Public schools throughout the city act as evacuation centers during a typhoon. Schools are being reconstructed after Typhoon Yolanda with multiple levels, or they are being equipped with a two-level concrete shelter so that evacuees can be protected from both high winds and storm surge waters. From the perspective of some coastal residents, these evacuation centers are helpful, but an incomplete solution. People in the purok I research consider themselves quite far from their nearest public evacuation centers. In good weather, these are a 20 minute and a 40 minute walk. If traveling in bad weather and with supplies, children and livestock, the trek becomes another ordeal. Leaders agree they would like to have an evacuation center people can get to within 5 minutes. So, some leaders have made private arrangements for residents to evacuate to nearby hotels instead. Other people find it very uncomfortable to stay in an evacuation center sleeping and cooking while cramped next to strangers, potentially for several days. So, they might choose instead to travel across the city and uphill to the “northern barangays” to stay with family members who have been relocated there into the permanent housing communities constructed for people displaced by Typhoon Yolanda. #vignette #ethnography #anthropology #inthefield #research #fieldnotes #culture #society #urban #urbanliving #coastalliving #disaster #unnaturaldisaster #naturaldisaster #kalamidad #resilience #resilient #preparedness #DRR #unevenrisk #risk #vulnerability #precarity #uncertainty #supertyphoon #supertyphoonyolanda #storm #stormsurge #tsunami #tidalwave
People are still very persistent in their efforts to separate us. They appraise me, “You got your father’s brains,” and claim me, “You have the Guyton pinkie finger.” They say, “You are your father’s daughter.” Does that mean I am not yours?
I remember when people guessed you were anyone but my mother. They asked if you were my nanny. These things were funny facts of life. They were things I miscalculated. Things that, years later, kept me apart from you like a Rabbit-Proof Fence.
Did you hear them tell me I’m lucky? That I should use my skin, my name to get by in the world? How desperately they need to see me only as the White person. How much easier for us all to agree to an Imitation of Life.
You know what they say about selling yourself out, though. You attract irreversible debt in the end. I came to realize that meant in small ways I had lost you and Lola, and all the aunties and cousins who tried to raise me Filipina but let me drift to the tide of what is easiest. We fell apart to what “makes sense.”
But that was during the pressures of child rearing–one of the few times culture feels real. Now, in necessary moments, you and I can gesture from a distance to each other: “Really, though, what in this world makes sense?”
You are my Filipina mother, but I am White.
You are my Filipina mother, so I am not White.
You are my Filipina mother, who herself wonders what that means. This, I guess, is what more truly makes you my mother. We are growing always alongside one another into related questions.
Your Mango Baby
Imitation of Life. (1959). http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0052918/
Rabbit-Proof Fence. (2002). http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0252444/
With head in two places,
Head in two planes,
Head in two spaces,
Two lives, and so many choices,
Better to do nothing,
Person who wants to know,
And person who wants to feel.
An identity between poles,
White and Brown opposed,
I am set into motion,
I am the arc of the pendulum.
The Barangay Hall received this base radio and two handheld radios as donations recently. The Barangay Chairperson, who is the highest level of authority in the barangay governing unit, has primary access to the radio. In a disaster, she is responsible for staying at the Barangay Hall to receive updates from the City Mayor, City Disaster Risk Reduction Director, local fire station and police station. She then must ensure this information is passed down a communication chain of barangay leadership so that all 3,000+ residents of the barangay are efficiently updated on whether they will need to evacuate. Barangay Kagawads (or Barangay Councilors) each visit 2-3 puroks (neighborhoods) within the barangay to announce updates via megaphone, and also interface with purok leaders and residents to ensure their questions are answered and evacuation needs are met. This last leg of disaster communication can get tricky because it depends on physical travel when the roads will likely be filled with evacuees. For this reason, the Barangay Chairperson has put in a request from aid agencies for a siren, which would quickly alert residents to the need for evacuation. #vignette #ethnography #anthropology #research #disaster #communication #radio #technology #resilience #vulnerability #risk #typhoon #bagyo #kalamidad #supertyphoonyolanda #supertyphoon #storm #stormsurge #tsunami #tidalwave #drr #governance
Communicating typhoon preparedness. This Typhoon Preparedness Guide is painted along a main road of a Tacloban City neighborhood. From left to right, the pictures describe what to do before, during and after a typhoon. Residents of Tacloban City may experience a variety of “natural” hazards, like flooding, landslides, and tidal waves. So, I wonder why some potential hazards, like typhoons and earthquakes, are more visible in public awareness programs rather than other hazards, like flooding and landslides which happen frequently throughout the year. #vignette #ethnography #anthropology #inthefield #fieldnotes #researchquestions #research #disaster #kalamidad #bagyo #typhoon #storm #risk #vulnerability #communication #media #communicationinfrastructure #communicationtechnologies #disastercommunication #DRR #philippines #pilipinas #pinas #ReliefPH
Communicating earthquake preparedness. This Earthquake Preparedness Guide is painted on a building located at a busy crossroads of a Tacloban City neighborhood. From left to right, the pictures describe what to do before, during and after an earthquake. The guide, however, neglects to address the differential experience of coastal residents, who additionally prepare for the possibility of a tsunami after an earthquake. Some coastal residents I’ve spoken to are equally as nervous about their safety in an earthquake as in a typhoon. Both events could trigger a sudden rush of seawater onto coastal areas. These are differentially referred to as a “storm surge” during a typhoon, and a “tsunami” during an earthquake—a storm surge arrives as a rapid elevation in sea level, while a tsunami arrives as immense sea waves. Talking with the Monitoring Group member of a village’s DRR (Disaster Risk Reduction) committee, I learn that through media and communications, it is possible to monitor the area’s danger to a potential storm surge even a few days in advance. He says, however, it is more difficult to monitor the area’s danger to a tsunami. I asked what they would do if a earthquake happened in the ocean nearby. He said that he and the HOA (Home Owners Association) President would rotate watching the ocean overnight to see whether the tide moves far out from the coast–a sign that a tsunami is coming. #vignette #ethnography #anthropology #inthefield #fieldnotes #research #disaster #kalamidad #risk #vulnerability #communication #media #communicationinfrastructure #earthquake #tsunami #tidalwave #stormsurge #disastercommunication #disasterpreparedness #DRR #disastermitigation #philippines #pilipinas #pinas #QuakePH #ReliefPH
I use creative writing to work through thoughts and emotions encountered in my research. This is a poem I go back to and work on from time to time. In interviews, people living in impoverished coastal neighborhoods fear another storm surge from a typhoon. Their homes are only single story wood panel houses with corrugated metal roofs. When it rains, the sound of rain on the metal rooftops is louder than any rain I’ve heard while in my concrete two story boarding house. The sound brings back traumatic memories, and parents worry about how to console their children. I’ve been thinking about what it must be like to live in fear of water when you are surrounded by it every day. I chose to write in second voice because I think it represents me trying to understand my interviewees point of view.
“Waiting for the Wave”
You hear rain fall like rocks,
Upon your metal roof,
You imagine they gather into an army,
An army of water,
The wave that could arrive at any time,
And push you from your home,
Push you all the way downtown,
Under the San Juanico Bridge.
The army of water can push you anywhere,
Like the people who once helped you.
They now push you from their neighborhoods,
And you are here waiting,
For the wave,
For the people,
For the rain to stop.
Visualizations of weather. There are multiple ways of representing weather and potential hazard, depending on what measurement is emphasized: atmospheric pressure, cyclone size, wind speed, or storm’s predicted path. But what does this information communicate to those planning steps for their safety? How might someone translate a cyclone image into their potential experience of the storm? #researchquestions #vignette #ethnography #anthropology #inthefield #disaster #kalamidad #bagyo #weatherupdate #meteorology #representation #risk #vulnerability #TV #internet #socialmedia #communication #media #communicationinfrastructure #philippines #pilipinas Sources: GMA Weather, GMA News, IMReady, CCGR Tacloban, DOST PAGASA