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December 2006

Help us reach a Thousand Teddy bears

It’s ten days before Christmas eve and four days until Cathy completes the first leg of our Thousand Bears for Bicol (TBB) project . Read Cathy’s update at 442 bears to make a thousand bears for Bicol.

Today, we are 442 bears away from our target! We have five days to complete the targeted 1000 bears. Please help us complete this mission so to speak and help bring joy to 1000 children on Christmas day. We will be taking in bears (and other friendly looking stuffed toys) until Monday, December 18. Please refer to my entry here to find out how you can donate. We have also received reports from the field that the children are in dire need of clothes, so we are now including this as well, if you have any to spare. Below in an excerpt from my friend Andrea who arrived from Legazpi yesterday. Andrea is a long-time news journalist and a colleague of mine from the Inquirer. —

“I have not seen this kind of devastation ever in my life. There are thousands of children in the evacuation centers and they continue to be in a daze. The mothers tell me that whenever it starts to rain, the children begin to panic and ask “Tatakbo na naman ba tayo?” (Are we going to run again?)

These are the 10 teddy bears I sent for the Thousand Bears for Bicol Project. I placed these cutesy bears at M’s room since she loves plushies. She hugged the bears to send her love to the children who will receive them.
teddy bears

How to [tag]donate teddy bears[/tag]– Deadline is December 18 (Philippine time)

1. Cash

Cash is also welcome since Cathy can buy the bears.

If you’re in the Philippines, just email Cathy directly at cathybabao @

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Worldwide Candle Lighting

candle light ceremony
There was a glow at the UP Sunken Garden Sunday evening as friends and family members of the Compassionate Friends Philippines gathered to light candles in memory of our beloved children. Despite the stormy weather, it did not stop the members from going to the event. About 30 people, attended the 10th annual Worldwide Candle Lighting. This is the First Candle ceremony in the Philippines though. In the worldwide ceremony family and friends across the world light a candle at 7 p.m. local time for one hour, starting in New Zealand. As candles burn down in each time zone they are lit in the next to give off 24 hours of continuous light around the globe. The ceremony is held the second Sunday in December. It starts at the International Date Line west of the Hawaiian Islands and works its way eastward, creating a virtual wave of light as it moves from one time zone to the next.

candleIn our Candle Ceremony, Cathy Babao-Guballa read the Memory Candles Poem where she lit 4 candles. One candle represents our GRIEF, one for our COURAGE, one for our MEMORIES and one for our LOVE. Each family that lost a child lit the candle in the butterfly candle holder as their child’s name was called from the Powerpoint Presentation. We continued to read Candle Light Poems till the clock struck past 7:00 PM.

Why do we light candles?

Our children, each of them a bright flame to us in life and in death, are not forgotten. It gives parents an opportunity to commemorate and honor their child’s memory and offers hope. This isn’t a doom-and-gloom thing; this is a very positive event and something our members look forward to, as it gives them a chance to honor their child and help others who might be going through their first Christmas without their child. As my husband lit a candle for my Luijoe, he was moved to tears. It was indeed a touching moment in time.

As I type this entry, the 24 hour candle lighting vigil will commence in a few hours in the USA time zone.

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Teddy Bears for the Children of Bicol

Bicol tragedyLike my dear friend Cathy, the photo from today’s Sunday Inquirer moved me to tears. The article on the Bicol tragedy due to super-typhoon Reming (Durian) describes devastation that has wracked Bicol like no other. Not even World War two was like this. I texted most of my friends in Bicol and they have never seen such damage in the years they have lived there. Even Naga which is farthest away from Mayon suffered as well. My husband’s relatives (The Dado clan) are from Tabaco, Albay and there is still no word from them on their situation. No landline or cellphone connection.

Pedro Malate and his son Miguel, in that photo above hold on to each other for dear life, “wearing perhaps, the only clothes they have left. Little Miguel looks terribly dazed, Pedro, in all probability is in shell-shocked state.”

teddy bearI am helping Cathy with her “A Thousand Bears for Bicol” because this is a way to channel our sadness over the Bicol tragedy. Please read her site for more details. I trust Cathy will do an excellent job in delivering the bears to these children in time for Christmas day. Cathy comforted sick children by establishing Migi’s Corner , a play area for these kids in more than 10 public hospitals in the Philippines. If anyone can execute a project for children, Cathy Babao-Guballa , a TOWNS awardee is the most qualified and trustworthy person in the Philippines.

To children, stuffed animals are more than toys, they’re imaginary friends who are always ready to give comfort or play. They provide a certain amount of security in a sometimes scary world. Though it may be a small act, my heart’s desire is to bring as many stuffed toys – ideally friendly looking teddy bears to the children in the Bicol region. I am hoping to raise at least a thousand bears that I can send to the Albay province in time for Christmas, hoping that these bears will bring even a little joy and comfort to children like Miguel who have a long way to go on their healing journey. I am making arrangements with am NGO in the Albay province to ditsribute the bears on Christmas day.

Photographs do speak a thousand words. Great works of photography move you into action.

Help us bring a “A Thousand Bears for Bicol”. To send teddy bears, click here.

EDIT: I bought 10 teddy bears already.
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