What: Ondoy relief goods
From: Arnel Abeleda
Date: November 3, 2009
First of all, our utmost gratitude to you for your kind and benevolent charity towards the victims of typhoon Ondoy, particularly your former co-workers at Noritake. Our thanks also go out to the rest of your friends and colleagues who contributed to the relief drive at Ketsana Concert.
Now for the report:
The relief goods arrived on Oct. 30th at our house while I was at work. After arriving home at night, I found that my sister had taken the initiative to separate the clothes into general piles of Clothes for Men, Women, Children and Toys. She also brought plastic bags and garbage bags so I can separate the piles. I also told her to document the whole thing so she was able to borrow an analog camera for that purpose. It would have been preferable to get a digital camera but ours as well as others I have asked at that time were presently indisposed (read: flood-damaged).
I spent the morning of the 31st of October, further sorting the piles, this time with the help of my 10 year old nephew, Archie (he’s in the pictures, as you’ll see). The men’s clothes, for instance were further segregated into Large Men, Extra Large clothes(there were only a couple though) and Male teens; for the women it was Extra Large for Women, Petite Women and Female Teens. Children’s clothes were sepated into Male Kids, Female Kids, Male Baby clothes and Female Baby clothes. I was also coordinating thru text how to distribute the same. At around 10 am, Lota Arana arrived at my house and helped me sort and pack the clothes.
Each plastic bag(size: large) was labeled accordingly and more or less contains the following:
For men’s clothes - 3 (since most are bulky; as much as possible we distributed it this way: a shirt, a jacket and pants)
For teens - 3 to 4 pcs. (mostly pants; 2 or 3 pants per bag)
For women’s clothes - 5 to 7 pcs. (turns out women’s clothes are less bulky so we can pack more women’s clothes per bag)
For baby clothes - 15 to 20 pcs per bag (includes small items like bibs and socks)
For the toys - more than 10 pcs per bag (discounting the puzzle pcs. )
We were able to make 25 bags for male large, 28 bags for female large, 7 bags for female baby, 6 bags for male baby, 5 bags for female kids, 10 bags for male kids and 10 bags for toys(aside from the stuffed toys)
At around 1pm, Ronald Argamosa arrived saying he wasn’t able to borrow BJ Anselmo’s van and that he’s supposed to go home to Nueva Ecija at around 4pm for the holidays (i.e., All Saint’s Day). I prevailed upon him to borrow his Aunt’s van since he already has the keys to them and cajoled him to help in distributing the goods. So at about 1:30pm he went home to Parang Marikina to retrieve the van.
At around 2pm, we finished packing. Lota went home to change since Ronald was not yet around. At about 2:40pm, Lota arrived. And about 10 minutes after, so did Ronald with the van. At this time, the rain was really heavy so it was a good thing we packed everything in plastic bags (inside garbage bags at that). Our original plan was to give the goods to the most heavily damaged areas: Gold River Ville in Montalban, and the Tumana and Balubad areas in Marikina.
However, Ronald says the traffic was getting heavy because of the crowd flocking to cemeteries so we don’t have enough time to go to Montalban. So we just put the goods for the Gold River Ville residents in a separate bags. At this time, Mercy Torres was already coordinating with us so we have an idea for instance how many Male and female Children’s clothes we should spare for them.
First stop then, was Balubad in Marikina. Unfortunately, Lota, Ronald and I aren’t that familiar with all the addresses or contact numbers of former NPMIans. But we first went past by the house of Floriezel Unigo. He now lives at Daan bakal in Ampid. We gave him 4 bags (ML, FL, FK, T ---which is our code for male large, female large, female kid and toys). Since he knows many addresses of NPMIans we decided he should tag along (which he gladly did)..
He also suggested we give to residents of Charrievile in Ampid since at the time of the typhoon, it was completely submerged in the flood being near a creek. There we gave the following:
Ruben Borgoños – ML,FL, FK
Baby Malazo – ML, FL
Eden – ML,FL,MK, MB, FB (she had several grandchildren)
We didn’t give to those who were not physically present (some went to the provinces) but we gave some to the husband of _____ because he accompanied us to all the houses of NPMIans there.
Then we went to the house of Evangeline Nicolas at Balubad in Marikina. We gave her 4 bags. (I’m sorry, at this time, my records went kaput.) She also told us where Florence Samson resides. Unfortunately we went in circles. We also could not find where paul guardian lives. So we doubled up and decided to go back to the nangka bridge because I remembered that Jun Grimaldo lives right next to the bridge which overflowed during the typhoon (there was a dramatic image of a family on top of a floating roof in youtube which I think happened there). So anyway I gave him 5 bags of goods. But when I was about to take a picture of him, the camera whirred. It seems I had already spent the 24 shots (or was it 36? I’m not sure). I wanted to find another store but we decided to just soldier on since a) No store in Nangka is selling films (it seems most are using digital camera nowadays) and b) ronald is pressed for time. Jun grimaldo was able to give us detailed instruction in getting to the house of Florence though.
So that was our next stop, Florence Samson’s. She was carrying in her arms her mentally-challenged daughter. The child engaged us in chit-chat. It would have been better had we gotten that on film. Anyway, she was teary-eyed and thankful. (I think it must be because she thinks she was one of our worst critics back in the day. But at that time I do not really mind. She was just someone in need and you gave us the opportunity to help. That’s it. You can see just beyond her house an unmistakable scene of desolation.
We also gave to Emilia Doria, Carlito Castillo and Francis Aringo---all of whom resides in Balubad. We spent the next few minutes looking for the house of Letty Tababa, Shirley jose and Gina Riosa, all of Tumana. For Letty, the whole subdivision was re-drawn by the flood. It was completely unfamiliar. She was also not responding to our text messages. Either she replaced her SIM card or she wasn’t using her old one. Her store in Tumana was also closed. Shirley Jose has also moved out of Tumana, reportedly to Concepcion. Gina Riosa’s family also moved out to Nangka (in camacho, says rene, when I chanced upon him in Paraiso park the next day).
Apparently, Lota put the Extra Large women’s clothes in reserve for Rossana Agawin. She also gave FL bags to Nanette Gaugano and Jelly Torres.
As it was already getting dark, we decided that the rest of the bags will be distributed when Ronald returns to Marikina the first week of November. (Ronald runs a small appliance repair shop in Maly, San Mateo but still resides in Parang, Marikina).
I forgot to say but the whole day, there was no electricity, well except for the short stretch near the municipal hall of San Mateo. Since the next day was November 1, Lota won’t be around to help me distribute the rest of the relief goods in Montalban anymore so I sent an SMS to Mercy Torres asking if we could distribute the goods even if it’s already around 7:30pm. She said OK.
After a short dinner at a fast food, Rolf went home and Lota and me went to retrieve the rest of the relief goods at my house. When we were already en route at Dulongbayan, Mercy sent a text saying we should just go the next day since there’s no electricity and she was not feeling well. I told her I couldn’t go back after lugging around 20 bags of clothes (with Lota carrying about 6 more including bags of toys) on my shoulders and riding the jeep at that.. Lota and I then decided that it would be best if we just leave all the bags with Mercy Torres, and she would just distribute the same the next day since all of them are labeled up.
The following are the beneficiaries from Gold River Ville:
Mercy Torres, Amy & Domeng Sarmiento, Dante Bulanhagui, Jun dela Torre, Rosie and Jun Pagaduan, Eric Amil, Manny Ramos and Ric Ruiz from the lab.
Full disclosure: that list wouldn’t be complete if I did not say I also benefited
from it. So add Arnel Abeleda and Lota Arana to that list. But to be fair I only got a couple of polo shirts and a jacket. Unfortunately, I couldn’t make my nephew part with some toys, like the Transformers one (so I apologize for that one). Ronald didn’t take any bag though. (But as I said, we left some ten bags, mostly baby clothes at the van.)
I think there may be more but I have to check with Lota, Ronald and Rolf. Again, thank you.
Other disclosures: I have yet to develop the film. Will send you the same ASAP. For any concerns or questions, please feel free to email me.
Arnel C. Abeleda (signed)