One year after Yolanda

It has been a year and a day since the pain — that heartache we called typhoon Yolanda. There are no more words left to be said about it.

To commemorate that page in our history as a people, kindly allow me to let this space carry no more than a message of thanks to all that opened their hearts and hands to us.

In my capacity as Representative of Leyte IV, which was one of the hardest hit, I saw and experienced God’s abiding and provident grace. For every door that was shut, countless windows opened up for us. The need was great, but the goodness innate in people proved to be even greater. Something of that magnitude comes into life not only to shake but also reshape it. We will never be the same. But we can rise stronger, be better. We are Filipinos, after all.

Typhoon Yolanda was a test of character and faith. There were many lessons to be had, primary among them, lessons of compassion, courage and humility.

Allow me to share with you one of my favorite quotes, author unknown. It reads:

Humility is perpetual quietness of the heart.

It is to have no trouble.

It is never to be fretted or vexed, irritable or sore.

To wonder at nothing that is done to me, to feel nothing done against me.

It is to be at rest when nobody praises me, and when I am blamed or despised,

It is to have a blessed home in myself

Where I can go in and shut the door

And kneel to my Father secret and be at peace,

as in a deep sea of calmness,

when all around and about is seeming trouble.

And as my Tita Inday told me just a few days back “God makes use of every good/bad thing that happens. That is the divine economy of grace.” One year and one day after the pain, I know for sure that the same could not be truer.

Project 6200: Mission Possible Update

On this page is a list of the number of boats, the recipients and the donors to date, for Project 6200: Mission Possible, the fundraising project spearheaded by Leyte fourth district Congresswoman Lucy Torres-Gomez, in cooperation with lifestyle brand Bench, to provide 6,200 fishing boats for the fishermen who lost their means of livelihood during the onslaught of super typhoon Yolanda in November 2013.

Click on the thumbnails below for bigger renditions, or download the pdf file here.

Bench after the storm

By |

BEN Chan, Rep. Lucy Torres, Richard Gomez

Because she represents in Congress disaster-prone Ormoc City in Leyte, Rep. Lucy Torres-Gomez has witnessed the worst and last year’s horrific Supertyphoon “Yolanda” was no exception. It left thousands of Ormoc’s fishermen and farmers displaced.

Since most of the attention went to ravaged Tacloban City, our gorgeous palangga with a golden heart took it upon herself to start a program for her own congressional district, “6200: Mission Possible,” a campaign to provide each and every one of the 6,200 registered fisherman in her district with his own fiberglass banca through soliciting donations from the private sector and public organizations.

Ben Chan of Bench has had Lucy and hubby Richard Gomez as endorsers for years of the top fashion house, so he pledged an amount enough for 200 boats while helping to provide publicity for the project. The donation was likewise jump-started when Bench employees gallantly offered to forego their 2013 Christmas party and give the savings to the project.


Gomez assures teachers of legislative support

ORMOC CITY – Rep. Lucy Torres-Gomez has made it clear that she is sympathetic to the cause of increasing the take-home pay of teachers, and will vote for measures regarding the matter anytime it is put on the floor.

Even party-list Rep. Antonio L. Tinio of the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) vouches for that.

The congresswoman has been “attacked” on her Instagram post by some followers, who have accused her of being anti-teacher.

The attack stems from an advisory found at ACT’s website itself, where Gomez’s name is not on a list of House members who co-authored Tinio’s proposed bill to increase teachers’ salaries to a minimum of P 25,000 and non-teaching personnel to P 15,000.

In an Instagram post, Tinio, whose Instagram name is @tonchitinio said, “Cong. Lucy has always been supportive of measures that will promote the rights and welfare of teachers, including the demand for higher salaries. The ACT chapter in Ormoc can attest to that.”


The art of creative packaging

She came into my life like a happy song, bringing with her an arsenal of arts and crafts. Tita Inday is my dad’s sister, and because she is my baptismal godmother I have, through the years, been the very happy and fortunate recipient of all things nice and pretty. See, Tita Inday is one of those people who never just gives a present as is. Always she slips it into or wraps it with something handmade and pretty, making something already nice and special even more so. The way she does it feels easy, almost nonchalant, as if she just put everything together as the gift was on its way out the door. She used to make and give me hand-painted porcelain plates and trinkets, all of which I have kept. They are precious to me. She makes beautiful bookmarks from scratch and by hand, with the nicest quotes. I never tire of receiving them. When she would visit Lolo Tingting in Ormoc it was always a happy time for me, as she would afford me the chance to also play with whatever new craft she would be into at the moment. I remember making artificial flowers and putting veins and texture on artificial leaves using some special heated tool. She was Martha Stewart even before I knew there was a Martha Stewart.