Challenge Accepted: The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge + Other Intimate & Worldwide Battles

I knew it was only a matter of time before the challenge knocked on my door.


Friends, if you are able, do more than just throw a bucket of ice water on your head. Let this viral wave of social media activism deepen in significance and impact. Don’t get me wrong, I believe every effort counts no matter how small (I enjoyed this read: Think The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge Is Stupid? You’re Wrong.) But with every effort, give it your best shot. 

It’s not about the money, although money will help. And it shouldn’t be about the novelty of the challenge, the vanity of posting a video that features just you, or because you can’t help but get on the bandwagon or be dragged along by it. 

Read up on the disease. Strike up conversations about it beyond the comments that follow someone’s recent posting of their Ice Bucket Challenge video. Check out the research being done.  Find out if there are people in your own circle of family, friends, friends of family, or family of friends that may be directly affected by ALS. 

When I told my brother yesterday that I had been nominated for the challenge, I didn’t even know how to explain what ALS was, and neither did he. Let’s change that about ALS, and while we’re on it: let’s change that about other relevant challenges and crises that humanity faces today. We should be able to talk about what’s happening – make current events matter. [Check out Breaking News that delivers reports on ongoing stories such as: the Ebola outbreak, the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, Ukraine & Russia’s Political Conflict, the Iraq crisis and the tension in Ferguson, MO, USA. Or Vox, that goes beyond the usual reporting to help you really understand the news in context and present circumstances. For example: Everything You Need to Know About Israel-Palestine or 16 Things About ISIS and Iraq You Need to Know.]

There are real people hurting behind these headlines. There are real people hurting from ALS and other chronic or terminal illnesses. There are real people hurting in your immediate circle of family and friends. 

Look outside your circle of worries and acknowledge the battles that other people face. Remind yourself that everyone has a story that goes much deeper than a scratch at the surface – and each story is distinct, nuanced but also never possibly singular. We’ve all got hurdles. 

The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

ALS is a disease that can affect anyone in the world – regardless of race, gender, or socioeconomic status. ALS attacks the nerve cells that control voluntary movement, making moving the arms, legs and face increasingly difficult over time. It is not contagious. (For more facts on ALS, read: What Is ALS. To donate, get to know more about the disease and the community fighting it: ALS Association.)

Here’s my go at the #ALSIceBucketChallenge from earlier today:

And the text I posted on Facebook with my video:

Thank you Gino Ong for nominating me for the #ALSIceBucketChallenge. I will be donating $10 to the ALS Association for their continued research. I would like to nominate Kenya Bryant, David Opoku, Rishi Mandhyan and Nina Skagerlind to take the challenge.You have 24 hours! I’ll donate another $10 for each of you that successfully completes the challenge!

Thank you Chelsea Delfin for filming and Kuya Ricky for graciously dumping the bucket over my head (despite of his fear that any one of the lawyers in my family might file a case against him…)

(Disclaimer: In the video I said that ALS affects everyone in the world, but really meant to say that it can occur anywhere and to anyone in the world. Sorry about the misrepresentation, but I was nervous about the bucket!)

Next stop: Daanbantayan!

It was the type of wind and rain that thrashed and screeched; completely dismantling the landscape. The typhoon pounded the town for five hours straight, after it hit land in the morning, reports say. Their houses, sources of livelihood, the ageing trees, power lines, communication lines – all yielded to the typhoon. The people were no strangers to heavy storms, but Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda cleaved a whole new kind of wound.

That was the 8th November 2013 in Daanbantayan.

This may have been the hardest hit region of Cebu, off to the north of the island and right on the coast.

Photo from

Five months later, we’re off to visit their children. We’re headed to Daanbantayan,  Cebu Island next weekend! And by we, I mean the Buhay Makulay Children’s Project Inc! I’m incredibly grateful for another opportunity to visit a community hit by Typhoon Yolanda/Haiyan, and to bring my beloved Children’s Fair to a new island shore.

Buhay Makulay Children’s Fair in 2012

We’re preparing for 100 children join us for an afternoon of creative play, music and learning! But as it is in these communities, there are not just one hundred, but hundreds of children we wish we could invite and share time with. Arrangements are finally taking shape, and for the first time, we may be working directly with a local government unit to bring our activities to the children. Every day we get more and more excited!

I’m mulling over an idea for a mural the kids can work on, with the same approach as we did in Roxas City in January. If you’ve got any ideas make sure to pass them on!

Where once was thrashing and screeching, we hope to hear laughter and see dancing.

Speak soon,



P.S.  DONATE? If you’d like to share with these children in Cebu, or the hundreds of children we will play with as we go on the road this year, please consider making a donation in cash or kind. Sponsor one child at Php800/20USD/18euro. 

Deposits can be made directly to the following account: Buhay Makulay Children’s Project Inc., acct number 0041-0339-24, BPI.

 Donations in cash or kind may be dropped of at the Union Church of Manila, c/o Len Aritao. Corner Rada and Legazpi Sts. Legazpi Village, Makati.

Find the Buhay Makulay Children’s Project Inc. on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram to stay posted.


Data on typhoon sourced from: