Latest Stories


Love in the time of ‘Yolanda’


FASHION designer-musician Kate Torralba plays requested tunes for donations to “Yolanda” survivors. PHOTO BY POCHOLO CONCEPCION

It’s a Saturday night at Craft Pub & Grill (The Fort Strip, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig), a week after Typhoon “Yolanda” messed up the country. Onstage, Kate Torralba, a fashion designer whose passion for music has led her to release her aptly titled debut CD, “Long Overdue,” is not playing songs from that album; rather, she’s obliging everyone in the crowd with any tune they’d like to hear—provided they donate any amount for the typhoon survivors.

The benefit gig, dubbed “Request-A-Thon,” is a hit, judging by the full-house audience and happy vibe. At 11 p.m. Torralba gladly announces somebody has given P1,000 for “Total Eclipse of the Heart.” She doesn’t know the lyrics to the song, but she proceeds to play the melody on her miniature keyboards while improvising the verses.

It’s actually a song that would be considered baduy in this kind of club, but the people seem to be enjoying it. It’s Torralba’s ingenuity that matters, her ability to replicate the tune’s original chords in just a few seconds.

And so we hear all sorts of songs—“Tattooed on My Mind,” “Bed of Roses,” “American Pie”—as the donations keep coming.

A good old friend from Malabon, Vic Martinez, is here tonight with his brother and two buddies from Ateneo. He has come home from New Jersey to attend the wake of his father. We share a few laughs and then he fishes out a few hundred pesos for his song request. “Ikaw na bahala,” he says.


We write “Carole King, Carly Simon or Fleetwood Mac” on a paper napkin and hand it to Torralba with the cash. She proceeds to play “It’s Too Late” as Martinez hums along.

Before saying goodbye he gets more money, a crisp $100 bill, and says, “Ikaw na uli bahala.” He actually wanted to hear something that was played at his wedding but can’t remember its title. We settle on Elton John.

“Wow, our first green money for the night!” Torralba exclaims, before playing “Your Song.”

The night wears on with more requests. The morning after, Torralba sends us a text message: “OMG I played for five hours and we raised P40k! I woke up aching all over pero this is the best kind of tiredness ever!”


On a Thursday night the SM Mall of Asia open grounds in Pasay City is teeming with thousands of young people, mostly in their 20s and 30s. They are dancing on the cold pavement, which is actually a parking lot and the scene of past big foreign concerts before the MOA Arena was built.

Tonight’s gig, bankrolled by Viber and dubbed “United Republiq: An Electronic Music Assembly for a Cause,” features local and international DJs, among them Nicky Romero from the Netherlands and Axwell from Sweden. Romero and Axwell, both highly ranked turntable artists worldwide, have decided to donate to Yolanda relief efforts their respective talent fees, which is reportedly worth P7 million.

Romero is treated like a king—the audience following his command in between the booming dance tracks. “I want you to raise your hands,” he says, and everyone obeys while the beats intensify.

He spices up his set with a mix of new wave (Eurythmics), reggae and his own remix of “I Need Your Love.”


The crowd swells by the time Axwell appears onstage at 1:30 a.m. The lyrics in his mixes somehow relate to the plight of devastated Visayas residents: “Feel the pressure … I don’t know how I survived … I don’t even know if I’m alive … Leave the world behind …”

Everybody is sweating as the beats get more wicked, sounding like a monstrous avalanche about to swallow us up. Many are drinking San Miguel Light Beer and having a good time at a party that would end on a great note: financial help for typhoon survivors.

As the crowd sings along to “Don’t You Worry Child,” we smile at the thought that love is in the air, especially at a bad time, in the aftermath of Yolanda.

Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter

Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: Axwell , Craft Pub & Grill , Kate Torralba , Lifestyle , Music , Nicky Romero , Philippines , Supertyphoon Yolanda , Yolanda Aid

Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
  1. 12 other things you can do at Pico de Loro Cove
  2. Lover’s quarrel linked to hunger – study
  3. Encounter with a ‘Mangkukulam’
  4. ‘Kamias’ for fever, ‘siling labuyo’ for headache–first aid in the kitchen
  5. How Vitamin B can be a remedy for ‘manhid’ and neuropathy
  6. Summer treat for your aspiring astronomers
  7. Sarah Geronimo and Matteo Giudicelli sing ‘All of Me’–and we all swoon
  8. Marcos grandson to wed beautiful Rocha scion
  9. 90 percent of Filipino households don’t practice proper toilet hygiene, sanitation
  10. ‘Heaven is for Real’: Nonfiction book on life after death reaches screen
  1. Dominique–Gretchen and Tonyboy Cojuangco’s daughter–now an endorser
  2. Why is the lifestyle set now afraid to wear jewelry–before Kim Henares?
  3. Marcos grandson to wed beautiful Rocha scion
  4. France makes work beyond 6 p.m. illegal
  5. Sarah Geronimo and Matteo Giudicelli sing ‘All of Me’–and we all swoon
  6. South Koreans crave Asia’s smelliest fish
  7. How Vitamin B can be a remedy for ‘manhid’ and neuropathy
  8. Ever heard of HydroBob?
  9. 90 percent of Filipino households don’t practice proper toilet hygiene, sanitation
  10. Boots Anson-Roa to wed in Eddie Baddeo
  1. Mary Jean Lastimosa is new Miss Universe Philippines
  2. Did Angara ruin Pia Wurtzbach’s chances at Bb. Pilipinas?
  3. Dominique–Gretchen and Tonyboy Cojuangco’s daughter–now an endorser
  4. Manila in shock over model Helena Belmonte’s death
  5. Vinegar test helpful vs cervical cancer
  6. From Jeannie to mom of suicide victim
  7. San Vicente beaches hidden but not for long
  8. Borgy and Georgina are back; others are off–again
  9. Sen. Angara: I thought Pia Wurtzbach gave a good answer
  10. Ex-Givenchy model fights for ‘Yolanda’ survivors


  • UN warns banana fungus spreading from Southeast Asia
  • Massive infra spending set
  • ‘No real progress in PH if dynasties not dismantled’
  • Cardinal Tagle to faithful: Join politics to clean it
  • Our Lady of Piat: Centerpiece of Cagayan’s gifts to Christianity
  • Sports

  • Federer would skip tennis to be with wife, newborn
  • Manny Pacquiao in PBA? If so, he’ll wear No. 17
  • PSC sets Blu Girls US training
  • Power Pinoys settle for 7th place
  • Successful coaches to get raise
  • Lifestyle

  • ‘Labahita a la bacalao’
  • This is not just a farm
  • Clams and garlic, softshell crab risotto–not your usual seafood fare for Holy Week
  • Moist, extra-tender blueberry muffins
  • The truffled mac ‘n’ cheese, eggs benedict, chicken leg confit are excellent
  • Entertainment

  • Why Lucky has not bought an engagement ring for Angel
  • Derek more private with new girlfriend
  • ‘Community’ star happy with return of show’s creator
  • Jealousy is kid stuff
  • Mommy-daughter adventure continues
  • Business

  • PH presses bid to keep rice import controls
  • PSEi continues to gain
  • Number of retrenched workers rose by 42% in ’13
  • PH seen to sustain rise in FDIs
  • Gov’t subsidies to state firms fell in first 2 months
  • Technology

  • Smart phone apps and sites perfect for the Holy Week
  • Tech company: Change passwords or suffer ‘Heartbleed’
  • Filling the digital talent gap
  • SSS to shut down website for Holy Week
  • Another reason to quit social media this Holy Week: your safety
  • Opinion

  • Editorial cartoon, April 17, 2014
  • A humbler Church
  • Deepest darkness
  • ‘Agnihotra’ for Earth’s health
  • It’s the Holy Week, time to think of others
  • Global Nation

  • First Fil-Am elected to Sierra Madre, Calif. city council
  • UC Irvine cultural night to dramatize clash of values in immigrant family
  • Filipino sweets and info served at UC Berkeley Spring Fest
  • Milpitas, California kids wrap up a successful run of ‘The Wiz’
  • Netizens welcome Japan’s visa-free travel plan