 6. Belief in God Provided Victims withmore strength• Nasa eskwelahan ako ng bagyong Ondoy…Sa 2nd floorkami pinatuloy nang panahon na iyon dahil sa taas ngbaha…Takot na tako ako noon lalo na na hindi ko panakikita and aking mga magulang…dasal lang ako nangdasal na sana huminto na and ulan…nagdarasal din akona magkakaroon ako ng dagdag na lakas loob kahit akolang mag-isa.• (I was in school during Typhoon Ondoy… We weretransferred to the second floor because of level of theflood…I just prayed continuously hoping that the rainwould stop… I also prayed that I would be given the extrastrength even if I was alone.)
  • 7. 2. It made me a stronger person duringthe TyphoonIt made me stronger person . I know thatGod will always be there with me duringthe disaster.This belief helped me in coping withOndoy by making me a strong person. Iwas thinking at that time that everythinghas a reason and I believed that God hasbetter plans for me.3. It provided me strength to face thedisasterDuring Ondoy I always prayed to Him andasked for a sign and He gave me strengthto face the disaster.4. It strengthened the will. Oo, nakakatulong kase alam kong nariyan siya athindi niya ako iiwan. Nagpalakas ng loob naharapin ang sakuna at hindi mawalan ng pag-asa at hindi madaling bumigay sa buhay.(Yes, it me because I believed He was there andwill never leave me. It strengthened my will toface the disaster , not to lose hope and not togive up in life).
  • 8. Belief in God Removed the my Panic• Nasa bahay ako nung araw na yon at ang kasama ko langsa bahay ay ang aking Papa. Hindi ko naman inaasahan nababaha sa amin ng hanggang balikat. Nandun na din yungtakot dahil naiwan akong mag-isa sa kwarto at nakaupolang sa kama naming sa itaas. Pero hindi ako nagpanic atnaniniwala naman ako na si God na ang bahala sa amin.• (I was at home on that day with my Dad. I did not expectthat the flood will reach up the shoulders. The fear wasthere since I was left alone in the room and seated on thebed upstairs. But I did not panic and believed that Godwas there for us.)
  • 9. 5. It miraculously savedme.I’m at our house in San Mateo when Ondoy struck thecountry. My mother was in her office. Only me and mysister was at home. At first when the water entered ourhouse, we didn’t panic at all. I’ve tried to mop it. But astime goes by, the water was rising very fast and we don’thave a second floor. So I grabbed my cellphone put it in aplastic bag and carried my little sister in order that I canput her on our dining table and then I remembered to prayand seek for God’s help. Then, when I opened the door aman came and rescued us and brought us to a big housewhere we stayed until morning. God answered our prayers.I was at home during that time. I live in Santolan Pasig.By the time I woke up, the water already entered our house.I was really afraid at that time that the water might elevatemuch more. I prayed to God for safety and protection foreach one of us. My belief in God saved me by believing andtrusting Him that everything would normalize soon. Andthat God has a purpose for what just happed lastSeptember 2009
  • 10. How did your Belief in God Help you Survivethe Ondoy Ordeal?My belief in God helped me a lot insurviving during Ondoy. It was sopowerful that even by just knowing thatsomebody is with me through it all isalready a huge help. And believing in Godsomehow made me feel strong enoughto face the disaster.It enlightened my thinking. I was shocked by the flood. My mind wentblank and I could not think straight. But after Iprayed I was enlightened by Him. Then I wasable to think clearly on how I could face thedisaster.Ito ay nakakatulong sa akin na harapinang sakuna dahil mas naliliwanagan akosa bawat kilos na gagawin ko.(This helped me in facing the disasterbecause it enlightened more my everyaction I want to make)
  • 11. Did Typhoon Ondoy Strengthen orWeaken your Belief in God?ALL 25 VICTIM-INFORMANTS SAID THAT ONDOY STRENGTHENED THEIR BELIEF INGOD1. Napalakas nito ang aking paniniwala dahil noong Ondoy wala akong ibangmakausap kundi Siya at dahil sa aking pagdadasal noong panahong iyon, biglanghuminto ang ulan. Kaya malaki ang pasasalamat ko sa Kanya nung panahon na iyon.(It strengthened my belief because during Ondoy I have no one to talk to except Himand because in my prayers at that time, the rain suddenly stopped. That was why Iwas very thankful to Him during that time.)2. It strengthened my belief in God because He saved my loved ones.3. It strengthened because even though our house and things were destroyed, at leastHe didn’t put my family in danger or death.4. It strengthened my belief. Because of that experience during Ondoy I now believein miracles.
  • 12. 6. Mas lumalakas po. Nagpapasalamat kami dahil swerteng buhay pa kami, maramipo ang namatay sa sakuna ng Ondoy, kaya malaki ang pagpapasalalamat ko sa Diyos.(It was strengthened. We were grateful because we were fortunate to be alive, manydied during the Ondoy disaster, that is why we were very thankful to God.7. It was intensified. It made me stronger as a person.8. Napalakas ang aking paniniwala dahil doon ko naramdaman na mahal pa kami ngDiyos at hindi niya kami pinabayaan.(It strengthened my belief because it was during this time that I felt that God loved usand He did not abandon us.)9. Napalakas ang aking paniniwala sa Diyos dahil hindi niya hinyaan sa aking pamilyana may masaktan man o may mawala.(It strengthened my belief in God since He did not allow that anyone in my family tobe hurt or lost.)10. I realized that God is there to help. He also taught me a lesson to show more careabout the earth and should never destroy it, for he created it for us.
  • 13. How did this Belief in God help you improveyour life after Ondoy?1. It provided hope, to bemore prayerful and valueone’s life more.It helped me by getting strength from Him. Afterwhat happened, I believed that there’s still hopeand there’s another bright day ahead.It encouraged me to pray and pray until God enlightenedme that there is always a rainbow after the rain.Nagkaroon ng pag-asa na habang may buhay maypag-asa.(It gave me hope, that as long as there is life,there is hope.)Nakakatulong ito dahil lalo kong minahal ang aking buhay,patuloy pa man din ang aking pananampalataya at hindinawawala ang pag-asa.(It helped since I love my life more,continue my faith and never lose hope)
  • 14. How did this Belief in God help you improveyour life after Ondoy?I learned a lesson. God was able to show that afterthe storm there is always some good news waiting foryou.2. It provided positive outlook inlifeMas natuto akong sumunod sa parents ko atpinahalagahan ko na ngayon yung meron ako.(I learned to obey my parents and appreciate what Ihave at present)Naiisip ko na hindi ako pababayaan ng Diyos atmay kinabukasan pa na nakahanda sa akin. (Ithought that God did not abandon me and thereis a future prepared for me)After Ondoy, we recovered fast because wethink positively of all that happened. Ondoy hasa reason and lesson to learn and we all knowthat God never neglected us.
  • 15. 3. It made them morereligious and responsibleNaging madasalin at responsableng anak ako. pagkatapos ngOndoy. ( I became more prayerful and a responsible daughterafter Ondoy)Nakakatulong sa pagbabago ng aking buhay . Pagkataposng Bagyong Ondoy, matutunan ko na magdasal langpalagi at huwag makakalimot sa Panginoong Diyos.(It helped me changed my life. After Typhon Ondoy Ilearned to always pray and never to forget God).It helped me to be more responsible and faithful to God.It made me more prayerful and I observed as a person I’vechanged a lot.
  • 16. 4. It taught a lesson on theenvironment.After the typhoon Ondoy. I learned how to take goodcare of the earth. I also feel myself as a betterdaughter of God because of Ondoy.God helped me to continue my life because this is oneof the plans of God for us, to learn from the mistakewe did in our environment.Nakakatulong dahil alam na dapat ng tao kung saan nilaitatapon ang mga basura at pangangalagaan ang likas nayaman.(It helped because it made people aware where to throw theirgarbage and to take care of the environment)
  • 17. How often do you perform thefollowing religious activities?ReligiousactivityAlways Often Occasionally Rarely NeverAttendSundayMass12 9 7Pray to Godpersonally23 3 2ParticipateParishActivities3 4 14 5 2Join Churchfellowship3 7 9 8 1
  • 18. Church Goers Percentage Non-Church Goers Percentage21 88.5 7Prayerful Not Prayerful26 2Involved in ParishactivitiesNot involved inParish activities7 21Active in ChurchFellowship10 18
  • 19. Are you a religious person?• 25 out 26 informants described themselves as religious• Only 1 informant said she is not religious but agnostic.• For the 25 informants, religiosity is associated with thefollowing indicators:
  • 20. INFORMANTS’ INDICATORS OF RELIGIOSITY BYRANKINDICATOR FREQUENCY (N=26) PERCENTAGEPray to God every day 13Feeling God’s presence 9Attend Sunday Mass 10Having faith in God 10Trying to live God’swords/teachings5Being helpful to others 1
  • 21. THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK• Level ofReligious Beliefin God * Level of ReligiousCoping• Level of Riskduring the Typhoon- Self- FamilyTyphoonOndoy
  • 22. Being Religious is to Attend Sunday MassCarla I’m a religious person. I attend the Mass every SundayJoanneAng buhay pananampalataya ko ay iyong naituro na onapasa sa akin ng aking mga magulang. Ako ay nagsisimbalingo-lingo…(My faith life is taught and passed on to me by my parents.I attend the Mass Sunday).Kristine I can say that I am a religious person. My family and I go tochurch every Sunday…Karl I’m a religious man …I often go to Church every Sunday orSaturday.Jane Lahat kami sa pamilya ay relihiyoso…. nagsisimba kamituwing Linggo.
  • 23. Being Religious is to Pray to God EverydayAko’y isang relihiyoso dahil. Kahit minsan lang ako magsimba tuwing Linggo, pero hindi ako nakakalimotmagpasalamat sa kanya araw-araw at magdasal…(I am a religious person. Even if I seldom attend the Mass on Sundays, I never forget to thank and pray toHim everyday)I’m a religious person…Everyday I say I pray and say sorry for all the sins that I did.Ako’y…nagdarasal tuwing matutulog at magigising. Sa ngayon, masaya ako na nagdarasal sa hapagkainanmarahil bihira na lang ang nakararanas nito. Lagi din akong nagdarasal pagsakay sa sasakyan o maymadadaanan na simbahan.(I pray whenever I go to sleep and wake up. At present, I am happy praying before meals, although very fewnow experience this. I always pray before boarding a vehicle or if I pass by a church.)I’m a religious man because I pray to God everyday and every night for mysafety, protection, guidance and my dreams to come true.I’m a very religious person. Aside from going to Church every Sunday, Ialways pray every night.Ako ay isang relihiyoso…tuwing gabi nagdarasal ako upang pasalamatan athumingi ng tawad sa Panginoon.