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No Need to Press the Panic Button

One thing I learned growing up in an island is this:

Nothing is a problem if you prepare for it.

I grew up in a tiny island in the Philippines. Life is simple in the island. Days stretch long and the night sky is lit by thousands (maybe millions) of stars.

Our island is famously called "the land of the howling winds" because it’s usually the entry point of typhoons. Sure enough, I’ve experienced really strong typhoons growing up. In fact, most of us, islanders, are used to the howling winds and merciless pouring rains come typhoon season. But nobody freaked out.

We know the drill. We know what to do.

A couple of days before a typhoon hits us, you’ll see that windows have the typhoon guards on. You’ll also see fishermen help each other carry their bancas (boats) far away from the shore.

Those with homes that can be easily blown away or toppled down by the strong winds go to their neighbors with sturdy and solid homes for temporary refuge. If the local officials deem it necessary to issue a mandatory evacuation, we follow, even sometimes begrudgingly.

We charge our rechargeable lamps and radios and buy candles and matchsticks because we know that power is going to be cut out. We stock up on food and water and a bit more extra just in case someone comes knocking on your door in the midst of the storm asking for shelter. We refill our medicine cabinets.

Valuables are wrapped in plastic and stowed away just in case. And then we go about our normal routines , just waiting for the typhoon to hit us.

Once the typhoon has passed, we go about rebuilding what was wrecked. And that’s that.

For the locals of our tiny island, a typhoon - no matter how strong it is - is hardly a problem to get panicked about. It’s just how life is.

And for most problems, once you prepare for them and have gotten used to them, you won’t even see them as problems anymore. They’re just how things are.



Image by Kristopher Roller


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