Remembering Typhoon Frank

picture-074Time indeed flies so fast. It has already been a year since Typhoon Frank hit the whole Western Visayas. I remember the fear, the sadness, and chaos that was brought by the tragedy leaving hundreds of family homeless.

I remember how my daughter and looked by our window watching the trees fell right in front of us. The loud whistling sound of the wind, the falling trees and raging waves crashing towards the sea wall in New Washington. Our house by then is near the sea so we could actually hear and see the waves crashing, big rocks started to smash the sea walls and houses near it. It was like a scene in a movie. A scene I never imagined possible in real life.

Just hours after, the scenery changed… Our kitchen windows are all broken, our computers inside the office soaking wet… and the community suddenly became like a ghost town… No electricity, no water for seemingly endless days.

I remember the second day after Typhoon Frank we rented a generator. And I started posting pictures about the typhoon… suddenly it spread like crazy, hundreds of people suddenly visited my blog, I received tons of emails asking about how the situation was.

More importantly this gave me a chance to help out in my own little way. I remember the happiness I felt when I was able to deliver a message from the overseas to one of their family members here. Finding their relatives in their behalf…. I let our neighbors use the computers for free in case they would try to call their relatives abroad.

Typhoon Frank may have caused damages to the people here in New Washington and the whole Aklan, however, the tragedy also brought out the best in everyone. Uniting the community and people as one. Sad truth behind is, we have to suffer and survive the wrath of nature in order to bring out peace, love and support from one another.

365 days after, our province get back into shape. Everything went back to normal or should i say even better. New houses, new infrastructures, new life.

Attending the Higantes Parade at Kalibo

Boy yesterday was a blast! It is my first time to personally attend the Higante (Giants) Festival yesterday at Kalibo. I brought my 2 year-old daughter and hubby with me. This is the 2nd year that Ati-Atihan Festival hosted a Higante Festival. Municipalities from all over Aklan created their own entries and it was truly a sight to remember. I took some photos of the entries that was there and I want to share them with you!

Here’s the entry from Buruanga.img_0007

Here’s the entry from Kalibo. I personally like this too.. This is one of my top 3 bet 🙂img_0019

This is the entry from Malinao. Loved the snake and the rat that the giant is holding. LOL

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Entry from Nabas. They used their main product which is the “banig”. It’s a native wooven material.img_0030

This is from my hometown of New Washington. Since I am from here and I want to share this with all the people from New Washington. I posting more photos. Keep Scrolling down cause its fun to see our very own Giant!

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The Dance Troupe from New Washington

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The band! This group is being lead and managed by a good friend Brgy. Capt. Samuel Remigia. (He’s the one with a green hat).img_0043

Our Higante is riding a boat. Two things. New washington is a town by the beach and the main livelihood here (before) is fishing. But now a days most of the men here are working as a Seaman / SeaFarer abroad.

On a closer look… Did they create this giant after Pres. Obama? (LOL)

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Hope you enjoyed looking at the pictures! This is a busy week here in the province of Aklan because of the Ati-Atihan festivals and I will be your eyes all throughout! 🙂 Lets enjoy the festivities together.

Im Proud to Be A Virtual Assistant

Every time I introduce myself to a stranger and would ask me what do I do for a living, I proudly answer “I am a Virtual Assistant”. I usually get a lot of raised eye brows. Here in Aklan, not a lot of people know what a virtual assistant is. Community here is still very conventional, people and women have conventional office jobs. Most of the women population are either teachers or office workers.

I was the very first virtual assistant in our town.

When I got my very first project, my family was less supportive. For one, they are afraid I might not get paid and secondly I might be doing something “illegal”. I was laughing inside everytime they would sarcastically comment  about my work. And I never listened to them. In fact I was more than enthusiastic to prove them wrong.

After a month, I got my first pay check. I was able to treat them out for lunch.

Its been almost a year since I started as a Virtual Assistant, I have surpassed my monthly income as a Senior Assistant Manager for Operations. My virtual assistance business has provided me the financial stability that I have been looking for. And my uncle? Well he’s my fan now. He’s very much proud of me and what I do.But

Aside from the financial stability, there are numerous benefits of becoming a virtual assistant. Constant Learning. I have become more and more internet savvy day after day. I learn a new skill and knowledge at every task. And I continuously improve my skills.

I am able to help. During Typhoon Frank, I was among the very first (if not the first) Aklanon to post some updates and pictures about the typhoon. I was able to disseminate the information to the readers, OFW’s and fellow Aklanons about how hard we were hit by the typhoon. I was able to help a few families communicate with each other. It made me very happy. I got a lot of responses from Filipinos here and aborad and it was so overwhelming. I have learned that there are a lot of people who cares, and that Filipinos can unite in times of trouble. I realized how powerful the internet is. I was able to give help to my team too. I guess that was the best thing that ever happened to me this year. I found hapiness despite a sad moment.

After all these months, people here in the town of New Washington, knows what a Virtual Assistant is. The word is slowly getting out. Well to some, I was tagged as a “mini-call center”, online secretary, virtual secretary and etcetera. Good thing about it is that,  they no longer think this is “illegal” and best of all, I have earned the respect that virtual assistants deserve.

We may not have a decent office, we may not wear business attire, make up or high heels but Virtual Assistants work isn’t an easy job. We are entreprenuers and experts in our own fields of expertise. We are the CEO’s of our business. It is just but time to give the respect due to us.

I am proud to be a Virtual Assistant and I am proud to be Filipina.

Pictures During Typhoon Frank (at New Washington, Aklan)

8 days after Typhoon Frank has hit the Western Visayas, people are now slowly picking up the pieces. We all try to live our normal lives. Just this morning, classes for elementary, high school and college students went back to school to help out cleaning their campuses. Gaisano Mall in Kalibo partially operates while banks are now back to business. Water supply has also resumed.

Here are more photos from June 21st, Saturday morning:

The winds blew heavily amongst the trees, the sea level slowly rises…

Taken at Green Hut Resort, New Washington. Sea Level is usually 5 feet below this veranda. But that Satruday morning, the waves are higher than ever.

A view outside our gate, as the waters from the sea flooded our streets (Rizal)

For those who are eager to know what Kalibo looks like now, here are some pictures taken today:

Over the weekend, several helicopters have landed at Aklan State University fields, these are a few photos of what New Washington has received:

Earlier today, I have received news that Congressman Joeben Miraflores suffered a mild stroke. Please include him in your prayers.

Aklan survived typhoon Frank, now, we are all striving to pick up the pieces and rebuild the town that was…

Aftermath and Survival after Typhoon Frank

In less than 24 hours after I posted “New Washington Got Hit By Typhoon Frank”, my heart was so touched by the amount of concern, thoughtfulness, care, help and prayers I got from fellow Filipinos, Aklanons and even foreigners.

I have come to realize that God is great.

Early this year, New Washington inaugurated the monument of Cardinal Sin, in our town plaza. It was indeed a center of attraction for everyone.

But after the Typhoon, this is what it looks like:

5 days after the typhoon, still New Washington and the rest of the towns Aklan doesn’t have electricity, and no water supply.

The municipality of New Washington though was fast enough to clear the trees, electrical posts and clean up the town plaza. Relief goods are now being distributed at the municipal hall. Free charging of mobile phones are now being offered at the municipal hall and at the Smart Tower.

During lunchtime, a helicopter landed at the grounds of Aklan State University. People from all walks of life rushed to the area. Some were in awe watching a helicopter land, but mostly people are all expecting to get help.

As the helicopter landed, a team of Filipino soldiers went down. Mayor Peralta and his team welcomed the visitors.

Soon 3 boxes of mineral water and few boxes of relief goods were unloaded from the helicopter.

I was thrilled with joy.Though I know that those boxes wouldn’t be enough for all the people in New Washington, help started to come in.

My husband said he saw another truck filled with rice being unloaded at the municipal hall.

I know that most of you would like to help us so my team and I started to put up a list of what we think we really need:

1. Medicine (for wounds, fever, cough and cold, diarrhea)

2. Mineral Water

3. Rice

4. Used Clothing

5. Canned Goods

6. (Katol) Mosquito Coil / Insect Repellant

7. Candles

8. Sleeping Mat (banig)

9. Noodles

10. Slippers (for those who have lost their slippers during the typhoon)

If you are a doctor or a medical professional, we would also benefit from a Medical Mission. New Washington only has one health center with one doctor, and with hundreds of people affected by the typhoon our medical team wouldn’t be enough to cater to everybody’s needs.

Supplies for building the houses such as bamboo, and nipas are now running out of stock. One piece of bamboo now costs 80-90 pesos. The increasing amount of materials is hurting a lot of families esp those that doesn’t have enough to buy the materials.

Here are some actual photo’s of Geove’s house:

My mom cried informing me that she sold our Mango Tree that fell off for 600 pesos to a realtive whose house was washed out by the typhoon. She used that to buy rice, 3 pieces of medicine for her hypertension and one box of Nido for Mikee. My heart felt like shattering into pieces.My mom is almost 70 years old.

I just sighed and said to myself, this too shall pass…

People from all walks of life, people that I haven’t met at all, have showed enormous love and care thru emails and comments on this article. I can’t help but shed a tear everytime I read all of your emails and messages.But this time, its no longer tears filled with sadness and fear, but tears of happiness and gratitude.

I still continue to pray that help continues to pour in.

My husband and I are planning to go to Roxas City this weekend and purchase groceries for my family and my team and their families. For those who wanted to give a little help or even just a small amount of donation for us, my team and their families, you can deposit some funds into my debit card:

You can load our prepaid debit card online. Visit www.payoneer.com

Instructions for loading the debit card:>

1. At the Payoneer’s homepage, click on: Load Money

2. Choose: Load Card by Payoneer prepaid card number

3. Enter our email address: epvirtualassistant@gmail.com

4.. It will take you to payment method page, you can choose whether payment will come from a Visa Credit Card or Debit Card, MasterCard, Direct Bank Debit or Load Cash. Choose the amount you want to load onto the prepaid card then click on “continue”

5.. Next, you need to enter your credit card holder and billing address details, as well as your cc details. Then Click on “Continue”

If ever you need any help on loading the debit card, Payoneer has a live person chat that you can ask help from or you can chat or email me for questions.

Thank you for all your prayers, concern, care, love and donations to us. In behalf of my team and my family, our sincerest thanks.

I will continue to update you guys with what’s happening with New Washington as much as I could so please continue to include us in your prayers.

New Washington Got Hit by Typhoon Frank

For the first time, after Typhoon Undang hit Aklan, New Washington got hit by a major typhoon last Saturday, June 21, 2008.

My team and I are trying to finish our weekly reminder calls for a client when the electricity went off. The news said that a storm is about to hit Western Visayas but its only at Signal Number 1. I didn’t mind the news. I am actually used to storms with signal number one. I thought this was just one of them.  I went to bed early hoping I could get back to work early that morning. But I was wrong.

I woke up at around 7am, disturbed by that loud whistling sound. It seems like a hurricane to me. I opened the curtains and was alarmed with what I saw. Trees are swaying and the rain was really hard. The wind blew hard tearing off every tree, leaves or object that are on his way. We saw trunks falling off from the trees. Then it became even stronger. Trees are now being torn off from the grounds. People ran off to a nearby shelter hoping to save themselves from a sure accident. Nature unfolded its wrath.

I was trembling with fear when the glasses at our kitchen windows started to break. Our kitchen is only made of wood and nipa and could easily break. Boom! A coconut tree fell right at our kitchen.

5 hours later, our house has been torn apart and hundreds of people are now homeless. A mudslide has happened to Kalibo, killing hundreds of people. New Washington (and Aklan) suddenly became a ghost town.

No electricty. No Water Supply. No Mobile Phones. Until Now.

Earlier today, I went to Kalibo hoping I could buy milk for Mikee. But it was even worse than New Washington. Every house or business establishment is all covered with mud.

No fast food chains. No grocery stores. No ATM machine. No Banks. No hospitals.

I actually rented a generator for tonight to email my clients and keep contact with relatives and friends.

Worst. Our gasoline station ran out of gas. Supplies are running out in New Washington. And with Kalibo in accessible, how will the people here find means?

I was wondering, did we ever get the attention from the news for any help? If we did, will it ever reach New Washington? Where will we seek help?

I am thankful to God because he kept me, my family and my team safe. But my heart cries out with hundreds of people who lost their loved ones, and homes.  Will help ever reach us, I wonder.

For those who will read this blog. I hope you can help us. ( You can reach me at +639103993192 or email me at epvirtualassistant@gmail.com)