After Typhoon Haiyan struck the central region of the Philippines, I had a lot of friends reach out to me and ask if I had any family still over there. And if I did, were they okay.
Luckily, all my relatives are safe.
Many of my friends asked me all kinds of questions about the Philippines, which got me thinking...many here in the States don't know much about the country my parents came from. So I thought I'd share some very interesting facts about the Philippines.
1) Demographics: 100 million people, with 1.8 million here in the States. And the median age of people living in the Philippines is a VERY young 23 years old
2) Georgraphy: Its made up of 7000 islands, with more than 200 volcanoes.
3) Religion: 80% of Filipinos are Catholic, another 10% are other Christians, and another 10% are Muslim.
4) History: The Philippines was a Spanish colony for 375 years. In 1898, it was ceded to the United States, and it was granted Commonwealth status in 1935. After World War II, the Philippines was granted independence.
5) World War II: Some of the fiercest fighting in the Pacific occurred in the Philippines. The Japanese committed many atrocities against Filipinos and Americans. Some of the more well known incidents were the Death March at Bataan and the Manila Massacre. My grandfather was taken prisoner by the Japanese, and during their march, he and a handful of American G.I.s beat up their guards and ran into the jungle. My grandfather didn't talk about that horrible experience much when he was alive.
6) Inventions: Karaoke was invented in the Philippines, not Japan! Other inventions include: the butterfly knife, the yo-yo (which was also a weapon), the medical incubator (the kind used today in hospitals NICUs), and the florescent lamp.
7) Super Typhoon Haiyan was 3.5 times more powerful than Hurricane Katrina. Original death estimates were put at 10,000, and the most recent number I've seen is that nearly 4,000 are confirmed. So many bodies were washed out into the ocean. 11.3 million Filipinos have been affected, with nearly 700,000 of them homeless.
Which brings me to this post. So many lives have been lost in the Philippines, and I've been touched by the outpouring of love and support from all around the world. When these kinds of horrible disasters occur, it's a swift reminder to never take what you have for granted. So I want to help. In fact, I want to help YOU help. In the comments below, I want you to tell me just one thing you're thankful for. When you're done, click the entry on the Rafflecopter widget. You have until this Saturday the 23rd at 11:59 to enter.
The winner will get a special prize.I will donate $50 in YOUR HONORto the Direct Relief organization, where 100% of the money donated on your behalf will go straight to help those in the Philippines. Direct Relief is helping in many fronts, particularly with sending critical medical supplies and outfitting medical personnel to the Philippines.
Direct Relief is a fantastic organization. It has been given the full 4 Stars from Charity Navigator, and they allow people to donate as a tribute to another person. And I want to donate as a tribute to one of YOU! I will announce the winner next Monday. Thanks so much for participating, and remember to be thankful for what you have in your life right now, no matter how bad things can get. And we all can do something to help others who need it most.
Blogging since 2005.
Medical sales warrior by day, writing ninja by night...
I am the author of The Mechanica Wars series. The first book, Dragonfly Warrior, will be published in January, 2014 by 4 Wing Press.
I love science fiction, fantasy, literary fiction, biographies, and chocolate chip cookies.