Real life heroes

Even as we try to cope with the devastation brought by Ondoy, it makes me proud to have countrymen so brave and so selfless to sacrifice their lives. I found this article online and it really made my eyes well up, particularly the 18 year-old teenager who saved more than thirty people with his bare hands –> swimming amidst the raging flood. He eventually died, washed away by the river, probably because he was already so tired after having gone to and fro to save other people.
Click here to read the full story –

http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/inquirerheadlines/nation/view/20090929-227426/Judge-on-Jet-Ski-saves-100-teener-dies-after-rescuing-baby-30-others

Now’s not the time

It amazes me that even at the height of tragedy, some people can be so insensitive, tactless or downright stupid.

Now’s not the time to:
a) play Farmville or any game for that matter or answer quizzes on Facebook
b) post personal statuses (like I’m in love —really???)
c) post pictures of you having fun (ok, I’ll limit this to those in the Philippines)

If you can’t join the nation in this somber mood and help out, the least you can do is not publish these things. Think of what the typhoon victims must feel right now. It just goes to show your true character, or lack of it.

Typhoon Ondoy

Today is a very gloomy day. Apart from it being a Monday, today I learn a lot of people I know have been affected by the typhoon. My boss’ house was neck-deep in water, a coworker had to be rescued by a boat, several other office friends had to seek refuge on their rooftops/second floors and some still could not be contacted. Several of Ipe’s relatives are still waiting to be rescued from their bungalows in Cainta and Marikina and an uncle related how heart-wrenching it was to drive down from Antipolo this morning and see lifeless bodies on the street. If you’ve been watching the numerous videos uploaded on Facebook, you’d see that a lot of cars had been lost on highways. Lots of people are still waiting for rescue, or at the very least, food. The death toll is already past 100 and it’s still expected to rise.
Ipe himself was stranded at UST for two days with little food –> he told me he had to make do with half a bowl of Lucky Me. Students in other buildings had to share 6:1. The ever reliable Jollibee who had provided food to countless stranded students and faculty in the past could only come up with enough food for 200 people this time.
It’s all so sad and terrible it’s almost unbelievable. Like, how can that happen here? Manila was not prepared for this. No typhoon has ever hit the capital region this hard. Not even the rich were spared – their mansions all soaked with water and their cars probably rendered useless.
While I have survived earthquakes, typhoons, floods and fires, I’ve never really had any horror tales. I never experienced having water inside your house and the worse personal memory I have of a flood/typhoon was having no electricity for a few hours during Milenyo’s aftermath. I’ve experienced evacuating our things from the fire, but only because we got so scared –> the fire was four blocks away and all I carried with me were my school uniform, books and my stuffed toy.
I feel helpless seeing all these people totally relying on God’s mercy and the mercy of people to rescue them. I can only feel thankful that our immediate family was spared. Thank God my parents were always OC to the point that they map out all the floodways and faultlines -> my parents’ old house, while in a flood-prone district, was on the highest street in the subidivision and their new house is in Novaliches Proper, which is practically like living on a mountain – they didn’t even feel one inch of flood. My lola is safe and sound in her four-storey apartment complex where she occupies the top two floors and all my uncles/aunts on my mother’s side live in three storey houses.
I feel so selfish that last Saturday when just about everyone was holding on for their dear lives, I was watching dvds with Joey at home, silently cursing UST that Ipe could not come home to eat the pizza I prepared for him.
I hope everything works out fine. I hope we all survive this tragedy. I will just think that this is God’s way of reminding us that He’s up there, waiting for us to call to Him and ask for His help.

Poetry

Lately, I have been on this unconscious journey of rediscovery. Probably has something to do with stress but I find myself drawn or given opportunities that bring me back to what I used to love.
A few weeks ago, my office friend forwarded an invite to a poetry workshop. Since it would be held at the office, I readily accepted it. After all, what’s one-two hours away from my laptop? It’s even after office hours already and I can always go back to my never-ending task list after.
Anyway, so the workshop was last Wednesday and Friday, conducted by a Palanca awardee and judge at the last Palance contest. I was nervous, knowing she knows a lot of my poet friends. Haha. Plus, I haven’t written new stuff in over five years, except for my blog entries which are hardly award winning.
So naturally, I almost dreaded the Friday session. We each submitted a poem about a memory and take turns to critique it. I wasn’t able to free up enough time between Wednesday and Friday to concentrate on writing a new poem so I ended up giving one I wrote back in college. A few friends have seen it already and Ipe as well, and they all liked it but I wanted to know what other people think.
I almost breathed a sigh of relief coz they were unanimous in saying they loved it. My officemates even asked if they could read some of my other works and our teacher said (after I confessed I actually wrote it almost a decade ago) that I write like an adult already at that age and I sounded like a veteran poet. It was somehow a validation of sorts.
I’m sharing the poem with you. Just sound off in the comments if you love it too (or not – I’m open to criticism).
SONG FOR ENDYMION

Sleep well, beloved, so that I might lie beside you and gaze
at your face undisturbed by your resistance.

Sleep, so that I might visit you in dreams.
For my world lies not where I am awake, but rather, it starts where you

Dream. There, I am your only

goddess

and you are my only

god.

There, the songs of praises need not be heard;
Worship needs not mouths to create them.

I will be your praise. You are my worship.
I belong to you.

And our world shall lay a secret to the eyes of men: for we shall

discover
the vestiges of paradise left in dreams.

Sleep the eternal sleep; lie with the eternal night
To whom you are now consecrated.

I shall be your star.

Perhaps, Zeus had wisdom when he gave you eternity.
Your youth is yours.

You are mine.

Change

Last Saturday, I was on my way home from Megamall and as usual , I told the taxi driver to take Shaw and exit at C5 to avoid the traffic at Ortigas and Lanuza. Right before we turned from San Miguel Avenue to Shaw, I saw a sight that instantly brought tears to my eyes.

A few meters away from us was a boy knocking on each car window he would pass, carrying a baby girl on his left arm and holding a plastic cup on his right hand. He couldn’t have been more than eight and the girl was probably less than two. Both looked like they haven’t eaten that day (or even the day before) and had rags for clothes. The sight was touching enough but what really tugged at my heart was the way the boy would look at his sister and stroke her hair while she sleeps. It was like his way of reassuring her that everything’s going to be okay.

It all happened in less than a minute but it was long enough to bury the memory deep into my mind. And before we can even turn around the corner, I was crying full blast, never mind the manong driver who was looking at me curiously through the rearview mirror.

Part of me wanted to go back and take the kids with me. Part of me blames the parents for having kids they can’t even provide for. I can only imagine if I see my own son begging on the streets.

I want to do something. I don’t know. Nothing big, but I want to help those kids and others like them. I’m thinkig of asking Ipe to go there this weekend and I’ll bring food and some clothes for them.

When I was still single, I would buy Dunkin Donuts and sandwiches at the MRT station where I get off after work and give them to the children sleeping there. On Christmas Eve, my parents and I would cook spaghetti, buy Zest’o then hop on the car and give the little Noche Buena we prepared to kids along Quezon Ave. And we would collect all the clothes we haven’t used or outgrown during the year and give them to the orphanage down the street from my parents’ house.

I want to be able to do that again.

I’m Back

Whew. Can you believe it’s been over a month since my last post? Not that nothing has been happening, but I’ve just been sooo busy. I always tell friends that the 3rd quarter of the year is always hell for me, even more now than ever since I have additional work to take care of.
Ho-hum. Anyway, so what have I been up to? Hmmm… Shop, Work, Eat, Sleep, Read. I’ve been trying to catch up on my reading lately, since, I’m becoming illiterate. Since my last post I’ve read the Vampire Diaries (Books 1-4), The Complete Short Stories of Jane Marple, Coraline, Nancy Drew Mysteries 1&2 and the August-September issues of my standard magazines – Cosmopolitan, Mega, Preview, Meg, FHM.
This is supposed to be a short post so I’d just skim the books:
a) Vampire Diaries – I recommend this. It’s not at par with Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles but at least it is well-written unlike Twilight. And, for those Twi fans who keep saying Meyer was ripped off by LJ Smith, look to your calendars. VD was written 15 yrs ago. And her VD and Nighlife (?) series were ripped off by Meyer – the vampire in love with the human, the werewolf who fixes cars, etc.
b) Jane Marple – Agatha Christie’s novels usually succeed in only one thing: putting me to sleep. But when I started with her Jane Marple short stories, I got hooked. It’s short, fast-paced, and I am always surprised when I find out the identity of the culprit.
c) Nancy Drew – well, I’ve been a fan since 5th grade but I read the Nancy Drew files, not the original hardcover. So when Ipe and I saw the entire collection at Fully Booked, we knew we had to buy them (and Hardy Boys too). Not in one go of course. That would be too expensive. Haha. So we’re buying one of each every week.
I’m excited for the long weekend since I have South of the Border, West of Sun by Haruki Murakami and The Time Traveller’s Wife waiting for me at home. Plus tons of DVDs. And I just received a copy of the Vampire Diaries’ series premiere. So, yay!
Until my next post! (Don’t worry; it’ll be sooner than later). 😉