Category Archives: News and Current Affairs

On Money, Time and Giving

I once had a talk with my self-confessed ex-workaholic sister-in-law… Self-confessed because she admits to not understanding why some women totally give up careers to become full-time mothers. (Aray, aray, aray!!!) Ex-workaholic because now she is a mother and totally understands why.

Anyway, back to the talk…

I think the topic was home-making…  I said that I wanted to do so much but didn’t have enough budget to buy stuff to beautify my home. She told me, in a kinda castigating way, that if one has no money, the person probably has time; if one has no time, he/she probably has money. Either way, things can be worked out.

What she said may not be true for all situations (especially in our dear Pilipinas, where working asses off is not necessarily equal to  fat paychecks). But, yes, it does make sense.

Today on the way home, I remembered her words. This time in light of the recent events that have happened in our country. (Ondoy, Pepeng. Hello?)

There are a lot of people who have been just wonderful – serving and giving tirelessly. But there are also some who make excuses for not being able to help. Kesyo they have no money or they have no time. Kesyo there are richer people who should give instead.

It’s sad that giving is mostly attributed to the material aspect. We measure what is given by monetary amounts.

We forget that time is the most expensive currency and giving it has far more (in)valuable effects than money can afford.

What I’m saying is this:  there is no excuse for anyone to not be able to help to the victims of typhoons Ondoy and Pepeng. If you have no money, give of your precious time. Go out, reach out to your community and volunteer.

If you have money, hooray! Good for you! Share the blessings.

After Ondoy… Pepeng Naman (How to Help) [UPDATED]

Because of the stir caused by the post on ellaganda.com about DSWD relief goods sitting and gathering dust at its Pasay warehouse, DSWD has asked for help (finally!).

Rock Ed Philippines is coordinating with DSWD to schedule a shift for volunteers who want to pack at the DSWD warehouse. There is also a call for vehicles that can help transport the goods. The shift for those who want to volunteer via Rock Ed is Mondays through Fridays 3PM to 11PM. More info at Ms. Gang Badoy’s site.

Instead of complaining and whining (yeah, it’s given that the government won’t always do its job, gahh), let’s all do our part. I agree with what Ms. Gang says:

Political leanings are not primary at this point.  After the work is done – then we can go our separate ways again if that works for us.  Personally, for now – I will be more than happy to help the government if that means more Filipinos get what’s rightly theirs.

~~~

Metro Manila, Rizal, Pampanga and Bulacan have yet to recover from the devastation caused by Typhoon Ondoy. But another typhoon,Pepeng (International codename Parma), came to ravage the Northern provinces of Luzon.

I am not sure how much Pinoy resilience can take. I know we are a people  known to crack jokes even in the midst of difficult situations. But this is just too much. And it’s getting closer to home, if you know what I mean.

It’s one thing to see people suffering loss due to a calamity. It’s totally another thing to see relatives and friends who lost family members, property, and/or livelihood.

It’s taxing on the emotions, even for the remote spectator such as myself. I don’t even want to imagine how they themselves are feeling now.

But we must not get weary of helping, and of appealing for help.

Right now, it’s difficult to transport relief from Metro Manila to the North, specifically Benguet, because all major roads are closed. Just this afternoon, Kennon Road was opened to light vehicles, meaning heavy vehicles for transporting major goods cannot pass yet.

But there are ways to help.

Organizations are encouraging local purchase of goods because this will help spur local economy, consequently helping the locals recover their losses. We who are remote can send cash donations. Here are some direct ways I’ve found in the web:

1. Cafe By The Ruins, one of my favorite places in Baguio, is now a feeding and relief operations center. Everyday since Saturday, the cafe has been cooking food for evacuees and rescue volunteers, bringing food to various locations in Benguet such as Tublay and Puguis, La Trinidad. If you’re in Baguio, bring rice, monggo, vegetables, and reusable food containers to CBTR. They are also gathering other relief items such as clothing, blankets and medicines.

I spoke to Feliz Perez, one of Cafe by The Ruins’ owners, over the phone, and she says the operations will continue for as long as help is needed. They will also be extending burial and livelihood assistance to those who lost a lot to the typhoon.

For those outside Baguio or the country, you can send in your monetary donations via the cafe’s bank account:

RUINS INC. savings account #940060574, BANCO DE ORO, Baguio Legarda branch, Yandoc Street, Baguio City. SWIFT CODE: BNORPHMM, ROUTING #: 0210-0001-8.

For more info on how you can help, you can call them at +63 74 4464010.

2. The Cordillera People’s Alliance (CPA) is appealing for our help for the Cordillerans – the people of Benguet and Mountain Province. They will be doing relief operations in affected areas through its Serve The People Brigade. They need the following items:

food-  rice, canned goods, monggo, salt, boiled eggs

drinking water

blankets and clothing; mats and tents

medications for fever, cough, colds, for wound disinfection (betadine, hydrogen peroxide), antibiotics

For cash donations, please deposit to:

Cordillera Peoples Alliance
Savings Account: 1-326-72354-8
RCBC Baguio Peso Account

Volunteers also needed – drop by their office at No. 55 Ferguson Road, Brgy. A. Bonifacio, Baguio City and look for Mr. Santos Mero, Serve the People Brigade Coordinator and CPA Deputy Secretary General (09152054262). You may also call or text the Hotline at mobile number 09209286370 or Telephone Number 63- 074304-4239, Fax number is 63-074-443-7159, or email at cpa@cpaphils.org for queries.

3. World Vision is also mobilizing its local offices and cooperating with the Philippine Coast Guard for relief operations in Pepeng-affected areas. They are targeting to help 20,000 families who were displaced by both Ondoy and Pepeng. Ready-t0-eat food and cash donations are preferred. There is also a need for able-bodied volunteers.

Donations can be brought directly to WV office at 389 Quezon Avenue corner West 6th Sreet, Quezon City. For online donations through credit card or bank deposit, simply fill out this form at the World Vision website.

~~~

I will update list as I gather more information.

I know some of us are exhausted with helping. But let’s not grow weary helping one another.

Krispy Kreme is Raising Dough for Ondoy Victims

Bayanihan – isn’t it a sweet Filipino trait? Times of difficulties like these bring out the best in the Pinoy.

Krispy Kreme is doing its part in helping the victims of Typhoon Ondoy. But it needs YOU to do your part.

On October 11, Sunday (that’s tomorrow already), all purchases of KK Original Glaze Doughnuts will benefit a fundraiser for Ondoy victims. For each KK Original Glaze you buy, the sale will automatically go to Krispy Kreme’s relief fund which will be distributed to the Philippine National Red Cross-Rizal Chapter and ABS-CBN Sagip Kapamilya.

Visit the following stores on October 11 to enjoy your all-time fave Original Glaze while helping the victims of Ondoy.

Bonifacio High Street, SM Megamall, Greenhills Drive-Thru, Trinoma Mall, SM Mall of Asia Main Mall and Drive-Thru, Robinsons Galleria, Gateway Mall Ground Floor and Cinema Level, Glorietta 4, The Annex SM North EDSA, SM Fairview Annex

It is a time of upheaval for the country. But if we help each other, be empathic and not apathetic, we will all get through this. Time to put compassion into action. This simple fundraiser is not difficult to do at all, is it?

So this weekend, as you mall with your families and loved ones, don’t forget to drop by a Krispy Kreme store.

Typhoon Ondoy – A Lesson on Disaster Preparedness

UPDATES [29 Sept 2009, 10:58 AM]:

1.Yesterday afternoon, I received word that Feng and family are safe. I was told they were trapped on their second floor but managed to get on the roof, and rescued later on. Meanwhile, I kept calling Annamanila’s phone. I was only able to get through late last night. I was so happy when her phone finally rang!!!! Apparently, her one-storey house was submerged in 8-feet flood. They had to move in to a neighbor’s home with a second floor. She, apo Andeng and her daughter-in-law were evacuated to a safer place on Sunday night.

Now they are safe. Next step is to help them and the others who lost a lot to the flood.

2. The Disaster Kit list has been updated. New additions in bold. Keep the suggestions coming!

~~~

Last night, I couldn’t sleep. My thoughts kept turning to friends who live in Pasig from whom I have not heard yet. Annamanila, FengBrum, I hope you and your family are well. I will keep praying until I get word from you. 🙁

~~~

One realization (of the many) I got out of the Ondoy tragedy is that my family was not ready for a disaster.

As I watched the water rise down the street Saturday morning, I began to worry a bit. I live in a village that never floods. This is the first time I was actually worried of water getting into our home. Down the street, it was knee-deep already. I saw vehicles being evacuated out of the garage that was right smack in the middle of the flooded area.

At about mid-day, I lost internet and cable connections. Tap water was also cut off. Thankfully, our area is one of the few places in Metro Manila that did not get any power interruption. But the rain continued to rage.

At around 3 PM, I get a call from my husband – he was stranded at North Luzon Expressway (NLEX). Traffic was at stand-still. ( He got out of NLEX past 9 PM, and got home at around 12 midnight. He was wet, hungry, tired, but thankful and glad he got home in one piece.)

When cable TV signals finally came back on late in the afternoon, I saw more clearly the rampage caused by Ondoy. Flooded streets all over. News reports and tweets from my social networking sites were about families trapped and needing rescue, people stranded on the road for hours.

What was going on? Areas that never flooded were chest-deep in water! Homes that never had to deal with floods were submerged.

I began thinking fast-forward  – the what-ifs. What if we get flooded and trapped? What if we get caught without water, food? What happens to my kids? And the morbid thoughts, fight hard as I may want to, come creeping into my mind: “is your family protected in the event of your death?“. Are we ready for the worst?

I realized now how unprepared my family was for a disaster like this. I don’t even wan’t to talk on a national scale. Obviously, the government was caught unprepared too. But on my own level, I could have done what I could – just in case.

So yesterday, I started completing my disaster kit. Here are what I’m putting together:

drinking water

emergency stash of Nate’s milk and medications

canned goods, can opener

instant noodles (at worst, they can be eaten off the container even without hot water – good carb source)

crackers, chocolate bars

first aid kit

wet towels, isopropyl alcohol for sanitation

flashlight and spare batteries

rechargeable emergency lights

battery-operated radio

matches in a water-proof container or lighter

blankets

bag with change of clothes for each family member

cash!!!!

Food and water should be good to last for 3 days.

I am going to keep these in an accessible area upstairs. In addition, I am keeping all important documents in a water-proof ziploc bag.

I will also make sure that:

cellphones and gadgets are always charged optimally;

the car always is always at least half-tankful! (My hub’s nasty habit of last-minute filling is now a big no-no);

I have the emergency numbers of NDCC, MMDA, PNRC, nearest police station in my cell’s directory

I will post the second part when I have completed our disaster kit. Did I miss anything?

~~~

Let us all continue to pray for the victims, those who are still waiting to be rescued or brought food. And let’s do our share to help. Here is a spreadsheet of places where we can bring our donations.

Now is the right time to rise and show the indomitable Filipino spirit.

The Heavens Wept – Farewell, Cory Aquino

I woke up last Wednesday to a wet and gloomy morning. Classes were suspended, offices shut down for the day. It was declared a special non-working holiday, in honor of Cory Aquino’s burial.

As I drove around the almost-deserted streets of Quezon City doing errands, I saw several people clad in yellow shirts. No, they were not any particular group – just ordinary people going about their own lives. I saw yellow ribbons on cars and homes, around street posts and trees. I felt the gloom and the grief.

On my way home, the rain began to pour heavily! The raindrops beat so heavily on my car, I felt it was heaven weeping for Cory, and for the people she has left behind.

I keep asking: “Who is like her? Who can take her place? Will there ever be another like Cory?”

Sad to say, none of today’s public figures seem to measure up to half of what Cory was. None in uprightness, in humility and in simplicity. None compare to the sacrifices she made for the country.

The people’s response to Cory’s burial procession was so immense. About three hundred thousand people gathered along the route to bring her to her resting place – all rallying, chanting her name, flashing the “L” sign. (During the 1986 EDSA Revolution, “L” stood for “laban” or fight.) Yellow was all over –  it was like 1986 again.

The Filipinos love Cory. Despite the detractors, despite the negative things said about her in the past, despite the people who thought the “Cory magic” has died, one thing I realized: Cory has touched all of our lives. And we all felt grief with her passing.

Cory fought the good fight; she has done her part. She won back the Philippines’ democracy from the hands of Marcos. Now it’s up to us to carry on and continue the fight.

Who is like her? Who can take her place? Will there be another like Cory?

Each one of us can be like her. If we keep her spirit alive in our hearts, we can do as she did – keep the fight for freedom, and show love for our country in our own little ways.