This Global Delivery Initiative (GDI) case study examines how the Municipality of San Francisco, in Cebu province, Philippines transformed its unique sub-village-level purok system so that it could be used in disaster risk reduction and management (DRRM). The purok system, a network of community-based people’s organizations that complements the elected barangay (village) government, was established in 2004 as a grassroots service delivery unit of the municipal government. With an emphasis on volunteerism and self-help, the purok became the primary vehicle to reach the most vulnerable communities in the municipality. In 2010, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act mandated local government units (LGUs) to take the lead in implementing DRRM. In San Francisco, DRRM was integrated into the purok. In November 2013, typhoon Haiyan (known locally as Yolanda) became one of the strongest tropical cyclones ever to make landfall. San Francisco recorded zero casualties and began recovery immediately, despite being geographically isolated from its mother province, while nearby LGUs were left overwhelmed by the extent of damages left by Haiyan. This case study shows how, prior to the onslaught of typhoon Haiyan, the formative years in establishing the purok system provided the necessary learning process for residents and municipal officials to overcome the challenge of coordination and engagement among the different levels of government, as well as within communities themselves, in the context of introducing the new DRRM framework.