Showing posts from May, 2008


Words fail me. I could hardly make sense of my emotions. I’m numb. I wish I were like the great poets. Unlike me, maybe they were able to make sense of what they we were feeling, and they were so good they even put their thoughts down in pen and paper. But I have no logical thoughts right now. My mind is a clutter. A clutter of questions generated by disbelief, shock, and pain. * * * Why? * * * Right now, I’m still thinking of you: bursting with that horribly infectious laughter, beaming with your signature smile (yeah, it's your angle!)…your hair tossed by the wind, your face caressed by the gentlest of winds. *** If you saw our blockmates right now, their eyes bags are the size of bean bags. Oh, I know you’ll laugh at that silly joke. A good, hearty laughter the world will never hear again.

Fresh from Albay

My friends Koji and Kito just got back from the mission trip to Barangay Balading in Albay. Higher Rock Christian Church has been sending small teams to that area since the onslaught of typhoon Milenyo. Koji writes: This was a truly blessed experience. The last time I went to little Barangay Balading was with the pioneer mission team almost exactly a year ago. Milenyo is long gone, but the need is the same: the rescuing of people dead in the storm of sin. It's awe-inspiring to see God's continue to work in the hearts of sinners like me. The growing interest and unending questions about the Bible, Christ, life, hardship, truth -- all telling of deer panting for streams of water. Grabe. How God works to satisfy us as we see our need for Him! Here are some shots I found in Koji's album .

To the mouse I shall be dissecting this afternoon

Hey. We’ve known each other for more than a week now, 11 days to be exact, and I know this because you’re special. I remember visiting you on that lazy Saturday morning and you looked at me with your red, searching eyes, as if to say, I’m pregnant. You weren’t mistaken. I don’t know if you were excited as I was—or I was excited as you were—but knowing that you were conceiving half-day old kids thrilled me to pieces. I told my friends all about it, and they were wishing you all the best. From then on, I kept coming back to you, talking to you, handling you by the tail to see if everything was alright. Thankfully, you seemed to be in perfect health. But right now, I, who glaringly and openly professed to be your friend, will do to you the two most despicable things one could ever do to a friend—one, I’m going to kill you, and two, I’m going to kill your babies. I’m not even going to ask for your forgiveness, but all I ask for is that you hear me out one more time because what I will say

Archies? Cookies?

The world will be watching the battle between the two Davids. Except for the names, the characters almost resemble those in the Biblical account: a kid fighting against a man. But in this modern-day story, no slings or stones are involved. And there's no guarantee that the kid will be strong enough topple the big man down. I'm talking about American Idol , of course. After weeks of competition, the show is down to two contestants. On one side, there's David Archuleta, the 17-year old balladeer who likes licking his lips when singing. On the other side, there's David Cook, a twentysomething rockstar whose hair looks appropriately uncombed. The two of them clearly have talent. No doubt about that. That being said, the question boils down to who has the greater following. Next week's competition will be a popularity contest. And it's going to be a tough one. Now, as the final battle is about to begin, I wonder if I'll be with the Archies or the Cookies.

23 things you don't really need to know but would like to know about my dear brother Manong Ralph

1. He's extremely careful about his books. The sight of one crumpled page is, to him, as horrible as a 7.8 magnitude earthquake. 2. He writes like an old man. And he writes painfully slow. But if you're his friend, you'll probably dismiss him as a laureate of sorts. 3. Sometimes, it seems that, to him, a grammatical error is worse than adultery. 4. He thinks that anything mainstream is replusive. But he still went into blogging. 5. Among us in the family, his nose has the greatest surface area, second only to my father's. Go, look at our family albums, and you'll know what I mean. 6. When he was in high school, his face was a rich mine of pimples and blackheads. 7. Nobody can stop him from singing anywhere. He often mistakes the library (or the grocery store) for the bathroom. It gets awful sometimes I just have to cover my head in shame, as if to say, "I don't know him." 8. Except for Tatay, he's the only one in the family who has the patience to

Catch it if you can

If not for my joining the lab, you'll never see me handling rats--not here, not ever. But one can learn things--even acquire some form of love or appreciation for these mammalian experimental models--when he is forced to. As part of my laboratory internship, I'm required to feed and check on the mice on the assigned day. It's usually with a partner, but if he/she comes late, I may have to do it myself. The hard part is not the feeding, per se , but catching those that have escaped from their cages. I don't know how they do it; mice are supposed to be dumb creatures. Now catching an escapee requires more than just agility. It requires, above all, creativity, logic, and a great deal of patience. You isolate the mouse in a corner, you hold it by the tail, and you bring it to its cage. But, in real life, it's not as simple as that, as some mice (especially the hyperactive ones) may resist isolation by hiding in some rat hole while you blink your eye. And then you may ha

1001 (Fiction) Books That You Must Read Before You Die

I've finished two books last week: Ayn Rand's The Fountainhead and David Bezmogis's Natasha: A Collection of Short Stories . I'm currently reading Kazuo Ishiguro's The Artist in a Floating World. I'll write more about them sometime. Anyway, I came upon this list of 1001 (fiction) books you should read before you die . (Thanks to for the referral.) It's very humbling because while I already consider myself an avid reader, I've only read about 30 of the books listed: Contact – Carl Sagan Love in the Time of Cholera – Gabriel García Márquez One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel García Márquez Autumn of the Patriarch – Gabriel García Márquez To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee The Lord of the Rings – J.R.R. Tolkien Lord of the Flies – William Golding The Old Man and the Sea – Ernest Hemingway The Catcher in the Rye – J.D. Salinger Nineteen Eighty-Four – George Orwell Animal Farm – George Orwell The Little Prince – Antoine de Saint-Exupéry The G

Reading Ayn Rand for pleasure

I was in third grade when I asked my mother what book she'd recommend to me. "Ayn Rand's The Fountainhead or Atlas Shrugged," she said. "But those are long, hard books to read and understand." Intimidated by the sheer size of the book--more than an inch thick and about 600 pages or more--I settled for Nancy Drew. Ayn Rand was born on February 2, 1905 in St. Petersburg, Russia. She eventually migrated to the United States and began her writing career. Her novels catapulted her to success and popularity. Ayn Rand is a powerful writer, albeit an entertaining one. Her books are never boring; they have a story to tell. But what sets Miss Rand from the rest of the authors is that she is focused in getting her kind of philosophy across: objectivism . She writes: My philosophy, in essence, is the concept of man as a heroic being, with his own happiness as the moral purpose of his life, with productive achievement as his noblest activity, and reason as his only absol

Moncie is 24

Kuya Moncie celebrates his 24th birthday today. The sweet Ate Rae made an interesting suprise for him: a blog with greetings from his friends, co-workers, and family. (I made him a sketch , too.) Happy birthday, Kuya Mons! Knowing you has, in a way, drawn me closer to Christ.

I shall look upon His vindication

Here's a beautiful verse to lift us up whenever we sin: Rejoice not over me, O my enemy; when I fall, I shall rise; when I sit in darkness, the Lord will be a light to me. I will bear the indignation of the Lord because I have sinned against him, until he pleads my cause and executes judgment for me. He will bring me out to the light; I shall look upon his vindication. (Micah 7:8-9)

Summer in the lab

What's been keeping me busy for the past few weeks is the lab. There's so much to tell you, like my first experience in the mouse room, or my group's (with Isabel and Checa) failed experiments, or how we repeated the entire experiment at least thrice, and a lot of other things in between. But here are some photos to give you a clue of what I'm talking about. Oh, before I go, doesn't everybody look smart with a lab gown on? That's me with Ate Xy-za. I don't have a clue what to do next. From right: Carlo, Zi, Coy, Juanchi, Kino, and I don't know who the owner of that other head is. Here's Carlo doing the staining.

I can't imagine being locked up for 24 years

I can't imagine human life without the sun, without the sight of other people walking in the street. Which makes me all the more wonder what that Austrian man did to his children: he locked them up in a basement cellar, not for a day, not for even a week, but for 24 years. What's even harder to bear is that he molested one of his daughters (who was 19 when she was locked up). As a result, she bore him 3 sons and 3 daughters, all of whom didn't have any iota of an idea what the outside world looked like--or that there was one to begin with. I know it's sick, but it's so sick I can't imagine it. To lock up someone is to curtail his freedom, not just to go places but to interact with other human beings. Interaction with society is part of the human experience. In a sense, we are shaped by the people we know. Our interactions with others allow us to interact with ourselves. We can't completely isolate ourselves; God didn't design us that way. But what bothe

Polaroid Template is up!

It's past 1 am, and I'm still here, tweaking what now looks like my new site. The code is complicated, which means I didn't do this on my own. Yes, I had outside help. Thanks eBlog Templates ! I'm afraid not all of the links are working. I can't figure out how to modify the header links. I also can't find the code for the Google Adsense. Where art thou because I shall delete thee?

Cut and wounded

If you look at me closely, there's a small, shallow cut in my forehead. It bled like a waterfall last night after I bumped into the shower knob in the bathroom; I was too reckless not to have switched the light on. The next time I knew, I was sprawled on the wet floor, the pain so excruciating I still felt it throbbing even before I slept. I'm thankful my brain's function remains intact. I still know who I am. My name's Phillip.

I Have a Shelter

Here's a song for the weary Christian pilgrim called I Have a Shelter (by Steve and Vicki Cook and my all-time favorite, Bob Kauflin): I have a shelter in the storm When all my sins accuse me Though justice charges me with guilt Your grace will not refuse me O Jesus, I will hide in You Who bore my condemnation I find my refuge in Your wounds For there I find salvation A beautiful, beautiful song.

Congratulations Batch 2008 of the University of the Philippines!

From a corner I saw my friends glowing. I’d never seen them so radiant. It was clear that something important was going on; it was to be their final day as UP undergraduates. I remember that it was JP Asong who told me that UP then was like a distant dream, something that was too far to be reached. Like him, many of my friends share the same sentiment: that of utter shock. After four years or more, they’re ready (hopefully) to take on new challenges in life. What those will be is a question that they themselves must answer in due time. I’d like to say congratulations to the UP Centennial Batch of 2008! Their diploma is a testament to God’s faithfulness. I’m certain that they couldn’t have done it on their own. Every quiz, test, experiment, paper, and report they had to submit couldn’t have been submitted had it not been for God who willed it to happen. It was God who saw them through during their times of failure and disappointments. It was God who provided for all their needs. To God