Written by Edel Cayetano as originally posted on How to survive during an earthquake

“Pray for Nepal.” The world weeps with the Himalayan Nation which was hit by a 7.8-magnitude earthquake last Saturday.

“Pray for Nepal.” The world weeps with the Himalayan Nation which was hit by a 7.8-magnitude earthquake last Saturday.

This is a question that we ought to ask ourselves now more than ever, as news about a powerful earthquake that devastated Nepal broke last Saturday. Considered to be the Nepal’s deadliest disaster in more than 80 years, the 7.8-magnitude quake has already claimed more than 5,000 lives, with the grim figures likely to worsen as hopes of rescuing remaining survivors go thinner by the hour, according to CNN. To date, eight million people have been affected across the Himalayan nation, with one million children urgently in need of help.

The country has expressed its support for quake-hit Nepal. Meanwhile, we cannot deny that such a horrifying disaster can impact any country with or without warning – even the Philippines.

With that being said, here are basic survival tips that you can do before, during and after an earthquake from sources all over the web.

What to do before an earthquake

The best time to prepare for a disaster is now. Equip yourself with the necessary information that you would need in case an earthquake strikes. At home, make sure you have a fire extinguisher, a first aid kit, a battery-powered radio, a flashlight and extra batteries placed in an accessible spot that everyone is aware of. You may also stash food and water for emergencies, as you may need to fend for yourself for at least three days up to a week after an earthquake.

Study first aid, learn how to turn off the gas, water and electricity, and avoid leaving heavy objects on shelves. Anchor heavy furniture, cabinets and appliances to the walls or floor. Devise a plan and know where to meet your family after an earthquake. It would also be a good idea to conduct in-home practice drills.

What to do during an earthquake: drop, cover and hold

Students drop, hold on and take cover during an earthquake drill.

Students drop, hold on and take cover during an earthquake drill.

The first thing to remember is to STAY CALM, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. If you’re indoors, stay inside. If you’re outdoors, stay outside. Do not run to another place or room during shaking, as it increases your chances of injury.

Rescuers and experts recommend drop, cover and hold on, as it gives you the best overall chance of quickly protecting yourself during an earthquake… even as the shaking causes furniture to move about rooms and the buildings might ultimately collapse.

  1. Immediately DROP down onto your hands and knees before the quake knocks you down. This position protects you from falling but still allows you to move if necessary.
  2. Take COVER under the shelter of a sturdy table or desk and protect your head and neck (and your entire body if possible). If no shelter is nearby, get down and stay close to an interior wall or next to low-lying furniture that won’t crush you, and cover your head and neck with your arms and hands.
  3. HOLD on to your shelter (or to your head and neck) until the shaking stops. Be ready to move with your shelter if the shaking shifts around.

Remember to protect yourself wherever you are, especially from falling and flying objects. According to studies on injuries and deaths caused by earthquakes, you are much more likely to be injured from falling or flying objects than to die in a collapsed building. “Drop, cover and hold on” will protect you from most of these injuries.

There are also other things you can do to reduce your chances of being hurt, even while an earthquake is happening.

  • If possible within the first few seconds before shaking intensifies, quickly move away from breakable objects and large furniture that could fall. Watch out for falling objects and cabinets with doors that could swing open.
  • Look out and grab something to shield your head and face from falling debris and broken glass.
  • If you are in the kitchen, quickly turn off the stove and take cover at the first sign of shaking.
  • If you are in bed, hold on and stay there, protecting your head with a pillow. You are less likely to get injured staying where you are, since the floor could be full of broken glass and other sharp objects.

You also need to be wary of having a false sense of safety from your past experiences in earthquakes, says the Earthquake Country Alliance. If in a past experience you didn’t do anything, or you ran outside yet you survived with no injuries, or you got under your desk and others thought you overreacted, don’t be complacent.

The Earthquake Country Alliance explains, “you likely have never experienced the kind of strong earthquake shaking that is possible in much larger earthquakes, where sudden and intense back and forth motions of several feet per second will cause the floor or the ground to jerk sideways out from under you, and every unsecured object around you could topple, fall, or become airborne, potentially causing serious injury.” This is the reason why you must instinctively and immediately protect yourself after the first jolt, and not wait to see if the shaking will get stronger.

If you’re driving when the earthquake strikes, move the car out of traffic and stop.

If you’re driving when the earthquake strikes, move the car out of traffic and stop.

But what if you’re outdoors? Stay in the open away from power lines or building that might fall on you. If you’re driving, move the car out of traffic and stop. Avoid parking under or on bridges and overpasses.

If you’re in a mountainous area, beware of potential landslides. Likewise, if you’re in the beach, take to a higher ground as tsunamis may hit the ground after an earthquake.

What to do after an earthquake

  • Check yourself and other for injuries and apply first aid if needed.
  • Check water, gas and electric lines for damage. If any are damaged, shut off the valves. Check for the smell of gas. If you smell it, open all the windows and doors, leave immediately and report it to the authorities.
  • Listen to the radio for valuable information or instructions and refrain from using the phone except for emergencies.
  • Stay out of damaged buildings and be careful around broken glass and debris. Wear boots or sturdy shoes to protect your feet from injury.
  • Be ready for aftershocks.


*”Pray for Nepal” by Pictoscribe, “Students practice earthquake drill” by Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, ”Earthquake damage – bridge street” by Martin Luff courtesy of Flickr. All used under CC license.

by Edel Cayetano as originally posted at Philippine Online Chronicles

Enjoying a stroll at the mall with my bundle of joy.

Enjoying a stroll at the mall with my bundle of joy.

On several occasions, I’ve read status messages and blog posts from moms about how it’s so noble to be a stay-at-home mom or a working mom. Stay-at-home moms (and their supporters) resolve into a litany of why they’re better and more selfless than working moms, while working moms think they have a harder time juggling family, career and time for self – three crystal balls that are equally important AND fragile. But really, what’s the deal about competing against each other? Can’t we just all be supportive of our fellow mothers, regardless of their situation?

I’m a new mom, and I take guilt and confusion everyday for breakfast. My journey with my daughter, who turns 8 months old soon, has been nothing short of colorful and challenging. I got a flavor of how it is to be a stay-at-home mom too for a while, and it drove me crazy. During my daughter’s first few months, I was fortunate enough to be able to care for her by myself. It wasn’t easy, especially since I wasn’t used to the routine, having been career-oriented for as long as I can remember, but I’m grateful for it. During the time, my respect for moms who made the difficult decision of leaving their careers in order to care for their kids and their families full time grew. It was selfless, indeed.

…But so is the resolve of working moms to balance both family and career. Pardon me from sharing a tad too much about my own experiences, but working and caring for one’s family is just as hard as being a stay-at-home mom. While stay-at-home moms lament the loss of their careers in exchange for raising their kids, working moms constantly battle with the guilt of not being with their babies as often as they want to. Six months after I gave birth, I went back to my job, and moms like me could attest to how hard it is to be away from home despite knowing that we NEED to do this to ensure the future of our children. Before I went back to work, my husband and I have agreed that we needed to be a double income household, and with the go signal of resuming with my job, we knew that we had to make some major adjustments if we were going to make it work. It has since required a lot of sacrifice (and humbling ourselves enough to ask for help from both our families), but we’re determined and dead set on our goals.

Stay at home mom: You are worthy

A post about stay-at-home moms and their estimated “salary” recently went viral on social media. It was from Steven Nelms, and it was meant as a “sort of thank-you note” for his wife. In his post, Nelms said that fathers can’t afford a stay-at-home mom, if they were to pay for each “service” their wives do for them.

Sharing how it made the most financial sense for him to work and his wife Glory to stay at home for their son Ezra, Nelms wrote the post to let his wife know how much her work at home is worth. In it, he claimed that a stay-at-home mom should make $73,960 (or a whopping 3 million++ in pesos). Half of this estimated amount goes to childcare, while the rest are divided into cleaning costs, personal shopping, cooking and accounting.

Meanwhile, a stay at home wife and mom named Susannah B. Lewis, called for other stay at home moms to “shut the eff up.” “Just be content or quit your whining,” she said, referring to how some stay at home moms “can’t be thankful and instead view life at home with their children as one putrid event after another.”

She also says that if stay at home moms constantly despise being with little people who drool, are completely unsatisfied, miserable and longing for a way out, then it is best if they get a job, volunteer, find a hobby, go out with the girls and just DO SOMETHING. More than that, just be grateful for a faithful husband, gorgeous and healthy children and a beautiful home. And doesn’t she have a point?

Working mom: You are enough

Working mothers, on the other side of the spectrum, also have their share of supporters. Margie Warrell of Forbes wrote a reassuring letter to working moms, telling them to stop feeling so guilty. In her post, she recognized how moms who juggle family and career feel like they’re forever coming up short when it comes to doing enough, giving enough and being enough for their kids, their partners, their aging parents and extended family, and of course their bosses and their communities (that’s apart from doing, being and giving enough for themselves!). Warrell, a working mom herself, shared about how she felt the constant nagging mother’s guilt until she realized that she didn’t have children to spend her life feeling forever inadequate. “I wanted children to enrich my life, not enslave my conscience,” she said.

Working moms like us have as much right to enjoy our kids without having to take child rearing as a long exercise in never measuring up. In her article, Warrell tells working moms to confront the destructive forces that drive mother’s guilt, and practice five key ways to embrace one’s short-falls as a mother – which we all have, regardless if we work or stay at home. These tips will also help refocus a working mom’s preciously finite energy on what truly matters: making sure that the kids feel wanted, loved and loveable no matter what, and benefit from a role model (yes that’s you) on how to live a rewarding life:

  1. Accept that there will be trade-offs. Combining motherhood and career in any way will have trade-off, sacrifices and compromises. To reconcile these, always remember your reasons for working – money, satisfaction, sanity – to stay grounded on your personal convictions. Remember that your kids, family and even yourself are ultimately all better off because you have a rewarding career outside the home.
  2. Don’t “should” on your guilt. Refrain from taking on board a mother-load of ‘good-parent’ shoulds that others do. Stop comparing yourself to other mothers and don’t buy into the unspoken ‘rules’ of society. Replace ‘should’ with ‘could’ to take the judgment out of the equation and allow yourself to do what actually works best for you and your family.
  3. Manage your standards of a ‘great parent.’ Accept that sometimes, good enough is good enough. Don’t get sold on the idealized, photoshopped image of the ‘perfect’ parent and instead, keep in mind that it’s who we are for our children that ultimately impacts them.
  4. Beware of guilt mongers. Be so interested in doing your best for your kids and your family that you have no time to throw stones at how other parent their children. Likewise, steer clear from the guilt mongers.
  5. Don’t dilute your presence with distraction. It’s true when they say that we can be with our kids 24/7 and yet never be fully present to them. If it calls for quality time with the people who matter most to you, turn off to work and other distractions. And yes, that includes putting down your smart phone.


Whether you are a stay at home mom or a working mom, your decision has its own joys and challenges, its own set of pros and cons. There is no monopolized set-up on what works best in terms of mothering our children, and there shouldn’t be. Why don’t we just drop the debate on who’s better and celebrate being the best moms we can be to our kids?



*Photo owned by the author.

The professor explains whether the cat is going up and down the stairs.

Professor, my brain is flipping. Tell me, is the cat going up or down the stairs?

Chater explained that the cat image has two possible interpretations because of “the amorphous gray square at the top of the picture.” He suggests we focus on “the angle between the plane of the staircase and the surface represented by this gray patch.”

is this cat going up or down

In my facebook wall post, some answered up or down. TJ Dimacali says “Duh, down. The cat’s tail and the stair molding are clear indicators. Even National Geographic agrees with him.

Some viewers say the cat is going down the stairs because of the shape of the edges of the steps, while others say the image was taken from the top of the steps looking down.

While everyone is bent on checking the stair molding, I decided to ask Missy to help me with this question. She is quite an online cat as you can see in this photo below:

missy the cat

I called Missy to go up and down several times just to get these blurry photos. Here it goes.

Missy going down the stairs. Note her tail is raised almost at a right angle.

Missy going down the stairs. Note her tail is raised almost at a right angle.

Missy is going down the stairs. Compare with the 9Gag photo

Missy is going down the stairs. Compare with the 9Gag photo

Missy goes further down the stairs, confirming the tail is raised up almost at right angle.

Missy goes further down the stairs, confirming the tail is raised up almost at right angle.

I called Missy upstairs. Her tail is raised much lower , and is close to the 9gag photo

I called Missy upstairs. Her tail is raised much lower , and is close to the 9gag photo

Note how Missy's tail looks like and compare with the going down the stairs

Note how Missy’s tail looks like and compare with the going down the stairs

Missy is going up the stairs. Note the tail is similar to the 9gag photo.

Missy is going up the stairs. Note the tail is similar to the 9gag photo.

Me : What does Missy think?

Missy purrs: The cat is going up the stairs. See my tail?

Me: Enough said.

Is the Yaya Meal really an issue?
Is it justified, or overblown?

This is a question raised to some women interviewed by the Manila Bulletin, Sunday Lifestyle issue. The issue arose from an encounter at the exclusive Balesin Island Club. The Balesin Island Club does not find the term “yaya meal” discriminating and inappropriate. “Maggie Wilson-Consunji first brought the issue on social media through her April 4 post claiming that a certain staff barred Consunji’s mother from ordering the same meal as their family helper’s, saying that it was a “yaya meal”. I don’t claim to be the authority on yayas, or the household help but I have had years of experience dealing with yayas. In the interview with Manila Bulletin, I wrote my opinion on the matter.

yaya meals

The “yaya meals” does not shock me anymore. I think I have seen it all. Let me cite two examples. In the mid-nineties when my kids were much younger, I had to bring along a “yaya” in our out-of-town trips. This exclusive resort club in the South disallowed “yayas” to enter the women’s changing room. What is the point of bringing a “yaya” if I can’t even bring her along to help me with the kids? This caused some angry members to file a complaint to the management. A year later, the policy now allowed “yayas” to enter the room. Good thing, but that was not the end of it. Another instance was this snobbish country club with a sign that “yayas” are not allowed to dine inside their restaurant. If there were smart phones at that time, I would have quickly snapped a photo to share the snobbish attitude of this elite club. The “yayas” are such a blessing to mothers. I consider them part of the family and until now, my old “yayas” keep in touch. Though there is an employer-employee relationship, I treat them as family members, most especially when we eat out. They sleep with my kids, eat with them in restaurants and I allow them to order anything they want in the menu.

Ines Bautista Yao, thought the yaya meals “is being blown out of proportion (like a lot of issues nowadays). Ines seems to think that in social media, “it has gotten just that much easier to have an opinion and to be crazy passionate about it”. I disagree with her because in social media, one raises an issue to seek changes for social good. This is not simply about ranting about an establishment. For Maggie, it is seeking to right a wrong even if Balesin management disagrees. Apparently, Balesin just made it worse by referring to this “yaya meals” as hullabaloo.

Jamie Lyn Arcega, said “Instead of “yaya meal”, why not just “chicken/pork adobo”? In fact, Agoo Azcuna Bengzon adds that “the meal itself should just be on the menu, and if it suits the person’s palate and budget, anyone should be able to order that particular meal.”

I find the “yaya meals” label so degrading , no matter how delicious it tastes. Why even label it as as “yaya meals” ? I blame the employer and Balesin for treating “yayas” to such indignity, just because this person is a “yaya”. It is discrimination, plain and simple.

Once upon a time, seven siblings lived in an almost perfect world with a strict mom and a loving dad. It seemed almost perfect because the seven siblings played and laughed day in and day out. They were each other’s best friends. Their mother did not allow them to play with the neighbors because she wanted them to be close to each other.


That perfect world started to crumble when the mother died from breast cancer complications in 1976. Life was not the same without a motherly touch but their dad pulled it off so well. He became their mom and a dad at the same time. In 1990, the siblings decided to have a family reunion because they felt their dad was going to die anytime soon. Two siblings were already in America at that time and it was going to be the first time to see each other in years.

Shortly after, the 27 year old brother, Reuben died of fulminant Hepatitis A. Health authorities discovered that there was a Hepatitis A epidemic in their area about the time of the reunion. What perfect timing for the Hepatitis A virus! It seemed an evil witch carried a poisoned apple during their party. Four other siblings including Lauren suffered from Hepatitis A. They filed a case against Metro Cebu Water District (MCWD) and won the case 12 years later.

In 1999, a 40 year old brother, Oscar died of leukemia (AML- 6) after an unsuccessful stem cell transplant in Bethesda, Maryland.

Perhaps grief overtook their father after witnessing the deaths of his two sons and his wife. A parent should not have to bury a son. After burying Oscar, the dad collapsed, had surgery and became bedridden by the time of his death in 2003.

Only 5 siblings are left. Four sisters and One brother.


That is the brief story of the deaths in my family (aside from my son). Three of them are now living outside the Philippines while my other sister lives in Manila. During the past years, reunions centered upon the burying of the dead or dying. Does it have to be so? For me, I needed to be with my siblings because they are all I have left of my childhood, where I learned the gift of laughter, music, and service to community.
When all of these deaths fell upon my family some priest suggested the ““Healing of the Family Tree” and gave me a prayer. Each night, I was to recite this prayer hoping in the belief that the curse of family deaths would end. I didn’t believe in it. Instead, healing should begin in each one of us.



We heal our family trees primarily by changing ourselves to be better persons, even much better than our ancestors could ever be. We heal our family trees by taking care of our health so our predisposition to certain genetic diseases will be curtailed. We heal our family trees by receiving a new nature through total commitment to God . Secondly, we heal our family trees by repentance and healing. The change starts in us. Healing starts in us. It was time to stop looking back at the past and move forward now.



And that’s what we all did. I am proud of each of my siblings who have made it their life’s mission to volunteer, engage in civic duties, or do pioneer medical research to our respective community. I won’t toot their horns on this because we are only answerable to God.

I visited my  siblings in the US just to be with them, to laugh, to reminisce, to just be. Despite the deaths in our family, we, the five siblings felt life is too short to be bitter over the deaths in our family. What better time to reunite during happier times.


What does do good is doing good. For every action we take, the world is changed in some small way for the better, and then the actions taken become our living tribute to our loved ones. And then my siblings and parents are never entirely gone. They live in our actions.

I love my family.

And one day..the family of seven siblings and their mom and dad will be reunited together again in God’s time.


“To the outside world we all grow old. But not to brothers and sisters. We know each other as we always were. We know each other’s hearts. We share private family jokes. We remember family feuds and secrets, family griefs and joys. We live outside the touch of time.” ~Clara Ortega

Every January, my phone reminds me to automatically renew my car’s insurance policy. This year was different. I told my husband that I want to see the different rates among the top car insurers in the country. And instead of making phone calls, I checked MoneyMax.ph, a website that lets you compare car insurance premiums from different companies. A friend introduced me to this innovative portal mid-January while we had coffee and talked about careers, personal finance and technology. What great timing.

On the MoneyMax website, I put in the details of my 5-year old SUV and gave my email address and phone number to receive a quote for comprehensive coverage.

moneymax website

It is so convenient and easy to use. The following day, I was pleasantly surprised to receive a call from a MoneyMaxPH Comparison Advisor who confirmed my inquiry and answered my questions. After a few minutes, I received a quotation listing five insurers, which allowed me to compare my options more easily.

There are three major factors when choosing an insurance company. “1. Reputation: Ask around and see what others are using and judge by their experiences. 2. Financial Capability: The bigger net worth, the better coverage and service you’ll receive. 3. Stability: Have they been around long enough and have weathered crises? Then chances are, they’re stable enough to lean on in troubled times.”

When faced with various quotes, it still pays to do your own research on the reputation, financial capability and stability of the insurance company. Choosing the lowest- priced car insurance company is easy, but I like to make sure the final choice is reputable enough and will cover you adequately after an accident or Acts of Nature. MoneyMax.ph partnered with some of the best insurers in the Philippines which makes it easier to find the right car insurance that fits your needs.

Among the quotes from my MoneyMax Comparison Advisor, Federal Phoenix seemed to be the most attractive. It has an affordable annual premium and a lower participation fee of 4,000 pesos. However, I don’t decide based on the premium cost alone. I’d rather pay a few extra pesos and be assured my car insurer is there to pay when I file a claim. In the end, I chose Mafpre Insurance, because I am familiar with this company and have filed claims before without problems. I also appreciate their after-sales service where they send gentle reminders that my car insurance policy needed to be renewed.

It’s good to see that the comparison quote shows the “Acts of Nature” cover. Back in 2009, I had no idea that the “Acts of Nature or Acts of God” was part of a comprehensive cover which led my husband to choose a low-cost policy because of the savings. I could not claim the “Acts of God” for one car when Typhoon Ondoy flood waters inundated our home. The Philippines has its share of natural calamities and even if one does not live in a flood-prone area, every car should get that protection.

I looked around for other users of moneymax.ph and arranged an interview with Jennifer Canoza, a wedding and events coordinator who drives her SUV from her home in Sta. Mesa to events in Metro Manila and as far as Batangas. Having bought her car in 2013, Jennifer relied on an insurance agent who recommended People’s General. She had no problems with People’s General except that she wanted to see if she can get a better deal from other car insurance companies.

interviewing with moneymax

On the second year, her insurance agent gave a quote of 20,000 pesos. She researched online to check reviews of other car insurance companies. Besides finding a low-cost policy, she also wanted to buy insurance from a reputable company that responds quickly to claims. A friend told her to visit MoneyMax.ph. To her surprise, she received a call immediately from a MoneyMax Comparison Advisor upon submitting her request online. She was reassured that their quotations comes from the top, reputable insurance companies with a good track record.  The following day, she received an email with the quotation of five insurers in a tabular format. After more discussions with her MoneyMax Comparison Advisor , Jennifer chose Federal Phoenix for its easy installment payments and savings of four thousand pesos. Jennifer added that she liked the personal service of her MoneyMax Comparison Advisor who guided her every step of the way.

It’s good to have a resource that lets you compare different insurance premiums, and provides advisors who can answer any question you might have about the policies. Let’s see if MoneyMax has a better recommendation for me when I renew my car insurance in 2016.

““A man is but the product of his thoughts what he thinks, he becomes.” Mahatma Gandhi

What matters most is How You see yourself

“Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, the mind can achieve.” – Dr. Napoleon Hill

Whenever something bothers me, I keep reminding myself that we cannot control people’s actions, attitudes and even events. I label it as the Three P’s (People, Places and the Past). The only thing we can control is our attitude. But it isn’t that easy. One of the choices in recovery is choosing what we want to think and using our mental energy in a positive way.

Positive thinking can be extremely difficult in stressful situations. Positive thinking does not mean thinking in an unrealistic matter or reverting to denial. If I don’t like something, I respect my own opinion. If a problem hits me, I am honest about it. If something isn’t working out, I accept reality. I don’t have to dwell on the negative portions of my experience. So here I am affirming what is good in my life.

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April 3 is the 16th death anniversary of my younger brother, Oscar. He died from a failed stem cell transplant. He was only 40 years old. Oscar was diagnosed with Acute myeloid leukemia (AML-M4) on September 1, 1996. Getting sick of leukemia is a logistical nightmare especially if one is looking for blood type AB donors.

A caricature of my brother in 1982 when he managed our bakeshop, Sally's Home Bake Shop

A caricature of my brother in 1982 when he managed our bakeshop, Sally’s Home Bake Shop

Our family worked diligently to support Oscar in his search for a cure, spanning hours and hours of research and inquiries through the internet and electronic mail. Research revealed that Oscar needed a stem cell transplant upon remission but unfortunately, he relapsed before we found a hospital within our budget. Cost of stem cell transplant ranged from 7 to 20 million pesos in 1998. The cheapest transplant was in Israel. To raise funds for his transplant, we put one of our properties for sale.

Fortunately, Oscar was eligible to participate in a Clinical trial at the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) in Bethesda, Maryland. My sister’s friend who worked in that institute informed us of the clinical trial which was already in Phase 3. This phase is the second to the last step prior to making it a protocol among doctors. The stem cell transplant , medicines and hospitalization were free. Luck was also on our side because my sibling-doctor was an exact tissue match. The hospital required us to raise money for his board and lodging outside the hospital. Total budget for the 6 month stay was estimated to reach only 600 thousand pesos. Everything seemed perfect.

Oscar made the brave choice to undergo a stem cell transplant, knowing that there was a 50-50 chance he would survive, and that he had to take that risk. (View videotape of his reflections after the transplant )

The stem cells never had a chance to grow because of sepsis. After 6 months in NHLBI, the doctors sadly announced that he had to return to the Philippines. I guess the doctors decided they couldn’t do anything for him so they sent him home. Oscar, thin and black from the radiation treatment arrived on March 29, 1999. I held his frail hand and prayed quietly that God deliver him from his pain.

He smiled at me ” At least, we did not have to spend our inheritance to pay for my treatment

We talked until he was tired. Knowing his days were numbered, I slept beside him that night .

Oscar held on to the hope that there was a chance to recover . Inspite of his optimism, he prepared for his death. He videotaped instructions for his two sons on how to run his lechon business, deposited college funds , dictated his last will and testament and discussed other matters.

On April 3, 1999, Oscar suffered a brain hemorrhage and died a few hours later.

When a sibling dies, all future special occasions will be forever changed. There will be no more shared birthday celebrations, anniversaries, or holidays. There will be no telephone calls telling of the milestones of a nephew or niece. The sharing of life’s unique and special events will never again take place.

In tribute to the memory of my brother, I created a memorial site which includes midi files of his compositions and some photos and legacies. I can just hear him playing his award-winning musical piece, Pangarap ng Musmos which is now a church song. Oscar is having a blast playing the piano with my son, my mom, dad and Ruben, another brother in heaven.