All posts filed under: Life

Songs for the Philippines

iTunes tweeted, “The music world comes together for Typhoon #Haiyan relief on Songs for the Philippines. http://tw.itunes.com/0As.” Several top artists/groups have contributed songs to the album “Songs for the Philippines,” which is available for download on iTunes. Proceeds from the sale of the 39-track album which cost US$9.99 will be donated to the Philippine Red Cross and will fund relief efforts in the Visayas, in the Philippines, where more than 5,000 people were killed and 670,000 people were displaced by Typhoon Haiyan. The anthology includes songs by top international artists including Justin Bieber, Alicia Keys, Lady Gaga, Beyonce, Adele, Katy Perry, Justin Timberlake, Eminem, and Madonna. Songs by famous bands like U2, The Beatles, Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Fray, Linkin Park, Imagine Dragons, and Kings of Leon are also included in the album. List of Songs: 1. The Beatles – “Across The Universe” (UMG) 2. Bob Dylan – “Shelter From The Storm” (SME) 3. Michael Buble – “Have I Told You Lately That I Love You” (WMG 4. U2 – “In A Little While” …

The Family Dinner Project & Giving Tuesday – The Family Dinner Project

Today I am giving the spotlight to the Family Dinner Project, “A start-up grassroots movement of food, fun and conversation about things that matter.” Growing up, family dinners were regular, important parts of our lives. The daily ritual of eating dinner together has fostered a deep bond among the members of our family, one that has remained strong even as we have gone separate ways. This is a wonderful site with lots of ideas on how to make family dinners fun, heartwarming and really cool! The Family Dinner Project & Giving Tuesday – The Family Dinner Project.

Finding Strength After the Storm -Anderson Cooper

CNN’s Anderson Cooper joined the numerous journalists from all over the world to cover the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan’s devastating spin through the Visayas group of islands in the Philippines last November 8.  We cried for our countrymen who died, and for those who survived but lost family members and everything they owned. This tribute from Anderson Cooper touched the hearts of many Filipinos. Maraming salamat din (thank you too), Mr. Cooper, for recognizing the strength, faith and courage of our suffering countrymen. Foreign broadcasters have repeatedly referred to the Philippines as a poor country. Yet we, the Filipinos, have always been proud of our rich heritage, of the indomitable Filipino spirit. It is our true wealth, something that no one or no catastrophe can take away from us. We can never repay the generosity of people and governments from all over the world.  We hope that the manifestations of courage and strength – the Filipino spirit –  will in some way help pay back the gestures of compassion shown to us. If only for a …

Thank You World: From the people of the Philippines

Last November 8, one of the most powerful typhoons to hit the Philippine islands wrecked havoc on the Visayas island group. Days prior to the arrival of Super Typhoon Haiyan, the local governments of the provinces expected to be hit by the typhoon evacuated 125,000 people. Contingency plans and emergency protocols were formulated to deal with the aftermath of the typhoon. But after typhoon Haiyan left, all the preparations and contingency plans were rendered useless. The local government officials and their families, who thought they were safe in their houses were swept away by the storm surge and had to fight for their lives as did thousands of others. Many evacuation centers crumbled and others were inundated with seawater, and many evacuees drowned.  The death toll has not yet been determined, but is expected to reach several thousand and corpses are everywhere, waiting to buried in a mass grave. Relief efforts are challenged by the amount of debris on the roads, and the sheer number of survivors who are in need of basic necessities. The …

Help comes in the midst of a disaster

Typhoon Haiyan is now being considered as one of the strongest typhoon that has ever made landfall. Last Friday, local time, it made landfall in the Philippines at peak strength, with maximum winds of 195 miles per hour. Typhoon Haiyan’s tail hit some parts of the major island of Luzon, including some areas of Metro Manila, the nation’s capital. Our family lives in the suburbs, south of the metropolis. We had power outage for 2 hours, and the wind howled through the night and well into late Saturday afternoon. At worst, we had fallen tree branches. The picture is entirely different in the areas that were directly hit by the super typhoon. We are only beginning to see the extent of damage wrought upon the lives of many families who live in the second biggest island group of the country – the Visayas.  The entire region was blanketed in darkness after the storm because electrical facilities were damaged, and all communication lines were down till yesterday. The news headlines were not exaggerated after all. What …

All About Islands and Archipelagos

This is a scheduled post.  Our country will be experiencing Typhoon Haiyan,  so there may not be time to blog. I hope you’ll enjoy reading this post, which contains some surprising facts. There are more than 7,100 islands in the country where I live.  The Philippines is an archipelago, which means a large group of islands. The Philippines is part of a bigger archipelago – the Malay Archipelago.  This group of islands is composed of over 25,000 islands and is the largest archipelago by land area.  It is ranked as  the fourth largest group of islands in the world. The Republic of Indonesia has 17,000 islands.  Out of these,  8,844 islands have been named, and only 922 are permanently inhabited. It is the largest archipelagic state in the world by area and population. Out of the 7,100 islands of the Republic of the Philippines, only about 2,000 are inhabited.The islands are clustered into the three major island groups: Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. Singapore’s geography is always changing, because of massive land reclamation work which has removed much of the …

Thriving in the Most Unlikely Places

Without any effort from humans, this plant sprouted from a crack between our concrete fence and the floor near our garage.  I have always marveled at how plants can grow in the most unlikely places.  And they don’t just grow – they bloom and multiply. It is past midnight in the Philippines.  I had planned to stay up late to do some work, because we don’t know what tomorrow will be like. I drank two cups of tea to keep me awake and as soon as I finished my second cup, the lights went off…then it came back on…went off…on again and then…it just stayed pitch dark. The rain poured. Yesterday, I wrote in my journal, “Rain in November, God is watering the plants.” The rainy season in the Philippines ends in October. Tonight, after the lights went off and the rain poured, I carefully went about the task of lighting candles around the living room as the other members of the family lit candles in their bedrooms.  I don’t know what was going on …

The Graciousness of Life

“So, Joe, why grow your hair long? Why not just go bald?” Len asked our friend Joe, matter-of-factly.  I heard Joe mutter something, but my mind was far too preoccupied to listen to his answer.  I gazed out the car window, thinking of Joe’s back hair gathered into a thin, foot-long ponytail, his head topped by a glistening crown that was bare of any hair strands. “Just like Pico de Loro,” I thought, sadly anticipating the sight of deforestation at the  two-peaked mountain my mountaineering buddies and I had climbed many years ago.  On this cloudy Friday, my friends Len, Joe and I were finally headed to the beach house owned by Len’s family, and she promised us we would pass by a resort that had been built on a cove near Pico de Loro. I say “finally,” because Len had, for years, been asking me to visit their beach house.  When I acquiesced, I asked her to invite our Tai-Chi teacher-friend Joe. Living in a country that is an archipelago composed of 7,100 islands, …

Blooming in Hard Times

As I write today, I marvel at how brightly the sun is shining outside my window – draping the leaves on the trees and bushes with its warm glow.  The computer monitor is positioned in such a way that even as I glance at it, I have a clear view of the backyard, if I so choose to train my eyes above the screen. How time flies, and how time moves on so swiftly, as though what happened a few days ago can be so easily forgotten.  And how well we humans cope with the fleeting nature of time – we move on with it and bravely march onward. Looking at the backyard now, who would have guessed that earlier this week, the same trees and bushes that are now bathing under the sun were drenched.  Everyone’s roof tops are dry once more, providing houses with shelter from the sun’s heat, whereas a few days ago, many rooftops in the Metropolitan Manila area served as safe refuge from the rising floodwater. “I always worry when …

Praying

“Every day there are moments when I find myself drawn to pray.  I pray because I must, because regardless of my good intentions I lose my bearings.  I make mistakes. I am stopped by the way the world challenges and confounds my plans.  When a loved one is beset by illness, ache, or fear, I pray their healing may be deep and true.  When I feel suddenly lost or lonely, I pray for the comfort of a nourishing spirit that will tech me, show me the way.  At other times my prayer is filled with gratefulness for the numberless blessings showered on any life. In these moments, my prayer is astonishingly simple: Thank you.” –Wayne Muller in LEARNING TO PRAY,  How We Find Heaven on Earth  Photo courtesy of MorgueFile In loving memory of Rosauro Cruz, 1935-2013