Showing posts from January, 2005

Of studying, dreaming and remembering names

Sensing the quick, unpredictable ebb and flow of a hundred or so college students from the classroom, you begin to wonder why it is always necessary to go to school. Waking up early has always occurred to you as a challenging and strenuous activity: you realize that solving math equations is more convenient than taking a cold shower in the morning. Your mother almost always jolts you out of Dreamland; and she always succeeds--she has mastered the "art of revival." Sometimes you are tempted to scold her for disturbing the momentum--you had, after all, been dreaming that you were about to enter the gates of Paradise when she slapped you hard. But, on second thought, you'd rather not scold her. * * * "Uy, ano'ng next class mo?" Someone, a few meters away, asks you point-blanc. The person's face looks rather familiar, but you cannot recall when or where or how you've met her. She is on her way to where you are. Smiling, you answer her question. Then you

Heart to heart

Heart to heart

Oranges and Apples



There comes a time in man's life--once, twice, or many times, depending on the sovereign plans of the Lord--when he feels he cannot do anything useful. The idea I am suggesting is not alien to most of us. When this malady invades our body system, we cannot do anything to stop it immediately. Science has shown us ways of defeating it, but so far, an instantaneous relief from this has not yet been discovered. I am talking about feeling sick. It's a bad condition. So here I am, in front of the PC. My eyes are bloodshot and watery--people would ask me, "Did you cry?" My palms are cold as ice; they feel like they've been exposed to a zero-Kelvin type of coldness. In contrast, my skin--especially my neck--feels like it has been cooked in the oven for thirty minutes. So far, I have not gone out of the dormitory without my coat. Forgive me for this cynicism, but I have to say this anyway: when I wake up early in the morning, I feel like it's snowing in Manila, which i

The Hall

PROLOGUE My prayer a year ago: Lord, I trust in You. Give me good companions, friends who will help me grow in the knowledge of You, and a comfortable place to stay while I am in the university. I live in a university dormitory. It's a great place to live in, but it isn't famous for no apparent reason. These may be intimidating--on second thought, they are actually meant to be that way: you need to produce a lot of earwax to adapt to the noisy atmosphere; a ton--or nine thousand barrels--of guts, too, to survive, and a clean, white set of teeth to flash whenever someone says hello. It's that easy--when you like irony, that is. There are few moments of solitude and quietude, too, especially when the clock strikes twelve, or when Kuya Myk, our exemplary resident assistant, visits our room for a nightly "bed check." The dorm is the Kalayaan Residence Hall in the University of the Philippines. It caters only to freshmen students, so we, the residents (there are more t

Uselessness is usefulness

I also experience the same troubles, brother. I know that your context regarding "usefulness" may be different, but let me just write my thoughts...USEFULNESS... I need to learn how it is only God and His power in us who makes us useful. Transform us into useful spirits. I can appear to be totally useful in the eyes of the world, even in the church as a part of the Body, but in reality still be utterly useless for His glory. It's like I'm a bubbling fountain. My friend, Nissie (, posted this comment in one of my entries entitled Too bad where I talked of how useless and senseless I can be at times--at least, from my own point of view. Her view, however, is one that I share with most emphatically. Man's idea of usefulness is never compatible with God's. That's the point I'd like to underscore here. but when you run your hand through me you'll discover that I'm only a hologram. I learn that it is only those times when you

Brevity of life

Old pond Frog Lapsing into water-- Noise. By Basho

E-mails: A Series

It is a universally accepted fact (how could it be a fact if it is not universally accepted?) that I always find time and means to open my e-mail, and to write something, no matter what comes into my mind, in this blog. It is also an acknowledged fact, too, that many friends e-mail me everyday. Though I mostly receive individual e-mails from my Yahoo groups, I also receive quite a lot of e-mails sent only to me. It's a joy to see my inbox always full. You will now read a series of e-mails sent to me by a good friend named Paul V. He's a college freshman, too, and stays in the same dormitory as I do. He's also from the Basement corridor, and his room is not so far away from mine. He loves to eat: he thinks he's obese, but I tell him he's not. He's very obese. Naaaah.. hehehe... Majoring in BS Hotel, Restaurant, and Institution Management (BS HRIM), he's a pretty clever guy. His e-mails, as you will notice, are very clever, too.He had problems with Math, but h

Too bad

Useless. That's how I really feel sometimes. I can't do much; I can't enjoy much--it's as if there are always holes, missing pieces, that need to be filled up. For example, I know how to ride a bicycle (unlike my 19-year-old brother Ralph who never tries), but I couldn't ride it as fast as, say, the great Lance Armstrong--my namesake, by the way, who has won six Tour de France championships--or even my younger brother, Sean. I can manipulate the bike such that the motion I'm following is rectilinear; I couldn't, however, take a sharp turn. It's a disability. My eyes are awefully myopic, too. The only thing I can see in the Snellen chart is the biggest E that's right at the top. I need eyeglasses; though I wear contacts, I find putting them on rather, er, incovenient. But wearing them feels like I have undergone a multi-million laser eye surgery. Senseless. That's what I am, too. Times would come when I'd tell nonsense things to everyone: the


The sea that had once looked peaceful, inviting, and interesting has become an object of fear. Tsunamis, once an abstract oceanographic term, is now a word that carries with it memories of death, destruction and doom. The earthquake, once a normal phenomenon in the Philippine archipelago, is now more feared than ever. The Aceh Province, once a remote, unknown place, is now the talk of the town: it is a scary place where dead people are scattered all over the streets, waiting to be buried. I was shocked and terrified when I learned of the earthquake-cum-tsunami disaster that has affected many countries in South and South East Asia. The death toll is continually rising--the International Committee of the Red Cross even estimates that the number of dead people could rise to 150,000. Many are left homeless, family-less, and hopeless. I feel blessed more than ever. You see, I could have been one of the thousand victims of this tragedy. My body, floating in the steady, violent overflow of se