Solidarity and crisis-derived identities in Samar and Leyte, Philippines, 1565 to present

Borrinaga, George Emmanuel R.

April 2019

Thesis or dissertation

© 2019 George Emmanuel R Borrinaga. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the written permission of the copyright holder.

The study sheds light on local responses to 2013’s Super Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda, then the strongest storm to make landfall, by examining the local history and culture of the people of Samar and Leyte, Philippines, the area worst affected by the storm’s strong winds and storm surges. It linked contemporary responses to the typhoon with the ways people in the region had historically coped with frequent adversity in one of the most environmentally-hazardous countries in the world and one that had also experienced centuries of foreign occupations and internal social conflict.

Through a historical and cultural analysis of various written and oral sources, the study identifies local concepts and practices that helped to generate what has been called “community resilience” against various forms of crises across several generations. Previous studies in Philippine history have mainly focused on the emergence of Filipino nationalism from centuries of colonial rule while ethnographic studies on the Philippines have mainly concentrated on local practices and beliefs without establishing their historicity. As a result, little headway has been gained in understanding the cultural tenacity of various Philippine ethnolinguistic groups in the face of frequent crises. This study sought to bridge this gap by linking the two fields to explore people’s responses to social and environmental adversity.

The study argues that people in Samar and Leyte coped with frequent hardship in part by appropriating the colonial (Bisaya-Christiano ), national (Filipino ) and migrant (Waray ) identities imposed on them by outsiders. These labels evoked local solidarities that, although transformed by factors such as colonialism and outmigration, gave them several rallying points for collective action. The study ultimately suggests that understanding resilience cannot be achieved through quantitative methods alone but should be complemented with qualitative approaches that take into account the local history, culture, and environment of the study area/s under consideration.

Department of History, The University of Hull
Bankoff, Greg; Pearson, Robin, 1955-
Sponsor (Organisation)
University of Hull; University of San Carlos
Qualification level
Qualification name
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