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DMCI’s Torre de Manila and Laudato si’

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Three days before the 154th birth anniversary of Dr. José Rizal which falls today, Filipinos were treated to glad tidings. The construction of the Torre De Manila condominium, rightfully dubbed by concerned Filipinos as “Terror de Manila” for photobombing the scenic background of the Rizal Monument at the Luneta, was issued a temporary restraining order (TRO) by the Supreme Court (SC).

“SC issues TRO against further construction of Torre de Manila; orders oral argument on June 30 at 2 PM” the SC Public Information Office said in its official Twitter account.

While this may just be a temporary victory, it was still welcomed with glee, especially by heritage advocates. It is still a victory nonetheless, considering the fact that this eyesore of a building by DMCI Homes keeps on growing and growing each day, conveniently ignoring the cease and desist order issued by the National Culture for Commission and the Arts (NCCA) last January that was based on existing heritage laws.

Don’t we all miss this scene? © John Tewell

This blogpost will not attempt to discuss the ins and outs of this issue as it has already been exhausted by several media outlets, opinion makers, and blogs since tourist guide and heritage activist Carlos Celdrán revealed this heritage crime to the public three years ago. As an ordinary netizen myself, I’ll just content myself to reading comments online (as usual) about this positive turn of events.

This so-called “Terror de Manila” is as unpopular as the more terrifying Bangsamoro Basic Law. The stream of comments expressing rage against the construction of this condominium as well as the joyful comments when news of the SC’s TRO broke out is overwhelming  so much that to encounter a comment expressing sympathy towards the building is simply too jarring not to ignore. One such comment in the Philippine Daily Inquirer caught my attention:

“The fact remains that the building was approved by the Manila Zoning Board. Now that the construction is stopped and probably not be restarted, I would like to ask those responsible for the demise of this building-1. Who is going to feed the workers and their families whose sole employment is probably this construction? 2. Who is going to reimburse those who already paid for the condominiums, money earned from blood and sweat? 3. Who is going to reimburse the expenses of DMCI ( DMCI is not privately owned. There are a lot of stockholders, myself included.)? I would appreciate very much if the senator, Knight of Columbus, Carlos Cedran, NCCA and so called conservationist answer those questions. Can we feed the hungry with the statue of Rizal or his image. We have more urgent problems than disfiguring the view of a statue.”

The issues raised by the commenter seems representative of everything that is pro-DMCI/Torre de Manila. Although acceptable to some quarters (and there are very few of them), all his points are still invalid. And this is the objective of this blogpost: to answer this comment point by point (let Celdrán and the NCCA tackle DMCI themselves because I’m way out of their league anyway):

1) “The fact remains that the building was approved by the Manila Zoning Board.” — But the fact also remains that the Manila Zoning Board violated Republic Act No. 10066 (National Cultural Heritage Act of 2009) on the grounds that “it mars the sightlines or visual corridors of the Rizal Monument, a declared National Cultural Treasure of the Philippines and a sublime symbol of the Filipino nation.”

2) “Who is going to feed the workers and their families whose sole employment is probably this construction?” — Didn’t the commenter realize that the Torre de Manila project does not offer permanent employment to the masons, carpenters, and other laborers involved in the construction of the said building? In case the construction pushes through and the building gets done, so is the employment of those lowly laborers. After the project, DMCI will have totally forgotten them for sure.

3) “Who is going to reimburse those who already paid for the condominiums, money earned from blood and sweat?” — DMCI of course. It was their fault from the very beginning. They can afford to make several more torres de Manila and make them disappear with a snap of a finger, considering the fact that they are one of the country’s top conglomerates (2014 total revenue in millions: ₱56,561.0 | 2014 gross profit in millions: ₱18,265.7).

4) “Who is going to reimburse the expenses of DMCI” — Same answer: DMCI can pay itself for its misdeeds, and for all we care. Even with the downfall of Torre de Manila, and DMCI eventually declaring a loss because of it in their annual reports, the reality remains that DMCI will still be around for the next couple of decades… that is, if people will only listen to Pope Francisco’s recently released Laudato si’, a powerful encyclical tackling the destruction of the environment caused by senseless consumerism… pretty much what DMCI has been doing for years (re: Isla Semirara), don’t you think?

In closing, the commenter ended his refutable questions with a more valid one: “Can we feed the hungry with the statue of Rizal or his image. We have more urgent problems than disfiguring the view of a statue.”

True, heritage conservation cannot put food on the table for the hungry poor. It cannot directly solve economic problems. But do we always have to forego heritage for profit? Is it always money above heritage, money over culture? And whose benefit would all this profit be for, anyway? Progress for whom? For the stockholders of DMCI, of course. It is obvious to the discerning reader that the commenter is concerned more about his stocks and was simply mentioning the plight of the Torre de Manila laborers to gain sympathy. And mind you, heritage has been in dire straits for the past few years. Left and right, tangible heritage buildings are fast disappearing (remember last year’s “September Massacre“?), all in the name of profit. In spite of that, did it even alleviate the sorry conditions of our less fortunate fellow Filipinos? No, it did not.

Speaking of economy, the Aquino Government has been harping this 7% growth in GDP for the longest time now, but it has not even trickled down to the most downtrodden in society (the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program should not even count because it is an outright bribe for future votes for the Liberal Party). In the same vein, will Torre de Manila’s completion benefit its construction workers for the long term? The answer is a confident no.

And since I mentioned Laudato si’, this encyclical of Pope Francisco could have never been so timely because DMCI perfectly fits in its scathing statements against consumerism, about the “relentless exploitation and destruction of the environment” (its Semirara Island project), “apathy” (its arrogant insistence of continuing Torre de Manila), “the reckless pursuit of profits” (violating existing heritage laws in exchange for big moolah), “excessive faith in technology” (fast-tracking the completion of the building inspite of NCCA’s cease and desist order), and “political shortsightedness” (former Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim and/or current Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada allowing its construction in the first place).

What will this nation become of one day? A nation of malls and condominiums?

As aptly stated by Senator Pía Cayetano: “It is high time that we, as a people, take the protection of our history, culture and heritage more seriously as these make up the intangible ideals that bind us as Filipinos and define our national identity.”

It should be remembered that the Turkish government was able to demolish the multi-million Onalti Dokuz buildings because they were rising right behind the minarets of picturesque Süleymaniye Mosque, a major tourist attraction. So what is stopping us from doing the same: apathy, greed, or both? Just tear down Terror de Manila already. It will be the perfect birthday gift for the National Hero.


Our policemen should “pound the beat” once more

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Several mornings ago, I stumbled upon the long-running TV/radio program Failón Ñgayón and heard its indefatigable host, Ted Failón, ranting about the problematic crime situation in Quezon City. He was criticizing the Philippine National Police’s initiative in encouraging the citizenry to participate in crime reporting. Failón thought it was ridiculous. Instead of spurring civilians to do some crime reporting, the PNP instead should do a massive crime prevention.

“Crime prevention, not crime reporting!”, cried Failón.

His statement made sense. You see, many decades ago, petty crimes, particularly in Manila, almost never stood a chance to thrive even in the murkiest of alleys. This is because of an effective police strategy in crime prevention. Former Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim who was a renowned crime fighter himself has a term for it. It’s called “pounding the beat”. In his biography May Langit Din Ang Mahirap: The Life Story of Alfredo Siojo Lim written by the late National Artist Nick Joaquín, Mayor Lim related how this scheme worked out, and how effective it really was:

“‘In my time, if you were given a beat, you pounded that beat on foot. You had to walk every inch of it. You were given block to cover. Let us imagine a block as a grid of criss-crossing streets. You began your beat, say, at the southern part outermost street. You walked it from one end to the other where you made a U-turn into the next street, which again you walked from end to end, U-turning into the third street and so on. Now, how long it would take a patrolman to walk from the southern outermost street had already been exactly timed. Say it had been checked that your assigned block would take a full hour to walk from one end to the other. So, if you arrived at the northern outermost street in very much less than an hour, you could be accused of skipping several streets on your beat. Or if you arrive at the northern outermost street in very much more than an hour, you could be suspected of having abandoned your post for half an hour or so. And the suspicions could be verified because a supervising patrol sergeant, unseen by you, was monitoring your every step and was supposed to know every moment where exactly you were.’

“That was the old way of pounding the beat and it ensured that at any moment, day or night, you would beet a policeman on any street in Manila. But Edo Lim knows —and regrets— that there is no longer any such pounding of the beat. The patrolman now does his thing seated —at the outpost, or in a patrol car— and the walkie-talkie does his walking for him.

“‘I pounded the beat in San Nicolás for over a year.'”

Annoyingly, this strategy is no longer in use. Rarely do you see a cop monitoring your neighborhood streets on foot. You’ll find them either inside their patrol cars or in the confines of their precincts, giving many the impression that they are simply waiting for a crime to be reported to them instead of them preventing it to happen. Because the usual scenario is this: they respond only after a crime has been done, only upon receipt of a complaint or report from frightened (or, God forbid, injured) civilians.

Why oh why has this pounding the beat been discontinued? Columnist Ramón Tulfo observed that today’s policemen are too proud to even walk on foot.

“Most police noncommissioned officers, especially the new ones, think that their college diploma places them on the same level as their superiors,” Tulfo complained. “What did he go to college for if he does jobs he considers menial? That’s the mentality of the ordinary policeman, especially the new ones.”

But when you read Mayor Lim’s biography (published in 1998, it was the first Nick Joaquín book I ever bought), it will prove Tulfo wrong. Mayor Lim himself had a college education. He graduated at the Far Eastern University with a degree of Business Administration. And not just him but his contemporaries as well. And all of them rookies pounded the beat.

But there should be no more explanations. Action must be taken, period. Failón is right: crime prevention is the key. So long as we ordinary civilians do not receive the protection and security that we deserve, we will always be at the mercy of not just petty criminals but those bigger sharks in power.

No wonder me and my family received audacious death threats on Facebook from politicians Eugenio Ynión, Jr. and his brother Rommel. Because they, and people like them, are already confident that the PNP has lost its nerve a long time ago, that they can easily escape (or perhaps pay) the law anytime. The Brothers Ynión can simply pay a goon or two to gun us down in the streets, or kidnap us, or whatever. And with no patrolmen pounding the beat, how could we hapless taxpaying citizens even feel safe in our very own turf, our country, where we are supposed to feel at home more than anywhere else in the world?

Of course our only hope right now is PNP Chief Alan Purísima. Before his term ends, here’s hoping that he leaves a lasting impression, a legacy, not just for himself and for the Filipino people but for the very institution —already tarnished with an ill-disposed reputation— to which he dedicated most of his life.

The police should pound that beat once more. Besides, it’s good exercise, too.

My Filipiniana wedding!

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Stand firm, then, brothers, and keep the traditions that we taught you, whether by word of mouth or by letter.
—2 Thessalonians 2:15—

Jennifer “Yeyette” Perey and I have been together for 14 years. She was my college classmate (the prettiest in class, if I may add), my barcada, my “ate” (she’s three years my senior), my partner in crime, my best friend. Hindí man niyá acó lubusang naiintíndihan, tacbuhan co siyá palagui sa touíng bad trip acó sa cung anó mang bagay sa buhay. And vice versa. She had no fondness for almost everything that interests me. Books and politics bore her to death. And she couldn’t care less for the difference between nationalism and birthday parties. In the same vein, I dislike her diversions: showbiz and fashion, and the usual girl talk.

But as children of the 90s, perhaps the only thing which drew us towards each other is our susceptibility to the frivolities of our youth. It was an era of youth itself, when youth in the history of Time was at its happiest, when “happy-go-luckiedness” was basic canon, an age when democracy in our country was having the time of its life, when hip hop and metal were waging war against each other, and when primetime cartoons and sitcoms were the subject of next-days idle talk inside classrooms. It was a time when rebelling was no longer dangerous but fun, a time when pop culture has reached its zenith to the point of being making itself stale (and it did).

When Yeyette and I met, it was a time when euphoria made itself blatant as the most sought-after objective of man.

We never ignored the future, but we cared less for responsibilities. Unselfishness was but a precipitation on a windowpane on which we merely used to write down our names. Youth was all there was. We thought it was immortal. Although it never lorded us over, it never commanded us to do anything, it, however, tolerated our every whim, blinding us with the “truth” about pleasure.

Fortunately for me, I was not your average petty bourgeois. I was also an observant SOB and a worshipper of books dealing with various subjects. And even before me and Yeyette were already an item, I was already in pursuit of truth. Religious truth, that is. And so: growing up with a non-religious Catholic mom, I freely received various books and pamphlets from her JW cousins; as a teen, I showed interest with my maternal grandmother’s UCCP; I then spent several months with the MMCC; a couple of weeks with the INC; was a fanatic Ang Dating Daan fan for about two years, etc. Becoming more adventurous, I then joined DeMolay.

Looking back, I believe that listening to all those sects led to my disenchantment with organized religion which was further augmented with my activities as a young socialist activist. Imagine just what kind of existential angst I had to go through.

During my training with De Molay, my friendship with Yeyette ended up with her getting pregnant. Then Krystal followed. Then life in its most ostentatious color.

Our frosty windowpane was shattered with just a snap of a finger. All of youth’s promises, lost (I imagine José García Villa mockingly slapping our faces with yellowing rough drafts of his “Footnote to Youth”).

Youth betrayed us. Pop culture popped rather hard in front of us, stinging our faces painfully.

Our first photo together taken at Bacoor, Cavite (circa 1999).

In the difficult events that followed (and being unable to make a compromise with my dad regarding Yeyette’s pregnancy), I resigned myself to the notion that life’s a bitch, so it’s better to love myself. I gave up the idea of God. But not my family.


My apologies; it’s not my intention to write a pathos-incensed story of our love life in one blogpost, so never mind the —if you may— kick-a$s intro, hehehe! It might take me forever to write about it. So let me just fast-forward things up to the time when me and Yeyette were already proud and happy parents of four kids: Krystal, Momay, Jefe, and Juanito. It took a family of my own to make me realize that God is real, God is true, God is within us, that family is the covenant He speaks of.

Yes, I became a Christian again, but only after torturous months of joblessness and defeat, reawakenings due to a rereading of Philippine History and philosophy (particularly metaphysics and theology), and wrestling against myself if I was to abort my second child or not. In the end, Fides et Ratio (Faith and Reason) won over me. Life became clearer then. And I didn’t even have to read The Purpose Driven Life (as a matter of fact, I haven’t even read it yet).

And since me and Yeyette didn’t want to live a life filled with guilt over what we did (hooking up together much to our respective parents’ disappointment and heartbreak), neither did we intend to continue our lives in “fornication”. Although we were wed civilly, we are not yet married in God’s eyes. A couple of years from now, we’ll be in our 40s. We didn’t have any plans of going beyond that age limit before officially tying the knot.

And so three months ago today, on a dreaded Friday the 13th which was also our 14th anniversary as a couple, me and Yeyette were finally married in our parish church. It was a simple ceremony, really, as it never had the grandeur similar to other weddings. However, it had the elegance, the sacredness, and the character of a true Filipino wedding…

Photo by Mao Joseph Almadrones.

…because we were married using an ancient Catholic rite: the Rito Mozárabe or the Mozarabic Rite which was the original Catholic form of worship in the Philippines from the Spanish times up to the late 1950s. The wedding took place before the entrance of the church; it lasted for about half an hour. Afterwards came the nuptial blessing using the extraordinary form of the Roman rite, also known as the Tridentine Latin Mass. The languages used during the entire ceremony were Spanish and Latin, the way it should really be.

Ours can be considered a historic wedding because it was the first time —at least in the Southern Tagalog area— that a traditional Filipino wedding occurred since the late 1950s; a similar wedding occurred earlier this year, but it was held at the Holy Family Church in Cubáo, Quezon City.

And speaking of Tridentine Masses, it was a startling coincidence to find out later on that our wedding happened on the eve of the sixth anniversary of the promulgation of the celebrated apostolic letter Summorum Pontificum of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI! And our wedding also occurred during the final months of the Year of Faith, probably one of the most awesome things to have happened to someone who was once faithless! Friday the 13th be damned!

Really, AWESOME is all I could muster from my thoughts. 😀

Invitation card designed by young Church historian Jesson Allerite.

Our wedding rings on my wife’s Filipiniana bouquet composed of sampaguita, gumamela, ylang-ylang, pandacaqui, camia, and champaca flowers. The bouquet was designed by renowned florist Serge Igonia, a native San Pedrense.

I said goodbye to my long hair on the day of my wedding, LOL! It was Ryan Panaligan, Yeyette’s friend who is a personal stylist of Jed Madela, Luis Manzano and other ABS-CBN stars, was the one who took care of our hair and make-up. And now he’s styling another hunk in this photo.

My bride and our daughter Krystal.

Our boys: Momay, Jefe, and Juanito.

The centuries-old and miraculous Cruz de Tunasán —a “victim” of José Rizal’s satire— became part of our historic wedding!

A modest string of sampaguita flowers are hanging by the church pews on either side of the carpeted nave. San Pedro Tunasán is also known as the “Sampaguita Capital of the Philippines”.

With former San Pedro Mayor Calixto Catáquiz and his wife, incumbent Mayor Lourdes “Baby” Catáquiz who served as our wedding sponsors.

The bride arrives in an elegant looking carroza.*

The Mozarabic wedding is about to begin.

Locution of the admonition and exhortation. Reverend Father Michell Joe “Jojo” Zerrudo, pastor at the Holy Family Parish in Quezon City and also a renowned exorcist, officiates the rare wedding.

Union of our right hands.

Father Jojo blesses our rings and arrhae.

Fr. Jojo places the ring on my right ring finger.

Fr. Jojo gives me Yeyette’s ring which I then insert to her right middle finger.

Fr. Jojo transmits the arrhae to my hands…

…which I then transmit to Yeyette’s hands…

…which she then transmits back to Fr. Jojo.

Done with the Mozarabic Rite wedding! And nope, I’m not doing a rendition here of John Cena’s “you can’t see me!”. I was just proudly showing off my golden ring. 🙂

The nuptial blessing begins (using the extraordinary form of the Mass). Both me and Yeyette were led by Fr. Jojo towards the altar. We were holding on to the edge of his stole as he recites Psalm 127. Go figure. 🙂


The Catáquiz couple. Behind them is Señor Guillermo Gómez, a giant in Philippine history and letters who is also one of our wedding sponsors. Accompanying Señor Gómez is Valerie Devulder, French-Filipina granddaughter of the late Francisco Coching, “Dean of Philippine Comics”.

Sampaguita and camia flowers strewn all over the carpeted nave.

Imposition of the veil as Señor Gómez looks on. Renowned Catholic apologist Carlos Antonio Pálad

Nuptial blessing.

This moment brought me to tears, for I have not received Holy Communion in years. Tita Joji Alas, one of our wedding sponsors, is seated beside Señor Gómez.

My bride’s turn to receive the Body of Christ.

Sorry, no kissing in Tridentine Mass weddings. But of course, a couple should not show an intimate moment right in front of the altar. That is what I call a Novus Ordo Mistake.

Standing behind us: my cousin Jam, Tita Joji, Mayor Baby, my maternal grandmother Norma Soriano, Yeyette’s dad Jaime Perey, my dad Josefino Alas, Mayor Calex, and Señor Gómez.

Throwing rice grains to the newlyweds is an old Filipino custom. I just treat it as tradition. And hey, what our friends and family members flung at us are organic rice grains, LOL!

❤ ❤ ❤

CLICK HERE for more photos! And for an explanation of our wedding’s symbolism or the rite as a whole, CLICK HERE.

*Special thanks to Gerald Ceñir and the rest of the “Tridentine Boys” (Jesson, Mao, Juhnar Esmeralda, Satcheil Amamangpang, Miguel Madarang, and Justin Benaldes) for making this dream wedding come true (Gerald has been helping me in planning for this wedding since 2009!). Thank you also to former Biñán councilor Rómulo “Ome” Reyes for allowing us the use of his carroza, and to Mr. Ronald Yu for sponsoring it. To all who attended our wedding: ¡muchísimas gracias!. And more importantly, THANKS BE TO GOD!

Stay tuned for more of “My Filipiniana wedding!”

How to help Yolanda victims

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So you want to help the victims of super typhoon Yolanda but don’t know where to start. One easy way is to logon to a search engine and look for charitable orgnizations. Then you may donate relief goods and/or cash, or even assist in repackaging the goods themselves. Below are just some of the institutions (with their contact details) that offer immediate assistance…


ABS-CBN Foundation Sagip Kapamilya

For in-kind donations, ABS-CBN is accepting clothes, shoes, blankets in good condition, canned goods, and drinks. You may send it in ABS-CBN Foundation Sagip Kapamilya drop-off centers.


Adamson University Charity Hub

Adamson University (AdU), through the Integrated Community Extension Services (ICES), is launching the AdU Charity Hub once more to provide relief and help to those affected by super typhoon Yolanda. The Society of Saint Vincent de Paul (SSVP) and the Vincentian Family Coordinating Council (VFCC) Philippines will be collaborating with AdU in this effort. Please click here for more information.


Ateneo de Manila University Disaster Response and Management (DReAM) Team

The Ateneo de Manila University Disaster Response and Management Team (DReaM Team), in cooperation with Jesuit NGO Simbahang Lingkod Bayan (SLB) and the Department of Social Welfare and Development, organized a relief operation for the victims of  super typhoon Yolanda. DReaM Team is accepting cash donations and relief goods. Please click here for more information.


Ayala Foundation, Inc.

The foundation is appealing for help to assist the victims of Typhoon Yolanda. They are accepting cash donations:

* Click here for local credit card holders.
* Click here for US-based donors.
* Click here for A-Deals Subscribers.

Please click here for more information.


Caritas Filipinas Foundation

Caritas Filipinas Foundation is accepting cash donations through banks and online.

For donation in PhP from overseas:
Bank Name: Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI)
Branch: Intramuros
Account Name: CBCP Caritas Filipinas Foundation Inc.
Account Number: 4951-0071-08
Swift Code: BOPIPHMM

For Donation in USD or EUR from overseas:
Bank Name: Philtrust Bank
Branch: Head Office
Account Name: CBCP Caritas Filipinas Foundation Inc.
DOLLAR Account: 0034-0001716-6
EURO Account: 0035-0000008-6
Swift Code: PHTBPHMM

Please click here for more information.


Cebú Provincial Government

The provincial government of Cebú calls for volunteers to repack relief goods for Northern Cebú, Leyte and Bojol victims. For those who are interested, you may contact Evelyn Senajón at PSWDO, Ground Floor Executive Bldg., Cebú Provincial Capitol at 254-7198 and 254-8397.


Department of Social Welfare and Development

Location: NAIA Chapel Road, Pásay City (at the back of CAAP)

The Department of Social Welfare and Development accepts cash deposits through their Landbank of the Philippines account. The account numbers: Current-3122-1011-84 Savings-3124-0055-81. If you wish to volunteer in repacking relief goods, you may call 8512681 for schedule.


Gawad Kalinga — Operation Walang Iwanan: Typhoon Yolanda

Gawad Kalinga accepts cash donations only at their Philippine Peso Current Account number-3101 0977 56 BPI EDSA Greenhills and US$ Savings Account number-3104 0162 34

* BPI EDSA Greenhills. Their swift code is BOPIPHMM

Please click here for more information.


GMA Kapuso Foundation

GMA is accepting monetary and in kind donations. For relief goods, the drops off points are:

GMA Kapuso Foundation. 2nd Floor Kapuso Center, GMA Network Drive corner Sámar Streets, Dilimán, Quezon City. Call 928-4299/928-9351.

GMA Kapuso Foundation Warehouse. 366 GMA Compound Tandang Sora Avenue Brgy. Culiat, Quezon City. Call 931-7013.

Monetary donations can be deposited at any Metrobank, UCPB, PNB and Cebuana Lhuillier branch. Please click here for more information.


Jollibee Group Foundation

The Jollibee Group Foundation accepts cash or check donations to these bank accounts:

Metrobank – Cubáo Araneta Branch
Account Name: Jollibee Group Foundation
Account Number: 473-7-47301401-3

BDO – Megamall Branch
Account Name: Jollibee Foundation, Inc.
Account Number: 100-661-267-008
Swift Code: BNORPHMM

For inquiries or donors who would want to advise regarding their assistance, you may call +63.2.688-7133. For your donations to be properly acknowledged, you may either fax the bank transaction slip at +63.2.688-7038 or send a scanned copy of the bank transaction slip to with your name, address, and contact number. Please click here for more information.



All McDonald’s stores nationwide are now accepting donations in kind such as bottled water, rice, ready to eat food, toiletries, beddings, clothes and medicines for affected communities in Tacloban and other nearby areas devastated by Typhoon Haiyan.

In partnership with ABS-CBN Sagip Kapamilya, Department of Social Welfare and Development and local government units, collected relief goods will be distributed to these affected areas.

For cash or check donations, customers may be advised to directly deposit to:
Account Name: Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Philippines

Citibank N.A.
8741 Citibank Bldg., Paseo de Roxas Makati City
Account No# 060-1374-005
Swift Code: CITIUS33

Account Name: Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Philippines
Bank of the Philippine Islands
CA# 3021-4107-47


Operation Blessing Philippines

The group is accepting cash donations only. The following are the details to send money.

Account number: 270-3-27050273-4

Banco de Oro (Bdo)
Account number: 30000-55279

Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI)
Account number: 3001-0040-33

You may also send your donation in the form of check or postal money order payable to Operation Blessing through mail. Address it to Operation Blessing, P.O. Box 2572 MCPO, 1265 Makati, Philippines. Please click here for more information.


Philippine Daily Inquirer

Philippine Red Cross

You may donate to the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) through SMS by texting RED and send it to 2899 for Globe and 4143 for Smart. You can donate the following denominations: Globe: ₱5, ₱25, ₱100, ₱300, ₱500 or ₱1,000 and for Smart: ₱10, ₱25, ₱50, ₱100, ₱300, ₱500, or ₱1.000.

For cash deposits:

Banco De Oro
Peso: 00-453-0018647
Dollar: 10-453-0039482
Swift Code: BNORPHMM

Peso: 151-3-041631228
Dollar: 151-2-15100218-2
Swift Code: MBTCPHMM

Philippine National Bank
Peso: 3752 8350 0034
Dollar: 3752 8350 0042
Swift Code: PNBMPHMM

Unionbank of the Philippines
Peso: 1015 4000 0201
Dollar: 1315 4000 0090
Swift code: UBPHPHMM

For in-kind donation you may send it to the PRC – National Headquarters in Manila. You may also contact them to arrange donation pick-up.


United Nations Children’s Fund

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) are accepting cash donations. The amount that you may donate from the choices are ₱1,500, ₱3, 300, and ₱5,000. Please click here for more information.


University of the Philippines

The University of the Philippines (UP) Office of the Student Regent are accepting donations in cash or kind. Their drop off point is Vinzon’s Hall, UP Dilimán, Quezon City. You may contact Alex Castro at 0917-8725396 or tweet him at @uscupdiliman, Eds 0927384-1392 and Zie 0916796-5740. Please click here for more information.


IMPORTANT NOTE: The government has been receiving some flak over the seemingly incompetent handling of the crisis, particulary the distribution of relief goods and medicine. One major complaint is that these have not been reaching their designated areas on time, if at all. To my observation, I think one major reason why the flow of relief goods is slow is because there is a severe lack of repackers. There has been a steady supply of donations all right, but not enough people to repack them, hence slowing the pace of our government’s relief efforts. This has been confirmed by Twitter user Lendl Tan-Monterola (@_lendl_) who was part of one of the repackaging teams.

To those who read this: please, please, PLEASE spend a few hours of your time to join the repackaging of relief goods. Our countrymen in the Visayas region are starving every day. Thank you so much.

Tacloban before and after Yolanda (satellite imagery)

Posted on has just released two satellite photos of typhoon-ravaged Tacloban City, Leyte which they obtained from Astrium Services.  One photo show a view of part of the city on 7 March 2013, or just a few weeks before this year’s summer, juxtaposed with a view of the same area taken on 13 November 13 2013, or  five days after super typhoon Yolanda cut a damaging swath through Filipinas Central. Click here to view the images.

Tulfo: I saw people walking aimlessly like zombies

Posted on

Veteran journalist Ramón Tulfo’s account of his visit to Yolanda-ravaged Tacloban city has just been published a few hours ago and is worth reblogging. Manong Mon formed a medical and mercy mission to help out in the relief efforts. As a result of his stay there, he gives us a very clear description of the horrors of the aftermath of arguably the strongest typhoon in world history, as well as emotional insights from himself and his team. What he and his staff witnessed traumatized them.

Reading his account traumatized me too. Especially this scene:

I saw two children, aged between 5 and 9, separated from their parents as they were taken away to ride on a PAF C-130 plane. The parents had been barred from boarding by soldiers, as the plane was already full.

Poor little ones. My heart bleeds, especially since I couldn’t be there to personally extend my help. I just had to hug my kids after reading this. 😦

In the light of the misery and hunger going on in many parts of Visayas, I guess it’s OK if all of us seated in our comfy chairs get “traumatized” a little bit…

Photo by Danny Pata.

Tulfo: I saw people walking aimlessly like zombies.


I was not prepared for the scenes of suffering that would haunt me for the rest of my life as we landed at the Tacloban City airport.

I had formed a medical and mercy mission of 12 doctors from St. Luke’s Hospital and six nonmedical people, including myself, that landed in the city three days after Supertyphoon “Yolanda” struck. One doctor had backed out so we became a 17-member mission.

From the air, the once-bustling city of more than 200,000 people looked desolate. Everything was a total mess. It was as if an atomic bomb had been dropped.

As the Philippine Airlines (PAL) plane prepared to land, I saw people walking aimlessly like zombies.

Navy Capt. Roy Vincent Trinidad, officer in charge of the airport, asked our group—the first nongovernment medical mission to set foot in Eastern Visayas after Yolanda struck—if we wanted to go to Guiuan in Eastern Sámar. The place was supposedly more devastated than Tacloban.

He offered to take us to Guiuan—three hours by car on a normal day from Tacloban—on a helicopter.

Dr. Sammy Tanzo, head of the medical side of the mission, said our group should just stay in the premises of the airport—then crawling with soldiers and police—for security reasons.

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November 8, 2013 will forever be etched in the annals of Philippine History, a tragic date that will never be forgotten.

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