BFFs ‘Freak The Help’ In The Philippines

Photo by Mike Alquinto / AP Photo

Photo by Mike Alquinto / AP Photo

Earlier this week, metro Manila and much of Southeast Asia was flooded by tropical storm “Ondoy” (aka Ketsana) causing 17.9 inches (455 mm) of rainfall within 24 hours.  The death toll has risen to over 380 in three nations and the Philippines started evacuations bracing for another super typhoon Parma headed towards the country.

Ketsana Satellite 640x465

Even before Ondoy finished its wrath, the power of social networking stepped up to spread the word of the damage done.  Twitter timelines were flooded with phone numbers and links to the RedCross.  BFFs in the Philippines sent messages with pleas for donations, information for volunteers, and requests for retweets.

Wawo and Volunteers

One BFF in particular, Anne Elizabeth Simacon (@_Wawo_), tweeted the following: “I’m FREAKING the HELP in all possible ways I can.So inspired by my BFFs and @thebeatfreaks.Spreading the love to my Kababayang Filipino.”  I asked Anne to share her experiences with us and she was kind enough to do so.  Here is what she had to say:

I’d like to invite you to have a little break from the world of fresh hiphop fashion and dive into my little world for a while. This’ll only take a few minutes of your time. So I hope you’d give it a shot.

Typhoon Ondoy Hits the Philippines

“It is in the darkness that the Lord shows His face to let light shine amongst those who suffers.” I grew up clinging to these words my dad said, when at a young age, I witnessed the devastation that the 7.8 surface-magnitude earthquake hit Metro Manila in the 1990s. I didn’t understand much then as I was enjoying my summer vacation in middle school (I was about 8yrs. young then). But I remembered that the feeling of sadness lingered for a very long time. I never really realized how strong those words were when I couldn’t sleep at all last night. All I could think about are the people who still, as of this moment, struggles to see that light my dad told me.

I woke up in the morning of 26th of September thinking only of one thing, should I go to the gym or not? I looked outside the window and saw that it was raining. It’s been raining on and off last night too. I remembered that a typhoon was about to hit Manila today, so I figured I’d go downstairs instead and clean the house. At around 1 in the afternoon some of my friends at work were sending me text messages and asking me if I heard from Jerome (my teammate). I replied with a simple, “No. Why?”. They replied with “Turn on your television and watch the news.”

The moment I turned on the TV I saw different parts of Manila and some nearby provinces submerged in water. Some places knee high, some a little over the waist and some you could only see rooftops of houses. I got worried as I know a fellow BFF, RedgeF (@Redge13) is coming to Manila to attend a dance class. She never got to attend the class, but she was stranded in the bus for 15 hours! My best friend went to an activity for kids with her three nephews and was out stranded for almost the whole day. By four in the afternoon the weather worsened and the news were even more troubling. I didn’t saw it myself but my brother and sister-in-law told me that in a newsflash they saw a group of about 10 kids clinging some makeshift raft. It went under a bridge and when it resurfaced only three kids were left seen on the raft. I saw some parts of Manila were people connected ropes to two storey buildings and cling to it while crossing for safety on higher grounds. It breaks my heart to see grown men looking straight at the cameras and asking for help to find lost family members and relatives, their voice breaking while doing so. I even got more devastated when some of them sent me text messages informing me they’re stranded on their rooftops without food and water (some of them with babies in tow). There are a thousand other cases and scenarios similar to these. Every hour or so the number of lost people and death toll grew. These are my brothers and sisters I see, my kababayan. Some of them, people who are close to my heart, I can’t even contact because of bad mobile phone receptions and power outages. I felt so helpless, I keep asking myself what can one person do to help at least ease the pain my fellow Filipinos go through. Then it hit me, the most powerful tool made by man is at the end of my fingertips. The World Wide Web, I sat in front of my computer and typed away.

I then imposed a mission upon myself. I’m going to FREAK the HELP! If there’s one thing I’ve learned from my family and the Beat Freaks, it is that no one and no task is too small. It is in the way you believe in things and that how much heart you put into your work that is what matters. I took two tools I thought were most powerful locally and internationally (in my opinion), Twitter and Facebook. Almost everyone I know has an account on both communication mediums. Through these tools I was informed of private organizations in need of volunteers, reposted it on the web and went to a few which I can be available of. It is amazing how much guidance the Lord made to let me get a hold of beautiful souls inside and outside the country. I was so elated when Freak the Fashion sent me an email on Ning offering to extend help by letting me tell my story. Let me just let you know that I am very very deeply grateful to you beautiful people. I know my BFF family would help me spread the word for help. I will try to keep you posted on what is happening. I don’t know how often I could go online as I will be going out and do volunteer work in the upcoming days. I would like to also ask for your continuous prayer as another super typhoon is coming to hit the Philippines again. We are still struggling at the moment and there are still places in Manila submerged in water. I’m keeping the faith alive and believing in you beautiful people. Thank you so much. Mabuhay ka kapatid!

If you would like more information on how to help, here are a few websites:

Thank you so much to Anne (Wawo) for sharing her story with us.  She wanted to thank all those on Twitter who helped her spread the word…

and to all my Ning fam who supported in their own BIG way. Thank you so much!
“To give light one must first experience burning.”
Anne Elizabeth Simacon a.k.a. Wawo

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