I went to Makati yesterday afternoon to collect a check from one of the publishing houses I write for. Before I proceeded to Mandaluyong where I would attend a writers' meeting, I passed by Glorietta and used the GCs a client gave me.

I ordered carrot cake and strawberry shake from Bo's Coffee and read a chapter or two of Anna Quindlen's Living Out Loud. T'was a welcome half hour for moi :)

Among the many NGOs out there, World Vision remains on top of my and my husband's list of trustworthy organizations. Thus, when Typhoon Ondoy hit and we were compelled to reach out in whatever way we can, we chose to course our help through WV. We even encouraged our two oldest kids to do their share by repacking relief goods when WV needed extra hands.

I reposted the call for volunteers as often as possible in my Facebook and Twitter accounts. I was happy to see several of my friends also reposting My WorldVision's status messages. Many of them (with their friends and families) also volunteered their time to the relief efforts these past four weeks.

Last Friday night, WV held its Volunteer Appreciation Night at Crossroads77 in Quezon City. It was a resounding success in the sense that kindred souls in strangers' bodies assembled in one venue to celebrate the Filipino spirit of bayanihan and the existence of boundless hope for a better country.

Miriam Quiambao and Boy Kulot (sorry! forgot your real name) hosted the event while various celebrities, music artists, and bands like True Faith, Akafellas, Gab Valenciano, Acel Van Ommen, Sam Concepcion, etc. freely gave their time to perform on stage.

Special commendation was rightfully given to the members of the Philippine Coast Guard headed by Lieutenant Commander Armand Balilo (who was actually a former WV sponsored child) because they were the first volunteers to take action.

Here's recognizing too the staff of World Vision Philippines for bringing thousands of strangers -- with helping hands and hearts -- together.

*Kindly visit http://worldvision.org.ph/ for more info on how you can continue to help. Also, please consider sponsoring a child today.

Celebrate Filipino ingenuity. Be amazed at the various products on display at SMX Mall of Asia and the World Trade Center in Roxas Boulevard.

F.A.M.E.'s 50th edition, which happens from Oct. 15-18 only, features cutting edge products from various industries all over the Philippines.

I walked along the aisles of SMX with my writer-friend Claire and literally feasted my eyes on wonderful creations that our kababayans made. It was one of the moments I felt so proud of being a Filipino.

My only regret was that I wasn't able to take photos of some of my most favorite displays as the booth owners declined. Understandably, their original creations might end up being copied and I know how that feels as we, writers, also sometimes find our original articles posted on various websites and blogs without our permission.

Nevertheless, I was very grateful that three booth owners graciously agreed to have their displays captured on camera. Take note that I only asked booth owners with some of the best displays and which really caught my attention. Too bad there were really other super, super beautiful pieces that I couldn't share with you. So do come and see them for yourselves! :)

Takara Arts & Craft (Thanks Ms. Thet A. Santos!)

They've got Christmas and Halloween covered :)

ALCOS International

I love butterflies!

Beautiful Christmas trees

Unknown Booth (My sincerest apologies to the owner, in all the excitement, I forgot to ask for your business card! If you happen to see this, kindly shoot me an email or leave a comment so I can properly give you credit.)

Snowmen and Christmas trees of various shapes and sizes

I only got to visit SMX today (so little time!) but I plan on dropping by at the World Trade Center (where the fashion and wellness displays are) either tomorrow or on Sunday, family schedule willing.

You have to know that Sunday, the last day, is the only day the general public can visit and buy items. The first three days are reserved for wholesale buyers and the press.

Don't miss out on this wonderful event. You might even find Halloween and Christmas decorations that are perfect for your home. I'm also sure that everything you'll see will also take your breath away. If you do miss out, watch out for next year's first event on April 2010.

Find out more about Manila F.A.M.E. International here: http://www.manilafame.com/en/.

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