One would be hard‐pressed nowadays to find any practitioners and scholars in the field of post‐disaster reconstruction who would argue against the virtues of community participation. In practice, however, the legacy of community participation has been mixed. This paper pursues this line of inquiry by examining the manifestations of participation in three communities affected by Typhoon Haiyan that struck the Philippines on 8 November 2013. The findings suggest that different governance logics emerge in each of the three case studies: authoritarian; communitarian; and deliberative. These logics promote particular understandings of who should participate in the reconstruction process and the appropriate scope of action for citizens to express discontent, provide feedback, and perform democratic agency. The paper contends that design interventions in participatory procedures, as well as contingencies in wider social contexts, shape the character and legacies of community participation. It concludes by comparing the legacies of these three ‘governance enclaves’ and imagining possibilities for participatory politics in post‐disaster settings.