I and my college friends spent fun Halloween and reunion in my hometown in Las Vegas a week before supertyphoon Haiyan, locally named Yolanda, left thousands dead and homeless in central Philippines. Who would have thought what happens next…
As I watched news reports about the tragedy, it was too hard to comprehend how much destruction Haiyan brought to the country’s Visayas region, especially in the province of Leyte. It readily left me in shock, and in no time, in tears.
By second week of November, I found myself back in Philippine soil. Right from the Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Manila, things looked so different. I frequently travel, but the mood at the airport was indescribable this time. Indeed, what Haiyan did really struck people from around the world. Everywhere I looked, countless of locals and foreigners were at the airport as volunteers for the relief operations. This somehow eased a bit of the pain I had for my fellow Filipinos. Amidst the congestion and chaos inside the airport, humanity was truly there.
One of my friends who celebrated Halloween in Vegas with me organized a drive meant to help teachers in Leyte. It was already very clear that the Philippines continued to receive aid from around the world, primarily money and basic necessities. This time, Carla May Bautista, my orgmate from college and now a government employee at the House of Representatives, thought of another way to help.
From late October to early November every year, there is what is called “sembreak” (semestral break) in the Philippines. Students are on vacation during the said time.
Classes were supposed to resume already for all schools nationwide by the time Haiyan came in. Because of the calamity it brought to the Visayas, schooling in the affected areas was suspended indefinitely. Classrooms there were either completely destroyed or they became relief centers.
Carla got in touch with me and dozens of other friends for the project “Lipistik Para Kay Ma’am at Nailcutter Para Kay Sir” (Lipstick for Ma’am and Nailcutter for Sir”). Her idea was inspired by the words of Department of Education Secretary Armin Luistro who said: “It is for school teachers for whom the simple act of wearing lipstick is a way of reassuring their traumatized pupils that things are starting to return to normal.” This led to the lipstick drive for female teachers and nailcutter drive for male teachers in Leyte.
This project aims to acquire lipstick and nailcutter donations for the benefit of the local teachers. In so doing, they can slowly but surely return to school with confidence and radiate that sense of hope for their students and colleagues by the time school finally resumes.
Anyone can donate a new lipstick or nailcutter, maybe one or two, or perhaps one box or even more, for the dear teachers in Leyte. The donations will be hand-carried to Tacloban City and will be turned over to the province’s Schools Division Superintendent courtesy of Ms. Shing Jiloca-Torremana.
Donations may be sent through any courier service. Alternatively, for those in the Manila area, people can drop off donations at:
“LIPISTIK PARA KAY MA’AM AT NAILCUTTER PARA KAY SIR”
c/o Carla May F. Bautista
Committee on Suffrage and Electoral Reforms, 3/F Ramon V. Mitra Building, House of Representatives, Quezon City 1126 PHILIPPINES
This drive aims to collect at least 500 lipsticks and 500 nailcutters for Leyte teachers. No cash donations will be accepted.
Interested parties may check out the initiative’s Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/LipistickParaKayMaamNailCutterParaKaySir
Cut-off is on Dec. 20, 2013, as classes are intended to resume in the Visayas on Jan. 15, 2014.