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Ego in the year of living dangerously

/ 02:19 PM November 14, 2013

I write this piece as trucks from various companies are busy packing relief goods for the victims of supertyphoon Yolanda here at the Wrocklage Yard of the University of San Carlos (USC) Downtown Campus. There was only one truck late last Tuesday night, from Prince Warehouse Club, but when I arrived yesterday, three more trucks from other companies had already begun loading goods that had been repacked by student volunteers last night until the wee hours of the morning.

There is no doubt that all that is good in humanity always stands out when life and limb are under threat. Nowhere is this more defined than in Cebu City which thankfully dodged the bullet last Friday as it did during the 10/15 earthquake.

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I am just a bit disappointed at the way some people bandy around their relief distribution activities, making all kinds of press releases and posts on social media, while others just do it quietly and without fuss.

To my surprise, for example, there are no streamers or announcements here at USC about this relief gathering and repacking activity going on inside the campus, no news reports and no press releases. In fact, until now, I do not even know the people doing this. All I know is that they are moving trucks every day to the affected areas of Cebu, Bohol, Leyte and Samar.

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There were also people on campus who brought trucks to Bohol, three days after the earthquake struck, because when I tried to book one of the trucks to move a huge four-poster bed from Barili to USC Museum that day, I was told that USC trucks were in Bohol. Yet, I read no press releases or any news reports about this. And, boy, there were plenty of reports of this and that company or group going to Bohol to distribute relief goods.

The year 2013 will probably end up as the most dangerous year for people of the Visayas. But I also think it will end up as the year when the humbugs in society also made a killing, going to areas devastated by the 10/15 earthquake or the supertyphoon Yolanda, not for altruistic reasons but for egoistic, selfie intentions.

The worst of their kind are those who posted their work on Facebook and other social networking sites to show how good they were or how much they helped, stamping their plastic bags with names of their nongovernment organizations or companies or their names as individual donors. Must this longing for attention extend to relief operations?

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The USC Museum and the National Archives of the Philippines (NAP) finally unveiled the exhibition of rare archival documents about Cebu and related objects yesterday in austere ceremonies amid the difficult times. The event had been postponed following the Oct. 15 earthquake in deference to the devastation and suffering that resulted. However, the management of both NAP and USC Museum felt that the exhibition had to be inaugurated this time if only to prove the point of the importance of keeping records and documents as the effects of global warming and climate change continue to be felt in disastrous ways by island countries like the Philippines.

The exhibition entitled, “Integracion/Internacion: Urbanity, Urbanism and Their Discontents” is the first of its kind to be presented by the NAP outside Manila. A book about the plans, drawings, documents and related objects will hopefully be published soon. The exhibition will run until May 12, 2014. USC Museum is open on Mondays to Fridays, from 8:30 a.m to 5 p.m. and on Saturdays at 8:30 a.m. to noon. For those interested to book their visits ahead of time, kindly call Fatima or Stephen at 253-1000 local 191.

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The launching of USC Press’ latest heritage coffee table book “Hikay, The Culinary Heritage of Cebu” by Louella Eslao-Alix (with photography by Fr. Generoso Rebayla, Jr., SVD and Rodolfo Alix) will finally push through on Wednesday, November 20 at the Casino Español de Cebu at three o’clock in the afternoon. For those who wish to reserve copies of the book ahead of the launch, kindly call USC Press at 230-0100 local 290.

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