Smiling through adversity Filipino-style

People have asked why, in photos of disasters in the Philippines, people are often smiling.   

Here is a quote from today’s Inquirer: “In a survey by news site “Gallup,” the Philippines ranked the 8th-happiest country in the world with 82 percent of respondents saying that they are happy. 

Also, most Filipinos believe in the idea that laughter is the best medicine. Even in the face of last year’s devastating storm, Pinoys continued to send funny tweets and memes to lighten up the somber mood.” 

In a disaster we have separate locations for evacuees  – one for those who may be grieving or have missing relatives, Mango where we have a prayer meeting (with Pastor and Social Worker if needed), and one for those who have only lost property called Papaya where they have a fiesta attitude which can really strike you as inappropriate if you are not attuned to Filipino culture. 

This is just one of the many things I admire about this great nation. Filipinos have an attitude of communal coping and use humour as the mechanism.  It works. However I better end by saying after 30 years here I am still trying to perfect humour in the face of adversity within myself – but I have seen it helps people cope.


The Tap Blog is a collective of like-minded researchers and writers who’ve joined forces to distribute information and voice opinions avoided by the world’s media.

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