For whatever I can share to inform, inspire, enlighten, and bring joy and hope to others, then this blog has best served its purpose.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

The super typhoon that is Pacman: Rios should be bracing against a great disaster

If super typhoon Haiyan (local name Yolanda) which hit the Philippines last November 8, 2013 reduced everything on its path to rubble, boxing’s own version of such a great force of nature will be replicated by no other than the 8 division world champion Manny Pacquiao to wreak havoc upon his much younger opponent Brandon “Bam-Bam” Rios in a few hours from now in Macau. The super typhoon that is “Pacman” will be at his fiercest version ever knowing he will have a reputation to redeem, a loss to avenge, and a mockery to punish (Rios camp insulted Pacman’s trainer Freddie Roach by imitating his impaired speech and movements due to his suffering of a Parkinson’s disease). Rios’s only chance will be determined at how prepared he was to brace against such a disaster of great magnitude. His puncher’s chance will be devoured, like all the rest that he could do against, by the eye of the storm’s unforgiving, relentless ferocity.

It will be a one-sided, brutal, carnage that will have made many boxing fanatics to feel pity, instead of thrilled, at Rios. The fight, of course, will be finished within six rounds. Or, if Pacquiao pushes on to put more pressure early, will be shorter than imagined. Rios will be there, tailor-made for Pacquiao, to serve as a standing target for the Pacman whirlwind. “I’m praying for him,” said Pacquiao about Rios in an interview. The Pacman will be at his best transformed beast ever, for sure, when the bell rings.

I’m worried for Rios’s health but I hope he won’t get hospitalized as a result of that fight. I hope he will be just okay after having absorbed the Pacman’s wrath poured down on him. Like Pacquiao, he has a family to wait for him back home: A caring wife, beautiful kids, parents, siblings, close relatives, and friends.

But Rios is tough. And we will come to see a new form of toughness to sprout upon him, not the physically-sourced toughness we usually see him about. He may be flattened like Tacloban in that fight, but he will rise back from the ruins and face every opponent with much confidence knowing he has already faced and survived the worst.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Super typhoon Yolanda’s aftermath: The case with blame game and dysfunctional functionalism

The aftermath of super typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) that
has hit the Philippines on November 8, 2013.

"The hottest places in hell are reserved for those who, in moment of crisis, do nothing."--Dante Aleghieri in his Inferno

Exactly a week after the world’s strongest typhoon for the year 2013 has hit the central Visayas region and neighboring provinces in the Philippines, people from some of these hardest hit areas (most particularly Tacloban city) were angered by the fact that the lousy response and lacking of organized system from the national government resulted to the delay in the distribution of aids to meet their daily basic of necessities. Days before Yolanda made its historic landfall, as it breaks record to be the strongest storm to make landfall in recorded history, in the small town of Guiuan in the southern stretch of eastern Samar, Philippine president Benigno Aquino announced that his government was all the way prepared and ready to deal with Yolanda.

Preparation, in my opinion, is a two-way street. It is to anticipate the incoming danger and to apply precautionary measures that could negate or lessen the effect or impact it can potentially create. There should be Plan A, B, and C for this, in case Plan A failed to work.  Another way to prepare is to be focused on the aftermath of the danger.

If the roads and bridges are totally destroyed making it impossible for supplies to reach their destinations on time by land, then sending them through air will be the best option. The use of helicopters will be the key, reaching in as many and as far as the most remote of these places. If ever there’s not a portion of a land left safe enough to make landings, then these choppers will be dropping off their loads of life-sustaining bags to the ground where survivors have long waited in desperation for the help to come. It’s all about FFD, not a Find, Fix, and Destroy as it usually be, but a Find, Fix, and Deliver.

This is a war by which we will become the foe ourselves depending on the way we react to such a situation caused by such a force of nature coming to destroy us and our dear land. The president, being the commander in chief, must have declared war against and used all the machinery of the government especially the armed forces to reach its full function for its own advantage. Our noble soldiers will have fought with much pride and honor as in the actual combat in the battlefield, except that in that fight they will be saving lives instead of taking them.

No one can say that, at this point of time, everything in Tacloban city is under control: There’s looting, chaos, and desperation among the survivors everywhere. Foods and water in some areas are still a scarcity despite the flooding in of aids from other countries willing to help. For the survivors of this storm-ravaged city, time is of the essence to get the most basic of their daily needs: Food, water, shelter, and medicine. We cannot make them wait too long to fill their empty stomachs, quench their thirsts, and heal their wounds.

Blaming anyone won’t help the present situation in Tacloban but tolerating the lapses in the long run neither would. Some people must be held accountable for the lapses committed so as to prevent things like these from happening again in the future. Yolanda exposed the notion of how well prepared or not the Philippine government was in dealing with such a catastrophe of this magnitude. The country’s disaster preparedness has failed at some point; the disaster response was as well disorganized and slow. The Aquino administration lacks the leadership to assist the situation with great efficiency and speed. 

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Three landings, two different eras, one place

An American soldier rescued an injured Filipino girl
during the Liberation of the Philippines in 1945.
Leyte has been home to three historical landings in two different eras. American general Douglas MacArthur, one of the only five military generals in US military history to be promoted to five-star ranks, with his combined American and Australian liberation forces during World War II, has stormed the beaches of Palo, Leyte and liberated the island and later on the entire Philippines from every Japanese imperial army who occupied the land and took control for a period of a little over three years.

The largest naval battle in history was fought in the Philippines from October 23 to 26, 1944. It was called the Battle of Leyte Gulf which was fought in four major naval engagements almost simultaneously: The Battle off Samar, Battle of Surigao Strait, Battle of Sibuyan Sea, and the Battle of Cape Engano. Four months prior to that, the largest aircraft carrier battle in history and was also considered by many military historians to be the largest single naval battle of World War II was fought in the Philippine Sea.

Super typhoon Yolanda (international name is Haiyan) made landfall in Guiuan, a small town in the southern part of eastern Samar on the early morning of Friday, November 8, 2013. Super typhoon Yolanda, packing winds in excess of 300 kilometers per hour was the world’s strongest storm for the year 2013. It also breaks record as the strongest storm to make landfall in recorded history. Super typhoon Yolanda was in the level of a category 5 storm.

The United States has sent the USS George Washington aircraft carrier to the storm-ravaged Leyte and neighboring provinces as a show of support. USS George Washington has some 5000 sailors on board including over 80 supersonic aircrafts. Other warships of the US Navy would also accompany the aircraft carrier to the Philippines.  

Three landings, two different eras, in one same place: History repeats itself in devastation, struggle, and cooperation. Yolanda’s landing in Leyte five days ago was this era’s version of Japanese occupation of the Philippines. But the liberation forces are coming to bring hope, support, and freedom. Almost two thousand miles northwest across the South China Sea, a bully dragon slowly building her Empire of Greed should have considered this message seriously. Some of our own corrupt crocodiles occupying the high seats of the government must as well contemplate.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Land of hard knocks: The making of a Filipino

This morning, I came across an article (dated October 21, 2013) written by a certain blogger who introduced himself as Joe America expressing his opinion about why the Philippines must be considered this planet’s most dangerous land. The blogger’s notion only highlights the fact that the super typhoon Yolanda’s aftermath (international name is Haiyan), which has just recently hit the Philippines wrecking destruction beyond measure, must have added some grounds to validate his claim with conviction.

Although he has hit on some many good points especially that of the Philippines’s response to disaster and natural calamity being a short-term reactive one rather than a long-term pre-planned, I would like to say that, in my opinion, his calling of the Philippines as the most dangerous land on the planet is just an exaggeration--could even be a misleading one. There are some places in the planet which are labeled too dangerous for any tourist to visit, I’m sure the Philippines is not among them. I don’t need to name all of these places one by one but had to mention a few, just in case. Syria, Somalia, Sudan, North Korea, Afghanistan, Yemen. These places are just too risky for foreigners (especially if you are an American) to spend their vacation or even pay a short visit.

What makes a place dangerous is not the place itself, but the people living in it. The Philippines might be geographically situated in the danger zone area and the people’s approach to disaster are sometimes riddled with lapses and flaws, but these are making the Filipino people a bunch of survivors learning for the best while, at the same time, keeping their good faith alive and intact, rising back from the ruins. Filipinos are tough, friendly, hospitable, family-oriented, resilient, and one of the world’s happiest of people.

Instead, the Philippines, for me, should be called the land of hard knocks. You only have to be here because you’re tough, because you’re brave enough to accept whatever it is that life throws at you. Sometimes, you don’t have a choice but to choose. You have to choose to be strong because it is necessary, to be full of hope because it helps. You have got to work very hard to get the things you want because nobody would be handing it free or easy for you. That’s the making of a Filipino--made of sterner stuff.

There was a time when the Philippines became the training ground for future American military generals and political leaders. Douglas MacArthur has been here. William Howard Taft. Theodore Roosevelt Jr. Arthur MacArthur (father of Douglas MacArthur). John Joseph Pershing. Dwight Eisenhower.

Dwight Eisenhower has been, for a time, assigned in the Philippines before World War II broke out. During the Second World War, he commanded the greatest armada ever launched of the Allied forces against Hitler’s Nazis in Europe. It was believed that the years he has spent staying in the Philippines were the formative phase that contributed a lot to boost his confidence. He was able to further hone his decision making skills as well as his ability to command a large multi-national army.

A human person is a complex machine capable of transforming himself into one of the most feared of creatures. The world is a dangerous place to live if the good men living in it do nothing to stop the evil. Except for that, Joe America, you’re safe to go everywhere. 

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Donaire-Darchinyan II: Will it be repeat or revenge?

Donaire dropped Darchinyan with a left hook to the face
in the fifth round of their first outing six years ago.
Photo source: Google.

In a few hours from now, Nonito “The Filipino Flash” Donaire will be facing an old foe in Vic “The Raging Bull” Darchinyan in the super flyweight division after six years of waiting. The Filipino Flash knocked out the heavy handed Australian-based Armenian champion with a vicious short left hook to the face of the champion in the fifth round to capture the IBF and IBO flyweight belts from the hands of Darchinyan on July 7, 2007 in Connecticut.

Donaire, who was coming off a decision loss to the very technical Cuban fighter Guillermo Rigondaeux in New York last year, wishes to make it to boxing’s top pound-for-pound list again by duplicating the victory he has had with Darchinyan six years ago. Darchinyan, on the other hand, vows to avenge that loss and to never commit the same mistake again. “It was not him who was pushing me in the corner in that fight, but I was the one pushing him and looking for a knockout. I jumped on a punch. Even Pacquiao, who was faster and stronger, do the same thing as I did. He jumped on a punch and got knocked out. That’s how it is in boxing, it happens,” explained Darchinyan about his loss to the Filipino Flash in 2007.

Donaire-Darchinyan II is a fight expected to be one that’s explosive and exciting. One is seeking redemption for a devastating loss six years ago, and the other wanting to regain pound-for-pound stature after being schooled by a very technical fighter happening a year ago. The pressure will be on the Raging Bull though, which might lead us to ask: Would it be a repeat or revenge? But the answer may no longer be important though, as long as it delivers and keeps true of a promise on either of the two would surely be getting knocked out as a result.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Random thoughts, super typhoon Yolanda, and me

The super typhoon Yolanda with international name Haiyan is considered the world’s strongest cyclone for the year 2013. Unfortunately, it hits the Philippines and made  landfall on early morning of Friday, November 8, 2013 (the 24th typhoon to hit the country for this year). Part of my preparations (aside from the most basic of all which is storing food), having lived in Cebu city which super typhoon Yolanda is expected to pass through, are to make sure the cellphones, flashlights, and other gadgets that rely on battery for power are fully charged.

Prayers are also a source of strength and motivation especially in times of great danger or need. I found a different way in anticipation of super typhoon Yolanda’s coming though. I’m thinking about some random thoughts I could possibly write for as a blog post. Some of these thoughts may have been recycled, but these are words forming a thought still worthy of reading--and sharing:

In math of life, more is less. It's not how much you have; it's all about what you can do with what you have, in your own little way, to make this world a much better place in which to live. The important things in life are not things. But they are good relationships you are going to establish with everyone.

While it may be true about finding your happiness to make the most of your life (which is often in the form of acquiring material things), to some extent, it is actually but joy you are looking for. Joy is to feel the happiness in the much deeper sense of it. It is not something that the material things can only provide; it is a higher form of confidence springing from within.

Joy is to see the light of hope in your darkest nights. It is to make good use of sorrow by which the happiness can truly blossom upon. That’s joy: To be able to feel the happiness even in sorrow.

Super typhoon Yolanda may rock you from all points and make you feel the full fury of her wrath, but remember she’s not going to tarry long, or to stay forever with you. Like all the storms in life, she comes and leaves. She will either break or make the stronger person out of you. 

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Super typhoon Yolanda to test Philippine disaster preparedness and response

CALM BEFORE THE STORM. Cebu city's tallest buildings, the Crown Regency Twin Towers, could be seen pointing their proud peaks toward a cloudless sky of blue. In less than 24 hours, a super typhoon brewing in the Pacific ocean is expected to enter Philippine area of responsibility. Photo taken by Napoleon Nalcot.

A super typhoon called by its international name Haiyan is now named Yolanda as it entered Philippine area of responsibility. Yolanda, classified as a super typhoon by the US Joint Typhoon Warning Center or the (JTWC) with a maximum sustained winds of 130 knots or 241 kilometers per hour (kph), is the strongest typhoon to visit the Philippines this year and was predicted by weather forecasters to be stronger than Pablo, another super typhoon which wrought havoc in the Philippines last year and has also killed more than 1000 lives.

Yolanda will make landfall on Friday in the Samar-Leyte areas and will leave Philippine area of responsibility by Sunday morning. Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration or PAGASA has released warnings that storm signal number 4 could be raised to areas directly hit by the said super typhoon. People from earthquake-stricken areas like Bohol and some parts of the Visayas are advised to stay away from sinkholes caused by last month’s 7.2 magnitude earthquake. Landslides are also expected from these affected areas.

Unlike in an earthquake where it strikes unpredictable, a typhoon’s path could be tracked from the very beginning by the people in charge in the Philippine Weather Bureau using state-of-the-art weather instruments and also with the aid of a satellite.

Super typhoon Yolanda is going to test the country’s disaster preparedness and response. Typhoons are not new in the Philippines, in fact, they are a frequent visitor. As a typhoon-prone country, preparation should always be the first priority. 

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