How does local knowledge apply in flood risk adaptation? The lived experience of a floodplain community from Tropical Storm ‘Ondoy’

Joey A. De Vera1,*

Author Affliations

1College of Architecture, University of Santo Tomas
*[email protected]


A floodplain settlement in the heart of Malabon City has been experiencing perennial flood inundation during the typhoon season. The city is situated in the northern sector of Mega Manila, renowned for flooding due to its geographical location at the end line of the north Metro’s river system. Communities like Sitio Gulayan have learned to adapt, particularly after the record-breaking flood inundation in the 2009 Tropical Storm ‘Ondoy’. This paper aims to explain how the settlers have responded to the flooding events after the 2009 devastation through the data gathered from the survey protocol, key informant interviews, and visual recordings from field observations. In the document review on historical flooding and flood damage, the data were collected from other published works and government agencies. Applying the PARA theoretical framework, the data were analysed qualitatively with the changes recorded through the survey questionnaire responses and interviews. The results show that through local knowledge, the settlers were able to adapt diversely by: using more durable materials in their dwellings; adding supports to structural elements; elevating the ground floor; and, by adding an upper floor. Combining the lived experience with the structural measures provided by the local government, these interventions facilitated the overall climate adaptation of the community.