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An Ode to Odette

John Rüth, Kerstin Dopp-Rexrodt and Ralph Chan

The ninth typhoon "Odette", also known as "Rai", hit the Philippines on December 16 2021. The natural disaster had an enormous impact: around 2.5-3.5 million Kababayans were affected. The most devastated areas were Siargao Island, Dinagat, Surigao City, Southern Leyte, Eastern Bohol, Cebu, Negros, Palawan and other parts of the Visayas and Mindanao.

Many Filipinos outside the country were not able to get in touch with their families and friends for days, since the local infrastructure, including electricity and phone lines, had been destroyed. Images and videos showing the devastation and destruction were only slowly appearing on social media. Many of us Filipinos abroad tried to get in touch with our families and friends on the different islands but couldn't.

We were concerned about the situation!

This was also true for the members of Halo-Halo, Henerasyon 2.0 and NOI-P who have families and friends in the Philippines. Halo-Halo is a network of people with predominantly German-Filipino, Austrian-Filipino and Swiss-Filipino background who meet regularly and deal with various topics relating to Filipinos, the Philippines and Filipino culture and society. Halo-Halo emerged in early 2021 from random Zoom sessions started by avid Tagalog learners; people who just wanted to connect with like-minded people, Filipinos, non-Filipinos interested in Filipino culture, and of course, halo-halos - people of mixed backgrounds.

While NOI-P. (Network of Integrated Pinoys) has existed in Switzerland for a long time, Henerasyon 2.0, a German Pinoy podcast that was started by three German Filipinos (Lee, Susie and Charyl) around the same time. In the course of 2021, these groups of people found each other due to various activities and began to meet regularly via Zoom. Even in “real life” crowned with face-to-face meetings, one in Garmisch-Partenkirchen (Bavaria) in August and one in Berlin in November. At the last meeting, the group was even invited to the Philippine Embassy to present their stories, ideas, and thoughts.

The idea of holding a charity concert

Shortly after Odette reached the country, members of Halo-Halo, Henerasyon 2.0 and NOI-P met to discuss the devastating natural disaster and ways to help. Andreas, one of the original founders of the Halo-Halo network, had the idea of ​​holding a charity concert - just a few days after Christmas. The questions that we all asked ourselves at the time: Would it even be possible to organize this so quickly? Firstly, completely online and secondly, with practically no technical background in "online event management".

Without a clear plan how this should be implemented in (virtual) reality, the decision was made quickly. A possible concert date would have to be chosen after the Christmas holidays and depending on the availability of musicians who would like to perform with their music for free and collect money for the cause. An “improvised” Instagram live video chat, between members of Halo-Halo and arranged by Henerasyon 2.0 on December 23 drew attention to the matter. We even then received the first donations. “Ode to Odette” - the name was chosen for the charity concert.

Out of the blue: “Ode to Odette”

After it was decided to organize “Ode to Odette” [1], a core team around Halo-Halo, Henerasyon 2.0 and Noi-P sat down and planned the next steps. While Vigile from Halo-Halo and Johannes from NOI-P had started learning all kinds of things on the technical side, Charyl from Henerasyon 2.0, Phyllis from Halo-Halo and other members tried to connect with musicians and influencers to promote and make the event a reality. Since most artists were available on December 29th, this was fixed - just a few days after Christmas.

The days after Christmas and before the live event were dedicated to invite the artists, refine the setup and promote “Ode to Odette”. In addition to the social media presence of Henerasyon 2.0, a new Instagram account for Halo-Halo and other channels such as that of the Philippine Embassy in Berlin helped draw attention to "Ode to Odette".

Various Euro-Pinoy musicians performed at the live event: Handgretinger-Ishizaka family with a classical piece, followed by Charlie Fischer, Audrey Louise Noelle, Kim & John, Joebelle Ramos Ladaga and Mae Ann Jorolan. The line-up was a nice mix of original songs and reinterpretations of Tagalog and Bisaya songs. Charlie Fischer performed "Kahit Maputi Na Ang Buhok Ko" (Rey Valera), Audrey Louise Noel sang "Kahit Ayaw Mo Na" (This Band) and Kim & John delivered a rendition of "Balik sa Bohol" (Sidlak Group). The musical performances attracted spectators from several countries.

The original goal of collecting at least € 3,000 for the NGO "German Doctors" to support the typhoon victims Odette / Rai has been more than exceeded: more than € 4,500 had been raised. “Ode to Odette” became a success story within a few days, based on a beautiful spirit to help.

Filipinos abroad cooperate together

The event was a complete success. After “Ode to Odette”, members of Halo-Halo, Henerayson 2.0 and NOI-P. were discussing the results during one of their following meetings and were still surprised about how fast it was possible to pull this off together. Some ideas were expressed to organize similar events in future for various causes.

  • "It's amazing that we were able to set up this event within a few days with three different 2nd generation organizations from the German speaking countries." (Andreas, Halo-Halo)

  • "It's lovely to see that when it comes down to it everything is possible - It was an overwhelming feeling of togetherness." (Phyllis, Halo-Halo)

  • "Everyone was on board, and each one contributed their strengths...The result was synergy." (Vigile, Halo-Halo)

As we can see from this example, there is a Bayanihan Spirit also among the Euro-Pinoys. Where help is needed, there is a helping hand. The network is growing dynamically and will meet again in Vienna on April 16.

[1] The concert can be viewed here:

Photo 1: Invitation of Ode to Odette (Copyright by Halo-Halo)

First face-to-face meet-up of Halo-Halos in Garmisch-Partenkirchen (Copyright by Andreas Schmitz)

Meeting with the Philippine Embassy in Berlin (Copyright by Philippine Embassy in Germany)


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