Category Archives: Literature

Innovative Spaces

Back in the day, I used to write constantly on this website. It’s still quite popular (with more than 1k subscribers), but I am delving into social media as a complement to Miss Tolentino dot com.

With the goal of refining my visual communication techniques, I have opted to create the Miss Tolentino Facebook page where I can instantaneously post my projects, my art (both visual and literary pieces), photography, humor and other relevant interests that go with being a creative.

May you find this space inspiring, challenging and thought-provoking. Also, I highly value collaboration, brain-storming and ideas. If you have comments or strong sentiments on the subjects I post, please feel free to let me know as long as they are constructive and respectful in manner/tone.

Thank you for following my page. I look forward to building a creative community that thrives in spaces where independent and innovative thinking is encouraged.

Maria Paula Tolentino
MPT/Miss Tolentino

American aid volunteer writes new book on “Yolanda”

How do you survive a super typhoon with the destructive force of an atomic bomb? How did the people of Tacloban City, who survived the wrath of Typhoon Yolanda (international name Haiyan), cope in the aftermath of a storm for the ages? What was it like on the ground for aid workers in the city, weeks and months later?

More than two years after the strongest recorded typhoon on Earth claimed the lives of at least 6,300 in Tacloban and elsewhere in the Philippines, William Rodney “Bill” Shaw attempts to answer these questions – and some of his own – from the perspective of those who lived through its horrors in the new book “Yolanda: The Roaring, The Waves, The Waiting”.Bill Shaw

Self-published by Shaw and printed in the Philippines, the book is based on the experiences of seven individuals living in Tacloban before, during and after Yolanda. Their stories are retold and mixed with the American’s own insights as an aid worker who volunteered in Tacloban for four months, distributing food, relief packs, and building homes for the city’s survivors.

“These seven lives represent a complicated intersection — of understanding and misunderstanding, freedom and captivity, personal faith and cultural beliefs,” Shaw says in a note on the book’s back cover. “We can find heroes in these pages, but no winners. Yolanda underscores the face of catastrophe, where everyone suffers and everyone struggles to overcome.”

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Bill Shaw and his wife Deborah — a photographer who took the images found in the “Yolanda” book — first came to the Philippines in 2002 with Summer Institute of Linguistics (SIL Philippines). Bill also worked as an administrator at Faith Academy in Cainta, Rizal until 2004.

With Filipino friends, the Shaws also founded Urban Opportunities for Change Foundation Inc., which published “The Jeepney” street magazine in the Philippines in 2008. It followed the concept of “street papers” that provide employment for the homeless and indigent in First World countries.

Urban was also responsible for forming and sending football teams to represent the Philippines to the Homeless World Cup, which uses “the beautiful game” to inspire homeless people to change their own lives. Over 70 countries participate in this annual tournament.

Bill and Debbi currently live and work in Traverse City, Michigan. Bill sits on the Board of Speak Up Magazine, Inc., and Speak Up Michigan, Inc., both non-profits giving jobs and a voice to people experiencing homelessness in Michigan and North Carolina. They also manage a series of rental properties and occasionally take on electrical contracting projects.

ABOUT THE BOOK

“Yolanda: The Roaring, The Waves, The Waiting” (224 pages, self-published by William Shaw through Urban Opportunities for Change LLC) is available in the Philippines for Php 500.

Cover Yolanda1

Please send orders to Kids International Ministries (KIM), c/o New Faith Family Children’s Home Foundation, #3 Birds of Paradise, Valley Golf Road, Cainta, Rizal, Philippines 1900. You may also call KIM at +632 658 4820.

Eighty percent (80%) of the proceeds of the book will go to KIM’s disaster relief efforts in Tacloban City.

“Yolanda: The Roaring, The Waves, The Waiting” will be launched today February 18, 2016 (Thursday) at the Nuvo bar in Greenbelt 2 in Makati City from 4:30 to 8:00 p.m.

It will also be launched in Tacloban City on February 20, 2016 (Saturday) at the “Lighthouse”, Lot# 36708, near Payapay Bridge, from 2:00 to 5:00 pm.

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FOR MEDIA INQUIRIES, PLEASE CONTACT:
Jimbo Gulle, phones (0917) 775-1479 or (0919) 999-5166; email: jimbo dot gulle at gmail dot com

Bleeding Passions

I bleed every time I write.

When I say bleed, I literally mean exhausting every ounce of energy in me. Whenever I’m in the zone, I can’t be bothered ‘lest I look at the nuisance with murderous eyes. Inspiration comes in bursts, and seizing those moments are critical in the writing process.

I am done with sitting on the computer all day long and drawing blanks. It simply does not work for me. What works though are solitary walks, being with nature, exercise, reading, music. Just taking a good time out from the ‘job’ of writing.

So don’t be surprised if some writers you know are pretty sensitive when it comes to their copy. Each end product that comes out of every endeavor is, after all, a summation of their energies, all poured into a piece of paper.

With years of doing this for a living, some writers such as myself, are now more open to suggestion and criticism. Growing up means being open to improving your craft. But there will always be the problem of getting inspiration. Finding inspiration is the constant struggle for every single project I accept, not the criticism, nor the deadline.

How I wish that by simply accepting money and automatically churning content were that easy. It’s much more complicated than that: I need to know if the copy is worth my time, if the owners are worth my energy or if their business goal and passions are meshed with how to improve a particular system.

Obviously, being your text-book systems builder, I like to improve things. And this translates to how I work as well. If the copy that I churn from my fingertips help a business or a friend in improving a particular system, culture, business, etc. then I go for it with all my might. Nothing done in halves. A project/vision/team/person should be worth my energy, my ideals, my passions. Otherwise, I turn it down.

A few weeks ago I’ve been distraught. I haven’t been able to create. There were days of crying spells. I couldn’t eat and sleep. I felt like I was loosing my mind.

Then, unexpectedly, a family concern came up. The timing of it all. I’ve just successfully inked a major project with a very important client, when personal concerns such as hospitalization comes up. Two nuclear bombs on opposite ends. How lovely.

But surprisingly, during those days in the hospital, I’ve been able to write excellently given the dire situation I was in.

I wrote in the cath lab, the patient’s room, brainstormed on the nurses station while blatantly questioning the nurses’ competence, the timing of the patient’s food, the ambulance MD who hit on every single female nurse (and had the death glare of his life when he tried to get chummy with me), the billing clerks at the hospital…every angst I had during that hospital stint, I took out on the hospital staff and put in my writing. I had laser-like focus.

The hospital distraction helped me construct, compose, create. I was argumentative, fiery and passionate: the best recipe for creating, for writing.

I still have to finalize and close the current project, but the momentum has now resurfaced. Sometimes, it takes a life hurdle to shake you senseless and tell you ‘Get a grip! You got this’.

I may have bled buckets the past few weeks but every drop was well worth it.

Have you gone through the same dry-spells? How did you get your groove back on track?

Beautiful in His Eyes – A Happy Panda Shares Her Story

Do you still remember the entry I did on How to Heal a Broken Heart?

Well, guess what? The people I dedicated that entry to are doing well and are on their way to recovery. All through His Grace.

It’s amazing what happened that day. You’ll never really know how He works but He does indeed change lives. He offers the gift of love: A love that is real, full and freeing.

Please make sure to read the full entry from my friend. She has an amazing story to tell: A story of heartbreak, restoration and finally, redemption.

This entry is about her and the many others whose hearts have been broken and have come back, whole and beautiful. You can read her full story here: Darn Beautiful in His Eyes

 

Restoration of Israel

“Therefore, behold, I will allure her, Bring her into the wilderness And speak kindly to her.”

Hosea 2:14

Through Heaven’s Eyes

During the Holy Week, I was able to catch the movie “Prince of Egypt” on cable.  It’s been awhile since I last saw this film, but it always brought back fond memories.  The film is a wonderful combination of creativity, music and love.

A single thread in a tapestry, though its color brightly shine, can never see its purpose in a pattern of the grand design.

How can you see what your life is worth? Or where your value lies?

You can never see through the eyes of man.

You must look at your life through heaven’s eyes.

Whoah! Did you get that? A single thread in the tapestry of the pattern of the grand design. I am floored. Beautiful.

Aside from watching the movie, I also highly encourage you to see this live version of my favorite song in the film “Through Heaven’s Eyes” sung by Brian Stokes Mitchell together with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.

He’s absolutely lovely here, especially as he sings with the choir!

Enjoy folks…

And remember to always look at your life through heaven’s eyes 😉