Tag Archives: manila

The Philippine capital Metro Manila recently experienced a devastating
typhoon. Dozens have died, whole houses are underwater, and the
Philippine government is ill-equipped to deal with the disaser. BBC’s
report is here:,
but I don’t think anyone will know how just how much damage there is
until much later.

Imagine this: Katrina dumped over an inch of rainfall in Louisiana for
3 hours and another 0.5 inches per hour over the next 5 hours on
August 29, 2005. Philippine typhoon ‘Ondoy’ dumped an average of 2.24
inches per hour for over six hours.

By the time the rain stopped, more than 16 inches of rain had fallen
over Manila in 12 hours. To put that in context, only 15.39 inches of
rain fell throughout the month of September.

Many have lost their homes. Many are still stranded in their roofs in
desperate need of food, clothing, and shelter. The typhoon affected
people from all walks of life — rich and poor were stranded and lost
homes — but in the Philippines, the poorest are the most affected.

Please refer to this blog for pictures and video on the flooding so
you can see what has happened for yourself.

I am writing to you now to appeal to your sense of compassion and
strongly encourage you to donate to the Philippine Red Cross.

I was able to donate using my U.S. credit card through this link:

I’m terribly frustrated and sad that I can’t do much more to help. The
one thing I can do is spread the word about the disaster;
international news sites haven’t reported much (hours after the event,
I still don’t see any stories on CNN).

There aren’t enough distress signals out there, so if you can forward
this link to people you know who want to help, please do so.

From Lilledeshan Bose <>
to M*** P*** <mp****>
date Sun, Apr 5, 2009 at 10:13 AM
subject ReMIX: my poim

A Death in the MP Braintrust, Co.

A thief bites his upper lip
Trying to melt in the shadows
while delivering a night stand decorated with 72 red roses
into the funeral parlor where I lie.

It’s a guerilla mission,
dropped onto his lap by my fearful lover,
one who knows that big gestures, no matter how phony,
will eventually get told as myth
by someone who will worry
about the need
for love and loss.

The thief’s next mission
will be bigger, grander.
Ghosts will watch
as he scales walls, zipline furiously across buildings and trees
Miss windows for chimneys, tunnels and air vents
Sneak in love letters of forgiveness on stationary;
Jewelry encrusted slippers from China;
A magician capable of making a casket
(with a body in it) disappear.

If I were alive, I would applaud:
the thief tiptoes
across pools of Manila scenesters
Fake Prada bags housing yeyo and half-roaches,
fiddling with their iPhones, texting their drivers to pick them up.

Unseen, he passes sycophants and third cousins,
who’ve all come to pay their respects
to a woman they barely knew,
and only remember in vague terms:
lipad, hardcore, writer.

But I am cold and dead. And the blooms,
dysmenorrhea-red and heavily scented,
are delivered unnoticed by no one,
not even ghosts.

On Sat, Apr 4, 2009 at 1:04 PM, M*** P*** <mp****> wrote:

to the chairman of my brain trust,

thief in shadows
drop guerilla
big fear
someone tell
no need worry
next wall
missed window
alive, still

For our 58th fight, we holed up in the library in your grandmother’s house.

I forget what the fight was about — American politics, drugs, an ex-boyfriend — but the end result was this: you refused to let me talk you out of your bad mood, so I, impatient and pissed, decided to leave.

As I let myself out the door you handed me an umbrella.

Rain, you said. Wait for it to stop.

Three things happened when I walked away: my blouse got wet, my shorts dripped, and my sandals flooded.

But I forged on, past the block of drug addicts, the empty lot where that 10-year-old was raped. I was not scared.

I am only brave enough for little things. Death never quite scared me; not airplane crashes or snake venom. A knife to my back, bare hands on my neck, threatening whispers in my ear — that’s stuff newspapers and movies are made of.

But you embryo me in sleep, sweaty like a day before the rain. My body curves to yours.

It changes me, this love. I start to fear earthquakes, the same way I do car accidents and other women. I start looking for scars on your back. I want to stay at home and say nothing to strangers I meet, because they understand nothing.

I curl up inside your stomach, even while I bang my head against your chest repeatedly. I am a coward in fights. I am just brave enough to walk Manila’s flooded streets, just brave enough to look back, to see you there.

A lot of people have been asking me that question, especially because I’ve announced to all that I am leaving Milwaukee. I don’t know where I want to go, but as much as I love my friends in Milwaukee and the city itself, I know for sure I can’t handle another winter in my life.

Maybe I’ll be braver in the future, but in the two winters I spent in Wisconsin, I witnessed about 180 inches of snow altogether. That’s a lot of ice and snow and slipping and gloves and down jackets and layers and thermals and grey and clouds and cabin fever for a girl who was raised to be suntanned and slippery, swimming happily in pee-warm, turquoise-blue waters, squinting at the sun in wide open skies.

Luckily I don’t believe I need to look for a regular job ASAP — nor do I really want to at this point. What with the turmoil in the newspaper industry (the LA Times, Chicago Tribune and the Journal Sentinel announcing layoffs and/or buyouts), I may leave journalism for good. It’s tough to set your career path in an industry that you don’t know will exist before you’re 50. Not that I’m thinking that far ahead, either.

All I know is this: I love writing, and print media is what I’ve done since I was 18. I love the process of newsgathering. I love writing ledes and shaping stories. I love putting packages together — with sidebars, photos, timelines, quizzes, whatever. But I want my work’s value to be recognized; readers/editors/publishers should know journalists like me put in a lot of care and energy into a story that is worthy of our byline. That we sometimes dream in ledes and story angles, and that reporting and editing IS sometimes tantamount to rocket science. And I guess I’m just not seeing that value in the industry right now.

So, my options. If I died tomorrow, my only regret would be not finishing my book. So that is #1 on my list. I’ve always wanted to go on a yoga retreat. I’ve always wanted to live in a Spanish-speaking country so I could hone my language skills. I’ve always wanted to go to South America and India. I’ve always wanted bum around in the Philippines and surf all day. I’ve always wanted to go to Cambodia and Vietnam. I’ve always wanted to live in New York, but I’ve been missing California A LOT. I’ve always wanted to do a project related to my dad’s work.

I suppose I could try and figure out how to do all this now that I have all this time, but our severance package isn’t THAT big. Also, I’m at a point in my life where I NEED good friends around me. I don’t think I can stand to make new friends in a new city and then leave them again. Like I did in Milwaukee. Or Orange County. Or Manila. It’s too heartbreaking.

So it’s boiled down to this: my options are ultra wide-open, but wherever I end up living will be a place where the weather is mild and I have a lot of friends. It could be New York, because most of my best friends live there now. It could be LA. It could be Manila.

And I will always be writing, and creating, and hopefully I will make music again. So you’ll see my byline when I send the pitches I’ve been dreaming about to various editors. And that’s what’s up with me.

Years ago, when I was an editor at a beauty magazine in the Philippines, my life consisted of going to events, yoga class and getting goodie bags from makeup companies. The women I met at that publishing house (who edited titles like Cosmopolitan, Good Housekeeping, etc) were strong, brilliant, waaay smart, all talented and beautiful.

A bunch of us lived minutes away from our office building; we called it the ‘single girls’ strip.’ We often got together often and dreamed about different things: living on the beach, writing novels, living for art. But at the time everything we were doing was glitzy and glamourous. We loved our jobs and loved our lifestyles.

Most of us don’t live in Manila anymore. Maya is in Singapore editing a travel magazine. Apol lives in the south of France. I am in the Midwest. I think about my past life with nostalgia, mostly. Obviously I don’t remember the traffic, how claustrophobic Manila society was, how doing the most inane tasks took forever.

But this post is about Apol, who, after being editor-in-chief of Good Housekeeping and Real Living, hied off to France to write and sew. Being that she IS brilliant and talented, though, her being low-key still means high profile accolades for her writing and sewing. Her Etsy shop contains “little objects that tell stories and make you dream” — all handmade and filled with awesomeness.