Monthly Archives: November 2013

How To Donate A Shelter Kit

A deposit can be made directly to:

K.I.D.S Foundation

BPI Checking Account # 3931-0059-27


A gentle reminder:  Please do not forget to email or a copy of the deposit slip.

Your donation will be pooled into a common fund until the amount is enough to allow yet another bulk purchase.  The cost of each Shelter Kit is P/3007.7 and the itemized breakdown can be viewed here.

Thank you very much for your kindness.  May God give you back the hundredfold.

Wanted: More shelter kits to build temporary homes

LOVE LUCY By Lucy Gomez (The Philippine Star) | Updated December 1, 2013 – 12:00am


It has been 3 weeks and two days since Yolanda came and went.  She has left just too many painful and uncomfortable traces of her visit.  What do the people need now?  I’d say shelter, no matter how temporary, no matter how modest.


In Leyte IV, for instance, which includes Ormoc City and the municipalities of Albuera, Kananga, Merida, Isabel, Palompon, Matagob, there are over 80k houses affected in varying degrees, being roofless the most common denominator of all.

 photo (1)

A roofless home in Brgy. San Pablo, Ormoc City.

How can you help?  I am inspired by a Swiss aid group that has been to different areas inthe district.  They gave away Shelter Kits and it has brought so much joy to the recipients.  I am copying their formula, and so far the costing itemized below is the best deal we have been able to get.


Each Shelter Kit includes:

12 pcs. Corrugated G.I. sheets (guage 26, 8 ft. per sheet) 160.0(12) 1920
1 pc. Stanley Claw Hammer Wood 120 120
1 pc. Pliers 45 45
3 kilos #4 nails 37.5(3) 112.5
2 kilos #3 nails 38.5(2) 77
2 kilos #2 nails 41.5(2) 83
2 kilos umbrella nails 54.5(2) 109
20 meters ¼ inch Seahorse nylon rope 61.2 61.2
1 pc. Rigid RD Pt. shovel PVC Grip 130 130
1 pc. handsaw (Ohayo brand, 18” wood handle) 100 100
1 ridge roll (G# 24, 16”) 250 250
Cost per shelter kit P/3007.7


I know that in time, organized groups will extend a hand to help build permanent homes for the victims displaced by this tragedy.  But I also know that when they do come, they will not be able to take on the entire district all at once.   The work that needs to be done is just too great. That is why these shelter kits will be very important, because as the people wait for help to get to them they have to stay dry and protected from the elements.  Right now they use tarpaulins, umbrellas, and raincoats for shelter from the rains that come almost nightly.  This kind of weather is expected to drag on till late February.   We need those shelter kits badly.  With that, at least the people in one household can sleep at night secure that there is a roof over their heads, literally.  I know staring at a starry night sounds romantic, but that just isn’t the case anymore when doing so ceases to be a matter of choice. There is lots of wood lying around, pretending to be part of the debris.  Those can be used for walls if need be.  That is why a handsaw is essential in the kit, so the people can cut the fallen wood to size.  We are going back to basics here.  But we cannot complain, we are thankful to be alive.  We just have to accept the situation, make the best of it, do our part and move on.


If you want to donate a shelter kit, go to  Or send a message to 0917-5571655.  You may also email me at


Right now, we have been able to raise enough funds to buy 3k Shelter Kits.  Simply put, if one family were to donate even just one Shelter Kit, I just need about 77k donors more for the entire Fourth District of Leyte to be covered.  So help us God.



What a difference a day makes

LOVE LUCY By Lucy Gomez (The Philippine Star) | Updated November 24, 2013 – 12:00am

It is daunting how much a single day can change almost everything.

It’s been a little over two weeks since Yolanda came and went, and the shape of our days as we once knew them has changed drastically. There no longer seem to be dates, days, hours or minutes; time just blends seamlessly into two parts — morning, and then night. While the sun is up, life moves at a frenzied pace; people are cleaning, making temporary homes out of sticks and stones, comparing notes about how they survived the disaster, wishing there will never be another one. Thankfully, they can still laugh and smile through their pain, even as they wonder constantly what tomorrow will bring. When the sun sets, almost much too soon it seems, a quiet and calm that is not necessarily reflective of the emotions of the people blankets the entire place with a hush, as if to say “rest now, there will again be much to do tomorrow.” There is no electricity still, save for a handful of homes and establishments that have generators, and just like the olden days, everyone under the charcoal sky falls into hopefully restful slumber with only the stars and the moon as a light source.

There also has been some very poignant shifting of minds. Suddenly once more, there is all this uncertainty, made bearable only by faith, and the hope of better days to come. There also is this newfound gratefulness, for everything we may have taken for granted in the past. What is beautiful now is that everything feels like a gift. A friend, Wesley Chu, has thankfully raised a banner on the highest point of his ravaged building that simply says: “Roofless, Homeless, but not Hopeless.”


That speaks volumes about exactly where the people of Ormoc City and the rest of the Fourth District of Leyte are. Beaten up and battered and broken by all that Yolanda enabled, but definitely not defeated. We have a mighty God who holds us in His hands, we have our faith, we are recipients of the overwhelming goodness and generosity that is innate in people, the very same one that thankfully rises to the surface under the worst of circumstances.

Allow me to shout out a big “thank you” now to all who have so wonderfully reached out to help heal and repair all the brokenness that surrounds us, in the literal and figurative sense. If not for all of you, how can we go on? You have given so much of your time, your resources, you have opened up your hearts and hands to all of us. We are all very grateful and thankful, endlessly so. There have been hundreds of boxes of noodles and blankets and banigs, truckloads of rice and canned goods and clothing, soap and sugar plus everything else in between — tents, sleeping bags, solar lamps and lights, portable generators, water filters. The second wave promises tarpaulins and nails and hammers, hopefully even some roofing materials. All the love just keeps pouring in. There are so many of you and on behalf of the people of Ormoc and the Fourth District of Leyte I would like to thank you all. I cannot mention you all by name individually at this point because this paper will run out of space but I am keeping a record of everything, not because you have asked me to but because I want everything transparent. All the details will be put up in a website called (incidentally, thank you Isabel Gatuslao for designing the website as your contribution; and Val Villar, too, for offering your services for free despite the fact that you had to work through many brownouts in Cebu just to get it done), because one day when the dust has settled, I want everyone in the district to know who were those that helped.


Gratefulness is very important. Rest assured that the kindness you have shown will encourage and inspire people to pay it forward when they get the opportunity to do so in the future, in ways both big and small. Countless individuals have also offered their trucks, choppers, private planes, and ships just so the goods can keep going back and forth to the recipients. James, a classmate from UP I have not seen in maybe 19 years, touched base to lend his big generators, which ended up powering two hospitals. Imagine the number of lives those generators saved! There are no coincidences. I have met so many people in the past two weeks and I always tell them that, thankful as I am our paths have crossed, I wish it were under better circumstances. All have replied by saying if circumstances were so good, then maybe we would never have met at all. So I am training myself to be in that space where I do not question anything or wish anything differently; it is what it is and I just have to trust that God’s infinite goodness and providence will be enough to fill in the gaps.

I would especially like to thank the men and women of the USS Mustin (DDG 89), very ably headed by Commander Joseph Ring, this big battleship that sailed all the way from Hong Kong for all of three days to dock a few miles from the port of Ormoc City. When it was impossible to reach the ravaged mountain barangays, Commander Joe dispatched choppers to do air drops.


They even found time to interact with the locals, all of who called them uncle this or that. All we had to do was bring him the goods (thankfully there was enough that had already arrived, all from private individuals and NGO’s), point to the recipientbarangay, and it was done. I appreciate very much how he understood the urgency of those relief goods getting to the people who have had to do without any food for water for eight days already because no vehicles could pass the debris-laden roads. While Commander Joe and his pilots and sailors were around, we were at least able to cut through the bureaucracy and simplify the process of delivery — no lists to comply with or sort through, just hungry and restless people given a great measure of immediate relief under what is a very difficult and abnormal situation. Thank you, Commander Joe (most everybody had taken to calling him “G.I. Joe”). God bless the day Ormoc City met you. You made a lot of things possible during your short stay in the city. Know that you all have a friend in us.



Really, it is the goodness of people from all over the world that fuels the hope that we have in our hearts.  And like I have said maybe a hundred times already the past few days alone, even if that hope is the last thing we have left, the same is enough to keep one foot in front of the next, in a walk steadied only by the promise that one day, one very fine day, the sun will shine brightly upon Ormoc City and the other municipalities in the Fourth District of Leyte again — Albuera, Kananga, Merida, Isabel, Palompon, Matag-ob — with all its beautiful and grateful people.

By then, all in God’s perfect plan and time, we will no longer be homeless.

One Day of Yolanda

LOVE LUCY By Lucy Torres-Gomez (The Philippine Star) | Updated November 17, 2013 – 12:00am

I will huff and puff and blow your house down. We are all familiar with the Big Bad Wolf’s threat in that all-time favorite childhood story. The imagery is amusing, cute even, and has been told and retold to the delight of children for many years now. But the people of Leyte now know there is nothing happy about it when it happens in real life. The day before the very wicked Yolanda came and went, until about 10 p.m., the weather was dry and sunny. Too dry, in fact, and remarkably hot, with almost no wind to make a leaf even so much as quiver. While it is true that people here in Ormoc City were bracing for what promised to be a terrible storm, the fear of it was not the strongest prevailing feeling. After all, Ormoc had already weathered the onslaught of Typhoon Uring in November 1991, where about 8,000 people died in the flashflood. Nothing could probably come close to that. We had our quota of natural disasters already.   Nov. 8, 2013. The sun did not shine. The day was consistently gray and the strong rains that started before midnight poured relentlessly. The cloudless sky went on crying, and soon enough the people under it, too. Because at around 8 a.m., the howling of the wind heightened to a very frightening level. They say it sounded like a woman wailing, and if I were to pick a singular image of its fury, based on accounts it would be that of a dentist trying to pull out a very stubborn tooth. In this case, the dentist was the wind and the tooth, each and every house. If in Tacloban City it was the storm surge that wreaked havoc, here in Ormoc it was the angry wind that seemed to move in a singular path, like a comet, before it changed its furious dance into a twisting motion. It is safe to say that the most damage happened between 8 and 10 a.m., with only 15 minutes of calm that everybody says, in hindsight, just feels like a betrayal because it actually came in two waves, the last being the most destructive. Glass doors and windows shattered into sharp shards, rooftops flew off the walls they were attached to, wooden houses collapsed like balikbayan boxes. My brother Jules and his wife Rica and their 11-month old baby girl Julia moved from one room to another in our parent’s home, running away from destruction as it chased them like a bully. In other parts of the city, the scenes were variations of one and the same thing – families and loved ones holding on to each other as they tried to survive. A group of siblings used what remained of their home, a door, as a shield against what they were already convinced was a twister. Entire clans squeezed themselves into the bathrooms of their big homes because it was the last option, the last remaining structure still standing. A man held his wife in his arms as they crawled for cover under the bed, comforted only by the thought that, come what may, they were at least together. Everyone thought the end had indeed come. My sister prayed Psalm 91 over and over again as she breastfed her three-year old son to keep him calm while all the helpers, crying silent tears of fear, used their body weight to push the door closed because the wind wanted very much to open it. Outside, popping sounds of things being battered and broken taunted them. At that point when even he ground shook and the walls cracked, and the roof started to pull away from the wall, my sister saw her husband Vince bow his head in resignation, as if to say that was it, there was nothing they could do and nowhere else to go. Upon seeing his face, she shifted her prayer from Psalm 91. And then, after what seemed like forever, it stopped. But by that time Yolanda left, no standing structure was without damage. Even trees and crops lay flat in surrender. Steel sheets were crumpled like paper or curled like ribbons; metal trusses were either dented, bent, twisted, or all of the above all at once. The image that surfaced for the whole world to see was one of massive destruction.

Ormoc City and many parts of Leyte now look like a refugee camp – thousands of people are homeless, there is no electricity, and for the two days that immediately followed the storm there were no cell sites even. The latter was especially torturous, imagine the added agony of not being able to send out an S.O.S and on the other side, of loved ones, family and friends not being able to check on each other. All that not knowing and wondering imposes a kind of pain that is nothing short of heart wrenching. The same situation is echoed in the other municipalities of the 4th District of Leyte – Albuera, Kananga, Merida, Isabel, Palompon, Matagob. The loss is painful and unimaginable, especially in Tacloban and other parts of Leyte where thousands are confirmed dead. In Ormoc where not as many lives were lost (about 30 as of last count) the situation is not necessarily easier to swallow. While it is true that the people here are endlessly thankful that so many lives have been spared, the many questions running through everybody’s mind include ‘What will tomorrow bring?’ “Where will my family live?” “How do I rebuild my home?” “Where do I buy food?” “Where will I find money to buy food?”. Buildings and homes now are but skeletons and shadows of what they once were. The main source of livelihood is agriculture, or should I say, was agriculture. There is almost none of that to speak of, no harvest to look forward to. A heavy burden has slumped the shoulders of whoever stands as the patriarch of each home, regardless of social standing. There is no rich or poor here in this place, each one has lost just as much as the next – 90 percent of whatever they owned. It’s ground zero, starting from almost the very beginning. When the weather calmed down, a young man rushed to his decent-sized poultry farm, eager to check on its condition. After all, he had poured his life savings into it. Sadly, there was no farm to speak of, it had folded entirely to the ground. He could not help but cry quiet tears, he had young wife and child to take care of. There are many more stories like that, each as poignant as the rest. There are 8,600 hectares of sugar land, but until the sugar mill is rehabilitated, thousands of manunubos (farm hands) have no jobs to look forward to. How will they survive? How will their families survive? It will take at least three months for the sugar to mill to get up and running. But life goes on. It has to. Besides, the greatest asset is human capital and there still is that. With that, we can rebuild. The relief operations will continue for months, but after that, everyone must pick up whatever pieces are left and move forward decisively. How that will happen, only God knows. For now, faith is good enough a weapon to carry. The most pressing concern now is that of survival. People are homeless, and the rains continue. They need food, fuel, sanitation, medicines. They need to stay warm and dry, especially at night. The hospitals have also been badly damaged. Relief goods are not pouring in abundance just yet, not because there aren’t any but because it is primarily a problem of logistics. The desire to help is overwhelming, but the structure and machinery to deliver is not quite there. As a country, we do not have enough sea and air assets so when land transportation became a problem we had to do with what was available. The desire of our national government to help is overwhelming, but the infrastructure and the machinery to deliver is not sufficient – after all, government hands in the affected areas were as much a victims as the rest of the population. Under very abnormal circumstances, it is very difficult for the victims to understand that just because help is not getting to them just yet, doesn’t mean it’s not happening at all. Ormoc and many parts of Leyte went for four days without any relief goods. On the fifth day, help finally started to come in. I have every hope it will get even better in a few days. It has to. Because for relief efforts to be felt it has to be massive, with every household in every barangay receiving goods – no color-coding, no politicizing. It has to be for one and all. I go around and I see destruction alongside the glazed and dazed looks in the eyes of even the bravest men I know. But I also see siles, and thumbs-up signs. As a toothless old man in a red shirt told me as I passed him on the road “Okay Pa Inday Lucy pero Lord, usto na!” (I’m okay but please Lord, this should be enough!). Once again, it is the brave, resilient, trusting and happy heart of the Filipino that shines through for the world to see. In elementary school we were taught that man has three basic needs – food, clothing, protection. All in one day, a typhoon named Yolanda tried to take that all away. Time will tell she did not succeed.

Richard Gomez goes back to his roots by playing in inaugural men’s volley league

ACTOR and sportsman Richard Gomez once again answered the call to help resuscitate men’s volleyball by lending his name and image to one of the teams playing in the men’s division of the Philippine Superliga Grand Prix 2013.

Gomez, a Southeast Asian Games medallist as a rower and fencer, will be playing for PLDT, one of the four teams competing in the inaugural men’s club tournament which will be held alongside the six-team women’s competition starting on Sunday. Maybank, Systema and Gilligan’s Restaurant are the other squads competing in the men’s division, which will have its own tournament after several years of inactivity.

Aside from serving as a member of the national squads of fencing and rowing, Gomez is also known as a golfer and motocross enthusiast, among the many other sports he has played. He also played volleyball in high school and college, and PSL president Ramon ‘Tats’ Suzara, once a national youth ace himself, said Gomez’s presence will help boost interest in the other side of the sport long overshadowed by its female counterparts.

Unknown to many, Gomez was also instrumental in the major comeback fight of Manny Pacquiao when he secured the funding and government support while he was the Youth and Sports Adviser to President Joseph Estrada. He helped the Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) host Pacquiao’s comeback triumph over Reynante Jamili on December 12, 1999. That fight signalled Pacquiao’s rise to become the only eight-division world champion after his knockout loss to Medgoen Singsurat of Thailand on September 17, 1999.

“Richard knows the extent of our undertaking in trying to revive men’s volleyball. He selflessly agreed to help us and we are grateful,” Suzara said.

The event, which will be held mostly at The Arena in San Juan, has also partnered with San Juan Mayor Guia Gomez’s effort to help the victims of the recent major earthquake which devastated the province of Bohol.

Ticket sales for the opening games will be donated to the earthquake victims through the City of San Juan’s relief programs. Tickets are now on sale at the SportsCore office, Unit 220, City Land Vito Cruz Tower 1, 720 Vito Cruz St., Manila. Interested parties may also call 353-3935. For the opening games at 1 pm on Sunday, tickets will be sold in the booths of the San Juan Arena.

The event is backed by Asics, Mikasa, LGR and Jinling Sports. Solar Sports Entertainment remains as the PSL’s broadcast partner and is dubbed as ‘The Home of the PSL.’

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