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Tales from the Slacktivist

How will Tacloban deal with psychological trauma resulting from Yolanda?

TACLOBAN CITY–It’s a question that’s bound to come up sooner or later. After all, no one lives through a disaster like Yolanda–and its aftermath–without incurring a mental scar, a psychological trauma, or perhaps even what are considered as “re-entry problems,” broadly defined as the process of proceeding with your life as it once was after an unexpected, dramatic event. For a number of Tacloban residents, the process of returning to …Read More

‘My sewing machine is underneath this ship’

TACLOBAN CITY–Seventy-seven-year-old Antonia Delingon is homeless and unemployed but has shown no intentions of retiring anytime soon. However interesting, these aren’t the reasons why she’s eager to share her story as a survivor of Yolanda, one of the world’s strongest typhoons that ever made landfall, inside and outside Tacloban. Delingon’s house was smashed to pieces by a cargo ship that ran aground during the height of the typhoon. The Jaguar, …Read More

‘I filched a personal item from a Yolanda looter’

TACLOBAN CITY–It was the most awkward moment in her life. But she would admit that much later. After all, asking for a pack of sanitary napkins from a young boy at the height of one of the world’s most powerful typhoons doesn’t exactly make for an anecdote best told during cocktail hour. Except that it took place. And that she didn’t want to remain untrue to herself if she continued …Read More

Friends outside Facebook

TACLOBAN–It’s easy to make friends. All it takes is an Internet connection and a Facebook account. However–and this is of course arguable, since I like to think I am something of a traditionalist–the more meaningful connections between Internet users–both inside and outside social media–are established offline, in real time.

Biking to work goes big-time in Tacloban

TACLOBAN CITY–In this city, you see them everywhere: bikers and bikes of all shapes, sizes, and colors. Mountain bikes, road bikes, touring bikes, single-speed BMX replicas, commuter bikes with front baskets, and, of course, huge, antiquated–and usually rusty–pedicabs, all driven by young and old Taclobanons alike. You step out of the apartment and barely a minute passes without a two-wheeled vehicle passing you by, weaving in and out of crowded …Read More


TACLOBAN–She was lucky. Or at least that’s what she told me. No, she didn’t pick the six winning numbers of the recent Super Lotto draw nor did she win the grand prize in a raffle. It was just that it took her five minutes to pay her water bill at the Leyte Metropolitan Water District (LMWD), a process usually takes anywhere from 45 minutes to one hour. “I was overdue,” …Read More

Would you kill for a piece of bread?

TACLOBAN–Six months ago, people would have killed for that, Teddy Arellano was telling me. Teddy, a member of iCSC’s Team Recharge Tacloban, was pointing to a piece of bread on the sidewalk in front of a bakery downtown. No larger than the size of my fist, the piece of pan de sal was abandoned, ignored by passersby like it was the most natural thing in the world to do. It wouldn’t be …Read More

Windows 8.1 is enough to drive me to drink

TACLOBAN–I’m not a big fan of Windows. But I get by. After all, like most computer users, I like to think I’m OS-blind. Ply me with a PC and I will get to beat that deadline, even if the machine doesn’t feature an emblem of Steve Jobs’ favorite fruit. Take this Asus T100T Transformer Book that the iCSC has been kind enough to lend me for this Tacloban gig (more …Read More

Coffee, Tea, and Me

It’s Coffee, Tea, AND Me (emphasis mine). And I mean that literally, without any suggestive overtones whatsoever. Coffee and tea form part of my luggage for my stay in Tacloban for the next few days—not that I’m complaining. After all, my cargo is precious: I’ll be transporting a boxed set of Golden Orange Pekoe Tea from Nepal, which an iCSC team member brought after attending a conference in Nepal. I’ll …Read More

Build back better with the Black Swan and some beer

Slacktivist. That’s what it says on my business card. I would have preferred something else—Ambassador-at-Large, Smarty Pants, or even the Escape Goat—if only to add an interesting, if amusing, dimension to what I’m doing now (whatever that might be). But then again, who’s quibbling? For one thing, the Home Office in Cubao X—strategically located on top of a popular watering hole, as it happens—wouldn’t have it any other way. And …Read More