Five days have passed by since the wrath of Typhoon Milenyo hit the Philippines. Millions still have no power or water, the Death toll reaches the 200 mark . While the government is trying to clean up its mess, I think the rest of us started to clean up our own surroundings. Charity begins at home, right?

We were faced with this huge tree branch that fell on the front lawn . It began to stink our living room and blocking the usual stream of sunlight.

Last sunday, we called our gardener to help us cut the fallen tree branch but he was also busy with his other employers . We didn’t want to wait for the gardener. My husband said that he would cut the branches slowly. Cutting the thinner branches was a piece of cake . I sat down by the patio enjoying the sunny breeze, reading the sunday papers and taking photos of my macho husband. Hehe. Later, L came out to the patio and tried her hand at it when her dad took a break. But the bigger branches needed an ax or a chainsaw. Just as L continued hacking, a man in a bicycle passed by.

Do you need help? I can offer my services. ” this enterprising gardener asked my husband.

Why not? , my husband and I jumped up in glee . Later, I teased my daughter that she must have looked like a comical sight hammering the “hitak” on the huge trunk.

The gardener with 4 other helpers came in with bigger tools and systematically removed the huge branch from our garden. Since I am such an obsessive compulsive freak, I told them to organize the debris by stalks, leaves, garbage bags and bigger branches. What do I do with all of these wood? Such a waste! The solution: The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) has launched a nationwide art competition that would encourage people to turn the trees uprooted by Typhoon ““Milenyo” into works of art.I ended up having the neatest and organized heap of garbage in our street. Maybe I wanted to put some order in this mess. After paying 2,500 pesos ($50) , we are relieved to finally see grass even if they are now bald from the floodwaters. I am sure the trees and the grass will grow back.

(before and after photos of the street I live in) Looking down the street, a clean and orderly array of garbage meets me. Just a few days ago, a mass of trees, branches and uprooted trees lined this street. Yes,we all share responsibility for cleaning up the mess . Every little effort in keeping our environment clean will work out in the end. Floodwaters could get worse the next time if the debris is not removed immediately.

Just as I write this entry, I hear the the whirring sounds of the dump trucks and payloaders as they remove our debris. The village association contracted these trucks and payloaders to haul the garbage from the sidewalk. These are just debris that can easily be set aside as non-essential “things to do”. I think of all the other households still without power and water, homeless families, and the goverment trying to clean its act.

1. Palace orders dismantling of ‘hazardous’ giant billboards
2. Arroyo orders round-the-clock power restoration work

What else can I do now but tell the world as it is here.

View larger images from My Cleanup photo Gallery

Other Typhoon Milenyo related entries:
Typhoon Milenyo Aftermath
Typhoon Milenyo Photos
Total Ban on Billboards in the Philippines
Photos of Fallen Billboards around Metro Manila
Cleaning the Debris of typhoon Milenyo

About Noemi Lardizabal-Dado

You may contact Noemi (noemidado @ for speaking and consultancy services in the following areas: Parenting in the Digital Age (includes pro-active parenting on cyber-bullying and bullying) ; Social Business ; Reinventing One’s Life; and social media engagement. Our parenting workshop is called "Prep to Prime (P2P): Parenting in the Digital Age (An Un­Workshop)" P2P Un­Workshops are conducted by two golden women in their prime, Noemi and Jane, who have a century’s worth of experience between them. They are both accomplished professionals who chose to become homemakers. This 180­degree turn also put them on a different life course which includes blogging, social media engagement and citizen advocacy. They call their un­workshops Prep to Prime or P2P, for short, to emphasize the breadth of their parenting experience. They tackle different aspects and issues of parenting ­­ from managing pregnancies, prepping for the school years of children, dealing with househelp, managing the household budget, to maximizing one’s prime life and staying healthy through the senior years.

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