How has Typhoon Haiyan affected the most powerful brand in the Philippines?

After the Bohol earthquakeIn the Philippines, you could argue that the most powerful brand is not Jollibee, San Miguel or even Manny Pacquiao. It is the Catholic Church.

But how has one of the most destructive natural calamities ever to hit the disaster-prone archipelago, Typhoon Haiyan (known locally as Yolanda), which came soon after a massive earthquake, affected the country’s faith in brand Catholicism?

Gil Chua, president and CEO, DDB Group Philippines

Gil ChuaBy nature Filipinos are prayerful. I believe Yolanda will strengthen their love and faith in the Catholic church or whatever church they belong to.

Last week we celebrated DDB’s 21st anniversary. Our staff organised mass inside DDB’s office. To say thank you, and to pray for our countrymen who have been affected by the typhoon.

Roger Pe, executive creative director, 24-Hour Creative Store, contributor Philippine Daily Inquirer

Roger PeWhen help comes slowly and you have nothing left to run to, where do Filipinos go? God.

Asia’s bastion of Catholicism, unfortunately, also lies on the Pacific Ring of Fire and the world’s typhoon belt. As such, it is visited by quakes and typhoons more often than any country in the world.

The recent double whammy (Intensity 6.6 that flattened most of historic Bohol and Cebu, and Typhoon Haiyan that saw more than 10 million people displaced) could have destroyed their faith in Catholicism.

But no, it has strengthened their faith.

To quote Archbishop Jose Palma, president of Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines, “No typhoon or flood can diminish the strength of the Filipino soul.”

“The Filipino soul is stronger than Typhoon Haiyan,” he stressed.

The monster typhoon was no match to practicing Filipino Catholics, the religious, the pious, even the extremists.

Bing Kimpo, owner Bing Kimpo Media and founding member Outdoor Media Advocacy Group

Bing KimpoThe tragedy may lead people to question their faith. That is but natural.

But if you noticed from the news, a week after the typhoon, people went to Mass in their ruined Churches. They went to seek solace and to pray for help.

Much has been said of the Filipino’s resilience. Our Catholic faith is a bedrock of that resilience. That is the secret sauce behind the smiles and the laughter that CNN spoke so much about – faith in the Lord and His mercy.

I am Catholic. And while people may question the frailty of some of our priests and the views they sometimes take, most of us remain fervent in our faith.

It is an integral part of what makes us Filipinos who we are.

In the branding sense, I would have to say that the Catholic Church remains important, even more so now than ever.

Catholicism is a brand that remains relevant to us – especially at this time of trial, and it represents that which we all hang on to – hope amidst the horrors of Haiyan.

Manny Gutierrez, senior vice-president, J.Romero & Associates

When Ninoy Aquino was assassinated in 1983, we expressed our rage through prayer rallies. Same thing with the People Power Revolution in 1986. We faced up to the Marcos tanks with our rosaries.

If our rage became our prayer in those times, I think Yolanda is a case where our grief becomes our prayer. You may have seen images of women praying in the ruins of churches in Bohol where 7.2 mg earthquake struck only last October.

I think the Catholic Church is stronger than ever.


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