Gaining Altitude

Altitude Games

After some radio silence, I’m excited to announce that I am now Creative Director and Co-Founder at Altitude Games.

People who know me know that I was never the entrepreneurial type, but when Altitude started to form, I couldn’t say no. It had pretty much everyone I wanted to work with: Gabby as our CEO, who lives and breathes the startup business life; Marc as engineering director, who was actually the first game programmer I’d ever worked with; Paul as tech director, who’s one of the rock stars of local game development; and Chester as art director, one of the most famous (El)Pinoy illustrators around. They’re the best at what they do; it was my personal dream team.

I’m excited as I am terrified. We’ll be making games I’ve never made before, with tech I’ve never used. Already, I feel like I’m scrambling to catch up. (I am told that this is normal; welcome to the startup life!) While we can’t say what we’re working on yet, you can follow us at these places so you’ll be the first to know:

Starting a new company is a leap of faith for me, but I’m jumping with the best. I’m super lucky to be here and I hope I don’t let them down!

alpaca-my-bags-quickly

2013 recap (where’d the year go?)

This is what I did for most of 2013:

This year went by in a blur, and I ran as fast as I could to keep up. This blog post is an excellent example: I have 15 minutes to get ready for our New Year’s Eve dinner, but instead I’m frantically finishing this last-minute! I am looking forward to a quieter, more purposeful 2014 :)

Like every end-of-year post, I’m limiting my list to 20 bullets. Here was my 2013:

  1. Touched a dolphin (bucket list check!)
  2. Passed my Practitioner Level 2 exam in krav maga
  3. Attended four IKMF seminars: taxi seminar, home invasion, third party protection, and knife and gun techniques
  4. Demo’ed krav maga at the July gun show (video!) and on TV for UNTV’s Good Morning Kuya and UNTV Sports
  5. Taught one krav maga class as session leader (still can’t believe it!)
  6. Survived Outbreak Missions and ran through needlessly aggressive zombies
  7. Sorta kinda learned how to cook eggs benedict (bucket list check!)
  8. Volunteered for typhoon Haiyan by compiling global donation links, and setting up Central Dispatch and Operation Santa‘s online operations
  9. Judged at the Manila Game Jam
  10. Went to Cebu for the first time, and danced “Gangnam Style” with the Cebu inmates
  11. Hit the beaches in Davao, Batangas, and Subic
  12. Went on a Scandinavian cruise, travel hacking most of the way
  13. While on the cruise, I drank medieval beer in Tallinn, got hailed on in Aarhus, fell in love with Helsinki, walked 5K for cancer in the biting cold, and did a krav maga pose in seven countries (I am insane)
  14. Watched Stars in Manila and Metric in Hong Kong. Also saw Fourtet, The 1975, Gold Panda, and more at Clockenflap. And danced at a silent disco!
  15. Slowly starting to front roll better (slowly but surely!)
  16. Bought a new laptop – a sleek, shiny Ultrabook. Named him Kovacs
  17. Said goodbye to my uncle, who passed away just days after we left Davao
  18. Said goodbye to our family home in Alabang of 11 years. Threw out, sold, or donated most of my stuff
  19. Made new friends and cherished old ones. Hugs!
  20. Became single again

Happy 2014, everyone! May the Universe give you what you seek :)

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My list for 2012 is here.

The cab ride

“Where did you arrive from?” The airport taxi driver asked me as we left the airport.

“Hong Kong,” I answered.

“I thought you came from Leyte,” he joked, “because your luggage is so light, like you have hardly any clothes.” And then, as if to explain himself: “I just came from Leyte, to get my mother. She lost everything. When you’re there, you look forward, left, right, behind you — you see nothing, only debris.

“She didn’t want to go with me,” he continued. “I said I would make her, even if I had to carry her. ‘Why will I go with you?’ she told me. ‘I have no extra panties, just the one I’m wearing.’ ‘I’ll buy you new ones,’ I said.”

We entered Makati. He is careful at every corner. “I only started driving cabs recently,” he explained. “The rules are different here in Makati. If the traffic cops catch you, the fine is so expensive. It’s one day’s profit, gone.”

We talked a little about politics, the traffic.

“I used to be a seaman,” he said. “I went around the world. The other seamen asked me why I could be away from my wife for so long. ‘I’m tired of women,’ I’d joke. ‘I’m into men now.’”

I laughed. “That must be tough, though, to be away from your family and not come home.”

“Six to eight months at a time, and yet you’re the one in the wrong,” he suddenly spat out, defensive. “My son is spoiled. He took the money I earned and didn’t share it with his mother. He’s an addict, you see. You’d see his hand shaking when he holds a cigarette, like it was weed. His mother just kept going out with her friends. I earned so much money as a seaman, for what? It all went to my son’s rehab. So I might as well come home and be near them. That’s why I drive cabs now.

“Life is okay,” he concluded as we arrived home. “Driving cabs is okay. It’s a quiet life. Steady. Simple. Life can be okay if you’re ambitious.”

I paid him the fare. It was at once expensive and not enough.

Donating to the Philippines from abroad (2013 typhoon Haiyan / Yolanda)

People overseas are finding their way to my 2009 blog post when they search online for ways to donate to the Philippines. If you are looking for a way to help the survivors of Super Typhoon Yolanda (international name Haiyan), here is a list of ways you can donate from abroad.

(Read about the devastation on CNN and BBC. See photos on The Big Picture and Greenpeace.)

Jump to: Events | Online | Bank | Offline

Events

  • Worldwide: Authors for the Philippines is holding an online auction from Nov. 13 (8AM GMT) – Nov. 20 (8PM GMT). Proceeds go to the British Red Cross
  • Worldwide: Threadless, slingprint, and FEED are selling relief shirts; proceeds go to various charities for Typhoon Yolanda
  • Australia (New South Wales): Drop off goods on Nov. 19 at 168 Union St. Erskineville, NSW – Please look for Ala
  • Australia (New South Wales): Drop off or help pack goods on Nov. 20 at 168 Union St. Erskineville, NSW – Please look for Ala
  • Canada (Winnipeg): Beats and Rhymes for Relief fundraising gig on Nov. 22, 10pm at Exchange Event Centre
  • Singapore: Benefit event on Nov. 19, 8pm at Artistry. Contact Prashant at prash@artistryspace.com
  • Singapore: AFTERSHOCK fundraising gig on Nov. 22, 7pm at Platinum Music World Disco Bar
  • Singapore: Sagip-Tulong 2013 fundraising festival on Nov. 24, 1030am to 730pm at Hong Lim Park
  • USA (Glendale, CA): Bayanihan in Concert on Nov. 22, 6pm to 2am at Beyond The Stars Palace, Glendale, CA
  • USA (Chicago, IL): One Voice this Christmas benefit show on Dec. 7, 7pm at Decibel Bar, Chicago, IL

Online (Paypal, credit card, etc)

Bank (dollar accounts)

One La Salle Relief Drive

  • Bank name: RCBC Bank (note: NOT RCBC Savings)
  • Swift code: RCBCPHMM
  • Account name: De La Salle Brothers, Inc. – Yolanda
  • Account #: 8926-001156
  • E-mail the validated deposit slip to bee.cruz@delasalle.ph or fax to +63 2 721 5049

De La Salle University

  • Bank name: United Coconut Planters Bank (UCPB)
  • Swift code: UCPBHMM
  • Account name: De La Salle University
  • Account number: 01-120-300035-8

National Alliance for Filipino Concerns (NAFCON)

  • Bank name: BANCO DE ORO
  • Swift code: BNORPHMM
  • Account name: Visayas Primary Health Care Services, Incorporated
  • Account #: 106110039631
  • Branch: F. Gonzales Branch, Cebu City

National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council

  • Bank name: DEVELOPMENT BANK OF THE PHILIPPINES
  • Swift code: DBPHPMM
  • Account name: NDRRMC Donated Funds
  • Account #: 0435-021927-530
  • Branch: Camp Aguinaldo Branch, PVAO Compound, Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City

Sagip Kapamilya (BDO)

  • Bank name: BANCO DE ORO
  • Swift code: BNORPHMM
  • Account name: ABS-CBN Foundation Inc – Sagip Kapamilya
  • Account #393-008-1622
  • Branch: Sct. Albano, Quezon Avenue, Quezon City
  • Fax (+632-411-4995) or email (sagip@abs-cbn.com) copy of transmittal/ transaction slip with complete donor’s information

Sagip Kapamilya (BPI)

  • Bank name: BANK OF THE PHILIPPINE ISLANDS
  • Swift code: BOPIPHMM
  • Account name: ABS-CBN Foundation Inc – Sagip Kapamilya
  • Account #: 3054-0270-35
  • Branch: West Triangle, Quezon City
  • Fax (+632-411-4995) or email (sagip@abs-cbn.com) copy of transmittal/ transaction slip with complete donor’s information

Sagip Kapamilya (PNB)

  • Bank name: PHILIPPINE NATIONAL BANK
  • Swift code: PNBMPHMM
  • Account name: ABS-CBN Foundation Inc – Sagip Kapamilya
  • Account #: 419-539-5000-21
  • Branch: Timog, Quezon City
  • Fax (+632-411-4995) or email (sagip@abs-cbn.com) copy of transmittal/ transaction slip with complete donor’s information

Offline

  • Worldwide (Asia, Europe, Middle East, USA): LBC Express will take your donations in their branches worldwide
  • Outside the USA: Call CARE at +1-404-681-2252
  • Outside the USA: Call or go to any Doctors Without Borders office in 20 countries
  • Australia (New South Wales): Drop off goods at Hemp Health and Organics, 65 Mullens St. Balmain
  • Canada: Canadians text to 45678, RELIEFNOW 4 $10, AID 4 $20, RELIEF 4 $5. Govt matches $ for $
  • Canada: Drop off/pledge donations at any Sears store starting NOv. 12 (can also donate by phone)
  • Hong Kong: Gen Ex Cargo, Hong Kong A-Freight Ltd., and Hatari Express Remittance will be accepting donations in kind to be shipped to the Philippines. List of branches here
  • Hong Kong: Donate cash or check to the Hong Kong Red Cross
  • Hong Kong: Donate cash to International Care Ministries, 21/F and 23/F Siu On Building, 243 Des Voeux Road West, Sai Ying Pun
  • Singapore: Donate cash or check to Red Cross House at 15 Penang Lane Singapore 238486, from 9am to 7pm (Mon-Fri) and 9am to noon (Sat-Sun) (can also donate via ATM)
  • Singapore: Donate cash or check to Mercy Relief, Blk 160, Lorong 1 Toa Payoh, #01-1568, Singapore 310160
  • USA: Mail a check to your local American Red Cross chapter, w/ “Philippines Typhoons and Flood” in the memo line (can also call 1-800-435-7669 or 1-800-513-3333)
  • USA: Call CARE at 1-800-521-2273
  • USA: Call Direct Relief at 805.964.4767
  • USA: Call MeryCorps at 1-888-747-7440 (can also donate by mail)
  • USA: Text $10 to donate to numerous charities; full list here
  • USA: Text AID to 80108 to give a $10 donation to mGive Philippines Typhoon Disaster Relief Fund
  • USA: Text AID to 50555 to donate $10 to Operation USA (can also donate by phone or mail)
  • USA: Text COLBERT to 50555 to donate $10
  • USA: Text REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation to the Red Cross
  • USA: Call United Methodist Committee on Relief at 1-888-252-6174 (can also donate by check)
  • USA: Call UNICEF at 1.800.FOR.KIDS (1.800.367.5437) (can also donate by mail)
  • USA (Daly City, CA): Drop off donations at Rise-up Philippines Bay Area Donation Drop-off Center, 140 Serramonte Center, Daly City (M-F 3pm-8pm, Sat-Sun 1pm-8pm)
  • USA (Palo Alto, CA): Send donations to Neighbors Abroad, P.O. Box 52004, Palo Alto, CA 94303
  • USA (Baltimore, MD): Mail check or money order to Catholic Relief Services, P.O. Box 17090 , Baltimore, MD 21297-0303. Or call 1-877-435-7277
  • USA (Hagerstown, MD): Download a donation form and mail to Doctors Without Borders USA, P.O. Box 5030, Hagerstown, MD 21741-5030
  • USA (Silver Spring, MD): Download donation form and send to ADRA International, 12501 Old Columbia Pike, Silver Spring, MD 20904 (can also donate by phone)
  • USA (New Jersey and New York)RDR CARGO is conducting drop-off drives (clothing, dry goods, etc) in their stores and will ship them to the Philippines for free. Pick-up within range also available. Call Rommel at (917) 294-5107
  • USA (New York, NY): Send a check to Ms. Margaret B. Llamas, Executive Director, Philippine Jesuit Foundation, Inc. P.O. Box 312, New York, N.Y. 10028, U.S.A.
  • USA (New York, NY): Make check payable to JDC; write “Typhoon Haiyan Relief” on the check (can also donate by phone)
  • USA (Blue Ash, OH): Drop off food, personal care products, first aid, and others to Matthew 25: Ministries, 11060 Kenwood Rd. Blue Ash, OH 45242 (can also donate by SMS or post)
  • United Kingdom: Go to any Oxfam shop (can also be by phone or post)
  • United Kingdom: Send a check to British Red Cross, Typhoon Haiyan Appeal, 44 Moorfields, London EC2Y 9AL

This list needs to grow! Have something to add? Please comment here and I’ll include it. Thank you!


Sources are from social media (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram) and other lists such as the Huffington Post, CNN, Rappler, Weather.com, Clinton Foundation, and USA Today. Thanks to blogger Lala’s World, too!)

In the Philippines and want to help? Check out Rappler’s list of relief efforts.

Defining what I do, in four sentences or less

This morning, my two bosses and I went through our professional bios (to be used for game conferences and such). After struggling to make my description sound interesting, I asked if I could just have a short version. This is what I came up with:

Short version:

Paraluman Cruz has over 10 years of experience in the game industry as a designer, producer, and writer. She currently designs casual adventure franchises for Boomzap, and previously helped create their Awakening, Dana Knightstone, Otherworld, and Botanica series. Her other passion besides games is krav maga, which she trains under International Krav Maga Federation Philippines.

“Well, that’s me,” I said.

“I fixed it a bit,” my boss Chris Natsuume replied.

Only version:

Paraluman Cruz has over 10 years of experience in the game industry as a designer, producer, and writer. She currently designs casual adventure franchises for Boomzap, and previously helped create their Awakening, Dana Knightstone, Otherworld, and Botanica series. Her other passion besides games is krav maga, which she trains under International Krav Maga Federation Philippines. She also has big floppy ears.

“I hate you.”