June 30, 2008

Searching the bad for something good

Still tuned in to post-Typhoon Frank updates in Aklan at Cheryl's blog.

Venues and mechanics for sending help to Aklan are compiled and updated here: http://akeanonagproud.multiply.com/journal/item/2/WHATS_NEXT_BULIG_AKLAN_BANGON_AKLAN

Thank you for all the help, and here's hoping more find their way to Aklan soon.

***

When I spoke to my mother yesterday morning, Sunday, she was all set to travel and visit the rest of the Aklan to document the extent of Typhoon Frank's damage. Whatever she finds will be added to the report DepEd and the rest of the concerned agencies are preparing.

To release more funds for Aklan, I hope.

Been gathering photos of the damages left by the typhoon, and found a lot from municipalities that apparently suffered more.

For the rest of the 17 municipalities where news and photos are somewhat scarce, I really hope that no news is good news..

***
And for something really good.

Mabuhay ka, Manny Pacquiao!

This country could use every bit of good news these days, and Pacquiao's victory is just the sort that could soothe our tired and weary soul as a people.

Now if only the politicians surrounding him could just stay hidden from the cameras long enough for me to enjoy that genuine, feel good moment.

Let's have that moment, shall we?

...

Ok, moment's gone. On with life.

Cheers!

June 27, 2008

Some Typhoon Frank updates from Aklan

*edit (re-posting)...

Re-posting from http://kidsahoy.multiply.com/journal/item/89/:

Here's AN ONGOING RELIEF OPERATIONS ORGANIZED BY A GROUP OF CONCERNED AKLANONS & PRIVATE CITIZENS headed by Michelle Martelino Yu.

KEEP YOUR DONATIONS COMING EVERYONE!

You may send bulk contributions in kind directly to

Villamor Airbase Base Operation
c/o Maj. Pascua tel. 8546701

The parcels properly packed and addressed as follows:
c/o Cong. Allen S. Quimpo , Kalibo, Aklan

and labeled according to classification (Food, Medicines, Clothing etc.) with their declared weight and intended recipient (ex. Kalibo, Aklan).

If necessary we can also arrange for pick up at designated collection points for delivery to Villamor Air Base; in this case please advise the team beforehand.

Michelle Yu
Attorney-at- Law
Project Head, Relief Operations in Aklan
231 Langka Drive, Ayala Alabang Village ,
Muntinlupa City, Metro Manila 1700
Tel./Fax 8429225; Cellphone: 09177962310
email: michellemartelinoyu@yahoo.com
multiply: http://michellemartelinoyu.multiply.com/journal/item/27


***


It was a bit frustrating to not see much news coverage about Aklan at the height of Typhoon Frank. But after reading some detailed accounts from a fellow Aklanon, Cheryl Joy, in her blog, and from people who posted their comments there, I guess it was then logistically impossible for media to carry out sustained news about what's happening there. The local media themselves were rendered almost helpless as most facilities were severely damaged.

I only had one small experience, way back in the late part of 1990, of how the geography of Kalibo react to rain and flood: a few hours of heavy rain is enough to soak Kalibo with flood from nearby municipalities. Sometimes, the rain need not even be in Kalibo for it to get flooded.

Kalibo is a perfect catch-basin, and that small rain made me spend two days in my friend's house in Banga to wait for the flood to subside.

But with a typhoon like Typhoon Frank...

Yesterday I called my mother (thank goodness for car mobile charger!). It was disturbing to hear the same details as what Cheryl Joy has shared.

Right now, my mother has to travel to Roxas City in search of a photo processing shop so she could have the pictures developed, as well as coordinate with DepEd Capiz. She's been working closely with concerned agencies and they're putting together a situational report for an upcoming meeting with the President.

My in-laws, however, said the electricity in Roxas City is still too feeble and could only power lights -- not enough output yet to power an establishment. I hope the more-established shops there have their own generators. Otherwise my mother would have to go for Iloilo.

I dare not quote the figures yet, but whatever is in that report has, more or less, been slowly coming out in the news. There is little doubt, however, that this is one of the worst disasters that struck the province of Aklan.

If you wish to help, in addition to the details above, you can also contact Atty. Selwyn Ibarreta, Sangguniang Panlalawigan Board Member, Aklan, at 0919-8094588 (this is from Donna in one of her comments in Cheryl Joy's blog).

I'll add whatever info I could get. Take care everyone!

June 26, 2008

Sentimental?

When Joan showed me the newspaper ad about Circuit City's trade-in promo for old gaming consoles, I thought "finally, I can dispose of my old PSOne".

I've been drooling over PSP for quite some time now, and the trade-in would bring the price down by up to Php2.5K (or about $56 as of today's exchange rate).

Not a bad price for a 5++-year old PSOne, 'no?

It got better when I called up the shop, and learned that the trade-in will also accept just the console itself. Yes! I get to keep the controllers!

So I went through my boxes (most are still unpacked since we moved in last November) and got my dusty but still working PSOne, together with my stash of over 20 game titles, half of which I don't recall playing at all.

I was all set for the trade-in, and I was already imagining the feel of the sleek console in my hand (like I sometimes do when I see others playing in the train during rush hours).

But yesterday, as I was standing next to the Circuit City stall in Robinson's Place Malate, something snapped.

Joan and I went home with the old PSOne still in my bag.

Sentimental? Maybe. Blame it on Final Fantasy VIII.

Last night I hooked up the PSOne, loaded a precious saved game file of the final battle (the dusty memory card works!), pulverized Ultimecia, and watched the movie ending that made me fall in love with RPG (role-playing game).

FF VIII can also be played in Windows, but I don't think I could ever make the characters as well-build and well-equipped as they are in my PSOne, saved in the memory card over five years ago.

Yup, that PSOne is going to stay in my shelf. The PSP can wait.

June 24, 2008

Stormstruck

I could hear the wind in the background as I spoke with my mother on the cellphone last Saturday.

Typhoon Frank (Fengshen) has just taken out a portion of the roof of our old family house in Aklan, and the flood water has reached the sacks of rice in the storage.

My mother and her kasambahays has taken refuge in the living room, the strongest part of the house.

"It's almost like Undang, anak..." she told me before we ended the call. She had to conserve her cellphone battery -- no one knows how long the blackout will last.

That had me worried.

The name Undang has become legendary among Aklanons and Capiznons old enough to remember the devastation it brought upon the island of Panay.

According to this, Typhoon Undang (Agnes), which occurred from Nov. 3 to 6, 1984, had a maximum recorded wind speed of 230 kph, with death toll reaching over 800 and damage estimated at P1.9B.

Before I came upon these figures, I only know Undang the way I remember it as a child.

It was one night and one day of strong wind, rain, and flood. The house was badly damaged at the first onslaught -- most of the windows broke, the kitchen roof collapsed, and the old mango tree in our backyard got uprooted and hit the side of the house, damaging the wall and one of the main pillars.

With the entire house at risk of collapsing, we had to open the rest of the windows and the main doors to let lessen the wind's impact.

And so for one night and one day, my brother, sister, and I, wearing helmets and thick jackets, watched the full fury of the storm through the open doors and windows.

And what a scene it was. We saw a person getting lifted off the ground and thrown back by the wind. Coconut trees were twisting themselves neatly onto each other like pilipit (a native delicacy). And the wind played on and on like a symphony.

It was surreal. Almost beautiful -- because we never felt scared at that time. Maybe because we were too young to care about just how grave the situation was. When Undang passed, for us kids back then, the whole town became a wonderful playground of fallen trees, and the air was so cold and had the crisp scent like that of freshly cut grass.

Yesterday my mother texted me some updates: a few old windows were broken, portions of the roof got ripped off, parts of the house are rain and flood-damaged, the old mango tree got uprooted (again), the town plaza and main streets are blocked by fallen trees.

The town of Kalibo suffered more because of the flooding.

News are still coming in, and apparently the destruction left by Typhoon Frank in Iloilo and Capiz are more severe. And many are still missing from the capsized Sulpicio Lines ferry near Romblon (related news here).

Here's praying that help reaches those who need it the soonest.

June 18, 2008

What's happening?

When Joan and I chose The Happening over The Incredible Hulk last week (she likes Mark Wahlberg more than Edward Norton), we knew we're in for another brain-rubbing rollercoaster ride typical of films by M. Night Shyamalan.

And true enough, halfway through the film till the end, we were wide-eyed in utter disbelief and silently asking "What the **** is happening?!"

It's not about the story, however. While it has the quality of creatively weaving common, everyday elements into bizaare, chilling scenarios, the movie pretty much revealed its plot early on and ushers the viewers almost gently into a grinding conclusion (there was no BAM! moment, unlike The Sixth Sense or, to some extent, The Village).

What caught us off-guard was that The Happening left a very petty detail hanging, literally.

What in the world is that microphone doing there?

Maybe 20th Century Fox Manila office got the unedited version of the movie. Otherwise, that microphone hanging over the actors' heads during some of the movie's conversation scenes was either a simple post-production mishap that their editors chose to ignore, or a cinematic ploy aimed at pulling a fast one to leave the viewers wondering.

I don't know.

***

Happy Fathers' Day! My father will also be celebrating his birthday this month.

So cheers to the man who taught me much of life's lesson by how he is living his.

Happy, happy birthday, Dad.

June 12, 2008

Everybody loves kung fu fighting!

My wife had to nudge me several times throughout this movie because I was laughing too hard and a bit too loudly.

I couldn't help it. Nacho Libre was still fresh in my memory, and the similarities between Po the panda and the luchador Nacho somehow doubled the laugh-factor of Kung Fu Panda (the brief shot of the clenched butt really did it for me).

***

One of my former martial arts orgmate, who I haven't heard from for quite some time, made his presence felt by sharing a video of his first arnis tournament held recently in his province.

I feel happy for him because he just had what he aptly described as his "second wind" for martial arts (Way to go, JC!) -- something I have been wanting too for myself.