Thank you for all the time you've shared reading my posts! If you would like to continue journeying with me, my new blog is at http://arizzanocum.weebly.com/. See you around! :)
Thank you for voting for me in the Cobra Energy Drink Pinoy Heroes Awards 2013. Just yesterday, I was awarded the grand prize for the youth category.
But this is NOT my victory. This is YOUR victory. You are the true Pinoy HEROES.
Because of you, KRIS Library is capable of doing so much more. Your vote will now be able to build more libraries. Your vote will now be able to support more poor students through scholarships. Your vote will now be able to send books to public schools who have never had libraries before.
Because of you, more people will hear about our advocacy. More Filipinos will know the message of peace that we bring. More poor Filipino students will be aware that we can help them. More Pinoy heroes will join our ranks - to reach out further and pull up the underprivileged among us.
Because of you, many young Filipinos have been given so much HOPE. Our scholars will know that there are many Filipinos rooting for them to finish their schooling. Our young beneficiaries will know that they are not alone in their fight against poverty and conflict.
Because of you, I am inspired to accomplish more. I wish, for the rest of my life, to fulfill my responsibility as a scholar to the nation. I wish, as long as I am able, to serve the people.
It is true that heroism consists not only of martyrdom or great acts of bravery or kindness. It also consists of small acts - as small as a smile, as small as an embrace, as small as a vote.
This is YOUR victory. You are MY heroes.
Maraming, maraming salamat po, mga bayani.
Mabuhay po kayo!
KRIS Library is looking for public schools or communities in Metro Manila whose libraries were recently flooded. We understand how hard it is to get access to books so quickly, so hopefully our assistance would be helpful. We have children's books, old elementary and high school textbooks, college books, and references already available.
If you know of any school/community in need, please contact via the details in the poster. Donations in money and in kind are also accepted. For monetary donations, click here. KRIS Library is planning to follow up help in flooded communities around San Mateo, Rizal and Batasan Hills if we get the resources.
My dad turns 46 today. His hair is starting to gray. His eyes are betraying the wisdom wrinkles. Two years ago, he underwent an angioplasty to unclog veins leading to his heart. After every meal, he would now take 2-3 tablets of assorted shapes.
But, to me, my dad had never grown old.
He is the same man who rode a black motorcycle around the pueblos of Zamboanga to make the prettiest in the town swoon. He is the same man who, in college, wore mustaches to perform in the dramas and wrote fearlessly for a column called "Nocumment" in the school daily. He is the same man who bravely followed Cory Aquino during her visit to Mindanao, constantly brandishing the 'Laban' sign and a yellow headband. He is the same man who was brave enough to court a fiery, fair-skinned Muslim Tausug woman, my mother--against any and all odds. He is the same man who, time and time again, angered the public with famous exposes and scandals as a journalist for the Philippine Daily Inquirer--and, for this, earned the honor of multiple mass communications awards. He was a playboy, an ex-seminarian; he is a herald of truth, the pride of his hometown.
He is also the same man who held me in his arms 17 years ago and recognized, for the first time, that he is a father.
There have been ups. There have been downs. We have our similarities. We have our differences.
But I would not be who I am today if not for what you have taught me. That words are powerful. That actions are even more great. That selflessness is the highest form of service. That riches are nothing without family. That life is not life without excellence. That strength, bravery, justice, discipline, and honor should never be lost.
I am grateful, Daddy, for everything. 46, 36, 26 -- it doesn't matter how old you are. You will always be my inspiration.
Muchos gracias gayot kay bien manada tu ya ensenya y ya dale comigo y con di aton familia. Era esta el Dios contigo. Feliz cumpleanos. :)
On May 2, 2012, I and my mother (leftmost) signed a contract with Manila Business College officials led by Dr. Thomas Chua for a generous grant to accommodate our college scholars for FULL scholarship for this school year.
On May 4, we had accommodated kind visitors from Singapore who have promised us their help in terms of books and awareness. They are Ava Avila (from the National Institute of Education, originally from Davao) and Linda Sellou (a chemistry lecturer at the Nanyang Technological University, originally from France).
Last May 8, Max's Restaurant and its MEI Employee Council sponsored an outreach activity at KRIS Library - Quezon City. They invited 75 children from Barangay Holy Spirit for a day of book reading, film viewing, feeding, and fun!
On May 11, I had the honor of talking to Prince Naquiyuddin Jaafar during his unveiling in Manila of a new anti-dengue technology that would benefit tropical countries such as ours that continue to suffer from this epidemic. Our conversation has inspired me to incorporate further the goal of educating not only about letters and numbers, but also about health, to our beneficiaries.
Two days after, on May 13, our team had donated a set of computers and books to replenish the resources of KRIS Library in Rodriguez, Rizal. Rodriguez is an ill-equipped relocation area for victims of the typhoons, fires, and demolition jobs from Metro Manila.
Last May 17, we were invited to a TV appearance of the Global News Networks' Social Responsibility show, hosted by Consul Annette Ablan. We were invited thanks to the help of a friend, Roxanne Oquendo, who is formerly from K.I.D.S. Foundation.
During my brother Arno's 1st birthday last May 26, we also did not forget our beneficiaries. Instead of gifts, we had asked for several donations and had received monetary donations, books and computers thanks to Quota International, generous family, and friends. We had also asked some of our scholars to come and celebrate with us.
On June 12, to culminate the fundraising for the KRIS Library scholars of School Year 2012 - 2013, where we had raised more than P130,000, we had distributed each child's share of the fund in the form of a complete set of school supplies. ABS-CBN had been around to document the event as well as to receive our donation of computers to their Happy Computer project for public schools.
The past months had been very, very fruitful. We'd like to thank everyone for every donation, for every tweet, like, or share, and for every prayer. Here's to more achievements for KRIS Library!
A Spoonful of Care
By: Kendra Ivana S. Sy
There is no doubt that children today are heavily influenced by the internet. According to statistics, there are 5.4 million Filipino teenagers that go on Facebook, and that includes me. Although social networking sites are commonly used to keep us connected with our friends and family, it has also been a place of information sharing. In fact, it was in Facebook where I first read about KRIS Library.
Arizza, the daughter of the founder of KRIS Library, is an alumnus of my high school’s sister school in Diliman, Quezon City. One of my friends from that school mentioned that she was one of the people who made their alma mater very proud. My curiosity then led me to find out what she was most known for. Initially, I expected her to be one of those international competition winners since schools love to boast about their students’ awards. But when I found out that she was a big part of a volunteering group, I realized that life isn’t supposed to be all about superficial recognition or topping examinations. Although we should always study hard because education is a big determiner of what we can become in the future, it only made more sense to me as to why we should engage ourselves in such helpful organizations.
There are a lot of children who want to study and learn, but they can’t because their parents can’t afford to give them an education. It’s saddening because they’re being deprived of a future for reasons that they cannot even comprehend since poverty is usually a problem that has long been there, just being passed on from generation to generation, and they are just helpless human beings that were bore into the harsher side of the world. If there’s a way to stop such pattern and turn it around, why not?
My family is also very keen when it comes to helping others back in my home region, Bicol. I grew up to my parents’ stories about the sad reality outside my air conditioned room with Wi-Fi internet. Both of them have experienced a hard way of living back then and they have opened my eyes to why we should share and give to others when we have a little more than what we need. Even if you look outside, you can see the despair on a lot of children’s faces and it’s inevitable to frown when you imagine the kind of life they will have in twenty years. But it shouldn’t always be a nightmare for them. That’s why there are people who help them such as KRIS Library.
What’s great about this organization is that after a decade of service, they managed to put up six KRIS Libraries already scattered all over the country. Each library provides free access to a lot of books and computers for those who didn’t even think they’d be able to read and learn again. They also offer scholarships to bright and inspiring children who may grow up to tell their own story of how they conquered poverty through education. Since health plays a big part in how children grow and develop, they also do medical missions in partnership with other foundations to benefit the needy frequenters of their libraries.
Aside from the usual donations, you can help by a lending a hand during their programs. They accept volunteers of any age in their website and they’d be glad to welcome you into their group. Speaking of age, the mere fact that this is all co-headed by a young woman is striking because it shows that you don’t have to wait until you’re forty before you start helping people. It proves that even if you’re a teenager, struggling between your adolescent love life and fast-paced studies, you can still do something to make a change.
The whole point of this article is that these children are the people who will be leading our nation come ten or twenty years. Do we want our countrymen to be illiterate, jobless and homeless? Are we really going to let that happen? If you were born into a family that could feed you at least thrice a day and send you to school along with your day’s allowance, you’re already living a life better than a quarter of the whole population of the Philippines. If only a small portion of the millions who go on Facebook everyday try to reach out to the less fortunate, then they would have made more progress in a few minutes compared to what they’ve done after playing all day. All we need to do is show our care for the people who are walking with us right now on this archipelago because we have nothing to lose and there’s no limit to what we can achieve together.
A free man will not willingly choose oppression. A free man will not willingly choose the loss of his independence.
However, the same free man, at the point of a sword or at the nudge of a gun, will give up his hands and surrender to the shackles. And as the Spaniards, Americans, and Japanese have made us pliant to their weapons, we have been moulded into a people desperately, continuously seeking identity. The ghosts of foreign influences—positive, negative, political, social, and economic—seem to hide us from who we really are. We are a lost Filipino.
But I have found identity, at least some of it, in two little provinces named Ilocos on top of each other. This is a story of epiphany, of self-discovery, of a lost Filipino. It is also a story about a house.
Ilocos had an enviable cacophony of massive cathedrals burning in the equatorial heat. Their brown hundred-year stones were immovable in the cities, while their interiors were a blend of the gold-gilded Catholic extravagance of old and humble modern restoration. Ilocos also boasted ageing traditional artisans who continue to work on their looms and pottery ovens as if machines were only a passing fad. Only in Ilocos do millions of separate, single threads interlace by hand to form the bold and dream-like patterns that run through your dinner tables. Only in Ilocos does the pottery platform still rotate—like a scene from Patrick Swayze’s Ghost—to create from dirt a masterpiece.
Only in Ilocos do the houses remain as magnificent as they were when the Spaniards were amongst us, and this was my favourite part.
These houses stood low—two- or three- story boxes whose rectangular facade cascaded with capiz shell windows and brown wooden planks. The shape was almost indomitable, impenetrable, and yet delicate. To have stood the test of a hundred years, each house was almost one breeze away from destruction.
A visitor would go in through a gate, a master doorway, a receiving room, another receiving room, and into the privies of the household. He would feel like a stranger in a fortress with all the layers of skin held up against him. However, once inside, he was suddenly a beloved audience, and the house would go from fortress to entertainer.
The interiors were spacious and magnificent, each room an opportunity to comfort and impress. Every room had a meticulously-made European sofa or group of chairs as well as a splendid view outside. Decorations bedecked tables and shelves—figurines of children, angels, saints, and demons together with memorabilia of the recognitions of children and the travels of the family. Paintings were never small in the houses; they loomed above or in front of you like frontispieces demanding interest and creating grandiosity. The carved, four-poster beds were works of art in themselves.
The mood was also different.
The doldrums of siesta hung in the air as the wind blew generously inside and as the familiar chime of the wooden flooring resounded with very step. The placement of the bedrooms outward produced inner living spaces that did not have their own light. Colossal catacombs that they were, every ray of light, at any time of the day, was a precious painter illuminating colours of so many kinds. The effect was tranquillity and calmness. This was a true home.
Standing in the sala, within hundreds of square meters of home, I had realized that the old Spanish house said a lot of things about the Filipino that I had not seen before.
There was mistrust and then trust—a cycle of changing skins that pervaded every minute of our textbook history. The first skin, the gate, was our first defense. The second skin, the great doors, was our last great vestige of hope against conquerors. There were influence and variety in the rooms—European, American, Asian, etc.—that represented the influences and varieties that have created our aesthetics and values as a people. There was also immense beauty: as if the 7,107 naturally beautiful islands of the Philippines condensed into a single house with our breathtaking beaches as the frontispieces. Lastly, there was tranquillity, a state we seek continuously as we try to veer away from the pressures of a fast-paced, never-say-die, Western-oriented way of life.
I, like many people, think repeatedly, “What if we were never colonized?” Would we be a great civilization of indios brimming with bravery and independence? Would we be a mystifying culture of Malays wherein each island remained to be a portrait of a unique heritage?
I, like many people, often seethe in hate towards the cruel Spaniards and Americans and Japanese who had pulled us from the crest like crabs in a pot. I, like many Filipinos, wish that the past hadn’t happened.
However, we had been colonized. This is us now. Is that our identity?
Revisiting the past in Ilocos had made me realize that I cannot change the past. It was an indomitable block of stone in our cathedrals and old houses; it was immovable and impenetrable as a fortress. What I can do is remember it, the way millions like me explore Ilocos, and never forget. After all, my identity as a Filipino now is not the identity of the Filipino before Magellan. It is an identity that continues to change—along with the changes that progress with society.
A free man will not willingly choose oppression or suffering or tyranny, but a wise man knows that, if you cannot accept the past, you cannot truly be free.
This is Joan Claire Pangan -- a KRIS Library scholar. Last March, she had graduated from Manicahan National High School (in Zamboanga) as Valedictorian, as Young Peace Weaver awardee, with the Golden Crescent for Academic Excellence, the Golden Crescent for Leadership, numerous Proficiency Awards and medals from the Office of the Vice President, the Senate, among others.
This coming June, she wants to enroll in Ateneo De Zamboanga University -- the premiere university in Zamboanga. And since we want to give her the best, we are doing all we can to aid her way through college.
But it isn't easy.
For the coming school year, she needs P27,000 (US$639) for her tuition this first semester and P5,000 (US$118) for miscellaneous fees (uniform, etc).
If you have some wealth -- even a little -- to help Joan, please visit this link: http://www.krislibrary.com/give.html . If you would like to help her, we hope that you could also tell your friends, family, everyone so we can help this brilliant child through college.
After all, she plans to give it all back. She's told me, "When I grow up, I want to be a teacher."
They weren't just your ordinary grandmoms and dads.
Today, KRIS Library met with the top officials of Little Baguio, San Juan's Senior Citizens Association, Inc (LBSJSCAI). In a vast Chinese restaurant, we animatedly discussed a partnership in creating a municipal library that would target out-of-school youth, less privileged students, and other members of the community. While feasting on Yang Chow, we also brainstormed plans on book showers and scholarships that would benefit both our organizations. The tapioca-filled dessert course ended with firm handshakes to informally start our plans together.
Although it's amazing to find another league of heroes who could lead us closer to our objectives, for me, that just was not the coolest part.
President Arsenio Cuadrante, Jr. and his association are fighting for the dream of enabling ALL senior citizens in the Philippines to lend their extensive experience and wisdom to become movers and builders of the nation even in their old age. He explained that each granddad or grandmom was an influence to at least five children and grandchildren; and that their program of advancing health care, financial independence, and education for senior citizens and their families would help realize the objective of empowering all wizened Filipinos.
Comprised of more than 100 members, LBSJSCAI has only been active for barely a year. Yet with numerous fund-raising projects already in tow, I have no doubt this association will soon spread an infectious spirit to all our lolos and lolas.
It's nice to see very young people already contribute -- but it's also nice to see very old people do their thing.
Like President Cuadrante said, "You are still going there, but we're already coming back. So why don't we go together?"
That's exactly what we're doing -- going together. :)
Today, I had found myself among the gods of Olympus.
As one of the guest speakers during Rotary International’s District Conference for District 3850 in Iloilo City, I had the great honour and privilege to speak among the likes of Mae Paner (better known as Juana Change), former Governor Grace Padaca, national anti-polio advocate Ynday Mijares, and other inspiring changemakers.
I’ve seen these people on TV, on the internet, in the newspapers. They were visionaries, revolutionaries, modern-day heroes, and, as I sat down and listened to their speeches, I swelled with pride for the Filipino race.
Former Isabela Governor Grace Padaca was an angel amongst us. A former schoolmate of mine once described her as the “disabled who enabled the nation”, and that schoolmate really hit the spot. A polio victim herself, Ma’am Padaca drew us in with a sweet conviction. Despite her strong reputation as the honest public official who defeated a dynasty of corruption in Isabela, she was kind, polite, and ever more inspiring. I was practically nobody to her, but she talked to me animatedly when I myself approached her.
When Mae Paner entered the room, the first thing I thought was—despite myself—“She’s beautiful.” It was hard not to notice bulging curves around her body and the meaty swells across her legs, but she carried herself with such an air of elegance and pride. Her speech was a mixture of so many expressions—cusswords, a forceful “utang na loob!”, “chaka”, “chenes”, etc—and this painstakingly represented her strong personality and advocacy as a political critic. She took us for a roller coaster ride through her life—her struggle to be the sole breadwinner, her drug-taking brothers, her confrontations with her body. My favourite line was, “Mahirap ako. Mataba ako. Pangit pa ako. Paano kaya ako makapagsisimula ng bago?” But, through her speech, through her videos, she showed us the Change in Juana Change sure enough.
Dr. Gilbert Vilela was, in my opinion, everything a doctor should be. One of the most well-known doctors in the country, he is currently the Head Cardiologist in the Philippine Heart Center. But upon seeing him, maybe you would never expect that; because I’ve never seen a doctor with long, gray hair tied in a ponytail. That was only the beginning though—he was also knowledgeable, funny, well-mannered, and extremely friendly. In his speech about heart diseases, everyone laughed when he said, “You kill the pig, but the pig kills you. It’s just karma.”
National polio advocate Ynday Mijares was on her wheelchair when she delivered her speech. Struck with polio at 3 years old, she had to struggle with a limp for the rest of her life. Yet, even after that, God had not been so kind. A few years ago, she developed Post Polio Syndrome and was thereafter never able to walk again. Three years ago, she was also diagnosed with cancer. “I locked myself up in my room for four whole months,” she said, “but afterwards I left because I realized there was simply so much to do.” Her nationwide and award-winning campaign to End Polio Now serves as a beacon of hope for so many Filipinos out there who have been born with this disability.
There were truly many more inspiring speakers (and even exchange students of Rotary’s program), but the people above have really touched my heart. Thanks to the invitation from District Governor Melvin de la Serna, I myself was able to speak, and at the end of it, I found myself almost in tears.
I spoke about my advocacy. I spoke about KRIS Library. I spoke about the stories of the people I’ve known from my work, of the people I knew needed the most help. I spoke about their expectations. I spoke about their realities. And, most of all, I spoke about empowering people like them.
Today, I also officially announced something. As an Oblation scholar of the University of the Philippines, I have had the honour of paying almost nothing while many pay so much. But I have realized recently it is more a responsibility than it is an honour. So, in front of Rotary International and these gods of change, I nervously stated my vow to provide at least 100 scholarships for poor students for every year I am a scholar in UP. For my first year, I had already helped establish 101 scholarship grants, and by the time I graduate, I should have fulfilled my 500th promise to a poor Filipino kid who really needs the money for schooling.
Thankfully, by the grace of God and the generosity of many, I have now with me a total donation of P14,100 largely from Rotary-Zamboanga clubs. For this, I'd like to say I am personally grateful to Mr. Rikki Lim (president of the Zamboanga City Rotary Club) and Mrs. Annamarie L. Lim. I would also like to recognize the efforts of Mr. Edmon Dimaano and Mr. Oliver Ong who both hail from Zamboanga as well.
Through the assistance of many others, I will also be grabbing opportunities to provide more books for our beneficiaries in the future. Dr. Gilbert Vilela had even offered to take care of my father (who has had severe heart operations) for free for as long as he lives.
Indeed, it was a full day’s work, and I am now so drained—and yet so energized—from such a great endeavour.
Today, I had found myself among the gods of Olympus—two polio victims, a woman diagnosed with obesity, and a doctor with an odd hair choice. And yet, this is the precise reason why they are gods. Despite disabilities and quirks, these people were agents of change for a country that needs it the most—and they’ve already proved that nothing could stand in their way.
Arizza Ann S. Nocum, 18, is the Administrator of KRIS Library - a role which had earned her accolades from Zonta International, the National Library of the Philippines, the Senate, and more. An Oblation Scholar, she is currently taking up BS Industrial Engineering in the University of the Philippines.