Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Stranded in DLSU-Manila (thanks to Ondoy) - part 4

Continuation from part 3

When I went back to LS 309 to sleep, Toffee, Tim, MJ, Jessie, and 1 more person were already asleep. Tim, MJ, and Jessie were asleep on the wooden platform below the blackboard; Toffee and the other person (a girl - I don't know her name) slept on chairs. I tried to snuggle myself into a corner, and put another chair for my legs. I generally have a sleeping problem, but this setup complicated things a bit more. Anyway, I think I was finally able to sleep 230am.

Noah's Ark
We woke up around 6am. Looking out, like Noah's Ark survivors we celebrated the fact that we can see more and more land jut out from the water! We felt that we can already leave. Our newfound friends had already left (they slept in a different room)

Walking around DLSU at approx 630am, we saw Aimee Chua ferrying a bunch of sandwiches (breakfast) via a tricycle. That wasn't going to be of much use, since many people have started leaving.

We made our way to the EGI building with a newfound perspective of the power of nature...
... and a 200 peso parking bill, like it was our fault we couldn't leave that night.

The businessperson behind EGI is a rather insensitive guy. They even raised room rates astronomically (from 1500 (per Tim) to 6500 for one night stay)!

Tim and I made our way to McDonald's for breakfast. We saw Jill's group yet again and we had breakfast there. After breakfast and almost 24 hours of staying in DLSU, they were finally fetched. Since the flood in the SM Manila area is still very high and difficult to pass, Tim and I decided to go back to school to wait out a bit more.

Have a safe trip home!
Back at DLSU, the cleaning operation was already at full swing. Janitors were cleaning the pavement, removing water from the Amphitheater and cleaning the buildings. We wanted to walk around a bit more, but we were asked to go to the Chapel to not intefere with the cleaning.

Nothing much happened back in the Chapel. The view from the window presented a very calm and sunny weather - like nothing happened last night. The number of people staying in the Chapel slowly decreased until there was only a dozen people left.

Outside the Chapel, the volunteers assembled a board saying what roads are passable/impassable. That's nice - but it's too fragmented so we can't really use it.

One thing that I really liked was the concern Br Armin and the other leaders showed for the students. Before leaving, students were asked where they went home to, and how they would go home. If they deemed it was unsafe, they politely asked the students to wait out some more. If it was safe, then they were able to go. If it's a tricky situation, then they got the student's number to call him/her later.

Around 11am, Tim and I finally left. To get to my house, it was a little adventure since the water around the SM area was flooded up to the waist. But I was able to go home anyway. (cut out a lot of details here - it's not that important)

What happened to Jim and my brother?
Jim left DLSU at around 12 noon in his car with his driver. At around 1pm, he was still stuck in Taft. He was still in Quirino by 3pm. He actually walked from Quirino to his house in Alabang!

My brother was stranded in a nearby SM. He bought shorts and slippers there because he had to wade through waist deep waters. The waters eventually reached neck level, but by that time he was already safely in SM. At 5am with just 2 hours of sleep, he left SM, waded a lot more, then finally got home around lunch time.

Watch out for my next blog article - helping out in the relief operation!

Approaching a girl on the train - funny cartoon

A break from my Ondoy blogging.

Via XKCD yet again. The image has an alt tag - "And I even got out my adorable new notebook!"

Monday, September 28, 2009

Stranded in DLSU-Manila (thanks to Ondoy) - part 3

Continuation from part 2.

For the kids
Looking down from the choir loft, I saw a big number of kids (my guess: 100 8-12 y/o kids) sitting on the church pews. Kuya Aldrin from the LSPO told me later that there was a cultural presentation featuring kids from LASSO-supervised schools. Since LASSO has national scope, there were kids and parents from provinces all over the country. The event was to end at 430pm, but they tried to rush the event to end at 1 so that the kids can go home. But it was too late.

One of the kids looked up at me and smiled. I greeted him, and walked away. Now that everyone is all cozy (to some degree - students in the choir loft, Tim in a room charging his computer and phone), I decided to go down and offer what assistance I can give.

Trying to help
This was hard since everyone was busy. I tried walking around with SC President Aimee Chua and learned that everyone has to go to LS Building since power may go out at the other buildings soon. Some of the buildings were already cleared but some weren't. ROTC/Security/Janitors were enlisted to help out in this area.

I ran into Engr Oliva and asked him if DLSU can do something to lessen the flooding, like removing some covers and the like. He said there's nothing DLSU can do for the moment.

The water level at ground floor of the LS building is beginning to rise, so the volunteers tried to get people upstairs to the main Chapel at the 2nd floor. I tried to help out in this area. That proved to be a challenge.

For one, the TV that supplied critical news was in the ground floor. The food supply was in the ground floor. The water levels were still tolerable. Some people were dead worried about their cars and were hesitant to go up. Many people were still waiting for a friend before they would go up. But eventually, people moved up. I went back to the third floor.

At the third floor, volunteers were beginning to lay out mattresses for people to sleep. Priority were the kids. I tried to help move the church pews to clear out space - man they were so heavy. Then we laid out the mattresses in a close, tight fashion. Even the narrow passageways had mattresses. The kids were the priority, and they occupied the mattresses farthest from the edge of the loft.

I was sweating profusely. Thank God a LEADERS student (I forgot your name - sorry!) provided me an extra shirt. I kept the shirt for later use.

I went down to the 2nd floor and saw a group of student volunteers huddling around Br Armin. It seems some students are still in the Br Andrew building, and someone to go get them. I joined this group - there were 19 of us in total.

While walking, I asked John Bellosillo what we're supposed to do. Escort the students and Admin folks from the Br Andrew Bldg to LS, and we had to wade through the floodwaters. Gulp - I was wearing slacks and a dark blue Chuck Taylor. Never mind - it'll dry out anyway. So we went to the Br Andrew bldg and upon getting there my pants and shoes were soaked. Why wouldn't it be, the water was knee deep in some areas.

I found out that there was a cancer survivor staying in Br Andrew. She wouldn't leave because she doesn't want to get wet. We understood, got her number, and left her with the guards. She was a professor.

On the way back, I noticed how dirty the water was. In the SJ area, a newspaper folded and twisted like candy floated... I wonder what was inside that newspaper.

Dinner + Movies!
There was a very long line when I got back to the LS Bldg. People waiting in line for dinner. Afterwards, I cleaned my feet and shoes with the handsoap in the CR, but of course it still is not good enough. There was no medikit available so I had to ask around for alcohol. I finally got one (c/o Jill. I was actually looking for the kind mother who shared her alcohol with me a few hours ago but I couldn't find her) and rubbed alcohol on my feet generously, and changed my shirt. Then I went to line up for dinner, while chatting with the guard in front of me. A friend told me dinner can still be bought at the canteen so I just went down. (Previous population estimate was at 450 people, however the count was wrong - there were at least 1050 people! I chose to buy dinner so that someone else can eat for free.)

It was around 8pm already. Some students had occupied the classrooms and turned them into moviehouses. I was able to watch Love Actually (nice movie), The Unborn (good scary movie - but not as good as Rec or Inside), and The Proposal (the guard cut us off, as it was already 1am then!) I was also able to inform people that entering sndvol32.exe via Start->Run will display the Master Volume controls. :)

I tried to sleep at around 130am but it's quite hard, since my feet were still... uncomfortable and it's really hard to sleep while sitting!

Part 4 is here.

Stranded in DLSU-Manila (thanks to Ondoy) - part 2

(this is the continuation of part 1)

Lunch, and a whole lot of waitin
Tim and I got lunch at Animo Canteen (further inside the Canteen, the one that serves coffee, pasta, Japanese food) and tried to wait out the rain. Many people are eating there although it's a Saturday - because it's impossible to go out, unless you'll wade.

It's been two hours and the rain hasn't stopped. This is becoming a boring situation for Tim and me, so we decided to try and join the group of Jill, one of our LEADERS students, who happened to be eating in the same place a few tables away. After chatting a bit, we moved out to the main Animo canteen area and sat in one of the benches.

We spent the next 1-2 hours between chatting, and going out to check on the situation. The water level had been constantly rising: one minute it was barely touching the benches, the next time we checked, the water was already nearing the pebble-laden sidewalk of LS. Some students even deployed paper boats on the brownish waters. The South Gate entrance has become impassable - the main sidewalk stretching out from the South Gate has become flooded, and tricycles have begun to peddle their services inside DLSU (just outside the LS building, near the men's CR) to students who wanted to go out. At this point, students can not sit in a tricycle the same way, they had to huddle differently to avoid getting their feet and buttocks wet. At 50 pesos a ride, they will transport you a few meters to maybe the mall outside, or McDonald's.

The steps and ramps of DLSU have become a Nilometer of some sort. But the "Nilometers" failed, because the flood waters reached and exceeded their height.

Dars (he'll be videotaping th LEADERS class) said that by around 2PM, the floods at the South Gate had already reached waist levels. He braved the flood, got to the LRT station, went down at EDSA, and was soon able to get home.

LS Bldg = relief center
At around 3PM, the school (led by Br Armin Luistro FSC, Aimee Chua, John Bellosillo, and a few others) began moving people from the other DLSU buildings to the LS building. The LS building was to serve as the main holding area for the stranded students. ROTC officers, janitors, and security helped to move students and admin alike. (I was a former ROTC officer - inside I was partially wishing this happened during my time...)

The university began giving congee in plastic cups to people who were stranded in the school around 3pm. I wasn't in the mood to eat, so I just watched the TV near the accounting office. There I found the real danger Ondoy posed. By that time, water was also beginning to break into the marble floor outside the Conservatory. The path stretching from the North Gate was already a river - a coconut husk floated by as I stood there. I went back to the Canteen.

Back in the Canteen, Jill's group suggested going up to the 3rd floor of the LS building, because the water level might rise even more given current conditions. Someone was even suggesting building a raft!

We went up to the 3rd floor of the LS building, and stayed in the choir loft of the MBS Chapel. I found the handslapping game played by Jill's group quite interesting and fun.

My brother, Toffee, and MJ
My brother was supposed to go to URC in Pasig that day to rehearse for an event. He SMSed me around 1-2pm and told me he was stuck in Kalentong with waters reaching the waist. It's good that he was able to go to nearby SM Hypermarket for some much needed shelter. I was worried sick for my brother - but there was no way for me to check on him, as I can't go there and his battery died soon after. I kept that at the back of my head the entire day.

Toffee and MJ meanwhile were in Sherwood place. They finally came back to DLSU availing of the tricycle service I mentioned before.

(Side note: Jill had a Reader's Digest which I borrowed to pass the time a bit. Inside was a joke about 4 Filipinos sharing their dreams. One dreamed to become a lawyer to help his countrymen. The two others dreamed to be a policeman/doctor to help their countrymen. The fourth dreamed to be a countryman. :) That joke was quite fitting - we became the countrymen that day.)

Part 3 will come soon. I might get some photos from people to add to my story. Thanks in advance!

Part 3 is here.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Stranded in DLSU-Manila (thanks to Ondoy)

Approximately 1000 Lasallians, LASSO school members, and other visitors were stranded in DLSU last September 26-27 due to ravaging floods brought about by the typhoon Ondoy. (More info about Ondoy here.

I was one of the 1000, and I'll try to write my experiences. I'm quite tired, so it's gonna look loose in a few places. But here goes:

How it all began: LEADERS class
I was in DLSU-Manila Sept 26 830am for the 2nd week of the LEADERS class, taught by retiring P&G Philippines President Jim Lafferty. Timothy Chua and I facilitated the class. The LEADERS class is held in A1703, from 9am to 12nn. Approximately 90 students are enrolled in this class.

Class went well, Jim talked to the class about the 5Es of Leadership, we fixed some administrative issues about the group projects, and had the late students (and Jim too) do push-ups as punishment for being late. Class ended at 12 noon.

By the end of class, students were already peering out of the window, saying Taft Avenue is already flooded. I remember what I said to myself: "masaya to (this is gonna be fun)."

End of class: Assessing the situation
I honestly thought I can go home rather easily as I took the stairs down from the 17th floor. Throngs of students surprised me as I exited the ground floor. A quick check to the Taft-facing side of the Br made me doubt a bit: the flood level was quite high, preventing anyone from crossing the street. But I was feeling hopeful, because the Agno-facing side flood was manageable, so Tim and I made our way to the main campus. We braved the strong rain, jumped across a few puddles, and balanced ourselves on thin dry stretches of land.

When we finally got to the Velasco-Miguel area, that's where I seriously began to doubt whether it's even possible to go home. For the first time ever, the area between Velasco and Miguel was actually flooded, probably 3-6 inches deep. SJ walk was more dreadful, it was probably 6-12 inches deep. Planks and plastic chairs were set up so that students can traverse.

Having crossed the "bridge" of chairs and planks, I got to SJ and saw the first floor flooded. That was again new. A few meters away, the Amphitheater was slowly becoming a pool. At least, the fish in the fishpond might have liked that.

We were able to walk to the Conservatory rather easily, and finally got to the Animo Canteen. We were hungry so we decided to eat first and see what we can do after lunch.

(Note: I didn't know about Ondoy as of this moment.)

To be continued... part 2 here

Friday, September 25, 2009

This is Steve Jobs' workplace (1982)

It's fitting that the brain behind the Mac and the iPod would have a minimalistic workplace.
Got this via Diana Walker. This is 1982, Steve Jobs was still single and working to launch the Mac.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Don't suck your thumb, the tailor will come and cut it off

This story is from "Der Struwwelpeter" which according to Wikipedia, is a popular German children's book by Heinrich Hoffmann. It comprises ten illustrated and rhymed stories, mostly about children. Each has a clear moral that demonstrates the disastrous consequences of misbehavior in an exaggerated way. The video below is one of the stories. The sound and the animation of the video below adds to its creepiness.

These are the stories in Struwwelpeter:
  1. "Struwwelpeter" (Shock-headed Peter) describes a boy who does not groom himself properly and is consequently unpopular.
  2. In "Die Geschichte vom bösen Friederich" (The Story of Cruel Frederick), a violent boy terrorizes animals and people. Eventually he is bitten by a dog, who goes on to eat the boy's sausages while he is bedridden.
  3. In "Die gar traurige Geschichte mit dem Feuerzeug" (The Dreadful Story of Pauline and the Matches), a girl plays with matches and burns to death.
  4. In "Die Geschichte von den schwarzen Buben" (The Story of the Inky Boys), Nikolas (that is, Saint Nicholas[2]) catches three boys teasing a dark-skinned boy. To teach them a lesson, he dips the three boys in black ink, to make them even darker-skinned than the boy they'd teased.
  5. "Die Geschichte von dem wilden Jäger" (The Story of the Wild Huntsman) is the only story not primarily focused on children. In it, a hare steals a hunter's rifle and eyeglasses and begins to hunt the hunter. In the ensuing chaos the hare's child is burned by hot coffee.
  6. In "Die Geschichte vom Daumenlutscher" (The Story of Little Suck-a-Thumb), a mother warns her son not to suck his thumbs. However, when she goes out of the house he resumes his thumb sucking, until a roving tailor appears and cuts off his thumbs with giant scissors.
  7. "Die Geschichte vom Suppen-Kaspar" (The Story of Kaspar who did not have any Soup) begins as Kaspar, a healthy, strong boy, proclaims that he will no longer eat his soup. Over the next five days he wastes away and dies.
  8. In "Die Geschichte vom Zappel-Philipp" (The Story of Fidgety Philip), a boy who won't sit still at dinner accidentally knocks all of the food onto the floor, to his parents' great displeasure.
  9. "Die Geschichte von Hans Guck-in-die-Luft" (The Story of Johnny Head-in-Air) concerns a boy who habitually fails to watch where he's walking. One day he walks into a river; he is soon rescued, but his portfolio drifts away.
  10. In "Die Geschichte vom fliegenden Robert" (The Story of Flying Robert), a boy goes outside during a storm. The wind catches his umbrella and sends him to places unknown, and presumably to his doom.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Paragraph of the day - didn't know Bill Gates was like this

The paragraph below, written by Tim Ferriss about Bill Gates and risk-taking, made my day - made me wish I got more involved in scheduling classes during my school years!

In 1970, Computer Center Corporation ran into financial trouble that would eventually put it out of business, but by then, Gates and Allen had found a new computer home at the University of Washington, where Allen’s father worked. Lakeside also pitched in: during Gates’s junior year at the prep school, the administration offered him a job computerizing the scheduling system. Over the summer, Gates and Allen wrote the program, which coincidentally assured that Gates was assigned to classes with mostly girls—a sequence straight out of a nerd’s revenge movie.

Italicized sentence = WIN.

To read more about Bill Gates' early childhood antics, click here for the entire post.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Kanye West attacks my blog...

Kanye West gives my blog the Taylor Swift treatment!

Nifty tool at Just enter your website URL after e.g.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

RIP Patrick Swayze

RIP Patrick Swayze. I really loved his movie Ghost. According to BNO,

"Dirty Dancing" actor Patrick Swayze, who was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in January 2008, died on Monday, his publicist confirmed. He was 57.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

The List of N Things - Paul Graham

Why are people into lists of n random things? This seems to be a fad in Facebook, and in sites like Listverse, or Oddee.

Paul Graham does a wonderful job of explaining why "n random things" lists are popular, and I agree - it's easier to read (and if there's a point you don't like then you just skip), it's easier/more relaxing to write. Paul expresses these points in a rather amusing way, and much more.

Check his blog out - it's definitely worth a read!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Monday, September 7, 2009

The Alphabet - weird David Lynch video

I don't know what this video is about, seriously. According to wikipedia:
The Alphabet Combines animation and live action; A simple narrative structure relating a symbolically rendered expression of childhood and aging. (4 minutes)

The idea for "The Alphabet" came from Lynch's wife, Peggy Reavey, a painter whose niece, according to Lynch in Chris Rodley's Lynch on Lynch book, "was having a bad dream one night and was saying the alphabet in her sleep in a tormented way. So that's sort of what started 'The Alphabet' going." Based on the merits of this short film, Lynch was awarded an American Film Institute production grant and became a minor celebrity.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Cute Japanese model Nozomi Sasaki dances for Fit's

This is a cute dance, made even cuter by the presence of Nozomi Sasaki.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

The 7 Habits of Highly Ineffective Managers

Sometimes, a presentation of what to do to become ineffective can be effective in showing what must be done to be effective. This slideshare presentation is a good candidate at this style.

So what are the 7 habits to become highly ineffective managers? Here is the presentation:

Here are the 7 habits in summary:
1. Responsibility without authority - Give people a responsibility, but don't give them enough authority to make it happen
2. Set it and forget it - Give people a task, and let them guess how you want it done.
3. Make performance reviews a surprise - Don't give regular feedback to employees and tell them they're "doing fine" and surprise them on the formal performance review.
4. Set no expectations whatsoever - Don't tell employees what're expected of them, but hold them to a standard known only to you.
5. Fight fires, don't set priorities -Throw more and more little balls at employees until they drop the biggest ones.
6. Focus on weaknesses, not strengths -Focus on things that employees did wrong, instead of leveraging their strengths.
7. Training is for losers -Don't train at all, it saves time and some cost.

I actually quite like #2. For people who don't want micromanagement, they'll probably want to figure things out on their own.

Takuya Sugi / Yoshitsune - the best highflying wrestler of all time (in my opinion)

Takuya Sugi is a Japanese wrestler famous for having amazing high flying techniques and a ton of gimmicks. He wrestles under more than a dozen gimmicks, including Yoshitsune, mini CIMA, Catfish Man, Rabbit Boy, Little Dragon, El Blazer, Sugi, and a lot more.

Watch the video below and understand just how skilled this wrestler is, be sure to keep your eyes open for:
1:34 -> Blazing Arrow
1:48 -> don't know what this is called - an indescribably flip into the ropes
2:09 -> dizzying sequence :)
3:29 -> standing shooting star press (wrestlers normally have to go to the top rope to execute this move)
4:20 -> looks like a running top rope asai moonsault
4:31 -> Cielo Perfecto Uno (I can describe it as a springboard somersault into a hurricanrana)
The last 30 seconds -> amazing