Posts Tagged Filipino American
Thoughts on Super Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan), the Philippines, and Veterans Day: (UPDATED with video of newborn)
Posted by Amok in Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF) blog, blog, news, race on November 11th, 2013
Called Yolanda in the Philippines, Haiyan internationally, by any name, the super typhoon has heaped on a sense of despair and helplessness.
Though we all knew it was coming from the warnings in both old and new media, there was still such an overwhelming sense that nothing could be done to help the country from its fate.
The very day the storm hit, a friend of mine in the San Francisco Bay Area, taken by news warnings, asked me if I still had relatives in the Philippines.
What could I tell her? Despite being born in America, in the broadest sense, as a full-blooded Filipino, I’m related to everyone there.
From a humanitarian sense, of course, we all are.
Over the weekend, as a U.S. based columnist for the Philippine Inquirer, I knew to turn to the paper’s website for coverage direct from the hardest hit area of Leyte.
For me, more than the photographs and videos, reading the first individual accounts of the super typhoon’s wrath were simply more harrowing, indicating the monstrous power of the storm. Reporter DJ Yap’s story described people in the throes of Yolanda, including one woman, Bernadette Tenegra, who tried to hold on to her daughter who was ravaged by wooden splinters from all the houses crushed by the storm.
“The Tenegra family had huddled together in their shanty at Barangay (village) 66-Paseo de Legazpi, believing it could weather the storm as it had always done in the past.
But as the water rose with astonishing speed, the house toppled over, sweeping away the occupants, including Tenegra’s husband and her other daughter. They were able to scramble to safety, but the youngest Tenegra was spun around by the current along with the deadly debris.
“I crawled over to her, and I tried to pull her up. But she was too weak. It seemed she had already given up,” the mother said.
“And then I just let go,” she said, crying.
Mute shock was etched on the faces of survivors, many of whom were unfamiliar with storms as fierce as this one.
Richard Bilisario, an Air Force man, was carried by violent waves that demolished his unit’s barracks at the military base overlooking the Leyte Gulf.
“At first, the wind was only coming from inland, so we didn’t really mind it. Then suddenly we heard the howling from the sea,” he recalled.
“When we opened the door to check, the water was already up to the knee. And as soon as the door was opened, the water just rushed in, and the 11 of us were thrown away,” he said.
Four are still missing, including their commander, Bilisario said.
At downtown Tacloban, two men silently pushed a wooden cart carrying the bloated bodies of a woman, her teenage
son and her baby on the flooded main avenue.
The men took their gruesome load through the streets, as kibitzers watched in morbid fascination.
The woman’s name was Erlinda Mingig, 48, a fish vendor. She had been trapped in her one-story home with her two children, John Mark, 12, and 1-year-old Jenelyn, at Barangay 39-Calvaryhill.
“I told them to stay in the house because it was safer,” said Mingig’s husband, Rogelio, 48.
But the water was rising dangerously fast. When Erlinda tried to open the door to escape, it would not budge,” the man said.
“We found her embracing the children in one arm and grabbing on to the ceiling with the other,” he said.
So what do we do now?
The coincidence of Veterans Day and the world’s awakening to the apocalyptic images of the super typhoon’s hardest hit area, Leyte and its capital city of Tacloban, is eerie.
This is not the first time the region has seen such death and despair—and overcome it all.
It was on October 20, 1944, that General Douglas MacArthur made good on his “I will return” pledge after being forced out of the Philippines by the Japanese in World War II.
Standing on Leyte Beach, with Filipino president Sergio Osmena and Philippine General Carlos Romulo, MacArthur and the American military took back the Philippines and launched the Battle of Leyte, the biggest naval battle of WWII.
In the Leyte campaign that liberated the Philippines, the Japanese lost nearly 50,000. In victory, the U.S. suffered nearly 16,000 casualties.
Their lives enabled Philippine General Carlos Romulo to report back to Congress: “How I wish the world could have witnessed the ceremony on the capitol steps in Tacloban when…just two days after it was freed from enemy control, General MacArthur delievered Tacloban into the constitutional charge of President Osmena. In Osmena’s simple words of acknowledgment, the Commonwealth of the Philippines was re-established on Philippine soil.”
Romulo, who was also a great statesman and an award-winning journalist, continued:
“This is the story I have come back from the Philippines to tell you. It is of General MacArthur and the idea he has lived and fought for since he left Bataan…It is the story of that great Filipino underground army that fought in heart-breaking secrecy for two and a half years and their final triumph in sharing our victory at Leyte. And it is, moreover, each and all of these, American and Filipino feelings, different reasons and different earth, but all stirred by the same impulse that can be summed up in one word—Bataan.
“I saw Bataan again in Leyte. Filipinos and Americans there shared understanding of one another, having shared the same hunger for liberty, the same sacrifices and death and glories, and the same God. From this American Congress we obtained political equality. This is why it is impossible to encompass in communiques the way the American G.I. feels toward the Filipino who fought alongside his fellow American in the same fox hole in Bataan and later inside the barricade as his ally and friend; impossible to compress in print the way the Filipino feels towards G.I Joe.,.his comrade in arms and liberator. This is democracy as we saw it on Bataan. It is on Leyte, set like a torch between East and West.”
Nearly 70 years later, the same passion that liberated the Philippines must once again be summoned by the U.S. and the world, to respond to this natural disaster and save the country.
The start of financial and military aid, including a U.S.Osprey helicopter, have already begun to trickle into Tacloban over the weekend.
And amid the tragedy and rubble, there was even news of a brand new baby born to Emily Sagalis, 21.
She named the little girl Bea Joy, in honor of Emily’s mother Beatriz, swept away by Yolanda.
Even what little hope exists comes shadowed by tragedy.
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Super Typhoon Yolanda in the Philippines, Haiyan to everyone else, seems to be the mother of all typhoons
The reports of just 3 dead on Friday night were wistful.
There are now reports of at least 138 , with Philippines officials saying they expecting that number to climb into “the hundreds.”
Philippine Inquirer.Net is reporting a people finder service:
Looking for your loved ones who are in areas devastated by Supertyphoon “Yolanda”?
The Philippine Red Cross has launched Social Services Restoring Family Links and Tracing Services.
“If you are looking for a family or friend, contact our Social Services Restoring Family Links and Tracing Services, please call 09175328500,” the PNRC said.
Google, meanwhile, is offering its Person Finder service.
It also has a mobile phone version.
“You can request status via SMS by sending an SMS to +16508003977 with the message Search person-name. For example, if you are searching for Joshua, send the message Search Joshua,” said Google.
Manila may have been spared, but the devestation appears to be great around the central part of the Philippines, particularly Leyte and Samar.
Leyte was the WWII battle we celebrated last month, the one that liberated the Philippines. If it survived WWII, It will survive the typhoon. But it will take time and help from around the world.
When the typhoon was first reported on Thursday, friends of mine asked me if I had relatives in the Philippines.
I told them as a Filipino American, I’m related to everyone there.
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In an revealing interview with MLB.com, Tim Lincecum says a whole lot more than in his terse after the game clubhouse sessions.
Mostly he talks about being in a good place, how he’s learned how to create a plan from talking to teammate Chad Gaudin, and learned how to live without his blazing fastball.
In some ways, he’s so positive in the interview he sounds like he’s on some 12-step plan. Good for the Giants or maybe some other team.
That’s the speculation now as Lincecum returns to PETCO Park today for the first time since he threw the no-hitter that is now proving to be the highlight of the 2013 season for the whole team.
Here’s an excerpt:
Lincecum: Oh, things are going well. I want to see things get better and I want to get better myself. I’m just going to worry about me in the offseason and just go on to help out a team that needs it. Right now, I’m just trying to make my tools better.
(EG: Was that a major league hint? That he’s ready to say goodbye, if that happens? Gaudin, his “mentor” is a journeyman who has been around the block, maybe that’s part of the “mental” aspect of the game he’s passed on–changing uniforms, towns, teams but staying focused on one’s native athletic skill).
MLB.com: What’s the difference for you right now on the mound?
Lincecum: I think it’s taking every start individually and at a larger level, not making any one game or any one month too big or overwhelming. It can be at times and I’ve gotten ahead of myself, worrying about the future, wondering whether the stuff I have on the mound I’m going to be able to carry forward with me. That kind of negative thinking just leads nowhere. You get negative feelings and negative results out of it. I’ve just tried to steer my mindset to a different kind of thinking by feeding off the positives, even if they’re just little ones — liking myself at the end of the day, giving myself the benefit of the doubt even if the day doesn’t go great.
MLB.com: How have you been able to accomplish that?
Lincecum: I’ve had the pleasure of having Chad Gaudin on the team, who steered me in the right direction, as far as studying hitters and exploiting them the way I would like to, at least. I’ve never had anyone sit me down and do that, nor have I asked. To see the game from that perspective, that’s the way I’ve gone about it for the last 12 starts or so. Things have gotten increasingly better for me. It has me going out there with a plan, knowing that execution is the key. When anything goes wrong outside of that, I can always go back to my plan.
MLB.com: So you’re saying a lot of your problems the last two seasons have been mental?
Lincecum: Yeah, a lot of it is completely mental, just grasping the fact that I’m not going to throw 95-96 [mph] by guys anymore. I probably have to spot my fastball a lot more. That goes back to trusting it, trusting the stuff you have that day, regardless how fast it is and regardless of the fact that you’re probably not going to throw that hard again. You just have to trust it and know that it’s good stuff.
MLB.com: So why, at your age, the decrease in velocity of your fastball? Have you ever figured that out?
Lincecum: No, I think it goes back to getting into a good rhythm and timing with your body and having as many games when you have good results, but you might not be feeling at your best. That obviously goes back to being a good pitcher, but I’ve always fallen back on how I felt and what my rhythm was like on that day. Lately that velocity hasn’t been there, so I’ve had another crutch to lean on and that has been my game plan and the execution of that.
MLB.com: So you can fall back on the plan.
Lincecum: It’s just knowing that I can execute a pitch and it doesn’t have to be nasty anymore. That alleviates any kind of stress on any given pitch. If I do my pre-game studying, I know that a guy is or isn’t going to swing at a certain pitch or in a certain situation. It’s not 100 percent accurate, but it gives you a gauge that you can trust.
MLB.com: So how long has this taken to evolve?
Lincecum: The mental side started last year and the preparation part of it started this year. As far as preparing is concerned, I just wanted to be on the same page with my catcher, going with what I wanted that day whether it means shaking to a fastball away when he calls a curveball down, or any sort of scenario like that. I’m going with what I know I want so when he finally puts a sign down, I know, click, I’ve got that one. There’s not a whole lot of running over signs or confusion about, “What do you want to do here?” We already know what we want to do and we have an idea.
The interview was conducted by an MLB.Com national writer, and was fairly long compared to the Lincelength comments one usually gets after the games. But it is a digest of things he’s said throughout the season after both good and bad games.
Lincecum says he hasn’t decided what to do, nor has there been any discussion with the Giants so far.
But he sounds ready for anything. Positive. Upbeat. Prepared.
His closing comments are telling:
MLB.com: How do you sum up this part of your career with the Giants?
Lincecum: I’m happy because I’m healthy and that’s the biggest thing anybody can say, as far as their career goes. Being able to last is the biggest thing and staying in the game is the hardest. I enjoy being able to work, come in and be part of a team like this. It’s been fun. I’ve faltered the last few years here. I think I have a lot of good years in me, as long as I turn it around and start believing in myself again like I should. I’m not going to try throwing 96 anymore. I’m going to try and sit on the edges, not necessarily call myself a nit-picker, but exploit guy’s weaknesses and have them swing at pitches that I want them to. I want to keep getting better.
Is it over at AT&T? Let’s hope not. He sounds like a better Lincecum. Besides, how will the Giants ever sell out TWO Filipino American Heritage Nights….
Linceblog: Some thoughts on sports life and Mother’s Day; The San Francisco Giants are up, the Golden State Warriors are down?; and more on Tim Lincecum’s mom and why he’s what I call a “hesitant” Filipino
There comes a time when life and sports collide. I was at a personal/family event on Friday night, when sports must be relegated to life’s backdrop. Like the weather, it’s there. You go about your business and know there are games going in some alternate universe. Every now and then you sneak a peak. The Giants knock out Hudson? How did they get those 4 runs? Now 8? And what about those Warriors? Down by 3 possessions? More? In the first-half?
And then you get back to “playing in your own life” and hope your teams win without you.
One did. The other didn’t. The Giants behind Cain came back to avenge the opening Braves loss. And the Warriors? In game 3, the team seemed flat, stuck in some valley and never reached a mountain top. In fact, the ankle injury to Curry completes the metaphor. You try climbing a mountain on a banged up ankle. The Spurs played well, and fought off the Warriors every time they came close in the second-half.
Mother’s Day will be the next stop for the Warriors. The Giants after Saturday’s game, will play on Sunday too. If your Mom is a sports fans, that’s great. Make sure there’s enough beer.
If not, one will be in “alternate universe”mode again.
Tim Lincecum will be pitching for the Giants in a 1pm game. The reason I write the Linceblog portion of my blog is because I have editors at Filipino outlets that allow me to follow the premier Filipino American player in Major League Baseball.
Lincecum is half-Filipino on his mom’s side. But he’s somewhat of what I call a “hesitant” Filipino and it’s mostly due to his relationship to his mom.
When I asked him about being Filipino earlier this season, he was pretty honest.
Lincecum’s relationship with his mom is his personal business and I chose not to press him on it in one of those post-game locker room scenarios usually reserved for answers like “He hit a change-up high in the zone.”
But Timmy should know he has all sorts of Ninangs and Lolas in the Filipino community rooting for him and wishing he ate just a little more lumpia. And Ligo sardines.
“I like rice,” he told me with a smile one day in the dugout. “I eat lots of rice.”
Ligo is the company that sponsored that Filipino scarf the Giants gave away recently on Filipino Night. The one with Lincecum’s #55 on it.
Now if he wants to be a real half-Filipino, he should eat sardines the Filipino way. Open up a small can of Ligo sardines (they come in tomato sauce). Dump it in a fry pan of onions and garlic. When it heats up, use it to top off your mound of rice. Now that’s what I’d call a pre-game meal. The garlic keeps hitters away.
It’s also something a Filipino mom would do for her son. My mom did something similar for me, while I watched games on TV, though I preferred “tapa.”
Lincecum’s comment on his mom makes you realize how much we are defined by that relationship with Mom and how lucky we are when it’s a special one.
If you are lucky to have your mom close, give her a hug, maybe some flowers, make her a meal (but no Ligo).
Just make sure she’s part of your game.