Tuesday, October 27, 2009


That phrase has sunk into my consciousness for decades now. It has become a cliche that buoys me up whenever I'm feeling down and out. I've been out of circulation for a while because of recent calamities that struck our province of Pangasinan. After clearing the dirt left by Typhoon Pepeng in our yard, my daughter and I paid my brother a visit at his place in Bautista, Pangasinan which was one of those worst-hit towns.

There, we actually saw ugly prints left by Typhoon Pepeng along the way and learned some untold damages from my brother - concrete dikes collapsed, houses were washed-out, local cemeteries bore proofs that they were submerged in flood waters, ( the family mausoleum was submerged up to its rooftop), my brother's house is still surrounded by sticky "linang" (mud) and the dirt and the mounting foliage in it couldn't be swept, furniture inside their house warped and drawers don't fit when put back, the once speck- and- span tiles of the whole house carry unsightly stains , appliances were not spared from drowning in the flood, too.

Efforts to wipe away the ugly signs can't hide the damage done. The laundry is still wanting for clothes left that soaked in the flood. Normalcy is still far to achieve in and out the house, at least on my personal observation by my sister-in-law's standard of home care . My brother told us that if the dike at Bacnono didn't collapse, their house must have suffered much, probably submerged up to its roof. He sighed at the pitiful situation of people in that part of the town of Bayambang, the nearby town.

These were one of those bad times after our good times in the family. We don't have control over them but we can solve them when they happen.The inner strength never leaves us because we have great faith in Him who does all things possible here on earth. For example, my brother's nightmares at the height of the deluge (although he accepts that he didn't panic) could have been compounded after the flood, were it not because of the quick and precise response of his absentee-wife, and their children in Abu Dhabi.

My sister-in-law through long distance advisory, set up work force by contacting people she trusted who helped clean the house and its surroundings from the debris. She was not a school principal for nothing, always systematic and has that respectable commanding prowess. My brother didn't lose time to inform us that he was well and not burdened by the house re-structuring and clean-up. He added that as if my sister-in-law was all there with him in person. Were it not due to his health status, he would have accompanied his wife to Abu Dhabi in time for the birth of MJ, their new girl apo (granddaughter). What more could he ask for?

This November, we are anticipating another family gathering, to pay respect to our beloved dead, and for sure, to update each other with the recent calamities we all suffered. Our siblings from Cainta, Antipolo, Quezon City, Nueva Ecija, Cavite, and us here in Pangasinan will each have our good times and bad times to tell. But it's most probable that some will have to be excused for not attending because of some twists of luck in the family.

My newly-widowed sister and her children from Quezon City will spend the night vigil on All Saints' Day for their beloved Daddy. Another sister will forgo the trip back home to Pangasinan due to her affliction. She was diagnosed with slip disc and is undergoing traction procedures and needs complete bed rest. Our eldest brother in Cavite is having hard times taking care of his son with cancer. It is this year also that most of our nieces, nephews, and their families have migrated to Canada and the US. The clan is undoubtedly thinning out due to opportunities of good life they pursued some years back. But our family tradition of spending All Saints' Day together will go on and on. It is just one or two days a year which we offer for our beloved Tatay and Nanay.

So, you see, I find my cliche working strong again in me. It's my way of soothing my ruffled feelings, of aching to be with my siblings and their families, but simply can't. For the meantime, knowing that we all have our built-in strength to face life's challenges, I will live with anticipation that one day God will make a way, to ease our pains, to wipe away our tears, and to comfort us in our afflictions- and be happy together again. What we will surely miss is our childlike ways of trying to outdo each other in our singing habit- but the videoke can wait. The Castro Clan is a "singing family" which our neighbors and relatives likewise enjoy to watch and listen.

Yes, in good times as in bad times, we are one loving family.

Thursday, October 22, 2009


The first time I heard about dams and why they are constructed was dated back to those early years of construction of the Pantabangan Dam in Nueva Ecija. My twin brothers, Mario, a Civil Engineer, and Carlito, an Architect, worked at UPRP that commissioned the construction of said dam. Why a whole thriving community with its school building, its church, market, and other fixtures of houses and buildings had to be submerged to give way to a dam was an issue I remember I raised with my brothers. Then my husband, Robert, fresh from college and a new board- passer as Mechanical Engineer, joined them, too. But he spent most of his service in government at Isabela where he joined the pioneering work for the Magat Dam Project. I went with him during one summer vacation and witnessed at Mabitin Village the drilling for rock formation samples on a vast mountain which they studied. I only had a vague idea that those samples would tell if the place was a potential dam site. Before the dam was completed he was transferred to National Irrigation Administration (NIA) in Tarlac.

I just settled with the information that dams would serve as water reservoir, the big source of which is the rainfall, to provide power to irrigate farms, to light houses and buldings and to run machines. So, when the people around the vicinity of the proposed San Roque Dam rejected the project, I wondered how people could be so selfish to part with their lands where the dam would rise. In fact, the plan was first mothballed. Then after sometime, construction was pushed through. NAPOCOR now operates the dam.

The benefits as promised to the Pangasinenses have now turned into a curse. For how else are we going to describe what the dam did to 41 of the 48 towns of Pangasinan submerged in flood waters as an aftermath of Typhoon Pepeng? Proofs of the damage are still ripe in the news. The whole Shoe Mart (SM) building in Rosales was submerged with only the rooftop in full view that put to danger the lives of thousands of stranded mallers in broad daylight. Rescue operation was hampered by strong winds, heavy rains, and the rushing flood. A large portion of a dike in Bayambang collapsed and the angry flood waters wiped out land, houses, properties including people with it. Scenes of rice fields with ready-to-harvest produce were all destroyed and buried in sticky "linang" or mud. My brother, who is on dialysis 3 times a week , missed his sessions at the Nazareth Hospital. All roads leading to the hospital were unpassable for several days. I can't imagine how scared he was the day flood waters rushed inside his house and he and his only companion had to brave the rushing flood that was waist-deep in no time at all. This was in Bacnono, Bautista. Without any form of communication to reach him, my youngest sister Edna who also suffered floods in Cainta, called up NDCC and begged them to locate our brother who must have run to an evacuation center at Bayambang, the nearest town. We were quite relieved to know he was safe at the height of the deluge.

San Roque Dam is the damnedest dam ever heard in this part of the earth if you ask any one Pangasinense. It's no joke to rationalize that what happened happened because Pangasinan is a flood plain and the dam is a catch basin of water spills from 2 other dams, the Binga and Pantabangan of nearby provinces. It's crazy to reason out that excess water must be released for fear of massive damage should the dam cracks or worst, breaks. Never mind if they had to unload more than 6,000 cubic meters of angry waters per second. It's out of this world to say now that they didn't do anything wrong because they had followed normal procedures- no lapses, no negligence.

The local PAGASA officials added salt to injury when they said they have no modern equipment to gauge the amount of rainfall a typhoon will unload, giving the NAPOCOR less of guilt for its neglectful timing of release of the excess water. Pangasinenses will never be able to recover from their personal loses. They will never found peace and security in their own homes at anytime of the night and day. The only best thing they could do is to lift it all up to the Father Almighty, to pray that miracles may still happen. I really commesserate with the townspeople of Rosales, Villasis, Calasiao, Bayambang, Bautista, Sta. Barbara, San Fabian the worst hit towns. Broken lives of broken people- when will all these end?

Here in Lingayen, we are used to floods coming in the wake of storms and during heavy downpour. Like the rest of the province that experience these floods, we have seemed to have built our resolve to live with it because floods don't happen all days all weeks all months. They are occasional. With or without warnings especially about dams opening their spillways, we are ready for these events. But not in the tragedy that recently happened.

The flash floods came in the dead of the night while most people were in bed, probably wishing that the strong winds wouldn't blow off their roofs or topple their houses. Before nightfall I already handed the key to my parents' house to one of my relatives who are regular evacuees in the vacant house with instructions that they should transfer early in the night. I knew that few from among our neighbors were asleep. The young perhaps were tucked in bed by their parents who had to keep watch for the night. It was around 11 pm. When I woke up for the bathroom, I saw the old house with lights on so I knew they were there for any eventuality. Then I heard someone knocked at my front door begging to have their tricycles be brought to my garage because the flood was rising and-fast. When I looked out in the dark, I gasped at the sparkling rushing water that had already entered the old house. I texted them and instructed that they go to the second floor for safety.

My house is built on higher grounds but the first sight of the rolling floodwaters and the muffled cries in the dead of the night from everywhere, got on my nerves. I almost panicked. My daughter, Pot, left the day before on orders by his boss in their Lingayen main office to assess the situation in their branch office in Marikina that was also devastated by Typhoon Ondoy. She asked two children of my house help to join me during the night while she was away from home. I commandeered the two sleeping children aged 8 and 12, to transfer in one of the rooms upstairs. Then I went back to the living room snatching away from the outlet all light appliances - electric fans, DVD player, radio, etc., and scooped anything I could carry in my hands for deposit upstairs. I just left everything I couldn't carry like the TV, the ref. Silly, wasn't I?

I switched on all the lights outside my house to have a better view of what was coming, looking from time to time at the water level in my garage in front and in the service area I call dirty kitchen, at the back of the house. It was a blessing that the power was not cut off all night. All of a sudden I couldn't remember at what time was the low tide to take place. It was my personal calculation of the high and low tides that used to help me ease my anxiety. I settled with my rosary in hand and prayed not for me alone, but for all those in my immediate neighborhood whose houses were often destroyed after calamities of that nature. I was sleepless just like everyone in the area which is flood- prone.

There was no let up of the heavy downpour all night. The thought that another disaster was coming made me long for the break of day. It was the longest night. I thought of my Kuya Ben who was also alone in his house with only his helper. My sister-in-law left for Abu Dhabi to minister to their daughter Diana who was to deliver her first baby, a week ago before the floods . I was uneasy knowing that his place, Bacnono in Bautista, is a flood area, too. I felt so helpless, and I felt we were worlds apart.

At break of day I watched for signs that the water level was decreasing. But the waters seemed to stay put- neither rising nor falling. I learned that in the basement room of my parents' house, it was waist-deep. In the living room and the kitchen, it was knee-high. In the front yard outside I saw children cruising on a rubber boat in the thigh-high flood waters. The level of water stayed on for three days, increasing a little at high tides. It was the first time that the flood refused to recede toward the nearby river. I knew right then and there that more destructions happened the whole of Pangasinan. And I was right.

Why can't we raise our defiance over San Roque Dam? Why can't we question the NAPOCOR? Who will help the Pangasinenses air their gripes?

Photo by gull@cyberspace.org

Thursday, October 15, 2009


Disasters such as typhoons, flash floods, landslides, etc., that are occurring with alarming frequency here in our country and abroad are suspicious signs that climate on earth has been changing. During my school days, I learned from my books in science that Scientists all over the earth prophesied a bleak future headed toward numerous baffling phenomena about the Earth warming up and cooling down. And true enough because not long ago, even the man on the street knew about the El Nino and La Nina phenomena. When the climate or weather patterns on earth is unfavorable say for instance, the amount of rainfall decreases, food production will be affected. Many people will starve. The heating up of the earth's temperature beyond the normal will melt the polar ice caps. Sea level will rise and coastal areas will be under water.

Let me start to review our basic knowledge about climate for the youth who are the heirs of this earth. Climate in a particular place doesn't change quickly. It is because it is influenced by permanent factors like altitude (or the height of a place above sea level), latitude ( or the imaginary lines that run parallel to the equator going north or south), bodies of water, wind system, and amount of rainfall or snowfall a particular area receives for a longer period of time. Climate differs from weather as the latter is that condition of the sky that changes from time to time, from day to day, influenced by cloud formation, water evaporation, location, temperature, wind speed and direction, and rainfall. Climate is the average of all weather conditions prevailing for a longer period of time.

The Philippines sits in the tropics in the Northern Hemisphere near the equator. Due to such location, the country experiences two distinct seasons- the wet season and the dry season. The Philippines has a tropical climate- not very hot, not very cool. In places where it is sunny and dry for months, the climate is dry. Areas that experience longer period of rainy days are described to have wet climate. Elementary grades pupils are very much aware of the following types of Philippine climate, to wit:(reference-Into the Future:Science and Health for Grade Six)

The first type of Philippine climate is open to southwest monsoon. It is described as dry for 6 months (from November to April) and wet for another 6 months (from May to October). The sample areas with this climate are Metro Manila, Baguio, Western Luzon, Panay, Mindoro, Negros Island and Northwest Palawan.

The second type is open to northeast and southwest monsoons, described as without dry season with maximum rainfall from November to January. Some provinces covered are Catanduanes, Daet, Sorsogon, Samar, Eastern Mindanao, Camarines Norte, Quezon, Leyte.

The third type is open to southwest monsoon but is protected in part from the northeast monsoon. Central Cebu, Isabela, Nueva Viscaya, Southern Quezon, Masbate, most of Eastern Negros, Palawan, and parts of Northeastern Mindanao are areas covered by this type.

The fourth experiences rainfall throughout the year and is evenly distributed. This is felt in Davao, Batanes, Northeastern Luzon, Western part of Camarines Norte, Eastern Mindoro and Marinduque.

It is clear that the Philippines experiences four types of climate depending on the amount of rainfall received by a particular area during a particular period of time during the year. However, today, the statistical data above seemed to have changed. I can say this because Western Luzon where Pangasinan, my province, is located, is experiencing wet days even as far as the month of December which is supposedly a dry month in this area. The rains and worse the typhoons are highly unpredictable nowadays. At present times we have more incoming wet All Saints' Days and Christmases in November and December, respectively. If this is not due to climate change, then what is this all about?

Scientists all over the world agree that there is tendency of climate to change. Why there is climate change is an earth issue which these people have been studying, searching for categorical answers all their lives. Scientists have already unearthed evidences since 1940 that the Northern Hemisphere has been cooling off and that the Southern Hemisphere shows signs of warming up but they simply don't understand why. They tend to differ in their views also as to whether the people's activities affect climate.

For example, burning just anything on earth that produces heavy smoke releases great amount of carbon dioxide in the air. This gas popularly known as greenhouse gas acts like glass in a greenhouse that traps heat and retains it longer causing worldwide rise of temperature. While some of these geniuses believe that strengthened greenhouse effect cause ice caps in the north and south poles to melt, others think otherwise. They say that a stronger greenhouse effect will increase moisture in the air and clouds will form. The more clouds the better because clouds will reflect incoming sunlight back to space keeping the earth's temperature in a balance. Excessive dust from farmlands are also said to increase the greenhouse effect that warms the climate, others say that excess dust will reflect sunlight and cool the earth.

To deflect whatever greenhouse gas may cause, however, specially the negative effects, our education sector is bent on making school children aware of the phenomenon of climate change and teaching them their possible contributions to save Mother Earth. Hence, many projects were launched decades ago to address the ill- effects of ecological imbalance in our climate. There were the Sagip-Pasig Movement, Clean and Green Campaign, Proper Garbage Disposal Management, Tree Planting, Adopt-a-Tree Program, and a lot more. The government has been acting on bills passed to protect the environment that have something to do with illegal logging, reforestation, pollution, and other sorts of earth-saving programs..

I, for one, suspects that the disasters that recently devastated a big portion of our country from north to south, are results of climate change and human negligence combined.Too many wind-related disasters like typhoons, tornadoes, hurricanes, cyclones, and storms happening the world over are probable proofs that the world's wind system has changed. Floods that cause landslides and other land falls are possible evidences also of either too much rainfall or a rise in sea water level due to melting ice caps in the high seas and oceans or the two circumstances combined. People in government, those manning the weather forecasts, and those who are identified with dam operations have much to explain why typhoons of Pepeng's nature caught them with their pants down. The damage has been done. They must refrain from this finger-pointing. But they must retrace their policies and their future actions must redeem their negligences or incapacities for the people's sake.

Whatever happened to all those high-fallotin' government programs and projects? Are they just the "ningas-kugon" types now relegated to the backseats? I saw on TV the Senate inquiry directed to the officials of the San Roque Dam here in Pangasinan over their celebrated oversight or negligence in their procedure of releasing excess rain waters that destroyed infrastructures such as concrete dikes and bridges, washed away houses, cost many lives, destroyed plantation and production, overflowed fishponds, caused landslides or landfalls. After all, the people in the neighboring towns who strongly rejected the construction of the dam were right. Why the project was mothballed for sometime due to pressures and construction pushed through after a lull, is to me very suspicious. Now everybody is pointing fingers to everybody but themselves.

We are doomed forever here in Pangasinan, one of the so-called flood plains. Lingayen, my hometown, will eternally become a downstream spillway to Lingayen Beach. Disasters in the future like this first of its kind flooding will irreversibly be blamed to climate change aggravated by heavy rainfalls, never by human errors in government and the NAPOCOR who operates the dams. And before the damage to lives and properties are justifiably rectified, if ever it happens, people will have no more use of their lands. Those who probably can afford to leave their place will relocate and be saved from their nightmares but the least among them, those without money to buy land in safer place, those who are only able to put up houses of light materials, shanties from scraps , on a land probably inherited from their parents, will wait for their own destiny- an obscure one. Life to them is a daily survival from the elements , courtesy of climate change and corruption in government.

Photo by ItzaFineDay

Monday, October 12, 2009


US President Barack Obama had no choice but to humble himself amidst global reactions of "too early", "gasps of surprises", "cries of too much too soon", "mere intentions", "hasty" and other sorts of condemnation as a result of the recent news about his winning a slot in the prestigious Nobel Peace Award for 2010 last October 9, 2009. The breaking news literally caught his detractors off guard and his allies grinning wide. He now goes down in American history as the fourth president to win this peace award, a neophyte president of barely 2 years in office. The other three past American presidents who were given this accolade were :Theodore Roosevelt in 1906, Woodrow Wilson in 1919, Jimmy Carter in 2002.

There's nothing wrong about winning the peace award. If there is anything wrong perhaps for President Obama's "too early" nomination that led him to his garnering the award, is that there seems to me a break, say a complete reverse from the traditional manner of selecting winners with widely proven testimonies and concrete proofs as having the most humanitarian accomplishments and registering the best work for fostering fraternity of nations, the reduction if not the abolition of nuclear weapons and active involvement in peace congresses. There is not enough that President Obama had accomplished yet. His young administration is barely 2 years and is at an early stage of mapping out actions to implement his well- intended policies.

The 5-member Norwegian Nobel Committee was quick in rationalizing that President Obama won because the judges believed in his promise of disarmament and his diplomacy that are too good to be ignored. In several fora he attended in the international communities it was observed that he outwardly pledged to work an end to the war in Iraq that is hurting America and her allies in Afghanistan. His effort to reach out to the Arab world after years of failed negotiations of peace, if any, by his predecessors and the unsolved raging hostilities obviously lead to his "wonderful recognition"as the one president of this time who can muster global support to the very same intentions of the Nobel Peace award. But he had not brought home yet a good number of American soldiers fighting in those war-torn nations, the way he promised at his campaign speeches. He is accused of having blood-soaked hands because of continued failure to withdraw his government's military forces and end the blood-shed in Afghanistan.

President Obama is being accused of winning due to "mere intentions" still bereft with resulting actions. Optimistically, this may be accepted as true, but again, his allies concur that given his kind of resolve, they believe and trust that he can deliver what he intends to achieve. The opportunity to respond to the pressing world problems is never too early, in fact, it is said that 3 years from now, we may find it too late to stir into action. What is asked from all of us is cooperation.

The Philippines, my country, which is just a dot in the world map, stands to benefit if only our own government officials open their eyes to the intentions of powers that be in the international arena. President Obama's call to reduced nuclear weapons and armies in foreign countries, his plea for international respond to global climate change are two of the most important reasons why I want to react. Is the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) between US and the Philippines really beneficial to both or is just one-sided, with the US benefited most? The Muslims in Mindanao, are the Afghans and the Arabs in our country. When will the business of rearming the Muslims in the guise of fighting off terrorists end? If they aren't the terrorists themselves, then who are they really? How will the hostilities among brother Filipinos end?

The presence of a large number of big American firms and companies that unload so much pollution in the air are hurting the climate. Is the Philippines warming up or cooling off?The recent disasters that are like omen to this country, are strong indications that we are not spared from the wrath of nature's revenge. Why do we allow such rapine in our own ecology for a promise of the green bucks that only line the pockets of the few in government?

I don't claim to know much about the above issues but if climate change and a nuclear-free world must definitely become a global concern, then everybody must consider everybody's good. Peace congresses must not remain mere lip services, they must stir everyone's imagination as to what will happen to this world if we continue harping about "too early" things rather than think about what will happen if today we will continue arguing and refuse to cooperate. I am but a small voice, but I want change. We have only one Earth. Let's protect its occupants, the Earthmen.

Photo by Violentz

Thursday, October 8, 2009


We are all God's creation- whether black or white, yellow or brown, from far or near, whether you are a Roman Catholic or a Protestant, a Muslim or a Jew, a Jehovah's Witness or a Born Again, or anybody who belongs to one of the many religious sectors the world over. We are all Christians. We live daily by this belief that there is a Great God who is always watching over us and He is everywhere. When was the last time you thought of God, talked to God, for what and why?

As a retiree I resolve to do good things daily for myself and for others to honor God, to show I love God, and hope to face Him in my day of judgment for whatever reward or punishment I deserve. It's easy to say I want to do good things to receive good rewards, but how will I know between good and bad? In my childhood I only learned them from my parents and elders, from my teachers, and I was not sure as to what measure they used to determine what was good or what was bad either.

My freedom to move about having been suspended for sometime now due to health problems, doesn't deter me from doing things I can manage. For example, as member of the the Basic Ecclesiastical Community (BEC) in our neighborhood which is an outreach organization program of the Roman Catholic Church to where I belong, I find time to minister to people who are observed to be inactive in their spiritual growth. Bible sharing with them is a new experience they welcome and enjoy. At the same time, my passion to proclaim God's Word as a lector during Eucharistic celebrations is not cut-off.

I don't claim to know much about religion and my faith as a Roman Catholic, but I pride myself in my continuing search for some nuggets of wisdom concerning my relationship with God and with others through readings. I don't get tired reading daily devotionals, listening and pondering on daily gospels, learning from others' experiences and commentaries about them from known figures. I like to read the Holy Bible. Whenever events and time allow me, I leaf through the concordance found at the last pages of the Bible and locate passages to pass away my quiet time to make my day. It's really a relaxing experience. Why don't you try it?

I have here few random collections of my readings either lifted or adapted from books and devotionals with biblical passages which I hope my readers might want to start from should they want to listen to God, talk to God, walk with God. This way, the respectable authors and all of us, their readers, will be helping educate each other with God's Word.

1. When DISASTERS come, it's all right if we panic or we pray. We can hold on to the Lord or foolishly blame Him. But remember this, Nahum says, "The Lord is good, a refuge in times of trouble". Nahum 1:7

2. When we PRAY about our needs, we almost always pray to be delivered from the pain of suffering, from the loneliness of estrangement, from the vale of bereavement, yet when we walk through the dark night, we sense the presence of Him who said, "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you". Hebrews 134:5

3. SUFFERING strips us of hypocrisy and it lays our souls bare. It is at such time we can experience God's help and the presence of Christ in a very real way. Sometimes suffering helps us to see ourselves as we really are. Suffering will either drive us closer to God or it will drive us further away. Put suffering between you and God and you are the loser, put yourself between suffering and God and it will drive you closer to Him. "The Lord knows the thoughts of man". Psalm 94:11

4. Have you ever heard the VOICE of GOD? recognized it as opposed to the voice of Satan? It is through His Word, the BIBLE that we most often hear His voice today or sometimes as others tell us about His Word or as we read it ourselves. The Words of Jesus, the Son of God, are recorded in the last book of the Bible, the book of Revelation. God is trying to tell us a great deal more than we have heard. If we want to hear His voice more clearly, take time to read His Letters to you in the Bible. Take time to meditate. Take time to listen to His voice in prayer. The voice of God is saying, Here is the path to real heaven. here's the way of life. "If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come to him and will dine with him, and he with Me". Revelation 3:20

5. When TRIALS knock at our door or sneak through the backdoor, we never quite expect them. When we battle with them we feel that nobody else has ever faced then same intensity of testing. Throughout the New Testament you will find a common theme: periods of testing come to all of God's children. Trials never indicate that we are abandoned by God. Trials are the results of a broken world, a world which is hostile to the values of God's children. "And we know that in all things, God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose". Romans 8:28

6. DEDICATED PARENTS spend much of their time supporting, encouraging, instructing, protecting, and challenging their children. Sometimes all their effort seem futile when the child starts to go astray. At this point, some biblical parent-child principles can help as a guide to what parents should teach their children. Children must be taught 1. to treasure God's command; 2. to call out for understanding; 3. to grasp what it means to fear GOD; 4. to practice God's wisdom in their lives. "The Lord gives wisdom". Proverbs 2:6

7. We live in an AGE of RAGE. But we can help solve the problem- one person at a time. When we are at the receiving end of someone's wrath we can return a soft answer. A calm approach can stop an anger in its tracks. Christ stayed calm in the face of hateful accusations in his trial and we should follow His example by staying calm in the age of rage. "A soft answer turns away wrath". Proverbs 15:1

8. No one is too old to SERVE GOD. We must keep growing, maturing, and serving to the end of our days. To idle away our last years is to rob the church of the choicest gifts Godd has given us to share. There is service to be rendered. There is still much to be done. So let's keep running with endurance. Let's finish the course- and finish it strong. "Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us". Hebrews 12;1

9. Don't worry that we have WORRIES. Don't pretend we never have them. If we are troubled by anxieties, we must admit them. Share them with a trusted friend. Above all, talk to the all-compassionate Friend, Jesus Christ, who knows our every thoughts and emotions. Ask Him for the grace to help us overcome our fears and worries. Then wait on the Lord; be of good courage, and He will strengthen our hearts. On our journey through life, "Whenever I am afraid, I will trust in You". Psalm 27:14

10. FORGIVENESS brings a permanent solution to wrongdoing. It is not weakness, nor something to be ashamed of. It is wisdom. Anyone can hold a grudge and plot revenge. But it takes strength of character to forgive. Forgiveness is an act of the will. To forgive someone frees you of the same sickness which is destroying your enemy. Forgiveness is not forgetting the scar but it removes the sting and brings healing. Forgiveness is God's antidote to the sickness of sin which tears lives apart. It is the healing which humanity desperately needs. "Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you". Colossians 3:13

Brothers and Sisters, if you hunger for more, I may refer you to my references: The Daily Bread, January-December, 2001, 2003 , Today Can Be The Best Day Of Your Life- by Harold J. Sala, 1994 edition. Shalom!

Photo by DrGBB

Wednesday, October 7, 2009


The recent tragedy that befell our Filipino brothers brought about by the onslaught of a double up of typhoons Ondoy and Pepeng make me call to mind the beginning of creation. Like in a song that goes, "In the beginning the world was so bright perfection was there for all men. Then He created the sun and the stars, the land, the birds, the trees..... Then as he rested the Lord sanctified the seven days for men...... Born in the image of his Maker, man shall have dominion over all. But because we were nothing but only human, sometimes we stumble, sometimes we fall".

It was a very beautiful song I used to sing when I was in grade school. Now I hardly remember the lyrics. The above is just a broken string of words I would like to start my thoughts with and hope to come out with some personal opinions that might be of help to our grieving brothers out there. Recovering from a tragedy needs both human effort and Divine intervention. So this is not very easy. Expect more disappointments. It's only when you face problem right in the eye that you will see a clearer path toward recovery. At least that's how I see things today in the face of disaster after disaster that visited our country.

When God created the world, he knew that He missed at some points. Like when he created Adam in His own image, God thought man was born to perfection, but was not. God saw Adam's heartbreaking loneliness, so He created Eve. But again there was a hitch. Eve defied God's first advice concerning the apple fruit. God was so angered that He showed both out of paradise and told them to sweat it out for everything they needed in order to live. God didn't punish them so hard as to banish them entirely on earth and never taste the fruits of His earthly creations, of food, clothing, and shelter. That's because God, our Almighty Father, loves us.

Like the good father that God really is, He made man to have dominion over all His creations, the land, the birds, the trees- despite man's first sin. He gave man his reasoning power to make decisions. He formed man with extremities- both hands and feet- to be able to work out on his own the things he needs. And in the beginning, God warned us to use the vast resources with care.

Like I said, God wanted perfection. But because of man's imperfection, I believe that things are really in place, don't you think so? If everything is perfect, will we have time to look up to Him who made all these? He gave us the brain power to be able to choose between what is right and wrong, what is good and bad, to differentiate feelings of sadness from happiness, to strive for success rather than for failure, to embrace security and protection rather than invite tragedy and disaster. God created everything for a choice, and He usually wants leads us to the right choice. Have faith in Him.

Disasters, natural and man-made, are among the things man has to live with. They are part of life (natural) - the storms, earthquakes, tsunamis, tornadoes, hurricanes and the results of imperfect living (man-made)- flash floods, landslides, fire, accidents, crimes, etc. An open acceptance of these sad realities will help us understand what happened and why things happened. It's very human to cry and even blame God for a tragedy that happened in your life." Why me?" There is a time to sulk, a time to be angry. "My God, why have you forsaken me?"But most importantly, we must find time to break away after sometime from grief, from anger, from fear, and all negative attitudes that will only sink us deeper into despair and nothingness. Before we accidentally create and widen a gap between us and God Himself, we must stand up and pick up the pieces and put back our life to normalcy. That's how God created us after all. He is our strength. He is our refuge.

God's plans are His alone to understand. Man is not created to share God's thoughts, but the fruits of His plans. We must put our trust in Him, so that our troubled minds will be spared from unnecessary evil thoughts. We have our choices to make within our reach . In our helplessness and seeming hopelessness, we need someone to listen to our hurts while they are fresh. We must find a trusted friend. We must unload our burden to people who are capable of giving us a helping hand, giving us advice perhaps to choose our next action from. We must be honest with what we feel and be thankful for whatever the other person is able to do for a time. Remember, we are in need of a shoulder to cry on. We don't ask that person to do the recovering for us or return to us all or part of what we lost. If the tragedy has rendered you immobile due to your loss- no decent house to return to, a loved one/s died, your source of income was shattered and went down with the disaster, fear for debts unpaid and mounting, no money enough to pull you up again, and your only reason to move on is you are alive, so be it. You're alive, my friend. And God is only a prayer away.

You might marble at how quick and easy I am at words to encourage you. You can even say, I don't suffer the way you do, because I was miles apart from you when that monster of disaster struck you, and I have no idea of how great that suffering is. Really? Then, my friend, this I say, I had been there ahead of you. In my youth, with my whole family, I experienced a string of destructive earthquakes, typhoons, twisters, and flash floods from very alarming rainfalls especially during rainy seasons when strong typhoons visited our province here in Pangasinan and neighboring provinces in Region I. I still have a vivid memory of how my father would tie the roof of our old house to the coconut trees to prevent it from being carried away by the storm. He would stay awake all night measuring the depth of the flood at the wooden stairs of our elevated house hoisted on wooden posts. Houses were built on strong posts, bamboo or wood, high above the flood level because we live near a tributary of the Agno River that overflowed year in year out after very heavy rains. Our house which stood out from the rest of our neighbors' houses because it was made of wood (few were built on cement those days) became sanctuary to our neighbors whose houses were made of bamboo and nipa which are light materials. Our old paternal house which was rebuilt somehow in a modest type out of cement and wood with galvanized iron roof is now vacant but it still serves today as " evacuation center" for relatives whose houses are always under threat by storms and floods. I built my own house adjacent to it and so the old house's care is my responsibility. Our annual family reunions during All Saints Day and barangay fiestas are held in our parents' house.

One of the worst ever floods I experienced was when I was a newly employed teacher. My father, a government employee then, was temporarily assigned to Tayug town, several towns away from home. My elder siblings were either away from home to college in Manila, or at work or with their own families. That was before the martial law days of the Marcos administration. I can't remember the name of that typhoon, but I can remember the details of our horrible experience. As I watched the floods went by, I thought the next day it would subside as it used to because the flood waters emptied down the Lingayen Beach nearby. But it did not.The heavy rainfall continued for days. Our kitchen floor which was a step lower than our main floor at the living rooms and bedrooms was only a finger away from the rushing floods below. At the onset of the storm, anticipating the event of another flood due to heavy rains, I bought our most needed necessities of grocery items and foodstuff. At least I just encashed my pay cheque and we had enough money to spend. My mother didn't want to leave house despite repeated pleas from our neighbor rescuers on boats to vacate house and join the other families at the evacuation centers in the vicinity of the Capitol which is on high grounds.

The rescuers tied the boat to one of the coconut trees nearby leaving instructions that should we decide to be evacuated we just shout for help. That boat made me sick the whole night as it knocked on the trunks of the coconut trees. It was a mistake to have even approved it be tied there. I was afraid that if it went loose it would just as knock out our house posts. My mother decided that we opened our windows wide to at least lessen the force of the wind against our walls. Before the rainy days my father had anticipated another typhoon and flood so he had changed the weak posts and repaired what was to be repaired in the house so at least I thought our house could withstand the storms and the floods.We stayed in one room that my mother thought was safer from the rest of the house. The heavy downpour started to soak us and everything that was exposed to the element. The howling typhoon made me cover my ears with my hands. The raging flood waters below our bamboo slats floor really frightened me. And the wild thought that we were alone in the place, no more rescue effort possible in the situation, was too much to bear that I just cried.

Before nightfall I heard people howling and shouting for help from distant houses. When I peeped through the window, I saw people climbing up the coconut trees. I froze and in silence I prayed as hard as I could. I put my ID in my pocket. I saw my mother with a rope in hand who said if anything worst happened, we would tie ourselves together to one of the roof beams above. the ceiling. We were alone with my mother, myself, and four of my younger siblings in high school and elementary grades. Mother tearfully announced that our absent father and other family members must find us where they left us.

My friends, God is really good. The fateful night passed and we were safe the next day. In the eerie silence of that very dark morning I knew that the Lord was with us all night and was there to protect us. We only needed to humble ourselves before the Lord and he guided us. Like what my father used to do, I monitored the flood level down our stairs. Inch by inch I measured how much water ebbed down. I also considered the time of the rising and ebbing time of the tides in the nearby river that caused the still irregular rise and fall of water level on the step of our stairs. The things my father did in such a situation, I learned to undertake for my family. The floods stayed for almost a week. My father couldn't come home due to the flooded streets on his way back home. He passed away time in soaked clothes as well. And there were no cell phones nor landlines those times. Imagine the pain, the feeling of helplessness and hopelessness we all felt not knowing what happened to each and everyone of us. My father stayed for few days at the bus station, the Pantranco, in Dagupan City because Binmaley, the town next to Lingayen was not passable by vehicles. He only atefew pieces of "pandesal" peddled on limited quantity at the station while people awaited for the flood to subside.

When he arrived home at last, he was carrying on his shoulders a sack half full of mongo that all sprouted because it was soaked in rain waters. He said he didn't know where to go at first. Were we in some evacuation centers or at home saving what was left of our house? He learned by words of mouth along the way that our place was devastated by floods. When the tragedy was over and we sat together as a family exchanging notes about our harrowing experiences, all our separate reactions pointed to one thing, we all prayed hard to God, asked forgiveness from our sins and professed our unending faith and love in the Lord, who created all things.

The floods, the storms, the typhoons come and go. Changes had been made by our local government that somehow addressed the answers to these problems. But as sure as the sun rises in the east and sinks to the west, disasters will come. God allows these things to happen because he wants to teach us to be prepared, to be more caring with our environment, and seek Him for strength and protection when tragedies strike. This is really an imperfect world made more at risk to disasters because of people's wanton abuse. Nobody is to blame but us. Do you agree with me?

Photo by IRRI images

Saturday, October 3, 2009


People are often beset with health problems that affect them daily. Parents are often found to be paranoid when it comes to ailments that affect their children. Everybody is, in fact, always on the lookout but never seems to come out with the clean bill of health they desire. Some of these ailments are mild, others fatal; either of the two when left untreated can cost everything- money, time, effort, and even lives.

In my desire to be of help to others, I selected the most common diseases that threaten our day-to-day health. Again, I find our old book, Reader's Digest Family Health Guide and Medical Encyclopedia very handy and informative. Typhoon Ondong left the affected provinces in Northern Philippines highly at risks to common diseases brought about by dirty flood waters, mud, and heavy silt, and the putrid smell of undisposed garbage and dead animals, even dead bodies buried in shallow graves or decomposing when discovered. When causes of ailments are properly recognized and their symptoms accurately identified, it can lead to the application of appropriate remedies and at the same time help the victims move on.


A contagious infection of the foot caused by a fungus that thrives in wet, warm places. There are lesions and blisters between the toes, and scaling of the skin. Often, the sole becomes involved. Excessive perspiration aggravates the condition.

Athlete's foot is normally a minor irritation, and people may have it for some time without being particularly bothered by it. It may, however, spread to other parts of the body, where it can produce an annoying rash. The cracks or blisters may also become a site for other infections. Thus, if the condition persists, it should not go untreated.

TREATMENT: Good foot care is indispensable. The scaly or damp peelings should be rubbed gently away. Dry the feet. Apply water mixed with a little rubbing alcohol. Dry the feet again, and apply a bland dusting powder. Try to expose the foot to the air as long as possible. When you go to bed, and again in the morning, put a mild fungicidal ointment obtainable at your drugstore on the affected area. Wear cotton or wool socks, which absorbs perspiration, rather that nylon. In summer, light shoes should be worn.

Potassium Permanganate solution, in the strength your doctor advises, makes a helpful footbath if the blisters are oozing. Soak your feet in the warm bath for 10 to 15 minutes; dry them, and apply Calamine Lotion. If the condition persists or becomes more troublesome, visit your physician. He can often provide quick and thorough relief.


An abnormal rise in body temperature; also known as pyrexia. It is most often the result of viral or bacterial infection and is an important clue to the seriousness of the condition.

Temperature is measured with a thermometer of either the oral or rectal type. When the temperature rises above 100 degrees on the oral thermometer, the individual is febrile, or running a fever. When the fever reaches 101 degrees, a doctor should be contacted.

Fever usually occurs in combination with other symptoms. While the temperature is still rising, the person's skin is often cold and he feels a chill. He may feel very weak and light-headed. Often, he has an ache in the joints. His pulse rate increases. The febrile individual loses his appetite, and he may be constipated. When he begins to perspire, it is a sign that the temperature is falling.

TREATMENT: For the person running a low fever, the doctor may advise the taking of Aspirin several times a day to help bring down the temperature. Encourage the individual to drink water, and juices. For the person with a high fever, sponging with alcohol may provide relief. The doctor may prescribe an antibiotic or Sulfonamide, depending on the cause of the fever. The individual should be given something light to eat, to help maintain his strength.


A serious infectious disease caused by a type of Clostridium bacterium. Tetanus is characterized by spasms of the voluntary muscles, usually beginning with a clamping together of the jaws, whence comes the name lockjaw.

All cuts, wounds, and scratches are potential entrances for infections. One of the most serious dangers is tetanus(lockjaw). The tetanus germ is commonly found in the soil and wherever there are horses, cows, and manure. It is also found in the dust of city streets. A deep puncture by a nail is serious. Many people think it is the rust of the nail that causes trouble, but that is not true. The danger lies in the germs that may be on the nail.

TREATMENT: The best preventive against tetanus is immunization by toxoid. A series of three toxoid injections followed by a fourth about a year later, with booster shots at four-years intervals, provides the best possible protection.

For the person who has not been immunized with toxoid, deep wounds or scratches require tetanus injection antitoxin (TAT). Some people suffer unpleasant reactions to TAT. For this reason, doctors always test for possible sensitivity to the horse serum with which TAT is made. Recently, TAT made from human serum has become available.


An acute, infectious disease, often called flu or grippe. (Intestinal flu is a popular, non-medical term for several kinds of intestinal upsets that have no connection with influenza) . It is caused by a virus. The symptoms of influenza include chills , sweats and fever, headache, loss of appetite, general aches and pains especially in the head, back and legs, weakness, sore throat due to the inflammation of the membranes of the nose and throat, cough, runny nose , and a feeling of malaise.

Like a cold, it is spread from one person to another, most often when a person in the early stages coughs or sneezes, spraying the virus into the air that other people breathe. The influenza virus weakens the body's defenses against bacteria. Persons with influenza risk developing pneumonia, either from the influenza virus itself or from a secondary bacterial infection. In uncomplicated cases, the acute symptoms usually last for only few days, followed by a gradual recovery of normal strength and fitness.

TREATMENT: There are no specific treatments for influenza. A person should stay in bed while the acute symptoms last, and during convalescence , should only gradually return to normal activity. Your doctor will prescribe medication to relieve the symptoms, as well as appropriate Antibiotics if bacterial infection threatens or has developed. Temporary immunity to a particular variety of flu virus can be acquired by injection of virus vaccine. After injection, it takes about two weeks for a person to develop immunity. It is useless to have flu shots once symptoms have developed.


Acute illness resulting from eating contaminated food. Food poisoning should always be suspected if several persons at the same time suddenly develop such symptoms as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and pain or tenderness in the abdomen. The symptoms may develop shortly after the food is eaten, or they may be delayed for 24 hours or more.

Although most cases of food poisoning are caused by bacteria, there are also non bacterial forms. Nonbacterial food poisoning can result from eating poisonous mushrooms, plants or berries mistakenly thought to be edible, milk from diseased cows, oysters from polluted bed, vegetables fertilized by human manure, spoiled food. Acute or chronic poisoning can develop from eating residues of insecticides and other sprays on fruits and vegetables.

Bacterial food poisoning is of two types. One is due to food-borne bacteria infecting the system, the other to toxic substances produced by bacteria and present in food before it is eaten. The most common food-borne infection is Salmonellosis, caused by several kinds of bacteria belonging to the genus Salmonella. Shellfish growing in sewage-polluted waters or vegetables fertilized by human manure are often contaminated with such bacteria. Food may also be contaminated by human carriers in the process of handling. For example, a baker with a sore on his hands might introduce bacteria from it into food- perhaps on cream puffs or custard pies, which make excellent breeding spots for such microbes, especially in hot weather.

A number of different bacteria cause food to spoil, and many of them produce toxic substance in the process. The most common of these food-spoiling bacteria is Staphylococci. Persons otherwise in good health usually recover from this kind of food poisoning in from one to four days.

Botulism is a serious, but fairly rare food poisoning that is due to toxin produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum. This toxin is of the most potent poisons known; fortunately, an anti-toxin has been developed. If not treated, botulism is often fatal. the organism grows slowly in food of low acid content. Home-canned food that has not been properly processed may contain dangerous amounts of botulism toxin.

TREATMENT: People who eat poisoned food are apt to get sick, but if the condition is treated promptly, the mortality is very low. It is important to see the doctor immediately if you suspect food poisoning. Fortunately, our public health officials do an excellent job of inspecting our water, our milk, and food supplies to make sure they are safe. If you cannot be sure from its appearance whether or not food is safe to eat, observe the obvious rules of cleanliness. Do not let food stand all day at the back of a warm stove where any germs that fall on it will flourish. If food is meant to be cooked a long time, let it cook, heat destroys germs, do not let it sit.

My dear folks, here is a result of my readings that I share with you. Of course, your good sense is still the best source of decision. Only you can decide what is best for you. When in doubt, never underestimate the advice of your trusted doctors.

Photo by Shapendra

Friday, October 2, 2009


During one of my morning news updates in the internet, I chanced upon an article about some possible common reactions of victims of the recent typhoon like depression, anger, shock, and guilt, so I made a leisurely research about one that took my fancy- depression. I consulted our very very old family book, Reader's Digest Family Health Guide and Medical Encyclopedia, which had often times saved me in the past from going to libraries when I wanted to find out answers to personal simple medical questions. I want to share my readings which might help those suspected of having depressed feelings.

Depression is defined as that state of feeling dejected or dispirited. It is most likely to occur at critical or unsettled times in life; in the adolescent years, during pregnancy, shortly after giving birth to a child, at menopause, or in the later years. It may be triggered by the death of a loved one or a profound disappointment.

What are the common symptoms of depression? A depressed person tends to have a bleak, pessimistic outlook on his future and to be apathetic toward activities he formerly regarded as meaningful. He may complain of constant fatigue or exhibit a variety of physical complaints, usually minor in character or difficult to identify. The individual may lose all interest in sex activity. He may no longer have an appetite for food, with a resulting sharp loss in weight; or he may overeat compulsively. Sleeping difficulties and fits of weeping are common.

How can we help a depressed person? Getting a depressed person to talk out his problem is often helpful. Although the listener should lend an understanding ear, it is a mistake to be over-sympathetic; encouraging the individual to feel pity for himself may do more harm than good. It might be pointed out to the depressed person that the situation is best met in a realistic, unemotional way. The individual should be assisted to recognize his own value and make the most of his resources. A doctor can prescribe medicines to fight depression, called antidepressant, and to help the depressed person sleep if he has difficulty in doing so. When the condition is very severe, a psychiatrist should be consulted.

It is not neurotic to be unhappy or depressed under certain circumstances, for example, when a loved one dies, or when one has divorced, or has lost a job or as in the various problems of the recent victims as aftermaths of typhoon Ondoy. Different people with different problems react differently in handling their own depressions. Well-adjusted people can 'work-through" their grief and disappointment so that they can resume their activities and reestablish their social contacts within a reasonable short period of time. Whereas, poorly-adjusted people feel helpless; their low self-esteem convinces them they can never cope. These people need medical attention.

Doctors usually prescribe antidepressant- a substance that has the effect of bringing people out of deep depression. It, of course, doesn't correct emotional condition but only temporarily relieves the acute feeling of depression. Amphetamines or pep pills have sedative effect to be taken only as prescribed by a doctor or the person may become dependent upon them.

If we really want to help our brothers in need of attention and care, a good kind of literature for their readings can be of great help. Readers, of course, are enjoined to verify what they read for their own protection. When in doubt, proper authorities are the best references.

Thursday, October 1, 2009


"The crowds asked John the Baptist, 'What should we do?' He said, 'Whoever has two cloaks should share with the person who has none. And whoever has food should do likewise." Luke 3:10-18.

I've posted here few days ago an appeal for immediate help for our fellow countrymen, the Filipinos, who suffered a life-and-death trial of their lives from the fury of typhoon Ondoy (Ketsana). It was a decision made on instinct. When I saw on TV those gruesome scenes of how Ondoy, packed with strong winds and heavy downpour, mercilessly lashed on everything on its path- buildings, houses, tress, plants, animals, pedestrians, vehicles, infrastructures and more- I decided that I must do something. Out of my own helplessness, I switched on my netbook to see more. My heart went out to people I knew not but my brothers in Christ, who needed help. I prayed in silence.

Quickly, after learning about what was happening quite enough, I started to click my blog, but nothing came out of it due to an unspeakable fear. How were my relatives living in Manila where the typhoon was raging? I assured my self to believe they were fine. Suddenly Sis Lina called up to inform me that she and Edna who are living in Antipolo and Cainta, respectively, were experiencing flood for the first time since they built their houses there. I also thought of my daughter and our other relatives in those typhoon-hit places like Quezon City. The rest now becomes part of a harrowing experience for me, my family, and relatives.

Prayers really move miracles to happen. My kinship were spared from the tragedy. Whatever reasons were there, only our God Almighty knows. In times of overwhelming events, good or bad, prayers provide me strength. I continue praying for people still in haze as to what happened and why must these things happen to them. I had suffered great losses in the course of my life, too. However due to the magnitude of our people's sufferings I don't know if I can really relate with them. As I saw on TV the victims, especially the survivors, relating their ordeal in tears, my heart went out to them, I cried. How can they be so strong to tell between sobs how they lost a whole family despite efforts to hold them together- all eight of them? How do we comfort the people, dirt and grief written all over their faces, crying out for food? I know I was not mistaken for posting that appeal for support- whatever support.

What should we do for the least of our brothers? Without a house, a home, a family to return to, they need us to help them start again. It warms my heart seeing people from all walks of life, people spared from the tragedy, volunteering to help. Other nations great and small are doing their part for humanity, sending support to our government in distress. Shiploads, truckloads of relief goods and even manpower come pouring in and mounting as days go by. This is one very rare occasion when good intentions rise against evil. I don't mean that evil deeds are not happening, they still are, but they are dwarfed today by the looks of it.

International aids and support are not meant forever. Let us not wait for those days when other nations have nothing more to spare. We must stand as one in this country and share with our own blood brothers in our own big and small ways. Today the victims need only the barest of necessities- food, clothing, shelter, money to start from scratch again. When the limelight clicks out, I can't imagine how our unfortunate brothers can live again.

Twenty five provinces need attention, so do the others. In these times of global economic crisis, our government is already bleeding dry. We need to help, a long lasting support is what our people need. Let's make a plan to find our links to our needy brothers. For example, in schools, teachers may encourage their students to give a little part of their daily "baon" (allowance). The parents may be asked to chip in small shares too, like rice, canned goods, soap, candles, clothes, anything. The president herself and her cabinet pledged two months of their salaries amounting to billions in cash. We can take similar actions in our own little ways, too. Whatever we can pull together, we approach our parishes and ask for their endorsement of our little shares. I know that this time all organizations like the Rotary, Innerwheel and Rotaract Clubs, the Jaycees, the Lions Club, support groups in the communities, apostolates in churches, to name a few, are always there to help. My late husband and I were once active Rotarian and Innerwheeler and we experienced going out to the Mt. Pinatubo eruption victims in Pampanga where we had organization links. That tragedy was too much but this new one is extremely devastating. Private citizens who are well-to-do- owners of businesses, OFW's, artists, and everybody are already moving. Let's go find these links to our brothers in need. Let's share because we care. God bless us all. His message is clear. Let us love one another as Christ loves us.

Photo by IRRI images


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