Friday, October 30, 2009

[October, 2009] Before My Eyes

This was the month where I personally got to see the effects brought by the past two typhoons Ondoy and Pepeng particularly in Manila. October was like our relief operations month in the foundation. Almost every week, we would go to a place and we would give goods to typhoon victims while making them realize that they're still lucky to -- at least -- still be alive.

Eventually, a forum on Emergency Preparedness and Disaster Response was conducted by our foundation in relation to these typhoons. Dr. Teofredo Esguerra of the Philippine Coast Guard and Secretary General Gwen Pang of The Philippine National Red Cross were our speakers. This forum sort of became the debfriefer to all Lopez employees.

My sister also left for Singapore this month to try working there. It was a painful scene seeing your sister leave and seeing the f
ear and hesitance in her eyes if she'll do it or not. But in the end, she chose to challenge herself and stick with the plan.

Relief Operation 1: Lopez Group Foundation and Knowledge Channel's Soup Kitchen Program

The first relief opera
tion we had this month was for some evacuees relocated to Ultra, which was done last October 5. We only got to serve several people since we didn't have enough budget to get everyone covered. Actually, the goods we distributed were donations to Knowledge Channel.

On our part bei
ng members of the Lopez Group Foundation, we provided manpower. We assisted the evacuees, we carried our loads of goodies, and we facilitated the distribution.

Although it was tiring, it was also fulfilling. Seeing smiles on those
people's faces while continuously uttering "thank you" made me think that I am really way too lucky than them.

We were able to give goods to about 700 people that day and some even went for another round. Haha!

It was also another good time to bond with my office mates and with
other volunteers as well. In fact, even personalities like Alex Compton (the basketball player) and Jackie Forster (the actress) went there to shed some time helping us distribute the goods.

Relief Operation 2: Lopez Group Foundation, ABS-CBN Foundation and Knowledge Channel's "Tulong Balik Eskwela"

The next operation we had was done in a school in Pateros called Aguho Elementary School. Reports from the teachers we talked to that day said that the school was submerged in water (
about waist-deep) during and weeks after Ondoy's onslaught. And so most school materials were also submerged and carried away by the flood.

Coming from the Lopez family's own pocket, they were able to gather up school supplies for Grades 1 to 6 and these were the goods we distributed to the students.

It was so funny seeing how those kids hugged their new bags and notebooks. Some event went out to say "thank you" to the Knowle
dge Channel camera.

Although we wanted to stay the entire day, we had to go back to the office in the afternoon to work on our upcoming forum. Still had a lot of pending tasks then and we promised our boss that we'll be back after lunch. We had to keep that promise. Haha!

As a side trip, an office mate invited us for lunch in her house, which was near the area. We had a nice lunch before we headed back to the office.

Forum on Emergency Preparedness and Disaster Response
October 16 when we held a forum on Emergency Preparedness and Disaster Response. Our speakers were Dr. Ted Esguerra of the Philippine Coast Guard and Secretary General Gwendolyn Pang of the Philippine National Red Cross.

It was such a fruitful discussion. The first part talked on emergency preparedness and how important self-help is in situations or emergencies where professional help is not available. I've learned that in any emergency, there's no one we can count on but ourselves. The first week of a disaster is the most critical period and so an emergency kit was presented during the forum.

The second part on disaster response discussed the right attitude towards facing a disaster. We should not always depend on the government's immediate help because in case of country-wide disasters, the government will definitely cater to those who are most affected.

As an effect of the forum, our President recently, in a half-day general staff meeting, created our own CRISIS MANAGEMENT TEAM. The team that will be responsible in all matters concerning the office (people and properties) during a disaster. I was placed under the communications committee.

Farewell, Sis!
Me and my siblings have been planning all of this for so long and now our plans are getting more and more concrete. October 3 marked my sister's last day in the Philippines. Haha! She went to Singapore to stay with my brother and to try working there.

Actually, it's our plan to all go there in the future and permanently reside there. And it was me who should have gone there first instead of her. But since I can't leave my job just like that, we've decided to let my sister go first. She resigned from her work. She took the risk.

To date, she's been there for a month now. She's now on for another month and I really hope that by the end of this month, she'll finally get a job.

Okay. So I guess that's it for this entry. Til next post.




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November 8, 2009 at the Quirino Grandstand, Manila
Register now!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

[September, 2009] A Deluge That is Ondoy

Let me devote this entire entry to a very important event that happened this month.

As my mind suffered from confusion again this month, that’s when a major catastrophe hit the country, that is, Ondoy. Who would have ever thought that minor rains would turn some areas of Manila like sunken graveyards?

As the song goes “Wake me up when September ends…,” that’s what I wanted to say during the climax of the typhoon. The deadly typhoon started hitting the Philippines the night of September 25, 2009. I was currently in the gym doing my workout routine. I didn’t go home that Friday night since we have a scheduled activity the next day. After working out, I was surprised by the number of missed calls I had on my cell phone. These calls came from my boss. After clearing the list, I immediately read my new messages. A message from my boss indicated that our activity is canceled due to bad weather. Upon knowing that, I immediately rushed to the office and made some cancellations thru phone calls.

The news didn’t bother me much. For me, it’s just an ordinary typhoon. I even went out with my friends for dinner. September 26 came and I decided to go home early bearing in mind that I’ll only be staying at home for two days so I really need to go home. It was raining when I traveled. It was still raining when I got home. Upon settling everything, I rested. Took a nap. When I woke up, there was no electricity already and the rain was still pouring. The electricity came back by 10:00 PM.

The following morning, I was surprised when my mom told me not to go to Manila because it’s flooded. A call from my tita confirmed it. She even told us that our house there is flooded. Soon, news presented the damages and deaths caused by the typhoon, scenarios that made me shiver and left me in shock.

To date, there is still flood in some areas of Manila. Some of my office mates haven’t reported for work yet. The horror that typhoon Ondoy brought to the Philippines will always remind us to take responsibility of nature.