Saturday, October 31, 2009

Aid for the Philippines

(This article was originally posted on The Point blog)

Recently, countries in Asia Pacific were hit with massive typhoons that caused widespread flooding and left thousands dead or homeless. I’m closely following this story because as some of you may already know, I am originally from the Philippines, which is one of the countries severely affected by the tropical storms. None of my immediate family was hurt by the devastation, and only a few friends and extended family members of mine reported home and property damage. But many are not so fortunate.

A situation report by the UN’s Office of the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs revealed that almost 1 million Filipino families were affected and displaced by three consecutive strong typhoons, are faced with serious health and sanitation problems, and need immediate aid. If you’re interested in helping, please visit my personal blog, The Living Rice, and click the “Donate” link located on the top right side of the page to donate via PayPal. Your donations will be received and distributed by Pagasa Lambat Ministries, a Christian worldview ministry in the Philippines.

Donations will go toward the following:

1. Replenishing emergency food bags.
2. Helping local churches replace small equipment they lost in the flood, including guitars, chairs, teaching materials, and the like.
3. Helping relocated families by providing school uniforms, shoes and school supplies for their children.
4. Helping relocated families cope with social and economic pressures by conducting parenting and container gardening seminars.
5. Helping pastors and teachers who lost their capability to generate supplemental income due to the storm and flooding by providing small-scale financial assistance for a month.

Please visit the ministry’s website for photos of their relief efforts. And thank you for your help.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Sino ang Tunay na "Biggest Loser?"

Isa sa mga TV show na pinapanood ko ngayon ay ang "The Biggest Loser." Ngayon ko lang sya pinanonood dahil kilala ko yung isa sa mga contestant. May auditions na rin for "Biggest Loser Asia" at posibleng magkaroon ng ilang contestant from the Philippines. Pero sino ba ang tunay na "biggest loser?"

Lahat tayo, we put a lot of time and money to stay fit and slim. Ako nga sanay at habit na ang pag-woworkout para magkaroon ng konting muscles ang katawan at mamaintain ang proper cholesterol levels. I wake up early, mostly before sunrise to go to the gym, spend $10 per month for gym membership, subscribe to Men's Health magazine and stopped eating white rice on week days. This is important because we should treat our bodies as God's temple. But do I put the same discipline into maintaining my spiritual health? Im guilty na minsan di gaano.

To stay spiritually healthy, we must have spiritual disciplines. This means we study and pray over the Bible, share our faith, get involved in church, and fellowship with other believers. Gaya ng regular physical workouts para maging healthy, kailangan nating lahat ang spiritual workout so we can live out our personal relationship with Christ. When we fail to do this and draw near to Him, we’re the biggest losers.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Smart Move: Godly Leadership, Part 4

Senator Escudero just left the Nationalist People's Coalition. Good for him. He just learned a very valuable lesson in Philippines political reality show.

What would be a smarter move is if he decides to sit out this coming elections.

Then again, the smartest move he can possibly make is to endorse the candidacy of Senator Aquino. He then should join the Liberal Party - the party that will go down in Philippines history as the transformation party of Decada 2010 - and be identified with and among the Filipino Reformers who changed the course of our history.

Come 2016, after another brilliant (and it has to be nothing less than brilliant) senatorial stay, he could compete for the standard-bearer position in LP's presidential convention. Even if he proves unsuccessful, he would have better than even chances of landing the vice-presidential spot, depending on how effective Senator Pangilinan's performance will be.

And finally, he should call it "all in" come 2022. By then, he will only be 52 years old; still at his prime. And if he is dead serious about serving the Filipino people no matter what, he would have by then secured his place in Philippines history and would be leaving a legacy that will benefit future generations of a grateful nation.

The first step toward acquiring godly leadership qualities and abilities is to ask God for wisdom. King Solomon did it which proved pleasing to God. This is the urgent step Senator Escudero needs to take. Wisdom requires knowledge of God's word, will, and ways. Therefore the second step is to acquire wisdom by diligently studying the Bible, the source of the Christian religion. The third step is to apply what has been learned - allowing chips to fall where they may. Finally, the fourth step is easy because a person automatically becomes what he or she believes in. That step is to just be honest and true to oneself.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Filipinos most lovable people on earth - Father Reuter

I love what the ailing 93-year-old Family Rosary Crusade TV host, Ramon Magsaysay and Catholic mass media awardee Father James Reuter has to say about the people he served for more than 7 decades.

“I had been asked on many occasions why I have been in the Philippines for 71 years and my answer is, the Filipinos are the most lovable people on the whole face of the earth... I find the Filipinos I talk to are closer to God and it really touches me when people come to me. I am always wishing that I was so close to God as they are. I am far closer to God (through) the people here in the Philippines... I learned from actual experience here in the Philippines that if you truly give anything you will receive so much. So I would say it is a blessing to be here. And it is a blessing to help those who are in need,”

And finally...

“For everyone in the Philippines, right now the test is to help those who are in need, to help those who need help. It is not enough that we are grateful for the gifts that God has given us but we have to reach out to others as far as we can.”

Any faithful servant of God nearing the end of his/her life reminds me of the verse below that best sums up Fr. Reuter's service to God through the Filipino people.

"I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness ..." (2 Tim 4:7, 8)

Wanted: Godly Leaders, Part 3

After reading what Smartmatic’s international sales director had to say about the automated system that will be put in place to tally the upcoming election votes, I must say that I am more confident that we will get an accurate final result. Having said that, I still would insist on an audit report from a leading accounting firm that will certify to the fair presentation of tally reports to the Comelec.

Six months to go. I still say that this presidential election is between Senator Villar of the Nacionalista Party and Senator Aquino of the Liberal Party. I still say that we are going back to a two-party system. Most Filipino politicians are attracted to party resources and not to political platform or ideology. Therefore, the NP will get more of the balimbings. The LP, on the other hand, will get the progressives. I still say that Senator Aquino will win by a comfortable margin. 50% to Villar’s 40% with the remaining 10% divided among the standard bearers of the soon-to-be marginalized political parties.

Senator Escudero will find himself alone and abandoned by the people he thought will be there for him until the end. It will expose his lack of feel for the nation’s political reality show. His is a case of overconfidence. There is still time to back-out and salvage a possible Roxas-Escudero rivalry in 2016.

No one really believes in Senator Legarda anymore except political pundits. And no one really believes, either, that former President Estrada stands a chance of winning except for party loyalists.

Like Ramil, voters may change their minds a few times during survey season. At the end of the day, however, my prediction: Senator Aquino will prove that he is the better man, the one who can be trusted to work for the well-being of the Filipino. Our people will see both Ninoy and Cory in his personality.

A godly leader has certain qualities: wisdom, discernment, faith, loyalty, humility, integrity and courage. He also possesses certain abilities:

1. A godly leader has the ability to form a mental picture of a desired end. He sees what others may not, and his vision becomes his guiding light. He is a visionary.

2. A godly leader has the ability to perceive the different parts or details of a whole. He understands how something comes or holds together so that he can readily offer alternative solutions or corrective courses of action when problems come up. He is insightful.

3. A godly leader can communicate effectively. He has the ability to articulate and explain a vision, a concept, or an idea in such a way as to be clearly understood. He is a communicator.

4. A godly leader knows how to inspire his people so that they develop the attitude of performing to the best of their abilities. He helps them reach their full potential. He is a motivator.

5. A godly leader provides a sense of security. His commitment, competence, and confidence earn him the respect and trust of his people. They know that when the going gets tough, he will not quit on them or point his finger at them, but will keep on fighting for their well-being. He is an energizer.

6. A godly leader has the ability to rally his troops without having to make promises or resort to manipulation. His people sees him as someone who has no pretense. This kind of leader says what he means and means what he says. He provides his people with no false hopes. He is the real deal.

7. A godly leader leads by example and he is consistent. His people know just what they can expect of him. He is always at his best.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Is the Philippine DSWD hoarding relief goods?

Is the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) hoarding relief goods intended for victims of typhoon Ondoy and Pepeng inside its warehouse? According to a DSWD volunteer, Ella, a big yes and she's spreading the news about it all over cyber space.

My initial reaction was "hindi naman siguro" then naging "huwag naman sana." This is a serious allegation and its best to follow this report faily and get both sides of the stories first before jumping into any conclusions.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Ang Kama ng mga Tunay na Lalake

Naunahan ko yata ang Hay! Men! Ang Blog Ng Mga Tunay na Lalake (there are some graphic materials on the site) sa pag post tungkol sa bagong kama na designed para sa mga lalake... pang katuwaan lang.

"After years of catering to women," says the Wall Street Journal, a bed manufacturer introduces the first-ever bed specifically designed for men. It has "'muscle-recovery properties' and cooling technology" to adjust to a man’s body heat. It also has "built-in TVs, iPod docking stations, wine coolers, safes and other guy-friendly gadgetry" in its bed frame. It’s a dream come true for many real men who feel neglected by the mattress industry. However, wives seem less enthusiastic about this expensive piece of furniture. The question is -- is this bed for the ultra-masculine man who has it all or the macho man who’s sleeps alone or lonely at night? You decide if it’s pathetic or worthwhile.

(Adapted from The Point blog)

Friday, October 16, 2009

Wanted: Godly Leaders, Part 2

Now that Ondoy and Pepeng had left our shores and we are focused on rebuilding our national life, various government leaders say that it will take anywhere from hundreds of millions to billions of dollars to get our people back on their feet and repair the damages. As usual, our trusted public servants are getting ready to move us two steps forward and three steps back with their guess work ethic.

Now is the time to shout at the top of our voices, “Enough is enough!”

As I have said in previous blogs, I see a window of opportunity for us, Filipinos. I see the resurgence of a two-party system - latest surveys are proving me right - which will make it easier for the voting public to be able to judge who the better candidates are among those running for various offices. This will be good for us - - an opportunity to be able to cast an informed vote; an opportunity to be able to raise our spirit and say, “This vote is for you, Bayan Ko.”

Next year’s presidential elections will be between the Nacionalista Party and the Liberal Party. Politicians from the ruling party are beginning to abandon ship. Many have already decided they will become Nacionalistas. They are the opportunist-realists. Many more from the soon-to-be-marginalized political parties who tend to be practical idealists will join the Liberal Party. 80% of those who participated in recent surveys is telling us that this wind is blowing strong and the times, they are a-changing. So, at the end of the day, two political parties will remain standing.

What the electorate need to demand from both the Nacionalista Party and the Liberal Party is their platform. How will they address the pressing issues of the day?

  • How will they stop corruption in governments?
  • How will they reduce our national debt?
  • How will they balance the national budget?
  • How will they create jobs?
  • How will they improve our justice systems?
  • How will they address the problem of squatting?
  • How will they address the problem of exploding population?
  • What form of Federalism might be good for us?

Looking into the character of party key leaders is as important as sizing up their respective standard bearer. So, the electorate need to consider the leaders of both parties and ask, “What public good have they done?.” And how do Gilbert Remulla and Peter Cayetano measure up to Jovito Salonga and Franklin Drillon? Are they more knowledgeable, more innovative in the way they think, more politically skillful, or not?

Then, of course, the voting public need to zoom in on the character of Villar and his running mate as compared to Aquino and Roxas. Which tandem has the qualities of godly leadership that we need? Which combination possesses wisdom, discernment, faith, loyalty, humility, integrity and courage?

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Is the Philippines a Victim of Climate Change?

According to the Philippine Star, President Arroyo called on rich countries yesterday to provide funds for rehabilitating areas affected by tropical storm “Ondoy” and typhoon “Pepeng,” saying the country had been a victim of climate change. She said that in seeking foreign help, the country will stress that it is “not a culprit of climate change” and added “We are a victim. We are not a climate maker but we certainly are a climate taker.”

GMA's cry for help to other countries was commendable and I hope many will respond to her call. But I question her for pointing a finger at climate change. How can she back up her claim with scientific facts when the hysteria over global warming has been discredited by many in the scientific community (read related article here)?

Wish GMA could have been more real. Beside the naturally strong winds and rain, there's also deforestation and garbage pollution has that has been causing severe floods and tragic landslides in the Philippines almost every year, but who's pointing a finger at these possible man-made culprits?

Wanted: Godly Leaders, Part 1

We realize that the suffering many of our people recently experienced was initiated by the record-breaking rainfall poured out by Ondoy and the strong winds hurled by Pepeng. But it could be argued that it could have been meaningfully minimized if not for the incompetence of many of our government leaders with regards to disaster preparedness and response.

This appalling condition in our government many would say is due for the most part to corruption, abuse of power and insatiable greed on the part of those who are currently in leadership positions. Make no mistake about it, these are sins that just recently caused loss of life and property.

Our country is in desperate need of leaders who are truthful, good and righteous. In other words, we are in need of godly leaders. But how can we identify them? How do we measure godliness?

First, lets try character. In my book, a godly leader possesses certain qualities. Like:

1. Wisdom - The quality which enables a person to apply knowledge according to God’s will. A wise person is, of course, knowledgeable; but it does not necessarily follow that a knowledgeable person has acquired wisdom. One must learn how to apply knowledge in a way that is pleasing not to people, whether poor or rich, but to God.

2. Discernment - The quality which enables a person to distinguish between good and evil, between right and wrong. A discerning person applies testing before coming to a conclusion.

3. Faith - The quality which enables a person to live in the certainty of God's statutes, promises and directives. Faith believes God and acts upon His word.

4. Loyalty - The quality which enables a person to remain true and devoted to God, country and fellowmen.

5. Humility - The quality which enables a person to do what is pleasing to God, instead of what is self-pleasing or acceptable to other people. It is what makes a person able to regard others more deserving than him or herself.

6. Integrity - The quality of wholeness and of consistent uprightness. It is that which enables a person to deal with others in all honesty. It is the state in which a person could say, "I've got nothing to hide.” His or her life is characterized as being transparent and beyond reproach.

7. Courage - The quality which enables a person able to confront danger or difficulty without wavering. A courageous person never chooses the path of least resistance. The highest degree of courage is seen in the uncompromising person who stands alone but refuses to submit to the pressures of humiliation, pain or rejection.

In a scale of 1 to 10, 1 being of no character at all and 10 being the perfect godly leader, how would your guts rate the following presidential aspirants:

· Joseph Estrada

· Francis Escudero

· Gilberto Teodoro

· Manuel Villar

· Benigno Aquino III

· Eddie Villanueva

· Bayani Fernando

· Richard Gordon

Monday, October 12, 2009

Hearing the Call of the Great Flood

Ate, tubig! Dali, may tubig!” I was upstairs trying to finish writing a long-delayed book when I heard this shout from my sister down below. I rushed downstairs and saw water seeping through the door. ‘Where is all this water coming from?’ I asked, fearing that the Marikina River, about a kilometer from the back of the house, has overflowed. ‘From out front,” she said. True enough, the water that came rushing was mainly from the street outside. This means that the water was rushing down from some mountain higher up. The sight startled me.
But there was no time to lose. Within minutes, the water rose to knee-high. We grabbed some food from the fridge, carted up a precious charcoal portrait of my parents and other paintings, salvaged what we could of the electrical gadgets from the kitchen, and tried to lug the chinaware and other breakables starting to spill out of the cabinet. By this time the water was up to my chest. Then the fridge started to float, banging itself against the table and chairs whirling round the living room. We tried to get it up the winding stairs but couldn’t since we were only two tiny women. The one man in the house is my grandnephew, but he was out in school taking his exams. He himself got trapped and had to sleep on the third floor of his school building that fateful Saturday night.
In less than an hour the water hit the ceiling of the first floor and started to seep through the second floor. I realized I could do nothing from hereon and got on my knees to pray. Then a man knocked on the glass of the bay window in my study and asked if they could get in. There were two women with him standing on the roof of my dirty kitchen, one holding a baby. They swam through the flood from the house at the back of mine. I fumbled with the lock of the emergency exit in the bay window but the key has gotten stuck. We got the baby through an opening in the window of my bedroom instead and the three swam to the terrace on the side of the house and got inside. It turns out that their grand lola was still in their house, waiting frightened on the second floor. He went back to fetch her but she wouldn’t hazard swimming through the floodwaters. We figured it was best that she stay put. If the water rose and we all had to evacuate and rescue comes I gave my word we shall not leave without her.
From the study I watched agonizingly as the river swelled, the flood rising inch by inch, up the wall fence. Frantic calls for help were made. I managed to reach the head of the Office of Civil Defense, Anthony Golez, and asked for a boat, a helicopter, whatever. He said sorry, it was not possible for them to help. We tried whoever else we could reach with the remaining batteries of our cell phones. All too soon the cell phones went dead. We have done what we could.
I sat down behind my desk and swept the room longingly with my eyes. Maybe it was my way of saying goodbye to the things I love, -- the books that have meant much to me and those I have yet to read, picked up from my various travels; the pictures and paintings, and especially the portrait of my parents done so lovingly by an artist friend. In the event the water finally engulfs us I figured I could manage to take my computer. All the rest will have to go. I put the most important books on the topmost shelves and thought of how everyone could get evacuated, -- baby, lola and all.
Inside, in that place where the battle between hope and despair is waged, my faith in the Lord of wind and rain was being tried. I knew that this was nature striking back against all our environmental sins. God does not suspend natural laws he himself has built into creation. We violate these laws at our own peril. Still, I also knew he could stop the rain if he wanted to. I confess the shadow of a half-doubt began to creep when I felt the firewall slightly move with the swirling force of the waters. I prayed that the concrete wall at the back, which served as buffer against the raging current from the river, would not give way. I do not think I have ever implored the Almighty as earnestly and anxiously and tearfully as I did at that moment.
Mercifully, the rain stopped. The water crawling up the roof of my dirty kitchen halted to a standstill. Rescuers came on board a makeshift raft. We did not relish staying the night at the clubhouse as a temporary evacuation shelter. We decided to stay put in the house and trust that the worst is over. We cooked some rice and broiled fish over a stove made out of an old tin can of biscuits, with newspapers as fuel. We chuckled over the ingenious improvisation, glad and thankful just to be alive.
Darkness covered the waters of the deep. Somehow I felt I was being invited to enter the depths of ‘somewhere I have never traveled’, -- the immense and fearful mystery of life and death, but also the forlorn helplessness of the poor in our land who always get buffeted by the wild winds of both nature and misfortune. I went to bed thinking of the castaways swept from the river banks, clinging for dear life on some tree or an old tire, or washed away by the floodtide along with the rubbish and rusted tin roofs of what used to pass for their houses. But tiredness and aching arms numbed and stupefied the mind for any more such thoughts. I went to sleep like a log.
Morning was eerily calm. It was also strangely beautiful. Along the river drifted a solitary man on a ragtag raft of banana trunks tied together. From a distance it all looked so picturesque, with the treetops visible on the surface of the now placid waters that have begun to subside. I learned later that many dead bodies were found floating on that river, some swept from as far away as Tanay.
It is now the ninth day since the Great Flood. Mud four inches thick had been cleared from the house. The yard is still full of mud, with mounds of things and furniture piled up in the muck waiting to be cleaned and sorted out. Life is moving on, and I am trying to make sense of what has happened to us.
For the first time, I was a flood victim. I thought this sort of thing happened only to those without means to live in decent places. I was, suddenly, on the receiving end of a thousand kindnesses from friends, kindly neighbors from Couples for Christ, and my own evangelical church who sent food and water, helped clear the mud and debris, checked the electrical wirings and in many other ways reminded me of God’s tender mercies in a time of great testing and vulnerability.
The poor have no access to such help. Even now, thousands are in evacuation shelters, with no homes, no families to go home to, no friends and relatives with resources to tide them over. In short, no social capital like those of us who are middle class and able to pull ourselves by our own bootstraps without waiting for government to dole out help that is too little and too late.
I asked God what all this means for me. So far, the one thing clear is that I am being asked to share in the ‘fellowship of his suffering’, in that great mystery of solidarity where the sorrow and degradation of one human being is the sorrow and degradation of all. Whether we are aware of it or not, we live in the presence of one another. The presence of the vast poor among us says as much about the rest of us as the kind of government we live under.
In a small way, I now know what it must be like for those who are swept to the margins, forced to live precariously in cities with no thought nor place for them, squatting dangerously along esteros, river banks and other waterways. Comfortable people tend to see them as obstructions, clogging our life systems. The truth is that it is a horrendous scandal that so many have nowhere else to go.
There is something very wrong with a society where almost everyone ‘turns away leisurely from the disaster’ as the poet W. H. Auden put it. In our vast carelessness and indifference no one anticipates the coming catastrophe until calamity crashes upon us. It is estimated that about 20 to 25 typhoons batter the country every year. But those whose business it is to prepare for such eventualities, like the National Disaster Coordinating Council, have no plan in place. In its stead is mere technical reflex, like releasing water, uncoordinated, from all four major dams all at once, without thought for the hapless people along the waterways.
It is worth investigating why, after weeks of rain even before Ondoy, no one in Napocor or the National Irrigation Administration who have charge of these dams ever thought of releasing water before it reached critical level. Why did they have to wait until another typhoon came? My own experience gives me the impression that besides environmental degradation, the one decisive factor that made this flooding so devastating is the uncalibrated release of dam water, coinciding with the heaviest rainfall we have seen in forty years. I have lived where I am for nearly 20 years. All through that time typhoons stronger than Ondoy have come and gone. But the Marikina River had not overflowed the way it had in this recent deluge. This disaster is man-made.
To me, the biggest disaster of all is when we once again miss our historical cue, failing to hear the call of what this means to us as a people. One call is that we must change our timeline as a culture; transcend our present-orientedness and anticipate the floodtide of the future. For all who do care that this country should have a future and a hope, we must see to it that all our do-gooding is such that it finally puts an end to the unconscionable helplessness and uprootedness of our people. As a German poet puts it,
“Make it so the poor are no longer
despised and thrown away,
Look at them standing about, --
like wild flowers, which have
nowhere else to grow….”

----- Melba Padilla Maggay, Ph.D., President, Institute for Studies in Asian Church And Culture

Sunday, October 11, 2009

How FilAms Can Donate to Typhoon Victims

Filipino Americans across the US are showing their solidarity with typhoon victims in their motherland.

Non-profits, business organizations, civic, government, and church groups, political parties, and media came together, discarded their biases, and helped organize and identify collection drop sites, provide information on how to send cash donations to reputable agencies, announce fee-free remittances, corporate matching donations and planned for future activities.

Here’s how to send donations:

1. Philippine Consulate General, San Francisco, California
Address: 447 Sutter Street, San Francisco, CA 94108
Office hours: Consulate doors open 24/7
Items accepted: Non-perishable food, medicines (not expiring yet), blankets only (no clothings), cash or checks payable to San Francisco Philippine consulate
Contact Person: Lyn of SFO PhilConsulate (415) 433-6666

2. National Disaster Coordinating Council
NDCC Donated Funds
Current account number (Philippine peso): 0-00149-435-3
Swift Code: DBPHPHMM Account 36002016
Bank: Development Bank of the Philippines
Bank address: Camp General Emilio Aguinaldo Branch
Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City, Philippines

3. Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD)
Contact Persons: Imee Rose Castillo/ Rey Martija
Telephone: (632) 931-8101 local 506-507/ 951-7119
DSWD Foreign Donations
(US dollars) account number: 3124-0055-81
(Philippine peso) account number: 3122-1-11-84
Bank: LBP
Bank address: Batasan Branch, Constitution Hills, Quezon City

4. Philippine National Red Cross
The Philippine National Red Cross
(US dollar) account number: 151-2-151-00218-2
Swift code: MBTC PH MM
(Philippine peso) account number: 151-3-041-63122-8-MBTC
Bank: Metrobank
Bank address: Port Area Branch, Anda Circle, Port Area, Manila
(For donations to be acknowledged, please fax bank transactions slips to (632) 525-5654 or 404 0979 with donor’s name, address, and contact numbers. Guidelines for online donations may be accessed via

5. Ayala Foundation USA
Ayala Foundation USA is coordinating with Ayala Foundation Inc. and other groups conducting major relief efforts. The donations you send will be brought to areas where the need is greatest and areas that have not yet been reached by groups doing disaster relief mobilization. Highest level of transparency and accountability in all transactions assured. Three ways to donate:

a. Check: Make check payable to Ayala Foundation USA, indicate Typhoon Ondoy in the note part and mail it to our US office at 255 Shoreline Drive, Suite 428, Redwood City, CA 94065.

b. Online Donation via credit card: Ayala Foundation USA does not have a paypal account but we accept donations via Visa and Mastercard. Please click on this link and choose AF-USA Typhoon Relief Fund in the drop down menu.

c. For wire transfer, below are the account details to use:

Account Name: Ayala Foundation USA
Account Number: 203179049
Account Type: CA
Routing Number: 321171184
Citibank, N.A.

6. Caritas
The lead Catholic agency for social services and development in the Archdiocese of Manila and a provider of technical assistance to social service and development ministries in the five other Metro Manila dioceses, has put the “Sagip Tulong Program” designed as a quick response to assist the families adversely affected by the calamity.

a. US Dollar
Caritas Manila
BPI Dollar Savings Account No. 3064-0033-55
PNB Dollar Savings Acct. No. 10856660005

b. Philippine Peso
Banco de Oro Savings Account No.5600-45905
BPI Savings Acct. No. 3063-535701
Metrobank Savings Acct. No. 175-3-17506954-3

Focal Persons:
Gina Santos +63 919 892 8226
Tam De Ocampo +632 563 93081

For donations to be acknowledged over NBN Channel 4 in the Philippines, donors may fax a copy of their deposit slips to +63 2 563 9306 (with donor’s name, address and contact numbers).

7. is offering fee-free remittance to Manila until October 9.

In-Kind Donations:
No used clothing is allowed to be imported to the Philippines.

Immediate needs are food/medicine, non-food such as mats, blankets, flashlights, emergency lamps, tents, generators, water container, hygiene kits (bath soap, toothbrush, toothpaste, feminine napkins, and laundry soap), baby diapers, and slippers

Non-urgent needs are beddings, kitchen ware, etc.

8. LBC Hari ng Padala Foundation and ABS-CBN Foundation’s Sagip Kapamilya project tie-up LBC offers free padala services for in-kind and cash donations to Ondoy victims. All boxes will be sent for free in the name of LBC Foundation and this will be delivered directly to ABS-CBN.

“As of October 1, all LBC branches in the U.S. are now drop-off points for in-kind donations to the victims of Typhoon Ondoy in the Philippines,” said Hugo Bonilla, LBC president and CEO.

LBC also offer its sea cargo services for free after LHPF committed to sorting and distributing the donated items coming from donors in the US.

Rules on box sizes: All donated items must be boxed and sealed in standard-sized balikbayan boxes. LBC will not accept open boxes or unpacked items.

Donors in California, Oregon, Washington State, Nevada, and Hawaii can only use the 24x18x18 box size while donors in New Jersey, New York, Illinois, and Virginia can only use the 28x18x17 box size.

In Saipan, only box size 18x20x22 is accepted while LBC in Canada’s British Columbia will only accept the 18x18x30 box size.

Preferred items: Canned goods, rice, clothing, footwear, towels, blankets, cookware, utensils, and other daily consumables.

All boxes must state the shipper’s name and address. Consignee information is as follows: LBC HARI NG PADALA FOUNDATION, c/o Jose Garcia with address LBC HANGAR, General Aviation Center, Domestic Airport Compound, Pasay City.
For a list of the LBC branch nearest you, please visit or call 1-800-338-5424.

9. Asian Arts Museum, San Francisco
Date: 4 October 2009, Sunday
Time: 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. (free entrance)
In conjunction with the Filipino American History Month Celebration, the museum will set up donation boxes inside its premises.

10. New York
From “ilovepiNoY” (, a Samantha Lopez Production, in cooperation with some Filipino friends and colleagues, a big event is being organized on 26 October 2009, Monday @ Felix ( ) to raise funds for Ondoy victims. All proceeds will go directly to Philippine National Red Cross and Ayala Foundation.

11. The Thomson Reuters Foundation
Of the Reuters group, foundation is matching dollar for dollar donations for the relief area of your choice until October 16.

Please forward to anyone who want to contribute monetary donations. Here is the link:

12. West Bay Filipino Multicultural Center
Address: 175 7th Street San Francisco, California
Tel. no.: 415 431 6266 for information

West Bay children and their families to keep center open till 10 p.m. every day to collect donations. Volunteers welcome. Donors may deduct contributions exempt from federal income tax under section 501 (c) 3.

(Article first posted on, 10/08/2009)

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Remember to Help Victims of Typhoon "Pepeng"

Remember to pray and help our kababayans specially the farmers affected by floods and landslide brought by typhoon "Pepeng." Provinces in the Northern Philippines like Ilocos, Pangasinan and the Cagayan Valley are most affected. You can send financial donations through the Living Rice or through the links below:

ABS-CBN Foundation
GMA Kapuso Foundation
Ayala Foundation
Philippine National Red Cross

(Image from AP)

Friday, October 9, 2009

"Darna" Soars High

I saw an episode of GMA 7's top show Darna online the other day, and would like to share my initial thoughts on the series. First, technology in TV special effects has improved. Flying mid-air is a bit more realistic in this TV age than those during my time. There's still lots of room for technical improvement but its good to find less of the blue-screen background, smoke machine, and giant electric fan from the old days.

Second, the women in the show are gorgeous. Thought no one can beat Nanneth Medved in the early 90's for Darna-hotness, until Anjanette Abayari came along in the late 90's, and now, Spanish-mestiza, Marian Rivera has the title. Even the villains on the show no matter how de-glamourized they were with prostetic make-up still look beautiful for my eyes. Supports my earlier claim that Filipinas are one of the the prettiest women in the world.

Lastly, the show has an underlying theme of good winning over evil, kindness versus revenge and self-sacrifice to help others which for me soars high superpowers points for teaching positive moral values to many young Filipinos- like one writer said, its a good reminder that sometimes tales of the fantastic are better able to address the big themes of our lives in ways that more “realistic” fiction cannot.

The show is on primetime and for parental guidance.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Is the Church Failing Our Society?

My big boss Chuck Colson was interviewed by TIME recently and he had some interesting things to say about the current Christian church. Thought what he said was so important and applies not only to Western churches but around the world. He talks about how churches today can and are failing society by loosing its sights on its true purpose of making people holy and disciples of Christ. I'm posting the whole article so you can read it for yourself. I would like to hear your reaction.

Thursday, Sep. 24, 2009
Q&A: Religious Leader Chuck Colson
By Amy Sullivan

Chuck Colson has spent a lifetime atoning for his involvement in the Watergate cover-up. The founder of Prison Fellowship has spent more than three decades working with prisoners in more than 100 countries, and he has mentored generations of conservative Evangelical leaders. This month he launched the Chuck Colson Center, an online research and education center that he calls "the Lexis-Nexis of resources on the Christian worldview." The last of the original religious-right leaders still actively engaged with the movement, Colson spoke with TIME about his latest endeavor, why he thinks churches have failed society and the biggest mistake the religious right made.

You say you've been wanting to create this center for decades. What first prompted the project?

It goes back to the earliest days of our prison ministry. At the end of the first year, we'd gotten to all 42 federal prisons. But in that time, they'd built 10 more. As fast as we would get a Bible study started, they'd build a new prison. I realized that we could be working in the prisons forever and doing good work, but it wouldn't matter if we didn't address the bigger cultural questions, the things that were causing crime. So many of these kids in prison came from broken families. They were products of a failed worldview — that modernity would make everything better.

But most of your resources are for pastors and others in the church who could have been teaching another kind of worldview all along. Why do you think they have failed to do that?

The church has fallen into a therapeutic model. It believes its job is to make people happy and take care of their problems. It's a feel-good kind of Christianity. I don't think the job of the church is to make people happy. I think it's to make them holy.

Is part of the problem the fact that so many Evangelical churches focus almost exclusively on getting people to the moment of being saved and don't give them the tools on how to actually live as Christians?

That's it. [Megachurch pastor] Bill Hybels was right two years ago when he released a study about the people coming into his church. It turned out he had been great at recruiting people, but they hadn't grown and matured once they were there. He had every reason to be really concerned about the methodology of his own church. If you go to his church now, you'll see a lot more teaching going on, a lot more discipleship.

But what you're advocating is a tougher form of Christianity. Is that too much of a challenge for many people?

A lot of people don't want to bother with it. [Many] people have reduced the whole Christian faith to just a relationship with Jesus. That strips the faith of its doctrine, its sovereign nature. The biggest problem is getting people to be serious about what they profess to believe.

In recent years, religious leaders have often preached about how to apply a Christian worldview to, say, making a political decision to vote for a certain kind of candidate.

We made a big mistake in the '80s by politicizing the Gospel. We ought to be engaged in politics, we ought to be good citizens, we ought to care about justice. But we have to be careful not to get into partisan alignment. We [thought] that we could solve the deteriorating moral state of our culture by electing good guys. That's nonsense. Now people are kind of realizing it was a mistake. A lot of people are going back and saying, "Let's just take care of the church and tend to our knitting."Both positions are wrong. There's an intelligent way to engage the culture in every area, including politics. But you can't fix politics or culture unless you fix the church. What we're seeing in society today is a direct consequence of the church failing to be the church.

Has there ever been a time when you think religious people got the balance right by engaging without becoming entangled?

Yes. What happened in 18th and 19th century England, with the Wesley Movement and with William Wilberforce, was ideal. Wilberforce and others formed hundreds of small societies for improving human welfare, preventing cruelty to animals, reforming poorhouses and prisons. And there were great Christian leaders in politics as well. In that period, Christians were not divided by political parties.

Christians aren't divided by political parties today, and yet there is definitely division. It's not unusual to run across liberals who say there's no way Jesus would ever be a Republican, or conservatives who preach that it's not possible to be both a good Christian and a Democrat.

That's dreadful. It's so much bigger than politics. Jesus would have seen the Republican and Democratic parties like the money changers in the temple. They just didn't get it. Now, I'm going to vote for a pro-life candidate if given the choice. But that has nothing to do with partisanship. Democrats do a lot of very good things that we should be supporting. And I say that as a conservative.