Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Advocacy: 1000 Bearhugs Project

Teddy bears don't need hearts. They are already stuffed with LOVE.

Much has been said and witnessed about the victims of the recent calamity that left a huge devastating effect to the country, most of them were in the point of view of adults. But how about the children?

A few days after my volunteering stint in Ateneo, I chanced upon Mommy Fleur's entry about the 1000 Bearhugs Project.

From their website:

Play is a child's natural language and a means for them to make sense of their experiences. Trauma can be addressed through the experiential narratives of play therapy and allows a child to speak of what he or she has gone through when they cannot find the words to do so. These toys provide children with a certain amount of security in a sometimes-scary world.

Just like volunteering in Ateneo, I did not think twice about participating in this endeavor. Each of us had gone through that phase in our own childhood where we got attached to our "favorite toy". When I was a kid, it was a Mickey Mouse stuff toy from Singapore that became my bedtime companion for so many years. Mama herself was an advocate of these type campaigns too. And it made me realize, I had been that lucky to be blessed with a simple yet conflict-free childhood and letting another child have the same thing even through this little endeavor, would be the best possible way to give back.

I phoned Mama immediately hoping to get a toy or two from what she had kept from my plush toys but she said she had mostly given those years before. I decided to make a trip to Toy Kingdom after work and purchased these two cuddly bears. Thankfully, the Babyland branch at Eastwood Mall was among the drop off points I was able to send them off the following day.

While I don't have kids of my own yet, shopping for toys to be given away to a good cause gave me this elation deep inside. I believe it's a kind of inner happiness one tends to feel upon doing something worthwhile. And if you wish to join the cause, they are accepting bear (or any plush toys suitable for kids 3-12 years old) until December 8.

You may also visit Black Pencil Project for further information. The list of drop off points where you can bring your toy donations are listed here.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Town Fiesta with College Friends

For the last three years or so, I have never witnessed the celebration of Angono's Higantes Festival. Doing so was mostly out of choice. Blame it on the fact that I know I am getting old each year, I just want to stay home. Going out is either done out of spontaneity.

Pardon our looks. I was not really planning of leaving the house today but had to leave to run some errands. While I was at the mall, my classmate Hermil invited me for an impromptu reunion with my college classmates. Given that we have not seen each other for years (most of us left the university 8 years ago), I decided it's reasonable to give in to it -- despite the rainy bed weather outdoors.

And since this an unplanned thing, patak-patak ang dinner (okay for the sake of clarity, it's dutch treat). Here we are goofing in the dinner table while having a humble meal of roast chicken and pizza.

If there's one thing about growing old (in terms of age) it's being able to appreciate time spent with friends and knowing that you can still have good, clean fun if you choose to. Tonight was filled with tummy-aching conversations about college days, work, past and present loves, and well, some naughtiness in between and I can't blame them (as most of them are "technically married" and I'm the last single woman standing). But you've got nothing to worry about as I just listened and laughed when they discussed about the three-letter "S" word.

It's a good thing that I said yes to Hermil's invitation. While we wanted to do a part 2, it might come later than sooner as most of us are leaving the country for greener pastures. But hopefully, we'll be able to invite more colleagues next time.

Photos courtesy of Hermil.

Monday, November 18, 2013

A Night Out With Purpose

Seeing Typhoon Yolanda's aftermath in the news has been heartbreaking that it made everyone concerned and alarmed. I myself went through a restless period. I can't even watch TV anymore because seeing the kind of mess the tragedy left behind both to property and how it claimed the lives of people is devastating. It did not make me think twice about trying to do something meaningful because despite of not being affected physically, what I had seen affected me emotionally.

When both DSWD and President Aquino himself sent out an announcement calling for volunteers, I seriously wanted to go, if not for the hassle of having to get a schedule. However, when the said government agency opened satellite offices that accept walk-in volunteers, I was able to sigh relief. It was a good thing too that my best friend Apple planned of joining the endeavor. After some liaising (side by side my hectic schedule at work) with POC's we decided to come in as walk-in volunteers at the satellite office in Ateneo de Manila University.

I can't say I am a newbie nor a veteran with volunteering. I've joined outreach activities in the office including the relief operations for Typhoon Maring victims months ago. In a way there are some "firsts" to the two of us. This is Apple's first time to be a volunteer, and this is the first time I would be joining a "national" relief mission. For my part. besides wanting to help, I decided doing this to respond to an important call. I've tried to volunteer for a couple of times and I don't mind doing it again. While I looked forward to it, I had some apprehensions too. I have not placed myself to a graveyard shift since I left my job at the advertising firm three years ago. But then this was for a good cause so I decided to go for it.

This endeavor proved to be worth it,because even if I went on volunteering the graveyard shift, I never felt tired nor sleepy the whole time I was packing the relief goods. Maybe because the Ateneo crowd are one cheery community. I also had a chance to mingle with different individuals. What made it a happy one was at the end of the shift, while DSWD was just expecting 80,000 bags from the Ateneo warehouse, we were able to pack 82,000 relief bags that could sustain a family for a week. 

Yesterday afternoon, my college classmate Joy (whose husband is an Atenean) asked me "how was your lakad last night?" My response was just this short:

It was the best night out ever.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Incriminate and Apologize

The past two days, the term "right against self incrimination" has been ringing a bell. In the middle of my duties at work, I took note when one senator explained when should this term be appropriately used. I never knew the term would mean more than just a little lecture of some sorts until tonight. As I was on the phone with another colleague, I came across a string of messages someone sent me during my birthday last Tuesday. Except for the orange tabby with the word sorry, which I saw the morning after my birthday, I missed seeing the first three photos (seriously, I think I really am blind).

Browsing these images back and forth last night and seeing the timestamps in the messages, , I found out that in a way, he didn't forget. 

Quoting Senator Francis Escudero's speech, "When you keep on invoking your right against self incrimination it implies that (you) admit to committing a crime, a wrongdoing." I won't use that line however. I am well aware that I did something wrong towards someone even before I discovered these images and I do feel a certain level of guilt. And while I had apologized, knowing that it was the best thing to do, I couldn't do anything more but move forward and hope that my decision to apologize would suffice and it would turn out to be the good resolve.