Thursday, December 10, 2009

Wishing for a 'winter wonderland'

Life in the tropics is wonderful. And when one of my brothers -- who resides in the US with his family -- complained about the chore of shoveling snow from the driveway at this time of the year every year, I embraced my tropical corner of the world even more.

Still, I find myself charmed by the sight of snow-covered houses, snow-capped mountains, and fellows all-bundled up making their way through snow-lined roads on movies scenes depicting a slice of life during wintertime (think Home Alone, Jack Frost or even some of the Harry Potter flicks). Couple that with lyrics such as "...A beautiful sight, we're happy tonight, walkin' in a winter wonderland..." and one can get sort of wistful for some snow apart from the ice in a freezer that badly needs defrosting.

I was hankering for a "winter wonderland" of sorts when we were considering ideas for the Christmas cover of Baby magazine. So I got a little kick out of seeing the Christmas tree dusted with "snow flakes" among the trees at Collect 'n' Cherish, that store in Shangri-la Plaza mall that sells all things Christmas. And a bit of those snowy branches even made it to the cover, so I'm quite contented.

As usual (and probably to the chagrin of some people in the retail or marketing industry), we included articles on the kind of generosity and giving that has little to do with buying, buying and buying some more. There's also something in there to give readers ideas on fun ways to celebrate and make the most of the season (and vacation time) with the family without spending much. One of my favorite topics in this issue is teaching kids resilience starting from a very young age.

This Christmas is bound to be a very, very different one for the many who were directly affected by the destructive typhoons our country experienced in September; add to that the families and other loved ones of the victims of the Ampatuan massacre in Maguindanao. So probably it will be a bit harder for some of them to appreciate the spirit of the season and the things that the birth of the Savior stands for: simplicity, poverty, self-giving. Hopefully, those of us around them will be the ones to help them see that there is much to be thankful for even amid times that challenge the human spirit.

On the cover is 11-month-old Maka Carpio -- who seems to be saying "Hi, there!" or "I'm here", photographed by Krissy Rodriguez of Little People Lifestyle Photography.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Friday, November 27, 2009

A reminder, to her and to him

Nature says to a woman: 'Be beautiful if you can, wise if you want to,
but be respected, that is essential.'

- Pierre Beaumarchais (1732-1799)

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Be afraid... be very afraid

Source: Cute Overload

Signs of hope

Though numbers are not everything, they can be of enormous significance especially when working to effect change in society. The support for or rejection of a culture of life is a crucial issue of our time, and there are indications that no matter how much some people, institutions and media distort the facts and try to influence public perception, truth and goodness are more attractive to those who sincerely open their hearts and minds.

The annual March for Life, which began in 1974 with the participation of around 2,000 people, has grown to be the biggest pro-life event in the world, bringing together folks from different parts of the US to Washington D.C., and spawning satellite activities in other parts of the world to demonstrate the same support for a culture of life. The peace protest in January 2009, incidentally held on the same day as the new American president's inauguration, brought together an estimated 300,000 people to the nation's capital (for the March and the related activities, not the inauguration). Here's a video someone made of the 2009 March which I find to be indicative of much hope.

(Lyrics of "So small" by Carrie Underwood here)

The warmth, vitality and joy of the people are apparent in these photos of March for Life 2007 taken by Barbara Curtis. Check them out!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Communicating beauty

Pope in landmark meeting with artists in Sistine Chapel

Welcoming the artists including architects, filmmakers and musicians in the "sanctuary of faith and human creativity," the pope urged them to be "fully conscious of your great responsibility to communicate beauty."

He asked: "What is capable of restoring enthusiasm and confidence, what can encourage the human spirit to rediscover its path, to raise its eyes to the horizon, to dream of a life worthy of its vocation -- if not beauty?"

Full article at Yahoo! News

Photo by L'Osservatore Romano

Read Pope tells artists beauty can be a path to God at Reuters

In pursuit of freedom

More good news about courageous people speaking up and remaining faithful to their oath as healers! This time, it is a Korean group of obstetricians declaring its decision to enforce the law on abortion. Though some of the group's members had previously performed abortions, they apparently have had a change of heart and have launched a movement against the procedure -- even if it means imprisonment for previously violating the law by performing abortions. Read all about it here:

South Korean obstetricians demand enforcement of abortion law

And, if you missed the news in September, doctors in Spain -- led by Derecho A Vivir (Right to Life) spokesperson Dr. Esteban Rodriguez -- also put their foot down, putting the safety of their patients first and protesting a proposed law that strips doctors of the right to refuse to commit abortions. "We will not kill our patients, nor will we commit a crime against the public health deliberately harming the health of women, no matter how much the Minister of Justice threatens us and abuses his power," the doctor said. Details here:

Spanish doctors will choose jail over committing abortion

And less than a week ago, a coalition of religious leaders in the US came up with the Manhattan Declaration, a declaration addressing the sanctity of life, traditional marriage, and religious freedom, and which has been signed by over 125 Catholic, Evangelical Christian and Orthodox leaders. Part of the document reads: "We will not comply with any edict that purports to compel our institutions to participate in abortions, embryo-destructive research, assisted suicide and euthanasia, or any other anti-life act; nor will we bend to any rule purporting to force us to bless immoral sexual partnerships, treat them as marriage or the equivalent, or refrain from proclaiming the truth, as we know it, about morality and immorality and marriage and the family.” Read about it here:

Unprecedented coalition of religious leaders call Americans to stand for sanctity, marriage and religious freedom

Illustration: The "Freedom of Speech" panel in Four Freedoms (1943), by Norman Rockwell

Monday, November 23, 2009


H/T: Barbara Curtis


People are like stained-glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in, their true beauty is revealed only if there is a light from within.

- Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, Swiss-American psychiatrist and author

True to their vocation

I wonder if it's accurate to say that there is a lack of doctors and other practitioners supposedly trained to help people remain healthy (and to treat their bodies of illness when illness occurs), who remain true to their vocation. But I sure am very happy whenever I hear of news of doctors standing up for the sanctity of every human life in any way, and exerting efforts to enable even the poorest people to be given quality health care, when they need it.

As there has come to be a wide discrepancy between marketing of consumer goods, and principles of proper nutrition, society could really use more guidance from the experts and from those who have the people's interest at heart. Food and drink that lack nutritional value (soda, MSG-laden and sugary snacks, and the like) are being marketed aggressively, so the way some doctors are remaining firm on what's important is very welcome (and very much needed).

A family physician near San Francisco is encouraging members of the American Academy of Family Physicians to resign in protest of the organization’s alliance with The Coca-Cola Co. to educate consumers about how Coca-Cola’s products fit into a healthful lifestyle.

Dr. William Walker, director of Contra Costa Health Services in Martinez, said in an interview Friday that he had resigned from the AAFP “with great sorrow.” He said 10 to 20 other physicians, all affiliated with Contra Costa Health, also have quit the association.


“I am appalled and ashamed of the partnership between Coca-Cola and the American Academy of Family Physicians,” Walker said in a release. “How can any organization that claims to promote public health join forces with a company that promotes products that sicken our children?”

Full article at Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood

* Illustration: Doctor and doll (1929), by Norman Rockwell

Monday, November 16, 2009

I secretly call this...

... the "medical issue." Upon seeing the copies at the office a couple of weeks ago, I noticed that the topics shown on the cover seemed to conjure images of illness ("medicine," "health alert," "vaccination," "bacteria"). I almost began to feel a bit ill moments after perusing the cover!

But then, it's merely coincidental, as this November issue of Baby magazine offers more than that. Several articles dwell on budgeting, from different angles. So do check out the issue.

More about it here

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Laws and freedom

No law can give me the right to do what is wrong.

- Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865)

Now THAT is standing up for your faith

Reposting in full from MommyLife:

Italy defies European Union school crucifix ban

ppcruzitalia111109.jpgThe issue here is: Does the European Union have the right to impose its will on an individual country? These are critical times as these international, globalist bodies are trying to usurp the self-governance of individual nations. And a warning to Americans to resist UN treaties that would take away American rights.

Italian mayors respond to Strasbourg ruling by hanging more crucifixes in schools

Rome, Italy, Nov 12, 2009 / 01:49 pm (CNA).- A number of Italian officials have responded to the ruling by the European Human Rights Court that ordered schools in Italy to remove crucifixes from the classrooms by taking unprecedented measures to preserve the Christian symbol.

According to the Italian daily "Avvenire," the mayor of Sezzadio, Pier Luigi Arnera, has leveled a fine of 500 euros against anyone who removes a crucifix from a public place.

Arnera explained that the displaying of the crucifix in "places other than churches does not affect the dignity of anyone, because it is one of our cultural references."

Likewise in the cities of Sassuolo and Trapani, officials have acquired dozens more crucifixes to display them in public schools.

In Montegrotto Terme, digital billboards that normally are used to inform the public are now displaying the crucifix with the phrase, "We will not take it down." The mayor of Assisi has ordered that Nativity scenes be displayed in addition to the crucifix in public offices.

In Varesotto a local contractor placed a 16-foot cross on his farm in order to express his indignation over the EU court ruling.

Monday, November 09, 2009

40 years of sweeping the clouds away!

Sesame Street turns 40

Los Angeles (dpa) — It has won over 100 Emmys, been shown in more than 125 countries and on Tuesday it will celebrate a rare achievement in an age of ever-shifting tastes: Sesame Street will be 40 years old Tuesday.

''Sesame Street is one of the five most influential television shows of all time,'' says popular culture professor Bob Thompson of Syracuse University. ''It had an enormous social influence as well as artistic. In fact there's nothing like it on the air to this day.''

The format of the show may have changed somewhat since that first historic broadcast on November 10, 1969, which itself was the result of extensive research that aimed to find the way of blending entertainment with education.

The goal was to give children and their parents an alternative to the fun but mindless fare of children's television back then, shows that were often filled with violent episodes and were primarily designed not to teach kids, but to sell them things.

Funded by grants from the Carnegie Institute and the federal government, the Children's Television Workshop used the latest knowledge of child development, psychology and preschool education to stimulate young viewers' minds, improve their letter recognition, math and problem-solving skills, and just as importantly teach them essential life skills needed to thrive in modern America.

Full article here

More about the show and its cast here

One of the most memorable segments from Sesame Street, featuring Grover and John John:

Sunday, November 08, 2009

You've come a long way, baby?

Social theorist and media critic Jean Kilbourne has said that when it comes to portrayals of women in advertising, sex sells.

Whether or not this is true is -- at the moment -- beside the point as far as I'm concerned. What I've been thinking about is the degree to which even 'tween girls nowadays are heavily influenced by the sexualized content of media (advertising included). Then a while ago I read that Kilbourne said something along those lines:

"We’ve been conditioned from birth to think our sex appeal and physical attractiveness is the most important thing about us."

Judging from the material and the underlying messages the ad industry has been coming out with the past decade or so, that statement above seems to be fairly accurate (I just don't know about the "from birth" part). Whether or not that kind of conditioning reached you by way of excessive exposure to media during your childhood till the teen years, what ultimately matters is your acceptance or rejection of such kind of conditioning.

I wonder -- how would the proponents of the original Women's Liberation Movement regard all this if they were still around to witness the transformation? And, is the current manner of portraying women in media what the first feminists had in mind when they relentlessly fought for "women's rights"?

Do women who go about with an attitude of "I have the right to do anything I want" feel truly free?

In relinquishing a lady's natural power to turn even fools into gentlemen, does a woman who puts her "anatomical sexuality" on display really feel empowered? And confident?

Do women actually fall for the message put forth by advertising that sex appeal and physical attractiveness should be among those on top on the list of priorities?

Interesting questions to ponder. And I found a previous blog entry I posted some four years ago which I still find interesting. An excerpt:

And here I go again, attributing much of the societal damage to mass media. First of all, it's true -- media in this day and age is largely responsible for the perpetuation of ideas (both constructive and destructive) especially when the idea is deftly presented as something that will make you feel happy, free, strong, fabulously independent and/or desirable. The result: girls imitating what they see, whether it's a baby tee with "Porn star" flashed across the chest, the monthly boyfriend roulette, the spirit of abandon guiding underwear ads, or the whole attitude behind the "Sex Bomb Dancers" trend. An example:

Mothers who come into my office frequently express doubt about their own judgment, not knowing where to draw the line when their daughters dress provocatively. Girls, meanwhile, freely admit that they are only aping what they see in the media. One young woman told me, "I love 'Sex and the City,' but I know it's contributed" to the problem. " Desperate Housewives" does, too.

Believe me, people behind magazines, ads and TV programming know how to make practically anything -- even the trashiest, most indecent fashion styles and intrinsically wicked ideas -- look good and spend tons of money to do research to get better at it!

Read the whole thing, which includes links to two insightful reads from The Washington Post and Modestly Zone, here

* First photo is from a Benson & Hedges ad.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Word play

I can't remember ever taking up "anagrams" in school... but today I learned about anagrams, thanks to Mommy Life! Cool huh?

When you rearrange the letters:
When you rearrange the letters:
When you rearrange the letters:
When you rearrange the letters:
When you rearrange the letters:
When you rearrange the letters:
When you rearrange the letters:
When you rearrange the letters:
When you rearrange the letters:
When you rearrange the letters:
When you rearrange the letters:

Modesty aside...

I've been thinking about modesty lately -- specifically, trying to think of another word that means almost the same thing. It seems that this word has become misunderstood, that if I talked to another girl about it and we happened to not be on the same page about things pertaining to love, relationships, character and virtues, she may react as if I had said "chastity belt" or something equally antiquated.

Thing is, though "modest" often refers to clothing styles and manner of dressing, it can go far beyond that to include speech, behavior, thought. I won't even go into that here, but I will share this piece that I stumbled on once again while roaming Modesty Zone, that site I used to go to when in search of delightfully counter-cultural ideas. Talk about non-conformity! Definitely stuff one wouldn't see in mainstream media.

Here's an excerpt from the piece titled "Confessions of a former hoochi mama":

I began to realize that in my "hoochi mama" days, instead of showing off my cool new figure, I was actually degrading it by making it so easily accessible to any viewer. Despite some of the protests of my friends, I began to realize that modesty is not about sexual shame or a negative attitude toward the body; instead it is very much pro-body and pro-woman. Who knew?

Another thing I learned was that the word modesty, in its origin, simply means "to moderate." When St. Thomas Aquinas deals with modesty in the Summa Theologiae he links it to the virtue of prudence. Between moderation and prudence, we can thus understand better how to deal with modesty in this day and age where there are so few guidelines concerning dress. To me, applying moderation to this concept means that on the sliding scale of today's fashions the modest girl will land somewhere in between the prude and the exhibitionist.


When women of the sixties and seventies were encouraged to take on a more male nature, they abandoned and, in some cases, suppressed the beauty of female nature. By nature I don't mean the body per se, but rather what is greatest about women: things like compassion, fidelity, warmth, and a capacity to nurture. But today we are to suppress all these virtues, and be feminine in body only.

Read the whole thing here

Thursday, October 22, 2009

We like them as they are

Frankly, for a while now, I can't say that I still get starry-eyed over what most people consider thrilling, like sightings of -- or encounters with -- actors and other such celebrities. Seeing tennis player Roger Federer would probably send me to cloud nine; being in the same room as the Pope would also give me a certain high -- but of course that's on an entirely different plane altogether. Broadcast journalist Anderson Cooper is admirable, so hats off to him, too, and I'd certainly get a thrill out of even just seeing him in person or listening to him talk. Boxer Manny Pacquiao, too, though I am no boxing fan, is one person I would love to shake hands with and even get a picture with! Maybe it's his way of uniting the country, maybe it's his apparent simplicity in responding to questions despite the iconic status he has reached. I really don't know why I regard him so favorably and even anticipate his next match even though I can't tell schoolyard punching apart from what happens on a professional boxing ring (bottom line, in my eyes, both are demonstrations of violence).

But I can get somewhat starry-eyed when it comes to babies and young children. Which is why coming face-to-face with this 7-month-old from the South got me all excited before, during and even after the photo shoot. Needless to say, she didn't feel the same way about me, refusing to break into a smile during those moments I held her *sniff* -- still, she held my heart in her tiny hand :-) Even the way she let out little grunts as we struggled to put her in the first cherry kimono (it was a size too small) I found charming.

This is Queen Elizabeth ("Queenie") Pacquiao, the latest addition to the boxer's brood of four, whom we photographed in the family's home in General Santos City in August. I jetted off to Davao, where photographer Eugene Lara is from, and together with his assistant Ferjan we took the two-hour drive to General Santos for the 10am pictorial. How did the shoot go? You'll just have to get a copy of Baby magazine's October issue to find out :-)

See that small photo of another kid on the cover? That's Princess, Queenie's 3-year-old Ate, who makes an appearance in the same issue via a fashion feature. As with the last kiddie fashion feature we did, I'm feeling very contented about the outcome of this shoot, handled by photographer Ralph Alejandrino, even though it ended up happening in a hotel -- not exactly a child-friendly environment, and not brimming with spots that will bring out the natural glee in children at play.

Well, it turned out quite nicely -- with the help of board games, hand puppets, funny glasses, a pair of colorful maracas and even a little umbrella that Princess decided to twirl and wave around. And of course, though a bit of (ehem) "fashionista-wannabe kind of posing" happened for a few moments upon the urging of the little girl's companions, it became clear that when we let innocence and a wholesome atmosphere prevail, the charm of childhood really does come out. None of the come-hither looks that characterize kiddie images nowadays, nothing like the hands-on-hips supermodel stance and attitude taking over the styling. Just natural, happy, free-spirited, child-like fun. Because our "model" was a child. And it was plain to see that she was having a delightful time; I almost felt like reinforcing her genuine demeanor by telling her, as Ringo would have sung to her, "all [you] gotta do is act naturally." :-)

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Silence that matters today

We have a choice to be silent. They didn't. The choice was made for them. Permanently.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

And I say it's alright

A little about the song

Specially for you

Anybody who cares for a person -- whether a child or an adult -- with special needs knows that the responsibility comes with challenges that require more patience and creativity. Is he a brother? A sister? A son? A daughter? A friend? I think each of us knows somebody who has "a little something extra" (as teacher and book author Barbara Curtis has put it when referring to people with Down Syndrome) or is lacking in something, making them different from others in more ways. Thank God we can rest assured that the value of every person's life depends not on what he can do but on what he is -- a child of God. And for any creature there can be no higher dignity than that!

It may also be comforting to know that even though most kids with special needs have a more limited ceiling when it comes to the level of understanding and intellectual capability or of physical tasks that they can carry out, the joy and the sense of wonder their presence can bring about in those around them, are limitless. That, and the depth of self-giving that they can enable their families and caregivers to reach.

This may provide some boost and assurance to those who spend a lot of time with people with special needs. I think it also gives us a deeper insight into things that special people also need (and feelings they may experience) which we have taken for granted or probably aren't aware of to begin with:

Beatitudes for friends of special needs kids

Blessed are you who take time to listen to difficult speech:
For you help us to know that if we persevere,
We can be understood.

Blessed are you who walk with us in public places,
And ignore the stares of strangers,
For in your companionship,
We find havens of peace.

Blessed are you who never bid us to "hurry up",
And more blessed are you
Who do not snatch tasks from our hands to do them for us,
For often we need time rather than help.

Blessed are you who stand beside us
As we enter new and untried ventures,
For our failures will be outweighed
By the times we surprise ourselves and you.

Blessed are you who ask for our help,
For our greatest need is to be needed.

Blessed are you when you assure us,
That the one thing that makes us individuals
Is not in our peculiar muscles,
Nor in our wounded nervous systems,
Nor in our difficulties in learning,
Nor any exterior difference.
But is in our inner, personal, individual self
Which no infirmity can diminish or erase.

- Author Unknown

H/T: MommyLife

Thursday, October 08, 2009


This is probably as honest as one can get when it comes to the sentiments of any woman at the moment she finds out that she's pregnant -- especially when pregnancy was the farthest thing from her mind. Come to think of it, the more oft-used "Pregnant? Need help?" is just as genuine, but a touch of humor can elicit a smile. And who wouldn't want that?

I clicked on Generations for Life's blogroll and got a site that was under construction. But the group's old website was accessible, and this led me to Project LIFEBOARD, which is another way for the group to call a pro-life billboard. What a delight to know that some people are making it possible to have such life-affirming displays put up in various states in the US!

I sure hope one day we'll see a giant billboard somewhere on Edsa with a message like "Chastity rocks -- it does a body and soul good." I think something like this would be welcome (or at least it's needed, even if some people are bound to scoff at the message) since it proclaims what each person knows deep inside.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Puppy power

This little creature is so cute, I can't stand it! :-)

"I Want My Phone Call!"

Source (of photo and caption): Cute Overload

Now that I think about it, bringing cute animals such as puppies, kittens, rabbits etc., to some of those who are grappling with the situation brought on them by the recent typhoon can probably do much good. Pet therapy has worked wonders for people with illnesses or battling depression. I imagine the folks at nursing homes would welcome the sight and company of a puppy or a friendly breed like a Labrador. And cuddling and caring for a puppy can be therapeutic.

Sunday, October 04, 2009


No matter what's going on around you, when a baby laughs (and laughs like this 9-month-old), it's a wonderful reminder that there is always hope.

It's all about ME

Always, there's lots of food for thought over at Feminine Genius. Here's a serving:

Any culture that successfully peddles magazines called Allure, Self, Glamour, Ms, O, and Lucky doesn't seem to have any esteem problems. Add to that all the self-help columns, sex advice, and beauty items (cashing in $billion$ monthly) and we seem to detect a society that is already all about "happy!"

Perhaps a better message would be to indicate that those who've been blinded by "It's all about me!" life-styles are chasing waterfalls and not terribly happy in the end. There's something to be said for authentic love which places God and others in the queue ahead of facials and retail therapy. And oddly enough, when God is first, sometimes He indulges us in unforseen ways.

Read her take on an interview with US First Lady Michelle Obama for Prevention here

* Girl at the Mirror (1954) by Norman Rockwell

Saturday, October 03, 2009

She ain't heavy

No amount of imagery will accurately paint the conditions that families displaced by Ondoy (international codename: "Ketsana") have been under and will continue to experience. So I'm posting just a few photos; it shouldn't make a difference whether one sees 2 or 200 pictures illustrating the extent of the damage to people and property. These are our brothers and sisters and they need our help.

Please remember to pray for my people more -- for the displaced victims, for those who have suffered loss of lives of family members and/or loss of their houses and other belongings, and for the aid workers and volunteers who are working away to serve the victims of this calamity.

You may help materially by sending your donations directly to the Philippine National Red Cross, which can now be done via PayPal --

The following information on more donation options is courtesy of Moon Girl --

Donate through your community

There might be people in your community gathering relief goods and donations. Find them and go.

  • Australia (Melbourne): Drop-off donations near the Melbourne CBD through Coco Quizon’s residence @ 8 Vale St., North Melbourne. You can contact Coco through 0458603723
  • Australia (Sydney): Deliver donations to 303/5 Stromboli Strait, Homebush Bay 2127. message for questions
  • Australia:
  • Australia: Filipino students in Australia are also helping out by collecting 5-dollar pledges. Contact Coco Quizon 0458603723 (Melbourne), Aiya Buendia 0437 967 259 (Sydney) and Michelle Leonardo (Canberra)
  • Australia: PAL shipping donations from Australia Free Of Charge! Sydney Delivery point for donations in kind: Revesby Press 3/50 George Street Granville. Ph:9760 0933. Urgently seeking donations of clothes, blankets, canned goods, medical supplies. Please segregate clothing according to: infants, girls, boys, women, men, shoes! Please call 0414-736-231.
  • Austria: Cash: message Charmaine Taus ( she’s having a benefit concert on October 22! concert details to follow.
  • Belgium: For those based in Belgium they can contact Shiera Catalan at +32485328811 if they want to donate goods for typhoon relief
  • California (Burlingame): MANILA BOX USA is now accepting donations in kind & will provide FREE shipping to Manila. Items will be sent by Sea Cargo and will delivered to the Whitespace Relief Center/Mar Roxas Headquarters in Cubao. Please drop them off at their warehouse: 361 Beach Road Burlingame , CA 94010 or call (650)342-2858. Please pack them in boxes for easier handling. Business hours Mon-Fri 9am-6pm
  • California (Carson/Hermosa Beach): We are collecting donations to send to flood victims in Manila. Our goal is to fill up a 40ft container in one week with new or used clothing,shoes, blankets,medicines,canned food items, etc. Dropoff Location : 205 West Torrance Blvd, Carson, CA 90745. We will be setting up a booth on Oct 3, 2009 at the Substance event in Hermosa Beach CA. THANK YOU and God Bless Manila. TWITTER (Socal4Ondoy)
  • California (Cerritos): Our house is temp drop off point while we find a bigger venue. We’ll facilitate immediate shipment to Manila. Thank you in advance for your help. Pls pass. Dino & Jan Home:16622 Amberwood Way Cerritos, CA 90703; (562)404-0625
  • California (Hayward): Fil-Am Invitational BasketballLeague(FIBL) will send out relief goods in the philippines for the victims of the floods cause by typhoon ondoy…. if you want to make a donation clothing,canned goods or money please bring it on sunday 10/04/09 @ el rancho gym 541 blanche st. hayward ca. from 2:00 – 6:00pm please visit our website for direction
  • California (Daly City): Please contact Ryan Leano (626)534-4971. Liwanag Cultural Center, Hillside Park Clubhouse, 222 Lausanne Ave., Daly City‎, CA‎ 94014.
  • California (LA): Relief goods accepted in LA! ANSWER ofc, 137 Virgil St, Rm 203, Los Angeles, CA
  • California (LA): TULONG SA PILIPINAS (STP): Accepting donations cash or check. Send to People’s CORE, 1610 Beverly Blvd. Suite No 2, Los Angeles, Ca 90026. Donations more than $50 is tax deductible. Material donations drop off ( donations; shoes, clothes, canned goods. medicines etc. ) at ANSWER LA office at 137 Virgil St. Room 203 , Los Angeles, CA 900042.
  • California (LA): Manila Forwarder will provide free balikbayan box shipment to Philippine National Red Cross, churches, and other government agencies directly responsible with relief operations. Please drop off the relief goods at: Manila Forwarder Headquarters, 4249 Eagle Rock Blvd Los Angeles, CA 90065, 1.800.210.1019323.478.1599
  • California (Oakland): Please contact Ryan Leano (626)534-4971. Asian Pacific Islander Youth Promoting Advocacy & Leadership. Attn: Armael Malinis, AnakBayan-East Bay. 310 8th Street, Suite 215. Oakland, CA 94710
  • California (San Diego): Alas Cargo 3126 E Plaza Blvd National City, CA 91950 (619) 470-1023; Eastern Express 8965 Mira Mesa Blvd (858) 578-8567
  • California (San Francisco): Stanford’s Pilipino American Student Union (PASU) is also collecting donations to be sent to the Philippines to help victims of Typhoon Ondoy (international name Ketsana). If you would like to make a donation, please contact AV David at or (650) 491-4561.
  • California (San Francisco):
  • California (San Francisco): Manila Forwarder will provide free balikbayan box shipment to Philippine National Red Cross, churches, and other government agencies directly responsible with relief operations. Please drop off the relief goods at: Manila Forwarder Northern California, 5750 Mission Street, San Francisco, CA 94112. Tel: 510-750-3036 / Tel: 209-3499576 / Tel: 415-239-9576
  • California (West Covina): Bamboo Bistro, 1559 E Amar Rd, West Covina, CA 91792. (626) 810-6131
  • Germany: Contact Denise Matias at or +63917-4280966 (text only, no calls).
  • Hong Kong: Filipinos in HONG KONG… Here’s how you can help: Ateneo Almuni Association HK is calling for donations to support relief efforts for the victims of Typhoon Ketsana (Ondoy) in the Philippines. Contact: Mike Reyes at +852.67131869
  • Hong Kong: Volunteers are requested to come to St Joseph’s Church in Central on Garden road, Hong Kong, tomorrow, Oct 1, 10AM to help pack the relief goods collected by various organizations for the victims of Typhoon Ondoy.
  • Illinois: Contact Raymond Maximo of Northern Illinois University – or
  • Japan: Japan Red Cross: They’re acception donations from September 30 until October 30. More info:
  • Japan (Tsukuba): You may get in touch with the Filipino Association of Scholars in Tsukuba, Japan also known as FAST thru fast99[at]yahoogroups[dot]com. I heard they are organizing a donation drive too. Just in case you are nearby Tsukuba area.
  • Japan (Tokyo): Philippine National Bank Tokyo – DONATION Remittance charge is FREE: 1) GMA KAPUSO FOUNDATION: PESO – 121003200017, DOLLAR – 121003200025; 2) CARITAS MANILA: USD – 1085-6660-0025; 3) PHILIPPINE NATIONAL RED CROSS: PESO – 3623-3680-0011
  • Kuwait: Kuwait Drop-Off Points for Donations for Typoon Ondoy/Ketsana calamity – you can send them at RAMTRON International, UTC Bldg, Kuwait City. Tel : (+965) 22413304 or (+965) 66671624. Look for Mr. Roylan A. Buenaflor. Donations are also accepted at the Intl Committee of the Red Cross – Kuwait Chapter @ Block 5, Street 3, House # 32, Kuwait. Tel : (+965) 25322061.
  • London: Cash: Acct. Name: P. A. Cortez / Acct. Num.: 58099901 / Bank: HSBC UK / Sort Code: 400500
  • Malaysia: For those in Malaysia, LBC is accepting donations in cash and kind. Their numbers are: 2026-8536 / 2070-0557. The office I know is at Kota Raya in KL.
  • Malaysia (KL): Pauline Warneck is gathering donations for Ondoy to be sent by Fri c/o CebPac. Email for details.
  • Netherlands: Donate (bank transfer) to: NFS – Nederlands-Filippijnse Solidariteitsbeweging (’Dutch-Filipino Solidarity Movement). Location: Leiden. Postgiro: 8118425. Subject: Support for flood victims / “Steun aan slachtoffers van grote overstroming”
  • Netherlands: Friends in the Netherlands can start sending donations in kind for victims of Typhoon Ondoy! Thanks to Balikbayan Europe :D Contact Erliza Apero (0617925369)
  • New Jersey: Sinugba Cafe – 561 Westside Ave. Jersey City, NJ 07304; or Casa Victoria – 691 Newark Ave. Jersey City, NJ 07306-2803 You can send CASH through Metro Bank acct. 3 189 14540 1 For BAYAN’s “BALSA” (Bayanihan Alay sa Sambayanan). For donations in New Jersey please contact: (201)621-3156-Yves Nibungco or (917)476-7855- Nick Cordero
  • New Jersey (Central): We are organizing a donation group for ondoy…we got drop offs to be put up by tomorrow afternoon or morning (9/30) ……contact me at 908-644-9889 or email me at, or ym ray_snoop_doggy02
  • New York: Ondoy New York Disaster Relief drop off center @ Pandayan Center, 406 W 40th St. Between 9th and 10th Aves. New York, NY 10018 or call 212.564.6057.
  • New York: NAFCON (Nat’l Alliance for Filipino Concerns)/SANDIWA Nat’l Alliance of Fil-Am Youth are now receiving relief donations (clothes, blankets, medical supplies, monetary). NY drop-off @ BAYANIHAN Filipino Community Center, 40-21 69th St. Woodside, NY 11377. Call (516)901-1832 or email if you would like to help.
  • Qatar: Meet noli perez dq ramada parking 6:30 today 9/29 for ondoy donations, call him 5642942.
  • Saudi Arabia (Eastern Province): Please collate your donations and bring to Al-Ettifaq Club gymnasium, Sports City Dammam this coming Friday, 2 October 2009.
  • South Korea: For the Filipinos and concerned citizens in South Korea: Pease support PIKO (Pinoy Iskolars sa Korea) fund-raising campaign for the Ondoy flood victims in the Philippines. Let us all help by donating to KOOKMIN BANK ACCOUNT NUMBER (498101-01-232756). Your help counts!
  • Spain (Madrid): For those in Madrid – starting tomorrow (9/30), you can bring your donations to the Philippine Embassy on c/ Eresma, 2 (Metro: Republica Argentina L6). They will accept food, clothes, blankets and other relief goods.
  • Spain: More pick up points around Spain: LBC in Madrid, Malaga and Barcelona. Addesses listed on this website –
  • Thailand (Bangkok): The Philippine Embassy will be receiving only donations in kind (ie., used clothing, shoes, blankets, and the like, and canned goods) …anytime between 9am-5pm until Fri. For queries, please contact the Philippine Embassy at (02) 259-0139 up to 40 or (08) 992-65954, or at
  • Texas (Houston):
  • Texas: Manila Forwarder will provide free balikbayan box shipment to Philippine National Red Cross, churches, and other government agencies directly responsible with relief operations. Please drop off the relief goods at: Pinoy Kargo Manila Forwarder 2 Honor Oaks Court,The Woodlands, TX. 77382832.768.0277832.744.2078.
  • UAE (Dubai): Lingap Kapwa – Ondoy Victims: We need to unite once again to help our Kabayans back in the Philippines that were badly affected by typhoon Ondoy. Current requirement: Clothings, Food, Money. Please get in touch with Pres. Jo (050-7456452 3 Drop Off Points for the donations: West Zone Supermarket (Karama, Satwa and Deira)
  • United Kingdom: Visit the OXFAM website
  • Washington, DC: Donations can be dropped off at the Forex office: 5222 Eisenhower Ave Alexandria, VA. (703) 823-1508. Philippine Red Cross is requesting for canned goods since there is not enough food.
  • Washington, DC: Fundraiser by Filipino Young Professionals: “Overcoming Ondoy: A “Happy” Hour to Help” – (A fundraiser for Typhoon Ondoy/Ketsana victims). When: Thursday, October 1, 2009, 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Where: Skye Lounge, 19 & I Street, NW, Washington, DC
  • Washington, DC: The AAAA-Washington DC Chapter has set up a collection for funds to help the victims of Ondoy. I will be accepting checks made out to: Religious of the Assumption North American Province. Please send me an e…mail ( to get my mailing address. Also please let me know if you would like a letter of acknowledgment for tax purposes. “Because I love, I serve!”
  • Washington, DC: FOREX in Washington, DC will be taking your donations at no cargo cost to the Philippine Red Cross and to the relief center in Ateneo in Loyola Heights. A container will be leaving in a few days. The drop off center is located at: 1717 K Street, NW, Suite 600, Washington, DC 20036. Call 800-883-6739.


Addendum: I wish I had come across this information days ago! On the other hand, better late than never. Here's where to buy items in bulk and come out spending less (thanks to Weewee for posting the link on Facebook):

From Bury me in this dress --

Where to buy bulk items for donation

Groceries are running out of relief goods because of the generosity of so many Filipinos so I’m compiling a list of where to buy relief items in bulk . A couple pesos saved might be enough for another survival package.

  • Viva and Wilkins Mineral Water – contact Arnel Ereso at 0917-8148998
  • SMC Mineral Water – contact Bau Bautista 0922-8497001
  • Mega Sardines (easy to open pack) – contact Jean Tiu Lim at 0917-7161005. Free bulk delivery
  • Toothbrush at 5 pesos per piece (minimum order of 500 pcs) – contact Abi Portillo at 0917-8898178
  • Relief goods - contact Gie of SuySing at 7068866 or 0918-5055430
  • Generic medicines and sanitary pad in bulk – John Talamayan at 09178980411 or
  • Environment-friendly containers – contact Paul or Tina 7124492
  • Bottled water 35o ml. at 5 per bottle (minimum of 500 bottles) - Call Cecille Baysa (or May) of Zectra Enterprises 911-4708 or 0920-9823028.
  • Wholesale prices of medicines from St. Francis Drug StoreG/F St. Francis Square Julia Vargas Ave. cor. Bank Drive Ortigas Center Mandaluyong City (632-1010 loc. 285 & 428; 0916-3612873). Minimum purchase of P3,000 for free delivery within Metro Manila.
  • Wholesale food goods – contact Camille 7068819
  • Banana leaves at 1.50/pc. (1 bundle=500 pieces, that’s P750) – call Binalot
  • Wholesale rice – contact Maria Rice #7 San Rafael St. Capitolyo, Pasig City. Tel Nos. 631-4421/631-4458/ 0917 856 2639
  • Tuna and other foodstuff - Allan Cabral Espino 09175236627
  • Paper boxes – Tope Tan at 2410805
  • GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) will donate relief goods for Ondoy victims – Text this number for any medicine needed 0917.894.4624.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

100 bucks -- or more

Admission is P100 or Bring a Survival Kit (bottled water, 2 packs of noodles, 2 canned goods, any dry goods or any other contribution). Lets do our part. Let's have fun and help out at the same time.

The Megatent is on 30 Meralco Ave., Ortigas Center, Pasig City. Right beside Renaissance Towers, across Alexandria. Very near ULTRA.

Monday, September 28, 2009

I wonder what the penguin said....

...that made the little girl all giggly :-)

Source: Cute Overload

Philippine man loses own life after saving dozens from floods

An 18-year-old construction worker braved rampaging floods in the Philippines to save more than 30 people, but ended up sacrificing his life in a last trip to rescue a baby girl and her mother who were being swept away on a styrofoam box.

Full article at The Age

Sunday, September 27, 2009

When it rains...

Saturday morning -- Sept. 26 -- was rainy. I was enjoying the cool weather, checking email, reading posts on Facebook, looking for nice materials to post, and taking my time downing breakfast.

When the news reports and images starting coming in, it became clear that people in other parts of Metro Manila were so badly affected by the typhoon (I didn't even know there was one) that they were scampering up to their rooftops to get away from flood waters.

Many parts of Marikina, Cainta, Antipolo and other parts of Rizal, as well as some areas in Pasig, Makati and Quezon City were underwater, rendering streets impassable, stalling vehicles and stranding thousands. By noon, people living in those areas were calling for assistance as flood waters had filled the first storeys of houses and were beginning to reach the second storey.

The rain brought about by typhoon "Ondoy" (international codename: Ketsana) resulted in the heaviest rainfall since 1967. "Though the Philippines is no stranger to floods, Saturday's downpours approached a record, with a month's worth of rain falling within six hours," stated a CNN news report.

Among appeals for assistance on a Facebook page of GMANews devoted to coordinating rescue operations in different areas were relatives of senior citizens, pregnant women, families with infants or toddlers, and individuals with serious conditions -- all stranded somewhere without food and/or water.

As the day progressed, the National Disaster Coordinating Council, the Red Cross, private citizens, government officials, NGOs, and volunteer search-and-rescue groups got to work. Dump trucks and pump boats were in demand as floods were too deep and currents too strong in some areas, warranting such modes of transporting people to safety.

As of this posting, thousands have been rescued and are being housed at evacuation centers. Some reportedly are still awaiting pick-up from their homes, most of which are situated in hard-to reach areas in Rizal. Flood waters in some villages have not subsided.

These photos show only glimpses of what has taken place in Manila yesterday and today. There is so much to be done in the next few weeks as thousands are left homeless, while some are faced with repairing major damage to their homes, motor vehicles, businesses. The good thing is that donations have started pouring in, people -- many of them private citizens -- have been giving their time and efforts to help out in some way.

Thank God for networking sites such as Facebook, communication has been facilitated. Even calls for help are passed on swiftly, information on donating is spread quickly. Please, help of any kind will go a long way and will be deeply appreciated. Here are some recommended modes of donation and places where donations (whether monetary or in kind) are accepted:

* For those abroad who would like to make cash donations for the floodvictims, you can do it through the website of Ayala Foundation USA: . You can choose to donate to Caritas Manila, PNRC, or other charities.

* Friends in the US and Canada who wish to help in the rescue/relief operations may donate through the American Red Cross. Call 1-800-435-7669.

* Donate via

* How to donate directly to the Philippine National Red Cross

* You may also deposit your donations directly to ABS-CBN Foundation's Banco de Oro account:
*Branch Name: BDO Mother Ignacia
Account Name: ABS-CBN Foundation, Inc.
Account #: 5630060113

* Relief goods can be sent to Caritas Manila Office at Jesus St., Pandacan, Manila (near Nagtahan Bridge) -- (02) 563-9298/563-9308. Relief goods can also be brought to Radio Veritas at Veritas Tower, West Ave. corner EDSA, Quezon City -- tel no. (02) 925-7931 to 40.

* TeamManila stores in Trinoma, SM Mall of Asia, Jupiter Bel-Air, and Rockwell shall be accepting relief goods (canned goods, ready-to-drink milk, bottled water and clothes) for distribution by Veritas to displaced countrymen.

* Aquino volunteers: contact Jiggy Cruz who is organizing relief goods collection and distribution. Or call Ms. Clare Amador at mobile no 0928-5205508 or Jana Vicente at 0928-5205499 for more details regarding Noynoy Aquino/Mar Roxas relief efforts.

** Photos by Kathy Zablan, Jr Lo, Rod Dizon, and Savann Oeurm


ADDENDUM, Sept. 28, 6:45pm: I wanted to update the status of the situation in my country because some 5-6 hours ago, Yahoo news reported that nearly 60,000 flood victims were in evacuation centers. The latest report, which I read just now, puts the number at 115,000. Read the article here

Saturday, September 26, 2009


A Real Woman...

Appreciates God's design of men
and women
Likes being a girl
Behaves like a lady
Cherishes her femininity
Knows that she is special.

A Real Woman...
Recognizes goodness
Delights in truth and beauty
Respects herself and other people
Stands up for what is right
Gives compliments and praise
Is concerned about others
Knows how to listen and be a friend.


I had posted this in one of my now-defunct other blogs a few years ago. I wish I could recall where I first read this or that I knew who wrote it.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Even the tennis world's superman surprises himself

World No. 1 Roger Federer plays an elegant game, but he sure can throw spectacular shots when the need arises :-)

On September 15 at 4am (Manila time) is his match with Argentina's Juan Martin del Potro for the US Open Championship title.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

"When it comes to life the critical thing is whether you take things for granted
or take them with gratitude."

- Gilbert K. Chesterton

It's more than just about food gobbled down together

An excerpt from a worthy read:

The pop culture constantly tells parents the pernicious lie that teenagers don't want them around. But teenagers say something very different. CASA's [Nat'l Center of Addiction and Substance Abuse] research, for instance, reveals: "When asked whether they prefer to have dinner with their families or to eat alone, 84 percent of teens surveyed say they prefer to have dinner with their families, compared to 13 percent who say they prefer to eat dinner alone (three percent responded 'don't know' or gave no response)."

Yet, statistics show that as teens grow older they are less likely to eat with their parents. My guess is that it's because mom and dad often feel too overwhelmed to take the initiative to bring them around the table, or have bought the lie that older children don't need family time.

The truth is that both parents and children experience more joy and satisfaction in life in general when we are part of a strong family unit.

Read The Importance of Family Meals, by Rebecca Hagelin

Friday, August 21, 2009

"Imaginary pregnancy"

Several days ago I posted some links to news and features delving on life issues. One of them was Wesley J. Smith's take on the possible consequences of too much reproductive "freedom", which jumped off from a reported 12-baby pregnancy of a Tunisian woman. I had also read about the reported multiple pregnancy on Birth Story.

Today, a news item on Gulf News reports that the woman is not pregnant. It was a case of "phantom pregnancy" (is that what it's really called?).

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

How is Life around the world?

Finally got to post these updates on what's been going on in different parts of the planet the past month as regards respecting the right to life. One thing's for sure -- we all need to take a closer look at what's happening and make sure we still remember that human life is not a commodity. Human life is invaluable, meant to be nurtured, and precious regardless of how long or short it is lived out.

'Abortion ship' suspends voyages due to changes in Dutch law
.- The ship “Aurora,” sponsored by the abortion organization “Women on Waves,” which provides abortions in international waters off countries where the practice is illegal, will remain docked due to changes in Dutch law.

Kenyan president praised for commuting 4,000 death sentences

.- The head prison chaplain in Kenya has applauded President Mwai Kibaki’s decision to commute the death sentences of some 4,000 prisoners, punishing them with life imprisonment instead of death by hanging.

A mother shares the story of her baby's short but beautiful life, after diagnosed with fetal abnormality (H/T: Birth Story)
Looking back, we regret nothing. Despite the fact that we knew our son would be seriously disabled and was not going to be the next Einstein or Olympic athlete, we are pleased that we gave him the chance to live and that we loved him the best way we knew how. We feel blessed to have been able to have cared for him alongside such great family members, friends, doctors and medical staff. And, sad as we are to live without him, we feel grateful that he is a saint in Heaven, bearing no pain and feeling ultimate love.

Pregnant with 12 babies: The cost of unlimited "reproductive freedom"
Monday, August 17, 2009, 6:11 PM
Wesley J. Smith

IVF has brought joy to millions of parents. But it has also fueled the hedonism front of the coup de culture. Moreover, because the reproductive industry, feminists, bioethicists, and others in the anything goes crowd resist any reasonable regulation, it has also opened the door to treating nascent human life as mere ore taken from a mine, set the Brave New World project on its trajectory, led to women becoming so many paid brood mares, caused the death, disability, and serious illness of egg donors and sellers, and transformed reproduction into a mercantile transaction in which people believe they have the right not only to a baby, but to the baby–or many babies–they want.

Amnesty Int'l calls protection of unborn in Nicaragua a "great horror"
Claims pro-life legislation is harming women's health, despite falling maternal mortality rates
By Matthew Cullinan Hoffman, Latin America Correspondent

MANAGUA, August 4, 2009 ( - Amnesty International (AI) has launched an international campaign against the government of Nicaragua, claiming that its law protecting the unborn from abortion is "cruel," and "cynical."


In a telephone interview with LifeSiteNews, [AI Deputy Sec. Gen Kate] Gilmore stood by the claims in her report, and affirmed that she regards the Nicaraguan law a form of "torture" against women.

Asked if it is torture to pull an infant's head off of its body, and its arms and legs out of its sockets, which happens during a standard aspiration abortion, Gilmore refused to answer the question.

Feminists for Life mourns the loss of Eunice Kennedy Shriver
ALEXANDRIA, Virginia, August 10, 2009 ( - Feminists for Life of America remembers the many contributions of Eunice Kennedy Shriver who was named a Remarkable Pro-Life Woman® in 1998. Shriver died the morning of Tuesday, August 11, 2009, at the age of 88, surrounded by her family.


WHEN EUNICE KENNEDY SHRIVER was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1984, then- President Ronald Reagan declared, "With enormous conviction and unrelenting effort, Eunice Kennedy Shriver has labored on behalf of America's least powerful, those with mental retardation." Her decency and goodness have touched the lives of many." Shriver, a longtime supporter of Feminists for Life of America, has demonstrated a lifelong concern for the "least powerful." The founder of Special Olympics International and executive vice president of the Joseph P. Kennedy Jr. Foundation, Shriver supports organizations that work on behalf of women and children, born and unborn.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

To the lady in yellow -- farewell and thank you

It's been about 10 minutes since the funeral rites were concluded. It took the funeral cortege some 8 hours to reach the Manila Memorial Park. Requiem Mass at the Manila Cathedral at 9am, depart at a bit past 11am, enter the cemetery after 7pm. For now I can think of nothing else to say but "thank you" to the woman whose courage and moral integrity have become clearer these past few days as people who knew her shared their stories.

Again, maraming salamat, Pres. Cory!

Tearful Filipinos flock to 'Cory' Farewell

2:01pm UK, Wednesday August 05, 2009

More than 150,000 mourners dressed in yellow have packed into the Philippine capital for the funeral procession of much-admired former president Corazon 'Cory' Aquino.

The crowd stood at least 10-deep as a truck carrying the coffin slowly made its way through the streets of Manila on the way to the cemetery.

Military helicopters circled overhead, showering mourners with yellow confetti - the colour associated with the Mrs Aquino's 1986 people power democracy movement.

Millions also watched on TV and via the internet as the nation said farewell to the unassuming woman who was reluctantly catapulted to prominence after her husband's assassination in 1983.

She went on to lead peaceful protests in 1986 against notorious dictator Ferdinand Marcos, forcing him into exile, before serving as president until 1992.

Her death from cancer last week at the age of 76 has been followed by an outpouring of emotion from grateful Filipinos, who have flocked to see her body lying in state.

Full story and more photos at SkyNews


It's easier to appreciate all that had been happening the past several days (and to appreciate Pres. Cory herself) when one knows and understands the significance of the People Power Revolution of 1986 and the events leading up to it. Unlikely heroine, penned by Sheila Coronel for MercatorNet, contains background information and several links to other articles.

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