Composing 10,000 characters
I began the project while my family was trying to locate and establish contact with our cousins and their children at Palo, Leyte. Before 10,000 Characters, I had written a small poem “Karibal ng mga ibon” during the first days (Hindi gagana kung mga kurot lamang ng pandesal. / Bato, maliliit at kilalang bato, ang tutungo sa bundok // Na babasag sa hangin . . .). That was last week, when we had next to nothing specific about the conditions of people in the places hardest-hit by Yolanda.

10,000 Characters began when the storm was exiting our “area of responsibility” and some drops of news came together and congealed into the 16-line poem “Unspecified” (Enter the person’s name or parts of the name // A thousand words cannot describe the sheer / on cardboard and torn-up paper plates,). At the time, I was trying out the Person Finder and other online ways of “looking for someone.”
At the outset, the idea was to scavenge from downright from reports, instructions and prohibitions, wikis, ads, statements, search engines—perhaps I was looting, taking advantage from whatever was at hand. These were then trimmed and sorted (processes that various relief items had to undergo) into the 313-line “Characters (with spaces) 10,000” —a poem mostly in Filipino.
10,000 Characters—originally titled “Characters (no spaces) 10,000”—was to repeat the same processes, likewise alphabetized (akin to lists of survivors, lists of missing, and lists of the dead), but this time in English.
After arriving at the 371-line poem, I wished to derive simple, uniform packages from it. Some relief collections came with suggestions to simplify operations and save on time. For example, instead of just saying “bottles of water,” they asked for 1L bottles for easy and uniform distribution. Anticipating disarray, one UP system-wide effort promoted a 1+2+3+1 scheme for relief items, that is, 1 kilo of rice, 2 canned goods, 3 packs of instant noodles, and 1 liter of water. Accordingly, I cut the 10,000-character poem into packs of 10 or 17 lines.
Yesterday, my sister fetched our cousins from the airport. She took photos of them, the children and their drawings. Then she posted them online. In the comments thread of one photo, I read sighs of relief, words of welcome, and someone was asking, if we knew the whereabouts A— or C—. If we had any word from or of them.


a community torn apart by
a cause. But again, watch
adrenaline, fatigue. Now is the time for singular
affair with a bolder design language as the model
against its mischievous results, and
aggressive competition between females
alone. One estimate suggested that
a mosquito bite is tantamount to undermining
and search-and-
an embedded eye began
an expanding and deepening central dense
an IV drip above them
approached its final
areas. When drivers were unable to locate
Articles containing potentially dated statements
as cool, stable air began wrapping into
a shift guarding the entrance to the XYZ.


birth to a “miracle” girl in a typhoon-
break I’ve ever encountered. It’s the sound of a culture’s
broken her waters by the time the
Bulletin. Retrieved November
by the looters. “It’s
calling events like these as natural
casting a clearer light on
cats sleep
center for the alphabet-soup of functions in the new nine-
Central on Justice
children in one arm and grabbing on to the ceiling with the
City. (In the days after
City. “The fastest way to
clients are cancelling their Christmas
closed and people living in low-
come in,” he warned them


debris. A better idea is
debris. Read more
depression early the following day. After becoming
depression. [6] [nb 2]Owing to
Desks and tracing
desperation. On Friday morning
developing. Owing to the formation of an eye, the
devices. Retained are standard items like the
-dry mutter from the trenches: “Droll rat
Disasters was activated, providing for widespread
doubles as the control
drawing attention to its chiseled and bulging
economy of the hard-
efforts, they are seldom in short
electricity cannot take
ends to the grieving


lost at sea”. The Standard
Love” begins as an almost doggedly traditional
machines. An upside down burger
‘Ma, just let go
man’s land
-man team to pre-position their
mapping products, pre- and post-
map out all severely affected
marked by a thick accent coming in the form of
Masters (November
matching names. If you
match with anybody in the list
may vary when other facts are changed or
meals directly to the hardest
-meaning individuals who simply show up
memoried.” We are lulled into thinking that the
-minute sustained


ragged, cloud-filled eye. In contrast to the
Rapid weakening ensued as
reasonable consequence of the course about to be pursued. If so
record), you can run a background
reeling after historic
refrain from shipping mixed boxes of relief
region deserve it. It is not your place
relentless postings to
remained on the island and rode out the
rescue [source
residents ignored the warning, they all survived
restoring order. [84] [85] “The looting began
-righteous, please. If you can’t help these
said it was God’s will that he found his wife floating
said: Restoration of
Sandy. If you donate to a well-known
saying, “it has got to weaken

she had already given up,” the mother
-shocked to hide, a standing target. The fragile
shoes to New
showered, lubed and ready for another round of mud and
shut down after being
sifting through trash that remained
signals from the senses. The top-
silence to everyone who experienced
since. More than 10,000 people are believed
slowed somewhat during the day, though
small letters to passers-by and
-smelling heaps of
society, both who are working on the ground as we race
so deeply in cloud tops as cold as [cold dark gray
someone” and follow
so responsibly. Spread the word


Yolanda,” as well as to augment post-
Yolanda” by Filipino authorities – barrelled
Yolanda’ gathers
Yolanda has sent home
Yolanda” here
Yolanda. “In effect there is a de-facto
Yolanda is the perfect singer for this
Yolanda recovery:
Yolanda smashes through central
Yolanda terrifies young, old
Yolanda, this
“You could hear gunshots last night, with
YOUNG. A man brings his lifeless
you” message to
young girl as villagers are
your efforts
yourself,” said the girl, whose body was pierced


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