Archive for JJ Duque

Philippine Entertainment: Philippine Movies Now Available At Facebook

Posted in All About The Philippines, Philippine Entertainment with tags , , , , , , , on November 8, 2011 by JJ Duque

Just One Of Many Movies Available On Facebook

The popular mobile Internet messenger company Chikka is launching Chikka Cine via Facebook.

This service which links up social media and cinematic entertainment will provide Filipino Facebook users in North America the privilege to watch mainstream Filipino movies. This means no more missed shows because of location concerns.

With Chikka teaming-up with new company Mav Shack, the movie streaming feature gets a thrilling start with two recent blockbusters, namely, “In Your Eyes” and “Petrang Kabayo” up for screening. Facebook users can avail of this by simply hitting the “Like” button on Mav Shack’s Page.

The new media service offering will be free for the entire month of November. Both movies that respectively star multi-awarded actress Anne Curtis and current sensation Vice Ganda, belong to the talent stable of Viva Films, with which Mav Shack has tied up.

With the movie streaming over the USA and Canada territories, OFWs, Fil-Ams and Fil-Canadians in the region would “feel at home” with Chikka Cine’s entertainment offerings. As a bonus, viewers of the said movies would be instant participants in a raffle. Two winners get round trip tickets to the Philippines, including all-expense paid weekend to island paradise Boracay.

Chikka, which recently produced Chikka Live – a live video streaming service innovation that captivated thousands of viewers worldwide, is now available in multiple formats and browsers on all personal computers and handheld devices.

By developing fresh content that fuses social media, Chikka, as an instant messaging innovator, continuously helps its telco partners adapt to the new digital environment via more utilities for new-generation users.

Mav Shack, on the other hand, is an over-the-top service online that streams content such as movies, radio programs, and concerts over the Internet. Its service is available on desktops via its URL mavshack.com and Facebook page. A new application/widget will soon be ready for subscribers to see the selected movies from Smart Phones supported by Android and iOS, like iPhone and iPad.

While those films are already available, subscribers can expect more Filipino flicks from Viva Films through Chikka Cine and Mav Shack.

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San Miguel Beer Consumer Report

Posted in All About The Philippines, Duke420 Articles, Philippine News with tags , on November 1, 2011 by JJ Duque

I am currently 40 years old, and I have been consuming San Miguel Beer products for over 20 years. I bought my first few cases of SMB Pale Pilsen at my 15th year old birthday party, and have been consistently been drinking beer since then.

At first, I used to drink every weekend on Friday and Saturday nights, and maybe the occasional Sunday afternoon.  When I got into college at age 18, I began drinking San Miguel Beer on a near daily basis. And not just one bottle, but averaging around 8 to 10 bottles per day.

In the 90’s, Student organizations I was involved with in UP Diliman held events which featured San Miguel Beer. There was Upsilon Sigma Phi’s Polo-Singan event which featured smorgasbord of free beer and a Side-A concert at the Manila Polo Club. Then, there was UP JMA’s Heaven’s Door which was the first concert held at the Megatrade Hall. That time, you could see us lugging cases of beer from the grocery up the escalators. And there are still more events I’ve organized and attended, and always with a San Miguel beer in my hand to celebrate.

After college, San Miguel Beer and its by-products like Super Dry, Blue Ice (remember?), Red Horse, Cerveza Negra and San Mig Light have all passed through my palate and have contributed to my not-so-sexy but huggable beer belly. My choice for drinking San Miguel after all these years is based on a simple fact – there was no other beer around. Even with the current advent of imported beers like Coors, Budweiser, Stella Artois, Corona, Heineken, or even with the rise of competition from local beers like Colt45 of Asia Brewery – San Miguel Beer has still remained a favorite. It’s just something that I’m used to and certainly will not be disappointed with. In fact, I consider San Miguel Beer like an old friend.

As an old friend, I have been kind to San Miguel Beer. I have given him so much money over a decade or so.  At a rough average of P500 per week, or P26,000 a year for more than 10 years – well, that’s a lot of money. I’ve never really found the need to ask for anything in return. On its own, San Miguel Beer is fulfilling enough to provide a nice intoxication, a proud beer belly, and memorable moments celebrating with friends, and even in crying with friends.

But now – I do have something to ask from San Miguel.

I would like to ask San Miguel to stop advertising their beer, and instead spend their advertising budget for other worthwhile projects. San Miguel Beer does not need to spend millions upon millions on celebrity endorsements for their Christmas ads. San Miguel Beer does not need to spend useless expense for TVC slots, billboard ads, print ads or merchandising. Well – merchandising maybe.

San Miguel Beer is at the top of the beer food chain in the country, and even if they stopped advertising altogether for one year – they would probably increase their profits due to unnecessary advertising spending. Every day – all over the country – people drink San Miguel Beer (and their co-products). Whether they are sad or celebrating, SMB is on the menu. SMB can be found in almost every major store, grocery, restaurant, bar and sari-sari store. Their sales will never ever suffer because they are the number one demand in their market.

With that being said – I would wish for San Miguel Beer to focus on eliminating poverty by diverting advertising expense into socially responsible programs and projects. They can provide housing programs of their own without the need to tie up with NGOs. I’m not certain what other socially responsible programs San Miguel Beer engages in, but I’m very sure that they give support to charities and foundations, and do their best in actively pursuing their civic duties. However, imagine if the budget was bigger because they would divert advertising funds they don’t need.

But apart from San Miguel, all companies and products with a monopoly of sorts should also end all their ad campaigns. Smart and Globe need not spend on advertising because every day their product is used. They don’t need celebrity endorsements that cost millions, and they don’t need billboard ads or print ads. Because of their technology, they can directly send promotion packages and special offers direct to their customers. Text text lang iyan.

Anyway – cheers to San Miguel Beer. I just bought a case of Pale Pilsen in cans to fill my ref. And as an avid consumer for over 20 years. Please consider my humble advice.

Thank you.

Philippine Events: Rogue Magazine’s Black Tie Brawl Was A Knockout

Posted in All About The Philippines, Duke420 Articles, Philippine Events, Philippine News, Philippines Sports with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 28, 2009 by JJ Duque

For anyone who knows me – you know that I’m a jeans, t-shirt and sneakers kinda guy. I prefer to dress comfortably lest I be labeled as a metrosexual. Not that I have anything against metrosexuals, but I just enjoy the anonymity of regular citizen fashion as opposed to the semi-flashy casual-collared and leather-shoed wear.

However, I can dress for the occasion as need be, and do adhere to the strict dress codes, although my gift of gab and fine reputation does allow me to bend the rules to my favor at times – like say, getting into Establishment with a pair of sneakers when the place calls for more appropriate footwear.

Anywho – when Rogue Magazine’s Managing Director Katrina Tuason extended an invitation to attend the Black Tie Brawl at the Renaissance Hotel ballroom, she insisted that it’s strictly formal attire. She knew I loved my jeans and tee look, but she kept texting me constant reminders – “Don’t forget it’s formal, and you’re sitting on my table.” Aaaahh – the pressure to not embarrass my ‘date’.

I went deep into my closet to raise my formal wear from the dead, found my tux shirt, the bow tie (damn, I haven’t tied this in 10 years!) and brought out the sleek black Cashmere suit. The last time I donned a tuxedo was in the United States more than a decade ago. You hardly wear a tux in the Philippines, or maybe I just don’t get invited enough to parties where you could wear a tux. And well – the transformation from plain Joe to Joe Black was quite a change indeed.

“Wow, JJ! You look like James Bond.”

“Huh? James Bond? Excuse me, I’m Bruce Wayne. I’m a brat billionaire, and don’t need government to pay for my gadgets.”

I arrived an hour past the 7pm call time just right in time for the table seating. I doubled-down on the Maker’s Mark Kentucky bourbon whiskey to catch up, and eventually made my way to my seat beside Rogue Magazine Editor-in-Chief Jose Mari Ugarte, his lovely wife and ExcelAsia CEO Rita Trillo-Ugarte, Design Editor Miguel Mari and his better-half Managing Editor Carmela Lopa, photographer Mark Nicdao, Rogue covergirl Angel Locsin and her pretty friend, whose eyes left an impression, but sadly her name escapes me.

Our table was just right behind the judges and committee panel of executives from the Games and Amusement Board (GAB) and just an arm’s length away from the ring. Really up close and personal with the possibility of blood, sweat and tears splattering on the Mustard Crusted Beef Tenderloin in Whiskey Pepper Sauce. (Kudos, to Renaissance Hotel Restaurant Director Javi Berenguer-Testa)

Razorback opened the festivities with a rocking version of the Philippine National Anthem, followed by a rude awakening of Voodoo Who Do?. Then, the ring girls were introduced – Rogue cover girls Sanya Smith, Ornusssa Cadness and Rogue mannequin Mia Ayesa – and the heat factor in the Renaissance ballroom making things a little sweaty under the bow tie.

Without further delays – MC Boyet Sison gave the lowdown on the rules, and got the fights underway. Eight bloody bouts from Pinweight to Heavyweight with a main event Flyweight championship were listed on the card, organized by URCC big boss Alvin Aguilar.

Charlie Angel Kicks Alvin Ramirez At The Rogue Black Tie Brawl

Charlie Angel Kicks Alvin Ramirez At The Rogue Black Tie Brawl

Large quantities of Maker’s Mark makes it hard to remember who beat who right now, but there was a submission by rear-naked choke, there was a KO induced by a flying knee to the face, there was a TKO by strikes.

I do recall going 3-0 on my picks for the first three fight. I recall cheering on Charlie Angel to beat Alvin Ramirez, just because we had an Angel (Locsin) on our table and because if you added an S to his name, he would be Charlie’s Angels. Of course, the Angel won.

Then, the Kentucky bourbon hit hard when I got depressed when Bimbe Perez of my home gym Elorde MMA was outclassed and eventually submitted by Eric Kelly of Yaw Yan Ardigma. That kept me quiet from jeering (as opposed to cheering.)

The Flyweight championship main event went the full two ten-minute rounds, and even needed an extra five-minute tie breaker as challenger Jilmar “Stonecold” Tangayan of Cenojas MMA and Kevin “The Silencer” Belingon of Lakay Wushu went all-out toe-to-toe with URCC Flyweight champion Kevin Belingon eventually retaining his title.

The after party at Cinna Bar of the Renaisssance Hotel was equally festive. Single malt crazy with The Macallan. Got KOed myself when I hit the sack at dawn. (I don’t recall if the sack hit me back).

That same morning, the remnants of Bruce Wayne were ready for the dry-cleaners, and hopefully it wouldn’t take a decade to unearth again.

Oh wait – for sure, in next year’s Rogue’s Black Tie Brawl.

Philippine Current Events: DSWD Clarifies Hoarding Rumors and Welcomes Volunteers

Posted in All About The Philippines, Duke420 Articles, Philippine Current Events with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 26, 2009 by JJ Duque

Last Friday (Oct. 23, 2009 ), the Philippine internet network went abuzz with alleged reports that the DSWD was hoarding international relief good donations. Apparently, a blogger named Ella (ellaganda.com) who volunteered to repack goods for the DSWD gave reports that the DSWD had a warehouse full of relief supplies that were not being distributed with the utmost urgency, and that there were not enough volunteers to go repack the goods.

This news circulated in the internet, particularly in Facebook, and many Filipino netizens and Facebook users reposted Ella’s report. Of course, many of these Facebook users vented their frustrations at the DSWD, and the media went to verify these reports.

Eventually, DSWD Secretary Esperanza Cabral defended the accusations lashed against her department. According to Esperanza Cabral, the relief goods found at the warehouse had yet to undergo an inventory check, and yes – the DSWD was short on volunteers to handle the huge inventory.

Since the situation escalated to this level, DSWD Esperanza Cabral took the initiative to get in touch with Gang Badoy of Rock Ed Philippines (www.rockedphilippines.org), and also one of those who reposted Ella’s recount on her blog. Esperanza Cabral invited Gang Badoy to come up with volunteers that she would accommodate to help repack these relief goods.

Gang Badoy, Founder of Rock Ed Philippines

Gang Badoy, Founder of Rock Ed Philippines

According to Gang Badoy, DSWD Secretary Esperanza Cabral agreed for Rock Ed Philippines to come up with a group of 50 volunteers per day to work at the 3pm-11pm shift from Monday to Friday. Altough the DSWD is working 24 hours a day to consolidate relief packing efforts, they have agreed to block a shift to accommodate private citizen volunteers (such as the Rock Ed Philippines NGO).

On a personal note – I suppose this is their manner to quell down the infuriated mob of Facebook users, and also to allow other volunteers to bare witness to the operations of the DSWD, so that they may be made aware before they past judgement as they had when they made a barrage re-posting that Friday of the alleged DSWD hoarding rumors.

Anyway, for those who want to volunteer for the DSWD and get a chance to see their warehouse full of relief goods, then just fill up the volunteer sign-up sheet by clicking on this link.

Lastly, I would like to thank Sandy Cabral (daughter of Esperanza Cabral) for getting in touch with me to make sure that the rumors regarding the alleged DSWD hoarding where first looked into before the unconfirmed news was sent out to Facebook. I won’t apologize for re-posting on the Philippines Fun Wall about Ella’s account. In fact, if this hadn’t happened, then I believe there wouldn’t be any focus on the DSWD and their efforts, adn the help that they so desperately need.

Dam If You Do, Dam If You Don’t

Posted in All About The Philippines, Duke420 Articles, Philippine News with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on October 12, 2009 by JJ Duque

The militant group Bayan said that National Disaster Coordinating Council chief and Secretary of Defense Gilbert Teodoro should also be held accountable for the flooding in Pangasinan.

Bayan chairperson Dr. Carol Araullo said, “Teodoro is as accountable as the dam executives. At the minimum, he should have promptly coordinated the timing and volume of the release [of water from San Roque dam] with the possible evacuation of residents and other preparations needed by the affected towns of Pangasinan.”

“It is appaling that he [Teodoro] is clueless on data as basic as the amount of water released by the San Roque Dam,” she added.

The San Roque dam’s critical level is at 290 meters above sea level. Based on available data, water levels already spiked as early as October 4 and continued to rise until October 9. Data from the weather bureau’s website showed that the water levels jumped from 281 meters to 284 meters above see level as early as October 4, and moved up to 289.1 meters from October 6 to October 9.

Had this data been diligently studied, and presented as a serious concern, then an earlier release of water may have brought down the water levels without having it reach the near critical water level of 290 meters. Also, if this information was already available on October 4, then perhaps Pangasinan residents could have been warned and informed for plans to release water from the dam.

At the very least, the effects of the release of so much water from the San Roque dam could’ve been looked into, and preparations could’ve been made to prevent the serious flooding it brought to Pangasinan, which left 80% of the province flooded and underwater. Coupled with the devastating winds and rains brought by typhoon Parma (typhoon Pepeng here in the Philippines), it is no wonder that the consequences were disastrous.

Water Released From San Roque Dam Responsible For Floods Around Rosales Town in Pangasinan Province

Water Released From San Roque Dam Responsible For Floods Around Rosales Town in Pangasinan Province

A similar situation also presented itself during tropical storm Ketsana (Ondoy here in the Philippines), wherein the water levels at the Angat Dam in Bulacan almost reached the critical level of 216 meters above sea level, and had to release its water in the midst of the tropical storm. Some have suggested that the release by the Angat Dam is what is responsibled for the flashfloods that ravaged and killed several people in the province of Bulacan, which includes Meycauayan City and in the towns of Marilao, Bocaue and Sta. Maria.

Of course, while it is necessary for the dams to open their spillways to prevent reaching a critical level where the dam could burst, the big complaint of citizens and a group like Bayan is that there were no announcements made by dam officials about the release of the water.

Malabon City police officer Rommel Habig, whose home was flooded during Ondoy, blames the negligent release of water from the Angat Dam as the cause of the massive flooding.

“There would have been enough time for the people to do what was necessary, if only they [dam officials] made an announcement earlier that the spillways would be opened,” said Habig.

“They issued an advisory only after the flashflood,” he claimed.

Personally,  I feel that dam officials should be accountable for their negligence in not informing the proper authorities about the critical state of the water levels, and not informing the public (especially the citizens who might be affected by the dam release) that the dam would release water.

Lives could’ve been saved and preparations could have been put into place to prevent such a disaster. While the dam officials may have saved the dam from bursting, and causing even more damage, their lack of foresight and initiative to inform those who might be affected is plain irresponsible. Their responsibility to protect the dam and prevent it from bursting should also include a responsibility to protect the citizens who might suffer when the water is relesed.

At the very least, someone should make a public notice, so that a boy might know to avoid swimming in the river because the currents would be stronger. However, without any warning issued by dam officials – the consequences have been very fatal indeed.

Philippines Current Events: Coordinating Disaster Is A Disaster For National Disaster Coordinating Councild

Posted in All About The Philippines, Duke420 Articles, Philippine Current Events, Philippine News with tags , , , , , , , , , , on September 27, 2009 by JJ Duque

I don’t like the National Disaster Coordinating Council of the Philippines. Simply because they lack COORDINATION! It’s a given that Ondoy has brought so much damage to property, to homes, and not to mention the thousands of people who had to be evacuated.

Coordinating rescue operations is no joke, but it’s rather such a disappointment that they couldn’t get something going quickly enough. After all, it’s a matter of coordination. If the NDCC receives a call for help, then they coordinate the efforts with the nearest rescue operation unit  in that area – whether it be hospital, police or barangay. From there, the local rescue unit will give an assessment of the situation, (i.e. “we cannot get to those victims due to severe floods.”)

From that point the NDCC will coordinate this information to those who can do something about the situation, such as the Philippine Air Force, Coast Guard, Navy, or maybe they might have their own special equipment or task force that can respond to the call since the local unit cannot, and then THAT is dispatched with the utmost emergency. And then coordinate a place with which they can use for evacuation. After all, you don’t just rescue the cat from a tree just to leave him in a pit of dogs.

The NDCC Cannot Coordinate This Disaster

The NDCC Cannot Coordinate This Disaster

What happened to yesterday’s disaster because of Ondoy had the phone lines of the NDCC on fire, and yet without anyone to really provide the proper coordination in order to get things done. The slow process of bureaucracy before Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro could mobilize anything is just not acceptable when lives and property are at stake, especially those who stand to lose EVERYTHING.

Sorry – Gilbert Teodoro – but you just lost my vote.

Then, there’s that NDCC Deputy Director Anthony Golez Jr., who I believe may have a good heart, but just looks like a total dweeb. Anthony Golez Jr., in an interview with ABS-CBN, asked for an apology for the delayed effort in the rescue operations, citing that the flood made things difficult. Sorry – Anthony  Golez Jr. – I was taught to produce results and not excuses, and I can’t believe you even had the time to conduct an interview to apologize instead of getting on that damn phone and finding more trucks and more rubber boats and more choppers, or coordinating more evacuation centers.

Then, when he was asked if school and work would be suspended, Anthony Golez Jr. quipped something like it would depend on the bureaucracy. Apparently, there is a criteria that must be followed for the suspension of classes or work, or the declaration of any calamity, and it has such a frigging red-tape process. (you may check it out here). It’s no wonder kids take the dangerous trek to school at 5Am and get to school on time at 7am, only to find out that government will suspend classes at 11am (government work starts at 8am or 9am.) By that time – the situation of the weather is near disastrous, and students are stranded.

So, anyway, Anthony Golez Jr. can’t say if there are no classes or work on Monday because some government offices are closed on Sunday, and no one is around to write the memo. If you look at the red tape process of suspending classes and work by the NDCC, you will understand the importance of the memo.

Apart from the rescue operations, the NDCC should have better coordination in the gathering of information as to those that may need relief. They should also coordinate all the efforts of volunteer groups and point them to designated areas. They should also coordinate the charity and relief assistance from various groups to send out to evacuation centers or disaster areas. COORDINATION – it’s in their job description.

Instead, what’s going on now, is that several groups and foundations have risen up to volunteer their services, and yet they are like headless chickens running around. Sure, ABSCBN is doing a tele-thon and getting donations  with even the supposed head of Coca-Cola – pledging 2 million bottles of Wilkins drinking water. Fine – it sounds good on television, but I want those 2 million bottles now! I want 10,000 of those put on a truck and sent to Marikina. I want 10,000 more sent to Rizal. I want 20,000 more floated down the Pasig river to reach homes that cannot be reached. I want immediate action through coordination. I want to see the pledged 2 million water bottles making its way somewhere it is needed. Instead, it might take 2 weeks for me to ever see those bottles, and some might just find its way to a studio set and not to a relief center.

The Red Cross have their hotlines. ABSCBN Foundation have their own fund-raiser. Politicians and presidential aspirants are setting up their own relief  centers. – those are all good. But then, eventually, there has to be someone at the top of all that to say, “ABSCBN release that 1 million peso donation so we can rent out 5 choppers to do rescue operations. NOW!”

We need someone to say,  “Red Cross! Shell out Php100,000 so we can run gensets at the evacuation centers, and put cots and blankets, and give medication…”

The good will of the people and their good intentions to help their fellow Filipinos is fine, but it’s the coordination of important action that is needed during a state of calamity that is truly lacking. We may have saved a child from drowning in the flood, but if we put that child  in a place that has no food or medicine or warmth from the storm, then we just gave that child a new place to die. We didn’t save that child at all.

If there is no one in charge with that kind of capacity, power or responsibility, to command that kind of action from local government units, NGO’s, or from private groups, then there is no point in putting up a National Disaster Coordinating Council if they cannot coordinate such things at a time of disaster.

In other countries, like the US – when a policeman needs to accost your vehicle to chase a suspect, then he gets it by flashing a badge and without questions asked. And if he wrecks it, then it will be cared for by the government. That kind of authority empowering a simple police officer allows things to get done in terms of results. We have to put that in a bigger scale in order to mobilize things at a time of disaster, at a state of calamity.

Anyway, the National Disaster Coordinating Council can begin the change by upgrading the NDCC website to make it look like a site of action, and not just a mere web-brochure on press releases about agreements made for fudning. I’m beginnning to get the feeling that the NDCC is a lobbyist group in search of relief, instead of an action group. If it were action, then the first page of their site should be a form for an incident report, or a hotline number in big bold letters. And don’t forget to check the NDCC contacts directory (the number of Golez isn’t even there!). If the primary contact number of the NDCC is the “Webnaster”, then we are truly screwed. And if the alignment of the NDCC contacts directory page is anything to consider on how to coordinate things – then God save us all because the NDCC surely doesn’t look capable at all.

Don’t even get me started with the Office of Civil Defense (OCD.)

Anyway, I was just informed that there is an online  Rescue InfoHub Central. I’m just uncertain how this works, or who’s responsible or on top of this, but it’s disconcerting that there are only 200 incident reports with everything that is going on.

I just really wish that the coordination of this disaster be swift. It is frustrating to think that with all the cooks in the kitchen, the efforts for rescue, relief and rehabilitation will be delayed in bureaucracy. Before you know it – the funds raised will be used for an election campaign, or some other misappropriate use.

By the way – President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo‘s office has been rather quiet.

Philippine News: World-Record Rainfall In The Philippines Brings Serious Flooding To Country

Posted in All About The Philippines with tags , , , , , , , on September 26, 2009 by JJ Duque

Ondoy – not such a flashy name, but it’s definitely a name that won’t ever be forgotten. Typhoon Ondoy was responsible for the serious flooding of Metro Manila and various parts of the Philippines in world-record-breaking fashion.

Ondoy Floods The Philippines

Ondoy Floods The Philippines

The very famous Hurrican Katrina that devastated Louisiana dumped over an inch of rainfall for 3 hours and another .5 inches per hour over the next 5 hours back in 2005. Ondoy dumped an average of 2.24 inches per hour for six hours, and is still going – although at a lesser rate.

Of course, if you were anywhere in Metro Manila yesterday, I’m sure you would’ve felt the havoc and disaster caused by Ondoy. Several homes were flooded which forced residents to climb to the roofs of their houses. Traffic was at a standstill as cars stalled and were buried under the flood water. Then thousands upon thousands of people had to endure waist-high (even neck-high) flooding.

The local TV news will show you ghastly images, and certainly there are thousands of pictures and videos being uploaded to show you the kind of impact Ondoy had.

On a personal note – I believe I was rather fortunate. I had left my home at 830 in the morning to set up for the Earthdance Manila event. I met up with my good friend Vernon “DJ Spoonman” Perez as were to oversee the ingress of equipment and booths at the La Mesa Eco Park in Quezon City – a good two hours away from my house under regular traffic.

However, the build up of rain by 9:30 already made roads impassable as floodwaters began to rise. I was lucky enough to seek shelter away from the traffic on our way back to Makati – failing even to reach halfway to the La Mesa Eco Park. We were coordinating with Earthdance organizers to agree to postpone the event, which was quickly agreed upon considering the storm that was brewing (literally!).

Traffic didn’t ease up, and we mananged to reach Makati by noon. We were stranded there for a good part of the day. It wasn’t until the evening (around 7PM) that I thought of making the trek back home to Paranaque, but was concerned with the closure of the South Super Highway due to heavy floods and congested traffic. I was also informed that my mother and my sister were trying to check in at a Makati hotel, having left their vehicle in the Taft area flood, and just commuting via MRT and LRT to Makati amidst the stampeding mob of wet commuters. Luckily for them, I was able to get them in the car and find an easy route back home via the Skyway. All in all – it took me the regular 30 minutes to return home from Makati what others took 4 to 5 hours. Like I said – I was one of the fortunate ones.

For several thousands of people – typhoon Ondoy meant losing cars, losing homes and even losing the lives of loved ones.

At present, the Philippine Coast Guard, Philippine Navy, Philippine National Red Cross, Philippine Air Force,Armed Forces of the Philippines and Metro Manila Developmental Authority are conducting rescue operations along with key local government units. Aspiring presidentiables have also cracked open their mouths to invite everyone to contribute relief goods and assistance to the disaster victims, although I have some skepticism if some donations will go directly into their campaign funds. Maybe not a lot, but maybe some.

In any case, there are serious issues that will need to be resolved following this calamity. In the meantime, considering contacting these groups on information about rescue operations and relief assistance:

National Disaster Coordinating Council (NDCC) Emergency Numbers: 912-5668, 911-1406, 912-2665, 911-5061.

Red Cross Flood Rescue Donations: text RED <Space> AMOUNT to 2899 (Globe) or 4483 (Smart)

To See The BBC Video of Ondoy’s Devastating Effects, Click Here.