Signs, signs: Change forever

Hi friends, I’m back again.

If you’re one of the many who’s been asking for an update, I’m afraid you’ll be a little disappointed. I just got back from a surgical mission in Poipet – and a successful one at that – but I am not resting yet. When I started with Operation Smile as a non-medical staff, I somehow know what’s in store for me but did not know what to expect during the actual medical mission as the in-country mission coordinator. It’s a long and interesting story but I have tons of paper works to do and to submit to my bosses first so I will reserve a post about it in the coming days. Be sure to come back.

I shall, however, share a favourite photo that was taken during our mission.

The sign on the shirt says it all!
The sign on the shirt says it all!

In the photo is Operation Smile volunteer Marco Nebria, a Filipino nurse based in the UK, comforting a young patient. Marco has been awarded by OS as one of the best volunteer nurses –  so are our Pediatric Intensivist Anke Top and Clinical Coordinator Dusty Clegg for this mission. Hence, our patients were assured of the best possible surgery and post-operative care with Marco, Anke, and Dusty and the rest of the medical volunteers around.

The little boy is just over a year old. His name escapes me now but his smile left an impression on me. In fact, just several hours after his surgery he was already up and about,  trying to smile for everyone to see. You should’ve seen how his smile disarmed everyone around him. Everyone, I think, fell for this little fella’! In the corner of the ward, his mum (or grandmother, I couldn’t tell) was smiling broadly, beaming with genuine happiness. Like any other common folks in the poor and remote areas in Cambodia, she could not afford this life-saving surgery.

I’ve worked in Cambodia for more than a decade now but my work with Operation Smile has left me with a profound effect, seeing lots of children (and adults, too) born with cleft and other deformities receiving much-needed surgery at no cost, giving them a new hope, a new chance at life.



Oh, my Manila!

Being away from my country, safe and dry, while most of Metro Manila are underwater and hundreds and thousands of my kababayans are left homeless, hungry, and without electricity breaks my heart.

Yesterday’s pictures of flooded Manila were very difficult to look at. I got scared looking at familiar places submerged in water.  I’ve lived in Manila when I was younger and flooding is a regular occurrence in the capital but it is noticeably getting worse every year. And there’s not even a typhoon to blame this time, just a steady downpour of torrential rain. I am horrified at the thought that Manila is slowly turning into a water world!

My country is in a state of calamity now. I’m worried for my friends and relatives there. Please keep my country in your thoughts and prayers. As more rain is forecast, I pray for the torrential rains to stop and for all the families that are in need to be rescued and provided for. In this connection, I would like to appeal to those who have extra in their pockets to please donate whatever you can.

In the Philippines, here’s a list of drop off points {and contact details} for donations in Manila (please click the photo for a larger image):

Let us join hands and help those who are in need. Please donate whatever you can.
Let us join hands and help those who are in need. Please donate whatever you can.

And for those of who are overseas, the Philippine National Red Cross accepts donations via PayPal. Please check their donations page for more details.

O, isang ngiti (smile) naman dyan!

Smiling is infectious,

you catch it like the flu,

When someone smiled at me today,

I started smiling too.

I passed around the corner

and someone saw my grin

When he smiled I realized

I’d passed it on to him.

I thought about that smile

then I realized its worth,

A single smile, just like mine

could travel round the earth.

So, if you feel a smile begin,

don’t leave it undetected

Let’s start an epidemic quick,

and get the world infected!

My contribution to the on-going Isang Minutong Smile (A Minute of Smile) advocacy initiated by fellow bloggers The Pope and Lord CM, a wonderful campaign to spread smiles all over the blogosphere especially during this difficult period of time.

So on December 8, let’s stretch out our facial muscles and flash our sweetest smiles. It’s not that difficult to do…

See? Even my pet Max can do it.
Magkahawaan na tayo sa pag-ngiti!

NB: The author of the above piece is unknown and the owners of the site where I took this from request to contact them if you are aware of the origin/own the copyright to the poem, or are the original composer of the pice, and wish to claim credit for it or want it taken down.

Pinoy mugs

I recently got in touch with a long-lost friend who just returned to PP and she gifted me with this:

What a perfect timing! Just last week, I dropped the last of our coffee mug and so we are back to using our old tiny cups as we didn’t have time to get new ones. This mug is just the right size for R and I, not to small and not too big, perfect for our daily brew. The handle is large enough for easy grip as well. I also love the classic white body painted with the ubiquitous tricycle of our homeland. Oh how I miss our colorful tricycles! Thanks, F! Now whenever I get homesick, I’ll just take this mug out of the cupboard and make myself a cuppa.

Would you like one as well? My friend has three more mugs left and she wants to sell them to anyone interested. Leave me a message.

Announcement from the Phil. Embassy in PP


The Embassy of the Republic of the Philippines in Phnom Penh regrets to inform the Filipino Community in the Kingdom of Cambodia that H.E. CORAZON C. AQUINO, former President of the Republic of the Philippines, passed away on 01 August 2009.

In this regard, please note the following:

01. A Condolence Book will be opened from 03-07 August 2009 during office hours.

02. The Samahan ng Mga Pilipino sa Cambodia (SAMAPI) will also offer a mass for the late President Aquino on Wednesday, 05 August 2009 at 06:00 p.m. at the Embassy. Those who wish to attend are requested to wear a yellow shirt or dress.

A period of national mourning for ten (10) days has been declared in the Philippines. During this period the Philippine flag will be flown at half-mast.

For information and clarification, please call the EMBASSY at Tel. No.
+855.23.215.145 or +855.23.222.304.

** Photo Credit: Originally uploaded by my dear friend Seralulalu’s On My Palette.

Movie alert!

Dear Pinoy Friends in Phnom Penh… do you want to chase homesickness away, or, are you looking for something new to do this weekend? Then head over to Meta House tomorrow, Sunday, 3rd of May. Meta House will be presenting NU PHILIPPINE CINEMA, featuring not one, but two Filipino (Indie) films back to back:

7PM – CAVITE (2005, 80 min.)
The breathtaking feature CAVITE by Ian Gamazon/Neill dela Llana focuses on terrorists and proves its mettle and drawing power by its searing and intense representation of a cityscape in the clutches of violence, poverty and globalisation.

8.30PM – PI7ONG TAGPO (2007, 130 min.)
Director Rahyan Carlos puts together seven films about seven lives, seven struggles, seven decisions, seven realities — all shot in one take.

Don’t let the rain spoil your weekend. Call all your friends now and set a date for tomorrow night. Let’s watch Indie Pinoy movies at Meta House. See you there.

Street 264, #6
Sangkat Chaktomuk, Khan Daun Penh,
Phnom Penh, Kingdom of Cambodia

Meta-House is Cambodia’s first art/communication/media center just a few minutes away from the riverside and Royal Palace. Know more about the Meta House and their work here.

Pinoy Christmas Party

This just came in from the Philippine Embassy:

Details on the poster:

House #69, St. 566
Tuol Kok, Phnom Penh
The Date: December 13, 2008
The Time: 5:00pm, to be started with a celebration of the Holy Mass (Misa de Gallo), to be followed by dinner, program proper.
The Attire:Casual with a touch of RED and GREEN

Sali na!

Viva, Pacquiao!

Filipino boxer Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao sent Mexican Oscar de la Hoya to retirement after a one-sided match at Las Vegas’ MGM Grand Garden. Pacman’s latest feat ultimately establishes him as the world’s finest fighter.

Kevin Lole of Yahoo Sports wrote:

De La Hoya, who was taken to a local hospital for a precautionary examination, never in his illustrious career had absorbed such a beating. Pacquiao’s hands were far too quick and, despite the fact that he was moving up from lightweight, his punches were much too hard for the Golden Boy to handle.

It was clear by the third round that De La Hoya was going to need a miracle to reverse the pummeling he was taking.

Pacquiao displayed every punch in the arsenal, raking the Golden Boy with straight lefts that nearly closed De La Hoya’s left eye and stunning him with hooks, jabs and uppercuts.

Congratulations, Manny!

Photo from Yahoo Sports. Read the full story here.