Monday, October 19, 2009

Tac Returns! 2009 Edition

It's good to see good friend going back to their home country! Once again, my good friend Tac is back in town, preparing for his grand return to the country as an expat (in his own country)! Tac's currently connected to a BPO company that is planning to acquire one of the local companies and set up operations here in the country. This is a sign that the Philippines has not lost its competitiveness in the international BPO industry. Good news indeed!

Good thing the gang was able to convene and we gave Tac a good bienvenida and despidida dinner. He was just here for two weeks. We were not able to meet that often because of typhoons Ondoy and Pepeng. Still, we were lucky to have had dinner on his last day.

Present were Juaqui (congrats bro!), Mitch A., Eli, Jayvee, Bubbles and Me

See you in January as an expat, bro!

Mabuhay ang mga dalubhasang Pilipino!

Ondoy Hits Brgy. Bagong Silangan

I joined Bubbles' family in their relief operations with the victims of Typhoon Ondoy in Brgy. Bagong Silangan, Quezon City. Brgy. Bagong Silangan is a barangay just behind Filinvest Village, in the border of Quezon City and San Mateo Rizal. It was a downhill drive towards the barangay, obviously a potential flood basin due to its terrain.

As Ondoy poured in rains worth a month's downpour, this barangay was one of the most devastated. The houses, being made of wood, were swept away, leaving lots of people homeless.
We tried to somewhat alleviate their woes by providing for a day's food and some clothing provided by the clothing company "Whoops!" We were able to give out relief goods to at least 100 people. We knew that this was not enough. At least, even for just a day, we were able to bring a few cheers and smiles to those people who needed much help after the wrath of Ondoy.

Art, this Village's coordinator, calls out the people that were heavily affected. They are prioritized in the relief operations.

People fell in line after all the high-priority names were already called

The community volunteers with the donors and volunteers from the Vincetian Seminary, clothing company Whoops!, and the Apostols

Typhoon Ondoy is not all disaster and tragedy. On a positive note, the typhoon has awakened the Filipinos' solidarity, unity, compassion and hospitality as a vast majority has awakened their senses, reached out to their fellow countrymen, helped out even the smallest way they can. With this, we can still see hope that the Filipino is still worth living for.

Basketbrawl: Arboleda hits Fan

Next time you watch a PBA game, be sure to be equipped with the latest protective head gear, gloves (better yet, brass knuckles), body armor and a mouthpiece. Better be safe than sorry because the PBA is now becoming a haven for collateral damage. Hotheaded players might just hurry towards you and give you a good beating.

Now on its third edition this year, the Philippine Basketbrawl Association's latest edition stars no other than The Snatcher himself, Wynne Arboleda. After the incidents involving veterans Marlou Aquino and Danny Ildefonso, here comes another furious player beating up the other team's fan for excessive "cheering!"

As preventive measure, the PBA proposes signboards in the Araneta Coliseum that say "Silence Please." This is to avoid excessively commenting fans from engaging with the players.

Sometimes, these players just forget their purpose in playing for the PBA. They forget that their fans are the heart and soul of the league. Without spectators like Wynne's newly found friend Alain Katigbak, baka tigbak na rin yang PBA. Keep on doing what you're doing guys and you'll all end up in the barangay leagues.

Next time you cheer for a team in the PBA, better make sure you learn your martial arts.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

UAAP Season 72: Back to Back

After a long and grueling season, the Ateneo Blue Eagles finally grabbed its second back-to-back championship, after defeating the UE Red Warriors in game three of the best-of-three series of the UAAP Season 72 Senior Men's basketball. The Eagles recorded a remarkable 16-2 win-loss record for the season.

Game One ended with a 7-point win for the Eagles, which showed that the series will be a neck and neck match up. UE proved to be an ultra tough opponent after defeating the Blue Eagles in game 2 with a 20-point spread (88-68). This gave way to a do-or-die match, which was decided with a 13-point commanding win of the Blue Eagles. Once again, Ateneo proved to be the toughest team of the season.

Despite having a season marred by controversies following Andy Barroca's alleged game-fixing in its second-round matchup against Ateneo, the season 72 was a fun and exciting one. In fact, Ateneo did not breeze through the season. It had at least 5 games which they came from behind. The league had equally-competitive teams in UE, FEU and UST. Even La Salle's slump was the season's biggest surprise turnout! Overall, it was a fun-filled season of college run-and-gun hoops.

The Blue Eagles ended their UAAP season with a bonfire held at the Grade School parking ground on Saturday, October 10, 2009. The bonfire celebrated several Ateneo teams' glorious championships in several sports fields, including the Juniors and Senior basketball championships.

Macky Escalona talking to the Rookie Eagles

Fashionista Jai Reyes with the Newspaper boy hat and shades

Future Leader: Eric "The Salutatorian" Salamat

Nameless wood burn in the Ateneo grounds

With Rabeh Al-Husseini, Nonoy Baclao at Jai Reyes graduating from the team, the challenge for the remaining players is to keep up the winning streak, and reach for the school's first-ever three-peat. In the bonfire, both soon-to-be superstars Nico Salva and Ryan Buenafe promised a three-of-a-kind championship. Hopefully, they'd be able to fulfill their promises.

Go Ateneo! One Big Fight!

The 2009 Ateneo Blue Eagles Official Lineup

Rabeh Al-Husseini (Finals MVP, Season Mythical Five)
Nonoy Baclao
Jai Reyes
Kirk Long
Eric Salamat
Ryan Buenafe
Nico Salva
Bacon Austria
Justin Chua
Emman Monfort
Oping Sumalinog
Frank Golla
Luis Gonzaga
Vince Burke
Chris De Chavez
Juami Tiongson
Head Coach: Norman Black

2009 UAAP Men's Basketball Awards

Rookie of the Year
Jeric Teng - UST Growling Tigers

Mythical Team
Rabeh Al-Hussaini - Ateneo de Manila Blue Eagles
Aldrech Ramos - FEU Tamaraws
Elmer Espiritu - UE Red Warriors
Paul Lee - UE Red Warriors
Dylan Ababou - UST Growling Tigers

Most Valuable Player
Dylan Ababou - UST Growling Tigers

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Wrath of Ondoy

Most of us will probably mark the 26th day of September, 2009 as one of the most unforgettable days of their lives. I would be one of them. For most people, it would be their first-ever experience of a neck-deep, even higher, flooding in their areas, brought about by the heavy rainfall of might Typhoon Ondoy.

At first, I thought the typhoon was just an ordinary heavy rainfall that would end in 15-20 minutes. This Ondoy was real different. It did not stop raining from around 9am until 2 or 3 pm! The volume was so heavy it immediately caused flash floods all over Metro!

Probably you've already heard about many stories of tragedy and survival as it has been in the news, social networking and video-sharing sites for quite some time. It was really a typhoon we will never forget.

In my 27 years of existence, and in living in my house in Quezon City, never was a time when our indoors were flooded by a typhoon (categorically speaking, we've already been flooded when MWSS' aquaduct exploded some years ago). But last Saturday, I witnessed one of the heaviest precipitation yet in Ondoy. At around 11 am, water rose slowly and a little over 1pm, our house was already flooded thigh-deep. I though it was going to rise further so we decided to pack up our things in the car (I managed to bring the car to a higher ground, thus, not damaging the engine) and leave as soon as my dad arrives from work. We waited for him until finally, it was fortunate to see the water already subsiding.

This is what our house looked like 4-5 inches earlier:


Our garage looked like a river stream

Our neighbors outside decided to have a good time in the flood

Little did we know that my dad got stranded in KFC Congressional Avenue, with high-current flood which is breast- to neck-deep floods. It was also the first time that my dad experienced flooding in that area! The strong current prevented him from going home! But he managed to go home earlier than expected, with more than 7 hours travel time from his EDSA office (where normal travel time from office to home is 8 minutes). We traversed the breast-deep waters just to make sure that we were all doing okay. Our family was complete by 6:30pm, and the water subsided. Thank God.

My experience was nothing compared to that of my Tita Egie's. She lived in SSS Village in Fairview and the water went up to as much as 12-15 feet (thigh-deep at the 2nd floor)! Incidentally, they were about to leave the house when they caught up traffic in the Regalado and Commonwealth areas. They decided to come back and check on the house when they already saw their house with ample water! They tried to save as much appliances in the ground floor but it was too late! Water went in fast and high up to their second floor! Luckily they managed to escape via a neighbor's terrace. They managed to leave their house that day. When they came back the next day, they found their ground floor completely washed out and drenched in dirty water and mud. Furnitures destroyed, appliances all wet. Luckily, they all survived. Here are a few pictures of SSS Village post-flood:

Cars swept by flood as if they were just Matchbox toys

The Streets of SSS Village after the flood: Full of Trash

Destroyed roofs and walls

Look closer: there is a Pajero swept to this house's front door

We are still very thankfull that we got minimal damage. Plus we were all alive and healthy after the tragedy. My heart goes out to all the victims of Ondoy, which up to now are still in the evacuation centers because of the fear of another typhoon, Pepeng, and because their houses are still flooded up to this writing.

If you are able to read this, that means you have the capacity to do your share and give a little of yourself to the typhoon victims. There are a lot of groups taking the lead, all you have to do is give your share. This is already within our vicinity.

The wrath of Ondoy is a message (a big, hurtful, devastating message) that we Filipinos should take into heart. It is a message to our leaders: that climate change and environmental protection is now and will be the most pressing concern in the near future; that budgets meant for disasters and MEANT to be spent in disasters; that they should moderate their greed and spend the people's money in matters of their welfare and safety.

It is also a message to our countrymen: that it is about time that we change our current ways of life and give a little to preserve nature; that we as Filipinos start to unite and be as one family in helping each other and be with one another.

God bless the Philippines.