Sep 26, 2010

Remembering Ondoy Part 1

We all slept in my parents' bedroom that night - scared because the power was out; the wind and rain were trying to break the windows. The news from the radio mentioned that a lot of people need help from their roofs. There was even this family in La Vista who needed a funeral parlor because their dad was crushed by the wall.

Before that night, I didn't expect anything like Ondoy to hit Manila. I've been living my life here for the past 19 years and nothing that serious had happened.

That morning, I wasn't sure if I'd go to my friend's party at Greenhills since it was raining very hard. Some of the streets were already flooded and blocked. I called my other friend asking if he's still going and he told me that they were carrying their stuff up because their first floor was quickly being filled up by the flood. I thought he was just joking.

My facebook status then: "I wish I'd get stranded in school! Sounds fun!", then someone commented that I was insensitive. Pardon me but I didn't know what was happening at that time.

Later that afternoon, my dad told us that all of my uncle's cars were destroyed because the first floor of their house was under water already. I turned on the AM station in my phone and there, I realized the gravity of one of the deadliest typhoons in the country.

I was afraid of the people who lived in Marikina and Rizal - I have a lot of friends living there. What will happen to the people who are most vulnerable to these typhoons? Al Gore mentioned that even though typhoons are decreasing in number per year, their magnitude is increasing - more super typhoons. Is the country ready to structurally resist/recover from these damages?

I was afraid of not being able to do something because my dad told us to stay in the house. My brother and I decided to donate half of our clothes - even some of our most precious possessions like the Vivien Westwood coat, because we were thinking, someone fabulous might be needing it more than we do.

Kidding aside, how will the country recover if this trend of super typhoons continue. The country is included in the top ten most vulnerable countries to be hit by the effects of climate change. We must see this beyond the environmental effects since there are economic and political costs as well. Imagine how many people will lose homes, will go hungry, will die helpless because these first world nations do not give a damn about their carbon emissions?

I was editing a documentary few weeks ago and I was struck at this crying girl: "I'm really afraid of my children growing up and not being able to see the blue sky or green grass. If I don't do something, who will?" She was able to say that even though she's just around 12 years old.

There's so much that can be done. I think it's not too late. I continue to hope, even hoping against hope.

My Related Blog Posts (last year)

The Great Manila Flood:

Nasaan ang Diyos

Mother Nature's Way of Saying Goodbye to Humans

Sep 18, 2010

Book Heaven

Went to SMX for the Manila International Book Fair to purchase some advertising books but they are all expensive!

Everything is at least 2,000 so I only got one - the Benetton Campaigns, which has mind blowing ads on extreme racism, offensive body parts, weird human-animal interactions... (i'll dedicate a separate blog for that)

Here are some of the stalls. I recommend going to the foreign languages area and Anvil's for rare Filipiniana books.

It was jam packed. People are everywhere doing their own thing! I actually saw a lot of school mates and some friends. Horay for book lovers!

Price range: 10 peso Children's book

to 8,500 Fashion books. Why are art books so expensive?! Can you believe that this thin book is that expensive?

And I can't believe they are still selling encyclopedias. I hope they'd just donate it to public schools since no one would buy it - there's the internet and online encyclopedias. (But I really like the design for this set)

I'm a fan of John Maxwell and it was great that all his boos (together with other leadership and self-help books) are 20% off.

I even saw Dr. Vilches, the Dean of the School of Humanities in our university. I always see her in school very poised so its "refreshing" to see her kneeling to reach a book.

This is the second time I saw her in SMX, the first one was during the Al Gore Conference.

Speaking of Al Gore, I wish I could purchase all the environment-related books (although I bought a few)

Tip: There's this corner in the National Bookstore part where the whole shelf is filled with ecological books.

Other books that I saw interesting:

Angels and Jejemons. Need I say more?

My brother and I are ready to steal this books but its too heavy!

Magis edited by Queena Lee-Chua. Great insights from Ateneo professors on faith, joy and love.

I did not buy this book, but we had their foundation sponsor a talk for our org in our school. The Ramon Magsaysay Awards foundation is the Asian equivalent of the Nobel Prize.

I was so excited to purchase Thomas Friedman's book - makes me look intelligent. But I swear, this book is a must have for those who'd want to converse meaningfully in this age.

After I've paid all books and my cash is almost zero, I saw this book priced at Php750 and I almost cried because finally, there's this all encompassing book about the environment, justice, hunger, poverty, trafficking, education... and I don't have money to pay for it:|

I'm planning to return tomorrow with my mom (so she can pay for this book) and will probably do some Christmas shopping, because of the very good bargains.

Vanity shots of my brother and I before leaving SMX.

Goodbye SMX, we'll be seeing you next month for the fashion week;)

The Religion of Fashion: Mapagpalaya or Mapaniil?

One month from now, sartorial virtuosity will be accumulated in 5 days. The kingdom of appearances will be celebrated by a court of fashion industry people, dominated by a sea of silhouettes which are patterned by geometric planes and fluid waves - made buoyant by architectural severity on feet.

(My brother and I last season)

While I was planning on what to wear (yes, this early) I kept on thinking: is Fashion really mapagpalaya or mapaniil?

(Givenchy Haute Couture FW 2010-2011)

People assert their individuality through their clothes. I like to defy silhouette and fluidity so my "trademark" has always been a scarf and multiple layers of accessories since I was in high school. (tried to tame it down in college unless the occasion requires). I had this houndstooth capelet made last fashion week just because I like the silhouette it creates.

Through and, we have seen a lot of fashion icons emerge. The internet has allowed fashion bloggers to inspire other people and shatter their chains from being slaves of the ordinary. We assert our individuality even to the point of being actualized. A vision is created and displayed through our clothes.

But there are these temples around the globe which houses the likes of Aliona Doletskaya (Russia), Alexandra Shulma (United Kingdom), Franca Sozzani (Italy), Carine Roitfeld (France) and their head deity, Anna Wintour (United States).

These gods together with their creative directors dictate what to wear from this seasons military style to the smallest details like more studs, bolder shoulders blended in with a return to minimalism. With their blessing, new designers are catapulted immediately high up the bejeweled fashion ladder.

Here in the Philippines, fashion shows don't start without Pauline Juan and Sari Yap. We were dressing up the models for a fashion show last season and we had to sacrifice the planned schedule because Pauline Juan wasn't done inspecting all the clothes for the runway. They are dictate through their inspirations from the west, what designers here in the country should do.

(The team of Preview Magazine)

From the runway, these designs will trickle down to trend-stealing-unoriginal-black-holes-of-creativity stores like Zara and Forever 21. (Although we need them) And here comes a shopper who wants to assert her individual style as a chic power bitch who'll purchase a Givenchy-patterned leggings from F21 and a Chanel-inspired bolero from Zara, never knowing that these trends are dictated and their quest to assert individuality is just an illusion.

But of course, there are those Herculean fashion icons who are stoic or at least adapt effortlessly to these waves of trends. They are those who live by Yves Saint Laurent's words "fashion fades, style is eternal" and I hope these modern day heroes of individuality will continue doing what they do best - staying fierce and fabulous.

Sep 12, 2010

College Yearbook Write Up

Be daring, be different, be impractical, be anything that will assert integrity of purpose and imaginative vision against the play-it-safers, the creatures of the commonplace, the slaves of the ordinary.

As someone who always had the audacity to defy the norms with his unpopular opinions regarding politics, philosophy and religion, to his unconventional ways of dressing up, Neil remains firm on his beliefs and ideas regardless of what other people may think and say. It’s about making a stand. It’s all about creating a vision for yourself and just letting people accept you for who you are.

(recent painting I've been working on below)

A lover of art, culture and the environment, Neil has painted pieces that exhibit nature’s unwavering power over its creation – us humans, and has joined an international environmental organization where he learned how to appreciate the slow paced life, and his love for beauty through people from different backgrounds was intensified.

After graduation, it won’t be the death of idealism, of creativity, of unceasing passion for learning and life.

Sep 11, 2010

Yearbook Dedication

"As i shut the door and open a new one to embark on another journey on this so called life, I took a trip back at the familiar memory lane and find myself stuck within its gray alleys.

I was once a student, like any other student in any other school, with the hopes to graduate and the dreams to excel. But then, after I flipped back the pages of my high school days, I found that I was painted in a bigger picture of people existing, not for me, but because of me.

In this four year roller coaster ride, my greatest success would be the discovery of my identity. My quest then was to achieve excellence in all the fields, but then I realized that there are more important things than academics.

I was able to influence people, and that to me is the greatest harvest that I reaped for all my hard work. I am a people person.

I never wanted to be forgotten easily, and through these people I have influenced, my memories in this Alma Mater will be remembered. With this in mind, I will finally be able to break free, and move on to higher places."

-My self-serving and rather cheesy high school yearbook dedication, 2007

Now I am screwed because I need to write a better dedication for my college yearbook.

To sum up my four years in college, new passions have been opened and infused with deeper reflections on why I am doing it - a purpose for my interests has taken root into what most people would call impractical - fashion, culture and the arts. I fell in love with it, and so as to social works I did with UNICEF's Child Protection Program plus celebrating two birthdays with the kids of Tuklasan Orphanage with my cousins. I came to appreciate beauty through nature and now vowed to protect the environment that is being sucked dry and empty by big institutions.

I got involved in international relations through the Ateneo-Harvard Project for Asian and International Relations and through my position as Representative of the Philippines for NextGEN under the Global Ecovillage Network for Oceania and Asia - having Skype meetings with Africans who have a French accent was the most difficult part of it all.

But my main concern is how to stand out among all my batchmates because I'm sure a lot will flood their dedications with their achievements (I can't stress this enough!). I want to make a dedication that can shout and echo with so much conviction that these four years in college was worth every breath, every tear, every sleepless night and every unforgettable memory that I shared with my friends and I shared with God.

Sep 10, 2010

After Four Years

I am not worried if I don't get a job after graduation. I am more worried with the possible death of idealism, of creativity, of unceasing passion for learning, culture, art and life!