Stories behind the Charms

One of the first things I attempted to create from odds and ends in my stash of findings and charms and broken accessories was this charm bracelet which I had set out to be a “DINNA” bracelet.  The primary inspiration being I wanted it to be representative of me and my world.  (Talk about being self-centered!)  It took me a while to pull all the charms I needed together although I’ve had half the bracelet in my box for quite a long time.  It was a way of pulling bits and pieces into one whole again after ages of non-use.

I started with this matte gold chain from Liz Claiborne which I had bought 80% off on the clearance rack a while back.  It had a coy (fish) attached to a studded ball and your usual branded toggle clasp.  (I’ve set this part aside for another project.)  The toggle clasp was a good size so it could be used as a pendant dangle instead of a neck closure.  What appealed to me when I saw it was the matte gold finish.  And at 80% off its original price, I calculated how much per foot the chain was costing me after I bought it for under $10.00, and it was definitely way below the actual cost of this type of double link chain.  The chain was originally around 22 inches so there was the possibility of creating at least a bracelet and a shorter necklace.  (Bracelets should at least be 7 inches long, and 8 1/2 inches for bigger wrists, or if you prefer the bracelet to dangle freely when your hand is down.)

The pearls I used came from a mother-of-pearl shell disc and pearl necklace I got from my trip to Manila in 2008 which had broken off its clasp and a shorter second strand.  The clasp and second strand are intact and I use it as a choker now, but I disassembled the part that had broken off and took some of the pearls as charm drops.  I had not yet learned much about wire wrapping this type of bead/pearl, so I made do with a simple string through and then created the head with the two ends of the wire together.

The charms itself have their own stories to tell.  Most notable of this is the heart locket which had been a present from a friend many years back — meant for my baby-to-be if it turned out to be a daughter.  I’ve had this for as long as I’ve been married but had never used it.  Finally, a chance to make it the centerpiece of my own personal charm.  I haven’t yet chosen the pictures I will put in it but I intend to get to that soon.  I didn’t get the charms in one trip.  They were acquired through weeks and weeks of trying to decide what I wanted in this “me” bracelet.  Some of the things I wanted, I couldn’t find, like a fleur de lis charm (the Paulinian in me) or a lighthouse (which I am enamored with, wherever we go.)

Clockwise from right, the charm bracelet begins with a round donut hole charm that I found engraved with “peace”, “smile”, “love” and “amour”.  I  liked it when I saw it because it conveyed such positive thoughts.  It was a good sized weighty charm and I needed an anchor for the toggle end and it had “Amour” which would relate to the next charm.  I picked up the Eiffel Tower and Statue of Liberty charms to symbolize the two cities I love: Paris and New York.  (No charms for Manila — but I figured the pearls were representative of the so-called “Pearl of the Orient”).  Then I picked a good sized flower charm because I liked things feminine, like shoes and the bag (which is engraved with PARIS) charms that follow.  The heart is the center charm, followed by a “G Clef” which represents the musical side of me.  Then there’s an Angel hanging on a moon which is my little guy, and the sun which represents Alan who is “the light of my world.”  I found the horse charm by accident which I could relate to, having been born in the year of the horse.  The clown was a filler charm but which I felt drawn to because I have always liked knick knacks with a clown in it.  (I would’ve opted for a lighthouse but I couldn’t find one in the various trips digging through trays and trays of various charms.)

Made both of old things and new, and while these are gold-finished pewter charms, the most precious charm is the heart locket because of the story behind it and because it’s the only part of the bracelet which is genuine gold.  It’s most special, too, because it’s that part of the bracelet which was a gift.  It had “slept” in my jewelry box forever and it’s about time I wore it.  I have since lost touch with this friend and we haven’t spoken in years —  and while I feel that we have drifted into two separate worlds, there are the memories of the years before that that make this locket special to me. 

I love the way this bracelet jingles and jangles when I wear it.  It has a whimsical tone to it which helps me put on a cheery countenance.  That worked well on a wet day like today when the mood was sombre and dark.  Sometimes all it takes is but a few reminders of the things that matter to us to get us past the downside.  Charmed, indeed.

A visit to Central Park

My hands are all “wired out” and that’s in the literal sense.  I have been practicing working with household wire which have strained my hands no end over the last couple of days.  I just had to give it up for today, and I think I will give my hands a reprieve from the tugging and the pinching and put away the wire for now.  It can get very addicting to the point of not listening to my hands screaming for a break — and just switching the finger against which the pliers rest. ( End of craft report.)

Here I am preparing for another week ahead.  I’m trying to make a mental note of the things I need to do during this week.  I haven’t even hit Monday yet and here I am finding myself wishing there were 8 days instead of 7, and 30 hours instead of 24 to each day.  It’s that familiar feeling of trying to pull the calendar to a slower trot as it heads towards the end of the year.  It’s Halloween next Saturday, and soon, Thanksgiving will be here. 

The weather has been rather fickle-minded, cold one day and almost spring like the next.  We were blessed with near 70s weather last Thursday and while I could’ve opted to work from home, I dropped by the city and came in, just so I could take a walk in Central Park later in the day. I had wanted to check out if my favorite autumn canvasses were already up.  Not quite.  I had missed out on visiting Central Park in the spring, and with the fleeting colors of autumn, I wanted to see if I can catch the landscape as autumn was creeping in, and then come back to view it in full splendor.

I was lucky enough to have had that chance last year when I visited the park in October and then in November again.  (Click on the links to view my pictures of Autumn 2008).  The way mother nature paints and ushers in the changing of the colors of nature when the seasons come and go reminds me that time goes by so fast.  If we don’t grab the moment, it will be gone and there is no way of getting it back.  I remember my regret in not having snapped up pictures of  a favorite tree here in the neighborhood because I told myself it wasn’t going anywhere and I could come back a few days later. I did go back — but to a different combination of hues of the season.  So much can take place overnight that what was once a fiery crown of autumn leaves might be but twigs and branches tomorrow.  Lesson learned. 

While I would’ve wanted to linger, I had to walk through the park in a more purposeful stride, entering through Columbus Circle towards the Bethesda Fountain and then heading back through the Central Park Zoo and out to 57th and 5th Avenue to catch the express bus home.  The landscape was still mostly green.  There were patches of yellow and orange but the park is still in transition.  The ground is not yet carpeted with autumn leaves.  That will probably happen in a week or two. 

I enjoy visiting with Alan and Angelo but there is something special about walking through the park alone.  It allows me to experience the park in a more personal way, the way I want to.  Whether I am walking at a leisurely pace or trying to cover as much ground in as little time as possible, I see the park in a different light when it’s just me and my camera.  There are still many parts of the park that I have yet to find and explore.  I have yet to reach Belvedere Castle, and I rarely get as far as Strawberry Fields where the mosaic dedicated to John Lennon with the word “Imagine” can be found — a corner I’ve seen only three times in the almost ten years I’ve been here. 

No matter how many times I walk back and forth through The Mall, I always find its canopy of giant elms breathtaking, whatever the season, whatever time of day.  And for the first time, I spied the park bench donated in memory of the late Jim Henson, and on it was inscribed: “TO THE JOYFUL  LIFE OF JIM HENSON WHO LOVED THIS WALK IN THE PARK.”  I can relate.

There is always so much to discover and there is much to go back for.  That’s the perpetual tourist in me — and I’m already making a mental note to go back to the park soon.

Bethesda Fountain in Central Park, viewed from the Bethesda Terrace
Bethesda Fountain in Central Park, viewed from the Bethesda Terrace

Bryant Park is humming again

It’s Wednesday and it’s a beautitul, sunny one — unbelievably gorgeous and we’re warming up!  I managed to arrive in Manhattan a little earlier than usual and I just couldn’t resist the invitation to sit a while in Bryant Park.  I thought it would be a good way to start my day, and a perfect place to sit quietly and pray.  Wednesday being my novena day for Our Lady of Perpetual Help.   Thanks to technology — I actually don’t carry a prayer book anymore but instead have one of the countless published novenas bookmarked on my blackberry.  (I personally prefer this site although there are others out there, only because “column view” allows you to read the prayers by just scrolling down in any fontsize.)

I walked up the steps from the Avenue of the Americas and found the great lawn cordoned off.  There were bulldozers and other heavy equipment moving about, “ironing” dirt and I suddenly thought “skating rink”.  I guess they’re getting ready for it. 

There were still seats aplenty and I picked my little corner, put my bags down and I looked around me and just sat quietly.  That was a good way to start the day. 

A special project involving a lot of wire twisting has been keeping me up lately.  I might have to take  a break, though — one of my fingers is feeling the strain from working with the pliers and wire.  Maybe it’s also the new diet pill I’m taking which is keeping me up, but I’ve been able to wake up on time even if I slept at past 1am.  Today, I’m wearing my gold fancy yarn wrap — sans the fringe which I am still undecided as to whether or not I will add or forego for this project.  (Forego?)  In my busy world, working with my hands has helped me to unwind at the end of the day and to recharge for another round when the sun rises again.

That thought somehow put this post on a standstill, yet I feel there is much more to say.  In time..

Rainy Sunday Reflections

I had started writing a post here between the “sinaing” (rice) and preparing lunch, and Internet Explorer 8 gobbled up my open tabs.   And although WordPress has been generally good in autosaving my drafts, I wasn’t as lucky this time.  Big sigh..  So let me try again..

We woke up to a rainy Sunday morning.   I could actually hear the wind blowing outside.  The weatherman was dead on — rain and lots of it.   I guess we’re staying indoors.  I’m trying to make a mental tally of what my grocery needs are.  A trip to Target seems out of the question.  (I don’t want to lug shopping bags from the car to the doorstep while trying to dodge the rain, with or without an umbrella.)  Maybe a trip to the neighborhood Keyfood later?  I’m not inclined to go too far and head to my usual grocery, Waldbaum’s. 

I think I’m in pretty good shape — I haven’t even washed the dishes from lunch yet and I’m already planning dinner.  Hmmm.. it’s a little trickier when my stepson is here.  I usually come up with the meal with three considerations: Alan and myself, the little tyke and my diabetic 79-year-old mother-in-law.  Now there’s a fourth.  Alan proposed a solution — he will just buy the kids burgers for dinner later, and I can cook up something healthy for him and Mom.  Yes to that.

Bumblebee De Luxe Costume
Bumblebee De Luxe Costume

Can you believe how we’re halfway through October, and almost done with the year?  I’m thinking of the rest of the year in terms of the holidays coming up:  Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas.  I don’t really decorate for Halloween because my focus is more on preparing the goodies for the trick or treaters, and getting the tyke set up with his costume of choice.  This year it was not a difficult decision:  he wanted to be Bumblebee from Transformers 2.  We snapped up his costume weeks ago before the store ran out of his size and before the ones on display got all banged up.  (Costume shopping can be such a challenge when you’re competing with the rest of the moms and kids out there.)  I haven’t quite gotten my candies yet.  (Cheap me, I’m waiting for them to go on sale..they are already on sale, but they’ll dip some more by next weekend!)  I’ve always toyed with the idea of being in costume myself, but this is the first real Halloween for Angelo wherein I will not be rushing home from work.  We’ll see.

My hands are sore from practicing with a spool of utility wire I picked up from the dollar store before the weekend.  At 75 feet for a dollar, I’ve been able to practice my loops and wiring techniques without worry of wastage.  It’s not exactly the ones you find in the jewelry supply stores, but its dull grey tone is good for pewter findings and charms.  It would also make for a good chain or link base for some black, silver and clear beads I’m recycling from older pieces.  A site I came across also suggests wrapping the wire with thinner-gauge colored or plated wire.  That’s a thought.  I’ve put aside my knitting kneedles in the meantime but the colder weather definitely means I’ll be picking them up again soon.

I’ve found myself browsing the stores of Etsy more and more these days, surfing for ideas and just admiring the different works of the artisans selling there.  (Special mention again to Rina Calica-Ward’s Nostalgems which brought me in that direction.)  For novices like myself, sites like this help to nurture our creative instinct and give us inspiration.  No matter how amateur my own attempts at creating things may be, it helps to give me an outlet for expression.  I have always believed that it is never too late and one can never be ever too old to learn something new or start something different.

My afternoon is slipping away and I must run after the tyke to do his weekend homework.  I haven’t been firm enough in resisting his supplications to postpone it for later as he is busy playing.  Besides, it gave me an excuse to browse and write here.  Time to run after him and pester him into getting down to business.. right after the dishes are washed and put away.

Ramblings at past midnight

Don’t blame me if this post ends up to be a hodge podge of nonsensical ideas and thoughts.  It’s 1AM here in  New York, and I’m catching the second run of “Clear and Present Danger” on TV.  (What happened to the CSI and Cold Case reruns I used to catch at this hour?)  No, I am not thinking it’s Friday when it’s a Thursday night.  I think it might be the new herbal meds I’m taking to get rid of some of the “extra me” that just won’t let me go back to a decent size 10.

Alan and I watched Drag Me to Hell on DVD earlier this evening which I don’t recommend for the faint of heart and those who have a weak stomach.  (Too much gore.. at least for my taste.)

Then I went on to browsing researching altered game piece jewelry — or altered domino pendants — which was actually an offshoot of my discovery of scrabble tile pendants from a few days ago, plunging me into research about resin jewelry .  Now I found out about “inchies” which can actually be made on scrabble pieces or by themselve, in paper or fabric. 

Hmmmm.. nice to think of getting into these crafts when time permits — but time doesn’t.  Besides, I have yarns to knit, scrapbook layouts to make, and motherhood and work.  I have this itch to use one of my son’s older watercolor palettes from the dollar store to color newspapers I want to make into a collage which I can use as a scrapbook background paper.  Not exactly the best time to work with paper, though  — it’s raining so the air has a lot of moisture.  The best time to handle paper (more so when there is drying involved) in my experience is when it’s warmer.  Which basically means waiting for June or just doing it anyway and just being doubly patient with waiting for the finished product to dry.)

“The phone is still on, Moira..”  .. Why hasn’t Tom Clancy written any new novels?  Whatever happened to the continuation of “Teeth of the Tiger“?

It’s been a cold, cold day — they say it’ll be raining all weekend.  I went up to the attic to get more of Angelo’s fall and winter clothes from his off-season bin earlier tonight.  I need to fish out my gloves from my dresser, too.  Today was definitely scarf-and-gloves but I went out unprepared.  Never again.

And I think I’m finally sleepy..  I want to write about my friends back home who fell victim to the onslaught of the floods.. we always think of disasters in terms of our kababayans (countrymen) out in the provinces — not in the city.  There were floods, yes — but to actually end up losing literally everything like some friends did — was just such an overwhelming feeling. 

Let me stop here.  I need to get some sleep before I have to start yet another day in paradise.  Happy Friday, folks!

A bright day despite the muggy skies

 It’s a muggy day in Manhattan today.  No matter — we’re celebrating Alan’s birthday, which, per our tradition is another week-long celebration.  So I started my day by giving thanks.  We had to detour through 3rd Avenue due to heavy construction along our usual route to Avenue of the Americas, so I had Alan drop me off at St. Agnes Parish on 43rd Street. 

I sat down and I just listened to the solemn chanting.  I said “Thank you, Lord” and I just kept still and listened.  I have learned that prayer doesn’t have to be about words.  There is always so much that can be said even when you are not saying anything.  I felt my chest tighten as I recalled how just a few months back, I sat there crying my heart out just seeking comfort.  I asked a question and got my answer.  I looked around me and saw a handful of people deep in conversation with their God.  I prayed for them as well.

I regret that I don’t do this more often.  I am sure Jesus feels like a neglected friend.  For someone who prides herself as one loyal friend to those whom I count as such, I feel bad that I have been remiss.

I looked around and felt recharged — and I hied off to start my day.  Off to the Grand Central Market to cut through to 42nd Street to catch a bus to my side of Midtown.  I couldn’t help it — I grabbed a caramel nut bar  from my favorite chocolatier, Lilac.  lilaccaramel1 I walked down Grand Central but did not stop to take photographs  like I’m wont to do whenever I find myself here.  I have things waiting for me to be done back in the office, so I resisted the temptation to stay and linger.  A quick stop at Papyrus was an excercise in futility — despite their finely crafted cards, they missed out on snagging the likes of Amanda Bradley whose prose had conveyed our sentiments via Hallmark cards for as long as I can remember.  When the words we write cannot fully express what we mean in our hearts, there’s always a Hallmark card.

There was a time in my life when I wrote what, for me, were poems.  I wrote a series I called “Prayers in Prose” which were essentially conversations with my God.  It has been ages since inspiration visited so I haven’t had any recent works.  I now write spontaneously here in my corner of the blogsphere.   But on this day I just want to say Thank you for the blessings that have sustained me through to this day.  I look out the window towards Midtown Manhattan and I see the sun peeking out.  Hope springs eternal — even in the darkness, there is always the promise of a new day.  So I close my eyes and I take a deep breath and I smile to the Heavens.. “Thank you, Lord, for all that you have brought into my life.. my happiness and strength all lie in You.”

Missing my little guy

Written yesterday, Monday, 12October2009 – Columbus Day:

I’ve been home for the last 5 hours alone — I had come rushing from the neighborhood McDonald’s with his favorite McNuggets in tow and I was panicked to find the house empty.  Silly me, I know I should have looked for a note from my mother-in-law, and there it was on top of the TV.   “Angelo is with me.  I have an appointment with my foot doctor.”

So I frantically dialed Alan and asked him if he knew of Mom’s appointment (which he apparently did), because I would not have gone to the city to do errands had I known!  Or I would’ve stuck to my original plan to take the tyke with me to catch glimpses of the Columbus Day Parade down Fifth Avenue, or to take a quick peek into one of our favorite museums in Manhattan.

I waited.. and waited.  Alas, my stomach only held out until 3:30pm, and I had to have my lunch.  I’m still waiting and he isn’t home yet.  I’m guessing his other grandma decided to bring him and his Lola to their house which is not that far from where we are.  The scent of the McNuggets doesn’t help.  I already put his favorite plain sundae in the freezer because it was beginning to melt on me. 

I wish he would come bounding up the stairs any minute now — I had purposely stayed home (at least meant to) to be able to keep him company since they had no school today.  I guess I am no longer used to a silent house.  For five years, there was always something happening or the TV was always humming whether I was busy puttering around in the kitchen or just doing “my stuff” on the sofa or some other corner of  our little nest.

He’ll be home soon enough.

Between stitches

I like the idea of staying home on weekends except that it means that “Dinna’s Diner” is open all day.  I remember how I used to loathe the thought of whipping up breakfast, cleaning up and then getting on with preparing lunch, cleaning up and putting everything away — then doing the whole cycle again for dinner.  I’m not complaining really — just that staying home is not as “simple” as just that.  This time, though, I’m doing rows between meals so it’s working out.

If anything, I’m glad that I’m continuing with my wrap cum scarf, and while I haven’t measured the actual length to determine if I’m anywhere near the literal finish line (or row as it is for knitting), I know I’m getting there.  I’ve stayed up late during the week just getting into the rhythm of working my needles together.  There was a minor setback when I had to repeat (yes, repeat) the whole project a third of the way or so through.  No regrets.  The second go at it actually made for more controlled stitching and I’m pretty happy with what I produced. I’m already thinking of what I am making out of two spools of multi-colored yarns I had picked up from a discount store a long while back that I can’t remember if it was last year or the year before. 

There’s the dilemma of going at it with the knitting needles or the crochet hook — the answer to which depends on what exactly I want to make with it.  I have enough material (I think) to make a nice cap-sleeved loose cardigan in tunic length, more so if I use the colored yarn only for one side and maybe use an all-black back.   I definitely have more than enough to do a crochetted scarf or a another wrap.  Hmmmm… 

Meanwhile, I’m trying to enjoy my Sunday afternoon and will shortly go back to knitting.. and maybe if I’m lucky, I’ll be wearing my latest creation around my shoulders next week.

Back to knitting

Around 3 years ago, I chanced upon this “fancy yarn” that was in the dollar bin in Target.  I always look at balls of yarn a different way, thinking of the possibility of what I can do with it given my limited knitting skills.  (No fancy stitches for me, and while I can read crochet patterns, I cannot do that for knitting which I learned first by using chopsticks reading the step-by-step illustrated instructions from our encyclopedia back home.)

When I saw this fancy yar, I purchased batches with the thought of creating a scarf or perhaps a wrap for a friend of mine in the Philippines (although she is now here in another part of the US.)  The yarns have been sitting in my attic all this time, and I have finally found the inclination to start making one for myself.  With fall here, I thought the gold would be the better pick over the pastel colored rainbow mix.

I like knitting because I can get into the rhythm of the stitches and be thinking of something else or be in the middle of watching television.  It has always been a good de-stresser for me, and I’ve always found it rewarding to wear something I made rather than something I bought.  It is a good exercise in patience as well as I often find myself repeating the project at the start when I realize the number of stitches I worked for the first row were either too little or too much — and there is redoing the work when you realize knitting wasn’t the best idea for the thread or yarn.

One small ball apparently comes out to approximately a square foot using my size 15 kneedles (10.0mm).  It’s not a warm and fuzzy scarf — it’s more of an accessory to add color particularly to an all black attire which is so me during the fall and winter months.  (Although I have tried to add more colorful turtlenecks to my wardrobe, I count several  black ones in shortsleeves, cap sleeves and long sleeves.  I can actually go through a whole week wearing some shape or form of a black turtleneck top.)  It can warm up your neck but only when bundled up.  To compensate for the flimsy material, I’m doing a wider width that bundles up to a nice bulk.  65 stitches from left to right. My estimate is that I will use approximately 8 balls of the yarn, making for $8.00 in material cost.  Even if I end up using 10, that’s still a good deal for what I’m making.

I’ll post a pic of the finished product here when done.  Meanwhile, let me go back to the project.

The sudden spurt to create something was brought about by the colorful fall scarves I saw in the stores when I went window shopping yesterday.  I looked, I touched, but I did not buy — I have too many yarns waiting to be knitted or crochetted into something to wrap around my neck that I have vowed NOT to spend on that fall and winter necessity.  So I’ve started knitting again.  I had started crochetting but then the design of the yarn doesn’t work well with patterned stitches, unless they are knits and purls.

In the first person

I had a long day today that left me exhausted as I trudged home on the express bus (Alan had gone ahead to take his Mom to a doctor’s appointment) and by the time I sat down for dinner after frying some flounder fillet, and putting together a side of siomai, I had a throbbing headache.  (The naproxen sodium hasn’t quite kicked in.. but I’m counting on it to relieve me soon..)

I sit back and log on, seeing a forwarded message from my cousin Ate Lian.  It was another cousin’s first person entry of her experience with Typhoon Ondoy — something I had seen previously on Facebook.  Reality hits me and I forget about the headache (momentarily) and I want to share this entry with you to give you a glimpse of what took place from someone who was actually there.  Read on..

29 September 2009

As you have probably seen or heard, Typhoon Ketsana (“Ondoy”) hit the Philippines last Saturday, September 26. The eastern towns in Metro Manila were the worst hit areas.

We were one of them.

You can search news online on the floods that left hundreds of thousands of Filipinos devastated. Here is my personal account of what happened around me in the last 96 hours.

Saturday, 26 September

9:30 a.m. Our helper woke me up frantically. She said that there was already flooding in our streets. It had been raining since 8 p.m. the night before. I was not surprised that it was flooding. I have experienced many floods in my childhood. To me, flooding was a chance to make paper boats and make them sail right from our porch.

My dad was not home. I called to tell him that he should wait out the rain because he cannot bring in our car home anymore. I also learned that our driver went to pick up my mom at the airport early in the morning. It was just me, my sister and our helper.

10:30 a.m. The water rose dramatically, flooding our whole front yard. At this point, we knew it was serious. The last time it flooded this bad was almost a decade ago – our house was filled with 6” deep flood water.

It was not long until the water entered the house. I shut the power supply off in our house immediately.

We started hauling everything we could to our bedrooms – 3 steps up from our living room. Files. Appliances. Couches. Tables. Everything three women could possibly carry, wading in murky flood water.

12:30 p.m. My parents are still not home. Mobile phone signals were weakening. We could hardly contact our parents. My sister and I started to pray the rosary while our helper was sitting by the steps, delegating herself as the official flood watcher.

1:30 p.m. It was only 2” until the flood water rises to the level of the two bedrooms. Two inches until all our efforts to move our belongings would be futile. We continued to pray.

After four rounds of rosary, the rain started to weaken. The water never reached the bedrooms.

5:30 p.m. I hear someone yelling from downstairs – “We’re home!” It was my parents. Thank God.

My mom stayed at a friend’s condo a couple of miles away from our village. Our driver had to leave the van with her since he had to go to attend to his already submerged house. My dad left his car at another friend’s house and got a ride home in his friend’s much higher SUV, only to find out that cars could not pass the roads anymore. My dad braved the cold, waist deep water, trying to keep his balance as passing trucks made the already raging flood unbearable to wade in. He saw a couple of guys pushing a cart – trying to make little business out of the calamity by pushing “passengers” to land. They were asking for Php 20 ($0.50) for each ride. My dad got in, paid a little extra so he would be “pushed” to the condo where my mom was staying. He and my mom drove the van, parking it a few blocks from our village, and once again, dove into the flood water and walked home.

It was hard to sleep that night – no electricity, mosquitoes all around, the stench of the flood water, news on the radio about people in nearby villages on their roofs hoping to be rescued, the uncertainty of the lives of friends and family who we could not contact that frightful day.

Sunday, 27 September

The flood had already receded. There was no more water inside the house, but our garage was still submerged. We had to sweep out as much mud and debris that the flood left inside before it could harden. It was not an easy mop job. We had to hose out the mud out of the wood and tile floors. We were lucky to have running water. Cleaning Day 1.

Monday, 28 September

Cleaning Day 2. We started to realize the damage of Typhoon Ketsana to our home. For me to use the word “damage” is an exaggeration. Soaked furniture, damaged piano, muddy floors, destroyed photographs – nothing compared to people who have lost their homes and loved ones. Children swept away by river currents. Corpses hanging from fences, washed under bridges, buried in landslides. I am blessed.

Tuesday, 29 September

We finally hear from our driver, whose house was located in the hardest hit area. His house was completely submerged in water on Saturday. He had to dive underwater to push open the doors, only to discover their belongings floating near the ceiling. His neighbors tried to save each other. There is still no running water to this day in their area, and to make matters even worse, there was an oil spill in the next town that added to the already murky flood water stagnant in the neighborhood.


My story and the pictures I took are incomparable to the images you see in the news. This is merely the tip of the iceberg of what was the biggest storm to hit the country in four decades.

The Philippines needs your help. Any amount is greatly appreciated. I hope you can find it in your hearts to reach out to the needy amidst the ongoing recession.

ABS-CBN Foundation Toll Free Number: 1-800-527-2820
Ayala Foundation
American Red Cross*
*Please specify that your donation is for the typhoon victims in the Philippines.

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Thank you very much. God bless you.

Mia S. de Guzman