Most precious cargo – breastmilk



Cup-feeding a baby with donated human breastmilk at a relocation site in Cagayan De Oro.


I’m sorry for the lack of updates. I would use the holiday season as an excuse but the truth is I’m still stuck at December 17th. My next few posts will be about Typhoon Sendang (Washi) – stories I have to tell because of the kindness and generosity shared during critical times. Incredible things have happened. I will however insert some regular programming in between.

One of the many things UNICEF and it’s partners did in response to the Sendong/Washi flood was to collect human breastmilk donations. In emergencies, breastfeeding is a lifesaving response, especially when clean water and sanitation services are in short supply. UNICEF and partners give mothers all the support they need to continue breastfeeding during and after emergencies.

I sent out information about the breastmilk drive through Twitter. Thank you for the great response. However at one point had to deal with the harshest and ugliest comments (nevermind the negativity).

Dr. Mianne Silvestre of UP-Philippine General Hospital and  a supporter of the NGOs Kalusugan ng Mag-Ina and Team Unang Yakap sent this update, “Various private individuals are mobilizing their networks for what we hope will not be just distribution of donor milk but a series of “breastfeeding missions” like we organized for Ondoy years back. We hope that peer counsellors get involved for breastfeeding counseling, relactation, cooking lessons on complementary feeding, with the last resort being cup feeding of donor milk and wet nursing. Dr. Jessa and I are capable of helping with supplying donor milk through our linkages with the UP-PGH Milk Bank and private groups but really need your help with all the rest, on the ground.”

The call for donations of human breastmilk is still ongoing. There are two drop off points:

Quezon City/San Juan/Cubao area:
17 Green Grove Villa, Lantana Rd., Barangay Mariana, New Manila, QC (office of Kalusugan ng Mag-Ina, Inc).

Manila area:
UP-PGH Human Milk Bank, 4th Floor, Left Central Block (LCB) c/o Tina or Grace (during office hours) or the NICU Fellow (after office hours)

 At the end of this post is a document signed by the Department of Health, UNICEF, World Health Organization, Plan International, Save the Children, Department of Education, DILG and many other organizations supporting and explaining the importance of breastfeeding in times of emergencies. I know, based on the reaction in Twitter, that there are still a lot of misconceptions from well-meaning donors who give infant formula and breastmilk substitutes as part of their relief packages. Though your intentions are good, you may actually be causing harm by exposing infants to danger and possible death. Please read after the jump by clicking “More.”

Last December 23rd, the first delivery of human breastmilk arrived in Cagayan de Oro. Here are photos from the field showing how this most precious cargo was sent to Mindanao.


The breastmilk is safely stored in a donated freezer.


The breastmilk arrives at NAIA Terminal 2, at 5.00am, thanks to the Pepsi delivery guys.


Being checked in by Philippine Airlines, hope it makes it safely.


UNICEF Nutrition officer, Paul Zambrano, relieved that the milk has arrived.


Loaded on to local pick up by Pepsi, CDO.


Cooler arrives at Northern Mindanao Medical Centre where staff of the paediatric and neonatal department are waiting.


The breastmilk is still frozen, so will keep for many months, if necessary.


The team are relieved the first transfer went smoothly. All photos above, UNICEF/2011


Click “More” to read additional information on how human breastmilk saves babies’ lives.



Tuscan modern in Cebu



This is the house we featured in Cebu last week. It’s a gorgeous home with Tuscan-style architecture and modern interiors. It was designed by the homeowner herself, Nia Aldeguer – an architect. She was inspired by her family’s home in the US but adjusted the details to suit tropical conditions – lots of sliding doors and huge windows. Oh, and the two gorgeous cars (vintage Lotus something…. ) are housed in what was supposed to be a guest room converted into a pseudo-garage.




Urban Zone airs on ABS-CBN Channel 2 every Friday night after SOCO and internationally via TFC.



Ely Buendia’s house on UZ



Here are some outtakes from the Urban Zone feature of Ely Buendia’s house. Ofcourse, Murphy’s law. I forgot to charge my Olympus PEN, so my battery ran out after 6 shots. Most of the photos are from my iPhone. This is the first time Ely agreed to have his house shown on television. It has appeared in Homestyle magazine last year. And it is currently featured in Dwell Asia magazine. But TV… just me. I have to say a big thank you to Shawn Yao for helping me make this happen.

Ely designed his house himself. A frustrated architect, he taught himself by reading books on modern, industrial and brutalist architecture. He’s a big fan of Le Corbusier. His architect friend Mia Guererro helped him realize his concepts from drawings to plans to actual construction. Mia says there are parallels between Ely’s house, Le Corbusier’s idea of modern architecture and our bahay kubo. More on that later after the jump.



1997 MTV Music Award. I interviewed the E-heads for this in 1997. I produced the story for Teddy Boy Locsin’s Assignment in ABS-CBN.


His Man on the Moon is prominently displayed on this red shelf.


The red shelf slides sideways – it can be used to hide either the door to his son’s bedroom or the stairs.


Click “More…” to see the rest of Ely Buendia’s house.



Urban Zone: Resort-style home



This isn’t the first time we’ve featured a resort-style home in Urban Zone. It seems a few home owners choose to live like they’re on vacation at all times.

This house sits on a steep incline. The architect, Amy dela Paz, created a modern type of architecture with two clusters separated by a swimming pool in the middle. Upon entering the house, you see a mosaic tile wall that’s supposed to have water cascading down like a waterfall. Above it is the swimming pool. At the time of our visit though, the mechanism for the infinity pool to overflow wasn’t working.

The left side of the house has the formal living room and dining area. There is a mezzanine above the dining area that continues to walk above the kitchen in the other room. The kitchen then opens to a deck fronting the pool. The other side of the house has all the bedrooms and private areas.




Urban Zone airs every Friday night after SOCO, in ABS-CBN Channel 2.





UZ: Interior designer Sophia Ojeda-Llige



We shot this house a couple of weeks ago. It just went on air last Friday Nov 11. This house belongs to a young family who inherited the property from their grandparents. The old house was a bungalow that was beyond repair. The new owner decided to tear it down and build a brand new house with a Modern Asian/Filipino feel. The architect, John A. Pineda, and the interior designer, Sophia Ojeda-Llige saved as much of the old materials as they could and reused them in the new structure like carved Narra balusters and dividers and huge doors. They also used solar tube panels for skylights in the upper level.

The house was built for entertaining and hosting huge family gatherings. As part of the deal, the owners promised to host Sunday lunches every single week for their extended family. There is a beautiful large kitchen with generous counter space to hold all the buffet menu. Frameless glass sliding doors connect the living area to the dining room and then to the lanai. I’m loving the indoor-outdoor living thing happening in this house. Sophia Llige did a great job using a lot of the owner’s heirloom pieces and giving them a younger fresher feel.

Unfortunately we don’t have any photos of the master bedroom’s en suite. It has this huge glass window theatrical rolling blind thing going on. It was incredible. Hope you enjoy the photos. Most shots were taken by Manny Segunto using my old Ricoh.

Don’t forget to click “More” in the end.




Click “More” to see the rest of the photos.