On November 7th, 2013 Typhoon Haiyan, know as Typhoon Yolanda in the Philippines, made landfall on the Visayan Islands as the strongest tropical cyclone ever observed with sustained winds up to 196 mph. Meanwhile, halfway across the globe I was sitting in yet another Real Estate class, shifting in my seat with anticipation of what was going to happen in tonight’s episode of American Horror Story: Coven and what my husband and I were going to eat for dinner. My Pa, my father, had recently gone back to the Philippines to take care of my step-grandfather suffering from Alzheimer’s, as well building a home in his Pa’s hometown of Santa Cruz, Pampanga, a province near the capital city Manila.
The news in the states was reporting that a Category-5 Super Typhoon was going to make landfall on the Philippine Islands south of Manila. My Pa was very close to Manila, so needless to say, once I realized all this hype about a typhoon was serious business, I started to panic. Before going to the Philippines, my Pa had recently retired from being a table games dealer in Las Vegas for over 30 years and bought a cabin in the Pocono Mountains to be closer to my husband and I. While driving himself and all his belongings cross-country he drove through Oklahoma on May 20th of this year. YUP! The same day as the deadly tornado that struck Moore, Oklahoma. Either my Pa is toying with the idea of becoming a storm chaser in his retirement or he is running low on his 9 lives. For 2 days I couldn’t, reach him! I woke up at 6AM on Nov. 8th in a panic. I thought about what my life would be without him, and I couldn’t breathe.
I finally was able to talk to him. He acted as if it was just another day in Pampanga and that they barely felt a drizzle where they were. Once he explained the geography of the Philippines it made perfect sense. Basically, if the Philippine Islands were the Tri-State Area, Typhoon Yolanda made landfall on South Jersey and my Pa was in Albany. PHEW!!! Time passed, I finished Real Estate school and the exams, I associated with an amazing agency called Bohemia Realty Group via my friend Brian Letendre, American Horror Story was AMAZING , and we had Thai food.
Eventually, I realized that I wanted to use this amazing opportunity of working for an agency that is focused on enriching it’s surrounding community, by using it as a platform to give back to a community that could have been my own. Had the storm been just a little north, I could have lost my Pa. Just typing those words bring tears to my eyes. Having that be a reality would have been unbearable. So…from this connection, From Harlem with Love was born.
Until December 20th, Bohemia Realty Group along with Harlem Park to Park will be accepting monetary donations that will go towards the purchase of Donation Packages via the sitehttps://www.goods.ph/ which delivers needed goods directly to victims of Typhoon Yolanda, as well as giving a portion of the proceeds from these Donation Packages directly to the Philippine Red Cross. I’m so grateful to have my family in the Philippines intact this holiday season, others were not so lucky. Thank you so much for taking time out of your busy day this holiday season and sending gifts to those who need them From Harlem with Love. And…
Maraming salamat (Many thanks),
My Pa, myself, & my step-grandfather