Thursday, December 31, 2009

Best Birthday Card. Ever.

The Best Birthday Card Ever!

I woke up late today and found this on my breakfast plate, with a little shell, and kisses from my one and only darling niece. *** LOVE ***

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Ink Mix Recipes

Based on VegasPens' (Darlene) question on Twitter: "What kinds of inks do you like to mix together?" Mabeloos asked me to combine my ink mixes in one post for her reference. Actually some of these I learned from The Fountain Pen Network, some via trial and error:

5:1 Parker Quink Blue to Parker Quink Black make a great Blue-Black that doesn't turn teal.

3:1 Parker Quink Green to Waterman Havana Brown was inspired by Herbin's Lie de The. If you don't like "muddy" old-fashioned colors, this might not be for you.

3:1 Rotring Brilliant Red to Rotring Brilliant Blue make something not quite purple but lovely and retro-looking when used in a Pelikan.

3:1 Parker Quink Green to Parker Quink Black to make something close to Herbin's Vert Empire or Noodler's Zhivago. You can add more black by the drops to your preference.

2:1 Parker Quink Blue to Waterman Purple to "tame" the purple.

3: 1: 1/2 Rotring Brilliant Red to Waterman Purple to Parker Quink Black/Waterman Black. You can try using a brighter red, like Waterman or Parker Red, and it will come out looking like what I'd call Roasted Cranberry. Without the black, I call it Alugbati, which is the purplish berry of a Philippine leafy vegetable we used to wear as "play lipstick" when we were little kids.

Please use a syringe, and write each recipe down in your notebook with a writing sample as soon as you get the color you like. Please do not mix alkaline inks with other inks, and most of all, please do not mix iron gall inks with other inks. Please do not make any quantity larger than 3ml so that when you get tired of it you can recreate the color without wasting ink.

To refill empty cartridges, use the syringe and reseal with a drop of hot glue from a glue gun. Try not to make too many cartridge refills since they do eventually evaporate. Always put in ziploc bags when storing in your handbag to avoid staining your other items.

Of course I always write this advice down but I never seem to make the writing samples with the reviews and the q-tip swabs and the F/M/B comparisons because I prefer to write snail mail and other longer things.

I hope this has been useful!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

The Sky Was My Ceiling

I haven't attended a UP Lantern Parade in ages. I can't even remember when the last time was. Maybe it was when I was still an undergrad, when I was actually IN the parade, not watching it. Some friends of mine attend, like it was part of some great big pilgrimage. If I lived nearer campus, I probably wouldn't miss it. All that creativity! All that energy! The cold air!

Last night I was at the Christmas party of my high school batchmates. Across me was Ney, who this morning was attempting to break 60 minutes in her 10k run. That reminded me of January 2008 when I joined the UP Centennial Run, the 5k leg. It was still dark when we started running, and the fairy lights were still on in the bushes, and there was a huge swathe of mist in the air. It was cold. I was wearing two layers of running jersey. I was shivering. UP was beautiful.

It used to be that whenever I would dream of home, it would be of this place. I never dream of the place where I live now. They say the home in your head is the home of your heart - that is, of your childhood, if you had a happy one. Mine was extremely happy. I remember cool mornings, walking around campus with six dogs, with friends, chatting about everything and nothing. The air was clean. There was green everywhere. Time was slow under the acacia arches.

After the Lantern Parade people used to gather at the Sunken Garden for a concert, to grill some barbecue, to laze about on sleeping bags and have a forbidden (within school perimeter) beer. It would be the last day of the academic year, and people would celebrate. One morning I woke up, and the sky was my bedroom ceiling. Three of my close friends were snoring nearby on their sleeping bags. It was amazing we were not arrested; we were the only people left in the entire Sunken Garden. The sun was just about to rise. I looked around, with this sense that the dawn seemed unreal. I was shivering; UP was cold. And so beautiful.

Monday, December 14, 2009



Here's a slideshow someone made of UP Integrated School Class of 1984's Silver Jubilee and alumni homecoming:

Saturday, December 5, 2009

What's In A Word?


When my sister was very young, she loved the Christmas song "Joy To The World", because her name is Joy. But she didn't know all the words to the song, so she used to sing

"Joy to the world, the Lord is come

It was so cute we made her sing it over and over. She was teased about this so often, she ended up learning the rest of the song very fast.


A generation later, when Joy's daughter Lilo turned four, she learned to sing "Joy To The World". She didn't have to go through the WA-TI route, but she did sing this:

"Joy to the world, the Lord is come
Let earth receive her King
Let HAIRY heart, prepare him room..."

Lilo's actually very articulate, but up to now she still asks us to "merove" something from her play table. Her dad actually misses the days she used to be afraid of the "kunder" and the lightning.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Poem: Thanks


by W. S. Merwin

with the night falling we are saying thank you
we are stopping on the bridges to bow from the railings
we are running out of the glass rooms
with our mouths full of food to look at the sky
and say thank you
we are standing by the water thanking it
smiling by the windows looking out
in our directions

back from a series of hospitals back from a mugging
after funerals we are saying thank you
after the news of the dead
whether or not we knew them we are saying thank you

over telephones we are saying thank you
in doorways and in the backs of cars and in elevators
remembering wars and the police at the door
and the beatings on stairs we are saying thank you
in the banks we are saying thank you
in the faces of the officials and the rich
and of all who will never change
we go on saying thank you thank you

with the animals dying around us
our lost feelings we are saying thank you
with the forests falling faster than the minutes
of our lives we are saying thank you
with the words going out like cells of a brain
with the cities growing over us
we are saying thank you faster and faster
with nobody listening we are saying thank you
we are saying thank you and waving
dark though it is

[Many thanks to Mai Tatoy, who posted this on Facebook in this,
one of our nation's darkest hours.]

Monday, November 23, 2009

Memories of a Forgotten War

The photo above is of a film shown on a curved screen - part of the Lopez Museum's curved spaces which lead viewers toward areas of its current exhibit, Deleted Scenes, that deserve special attention. The exhibit's theme deals with information on the fringes of Filipinos' knowledge and awareness of history, as depicted in arts and literature - the things that are easily forgotten. The bench can only seat up to four persons, but that's how intimate the Lopez Museum is - four of us invited bloggers were soon riveted to the scenes before us.

Memories of a Forgotten War (2001)
is a short film directed and co-produced by Sari Raissa Lluch Dalena and Camilla Benolirao Griggers. It is also a family affair, with writing and design contributions from sisters and fellow artists Gabriela Krista Lluch Dalena and Aba Lluch Dalena. Writing credits are shared by Gabriela Krista Dalena, Camilla Griggers and Lilia Quindoza-Santiago.

The war in this case is the Philippine-American war (1899-1902). People are aware of it only as street names or landmarks, such as Pinaglabanan Bridge ("the bridge fought over"), but are no longer aware of their stories. We remember that the Spanish-American war ended with Spain selling its colony to the US for a mere USD 20 million. People remember only vaguely that there was a time during the First Philippine Republic that Filipinos resisted the control of its new colonial master, and its policy of Manifest Destiny. What we remember is our Liberation from the Japanese Occupation by American forces in World War II, the glamor of Hollywood, and the now hollow claim that we speak the best English in Asia, thanks to them.

This movie takes the national and makes it personal. The film unfolds with the narrator (Griggers, a Filipino-American college professor) retracing her Filipino roots in an attempt to establish her sense of identity. As the American daughter of a Filipino-American mother, she was not merely searching for answers about why she and her mother were not acknowledged by her American grandfather. She asked the questions, "What makes me American?", "What makes me Filipino?", and most importantly, "Why do I need to know this for myself?" It's a common story being asked by the people around the world whose countries are former colonies of imperial powers, that have since become ethnic melting pots.

This search is the framework for a point of view of Philippine history not commonly known, or shared. The marriage between the narrator's grandmother and grandfather has a parallel story to the colonial takeover of the Philippines by the United States. It's not as romantic as you'd like to think. War never is.

I did not know, for instance, that there was a mass murderer named Gen. Jacob Hurd Smith who ordered the Balangiga Massacre in Samar, who made sure his army had a "take no prisoners" approach, killing everyone, even children old enough to carry a weapon. Insurgency was a natural result of Smith's actions and orders.

I did not know, also, that American colonial troops massacred a thousand Muslims in the volcanic crater at Bud Dajo, Jolo, Mindanao.

I wanted to weep, as our narrator's gentle voice became somewhat stern, matter-of-fact and condemning as she described it. But this is what happens in war. People get drunk with power. People die. Does it make me angry? Only for the moment, because this happened over a hundred years ago. Why do we not know these things? I know there was a movie made of the Balangiga massacre, but I did not watch it. Maybe I should. I want to know why the Balangiga bells are still being kept as war booty in the US and not returned to the Philippines. They are part of OUR history. There is an interesting book out, by Rolando Borrinaga, The Balangiga Conflict Revisited.

History is written by the victors (and the powerful). All this unpleasantness of war has led to attempts to rewrite history. Despite overwhelming evidence, some people still claim that the Holocaust never existed. Or that the world is flat. So what is real? What is true? One needs to see other points of view in history, to best appreciate it.

Sari Dalena's film is so apt for the Deleted Scenes exhibit. After watching it, you will be forced to ask yourself: "Who am I?", "What do I know?" and "Why do I want to know?"

Deleted Scenes runs at the Lopez Museum from November 12, 2009 to January 9, 2010. The Lopez Memorial Museum is at G/F Benpres Building, Exchange Road corner Meralco Ave., Ortigas Center, Pasig City. For more information, you may call them at (632) 631-2417, or email them at The Lopez Museum is also on Facebook. Become a fan today!

Lunch at Kiss The Cook Cafe

I don't do reviews because people ask me to. I only review if I find the venue and the dining a convivial experience. Yes, Waya Araos is my friend, but I did check the reviews of other Facebook friends before taking my parents to her restaurant Kiss The Cook Cafe for a Sunday lunch.

Here's my dad, itching to pour the Passionfruit Cooler (carafe contents are good for 3 persons) but waiting patiently for me to take my photo. There's a slice of lemon and a sprig of mint in there, and that touch adds a smile to my face (added a dimension to the flavor, too). Very refreshing!

The chicken in this Thai Chicken Salad with Mango is grilled, skinless, but flavorful! There is something spicy at the end of one's mouthful that I can't identify. Two different colored lettuces and tiny gherkin cucumbers make it look pretty. Those long sprouts look like alfalfa. Quite good, can be a meal for one, or great to share.

This is the Moroccan Fish Fillet, a dish of pan-fried dory. A balanced meal on the plate. Fried crisp on the outside, tender on the inside, salting was just right. I don't know exactly what makes it Moroccan, but it tasted good. Maybe it's the olives and the citrus bits scattered on top. In hotels people usually get the thickish slab of fish fillets, but here you have the pretty slab stacked on the little fried bits towards the tail, and lemme tell you, the crunchy bits are yummy! The rice had green sprinkles that looked like powdered nori on top (for umami of the natural, non-crystalline kind).

This probably looks like the average panini with a side salad. However, the ciabatta bread in this panini is a lovely crusty BIG square cut into triangles. Most panini are served in smaller, narrower shapes. The filling is button mushrooms sauteed with chopped white onions and made tastily aromatic with truffle oil, and thin slices of cheese (unspecified, looks like ordinary but real cheddar). Truffle oil is the ingredient that sets this apart from your usual mushroom and cheese sandwich. Truffle oil makes this a fine dining mushroom melt!

And to finish, we had not one, but TWO panna cottas: Mango with Honey, and Espresso. Both are well-flavored, and sweet, but not too sweet. You get the acid of the mango tamed by the honey, and you taste the full flavor of the espresso.

There were three of us sharing this meal, and it was so good that the waiter was pleased to see our empty plates. My dad was shocked to see that the bill for 3 persons was only Php750! PhP250 per head is good for when you want to want to go out on a date or when you want the girlfriends over for a chat. The place is relatively quiet, with discreet jazz or instrumentals playing in the background. You can actually talk with your companions. The restroom is outside the airconditioned area, where there is a little patio/terrace shaded by a fruiting langka tree, for those who smoke or want to have drinks and laughter.

Would I return? Definitely, because I still have to taste the Five-Spice Spare Ribs. And the pasta with the mushrooms and the truffle oil (yes, I now have a thing for truffle oil).

Recommended attire for meals is smart casual. Prices include 12% VAT but there is no service charge. Am not sure if they accept credit cards yet as they just opened some weeks ago, but they do give senior citizen discounts. There are usually two servers at any given time, and while relatively inexperienced, they serve you correctly and quietly. We gave ours a good tip, for we had dined well, and were feeling happily indestructible after our lunch.

Kiss The Cook Cafe is located at 59 Maginhawa St., UP Village, QC, in front of Holy Family School. For inquiries, please call
tel. 434-3700 or 0926-7003979.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

DELETED SCENES at the Lopez Museum

"My grandmother never told me these stories."
- Angel Velasco Shaw

A few days ago I had the good fortune to be invited by my friend, museum worker Ricky Francisco, to join a group of bloggers on their tour of the Lopez Museum. For those who have heard of it but have no idea where it is, it's at the ground floor of Benpres Building in Ortigas Center, opposite BPI. The Lopez Museum has an excellent research library, as well as a premium collection of Filipino artworks and historical artifacts. Visitors would be surprised to realize how intimate its exhibit space is, and for exhibits like Deleted Scenes this intimacy works.

Deleted Scenes
(which runs from Nov. 12, 2009 to Jan. 9, 2010) is the Lopez Museum's participation in Zero In, an alliance of Metro Manila museums that share a common exhibit theme running simultaneously. The current theme, "Periphery", deals with information on the fringes of one's consciousness, everything on the edges of what is common knowledge that is often disregarded. In her notes curator Eileen Legaspi-Ramirez says, "This exhibition quite simply began with a question: what do I not know? Or what do I stumble upon just on the perchance that I have the time (and certainly the interest) to spare to look up what has been intentionally left out from what will get to me?... Deleted Scenes modestly explores such omissions both in pictorial and literary accounts of national history as well as in purported narratives hinged on representation that a museum such as the Lopez hesitatingly but inordinately lays out." Co-curator, artist Claro Ramirez, designed the spaces to best reflect this concept.

Featured artists include Lyle Buencamino, Dada Docot, Sari Dalena and Al Manrique. However, also on display are works currently in the museum collection, such as those by Danilo Dalena and BenCab. But mostly what were displayed had never before been exhibited, as intellectual significance and logistical concerns usually determine what goes into the final cut. In our guided tour, Ricky Francisco explained that for years only museum workers had ever viewed the late Social Realist Al Manrique's sketchbooks which contained his powerfully raw art because exhibiting them would have created political repression, both for the artist and the museum. They languished in storage until exhibiting them had become relevant and eye-opening.

Charcoal pencil sketch of striking workers.
Untitled, by
Al Manrique.

It was a unique experience to be allowed to handle and photograph the sketchbooks. This is part of the intimacy that the Lopez Museum allows the visitors to experience, as viewing the work promotes a visceral reaction. Beside the two sketchbooks (one had editorial cartoons/sketches in pen and ink) was a box of latex medical gloves, so visitors could turn the pages without damaging the artwork. We were also instructed not to use flash photography for the same reason.

Ricky Francisco
explains the book installation, as Digital Filipino's Janette Toral takes a closer look.
With us were bloggers Azrael Coladilla and Arvin Ello.

These books had always been part of the Lopez Museum Library, but because the subject matters were foreign and quite diverse, they had never previously fit into any conceivable theme, until now. One interesting set contained the documented proceedings of the Nuremberg War Crimes Trials!

The exhibit not only covers visual art, but leads one from paintings to cinema. This bridging triptych, "No Fighting In The Museum", "Removing Subject Matter From Painting" and "Scene from Garrison 13" depicting 3 cut scenes from various LVN productions, is by Lyle Buencamino. One commonly asked question for works of this type is, "If you painted it from a photo, does that count as art?" If an artist selected the scene that had the impact and portrayed the details in his chosen style, I'd say yes. If Buencamino hadn't chosen these scenes to paint, would we have seen them? I think not.

"Soldiers (Heroes of the Past)" by BenCab. A familiar painting, but the subject matter anchors together some forgotten or little-known details in Philippine history.

Ricky points out a very interesting book, a kind of Rosetta Stone translation of various Philippine scripts / syllabaries. Did you know, for instance, that the alibata or baybayin script as we know it today is only ONE of the many
modes of Indo-Sanskrit-derived Philippine handwriting? As we can see, the Lopez Museum not only has artworks, but valuable research aids available to visitors, whether students or professionals.

One last image I'd like you to consider is this piece of imperialistic propaganda, "Uncle Sam: I Didn't Know I Liked Melon So Well" (Judge, July 16, 1898). It depicts the very sort of thing Mark Twain was debating against (yes, Mark Twain was a great friend to the Philippines):

I'm going back - to view Dada Docot's documentary, and to write about it. I did say the Lopez Museum is an intimate viewing space, but there is so much in this exhibit that is worth looking at more closely.

I'm also writing another blog entry on Sari Dalena's film, "Memories of a Forgotten War" next. (Which war, you ask? Why, the Philippine-American War. There was a tragic time at the turn of the old century, when the Filipinos resisted a change in colonial rulers, and suffered greatly. Given our lifestyles today, this is something that many no longer remember, nor choose to remember.)

The Lopez Museum gives us that rare gift, of opening our eyes not only to what is before us, but also to what is around us that is easily taken for granted.

Deleted Scenes runs at the Lopez Museum from November 12, 2009 to January 9, 2010. The Lopez Memorial Museum is at G/F Benpres Building, Exchange Road corner Meralco Ave., Ortigas Center, Pasig City. For more information, you may call them at (632) 631-2417, or email them at

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Auntie & Lilo

Your daily dose of cuteness! Here's a raw video of me and my niece a couple of years ago , taken from the webcam on my Mac.

Auntie & Lilo from Mona Caccam on Vimeo.

Friday, November 13, 2009

The Blessing of the Old Woman, The Tulip and The Dog

The Blessing of the Old Woman, The Tulip and The Dog is an interesting poem by Alicia Suskin Ostriker which can be found here, on Poetry Daily. Click on the photo to go to the poem's link directly. I love its simplicity.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Omnivore Galore

Today a few foodie-related things took place, which cheered me up no end.

My sister's stovetop espresso maker, a single-serve pot, resurfaced after 12 years! She bought the espresso maker, an Italian brand, when she was still single. After she got married it was lost in storage, until we had some major spring cleaning (due to typhoon relief and general de-cluttering). I finally learned how to make espresso - with warnings to keep my eye on the pot, as the process took all of three quick minutes.

Let me tell you, the smell was fantastic. I warmed up some low-fat milk in a Pyrex measuring cup and with the resulting espresso I made my very own latte! And I got a really lovely full- bodied flavor from the espresso, better than if I had used my usual coffee press method! I drink coffee more for pleasure than for the caffeine high, so this morning ritual is perfect for me (now that I wake up early).

My sister returned from Santi's delicatessen before lunch with a huge bag of sundried tomatoes. I can foresee a lot of yummy pasta in our near future!

Later this afternoon, our maid returned from maternity leave. She came from my mom's home town in Negros bearing three products we requested from my uncle: San Enrique rock salt (a really lovely salt for cooking), guinamos (lightly salted fresh tiny shrimp used as a condiment and seasoning for many foods) and batuan (a green fruit the size of a pingpong ball, sour enough to flavor our sinigang).

And this concludes my happy foodie day :) I hope your day has been tasty as well.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Things To Be Thankful For

After a spate of national disasters and personal and professional difficulties, it's about time to be thankful for things (in no particular order):

1) Supportive family members - even though they drive you crazy at times you can't deny having them solidly behind all of our endeavors is a support system that can't be beat.

2) Friends who know when to listen, when to commiserate, when to say nothing, when to whup your ass when you're feeling so sorry for yourself you can't make a move in any direction, and best of all those who know how to make you laugh!!!

3) Having a cute and perky little niece running around the house making me smile because she's the Queen of our Universe.

4) Fountain pens, inks, stationery and snail mail pals. And my FPN-P group who are afflicted with the same madness!

5) TDM who thinks my creative efforts re books and poetry are worth pursuing. Who takes his geekiness and mine and puts them together in a working gadget. One of my inspirations. And for being a rock when I'm feeling like an emotional tsunami.

6) Online means of keeping up with my REAL friends (my classmates, the ones whom I grew up with, who share my interests and hobbies, those who actually reply instead of just forwarding emails, the ones who care about when I've been sick or missing, who pray for me or who just enjoy my real and virtual company, etc. etc. etc.)

7) Books! Blank or full of poetry or fiction. Thanks for keeping my attention engaged and for helping put me to sleep at the prescribed time.

8) Coffee. Tea. Bacon.

9) Music - right now I'm listening to Andrew Strong's soul album, "Out of Time"

10) The fact that my wrist is healed and I can knit again! Whee!!!!

Ten is good for today. There'll be more soon :D Have YOU thought about what to be thankful for? Take the time, adds years to your life.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

A Little Pinoy Humor

My friend Carl dropped by to deliver some fountain pen ink, and to check out where his kids were going to attend Halloween. While we were chatting at the steps of our building, HE notices the business name.
So I whip out my phone cam.

Nothing innocuous about a truck delivering bottled water. Until you enlarge this photo and see that the business name is "Watering Heights". LOL!!! Of course the humor is totally wasted on the bewildered guy making the delivery.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Pacdal Dreaming

I woke up too early today. I then went back to bed holding Jeffrey Steingarten's The Man Who Ate Everything. True enough, I fell asleep after three pages discussing The French Paradox, particularly how red wine could be good for the heart.

I dreamed we were at the house where my dad grew up on Pacdal Road, in Baguio. There was a big reunion and Auntie Caring was serving her famous buko pandan dessert. I was minding three small children, when suddenly Lola Mama walked over and put her arm around me. She was speaking in a mix of schoolteacher English and Ilokano, and then she shoved a USD50 bill into my hand. I was surprised, and straightened up, and behind me there was my dad chatting with my two aunties Lota and Josie. At that moment the air smelled like pine resin, and I looked down at my grandma and smiled. She used to be taller than me, but today I was the taller one. I leaned over to kiss her and smelled her hair that had been brushed with coconut oil. That used to be my job when I came home from school, massaging her hair with coconut oil. I gave her back her money and told her to give it to Auntie Caring instead.

Behind me, Auntie Josie was pink with laughter. Lola Mama had gone to the kitchen.

And then I awoke. In real life this sort of gathering happened only twice - once when the Caccams and the Sisons went on a tour of Northern Luzon, and later, when Lola Mama passed away when I was 16; I hadn't dreamt of her in years. Auntie Lota passed away shortly after that, and Auntie Josie a few years ago. The dream felt like Christmas when I was a kid. The only thing missing was Auntie Josie's cookies.

Saturday, October 17, 2009


Holding your heart to my ear
I slept, and dreamed of swimming in a sea
Salted by sixteen million unnamed living colors.
I reveled in the refracted sunlight, in the
Pleasant, muted low roll of waves.

You’d think sound has no weight
But it does, on the second hand of a clock
Ticking its way to rude, real daylight.
The snooze button is set for a bit more
Time to float around inside my head, enough
Time to surface gently, to slide my heart
From the crook of your arms carefully back
Into its own breast pocket, and my self
Back behind my eyes.

All the sounds of traffic have been
Singing a raucous welcome a while now.
From the mosquito to the barking dog, to the
Frying bacon sputtering in fat, to the neighbor
Sweeping her yard, happily singing off-key,
To the mobile phones of the world. It is Saturday.
There's the pied piper bell of the ice cream man,
And children running, running.

Outside, our butter sun is coaxing leafy
Transformations. My morning voice loses its croak.
You pluck my smile to stir into your cup
Full of the liquid blackness between stars.
The repeated peals of silver against porcelain
Have a satisfying rhythm. You swallow love whole,
Your Adam’s apple bobbing in approval.

Copyright 2009 Mona Caccam
(for TDM, after reading Margaret Atwood)

TED: The Power Of Time Off

NY designer Stefan Sagmeister talks about the value of taking a periodic sabbatical. After every seven years he closes his studio for an entire year and takes off in search of inspiration, a new paradigm and life lessons to bring into the next succeeding years of work.

You think: "Of course he can afford to do it. I can't." Well, standing away from your own work for an hour out of every four pays homage to the idea. In a world where everything seems to be due yesterday, rest and resting the brain still makes sense, only some people make better use of those "free" hours to think of ways to do quality work that only takes two hours instead of four. There are days I am the latter, and there are days I wish I was.

Check out the dog humor - particularly the "walking dog lamp" - and see how a seemingly innocuous image creeps into surreal, self-indulgent projects that in themselves initially don't seem to have commercial value, but are actually a thought process at work.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Flying Inside Your Own Body


by Margaret Atwood

Your lungs fill & spread themselves,
wings of pink blood, and your bones
empty themselves and become hollow.
When you breathe in you'll lift like a balloon
and your heart is light too & huge,
beating with pure joy, pure helium.
The sun's white winds blow through you,
there's nothing above you,
you see the earth now as an oval jewel,
radiant & seablue with love.
It's only in dreams you can do this.
Waking, your heart is a shaken fist,
a fine dust clogs the air you breathe in;
the sun's a hot copper weight pressing straight
down on the thin pink rind of your skull.
It's always the moment just before gunshot.
You try & try to rise but you cannot.


Margaret Atwood speaks the language of my head best. I try to go on anyway.

Other poems by Margaret Atwood here.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Cassava Bibingka

The other day our cook came upon a treasure trove of cassava at the fresh market. She decided to make one of our favorite comfort foods, cassava bibingka. We like this particular recipe because it reminds us of the cassava bibingka we used to buy from the UP Shopping Center from Aling Mary, way back when I was a kid. Aling Mary's bibingka had lots of salty cheese and had a dry-ish topping to counteract the sweetness. We've adjusted the recipe below (our version in parentheses) to reflect that. I'd like to credit the book this recipe came from, but I believe it was photocopied from someone else's recipe book.

Cassava Bibingka by Mariquita Villanueva Adriano (from a photocopy)


3 eggs
2 cups sugar (home version: 1 cup sugar only)
3 cups thick coconut milk
1 cup evaporated milk
7 cups raw cassava, grated
1/4 cup butter, melted
young buko strips (optional)
banana leaves for lining pan (optional)

For the topping:

1 cup thick coconut milk
2 tablespoons flour
1 can condensed milk
2 egg yolks
2 tablespoons grated cheese (or more, to taste. Use salty cheddar or a mix of leftovers.)

Recipe: Serves 12

1. Beat eggs and sugar till lemon colored. Add the rest of the ingredients. Pour into a greased 9" x 9" pan lined with banana leaves. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit / 175 degrees Celsius for 40 minutes.

2. Mix coconut milk with the flour. Add condensed milk and cook over medium heat till thick. Add egg yolks and mix well. Return to heat and cook 5 minutes more. Pour over baked bibingka, sprinkle with grated cheese and broil till golden brown.

I posted this because people asked on Facebook. Enjoy!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Typhoon Survival Kit



Being prepared is always one step towards survival. Here are some things that we think is important to have during times like these. Prepare them beforehand and keep them in a safe place at all times. Better yet, keep them with you, or in an area that is easy to reach and won’t get in the way of raging floods, etc.


  1. Clean drinking water. Good enough for a week. Consider having at least 1 gallon per person.
  2. Other drinks. Consider: juices in packs, carbonated drinks, coffee.
  3. Food. Also good enough for a week. Consider:
    • Snacks that are easy to store and carry (biscuits, cookies)
    • Non-perishable canned food (corned beef, tuna, pork and beans, vienna sausage, etc.)
    • Candies to maintain sugar in body and keep acidity at bay
    • Bread that will last for a few days, for carbo load
    • Instant noodles, if you have the means to cook
    • IMPORTANT: food for babies and the elderly if you have some staying with you
  4. Food utensils.
    • Spoons, forks, knives, paper plates, drinking cups
    • Non-electric can opener
    • Cooking stove and fuel, if possible
    • Plastic bags
  5. Medicines. Consider having medicines for the following:
    • Fever and nausea
    • Coughs and colds
    • Hypertension
    • Diabetes
    • Diarrhea
    • Anti-tetanus
    • Anti-leptospirosis
    • Other prescription drugs that you need to take
  6. First Aid kit. Must contain band-aids, gauze, tweezers, alcohol, antibiotic ointment, hydrogen peroxide, bandage scissors, absorbent dressings, antiseptic wipe packets, cold compress, gloves and thermometer.
  7. Sanitation kit. Make sure that you have tissue wipes, toilet paper, sanitary napkins, diapers.
  8. Toiletries. These include toothpaste, toothbrushes, soap.
  9. Blankets, towels, comforters, pillows. You can put them in large garbage bags to keep from getting wet.
  10. Extra clothes and underwear. Put them in plastic bags to avoid from getting wet. If you can, pack something that will last you for a few days.
  11. Jackets, sweaters, socks, caps. And anything else that will keep you warm and dry.
  12. Emergency lights and flashlights
  13. Fresh batteries. Have reserves for batteries of different sizes, especially for radios and flashlights.
  14. Radio. Must be portable, battery operated, has functional AM station.
  15. Mobile phone. Make sure the battery is fully charged, and that you have a spare one, too, in case of emergency. Also consider walkie-talkies.
  16. Cash. Banks and ATMs might not be available so make sure that you have cash with you.
  17. Keys. Have copies of keys to the front door, back door, garage, car keys, etc.
  18. Items for pets. Consider also having a leash, muzzle, cage and food for your pets.
  19. Umbrellas and tents
  20. Water pails and dippers
  21. Floatation devices like life jackets, styrofoams, old tires, etc.
  22. Rope
  23. Plastic whistles


Many people have died trying to go back for these things, so it’s important that you are well-prepared already at this point in time. Keep these documents in a water-proof container:

  1. Birth certificates
  2. Insurance records
  3. Medical records
  4. SSS, Pag-ibig and Philhealth records
  5. Identification cards
  6. Passports
  7. Bank account numbers and records
  8. Emergency contact numbers
  9. Contact numbers of family, friends and loved ones

It is important that you have an ID with you wherever you go. Also, a list of people to contact in case something happens to you. If you can, put your emergency contacts on speed dial.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

ONDOY FAQ - How To Help

ORIGINAL DATA COMPILED BY Bury Me In This Dress AND Tengalgorhythm. Seen on Carlos Celdran's FB Update. Thank you :)


Rescue Operations

  1. National Disaster Coordinating Council (NDCC) (+632-9125668, +632-9111406, +632-9115061, +632-9122665) Help hotlines: (+65 734-2118, 734-2120)
  2. Philippine Coast Guard (+632-5276136)
  3. Air Force (+63908-1126976, +632-8535023)
  4. Metro Manila Development Authority (136)
  5. Marikina City Rescue (+632-6462436, +632-6462423, +632920-9072902)
  6. Pasig Rescue Emergency Number (+632-6310099)
  7. Quezon City Rescue (161)
  8. San Juan City Hall Command Post (+632-4681697)
  9. Bureau of Fire Protection Region III (Central Luzon) Hotline: (+63245-9634376)
  10. Senator Dick Gordon (+639178997898, +63938-444BOYS, +632-9342118, +632-4338528)
  11. Senator Manny Villar (+639174226800. +639172414864, +639276751981)

Civil Society/ Media

  1. Philippine National Red Cross (143, +632-5270000)
  2. Philippine National Red Cross Rizal Chapter operations center hotline: (+632-6350922, +632-6347824)
  3. Go to GMA Facebook page & post complete addresses and names of people in need of immediate help.
  4. ABS-CBN Typhoon Ondoy Hotline: (+632-4163641)
  5. Jam 88.3: (+632- 6318803) or SMS at JAM (space) 883 (space) your message to 2968
  6. GMA Kapuso Helpline: (+632-9811950-59)

All calls for help, please help us by filling out information here at the Rescue InfoHub Center.

Sahana Disaster Management System needs IT volunteers. Email

Rubber Boat, 4×4 Trucks, Chopper Requests

  1. NCRPO (+632-8383203, +632-8383354)
  2. Private citizens who would like to lend their motor boats for rescue please call emergency nos: +632-9125668, +632-9111406, +632-9122665, +632-9115061)
  3. You can also text (+632917-4226800 or +632927-6751981) for rescue dump trucks.
  4. For those who are able to lend 4×4 trucks for rescue: Please send truck to Greenhills Shoppng Center Unimart Grocery to await deployment, Tel No. (+632920-9072902).
  5. Petron & San Miguel Corporation are lending choppers for rescue operations, call/text: (+632917-8140655) ask for Lydia Ragasa

Power Supply

  • Meralco (+63917-5592824, 16211, +63920-9292824) If you want service cut off to your area to prevent fires and electrocution.

Relief Aid and Donations


Donations of heavy duty flashlights needed for rescue operations in Cainta area. Contact Cielo at (+632918-8824356)

Businesses/ Commercial Establishments

  1. 7-11 Stores – drop off points
  2. Alabang Town Center – drop off goods at the concierge. For inquiries, please call 842-2782 or 772-1860.
  3. Aranaz Stores in Rockwell & Greenbelt is accepting donations of any kind for Payatas communities affected by Ondoy
  4. Aunt Genie’s Breadhouse in Cebu – 1279 Talamban, Cebu City In front of the Talamban Sports Complex – drop off point
  5. Binalot at Greenbelt 1, call Tetchie Bundalian at (+632922-8573277)
  6. Bizroute Solutions(Mon – Sat 11PM to 4PM) Unit 302 Keppel Bldg. Ayala, Cebu call at 416-0495 if you need directions to the drop-off area. Also Lahug Office (Mon – Sat 11PM to 2PM) Unit 201 MIT Bldg. Gorordo Ave., Lahug (near JY Square) Accepting: Canned Goods, Old Clothes, Blankets, Diapers for babies, Noodles, Rice, Medicine, Soap, Toothpaste, Water Container, Iodized Salt
  7. Brainbeam Events, Inc. 2/F MB Aguirre Cornerhs Bldg,15 Pres Ave cor Elizalde Sts, BF Homes Pque across the old Caltex in BF. Will accept relief goods.
  8. Cebu Musicians & Outpost Restobar – drop off of goods. 09082368999 or 09322117111.
  9. Cue Cafe Crossroads CEBUaccepting donations in cash or kind as part of JCI Zugbuana relief ops. Accepting clothes, blankets, towels, underwear, footwear, food and water
  10. Citigym of CEBU – accepting donations in cash or kind as part of JCI Zugbuana relief ops. Accepting clothes, blankets, towels, underwear, footwear, food and water
  11. The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf will be accepting canned goods, water, clothes, blankets, towels, medicine, and emergency supplies (no cash) in all our branches on behalf of the victims of Typhoon Ondoy starting today until Friday. Your generosity will be much appreciated during this difficult time for our brothers and sisters in need.
  12. Every Nation, FORT will accept donations for Red Cross esp. purified water, canned goods, and infant formula. Location @ 32nd St cor University Pkwy across Market Market.
  13. Fantastik Manila – send donations to 5729 Calasanz St. Barangay Olympia Makati City Telephone Numbers 729-0530 or 501-7405
  14. Holiday Gym & Spa Banilad Cebu – Drop-Off center beginning Sunday, September 27. Bring blankets, clothes and canned goods to the front desk/ reception area.
  15. Jollibee branches in Metro Manila – drop off point
  16. Junior Chamber International Manila Baypark Tent, Roxas Blvd. will accept goods starting Monday.
  17. Luca stores (Rockwell, Shang-rila, Eastwood, or GA towers): Send your old clothes & donations (no cash pls).
  18. Manor Superclub, Eastwood City will accept goods and other emergency items starting Sunday at 10 am.
  19. McDonald’s branches in Metro Manila – drop off point
  20. Ministop IBARRA (Espana cor. Blumentritt, Sampaloc Manila) is also accepting relief goods, Food (non-perishable goods only) Clothing, Medicines, Beds, Pillows, Blankets, Emergency Supplies to help Typhoon Ondoy victims.
  21. Moonshine boutique in Rockwell also accepting relief good to help Ondoy victims in Marikina and Cainta.
  22. Myron’s Greenbelt will accept relief goods
  23. Papemelroti stores in 91 Roces Ave. / Ali Mall Cubao / SM City North EDSA / SM Fairview / SM Megamall / Glorietta 3 in Makati / SM Centerpoint / SM Southmall are accepting relief goods (canned goods / milk / bottled water / clothes ? NO CASH pls.)
  24. Philippine Daily Inquirer – 1098 Chino Roces Ave. corner Mascardo and Yague Streets, Makati City and to any of its classified ads branches, and to any McDonald’s branch within Metro Manila. Donations in kind, such as instant noodles, canned goods, formula milk, blankets and clothes, are urgently needed. Call 8978808 loc. 260 and look for Megi Garcia
  25. Petron stations – DSWD drop off points
  26. PowerPlant Mall accepting donations for ABS-CBN foundation. Dropoff at admin office, P1 level.
  27. Red Kimono restaurants – has branches in Pasig, Pampanga, Quezon City and Taguig City. Will accept canned goods, bottled water, clothing for all ages, basic household items.
  28. R.O.X. Recreational Outdoor eXchange is accepting donation for relief good for Typhoon Ondoy victims. You can bring it in the store located in B1 building Bonifacio High St., Tel. No. (+632-8564638/39)
  29. Shell gas stations – drop off point
  30. Smart Wireless Centers – SM Fairview, SM North EDSA, Gateway Mall Cubao, AliMall Cubao, SM Megamall, SM Muntinlupa, SM Bicutan, SM Sucat, Festival Mall Alabang, Alabang Town Center and SM Southmall. Will accept cash or goods.
  31. Sunburst Fried Chicken, Cebu – Tabunok branch will accept donations from 10am to 9:30pm
  32. Total gas stations- drop off point
  33. Team Manila stores in Trinoma, Mall of Asia, Jupiter Bel-Air and Rockwell shall be accepting relief goods (Canned Goods, Ready-to-drink Milk,Bottled Water and Clothes) for distribution by Veritas.
  34. Unimart - will receive all cash and in-kind donations to be transferred to LSGH Gate 2.
  35. Vivere Suites – 5102 Ridgeway Avenue, Fil-Invest Corporate City, Alabang, Muntinlupa City. Contact 771-7777 for inquiries or drop off at concierge area. Will accept relief goods.
  36. Whitespace 2314 Chino Roces Ave Ext as a Makati drop-off for relief goods.
  37. Y101 station, CEBUaccepting donations in cash or kind as part of JCI Zugbuana relief ops. Accepting clothes, blankets, towels, underwear, footwear, food and water

Government/ Civil Society/ Movements

  1. Victory Fort is opening its doors to those affected by the typhoon. Call 813-FORT.
  2. ABS-CBN through Banco de Oro account number 56300-20111 account name: ABS-CBN Foundation Incorporation
  3. Akbayan?s taking donations, call 433-69-33/433-68-31 to donate or volunteer.
  4. Brgy. San Antonio – Bgy Hall near Paranaque City Hall (Sta. Lucia St. corner San Pablo St., San Antonio Valley 1, Paranaque. Drop off point.
  5. Citizens Disaster Response Center (CDRC): Relief goods for typhoon victims being accepted at 72-A Times St., West Triangle, QC. Tel (+632-9299820/22)
  6. Corporate Network for Disaster Reponse bank account no. 0031 0654 02 BPI Ayala Paseo Branch for cash donations
  7. Department of Social Welfare and Development - donation drop off points: National Resource Operations Center, Chapel Road, Pasay City (Contact: Mrs. Francon Favian) / Quezon City Area Disaster Resource Operations Monitoring and Info Center (DROMIC) (Contact Rey Martija or Imee Rose Castillo, Tel Nos. 951-7119, 951-2435 or Assistant Secretary Vilma Cabrera Tel No. 0918-934-5625) / San Rafael corner Legarda Streets, Quiapo, Manila (Contact: Dir. Thelsa P. Biolna, Dir. Delia Bauan Tel Nos. 734-8622, 734-8642)
  8. Sen. Kiko Pangilinan is accepting donations @ AGS Bldg Annex, 446 EDSA Guadalupe Viejo. Contact Vina Vargas at (+632917-8081247)
  9. Kabataan Partylist - Drop off donations or volunteer at 118-B Sct. Rallos QC.
    09266677163 or
  10. Luzon Relief: Donations can be brought to RENAISSANCE FITNESS CENTER, 2nd Floor, Bramante Building, Renaissance Towers Ortigas, Meralco Avenue, Pasig City starting MONDAY (Sept.28) / 9am ? 7pm Contact Person: Warren Habaluyas (+632929-8713488) or email at
  11. Marika Bouncers Coop – 95 Malaya St., Malanday, Marikina : will accept donations starting Sept. 28 at 10 AM
  12. Move for Chiz is asking for volunteers and donations at Bay Park Tent, along Roxas Blvd., beside Max Restaurant and Diamond Hotel in Manila, or at Gilas Minipark at Unang Hakbang St., Gilas Q.C.
  13. NoyMar Relief Operations: Clare Amador (+639285205508) or Jana Vicente at +639285205499). Drop off for relief donations is at Balay Expo Center across Farmers Market Cubao.
  14. Operation Rainbow (Zac Faelnar Camara) at Ayala Alabang Village needs Canned Goods, Ready-To-Eat Food, Bottled Water, Ready-To-Drink Milk/ Juice, Clothing, Blankets, contact (+632-4687991)
  15. Philippine Army Gym inside Fort Bonifacio or GHQ Gym in Camp Aguinaldo are now distributing donations for Ondoy Victims.
  16. Philippine National Red Cross different ways to Donate.
  17. Red Cross Load Donations: Right now the easiest way to make donations from the seat of your chair is via mobile phone load. The Red Cross Rescue and Relief Operations. Text: REDAMOUNT to 2899 (Globe) or 4483 (Smart)
  18. Relief Efforts for Pasig at Valle Verde 1 Village Park, contact (+632916-4945000, +632917-5273616)
  19. Relief Operations Center at AGS Annex, #446 EDSA Guadalupe Viejo after PET Tower contact Ares at 0917.855.4935 or Rachel at 0918.924.1636
  20. Sagip Kapamilya hotlines (+632-4132667, +632-4160387) #13 Examiner St. West Triangle, QC. and Scout Mayoran, cor. Morato, near Alex III.
  21. Tulong Bayan hotlines for donations and volunteers are (+632908-6579998) Marilyn, (+632939-3633436) Jenn (+632-9137122, +632-9136254 & +632-9133306).
  22. TXTPower now accepts donations via SmartMoney 5577514418667103, GCash 09179751092 and Paypal
  23. World Vision partners with Phil Coast Guard and kind individuals for relief distribution to 3k families. Call (+632-3747618 local 242) or text (+632917-8623209) to help.
  24. Worldvision Foundation is also accepting donations/volunteers to pack relief goods in QC. For $-donations, BPI:USDacct #4254-0050-08

Religious/ Schools & Universities

  1. Assumption College San Lorenzo is now accepting donations. Please drop them off at the AC guardhouse.
  2. Ateneo de Manila University is now accepting donations for the victims of Ondoy. Donations can be dropped at MVP Lobby. For those stranded/those who need help: To all students who need help or know of people who need help. Please text the name, location, and contact number to (+6329088877166). ATENEO, which is now an open shelter, accepts refugees. Call (+632917-8952792)
  3. Ateneo Law School – Rockwell. Looking for donations and volunteers. 20 Rockwell Drive, Rockwell Center, Makati City. Call 899-7691 to 96.
  4. Banilad Church of Christ, Cebubldg in front of Bright Academy near Sto. Nino Village), Mon-Fri 9am-5pm. Donations drop off.
  5. Caritas Manila Office at Jesus St., Pandacan Manila near Nagtahan Bridge (+632-5639298, +632-5639308)
  6. CCF St Francis Mall, Ortigas is now accepting goods for donation.
  7. CFC Center Ortigas is now open for donations in cash or kind. Call (+632-7270682 to 87) or text (+632922-2542819)
  8. De La Salle University-Manila – The Sagip Metro relief operation will start to accept donation for Ondoy victims starting Monday @ 8:30 am. Please bring goods to the South Gate of DLSU-Manila.
  9. De La Salle Zobel will be accepting donations tomorrow at Gym 5 (Near Gate 7 in Molave St.)
  10. DLSU Medical Center will accept canned goods, blankets, clothes, water. Location is at Congressional Avenue, Dasmarinas, Cavite. Telephone lines are at(02) 844-7832 and (046) 416-4531
  11. Hillsborough Village Chapel ? Water, blankets, shoes, and clothes may be sent to Hillsborough Village Chapel in Muntinlupa City. These will go to families whose houses were washed out in the nearby sitios.
  12. La Salle Greenhills for Greenhills/Mandaluyong/San Juan Area, if you want to help out with the rescue and relief operations, you can drop off your donations (clothes, food, etc..) at LSGH Gate 2 or volunteer from 9am to receive, sort, repack the donations.
  13. Our Lady of Pentecost Parish (+632-4342397, +632-9290665) per Gabe Mercado, donations are very much welcome. The Parish is located at 12 F. Dela Rosa corner C. Salvador Sts., Loyola Heights, Quezon City.
  14. Peace Retreat Movement – leave all donations at the Peace Retreat Movement (PRM) office, 2F, Rm. 72L, Christ the King (HS) Bldg. on Wednesday, Sept 30, 12noon
  15. Playschool International in Better Living is open to receive relief goods. Feel free to drop it there for your convenience. No Cash Pls.
  16. Radio Veritas at Veritas Tower West Ave. Cor EDSA (+632-9257931-40)
  17. San Beda College of Arts and Sciences Student Council – accepting clothes, meds, water, canned goods, soap, money, etc.
  18. Santuario de San Antonio Parish – McKinley Road, Forbes Park. Accepting all kinds of relief goods. Contact JJ Yulo or Mike Yuson
  19. Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan Task Force Noah, a disaster response arm of the Jesuits, is accepting donations. Please drop it off sa Ateneo Cervini Dorm.
  20. Southville International School and Colleges – will only accept goods. 09155385113 / 09154151319
  21. St. James Church Multi-Purpose Hall – Drop off point
  22. St. Pedro Poveda College is now accepting relief goods. call the Social Action Center 6318756 loc. 121
  23. UA&P Please contact Dae Lee [SEB EVP] @ 09178323533 needs donations and volunteers.
  24. UP Sigma Alpha Nu Sorority MANILA – collecting food, water and toiletries. You may drop them off at unit 12-O One Adriatico Place, Ermita Manila or contact 0917 -8857188 or 0917-6659948.
  25. UP College of Arts and Letters (CAL) is accepting goods and cash. Donation center at CAL/text 0929-6454102.
  26. UP Diliman USC is collecting food, clothing and/or cash. Contact TITUS 09178001909, JOSE 09273056607 and TIN 09154906106
  27. Katipunan Avenue. Contact Erica Paredes at (+632917-4741930) ? they need bread, packed juice, sandwich filling (tuna, chicken, anything) You can help her make them, deliver the sandwiches to her house, or help her distribute! Call for more details.
  28. Valle Verde Mansions – 135 CAPT. HENRY JAVIER ST. BRGY. ORANBO, PASIG. This is near ULTRA for relief drop-off
  29. Xavier School in San Juan is now accepting donations, please bring to Multipurpose Center (MPC).

Private Citizens

  1. MAKATI: 5729 Calasanz St., Olympia Makati City or call for pick up at (+632-5017405 or +632-7290530) c/o Omel Santos
  2. SOUTH: Accepting relief goods in SOUTH AREA. Please contact Anne at (+632915-2854240)
  3. Karen Ang of Pasig (that’s me)
    3 Kagandahan corner Kabutihan Streets, Kawilihan Village, Pasig
    Will forward donated relief goods to Red Cross
  4. Miriam Quiambao drop off point: One Orchard Road Building in Eastwood, or message for more details.
  5. Colleen Manabat (Heartrio Prints) of Angeles City- will accept bottled water, canned goods, blankets, clothes, medicines from 9 AM to 6PM. Address is Stall 2 MGY Building, 2444 Sto. Entierro St, Sto. Cristo, Angeles City. She will forward the donations to Sagip Kapamilya – ABS-CBN Foundation.
  6. Joseph Castillo of Cebu – will send a 20 ft. container to Manila and is looking for donations from Cebuanos. Get in touch with him through 09082368999 or 09322117111
  7. Bianca – will pick up donations from Greenhills/San Juan area. Donate food, medicine, or clothing. Call 4123861/ 09278436002
  8. Kelly & Jodge – Colonade Residences, Legaspi St. corner C. Palanca, Makati City. Will accept relief goods.
  9. Omel Santos – 5729 Calasanz St., Olympia Makati City. Call (+632-5017405 or +632-7290530). Drop off point for donations. Also willing to pick up.
  10. RJ Ledesma and friends – call us at 09178131601 for pick of donations. Only relief goods

People Tracker (using your phones, get your friends and family to turn on their finderservice for you)

  • FINDERSERVICE. For Smart, text wis to 386.
  • FINDERSERVICE. For Globe, text find to 7000.


  1. SMS: text RED to 2899 (Globe) and 4483 (Smart)
  2. G-Cash: text DONATEAMOUNT4-digit M-PINREDCROSS to 2882
  3. Paypal, Smart Money (5577-5144-1866-7103), G-Cash (0917-9751092)

Philippine National Red Cross

  1. Please send cash or check donations to the PNRC National Headquarters in Manila. Checks should be made payable to The Philippine National Red Cross. They can arrange for donation pick-up.
  2. METROBANK Port Area Branch
    Peso Acct.: 151-3-041-63122-8
    Dollar Acct.: 151-2-151-00218-2
    Type of Acct. : SAVINGS
    Swift Code: MBTC PH MM
  3. BANK OF THE PHIL. ISLANDS Port Area Branch
    Peso Acct.: 4991-0010-99
    Type of Account: CURRENT
    Dollar Acct.: 8114-0030-94
    Type of Account: SAVINGS
    Swift Code: BOPI PH MM

Note: For your donations to be properly acknowledged, please fax the bank transaction slip at nos. +63.2.527.0575 or +63.2.404.0979 with your name, address and contact number.

For Credit Cards: Please fax the following info to +632.404.09.79 and +632.527.0575: Name of card member, billing address, contact nos. (phone & mobile), credit card no., expiration date, CCV2/ CVC2 (last three digits at the back of the credit card), billing address, amount to be donated. For online donations you may also visit our website at .

Most urgent needs

  • Food items: Rice, noodles, canned goods, sugar, iodized salt, cooking oil, monggo beans and potable water
  • Medicines: Paracetamol, antibiotics, analgesic, oral rehydration salts, multivitamins and medications to treat diarrheal diseases
  • Non-food items: Bath soaps, face towels, shampoo, toothbrush, toothpaste, plastic mats, blankets, mosquito nets, jerry cans, water containers, water purification tablets, plastic sheetings, and Laundry soap


  • has set up a paypal account for donations. Your money will be forwarded to Red Cross.
  • Kapuso Foundation is also accepting credit card donations.
    2/F GMA Kapuso Center
    Samar St. cor. 11th Jamboree St. Diliman, Quezon City
    Call 9827777 loc. 9901/9904/9905.
    accepts relief goods and cash
  • account for Philippine Jesuits – you can use your CREDIT CARD and donate ONLINE. Go to On the line “I would like to donate to:”, write “xs4ondoy“.

In Kind donations

  • LOCAL: Please send in-kind local donations to The Philippine National Red Cross ? National Headquarters in Manila. They could also arrange for donation pick-up.
    1. Send a letter of intent to donate to the PNRC
    2. A letter of acceptance from PNRC shall be sent back to the donor
    3. Immediately after shipping the goods, please send the (a) original Deed of Donation, (b) copy of packing list and (c) original Airway Bill for air shipments or Bill of Lading for sea shipments to The Philippine National Red Cross National Headquarters c/o Secretary General Corazon Alma de Leon, Bonifacio Drive, Port Area, Manila 2803, Philippines.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The Elegant Universe

The Elegant Universe, a PBS site, shows author Brian Greene discussing String Theory and a Theory of Everything. Click on the image, it links to the list of videos. It's a joy to watch when you're in a geeky sort of mood. It helps that he's kinda cute.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Marvel-Twisted Disney Princesses

The faster the mashup gets popular, the quicker the artworks appear! Or at least, appear to us mere mortals. Jeftoons at Deviantart has an entire gallery of reimagined Disney princesses. Check them all out, he gives good back story! The image below is my favorite.

If Chito Limson didn't start posting about Marvel-Disney merges in Facebook, I never would have known. Thanks to Tatcee M. on Plurk for the Twisted Princess link she reposted from another friend.

[Note: Had to edit image size to fit template. Apologies for the odd frame, Jeftoons!]

Friday, August 28, 2009

Pass The Reproductive Health Bill NOW

Reposting this, from Carlos Celdran (in Filipino):

Yes, Lea Salonga supports it too. If you would like to support this campaign, you can repost this video in your blog or social networks. Thank you.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

A Name, Eight Birds and Some Stamps

Photo: 1982 issue Philippine stamp for 30 centavos (sentimos), documented online here.

My childhood nickname refers to a fruit dove. Which particular species, I wondered? According to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, this document identifies 4 different species as "Punay" on p. 66. There are also other pigeons that go by the same name. Which one was I named after?

It might be Treron formosae filipinus, or the Whistling Green-Pigeon, once hunted as food fowl. Here is a photo of the Japanese species, as I can't find a local photo. Here is another, clearer side view photo, from, publisher of the Mangoverde World Bird Guide.

Photo: Treron formosae (Japan). Screen capture from this birdwatching site, with detailed descriptions.

Or it may be Ptilinopus marchei, the Flame-Breasted Fruit Dove / Marche's Fruit Dove.

Photo: Ptilinopus marchei. Screen capture from British Oriental bird specialist Desmond Allen's video originally posted here.

Or it may be Ptilinopus merrilli, the Cream-Bellied Fruit Dove or Merrill's Fruit Dove. Here's another screen capture from Desmond Allen's video.

Could it be, perhaps, Ptilinopus arcanus, the Negros Fruit-Dove? (See illustration below.) My mother is from Negros. There are no extant photos of this bird. The last documented sighting was a female specimen collected in 1953, unless you count this site's claim that "local contact Rene Vendiola sighted a Negros Fruit-Dove last year" (2002). International birder Sander Lagerveld reported to Oriental Birding that "the male Negros Fruit-Dove reportedly looks like a miniature Yellow-breasted Fruit-Dove." (Clicking on Lagerveld's name leads you to his 3-part Philippine bird tour report, complete with maps and local contact info!) In the meantime, here is an attractive illustration of that female bird, from

There's also Ptilinopus leclancheri, or the Black-Chinned Fruit-Dove. If you notice I'm posting another screen cap from Desmond Allen's video - it's because his videos are so very clear and show excellent frontal views in good light. However the "black chin" is not very apparent until you look more closely. Please also check out this excellent photo, from the gallery of photographer Romy Ocon. Here is another, by Mark Harper. There is a 2008 issue stamp! Look for it here.

How about the Treron pompadora, or Pompadour Green Pigeon / Philippine Green Pigeon? Here is a very clear photo by Romy Ocon, and another by J.P. Carino. This, happily, has a population that is not as threatened or endangered as the others.

And lastly, there are the bleeding-heart birds. The Luzon Bleeding Heart, Gallicolumba luzonica rubiventris, is called Punay. This is such a beautiful bird, check out this fantastic photo by Ken Ilio. The Mindoro Bleeding Heart, Gallicolumba platenei, is also called Punay. Unfortunately I have not found a photo of the bird at this time.

It appears that Punay is the local name given to some smaller varieties of fruit dove, green pigeon or bleeding-heart pigeon. Many of the birds listed here are threatened species.

As of this writing I want to look for the stamps featuring the Punay doves. (Wild Bird Club of the Philippines) is a wonderful site promoting local and provincial birdwatching activities. It also offers a downloadable taxonomic list of scientific and common names, among other great references..

There are a good number of Philippine bird references in print, or that you can Google for, if you would like to know more. I'll list them in a later blog, together with a list of links to local birdwatching groups and information sites online.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Attenborough and the Flying Squirrel

In the late 70s, little girls usually stayed in school until their parents came to fetch them. They would play Chinese garter/jump-rope games, patintero (a kind of tag) and show each other the contents of their Hello Kitty pencil cases. My mom the Biology professor didn't fetch me, because I was old enough to go home by myself. We also happened to live only four blocks away.

Walking home was fun, more fun than walking to school in the morning. I learned which flowers, when picked, had sweet dew in them that children sucked (I don't know the names, but it was a red trumpet flower that grew in a bush on the way home). I learned which hedges were the likely hiding places for pet spiders. On certain days, I practically ran home, because Sir David Attenborough's BBC series Life On Earth would be showing on Channel 9. Or it might be Jacques Cousteau, sharing yet another inner space adventure from his famous vessel The Calypso. These two are the heroes of my imagination.

The other day I read in print and online news about Nepenthes attenboroughii, a newly discovered species of rat-eating giant pitcher plant unique to the Philippines. The rare pitcher plant was found on the island of Palawan, one of our last natural frontiers. The species was named by its discoverers after Attenborough, as a gesture of thanks for his lifelong career as a natural history filmmaker for the BBC. His Life series (Life on Earth, The Living Planet, The Trials of Life) spanned from 1979 to 1990, which was most of my life in school!

One summer I was working as a student assistant at the UP Zoology Dept. where my mother was assistant to the Department Head. She gave an exam for Natural Science 3 and asked me to proctor while she lectured in the next room. One of the exam sections covered parallel evolution. She had two columns listing animals, and instructed students to match scientifically unrelated animals that evolved similar physical characteristics, and to name the characteristic they shared. The ones who'd listened to the lectures and read books had no problems answering the questions.

One guy, not particularly known for his studiousness, raised his hand. "Miss, er, can you explain the two-column thing again?" I explained it according to the script my mother gave me, without giving too many of the answers away. Then it transpired that he had no clue what some animals listed looked like. Obviously he didn't study. A bit exasperated, I said, "My goodness, many of the answers were on tv last week! Don't you watch Life on Earth with David Attenborough? If you watched that show you would be able to answer this entire exam." While most of the class started giggling, many of the other students had their "Aha!" moment right after that remark and scrambled to make up for lost time. The episode I was talking about showed and discussed the similarities between a bat and a flying squirrel.

The guy who didn't study was (I think) the same guy who later used brilliantine pomade to protect his hands while dissecting a cat in my mother's class for Comparative Anatomy. Eventually I believe he became a doctor. Now that I look back on it all I want to laugh at how prissy and supercilious I was as a proctor. It didn't occur to me that other kids preferred to spend their afternoons doing things other than watching BBC nature documentaries. But I loved it then, the way I love the Discovery Channel and the National Geographic Channel now. In fact one day I want to order the Attenborough videos.

So now the Philippines has a link to David Attenborough. Jacques Cousteau has a link with the Philippines, too - the Calypso docked here in the early 1990s when Cousteau was investigating an underwater cave system in Palawan, before sinking in a storm off Singapore in 1996. Imagine, two of my TV heroes, both linked to the country via Palawan. How cool is that? My sister, our friends and I mourned when Cousteau passed away in 1997. We had decided to learn scuba diving because of him. I no longer dive, but I still enjoy snorkelling. The oceans still hold much fascination for me.

When I close my eyes I can see David Attenborough's wildly windswept hair, and I can hear his voice, cultured yet emphatic. He'd probably be walking on the beach in his chinos, barefoot, pointing at a horseshoe crab and examining the undersides, comparing it to trilobites. Goodness, he must be in his mid-80s now. Today we have a crop of extreme adventurer-naturalists, whom I think owe their inspiration in some part to his filmmaking. They're very entertaining right enough, but sometimes I do look for an enthusiastic but contemplative commentary from a naturalist who lets Nature be the star instead.