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Super Typhoon Yolanda Aftermath One Year Later — The Lesson : “Live Life”

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by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Super Typhoon Yolanda changed my Life.

I lived inside “Ground Zero.”

I am a “Survivor.”

One obvious change Yolanda has made to my Life is I am more “aggressive.” Any pretense of patience is completely gone from my Life. I get a project done or I toss it and move on to one I can get done.

One obvious change Yolanda gave me is the opportunity to “Face Death.”

I have had a year to look at my reaction. I should be “Petrified.” I definitely felt, “Concern.”

Today is Saturday, November 8, 2014. A year ago, at “Ground Zero”, I stood in my bedroom and watched the winds of Super Typhoon Yolanda bow the coconut wood door back and forth like a warped, black LP record flexed back and forth.

Three times, Yolanda blew open the door. Three times, I pushed against the wind and intense walls of blowing rain to close the door.

Yolanda took the roof, but she left the thin sheets of plywood over the roof. Although, she did bend one down almost double to continue to pour a persistent waterfall of rain into the room.

Christy Warren, my wife, stood in front of me, and stared out the single window in the wall. I stood behind Christy and had my arms down around her. I watched the door disco dance against the door jab.

I still remember my chant: “You can stop anytime now.”

I have no idea, how many times I repeated those words. Everyone else in the room was quite.

Junea and Vanissa stood behind me. Digna Mora, the cleaning lady, stood behind the girls. Her son, David was under the concrete shelf sink at the back of the room. He fell asleep.

We heard Yolanda’s winds take the tin roof over the bedroom and the abundance of sudden sunlight over the plywood section confirmed the roof had gone airborne.

There was a plywood section for a roof under the tin. The plywood section held, but a sheet of the wood buckled in half.

The wingtip of “my” Archangel Michael statue held up that section of the roof, while the torrential rain poured in and the dry concrete floor began to fill like a swimming pool. The water inside the room would rise to a half-inch before Yolanda ceased her seize.

I remember every second of Yolanda’s bombardment.

Today, a year later, the sun is shining. The temperature is not too hot. Earlier this afternoon around one p.m., there was a nice breeze. A year ago, the phrase “Hell On Earth” had “A Real World” meaning.

I decided not to go to the “Yolanda Commemoration Ceremonies” in Tacloban City and Tanauan because I wanted “The Day” to think about my reaction to Yolanda.

All week long, ABS-CBN has aired the “Survivor Stories.” As a retired military newsman, I understand the decision. People want to know, “What Was It Like ?”

“Scary,” in a word.

The catch is, obviously, there is a limit to how much adrenaline your body pumps in a crisis situation. You sense and feel, “Fear.” But, the “Fear” can’t last.

“Numbness” replaced the initial “Fear” and the “Concern.” I stood at “The Mercy Of A Force Of Nature.” There was absolutely nothing I could do.

Yolanda could of snatched me or anyone else in the room and tossed us against the walls like rag dolls. Yolanda could of tossed any of us out through the roof.

Yolanda could of reached inside the room and pulled any or all of us out through the narrow doorway. Yolanda kept us corralled and “pinned up” in the room until her winds were done outside.

“Thanks To Yolanda, I no longer ‘Fear Death.’”

Naturally, I have “The Death Fantasy” where you lie in bed, surrounded by family and friends who love you. You close your eyes for the last time and “Death” arrives.

If I get “The Death Fantasy” fine; if not, at least, Yolanda, provided the lesson of awareness and acceptance of “Here Comes, The Last Ride ! ”

A year ago, once I heard the winds disappear, I stepped to the door and opened it.

“Stunned,” is the only word that works.

A Child Of The Cold War, I cut my baby teeth on the stories of United States, Soviet Union and Red Chinese Nuclear Armageddon Aftermath.

I remember the Civil Defense lessons in grade school. I got the blue prints I got in the mail from the United States Superintendent Of Documents to “build a bomb shelter in your backyard.”

Momma never let me build the bomb shelter. I couldn’t even convince her to build a basement. I always wanted a basement.

As a teenager, I had watched countless TV shows and movies about The Cold War Nuclear Apocalypse.

As a senior citizen, I stood on the concrete porch and looked at the devastated landscape of the island of Leyte.

No Hollywood Cold War Nuclear Holocaust Movie even came close to Super Typhoon Yolanda.

The brutal sky remained angry swatches of gray. The horizontal canvas was saturated. The rain had stopped and the sky still appeared soaked. The sky around me dripped like running paint on a wet canvas.

The dense emerald vegetation was yanked, pulled and discarded like a giant weedeater had gone ballistic on the landscape.

The huge tree at the corner of the porch had been yanked up by the roots and dropped like a weed at the hole, which moments before had covered the roots.

The 50 to 75 coconut trees in front of the house were gone. Two complete trees stood and four giant busted toothpicks, which had been coconut trees were still embedded in the ground.

Some of the coconut trees had fallen like discarded Lincoln Logs on to the plundered landscape.

Silence.

No sound.

In rural Leyte it is rare for an hour to pass without a rooster crowing somewhere nearby.

Across the barangay road, the neighbor’s bamboo house was gone completely. Christy’s white sari-sari store building was tilted at a 15 degree angle toward the road.

The bamboo carport had served it’s purpose. The bamboo poles were still in the ground. The dried coconut leaves roof had gone airborne.

Fortunately, the carport had stood long enough to keep the van on the ground. The other benefit of the carport, is it helped provide temporary shelter.

When the neighbors across the road, felt their house was going around them, they ran outside to the carport and got next to the van, according to the neighbor woman, they essentially formed a human chain and she held on to the van’s door handle.

Today, I stand with a mug of coffee in my hand and look out at the Land in front of the house. Sunlight bathes the dense vegetation.

We have a tin roof again over the house. The US AID gray tarpaulin still serves as two walls of the house.

I strolled up the barangay road a distance this afternoon. Houses are again beginning to take shape. The rice fields seem to be recovering. The Cameri Barangay Elementary School has a roof again. Neighbors’ roosters chase hens in the school yard and a concrete building in the corner is going up in a corner of the school yard.

Son, Samuel Ranilo Warren got tagged to participate in a Yolanda Commemorative Ceremony in Tacloban City as did cousin,Vanissa Saldana. Daughter, Donna Junea Warren got to “Fly Free” to a girlfriend’s birthday celebration today.

Christy and I have been relaxing around the old Pacific Ponderosa today. One Warren Way got severely remodeled by Super Typhoon Yolanda, but with time, I am sure we will have walls again someday. I need to find a carpenter, I believe, can put my concrete hollow blocks up to build a “Strong” wall.

As a political science and history student, I had memorized the photos of the destruction of “Fat Man” and “Little Boy” to Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan in 1945. A year ago, Yolanda at “Ground Zero” in Tanauan, Barangay Baras delivered the “Destruction” without the radioactive “Fallout.”

November 8, 2014 — Tacloban City reports 6,000 people dead. Officials calculate, at least, 1,061 are still missing. I doubt an accurate “body count” for Super Typhoon Yolanda will ever be firmly established because a tidal wave came ashore and took structures and, no doubt, people back out to The Leyte Gulf and The Pacific Ocean.

The brutal winds of Yolanda took roofs and “bombed out” the insides of churches and smashed all the pews to smithereens. More than a week after Yolanda’s winds, I saw that Yolanda had parked a car and a Chevrolet pickup with the grilles against the ground. The trunk and pickup bed pointed up toward the sky, while the wheels rested on the side of a building.

Super Typhoon Yolanda, a year later, has reminded me of an Important Lesson Of Life: ”Live Life !”

I would emphasize : “Live Life With A Passion !”

Today is Saturday, November 8, 2014.

Tomorrow, at sun rise, my plan, is like the plan for today : “The sun is up. Time to make a cup of coffee and enjoy the day.”

Sam

Written by samwarren55

November 8, 2014 at 11:40 PM

Posted in Bloggers, Blogs, Business, Current Events, Ecology, Editorial, Family, Observances, Philippines, Tropics

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Long Lost Cousin Search

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by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Johnny Leo Green, my cousin, was always a few years older than me. I spent most of my Life, “Hearing About”, rather, than having any time with my elusive older Texan cousin.

Around The Year 2000, I got a letter from Johnny telling me he had researched the Warren and Green family history. We exchanged some emails.

“The Move”

In 2011, I made “The Move” to Leyte, Republic of the Philippines. I didn’t figure the move would end email communications with my Texas relatives, after all, it is “The 21st Century” and the globe is “Wired” for “Global Communications” to the planet.

I was wrong.

“Remote Location”

There are places on Planet Earth where there is: No Broadband Signal, No Wifi Signal, and even an analog phone line, a Ham radio signal or a Morse Code key set is almost impossible to find.

There are places on Planet Earth in 2014 where “Electricity” is still more of an idea than a working reality. I have neighbors who use candles for light after dark or they simply go to bed early.

I had no idea that a barangay on the island of Leyte in the Republic of the Philippines would be a “Remote Location”; it can be.

Tanauan, Barangay Baras was “Remote” before Super Typhoon Yolanda, so the storm does not get the “Blame.”

In 2013, before Super Typhoon Yolanda, there were homes in Tanauan, Barangay Baras, which still did not have “electricity.” It was not uncommon to see a slender bamboo pole in the jungle propping up a power line. Nor, was it uncommon to see six to 10 electric meters on a wood or concrete pole.

Super Typhoon Yolanda only made the electricity and communications systems worse.

Yolanda tossed aside power poles like broken toothpicks or slung them out across the landscape. No doubt, some of the bamboo power poles are at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean.

It was five months to the day that Yolanda struck before the electric company , responsible for our barangay, restored our “electricity.”

Yolanda totally “eliminated” the broadband service in my barangay. She took my broadband sensor on the long pole and slung it away. I still have some of the long useless cable.

“Wifi — The Only Game In Town.”

Like many people the “quick solution” is Wifi. I haven’t found Wifi to be that stable. I don’t like Wifi. Nonetheless, for now, I’m still doing the “Wifi” game because, literally, it is “The Only Game In Town.”

To date, I have searched the Internet and haven’t found a way to “Reconnect” with Cousin Johnny Leo.

I continue “The Long Lost Cousin Search.”

I am an October Scorpio. Scorpio is a Fixed Sign of the Western Zodiac. As a general rule, the “Fixed Signs” like to stay in touch with their families and relatives around the world. Genealogy, heraldry, family history and family ties are all important to most “Scorpios.”

My birthday and Halloween always makes me reflective to remember family and friends. Super Typhoon Yolanda, last year, emphasized the point that it is not wise to loose touch with family and friends.

If anyone knows my cousin, who worked in Port Arthur, Texas for several years, please, ask him to contact me on my “Samuel Warren” facebook page.

Look for the man in the photo in the blue United States Air Force uniform with The American Flag in the background.

Samuel E. Warren Jr. Oil Painting by FotoSketcher

Samuel E. Warren Jr. Oil Painting by FotoSketcher

I’d love to “Reconnect” with my Warren Family History and with my relatives in Texas.

Thank you.

Sam

She Males Pass In Review

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She Males

Pass In Review

by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Life is always full of surprises, especially in Leyte, Republic of the Philippines.

Nikon D 100 Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Eyes right !”

Eyes front !”

Yes, I see an exotic, woman, in an island headdress, slender bra, short grass skirt, and translucent high heels strut flamboyantly down the rural barangay road.

Saturday, May 12, 2012, the Barangay Cameri Festival is underway. Family and friends have found their way to One Warren Way. Everyone gets them a plate of food and something to drink.

The adults crowd around the long coconut wood dining table and settle on one of the two matching benches. The kids take their plates of food and drinks and head outside to find a log or rock to sit on and eat. Everyone gets comfortable to eat, drink and talk.

Mano Bito, Junbean and I are sitting at a small wood table talking and smoking Philip Morris cigarettes. Junbean and I are drinking our San Miguel Pale Pilsen beers. The nieces, nephews and their cousins rush past us laughing and giggling into the dense jungle vegetation of the front yard. My wife, Christy, tells me the kids are excited about the “bakla” parade. I smile and take a swig of my cold San Miguel.

A few minutes later, I glance out at the road. I turn back and raise my San Miguel bottle. It is beer number two and three-quarters of the cold brew sloshes in the bottle. I look at the coconut trees and they are not blurred.

My mind and eyes are fine.

A tall island woman appears to have stepped out of an Aztec island culture and sashays along the road.

The tall, slender, exotic woman is no hallucination.

Nikon D 100 Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

The tall, slender, exotic woman is not a figment of my imagination.

Each footstep wobbles the monolithic peacock feather headdress. A long statuesque leg rises and rustles the grass skirt out of the way. Sunshine glistens into a star burst off the toe of the clear, plastic, acrylic high heel. And, the thick platform sole shoe steps on to the asphalt barangay road.

My mind reminds me : Plastic and acrylics weren’t around in island cultures at the time of Ferdinand Magellan.

My mind suggests: “There is a story here.”

Hermaphrodite, Cross-dresser,Transvestite, Transgender, Transsexual,Trannie, Tranny, Tgirl, Ladyboy, SheMan, and She Males are all American English words used to describe a person, who does not fit into the traditional category of either – a man or a woman.

Nikon D 100 Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr,

In the Republic of the Philippines, in Tagalog, the word, “Bakla,” (pronounced: Bach – la) means a person, who does not fit in the category of man or woman. In Waray, in the Eastern Visayas, the word, “Bayot”, (pronounced –Bye –you—T) means a person, who is outside the category of man or woman.

In Life, things are not always what they seem.

Thus, the woman in the Polynesian island costume and high heels, who at first glance, looks like a future “Playboy” centerfold – is not a biological woman at all.

Nikon D 100 Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

None of the women, who appeared to be fashion models strolling the runway – were biological women.

Nikon D 100 Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

In a few moments, other baklas in a variety of costumes worthy of a Hollywood movie studio stroll along the rural barangay road. Adults and children wander out to the road to watch the she male parade pass in review.

Nikon D 100 Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

I pick up my Nikon D 100 camera, which had been taking pictures of family, friends, food and kids. I walk up to the road and watch the parade sashay along the winding road.

Like American politicians campaigning for office, during an election year, the she males, stop, smile, wave, speak to the spectators and children. And like skilled American politicians on the campaign trail, they pause long enough to strike a pose for pictures.

Nikon D 100 Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Nikon D 100 Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Then, the She Males continue on to the Barangay Cameri stone heart-shaped boundary marker.

Nikon D 100 Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Despite the sweltering heat, the parade participants took their time to smile and wave at the onlookers.

Nikon D 100 Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Even children make their way to the roadside to watch the parade intently.

Nikon D 100 Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Some people stare at the she males. Some snicker and laugh. Other people simply watch.

Nikon D 100 Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Nikon D 100 Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Then, the well-disciplined she males, wave, an execute a relaxed, casual, about face maneuver and begin back down the road.

The flamboyant she male in an Aztec style costume, flourishes his purple train, turns and with the confident demeanor of a Paris fashion model breezes down the road like it is a fashion runway.

Heads high, shoulders back, the she males soldier on back down the road to the Barangay Baras Basketball Court.

Nikon D 100 Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Nikon D 100 Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Nikon D 100 Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

In single file formation, they walk with an air of dedication past the spectators, who watch the she males pass in review.

Nikon D 100 Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

This is the first time I have ever had a news story or photo opportunity literally stroll past my front door.

Nikon D 100 Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

My reporter’s curiosity has the best of me.

Nikon D 100 Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Camera in hand, I step into the back of the ranks of the passing parade. My squad of curious nieces and nephews fall in step on my right and left flanks.

People stand along the roadside of Barangay Baras and watch the she males pass in review back to the Barangay Baras Basketball Court. Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

It requires “Courage” to be able to take a stand and do something out of the ordinary that is a different view of the status quo of society at large. And, yet, these people in costume are strolling past the public with confidence in their steps. I admire the conviction and strength of character of these she males.

Nikon D 100 Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

I and my troops pick up the pace.

I move briskly through the ranks and take photos of the spectators along the roadside watching.

My young troops try to hasten their steps to catch up.

Nikon D 100 Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Since I do not know the organization at the basketball court, I need to try to rush ahead to try and discover the event structure that is in place. Then, I will know, where I need to be to get photographs of the events as they happen.

I arrive in a crowd of people on the basketball court.

The basketball court is a temporary in-the-field command post of chaos and confusion – with no one apparently in charge. There is no entry control point, no admission gate and no way to determine, who needs to be at a certain point at a certain time.

The returning she males drift to the concrete bleachers on the sidelines to take refuge from the heat and adjust their costumes.

Nikon D 199 Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Some of the returning she males wander out on to the basketball court to await further instructions. They hover around the half-court line like children waiting for church to begin.

Suddenly, a man, obviously, with a plan, and, no doubt, an organizer, emerges from the fray of spectators and begins to shout instructions in Tagalog to the she male models.

Meanwhile, a cheerful man, exhibiting the exuberance of a Las Vegas casino winner, appears on a sideline at the back of the court and chats with two of the tall she males.

Then, the man’s friend raises a small compact digital camera. The two tall she males step beside the man. They stand straight and tall to strike a pose. His arms lash out around their backs to draw the models closer. His friend clicks the shutter.

The two tall she males in their elaborate costumes remind me of the movies of Las Vegas showgirls waiting to go on stage.

I watch with camera in hand. I glimpse my nieces and nephews at my side, wearing confused looks. I do not need to be a mind reader to see the question uppermost in their minds: “What is Tito Sam up to now ?”

I grin, I raise the Nikon D 100 slightly. They smile and nod. Message received.

Nikon D 100 Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Some people drift on to the basketball court to watch.

Nikon D 199 Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Nikon D 100 Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Some of the models stroll out on to the basketball court ready to poses for photographs.Some of the local kids bring a basketball on the court to shoot hoops in the background.

Soon, the organizer, has the she males line up on the half-court line for a group photo.

Some of the local people watch and some of the curiosity seekers with compact digital cameras and cell phone cameras take photos and video.

Nikon D 100 Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Years of reporting and photography experience has taught me that whenever a group of people have to stand together for a photo, there is always the “human nature” programming that kicks in.

Nikon D 100 Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Whether it is a child standing next to it’s mother, a husband standing next to his wife, or people who work side-by-side everyday of their lives – “Hesitation” kicks in. Perhaps, it is a “personal space” issue, but, it is always up to the “Official Photographer” to encourage the people to move closer together.

Nikon D 100 Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Film and digital cameras do not understand or care about “personal space.” The camera viewfinder is only a certain compact size, regardless of the omnipotent lens that may be on the body of the camera.

Nikon D 100 Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

The she male group, like any group of people, would only move so close together for a group photo. There was no “Official Photographer” to smile or bark orders, so everyone moved to a certain comfort point and stood their ground.

Nikon D 100 Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Like a bird in flight, I fluttered about, swooping around and trying to get a complete group photo. Human nature trumped my efforts and I could only get so many of the group within the viewfinder at a given time.

Nikon D 100 Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

I tried different angles. The only alternative would have been to walk up and keep encouraging each person to move closer together with their toes positioned on the white basketball half-court line.

I was one of many photographers at the event.

I was not the official photographer.

Nikon D 100 Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

I represented no newspaper or wire service, so I was not getting a paycheck, which meant, it was not my call. “Time,” “Newsweek,” “USA Today,” “The New York Times,” or “The Washington Post” had not call to say, “Sam, we want you on a photo assignment in the Philippines” – so, my personal photographic pursuit did not justify my interference.

As a working news photographer, I learned you are always suppose to get the story and the shot, but you are not suppose to be so dominant that the photographer becomes more of a memory than the actual news event, which means news photographers are suppose to be like Bob Kane’s “Batman,” you swoop in and out and then disappear into the shadows.

Nikon D 100 Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

I got all of my photo shots. The organizer was still giving instructions and hand gestures to try to get the group to move closer together, when I looked at my bewildered nieces and nephews standing behind me.

I nod and gesture the camera at the entrance to the basketball court. They fall in step behind me.

While the parade had been one of the fiesta activities, it also served to promote “The Barangay Cameri Miss Gay 2012 Beauty Pageant, which would be held on the Barangay Cameri Basketball Court, Sunday, May 13, 2012, which proved to be an interesting event – but, that is another Samuel E. Warren Jr., News Story.

The “Warren Wander Warriors” stay in step, on both flanks for the ready “beat feet” deployment back to the house. I hand my Nikon D 100, to my niece, Vanissa Saldana, my photography assistant. I smile, “It is San Miguel time !”

I step off the road and stroll through the thick fern foliage back to the house.

Life is always full of surprises. Still, I never would of imagined a news and photo opportunity would have sashayed past my front door.

Nikon D 100 Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Sam

“1, 2, 3, Kick !” Barangay Cameri Festival Dance Troupe

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by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Dance is a universal language of fun and celebration. “School is Out” in the Republic of the Philippines and youth are always on the lookout to keep themselves entertained on their summer vacation.

In Barangay Cameri, a rural area in the Republic of the Philippines, the youth have decided to spend some of their time to get ready to dance in the barangay festival.

As of Thursday, April 26, 2012, the eleven youth have decided to put their creative dance skills together to perform a Ute dance, which allows them to come up with their own dance ideas and work it into a routine to perform at the festival.

Angeline Natividad and Dean Carl Villacorte are working with the youth to provide the dance instruction.

While the youth have practiced a few days, April 26, 2012, my wife, Christy invited them to practice at the house. And, thus, we watched the youth working on their dance routines.

Using my Nikon Coolpix 3200 camera, I created a video of the Barangay Cameri Festival Dance Troupe, which I uploaded to You Tube at this link:  http://youtu.be/cdocwEr2zKA

Easter In The P.I. Photos by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

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Easter In The P.I.

by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Easter in the Philippine Islands is a different custom than Easter in the Good Ole USA.

RANILLO AND CHRISMAR PAINT EASTER EGGS_1467_resized

Ranillo and Chrismar paint Easter eggs.

Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

My wife, Christy, never ceases to amaze me. When I got up and headed for my first cup of morning coffee, my nieces and nephews were sitting at the kitchen table painting Easter eggs.

Christy smiled and said, “I told the kids that I would teach them about Easter traditions in the States.”

I smiled and nodded.

Suddenly, I remembered that things you take for granted in one country can be a whole new idea in another country.

I watched Chrismar meticulously painting an Easter egg and realized that he had probably never heard the stories about “the Easter bunny.”

CHRISMAR-INTENTLY-PAINTS-AN-EASTER-E[1]

Chrismar patiently paints an Easter egg. Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Ranillo sat beside Chrismar and applied brush strokes to an egg like Leonardo da Vinci at work on the Mona Lisa.

RANILLO-CAREFULLY-APPLIES-BRUSH-STRO[2]

Ranillo concentrates on carefully placing paint on an Easter egg. Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

“Face painting,” smiled Christy.

“Excuse me,” I replied.

“Kids in the United States get their faces painted for Easter,” smiled Christy.

“Yeah, but, kids getting their faces painted isn’t really an Easter custom. The whole face painting thing goes with carnivals, county fairs, shopping mall openings and events like that.”

THE-ROUGH-SKETCH-FACE-PAINT-DESIGNS-[2]Christy wanted me to sketch out some face painting ideas. I sketched out some rough ideas with a black ball point pen and Christy got out her cosmetics to allow the kids to practice their face painting artistic skills. Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Christy gave me that “it could be an Easter tradition” look. “Then, again, kids do seem to like having their faces painted,” I acknowledge.

“Good, get your pad and pen and draw up some designs,” suggested Christy. I tossed down the old yellow legal pad and placed the black ball point pen on the surface and quickly sketched out some designs. “But, we don’t have any face paints or body paints,” I point out.

Christy grins, “I have my makeup.”

Junea smiles and lets Aunt Christy apply the makeup.

JUNEA-SHOWS-OFF-HER-BUNNY-FACE-PAINT[2]

Junea models “The Bunny” face paint design by Christy. Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Vanissa watches skeptically. I can tell that she is less than enthusiastic about her face being a painter’s blank canvas. Ranyiel Saldana and Mac Mac Roa watch more like multinational business tycoons than curious little boys. Nonetheless, Junea grasp the concept and convinces Vanissa to allow her to apply a flower.

JUNEA-APPLIES-A-FLOWER-TO-VANISSAS-F[1]

Junea displays her artistic cosmetic skills to face paint a flower on Vanissa. Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

“Face painting is one of those activities at county fairs that groups do to raise money. They charge like a buck or two for the face painting,” I explain. Ranyiel and Mac Mac give me the old, but how does face painting apply to men look? “Camouflage. Native Americans — the American Indian, their braves would put on ‘war paint’ before going off into battle. The war paint on the face was part of the custom designed to scare the enemy. And, in American and Filipino action movies, you always see the soldiers put camo paint on their faces, so that they blend into the night or the landscape. Camo painting by Special Ops type guys is a form of face painting,” I explain.

Mac Mac is up for the challenge and earns a star on the face. Ranyiel isn’t fond of his Schwarzenegger Style Combat Commando Camouflage design, so he quickly washes off the design.

MAC-MAC-RELAXES-TO-ALLOW-AUNT-CHRIST[1]

Mac Mac relaxes to allow Aunt Christy to apply her face painting skills to add a star to his face. Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

CHRISTY-BRUSHES-ON-THE-DESIGN-TO-MAC[1]

Christy brushes on “The Star” face paint design to Mac Mac’s face. Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

RANYIEL-IS-READY-TO-WASH-OFF-HIS-CAM[1]

Ranyiel decides against the Schwarzenegger Style Camo Combat Commander face paint design and goes to wash it off. Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Christy’s face painting idea might become part of the Saldana Family’s Easter traditions. At least, the “face painting” technique provided the kids some artistic entertainment for an afternoon.

Rafael’s Caribou

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Rafael’s Caribou

RAFAEL SALDANA CLOSEUP PHOTO 001

Rafael Saldana

by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

My brother-in-law, Rafael Saldana, is a rice farmer in Barangay Baras, Tanauan, Leyte, Philippines.

In rural Leyte, the beast of burden is the caribou. A caribou is an bovine animal in Asia that combines the best features of farm pickups and tractors.

While farmers in the United States may own a Case, New Holland, Ford, White, Allis Chambers, Kubota or John Deere tractor, rural Filipino farmers can rely on the plentiful and much less expensive caribou to get the job done.

The land in front of the house is covered with the traditional thick tropical vegetation. Unfortunately, during the monsoon season, it becomes obvious that the soil under the plants is . . .mud. And, that mud is effective in pulling the rubber boots and shoes right off your feet and leaving you standing almost knee deep in mud.

RFAELS CARIBOU STANDS READY TO MOVE  SCRAP COCONUT LUMBER_7269

The caribou stands ready to move more scrap coconut tree lumber into place.

Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

The quick fix landscape solution became some way to cover over the mud. Commercial landscapers in the United States would have a variety of heavy duty power equipment like the Bobcat and Ditch Witch bulldozers ready to tackle the problem. In rural Leyte, my wife, Christy and I have. . . Rafael’s Caribou.

NEPTALI ABANO UNLOADS THE COCONUT SCRAP LUMBER IN THE FRONT YARD_7272

Neptali “Endoy” Abano  readies the caribou to get another load of coconut tree scrap lumber.  Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Thus, Neptali “Endoy” Abano hooked up Rafael’s Caribou to the yoke and the bamboo drag to bring more scrap coconut lumber into the yard to place over the growing mud swamp. While the trail could probably stand a few more pieces of scrap lumber, for now, you can walk into the yard, rather, than wade into the yard – Thanks to Rafael’s Caribou.

RAFAEL'S CARIBOU up close_7279

Rafael’s Caribou Up Close

Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons license.

Written by samwarren55

February 22, 2012 at 6:06 PM

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