Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Thank You For Being My Best Friend

Dear Best Friend,

I originally wanted to write you a letter about why you’re my best friend and saturate it with all the generic reasons and adorable anecdotes, but I’m not going to do that because you already know why you’re my best friend, duh. If you didn’t, we probably wouldn’t have remained friends all these years. Ten years? Thirteen? I actually have no idea.

Of course I don’t — I have no concept of time whatsoever. If it were up to me no one’s birthday or graduation or other important event would be remembered, because that’s the type of person I am; I can’t make it anywhere on time, or even on day, and I tend to forget where I’m going to begin with. But you remember things like this, and you know exactly how long we’ve been best friends. That will be the first thing you tell me after you read this. Thank you for knowing that. Thank you for knowing all the things I don’t.

Thank you for always being closest to me even when we were in separate time zones and separate stages of life. Thank you for not letting us get split by dumb facts like distance or time. Thank you for never giving up on our friendship, for never shrugging and being like “Eh, things change, people change” and drifting away vaguely because we’re victims of circumstance. We all get distant to a certain degree when we make huge transitions but you didn’t let me get very far because you knew what was truly important.

Thank you for taking care of me in every way possible, for being there when no one else was or wanted to be and when you didn’t even have to be. Everyone has those friends who are close but not really; who you always feel kind of awkward and weird about asking for help and like you have to clarify you’ll do them some kind of favor in return, but you’re not one of those. You never got mad when I didn’t call you for weeks on end because I was too busy being someone’s girlfriend, but you were right there to pick up my heart-splinters when things predictably shattered. You were and are there for everything, no bargaining or explanations needed.

Thank you for being a different friend than everyone else, different from the friends who are only there for the fun things, the art museums and shopping and benders and brunch. I’ve never been to an art museum with you because I’m sure we would end up arguing over whether or not Basquiat was any good, and we both know going on a bender isn’t worth it because you always pass out first, but I still feel like I can do anything with you and it won’t suck. Thank you for always being fun even when we’re not having fun. I don’t know how else to explain that.

Thank you for believing in me when I was too weak and exhausted to believe in myself. Thank you for pushing me, for repeating those affirmations that don’t mean anything in inspirational films but mean everything when someone who cares about you says them. Thank you for not judging me when I did something really stupid, but also thanks for telling me I was an idiot and probably shouldn’t have done the stupid thing. Thank you for always being honest.

Thank you for doing all the things a real best friend does; for letting me sob into your shoulder when I need to and handing me the flask when there aren’t any more words. Thank you for always knowing who I am and reminding me of that when I forget. Thank you for being genuinely concerned with the outcome of my life and always listening, even when you’re tired. Thank you for telling me the things no one wants to hear and sparing the bullshit advice. I can’t think of many other people I’d actually take a bullet for.

And yeah, I know everyone likes to make grand emotional claims like that in Courier typeface against some Polaroid of a lonely lamppost, but the difference is I’d actually do it.

Love always,
Your Best Friend

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Those who dwell, don't do well

"When you accept that life is difficult, it's not as difficult anymore."
A few days ago, I learned of a new way to look at things. It was so commonsensical, it was a little funny listening to it. It was something I thought I understood, by default. But it hit some raw nerves, and it was a bit painful. It was painful, which is why I think it stuck.

Why is David Beckham very successful in soccer?

David Beckham is very successful in soccer because accepted the fact that he cannot use his hands to play soccer. He didn't whine that the game was unfair -- that he can't touch the ball with his hands, that it's difficult to play without touching the ball with his hands, yadda yadda.

Instead, he focused on getting better at handling the ball with his legs, with his head, with his body and not with his hands.

He wasn't a bitch about it. That's why he got so good.

Why is Michael Jordan very successful in basketball?

Michael Jordan is one of the greatest basketball players ever because he lived with the fact that there will always be a shot clock, that there will always be very good players trying to block him every time he attempts to shoot the ball, that there will be people in the audience who will boo him when he tries to shoot a free throw, that there will be lines on the court that will restrict areas where he can play. He understood that he has to accept these things if he wants to be great at basketball.

He didn't dwell on the things that are part of the game, he accepted them. He lived with them and worked his ass off to become very good in basketball.

My take away? Things you can't control  versus the things you can control. Control the things you can control and the things out of your control? Accept that they are out of your control. And stop the f**k trying to control them. It only brings unnecessary frustration.

The rules are very simple - but with the way we are wired, following them is a different story.

Becks  and MJ may or may not know the rules, but they sure followed the heck outta them.

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Floods of the Non-Storm (Manila, Philippines)

 Rizal, Philippines -- It's 4:57PM on a very dark Wednesday afternoon. It has been raining non-stop, if I remember correctly, for 3 solid days already. The rains came in Monday afternoon and hasn't let up since. The only respite being a few hours eerie quiet darkness ast night (Tuesday) and a few hours of sneak peak of the sun this morning. Just as we were about to rejoice the end of this unbelievable crazy rains (it's not even a storm!), the rains pound again.

I write this in the comfort of our second floor study room, high and dry. I only know of the rains and the floods through the news and through Twitter. The images on TV are harrowing at worst (heartbreaking at best). I write this because I am thankful that I am high and dry. I also write this because I am ridden with guilt. Merited or not, guilt that I am safe and warm while families have to leave their houses to swim/to be picked up by rubber boats on tops of their roofs/ to be rescued to safety.

Because I am stuck at home and been itching to help but cannot at the moment, this is what I can do for now.

What to Do
1. Stay indoors
If you can't be part of the solution, at least don't be part of the problem. Don't place yourself in compromising situations (i.e., going out towards heavily flooded, dangerous areas unless absofrickinlutely necessary aka anything not life or death). We have more than enough people to save and never enough volunteers to do the saving. If you can't volunteer (which is not required but highly encouraged), at least don't make the volunteers' jobs harder than it already is.

2. Help Disseminate Information
Twitter, our favorite ranting audience, has been very instrumental and continues to be very very helpful in the rescue and relief efforts for the past few days. Pinoys have been rallying behind Yves Gonzales (@doblezeta, @MMDA) of the MMDA and helping disseminate important information re traffic rerouting schemes, flooded areas to avoid, people in need of rescue. It is a happy thought that in little ways, the Pinoy staying at home (those lucky enough to be spared from the floods and have access to the internet) gets to share in the sense of community.

A word of warning though, screen RT's please. SCREEN RT'S PLEASE. I just felt that had to be said twice, for emphasis. Think before you hit send! Ask a) is this verified information? b) how is this retweet helpful?

Also, I understand  Twitter is a personal microblog and you can put whatever you want there since it's yours. In this unfortunate time though, can we put the rants to a minimum? Houses submerged in water and people swimming for their lives I think is about more than enough negativity we can handle. Maybe we can put off the whining a few more days.

3. (If you can) VOLUNTEER!
In this time when displaced people number in the millions (over 1 million families were severely affected by the floods) all help is welcome. If you can find it in your heart to help here are things you may consider: ready to eat food for the evacuation centers, drinking water, milk for the babies/infants, brand new underwear, blankets, and clothes.

Manpower is also needed. The /relief goods will not walk themselves to the evacuees. Packers and kind souls to deliver the goods to those who need them aka warm bodies needed. If you can make time, here are relief center details, there should be one near/accessible to you:

Source: The Rappler

  • UST disaster relief drive now open. Needed: drinking water, instant noodles, canned goods, rice, clothes, footwear, pillows, blankets, sleeping mats, toiletries, and medicine. Drop-off points are the CSC office, Tan Yan Kee Student Center Lobby, or the Local Student Council Office. You may contact Agree Gonzales (09178460671).
  • The Mu Sigma Phi of the UP College Medicine (UP Manila) is now collecting relief goods (clothes and undergarments, drinking water, blankets, canned goods, noodles, rice, sleeping mats, toiletries, sanitary napkins, and diapers). Donations may be dropped off at the Mu Sigma Phi Hut, UP College of Medicine, 547 Pedro Gil. St. Malate Manila. Contact Miguel Berba at 0917 823 02 09 for more info.
  • San Beda College will be holding relief operations from August 9-11, 2012. Head to St. Maur's Lobby. Volunteers and donations need (canned goods, cooties, medicines, blankets, and toiletries.)
  • The Rotaract Club of Manila Metro is in need of relief goods. Donations may be dropped off at 2150 Roxas Boulevard, Cor. Quirino Ave., Malate Manila 1004 (c/o Rotaract Manila Metro and and our sponsor club Rotary Manila Metro). For other concerns and inquiries, kindly contact us at 09175834490 or send an email to
  • Mats, old tarps, food, clothes for forwarding to DSWD are being accepted at The Commissary at Whitespace.
  • The P&P Tattoo branch in Makati will be accepting donations for forwarding to the GMA Kapuso Foundation. Address: Unit G8 45 Polaris St. Bel Air Soho Condominium Brgy. Poblacion Makati City.
  • Santuario de San Antonio Parish now accepting relief goods at parish center rooms 1-4. Volunteers are also welcome. You may call or text 09205085396 if you need someone to pick up relief goods. This is part of the San Antonio Parish Church relief efforts. You may also drop off your donations yourself.
  • Welovepost accepting donations and relief goods at 6F Coherco Corporate Center 116 VA Rufino St., Legaspi Village, Makati.
  • Assumption College in San Lorenzo Village relief operations begin tomorrow (August 8). Needed: cash donations, canned goods, bottled water, rice, and blankets.
  • The Angel Brigade is now accepting relief goods at the Frank Provost Bldg, 120 Jupiter St., BelAir Makati. Tel: 8970383 / 8970307.
  • Colegio San Agustin Makati will start accepting donations tomorrow (August 8) starting 8:30am.
  • Philippine Red Cross Rizal Chapter- Makati City branch needs blankets, mats, canned goods, rice and drinking water. Contact details: 393-4685, 384-3092 / 0917-5093056 / 0917-8124062. Address: PCPI Compound, Sacred Heart St. cor. Sacred Heart Ext., San Antonio Village, Makati City.
  • There's a food drive at The Ritz. People are preparing ready-made food to send to displaced families suffering because of the floods. They need plastic ice bags, rice, and hotdogs. Other donations are welcome as well. Full address: 2302B The Ritz Towers, Ayala Avenue, Makati City.
  • The Ateneo Law Student Council has also began collecting relief goods (clothes, medicine, food items, drinking water, and purification tablets). Donations may be brought to the Law School Activity Center (LSAC), G/F Ateneo Professional Schools Building, Rockwell Center, Makati. Contact Person is ALS-SC EVP Bang Dizon 09274515169.
  • Donations are needed at the Concepcion Integrated School. Roughly 582 families have been accomodated there, no food the whole day according to a DepEd representative.
  • St. Scholastica's Academy in Marikina is offering to shelter evacuees.
  • La Salle Greenhills has started relief operations inside campus. Donations are being accepted at Gate 2 of the campus along Ortigas Avenue, according to a Facebook post. As of posting, only the following donations will be accepted: ready-to-eat food, water, and clothes.
  • People may seek center in Greenhills Christian Fellowship. You can also contact their Crisis Reponse team (0917-5327525).
  • The lower ground floor of Mega Mall A is a drop off point for donations, as spearheaded by Divine Lee.
  • Donations for flood victims may be dropped off at the main gate of the Poveda campus.
  • Donations may be dropped off at UA&P Pearl Drive, SM Megamall, CCF (Christ's Commission Fellowship) 5/F St Francis Sq. Bldg.
  • Don Bosco Technical College has opened its doors to Mandaluyong residents who have no place to stay. You may enter through Gate 3 along AT Reyes Street. Donations may also be brought to the Convent Building or the open gates of the school.
  • Those in the Mandaluyong area may send relief goods, medicines, and other donations to the Solar TV office at the Worldwide Corporate Center along Shaw Blvd cor EDSA.
  • Donations are being accepted at the RFM Corp. Center, Pioneer corner Sheridan Street, Mandaluyong City.
  • De La Salle Zobel has started relief goods collection and distribution for Muntinlupa flood victims. Bring donations of rice, bottled water, canned goods, noodles, blankets, mats, and clothes. Donations may be dropped off at Gate 7. For more details contact Jayjay Jacinto at 09178597602.
  • St. James the Great Children of the Poor Apostolate (COPA) is a relief center in Muntinlupa. Needed: canned goods, bottled water, rice, noodles, and cash. Go directly to St. James the Great Parish Church on Cuenca Street of Ayala Alabang Village.
  • Southridge is accepting donations for Muntinlupa flood victims. Drop donations off in the SR Lobby.
  • Philippine Christian Foundation Inc is helping families living in the Navotas cemetary. They need water. For cash donations: HSBC. Account name: The Philippine Christian Foundation Inc. (PCFI) Account No 000075697040. Swift code: HSBCPHMM. For water donations: PCF School, Smokey Mountain Reclamation Area, Paradise Heights, Manila. Road 10. For bulk donations: PCFI can arrange pick up. Contact Ms Elma Tulio at +63920-262-6998 or Ms Tess Sarmiento +0910-2805396
  • People in the SM Mall of Asia may seek shelter inside the complex. The mall is open until further notice, according to a tweet.
  • Relief goods (canned food, rice, blankets, clothes, medicine, etc.) may be dropped off at the Tanjuatco Law Office at the 11th floor of Taipan Place, Emerald Avenue, Ortigas Center in Pasig. Look for Jessie or Jossette, call 6370200.
  • UA&P also accepting relief goods. Both Pearl Drive and Escriva drive entrances are open.
  • The retreat house of Saint Paul College Pasig is now open for students and their families affected by heavy rains and flood.
  • One Meralco Foundation is accepting donations in cash or in kind at the Meralco Center in Ortigas.
  • The Ateneo School of Medicine and Public Health will be taking in donations beginning Wednesday (August 8).
  • Merville residents may donate clothes, blankets, toiletries, rice, grains, canned goods, noodles, and the like starting Wednesday (August 8) from 10am-5pm. Collection point is at OLBL Parish, San Lorenzo Ruiz Hall.
Quezon City
  • Philippine Christian Foundation Inc is helping nearly 6000 individuals (mostly from Smokey Mountain). They need water. For cash donations: HSBC. Account name: The Philippine Christian Foundation Inc. (PCFI) Account No 000075697040. Swift code: HSBCPHMM. For water donations: PCF School, Smokey Mountain Reclamation Area, Paradise Heights, Manila. Road 10.For bulk donations: PCFI can arrange pick up. Contact Ms Elma Tulio at +63920-262-6998 or Ms Tess Sarmiento +0910-2805396.
  • In the Ateneo de Manila University Loyola Schools campus, some classrooms may be used by those in need of temporary shelter from the rain. Those with gate passes to the campus may park their cars at the P-1 parking area of the campus, according to an announcement from the university. (UPDATED note: No final word yet if the classrooms are open to the public.)
  • Relief operations at Ateneo have also began. Food, water, blankets, and clothes may be dropped off at the lobby of Cervini Hall inside the Loyola Schools campus. Updates on their relief operations can be found here.
  • Akbayanihan Relief Center now accepting donations. Food, water, clothes, and the like being accepted at the Akbayan headquarters in 36B Madasalin Street, Sikatuna Village. You may contact (02)4336933 / 09175381816 / 09064304315 if you want to volunteer.
  • Relief goods are being accepted at the Mt. Carmel Parish in New Manila, where 500 evacuees are staying.
  • The Mother of Divine Providence Parish in Payatas needs uncooked rice, canned goods, noodles, and clothes. Donations may be dropped off at San Juan, Evangelista Street, Campsite, Payatas.
  • IskoOperation in UP Diliman will now accept donations. They're also on the look-out for volunteers. Contact the USC-UPD or the college councils (09277571005 or 09065701029), according to USC-UPC Chairperson Heart Dino.
  • Those living in the vicinity of Sto. Domingo Church in Quezon City are being asked to help provide food and drinks to 400-500 evacuees staying in the Church. Food, water, dry clothes deeded.
  • The P&P Tattoo branch in Eastwood will be accepting donations for forwarding to the GMA Kapuso Foundation. Address: Unit G1-C Eastwood Citywalk 1 Eastwood City, Bagumbayan, QC.
  • The GK Command center for relief operations is at the HRD Training Center, Department of Agrarian Reform Compound in Quezon City. They will be accepting relief goods (rice, instant noodles, canned goods, bread, coffee, and sugar.)
  • TulongKabataan is accepting flood relief aid at 89 K-7th Street, West Kamias, Quezon City.
  • Lourdes Church on D. Tuazon, Quezon City now offering space and snacks for evacuees.
  • Relief operations for the PALEA campsite and APECO farmers have begun at the Corinthian Hills clubhouse.
  • Those stranded in or around UP Diliman can take shelter at the Yakal Dorm lobby, Magsaysay St. cor. Apacible.
  • Donations needed at Miriam College High School. Needed: canned goods, bottled water.
  • Donations may be dropped off at the Oracle Hotel in Katipunan Avenue, Quezon City.
  • San Jose Seminary inside the Ateneo Loyola Schools campus now open for those affected by the rain and flood.
  • Over 2,000 families being housed at Rosa L. Susano-Novalishes Elementary School. They're in need of food and water, donate if you can.
  • Beginning tomorrow, donations may be delivered to Moonleaf Maginhawa in Teacher's Village.
  • Bridget School in Quezon City is open to those who are stranded because of the rain and flood.
  • Rock Ed now accepting rice, canned goods, noodles, biscuits, and water at Camp Aguinaldo. Text Roy at 09178017693. Pick-ups begin tomorrow.
  • The UP College of Mass Communication invites people to bring relief goods and donations to Plaridel Hall for UP-wide operations.
  • Christ the King Parish along Greenmeadows Ave is now accepting relief goods.
  • FEU-NRMF will be open for donations starting Wednesday (August 8). You may drop your donations at UG 8.
  • Our Lady of Pentecost parish in Katipunan, Quezon city accepts evacuees. They also need mats, blankets, and bottled water.
  • Dakila Artist Collective will be collecting relief goods. You may drop them at Unit 3A VS1 Building #34 Kalayaan Ave. Quezon City. (Near Kalayaan corner V. Luna, white building in front of Metro Oil).
  • Relief operations also ongoing at the Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino office. Address: 76 K-7th St., East Kamias, Quezon City.
  • The Lean Alejandro Foundation also conducting relief operations at 34 Matiyaga St., Pinyahan, Quezon City. Contact Gem at 434-2025 or 0923-826-3198.
  • The Partido Lakas ng Masa office has began relief operations at 13 Rigor Street, Barangay Masagana, Project 4, Quezon City. Contact Ate Tina or Lara at 439-5811.
  • As of 4:45pm Tuesday, 1464 families are seeking refuge in San Isidro Parish, 250 families in San Antonio de Padua Parish, 182 families in Old Balara. Donations may be sent to St. Peter parish in Commonwealth, Quezon City.
  • Binalot has pledged cooked Binalot meals to be sent to evacuation centers. You may pledge meals through their Multiply page, or donate cash directly (details here). Donations in kind are also accepted at Binalot Hang-out Salcedo at HV Dela Costa core Valero Sts., Salcedo Village, Makati City.
  • UP Law Student Government now accepts pledges for relief operations. Funds will be used to buy relief goods for flood victims. Donations may be deposited to BPI: UP Law Student Government (account number: 2283-1030-32), just make sure to contact any LSG officer for accounting.
San Juan
  • Xavier Schools will accept donations from August 9 to 15, 2012. Bring relief bags containing: 8 canned goods, 12 packs of instant noodles, 2 liters of water, and 2 kilos of rice.
  • Those living in the Fort Bonifacio area may drop off their donations at the Enderun college. Those who want to help may contact Luz Cleofas of the Taguig DSWD (5423693, 09175637314), says director Lino Cayetano.
  • Donations for Valenzuela may be bought to the City Action Center at MacArthur Highway behind Puregold. Look for Dorothy or Tines.
Other evacuation centers and relief operations here.


Hats off to the those leading the rescue and relief operations. Thank you for restoring our faith in the Filipino people, time and again. God bless us all.
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