Read the latest roundup of articles by Ayeesha Dicali.

U.S. Government Begins Delivery of More than 6,500 Tablet Arm Chairs for Displaced Marawi Students

Thursday, October 05, 2017
Saguiaran, Lanao del Sur ,October 4, 2017— The U.S. Embassy in the Philippines’ United States Agency for International Development (USAID), in partnership with the Department of Education, delivered its first batch of tablet arm chairs to schools in Mindanao, where displaced Marawi students are currently enrolled.

USAID’s Basa Pilipinas provided five schools in the municipality of Saguiaran (Saguiaran Central Elementary School, Bubong Elementary School, Maito Basak Elementary School, Sultan Angin Memorial National High School, and M&S Maito Basak National High School) with nearly 2,000 student tablet arm chairs.  They are among 52 Lanao del Sur public schools that will receive more than 6,500 student tablet arm chairs from the U.S. government.

On September 5, the U.S. government announced its commitment of approximately Php730 million in emergency relief and recovery assistance to support communities affected by the ongoing conflict in Marawi City, Lanao del Sur, and the surrounding areas.  The U.S. government continues to coordinate with the Philippine government and humanitarian organizations to deliver critical relief supplies, and will help fortify Marawi’s longer-term stabilization and rehabilitation.

Ambassador Kim Announces Php730M Relief, Recovery Assistance for Marawi

Thursday, September 14, 2017
The photo shows not even 5 percent of the destruction that is mainly caused by the aerial bombing of the Philippine military on residential and commercial buildings in Marawi. Photo credits to Raffy Tima.

The U.S. government, through the U.S. Embassy in the Philippines’ United States Agency for International Development (USAID), has committed approximately Php730 million ($14.3 million) in emergency relief and recovery assistance for communities affected by the ongoing conflict in Marawi City, Lanao del Sur and its surrounding areas.  U.S. Ambassador to the Philippines Sung Kim made the announcement today during a media engagement at the U.S. Embassy.

“The United States is deeply committed to this relationship and remains ready to support our friend and ally as we face the challenges and opportunities,” Ambassador Kim said.  “We all look forward to the end of the crisis, and the end of the fighting and suffering.  We have been and will continue to support the Philippine government’s efforts to deal with the crisis.”

The U.S. government will coordinate with the Philippine government and humanitarian organizations on the ground to deliver critical relief supplies such as safe drinking water, hygiene kits, kitchen sets, and shelter materials that will improve conditions in evacuation centers and other alternative housing.  USAID will also provide 18 facilities in Marawi with critical supplies and services to address tuberculosis and maternal, newborn and child health needs.

In addition to this, USAID will help bolster the early recovery of Marawi by restoring basic public services such as health care, water, and electricity.  It will support Marawi’s longer-term stabilization and rehabilitation by jump-starting livelihoods, promoting community dialogue, rebuilding resilient health systems, and offering skills training and psychosocial counseling for youth.

Last July, the U.S. government provided access to potable water by distributing 12,000 water containers and nearly 100,000 chlorine tablets to 12,000 families staying in evacuation sites in Lanao del Norte, Lanao del Sur, and Iligan City.

The U.S. government has likewise committed to supply 6,500 tablet arm chairs, which will be distributed to schools in Mindanao where displaced Marawi students are currently enrolled.

USAID supports peace and community development in Mindanao through 25 ongoing projects that improve local governance, strengthen the government’s capacity to deliver services, especially in health and education, and promote civic engagement.

We Are Marawi Giveaway

Friday, September 08, 2017

We are Marawi Giveaway

Here's an exciting giveaway for you guys! We are Marawi is giving away limited edition shirts and bags to 15 lucky winners. Here's how you can join the hiveaway:
Pls follow all the rules to make sure your entry is counted.

Like/Follow We are Marawi
Make sure you like otheir FB page We Are Marawi and follow us on IG @wearemarawi
Snap and Share
Repost this photo & be sure to tag us & use the hashtag #WeAreMarawiGiveaway. In your caption, share what you miss most about Marawi OR how we can rise together from this ordeal. (Make sure your FB post/IG account is set to public)
15 lucky people will win our limited edition shirts & bags. Winners will be announced on Sept. 30, 2017.

Good luck! 

As a sample, here's my entry:

We are Marawi Giveaway entry

But what is this We are Marawi? A quick scroll down their Facebook page says the following about them:

"We Are Marawi is a non-profit organization that was born out of the necessity to address the needs of the Meranaos who had to forcefully evacuate Marawi City due to the siege orchestrated by the Maute terrorist group. Its initial aim was to gather funds through the selling of tee shirts and to use all the proceeds from the sales for the purchase of relief goods for the internally displaced persons (IDPs) of Marawi. To date, the Organization has been able to distribute relief goods to 250 internally displaced families housed in different evacuation centers in Iligan and some home-based IDPs as well. Since the siege occurred during the holy month of Ramadhan, the organization also sponsored an Iftaar--breaking of fast—for 300 persons with an equal number of dinner packs.

Relief operation conducted by the We are Marawi team from the funds raised by selling We are Marawi t-shirts. (Photo from @wearemarawi Instagram)

But more than the efforts being made to cater to the basic needs of Marawi IDPs right now, the organization envisions to do more by abetting in the process of rebuilding Marawi City by engaging in more concrete endeavors. Plans for educational and livelihood projects are part of what we want to do as an organization to help the people of Marawi rise again from this tumultuous trial.

Aiza Seguerra holding We are Marawi t-shirt
The fund-raising effort is supported by common people and celebrities alike. (Photo from @wearemarawi Instagram)

The organization is comprised of young, educated Meranaos who excel in their own professions and are bound together with the sincerity to serve their people in this urgent time of need."

As an IDP myself, I am thankful to see young Meranao blood working hard to give humanitarian aid to the displaced families who are forced to live in cramped evacuation centers and homes of relatives in nearby cities of Iligan and Cagayan de Oro. I am not directly involved in We are Marawi but I know personally some of the members of the team who are among my closest friends. I have seen their photos of their pop-up booths in many locations all over the country. They have been doing this since the early days of the siege--raising funds and then giving relief goods to those who badly need them. I have a high level of trust that they will follow through their plans. I appeal to everyone who reads this blog to buy merchandise from We Are Marawi. Buy their shirts. Visit their Facebook page and Instagram for more info. And join in the giveaway too!

The Instant Turban

Thursday, September 07, 2017
Ayeesha Dicali wearing Sabreenph Instant Turban

I have made turban as one of my "trademark" looks. I started wearing it since I started living in Iligan CIty where the high temperature and humidity makes wearing breathable clothes a must. The usual wrap-around-the-head-and-neck is too uncomfortable for me because I am a heavy face sweater, my face is the first to sweat up when it gets warmer. Turban is my solution--it is fuss-free and lets me live an active lifestyle w/o worrying about my hijab getting messed up by my sweaty face.

It has been quite some time since I posted an OOT post, thus, this one. Initially, I separated my fashion and beauty posts in a section dedicated to them but now I decided to incorporate them again in the main blog because why not? I will always be a girly girl who talks about serious stuff.

This particular outfit is a good representative of my daily look. When I don't want to think about what to wear, I gravitate to wearing a loose top, mom jeans, a big bag, my gold accessories, and a turban to match. Sabreenph gifted me this instant turban that I loved right away because of how convenient it is to wear. I just have to wear it on my head like a bonnet. When I tie my rectangular hijabs into a turban, sometimes it takes a long time for me to get it right. This instant turban is already ruched shaped. It comes in a stretchy fabric to fit many sizes. Sometimes I wear a big volumizer under my inner hijab and sometimes a small one. Either way, my instant turban looks nice in both.

Turban: @sabreenph
Top: Forme
Jeans: Forme
Bag: Victoria's Secret

My Top 5 Favorite Movies

Saturday, September 02, 2017
Movies Popcorn

One of my readers specifically asked for movie recommendations. I totally forgot about it but I hope this makes up for it. I included in this list only those that shook me to the core and those that I absolutely would watch over and over again.

So here are my top 5 favorite movies:

1. Qiyamah

Qiyamah Moro movie poster
Director: Gutierrez Mangansakan II
Writer: Gutierrez Mangansakan II (scriptwriter)
Stars: Bein Ali Unayan, Mayka B. Lintongan, Dax Alejandro 

This movie is the most memorable movie I have watched. It made me feel things that I have not felt before. The fear I felt when I watched this has got me ugly-crying.

I remember clearly that time I watched Qiyamah. That time, there was a cinematheque in Marawi City funded by Film Development Council of the Philippines. I was friends with the Cinematheque management and they were kind enough to let me view the movie with my best friend Jo.

Imagine the two of us in the dark movie house, watching a movie that told a story of the end of the world in black and white, what it would look like in a rural area in Mindanao. It was a spiritual experience. The two of us cried our hearts out.

2. The Prestige

The Prestige 2006 movie Hugh Jackman
The Prestige is a total mind f*ck movie. It is about two magicians that have a personal grudge against each other, trying to outsmart each other. After a tragic accident, they engage in a battle to create the ultimate illusion whilst sacrificing everything they have to outwit the other. The twists and turns of this movie kept me on edge. It was so stressful to watch. But man, was it so good! I was never able to guess what's coming yet every clue was there, out in the open, all along.

I won't spoil any more about the plot, I say, just watch it in HD preferably,  take note of the details, and see if you can dodge the curveball. I guarantee you won't be able to predict the ending.

The Prestige movie poster
Director: Christopher Nolan
Writers: Jonathan Nolan (screenplay), Christopher Nolan (screenplay)
Stars: Christian Bale, Hugh Jackman, Scarlett Johansson

3. Bajirao Mastani

Bajirao Mastani 2015 movie Deepika Padukone
I am a fan of Bollywood movies especially those that showcase the grandeur of the culture of the diverse people of India. A lot of the Bollywood movies I've seen are a little corny if you know what I mean. There is no subtlety when it comes to Bollywood, that's my impression. 

Bajirao Mastani is my absolute favorite Bollywood movie because of how aesthetically pleasing it is. The set, the costume, are all done to perfection. Unlike other Bollywood movies that explode in a riot of saturated colors, Bajirao Mastani is tamed and muted. 

Bajirao Mastani is about the romance between the Maratha general, Baji Rao I, who is already married, and Mastani, princess of Bundelkhand.

Another reason why I love this movie is that of two shallow reasons: I am in love with Deepika's face and I regularly listen to the song numbers in this movie. In my opinion, the song and dance numbers here are one of the best out there. 
Bajirao Mastani poster
Director: Sanjay Leela Bhansali
Writers: Nagnath S. Inamdar (novel), Sanjay Leela Bhansali 
Stars: Ranveer Singh, Priyanka Chopra, Deepika Padukone

Curse of the Golden Flower

Curse of Golden Flowere movie
During China's Tang dynasty, the Emperor has taken the princess of a neighboring province as wife. She has borne him two sons and raised his eldest. His wife has an affair with his eldest son while she plots with her biological son to overthrow the Emperor. 

I love this movie on so many levels. The plot is layered. The grandiosity of the sets and the rich colors play off the tension in the strained familial ties. I love how despite the lavishness of the palace, it made me feel like it is oppressive and stuffy like it's choking me. 
Curse of Golden Flower movie poster
Director: Yimou Zhang
Writers: Zhi-Hong Bian, Yu Cao (play) 
Stars: Yun-Fat Chow, Li Gong, Jay Chou 

5. Elizabeth The Gold Age

Elizabeth The Golden Age movie scene

Cate Blanchett may have been Queen Elizabeth herself resurrected as she did justice the character of one of the world's greatest leaders--Queen Elizabeth I of. The feminist in me screams yes girl to this movie.  

The Golden Age is a sequel to an earlier movie starred by the same actress. This installment focuses on the war between Spain and England when Spain denuded its forests to build a great Armada. It is also about how the queen endures multiple crises late in her reign including court intrigues, an assassination plot, and romantic disappointments.

I got a high from watching a woman take charge and win a war--especially a single woman who doesn't need a man. Before girl power was a thing, Elizabeth was 'it'.
Elizabeth Golden Age movie poster
Director: Shekhar Kapur
Writers: William Nicholson, Michael Hirst
Stars: Cate Blanchett, Clive Owen, Geoffrey Rush

Comment down below if you've watched these films and if you have movie recommendations for me. :)

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