paying it forward.

As a second generation Filipina-American, I kind of take for granted the struggle that my parents have gone through.  My father went from dodging bullets and the Japanese as a child during World War II,  to having Glidden Paint create a job position for him so as not to lose his valuable input as a chemical engineer.  My mom went from an elementary school teacher to a kick ass team member at Levi Strauss & Co’s corporate office.   They made something out of nothing and turned their struggle into success as they bought a home,  put my brother and I through private school, high school, and college, bought our first cars and have made it possible for us to have everything they didnt.

I kind of forget that life wasnt always like it is.   I forget that my dad had to walk 5 miles to school everyday carrying his desk.  (i swear i hear this story everytime i’m in trouble).    I kind of neglect that my grandma never got a chance to become literate because she had to work to support her large family.   I kind of become.. ungrateful.    

I hear a phone call between my mom and my cousin who lives in Makati just to make sure that they’re ok.  Typhoon Ondoy (Ketsana) has devastated Metro Manila and its surrounding neighborhoods as the count for dead or missing reaches 284 and continues to rise.   All of a sudden,  it hits me.   They’re still IN the struggle.  and the struggle for their friends and family has just become intensified..  there are people who make no more than $20/day and they have lost everything. 

My heart hurts.   My selfish heart bleeds, actually.   I look around at the things I take for granted everyday and praise God for my blessings… for my parents.. for their vision… and their relentless pursuit for a better life. 

I am grateful.  And regardless of my current financial situation, regardless of this stupid recession and the layoffs and the cutbacks, there is always something to share.    Food, clothing, money, or even a prayer.  Anything helps. 

Please join me in trying to make a difference and donate to Unicef for the Philippines.







  1. Eun Ji · September 29, 2009

    I hear ya.
    Growing up, I always wondered why the hell, year after year, we had to keep sending balikbayan boxes home, or why my mom would always say to me, ‘Huwag maging makasarili. Ang suerte ka’ whenever I’d insist upon getting rid of something that she’d want to hold on to.
    When she passed, I never realised jsut how much she did, not only for me, but for the entire family. Definitely making more of a conscious effort to acknowledge it on a daily basis.
    Will be keeping everyone in my thoughts and prayers, as well as trying to contribute in any way I can.
    Thanks for keeping it real. =)

    • Raaachem · October 1, 2009

      Eun Ji, hahaha. balikbayan boxes are a part of my daily living. lmao. my mom never throws anything away, it goes in a balikbayan box. swear my cousins, neices and nephews have been wearing my old shit for YEARS now. i used to just laugh, but… i get it, now. salamat sa inyong pakikinig. shit, is that right? lmao!

  2. HaolepinoGirl · September 30, 2009

    Hi Rach – thank you for this. I think a lot of us forget the lives our parents/grandparents lived. My family, my cousins, even me take it for granted all the time. and for the most part, I think our elders are okay with it because they have built a life here that they are proud to share with their kids…but I agree, we must never forget where we came from. Thanks for this link too.

    • Raaachem · October 1, 2009

      Devon, you’re very welcome my dear. WTF?! is also throwing a fundraiser — spread the word! i sent the link to ur fb. =)

  3. Ray · September 30, 2009

    You couldn’t have said it any better.

    Am I the only one who feels as if it’s getting neglected in
    in the media? You hear more about the earthquakes that
    recently happened than the floods that has been going on for weeks.

    • Raaachem · October 1, 2009

      Ray, I dont think its being neglected, but the news’ job is to report whats new. the earthquakes in samoa and proceeding tsunamis were much newer than the flooding and posed threats to other islands. shit, even SF was on tsunami watch. so, not that the PI was being ignored, per se…. just a lil out of the spotlight. i’ve been a lil frustrated lately cuz the US Red Cross seems to be no help when i asked how i could shit shit to the PI Red Cross. gah. we gets no love. lol.

  4. Mic Sirroe · October 2, 2009

    Well put and I will definitely hit that link to donate

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