The second time around

(Please click on the pictures to view full size).

I stare blankly at the computer monitor as it reveals its pixellated interpretation of my momentary insanity. As my sweaty palm moistens the creaking mouse, I scramble for ideas, for graphic pictures taken from reality.

Then it hits me, "Draw what pleases you."

So here, friends, is the second batch of the Bottled Doodle Art that I've started making last night.

This morning during brunch, Juanchi told me he'd do a portrait of me, too. A lack of originality on his part, really, because Jean and Dianne have already done such amazing masterpieces of me last night (hahaha). Anyway, I said, "Yes. But make sure I look good, I must have my beard (or moustache, whatever it's called)." I demonstrated the pose he ought to imitate--that of a thinking man because, friends, though I may not look like I'm doing it, I do think.

Anyway, thanks so much, Juanchi for this shockingly, morbidly, and handsomely made portrait of me, which, because of its accuracy and resemblance to reality, is now my favorite:




I also did Carlo's face. Pareng Carlo. If he doesn't look like he's going to crush you with his hand when he sees so much as a smirk on your face, if he doesn't look like he's going to burst into songs when he listens to music, if he doesn't look tall in this portrait, then something must be wrong with it.

Call it post-exam syndrome

I do YM conversations with my lab partners and classmates while making lab reports, something which we submit almost daily. Lab reports have become an integral part of our lifestyles. Like breathing. However, tonight was different because for the first time in history, I was inspired to make sketches of my blockmates using the powerful tool called Yahoo Doodle.

It started with Jean--uhm, Claire, rather. I'm afraid I wasn't able to save the drawing; I had erased it uknowingly. However, Claire made a sketch of me in return. Here it is:



I also made a sketch of Juanchi, my lab partner since Chem 26.1. I wanted to project a manly, ultra-muscular figure, as my friend is taking a course in weight-lifting under a notorious instructor.



Then, I also did Josephine's (okay, Dianne) face. Notice the earrings in the form of benzene. She was making her postlab:



In return, she made this sketch of me; note the highly-defined nose, something that doesn't necessarily exist in real life:



Finally, I did Wegs's face. I asked her what hair color she liked; said pink, but I had already started coloring it green. So I decided to make highlights of red instead (which is a darker red). Now she looks like Rogue in X-men, but only with thicker lipstick.



So there it is. The next time I talk to you in Yahoo Messenger, beware. Your faces could get murdered like this, and worse, published in a website.

The ordeals of commuting during torrential rainshowers

Without anything to shield me from the harsh, cold rain, I made my way from Kalayaan Ave to UP. I slept for more than an hour at my brother's apartment because the initial plan was that we'd visit our relatives in Pasig after my supposed nap. But it was raining; and during these times, people would rather lie in bed than have their posters signed by Sharon Cuneta. Or I may be mistaken.

When I walked out of the apartment, the sky was gloomy, and not a ray of sunlight could be seen. So I figured, "It probably won't rain." Given that, I didn't bother to borrow someone's umbrella or raincoat, and I started walking, without batting an eyelash. I'll get there dry, I thought.

While I was halfway through, it started to pour: first, the small droplets of water and moments later, a barrage of water from the sky. I ran to the nearest roof I could find refuge in (which happened to be KFC Kalayaan), waited for minutes, hoping it would stop, even for five minutes. But it didn't; and I found myself praying, not exactly for me to get to my dorm dry, but for a heart that would trust Him even in simple matters like this.

I didn't know that classes have been suspended already (we know how late the administration gives life-changing announcements like this), so I was determined to get to my place early. I have, after all, two organic chem lab reports to finish, plus a prelab for the next experiment, plus a paper in AP12. Dilly-dallying wasn't the exact solution to these problems.

I ran--yes, dear readers, I can do that--to the Quezon City Hall, and made my way to the nearest road where the UP jeepneys pass by, waited for a few minutes that seemed like ages, and found myself sitting comfortably, albeit my dripping condition.

So here I am, in front of the computer monitor, trying to forget, even for a while, the things I have to do; wondering, too, when the viruses will start attacking my immune system.

Shadows of the Reef in review

1. Even if it weren't required, I'd still see it.
2. Fish nets were everywhere: hanging in the ceiling, draping the actors, dangling in the stage.
3. Actors' voices were audible, flexible, and fluent. Especially Lupe's.
4. Listening to the lines made me wonder which accent they used: certainly not Bristish, definitely not American. They did soundlike hard-pressed Greeks speaking English. But the effect was wonderful.
5. It felt like watching a movie. Or better.

Praise items for a tiring Thursday

I already bid goodbye to my Yahoo Messenger pals a couple of minutes ago; there isn't a lab report that warrants immediate discussion, so I don't have to be up all night. But yes, I should be sleeping, and apparently, I'm not.

I can't sleep without writing about the many things I want to thank the Lord for:

1. My class in organic chem laboratory had to finish two experiments in a row, doing them almost simultaneously. We had to hurry, but there were many delays, including our apparent cluelessness, especially when it came to the distillation set-up. But praise be to Him because we were able to distill a water-insoluble compound, at the nick of time.

2. Our report in Araling Pilipino 12 went well. My groupmates and I (what a cheerful lot we are) weren't able to rehearse our lines because there was such a limited time to practice. But it seemed as if we actually did prepare for it. I especially thank the Lord's special mercy for giving me Filipino words to speak; speaking the national language is a skill I have yet to master.

3. A time to really dwell on memorizing for Bio 12. But yes, there will be more scientific terms to stack into my head; more organisms to identify.

And so, with a cheerful, thankful heart, I drift to sleep.

Thank you, Lord, for such a wonderful day.

Bottled tidbits 3

Wednesday. The mere thought of having no classes is liberating, although the liberty is temporal.

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My Comm 3 group was patient with my suggestions for the choral presentation. We will be interpreting the Beatles songs, Penny Lane and Across the Universe. The first part will be a conservative rendition, with all of us in black costumes, lined up in rows, and carrying folders. The second part will be more contemporary, with half of the group actually acting out the song parts. A powerpoint presentation/background is on the works.

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I saw Manong today. He's on his way to his law class. He failed his first quiz, he told me. Ah, the Lord must be teaching him something. More of his class pictures here.

To be what You require

I set aside what's in my mind and take time to listen to tic-tacking of the rain droplets, the noise around me silenced as mere mumbles. Memories of time past assail me; my heart feels like it's going to explode; and my mouth wants to burst in complaints. But the Lord, being the guard of my heart, reminds me, through a short text message sent by a friend, the prayer that all His children must pray:

"Lord, I am willing to receive what You give, to lack what You withhold, to relinquish what You take, to suffer what You inflict, to be what You require."

My (Our) God

Iris Duhaylungsod wrote this very moving piece about her (and our) great God. You may read it here in full, but here's an excerpt:

"GOD. His comfort is like a blanket which gives warmth to my heart and soul. Never have I experienced failure because He was always with me and His grace was overflowing. There were times when things were equated to impossibility, yet God's hands still worked. Indeed, nothing can stop Him from working and transforming the impossible to the possible!

"Now, I am beginning to know how big, how great, how powerful, and how real my God is! He's not just a God who gives candies and lollipops to the people who do good things. He is the God who split the sea into two, and the God who raised the dead. He is [the] God who once became a Man yet He [overcame] death by resurrection. He still lives! And His presence is being manifested in things around us.

"I praise Him for everything! He is my strength and my fortress! I couldn't ask for more. That's why in everything that I do, I do it with a joyful and peaceful heart, because I know who my God is, I know what kind of God I am serving. And He continually reveals Himself to me. As I wake up each day, God just place (sic) in me an excitement that I myself couldn't explain. It's an excitement that makes me want more of Him. It just overflows. It never ceases. And everyday, just like a generous Father, He blesses me with things I never expected. He is really full of surprises.

"Indeed, nothing indeed, could beat my God!"

Early Sunday mornings make me feel nostalgic

Early Sunday mornings evoke poignant memories of my childhood at home.

During Saturday nights, Tatay would instruct us to turn the TV off early in the night. We can't afford to be late for church, he'd always say. But we, his wretched children, would complain. All the great shows are shown on Saturday primetime. Movies premiere on Saturday primetime. Manong, Sean and I would even wage the Who Gets The Remote Controller War. I wonder if we've ever exasperated him, but he would always reason out: only once a week do we go to church for worship, and we always get to watch TV every night. He would shut if off himself, turn the lights off, and we'd all fall asleep, wondering what happened to the TV show.

And so it has been the routine: Tatay would wake up very early to have his personal preparations (he's part of the church worship team), followed by Nanay (who often volunteers to arrange the flowers in the sanctuary). They would sip their coffee in the garden, and talk for at least 30 minutes. I heard them at times, in my state of half-asleep-iness. When they'd realize that they've spent much of time already, Nanay would go to the room and wake us up with the words, "Wake up, sweetheart." But years of experience warned us that that was but a prelogue to these statements:

"Ralph, wake up na, sweetheart. You wipe the windows clean, okay?"

"Lance, you fix the room, okay? Make sure to sweep the floor thorougly."

"Sean, trim the grass. Sige na, while the sun's still rising, and it's not yet hot."


Sometimes, we would jokingly comment: but aren't we supposed to be like Mary, who sat at Jesus's feet, and not be like Martha, who did the household chores? After ages of complaining, we'd get the chores done, take quick baths, don our Sunday bests, and go to church on time.

It's never the same here in the dorm, when everyone tires himself out watching DVDs all Saturday night. During early Sunday mornings, not a single soul is stirred awake but mine, and the silence can be deafening and almost nostalgic.

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Dorms Christian Fellowship: 10 reasons

The UP Dormitories Christian Fellowship (UP DCF) of which I am a member has had its first General Assembly for this academic year. The program, held at Balay Kalinaw, was attended by Christian dormers from Narra, Molave, Sampaguita, Kamia, Yakal, Ilang, and of course, Kalayaan. It was a wonderful and blessed experience altogether. Many were first-timers, and a lot of our friends to whom we ministered to during our freshmen dorm days were there, too. They've obviously grown in their faith, some of them having taken leadership positions in their respective dorms.

Kuya Dave spoke on the importance of fellowship, especially in the context of the second home, the dorm. He gave an insightful talk entitled, "10 Reasons for Joining XCF," where X is the name of the dorm.

DCF (or XCF) is:

1. Unique. The only org that unites all independent dorm fellowships.
2. Family (Gal 6:20)
3. United. XCF belongs to DCF, which is inter-Bible church/denominational/organizational fellowship. We are united in one body (Eph 4:25), all one in Christ Jesus (Gal 3:28), are keeping the unity (Eph 2:3), and enjoying the unity in Christ (Ps 133:1).
4. Bible-based (2 Tim 3:16)
5. Prayer-based
6. Evangelistic
7. Cross-cultural (Matthew 28:19)
8. Complementing, not competing. We complement the other orgs by keeping the spiritual batteries charged up at home.
9. A Source of Guidance. We prayerfully and biblically help one another.
10. A Future Investment.

Sad news: talo si Larios

So it's Manny Pacquiao. It almost saddened me because Kuya Jordan and I have been rooting for Oscar Larios, the humble yet famed boxer from Guadalajara, Mexico, to win the match called Mano a Mano: Thrilla in Manila 2. At the end of the match, Larios acknowledged losing to a "great champion" instead of blaming his loss to his socks. I really thought the time was just right for Pacquiao to give the title to someone else. With all his product endorsements, from milk to pain relievers to a fastfood chain, I'm sure he won't be needing prize money. But Manny somehow won the long battle, and with his victory, Filipinos feel that they comprise the strongest nation on earth: give us a face to punch and we will. If Pacman did it, we can do it, too. Anyway, there's no question about his win: Manny deserves his title because he has earned his crown with his blood, sweat, and his daily dose of Alaxan capsules. But I get very uneasy with people calling him their hero, the new face of the Filipino, and other titles that elevate him into the position of a historical figure. Maybe he will be, someday, but I guess heroes should do something more than box in front of millions.

Either way, congrats Manny.

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The Challenge: Take us to your favorite spot in campus

The instructor gave us clear-cut instructions: we should take our groupmates to our favorite spot in campus. Like vagabonds, we marched around UP, taking pictures of places, grasslands, trees, and yes, ourselves. I had to do most of the picture-taking since Lei's videocam somehow broke down during the interviews. We did that, too, the interviews, explaining comprehensively, albeit briefly, the reasons why the spot is our favorite spot.



Mine is Yakal. Do I have a choice? I said, "This is the place where I sleep, study, and have my being." Trina's is Ipil, the dorm beside mine, because, she said, it's the place where she and her friends meet. Christian took us to Vinzon's. His reasons were very deep: he started off by saying that he lunches there often and that the first tuition he paid in UP was loaned from that building. Zsazsa (yes, Ms. Padilla's namesake) took us to the cluttered Fine Arts building where most of her classes are. In the lobby were statues of Greek dieties.


But the best place we've been to was the Bonsai Garden located at the back of the Architecture building, near CP Garcia Avenue. Lei's favorite place was green, peaceful, and absolutely breathtaking. Had it not been for the mosquitoes that hovered around me, I would've stayed there for hours.

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It amazes me that for the past three years of living in UP, there were still places that I haven't visited, until we had our class activity. The Lord is amazing indeed for capping this weekend with a wonderful adventure.

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Click here for more challenge pictures.

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