Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Please Help the Victims of Typhoon Haiyan

Friends, it is time to go out and do the right thing. Please send your help to the victims of super typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) by visiting the UNICEF TYPHOON YOLANDA APPEAL or through the PHILIPPINE RED CROSS websites right now. 

If there are organizations that I trust to make sure our assistance reaches the right people, it would be these two.



Your money will not be put to waste and your help will have tangible results. 

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Super Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan)

UPDATE: Please send your help via UNICEF and the RED CROSS on THIS link.

Super Typhoon Yolanda (international name is Haiyan) is expected to make a direct hit on my country this Friday. By then, its wind strength is predicted to reach over 130 mph making it the most powerful storm to hit us in the past 3 years. Typhoons also bring a lot of water and that is the other half of this potential calamity. 

At home my family has drinking water for a month, a water filtration system in case I need more, battery chargers, and extra food to go the distance. We are completely flood-proof because my house is standing way above sea-level and we've hardened against flying debris.

I sure hope this storm does not turn out as bad as the weather guys think it would. I'm a lot more prepared to deal with this one, but I'm worried about everybody else. I've got two more days before it hits us so I'll spend some of it sharing some of my stuff with my brother and sister who live nearby. 

How this matters to Zombie Survivalists:
If we get hit by typhoons about 22 times a year, with one or two of them being very powerful, I really think I'll be fighting the living dead knee-deep in the pouring rain. 

Infrastructure will degrade much faster if there is no functioning government to maintain the drainage systems. Water-borne diseases are expected to be another hazard alongside the deadly Solanum Virus. If Malaria or Dengue kill you instead of a zombie, you still lose.

I think its time for me to buy a few rafts and perhaps a kayak like this: The Oru Kayak. This amazing thing folds neatly into a big suitcase thing! Perfect for storing several of these in my smallish garage. 

Today is the day I started seriously thinking about fighting zeds on a boat. It makes perfect sense.


Lessons from Typhoon Ondoy (Ketsana):

It has been four years since Typhoon Ondoy which unleashed unprecedented damage to the country. Scientists say that we never had a storm like that in 60 years. Well now that it happened once, I personally believe it can happen every year.

In my part of town, nearly 17 inches of rain was dumped on us in less than a day. Total damage amounted to over one billion Dollars, there were many fatalities, and millions of people in Metro Manila were affected.

Things were bad. Calamitous. Floodwater rose to two storeys high in various residential areas all over Metro Manila (16 cities, population 12 million). But guess what? Our Bayanihan spirit got nearly every able-bodied Pinoy to come out and help.

In years prior to this disaster, people were content to just "let the government do it". This time, ordinary folks in unprecedented numbers came out to lend a hand.

Bayanihan is basically defined as the community coming to help out a neighbor. When Ondoy hit, we did this on a national level. Image from Wikipedia.

Typhoon Ondoy basically awakened the inner survivalist or prepper on a national level. Thank goodness our preparedness has come a long way since then. This applies to government and private initiatives. Suddenly, it is a company by-word to have risk-reduction meetings every quarter. In my own gig where I became head of Risk Management, people on all levels have been talking about emergency kits, flood prevention, first-aid certifications, and more. 

My secret alter-ego (TZH) was quite happy to see that "prepping" has finally become mainstream. Perhaps I'll have a much easier time finding like-minded folks to prepare against the undead hordes when they finally come.

In the end, I hope the spirit of Bayanihan (pronounce it like bah, yah, neeh, hun. say it fast, and in one go) will prevail WTSHTF and keep our society help keep our society from falling apart. Too often we see post-apocalyptic films depicting warring tribes and utter barbarity following the collapse of a modern society. Watch the movie The Road to get an idea.

Stay vigilant!

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Vacation Report: Anaheim, CA & Hillsboro, OR

Greetings from Oregon!

I've been on vacation here visiting family for the past 3 weeks and I've had a great time going sight-seeing and shopping nearly every day.

I was also in LA to take my family to Disneyland. It never gets old even if I've been there 5 times already. The Halloween theme was pretty nice. "Its our kingdom now" Captain Hook merrily proclaimed. There were more than the usual number of zombie kids and parents on the happiest place on Earth.

We then traveled north to go trick or treating in Oregon. The kids over here were more into minion bananas and Rapunzel costumes.

 picking out our pumpkin

 a break from urban living

I haven't been to the States since '97, and a lot has changed. Bigger population, GPS everywhere, more channels on the TV, and  fancy new shopping areas to name a few. I used to live in Vancouver, Canada for a few years but I was within striking distance of my family. I also made various road trips to California and Arizona, so I've been around.

The Little Differences
I was really happy to stock up on survival gear from various sources such as REI and Cabela's, the latter being my own personal Disneyland!

1. Gun Stuff: Warranties and Replacements
Just so my American readers know, firearm and firearm-related accessories cost 3x as much when they are sold in my country. I can bring stuff home from Cabela's, but its a very long and difficult process that I'm not willing to go through at this time.

Good thing we have as many fantastic gunsmiths as you guys do because we do not have immediate access to return-policies and warranties.

If something breaks, it will take weeks before Kel-Tec sends me a replacement. For other brands like Para-Ordnance or Kimber, the wait has been known to take nearly a year. Never mind that, the legendary Metrillo Gun Corporation will fabricate anything for me in no time at all.
2. Survival necessities for the Philippines are very different compared with the West Coast and most of the USA.

The United States is gigantic land mass and has diverse environmental conditions. The Philippines on the other hand is made up of 7,100+ islands, all of these are in the tropical zone. We have a few cities in high altitude, but most of my countrymen live in either very dense urban centers that are a several million in population size, or in agricultural zones in the form or farmland or by the sea.

We are also visited by typhoons about 22 times per year on average. Half of those are direct hits. This
means we'll be fighting the undead hordes knee-deep in floodwater more often than not.

This affected my shopping list. I was focusing primarily on water-filtration gear. We'll never go thirsty in a long-term crisis, but keeping the water clean will become a challenge. Finding food will not be as hard because the open spaces between our homes are teeming with naturally-occurring edibles which are very nutritious.

Its just the darn weather hazards and our incredibly populous city centers which will be the greatest survival challenges.

3. Home Construction Materials and Layout

In the Philippines, most houses in the suburbs are built out of concrete and have a perimeter fence made of stone. Our Oregon home and nearly all our neighbors have theirs constructed out of wood/drywall and do not have perimeter walls or fences. Two cats and small dog from next door frequent my kitchen windowsill to ask for treats. The photo with a lot of trees is our neighborhood in Hillsboro.

a neighbor's house in Manila for reference

The photo above is something more familiar to me. Walls in the suburbs are the norm, and concrete is the abundant construction material. Termites and typhoon gusts are the things we usually brace for.

In a defensive scenario, the stone perimeter wall will serve me quite nicely because it limits the entry points to my front door. My home's walls are about 5 feet tall and it will help me a lot against the undead since their line of sight from the street level will be obstructed. More on that in my Home Defense section.

3. Weather & Gear
We never have snow and there aren't any deserts. Nobody dies in the Philippines from hypothermia or dehydration. What will mess us up are the typhoons, floodwater, and water-borne diseases.

Tropical issues like rust, mosquitoes, Dengue, Malaria, Leptosirosis, Diarrhea, rabies, drowning, garbage, trenchfoot, and other wet-weather stuff are some of the things that affects my choices. It will also affect how we will be fighting the undead and the tools I'll be needing to succeed.


I'll be boarding the plane tomorrow at 1PM and I can't wait to come back next April. I met a lot of nice folks and made many new friends over here. My whole family will miss our stay, three weeks sure went by pretty fast!

I'll be testing out my new gear and will prepare my usual product reviews.

Stay vigilant!