Typhoon Yolanda …TEN Amazing Things Yolanda Taught Me

Typhoon Yolanda …Looking at the Bright Side

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terrifyingly alarming…

ghastly devastating…

tremendously disgusting…

on Novemeber 8, you struck.

trees bustling…

waters splashing…

winds roaring…

on Novemebr 8, you terrified.

child crying…

mother weeping…

father mourning…

  on November 8, you shocked.

Yolanda…

Haiyan…

Typhoon…

on Novemebr 8, you were named.

We all heard of the devastating effects of the recent typhoon Yolanda…we all mourned…we all wept…we all cried…and at some point, some probably have begun to doubt…

On a personal note I never thought that I would be able to discover great things…things that have been left unrecognized….but believe me…I wanna thank Yolanda…

I am counting down the TEN Amazing thingsYolanda taught me.

1. The Silence of the Night

I realized for the first time how beautiful and peaceful the night is…no fancy lights, no blinding lamp posts..no expensive chandeleirs. Not having an electric power to light up the night made me see its real beauty …its just me, the dark sky, few stars, meteors maybe, Oh how beautiful darkness could be.

Since it was total darkness, our neighborhood was so quiet..no kids screaming…no wives yelling at their husbands for coming home late…no old ladies gossiping in the middle of the night…no late night outdoor activies…its just me, my own voice, my kids’ whispering, my dogs barking, oh how beautiful the silence of the night could be.

2. The Sweet Scent of the Evening Dew

I never open any of the windows in my house on a regular evening; but since we don’t have electricity to power up our airconditioning unit, I was forced to open a window to allow fresh air to come in..and my oh my…i realized that the evening dew has a sweet scent actually. Yes, I learned for the first time that the fresh evening air is sweeter as it gently blew around …it gently caresess me, as it slowly lulls me to sleep..unlike our fancy airconditioning unit, it is completely silent, thus, allowing me to have a really goodnight sleep.

3. The Quiet Dinner

Dinner at home is sometimes outrageously chaotic. . there’s the television, the phone, the noisy neighbors’ karaoke moment, the cars honking…but after the typhoon, we had a completely quiet dinner…me, my beautiful daughters..on the our balcony overlooking the dark sky….

4. The Presence of a Love One

My children calls me “superwoman”…well as the tittle suggests, it makes me do everything and anything under the sun from cooking down to gardening and even washing our car; does some occassional electrical trouble shooting and plumbing, Who would think i needed someone to help me around the house?….Honestly, during the typhoon, I suddenly felt the need to have somebody beside me to help and assist me with all of the chaos going on. My helpers went home. Making me and my four girls all alone bravely facing typhoon Yolanda and its mighty power. It was at that point when I realized how important it is to have your husband beside you especially at times like this…my oh my…it made me a little crazy for a while…

5. The Gift of Having a Mom

Who never scorned our moms for intentionally spying on us when we were young? for making our teenage life miserable by setting up ridiculously impossible rules? for the “I am your mom, thus I am right” golden home rule?….i’m pretty sure we all did..But you know what.. in the middle of Yolanda’s attack, I have suddenly wished I was a teenage girl again, securely hugging my mom…a mom’s gesture that no matter what, they will protect us…whether literally or figuratively. As a mom myself now, I am the one hugging my daughters especially my youngest who was crying so hard during the typhoon. Just as my mom did to me when I was a kid, I too am now assuring my daughters that no matter what I will protect them. My embrace was enough to pacify my youngest daughter. As soon as my daughters were settled and assured that I will never allow anything bad to happen to them, I stole a moment and sent a message to my mom and said “I wish you’re here beside me”…

6. The Joy of Sharing

Morning after the storm, some street children volunteered to help me clean – up. Of course I considered paying them. But when I saw them working so hard, I thought of giving them out some snacks. It was then that I realized, what would happen to the frozen food stock up in my fridge? Yes..you guess it right…i cook everything and give it to them..My daughters were amazed to see the joy in each street kids’ eyes when they begun eating the food. One boy even said that he didn’t know hotdogs could be that delicious and it has in fact cheese in it. Well…It was really a wonderful moment, seeing them eating with gusto.

The Typhoon destroyed my helper’s house. Leaving them with no food to eat and no dry pillows and blankets. They were brought to a safer place in their barangay, however food became the main concern. So I volunteered to cook dinner for their whole family and ask them to pick it up. You could only imagine how thankful they were. Honestly, I would say we should give descent food to these typhoon victims; someday when we can afford that much then maybe we could give much too. I actually salute those individuals who would really go out of their way and provide meals for the victims. I actually saw in a local show that “Crocs” (the brand) has given away new (as in new) pairs of slippers and clothings..imagine..I also saw some families giving away new toys and clothes. I would like to commend Kris Aquino for saying (in her TV show) “biktima na nga ng kalamidad bigyan naman natin ng dignidad”. (“they have been victims of the calamity, so might as well give them dignity..” probably giving away descent clothing and food supplies; let’s face it when something like this happen we are bound to give away some things that aren’t useful in our homes; my apology if i have mixed up the words she used in her statement but nevertheless that’s the point)…Actually that’s true. If we only have the means to share the bestof what we have then we should; instead of sharing the least of what we have. Sometimes the trouble with giving out old clothes is that we literaly give out the really old ones.

7. The Taste of Fresh Food

Having a generator at home doesn’t mean I do the usual keeping of foods in our fridge. After the typhoon I woudl ask my helper to go to the market and buy fresh vegetables and meat and fish on a per cook basis only. Meaning for over a week we were able to eat freshly cooked foods; not the one that have been frozen for sometimes over a week. and my oh my….it tasted better..really…

8. The Ice – Cold Shower

With the advent of technology, I already have forgotten how cool it is to take a really cold shower..(if you could read between the lines, yes, we have heater at home)…but since we were only using the generator afte the typhoon, we were also forced to put off the heater. At first it was terrible…but as you get used to it, you will feel the wonders of the ice – cold droplets of water slowy covering your body giving you chills inside….my oh my…it was relaxing…

9. The Simple-Trivial Conversations

Not having the electric power means, not having unlimited TV and computer time too. So as a consequence, we were all forced to do petty talks at home; discussing even the most trivial issues of the day. At first it was kind of awkward, but you know, it was a moment when I noticed how fast the kids have grown…I get to discover new things from them. ..

10. The Power of Prayers

Yes, I guess we all witnessed how miracles happened because of prayers. My daughters, having all studied in a catholic school run by the FMA sisters, have lived up a daily life of prayer. But I must honestly say that my prayer life could be on a fifty fity basis. I’m not good at it. It was only when my children went to school that i would go to mass regularly because they would ask me to. During the typhoon, I have witnessed how my daughters have embody a life of prayer. They prayed the rosary even if i did not ask them to. And even my youngest who I did not expect to seriously pray; prayed the hardest. And I must say, the best prayers are the ones said by the young children…they say it with genuine intentions and with pure, honest hearts..ahhhhh why did i not enroll in a school like theirs when I was in High School?

P.S.

You see, even if Yolanda has caused us so much trouble, so much heartaches… so much pains; she has also taught us valuable lessons in life..lessons that we would only notice…if somehow, we try to look at the brighter side. Yes, it destroyed our homes and communities; but it build bridges and gaps between and among us. (Imagine the help coming over from around the world?)…Yes, it killed some of our love ones; but it gives us a new life, a life filled with hope- a hope that one day soon we will see for ourselves the reason why we are alive, well, we know we could have died too but look at you and me now, we are still alive!…and most importantly, Yolanda did not take away our “time”…even if we seemd to have lost everything, even maybe losing hope…but we still have the “time”…time to rebuild what has been destroyed; time to rekindle what has been put off; time to recognize what was once negected; time to reconnect the links that we have forgotten; time to heal the wounds in our hearts and time to share….share our stories to others..I just did .. Tell me yours too..

30 Things to Stop Doing to Yourself

I woke up early. Actually earlier than usual for a Sunday morning. I don’t know why…. then I grab my android phone and gotcha! !! Stumbled upon this one. So wonderful. I know at some point we’ve came across a material like this; but we need to constantly renew our convictions…our spirit…our enthusiam…our eagerness. ..our hopes…our dreams…our goals..this  will kick off everything. .go ahead read and see for yourselves that truly ” life is how we make it”…the best item? “Stop spending time with the wrong person”….goodluck and tell me your thoughts too…

The Guest & Typhoon Yolanda …On Christmas

The Guest & Typhoon Yolanda …On Christmas

Typhoon Yolanda hit (and i mean it, really HIT) the Philippines last Nov. 8, 2013. Who never heard of its devastating effectsssss? Who never helped? Who never prayed? Who never cried? Who never mourned? ….We all did…The whole World did…The typhoon brought us all together as one BIG FAMILY…..

Help was overwhelming….prayers were said out loud….care was outpouring…ears were extended to listen….arms were held to comfort…stories were told to unleash….tears were shed….

After one week…it made me think though….if we were able to extend this kind of help now; why do we find it so hard then to pray…to help….to care….to listen….to comfort…….on an ordinary time requiring extraordinary compassion?

Philippines suddenly became an overnight sensation….international news correspondents came over to cover stories…

In the middle of all of these…somewhere in the far end of the world…in a small and probably less popular city…(it wasn’t hit by the typhoon badly so it didn’t make a name…)…a story is about to unfold..a story of a little girl…an orphan girl…who is by the way a wonderful reminder that we could and can actually extend help and care even without a typhoon…another wonderful reminder that even after a devastating catastrophe like typhoon Yolanda, we are still fortunate…fortunate and lucky enough to have our family….our love ones…

Orphans are a tangible reflection of the fear of abandonment that all humans experience. Orphans are at once pitiable and noble. They are a manifestation of loneliness, but they also represent the possibility for humans to reinvent themselves. Orphans begin with a clean slate because they do not have parents to influence them either for good or for evil. They embody the hope that whatever the present situation, it can change for the better. When orphans succeed against all odds, their success ultimately becomes ours. We can look to orphans and say, ‘You see, there is hope for all of us if even this orphan child can overcome obstacles and succeed.’

You see…even if we probably lost everything during the typhoon; there is still HOPE… a HOPE THAT WHATEVER OUR PRESENT SITUATION, WE CAN CHANGE IT FOR THE BETTER or must I say for the BEST…

It is the story of Ally, who despite her present situation manages to keep the spirit of Christmas alive in her heart…..and because of that she will have the best Christmas ever…she will have a wonderful GUEST…a GUEST who will bring her gifts…GIFTS that she will need to battle life’s challenges in the future….and in the end she will have the BEST GIFT ..the GIFT of FANTASY….for a moment she will have her Father once more…

She will be visited by her childhood heroes so to say…Princess Jasmine, Ariel, Mulan, Belle….and finally baby JESUS…as represented in by a visiting Nun…

Jasmine: Oh by the way I brought you something..a gift…a gift of HOPE .. I am hoping myself too that one day I will find the world I am looking…and I wish that one day you too will find a place in your heart to hope…to hope that your wish would come true..

Ariel: Thank you.. it was fun……and I also brought you a gift….a gift of DREAM…remember to dream …I always do. ….it is only in our dreams that we make our wishes come true…

Mulan: Its Christmas I know…..that’s why I brought you something…something that will keep you goin.. ….something that will help you make your wishes come true….COURAGE I too have moments when I felt the need to conquer my own fears….but…fear not…remember to be brave even in the presence of fear…

Belle: (turns to Ally) Like Jasmine who brought you HOPE, Ariel with her DREAM, Mulan bringing you COURAGE…little Ally I am also giving you this …a gift….a gift of WISDOM… the wisdom to see the real nature of our wishes… the wisdom to even make it happen…who knows you’ll have a moment with your father soon… its Christmas…just believe .. it will happen.

The Guest…My dear Ally I come to visit you tonight to present you with favorable gifts that you will need to equip yourself and battle life’s challenges…..you have never abandoned me even if you were alone… you have believed in me even if others don’t…you have made yourself happy on every Christmas eve even if you are unhappy for the rest of the ordinary days… you make sure it is special by being joyful…even if being joyful means embracing being alone …I can’t thank you enough….thank you for all the days you wished for Christmas eve….thank you for all the nights you wished upon the stars….thank you for all the time you spent listening to stories of other people even if your story is left unheard…..and finally thank you for taking time with me tonight and the rest of my angels…

   Then BELIEVE…..believe in what your hearts says….it speaks the truth..it sees something our naked eyes don’t see…and to you my dear Ally…I also brought something for you…a gift..a gift of FANTASY…

You see…nothing really is impossible ..so long as we believe in our dreams…..

And oh by the way…did i say…”The Guest” also braved through a storm?  Yes it did…After the devastating effects of typhoon Yolanda, classes have been cancelled…activities have gone through “over-hauling”….and yes….as fearful as we all were…”The Guest”  hit a road bump….it was supposed to be cancelled…so many reasons…so many inhibitions…so many tangled versions…so many confusions…

I spoke and said “It doesn’t matter whether we cancel or postpone the show…but its breaking my heart  to witness that we are about  to tear apart the innocent dream of every little girl in the show…their dream of making their parents proud of them by seeing them on stage (for some, for the first time)..it will be heartbreaking to see that a non performing student’s (who made the cut by auditioning) only chance of making her parents proud of her before she graduate is about to be curtailed….and when everybody else went on a semestral break holiday, the whole cast did not; they were joyfully attending the rehearsals; they sacrificed their “out of town” holiday trips…”

And like the Philippines who went through a devastating catastrophe (but is showing off great recovery); “The Guest” too has gone through a catastrophe of its kind..(but now..standing still and will be …”The Guest” on Christmas..)

As someone said, when we are one in our cause for the young the devil will find a way to break us all apart…but thanks heaven, he did not succeed…and as we HOPE we also believed in PRAYERS….

Thanks to all those who believed in making the impossible possible; those who believed in dreams do come true; those who believed in the magic of Christmas (no dice, there is magic in Christmas…most of what i have and what i am …were products of Christmas eve wishes)…  those who believed in fairy tales; those who believed in the innocent dream of every child….

This is a show that will make us all HOPE again…This show is manifestation of the fact that HOPE is far stronger than COURAGE…..A show that says…in HOPE we can be the BEST in everything we have and even in everything that we don’t have…

A story that will once again showcase and embody the Salesian spirituality of being one with the young joyfully…

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P.S.

….Keep on HOPING…keep on DREAMING….have the COURAGE …have the WISDOM…and for a moment …BELEIVE…BELEIVE in FANTASY, in FAIRY TALES….Who knows…FAIRY TALES sometimes do come true on CHRISTMAS EVE….(I once wished upon a star on Christmas eve….and it did come true,,)