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Tag Archives: slacktivist

Three things I learned from Yolanda victims

Tacloban City—Experience isn’t the best teacher—disaster is. Except that, as a nation, we can’t seem to learn our lessons, both historical and otherwise. We still can’t keep death and suffering to a minimum, despite decades of being visited upon by killer typhoons and similar catastrophes. And let’s not even forget about the horrors of Martial Law, a subject matter best discussed separately. As a people, Filipinos have managed to muddle …Read More

Line up and shut up

Tacloban City—Residents are no longer queuing up for relief goods. However, they still fall in line, for hours at a time, just to settle their bills. Yes, ladies and lesbians, gays and gentlemen, eight months after struggling through the world’s strongest typhoon, Yolanda survivors are made to suffer for—pardon the pun—a fate worse than debt. They have been forced to line up—and, to some degree, shut up—because agencies and utilities …Read More

Four things you didn’t know about post-Yolanda Tacloban

Tacloban City—Yolanda, Yolanda, Yolanda. In Tacloban, it’s still what people talk about. Yolanda remains a household word, an explanation, a prompt, and a meme—if you will—outside the Internet, offline, IRL. After all, the world’s strongest typhoon on record has changed the Eastern Visayas capitol in ways both profound and mundane. Below is a list of things you may want to know about the city seven months after Yolanda decimated it. …Read More

Why some Yolanda survivors didn’t get relief goods

Tacloban, Leyte—Whenever he found the time, the late Chicago Mayor took a swim at a private club immediately after lunch during his regular workday. Upon returning to the office at around two in the afternoon, Daley, who served as mayor from 1955 to 1976, was met by an official so special that he was the only one carrying the title in all of the city governments across the United States. The …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

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