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110 Coloring Books and Crayons for Aklan Kids!

My work-in-progress (WIP) craft is a knitting project. I finished my crochet ripple blanket a few months ago and quickly took on my second blankie project. Unfortunately, it has taken the backseat since after Yolanda hit the Philippines in November.

No, my family was not among the victim/survivors. But like many people out there, we were struck by the tragedy and had wanted to help. There was (and still ongoing) a relief project at Mom’s work so she was involved in that. As for me, I chose to come up with my own fund raising program with the latest hobby I took up. The Rainbow Loom.

I enjoyed my Loom Bandz so much that an idea immediately came to me: why not encourage kids/young people to donate by letting them buy the bracelets for 20 pesos each, where 10 pesos is guaranteed to go to a fund for crayons and coloring books for kids who survived Typhoon Yolanda. Thanks to friends and colleagues who thought it was a good idea, we sold over 300 rainbow bands and bought enough crayons and coloring books for 110 kids!

Here are some samples of the bracelets we sold:

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My two helpers: Esban and Michal. They were making bands with me during the SATS fiesta on 11/30. They also came by the house after school to make bands that their classmates ordered.

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Supportive family and friends Smile

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It was really important to me that kids and young people were involved with the project, because the intended recipients were kids too. In the midst of tragedy, we should always think about them first. Since there are already a lot of efforts in providing the necessities, I wanted to make sure that fun stuff – stuff that would help them heal too – were also included.

My niece/goddaughter Hanna accompanied me to the National Book Store that morning of December 21. I was probably the first person she talked to upon waking up, and I’d asked her to dress quickly and accompany me. What a way to start her off on her holidays. Hehe.

After buying all these stuff, we spent an hour in my car removing price tags and packing them into brown envelopes.  


That same afternoon, the kits were packed into a bus to Aklan where the volunteer distributor was bound for his Christmas holiday with his family. I was so thankful that he was around to make sure these items reached happy little hands.


This year, I hope I can embark on another meaningful project, and be a real blessing to others. I still have people ordering the bracelets but I’m taking a break for now. Also not sure if I’ll continue it with the charity pledge or make a little profit from the bands. I had zero profit from the November-December project, hehe.

Anyhoo, doing this project has really kept me busy the last several weeks of 2013. Busy, but in a very delightful way too.

Learning to Knit

Since I saw their campaign on Kickstarter, I’ve thought often about the Ricefield Collective. They’re doing something that really amazes me. They are promoting their craft, teaching women, and also providing them with a means to take charge of their lives. Cool beans!

I wasn’t able to support them in Kickstarter, but I talked about them to my parents and the boyfriend, and I would have told friends about them if I wasn’t in the hospital when I learned of them. Hehe. I need their kind of passion in my life. Deep down in my soul I know I want to be a creative, and to be one while helping other people in a very concrete way, that would be the dream job for me.

Then CraftMNL posted about Ricefield Co’s KickStarter campaign, and setting up a class with them. I knew I wanted to be in that class! I would love the chance to just be in the same room as these women, AND I also really wanted to learn to knit. I almost missed the class, I signed up only two days before the May 11 class, as soon as I saw the schedule up on CraftMNL’s workshop page.

Soon as I sent in my registration, I flashed back to the Amigurumi class I attended at their workshop in December 2012 (where I learned to make this). My next thought was: I won’t be able to climb those steps to the second floor workshop without assistance! Good thing the afternoon class was held on the first floor, no risk for injury. 🙂

Alfred had work until just before lunch time Saturday, and again the next evening, so asking him to come along was out of the question. The task of taking me to and from Makati was left on my parents. I was so glad when they said yes! I really am a spoiled old baby, haha! I was joined by three young girls in my class, and our instructor Anna from the Ricefield Collective flew in from the UK just a few days prior.


We got a printed canvas bag, DK yarn enough for the project, lovely new knitting needles, and all the stuff needed to complete our finger puppets.

learn2knit kit

It seemed so simple but I made mistakes and my stitches didn’t look perfect at all, haha!


But I learned how to cast on, cast off, and on again. And enough moves to finish my Tarsier finger puppets when I got home:


Anna mentioned that as they were campaigning for Knit4Life and the Ricefield Collective they used finger puppets because they were fun, and also it can be used as you show the K sign with your fingers. Since making this one, I made another one in a smaller size, and an even smaller one for little Amir. It’s not a puppet to him though, more like cozies for tickle fingers – to use for tickling grandma and grandma! I can imagine they’re good for taking selfies sporting a peace sign too, but I haven’t got around to do that. 😉

I am looking forward to more knit and crochet projects, but right now I’m still working on my ripple blanket. Meanwhile, Ricefield Co is up on the mountains of Banaue working with women on their handmade knit products. You can follow them on their adventures via Twitter – @knit4life, and Instagram – @weknit4life

No More Hurting People

Speaking of peace, I came across this campaign on Indiegogo today:

A lot of us wept for little Martin Richard, the youngest victim of the Boston bombing last month. This group is raising funds by producing shirts printed with Martin’s peace artwork from school. 30% of the proceeds will help the Richard family, while 70% is for One Fund Boston. This is a really good way to spread Martin’s message of peace, and also help the victims stay strong.

World AIDS Day

My November 30 isn’t really done yet. Haven’t been to bed. It was a good day and I’d love to document it here on the blog. Before I do though, I’d like to draw attention to an important message.

Today, December 1, is World AIDS Day.

The Numbers:

  • Worldwide, 2.5 million [2.2 million–2.8 million] people became newly infected with HIV
    in 2011. 
    25 countries have seen a 50% or greater drop in new HIV infections since 2001.
  • Half of all reductions in new HIV infections in the last two years have been among
    newborn children––showing that elimination of new infections in children is possible.
  • In 2011, 1.7 million [1.5 million–1.9 million] people died from AIDS-related causes
    worldwide—24% fewer deaths than in 2005.
  • In 2011, more than 8 million people living with HIV had access to antiretroviral therapy.
  • However, 7 million people eligible for HIV treatment still do not have access.
    – 72% of children living with HIV who are eligible for treatment do not have access.
  • Of the 54% of people with access to antiretroviral therapy in low- and middle-income
    countries, 68% were women.
  • Women account for 58% of people living with HIV in sub-Saharan Africa.
  • In 26 of 31 countries with generalized epidemics, less than 50% of young women have
    comprehensive and correct knowledge about HIV.

In Asia:

  • Nearly 5 million people were living with HIV in South, South-East and East Asia
    combined in 2011.
  • In South and South-East Asia, new HIV infections declined from 370 000 in 2001 to 280 000 in 2011.
  • In 2011, about 250 000 people died of AIDS-related causes in this sub-region compared to 290 000 in 2005.
  • Country-level progress in reducing new HIV infections varies throughout the Asia
    Pacific region. For example:
    – In Cambodia, India, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Papua New Guinea and Thailand,
    the rate of new HIV infections fell by more than 25% between 2001 and 2011.
    – In Bangladesh, Indonesia, the Philippines and Sri Lanka, the rate of new HIV
    infections increased by more than 25% between 2001 and 2011.
  • HIV epidemics in Asia and the Pacific remain largely concentrated among injecting
    drug users, men who have sex with men and sex workers.

In many countries, stigma and discrimination impeded effective HIV responses

Source: UNAIDS World AIDS Day Report 2012 Global Fact Sheet


Specific to the Philippines, according to this article from

There’s a 300% increase in the number of (HIV) cases in the last five years and a 25% increase from the last year alone.

In 2000, there was a new report of HIV every three days. Today, one Filipino acquires HIV every 2 hours.

Experts believe that the number of undiagnosed cases is high because of the stigma associated with HIV testing.

AIDS is a preventable disease. Education and access to appropriate health care is key.

I am appalled that while the global trend shows a decrease in new HIV cases, our country reports an increase. We can still change this trend. Let’s start by educating ourselves, and spreading the word. The Philippine National AIDS Council has this page on HIV and AIDS 101. We can also support various charities and NGOs that work in this field.

One of the global campaigns is (RED). Wherever you see this logo, it means that the manufacturer of that product sends a contribution directly to the Global Fund (against AIDS) and 100% of that money is used to finance HIV/AIDS programs in Africa. If you’re buying an iPod Touch this Christmas, choose the (RED) one. And the (RED) cover for your new iPad Mini or iPad 3 or 4.

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As for local NGOs, you may reach out to Lunduyan Foundation via their Facebook page. I’ve worked with them in the past they are very active in the child rights movement, including HIV/AIDS prevention.

Books for Babuyan

A friend from college posted this video on Facebook today. Very timely. It’s the season of giving, and this is an opportunity to give a gift that will continue to give. For a gift that aids in educating young minds can go very far. These children, given the chance, can have the same opportunities as each one of us had. The opportunity to dream, and to make those dreams come true. The opportunity to become active citizens of this country, of the world.


Let the children of Camiguin Norte, Babuyan Islands, be the recipient of your love this Christmas. Smile

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