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Showing posts from May, 2010

"My dear Dodoy"

While rummaging through the old stuff, my father called my attention to a letter my mother wrote him before Manong Ralph was even born. This was around the time Tatay was still working in Saudi Arabia, and Nanay was pregnant with her first son. Using a blue pen and her prescription pad, my mother wrote a letter packed with anxiety, care, and longing. Months after they were married, my father went to a foreign desert land, hoping to earn money for a new family he was building. Here's a snippet of that letter.

Post-summer break evaluation

I'm back—back from vacation, back to the real world. Before I hit the hay, I just want to wrap things up by doing a mini-evaluation as to how my summer break went. In April 10, I listed the things I had wanted to do . Here I'm going to indicate which ones I accomplished and which ones I didn't—and for what reason/s. How did I fare?

River

Banga, South Cotabato I took the shots during a heavy downpour. The water level was rising by the minute, and the current was getting tougher. I could've by-passed the river entirely, but a visit to my aunt's farm wouldn't be complete without this adventure.

My blogging resolutions*

1. Resolved, to write only of things that are honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent, and worthy of praise (Philippians 4:8) for the glory of God and my own good, profit, and pleasure. 2. Resolved, to compose blog entries only after I have come into a daily personal communion with God through the careful study of His Word.

Getting lost

The hour after lunch is the sleepiest time of the day, regardless of where I am. It's 1 pm, and I'm yawning. I take a short nap, but the air is too stifling to allow a decent siesta.

The long and winding road

While on the road, I poke Sean's armpits and wait for his punch. I need to do something—a painful distraction—before the long, winding curve gets the better of me. Travel-induced nausea, I call it, one of the worst feelings in the world.

To the young

I'm off to Davao City today. I'm one of the speakers at the Soli Deo Gloria Christian Church 's Youth Camp. I'll be speaking tomorrow, May 23, during the evangelism night. Until now, I'm overwhelmed by this rare, undeserved opportunity of speaking to the young, and I pray that the Lord would use me to encourage and stir them up to doing hard things for Him. My talk is entitled, "The Ultimate Hard Thing: What Jesus Did So That The Hard Things We Do Are Not In Vain." Please pray that God's name be lifted up.

Same genes, differing perspectives

"That movie is life-changing for me— Patch Adams ," I tell Sean as I browse through cable TV. I don't think he hears me the first time. He goes on texting. "What movie changed you, Sean?" He answers, "Batman," without lifting his eyes.

Investing in memories

After his morning coffee, Lolo would take us to this small park. We'd play with the swings and see-saws, and he'd stand nearby, warning us to be careful. Just before we'd go home, our feet would be soaked in morning dew. This was more than 15 years ago.

Lost in the rain

The sun was directly overhead, and the air was stifling. I was indoors, trying to beat the heat. The fan was in full blast. I was writing something when the skies suddenly darkened. I felt a cool breeze enter the house. Minutes later, I saw raindrops outside, first in trickles, and then in a massive gush of water from the heavens. I took my shirt off, flung it on the floor, and headed straight to the garden. Ah, the rain. I haven't soaked myself wet in the rain for a very long time.

Good music, good food

Photos from our mini-reunion at EMR in Morales, Koronadal City. We look so pretentious with the wine glasses.

Kamatayon

Damo sa mga kilala ko ang mga nagkaramatay. Ang adviser sang Tagatala. Ang nanay sang classmate ko. Ang classmate sang nanay ko. Tapos si Rotchelle. Kagab-i, nag- videoke kami sang batchmates ko sa high school . Pagkatapos sang dinner , nag-istoryahanay kami.  Wala ko gid ginpalampas ang chance nga mamangkot kung ano natabo sa lubong ni Rotch. Okay man daw. Damo nag- attend . 

Happy birthday, Manong!

Little joys

I'm now subscribing to Scotty Smith's blog, Heavenward . It has been a source of encouragement for me. Smith serves as Pastor for Preaching, Teaching, and Worship at Christ Community Church in Franklin, Tennessee. I hope I could pray like him. In one entry , he writes: I praise you for the loud-stringy-splashing crunch of celery and the oohs-and-aah-generating texture of good ice cream. I praise you for my wife’s gentle kisses and my grandson’s limitless repertoire of facial expressions. I praise you for the polyphonic soothing sounds of ocean waves… the memory-connecting music of the 60’s… the well-timed greeting of a friend. I praise you for the permanent smile on the face of dolphin… the never-the-same array of sunrises and sunsets… the more-faithful-than-a-Swiss-clock ways you show up when I need you the most—ways which only confirm that the gospel is so much bigger and better than I ever imagined. God continually showers me with little things that make my life enjoyable

Do not be anxious

Sinclair Ferguson in The Sermon on the Mount: Kingdom Life in a Fallen World : It is only when we take our lives out of the Father's hands and have them under our own control that we find ourselves gripped with anxiety. The secret of freedom for anxiety is freedom from ourselves and abandonment of our own plans. But that spirit only emerges when our minds are filled with the knowledge that our Father can be trusted implicitly to supply everything we need.

Politics

Stunned

The country has seen history unfold in the past two days, and her people have demonstrated what democracy is: a nation run by the people. Among the developing stories I've been following on tv, what stunned me most was the way candidates have taken their losing, something this land hasn't seen before—at least, in a way not as widely practiced as we see it today. They conceded. They congratulated the winner. They accepted defeat. You see, in the Philippines, when a candidate loses, he'll claim that there was massive vote-rigging. It's a nation hurt and more divided after the election.

I cast my vote in the first automated Philippine elections

I was voter 117 in the queue which, by UP standards, was still relatively short. The system was slow, and the people were complaining. It was only 8 am. My number was called at around 10 am. I finished marking my ballots in less than 2 minutes. I had a list which made things easier. So how did it feel like? When I read "Congratulations!" on the PICOS PCOS machine, I felt like I just made history. How did you fare?

Leaders we do not deserve

In a few minutes, the family is going to the precincts for the historic automated Philippine elections. It's also my first time to vote, and I'm excited to finally take part in this democratic exercise. Over breakfast, I finalized my list of candidates and put it in writing. I've had the greatest difficulty choosing from the local candidates. I hardly knew their platforms, and the internet wasn't helping either. Just a few thoughts, derived mostly from a Sunday preaching:

Composites

If you're curious, I took pictures with a camphone while standing on the same spot. I used GIMP to manually stitch the images; it was pretty much like solving a puzzle. The final images surprised me. Many thanks to Heather Champ for the inspiration.

A fitting ending for Agua Bendita

The plot so far. My suggested ending: Bendita becomes nicer and marries Ronnie. Agua goes to Hollywood to star in Avatar 2.

Failure

Thoughts on the upcoming elections

Jamaica Kincaid's A Small Place is an angry literary work but a well-written one. Here she traces the roots of present-day problems plaguing the nation of Antigua. She goes back in history and shows the effects of English colonization, slavery and emancipation, and the horrible transition to independence which only ushered in a corrupt government. Halfway through the book, I felt that I was reading about the Philippines, too. Here are a few statements that may seem familiar to you:

Dot Com

I've long toyed with the idea of having my own domain. Yesterday my older brother volunteered to pay for it as a delayed birthday present. Thank you, Manong! I'd also like to thank Ate Kate Pedroso for the helpful tips in setting this up. Just to be sure, please update your bookmarks and feeds to www.bottledbrain.com . If you use the old URL, you'll automatically be redirected to this site. I'll be blogging here from now on. See you around!

Done

My book review backlog has grown over the past few weeks. I'm happy to say that I've finished everything in my summer reading lists ( 1 and 2 ), except for The Notebook of Malte Laurids Brigge by Rainier Maria Rilke and MacBeth by Shakespeare because I forgot to bring them home—crappy reason, I know. In addition, I've also read Scared: A Novel on the Edge of the World by Tom Davis. That's 10 books in four weeks, already a record high for me. I still have a few more weeks before classes resume, so I may just grab another book title and write these reviews before I forget entirely. Ah, summer.

Consequences

Minimalism

People who've worked with me know that I don't have the patience to wait on a slow computer, especially when it's booting up or shutting down. As with everyone else, I want things to run fast and smooth, but this demand increases greatly with electronic devices. The sight of popping windows, miscellaneous notifications, or unnecessary programs running in the background irritate me. I know it's my sinful nature at work, but it's also because a computer slowed down by clutter and disorganization impedes my productivity and quality of work. I guess this is part of the reason why I made the switch from Windows to Linux. Among other things, I wanted a computer that was streamlined for my needs. I wanted to have programs I would actually use. And I wanted my computer to run on its optimal speed. I recently chanced upon a web philosophy called minimalism. I owe utmost thanks to Nathan Hale's Minimal Linux blog for introducing this: We advocate a minimalist (only

Don't waste the blackouts

Before I went home I was forewarned of the daily blackouts, recurring intermittently and amounting to almost 12 hours. That's easier said than experienced, mind you, especially when the power losses happen after lunch time, and the heat is so terrible you get dehydrated by simply sitting on your couch. Last night, the power was cut off around 9 pm. I was restless. I couldn't sleep. We have huge windows at home, so we opened them because it was so hot, but there was hardly any breeze coming from the outside. And then I knew it: I ought to make the most out of these blackouts! I grabbed my Bible, then read and meditated through the first chapter of Jeremiah. What a blessed experience it was to talk to the Lord. The silence and the dark were ideal for prayer. There were fewer distractions, too. There are many worthwhile things I can do during brownouts: reading Scripture for longer periods of time, reading other books, playing with shadows, playing games with Sean and my c

Holiness in a godless world

J. C. Ryle's Holiness , a Christian lit classic, has been a blessing to me. The book is a compilation of his meditations and preachings on Scripture. He argues that the reason why the Christian church is weak is that people have weakened in their pursuit for holiness. Today it's the same story. He anchors holiness in Jesus Christ and what He has done on the cross for sinners. No one can truly be holy unless he has Christ. Ryle then goes on to explain what holiness is. He points out that saving faith in Jesus must translate into practical holiness. In three chapters, he explores the examples of Moses, Lot, and Lot's wife to demonstrate how it is to be holy in a godless world. Ryle writes in simple language, and very systematically at that, since the book's format is like an expanded outline. He also writes passionately, exhorting, in the boldest of words, the believer to self-examination, obedience, and love for the Savior. I highly recommend Holiness , such a refr

Hear me out

The Jejemon Phenomenon

Labels are powerful, especially the stickier ones. The term, jejemon , is an outstanding example. Before this phenomenon even became a word-of-mouth, I've already been bothered by the occurrence of a weird language pervading the web, one that made use of capitalized letters in all the wrong places. Jejenese , as it is now called, highlights the importance of inserting the letters h, x, and z, and celebrates the replacement of ordinary English letters with Hindu-Arabic numerals in a non-algebraic context. Here's an example: GMA-7 Michael Fajatin also made funny, interesting reports on the jejemon invasion. Click here and here . I've never encouraged  jejenese , but when kids begin writing this way, to the detriment of their academic mastery of English, there is clearly a reason to be concerned. Writing, after all, is a discipline. It is putting thoughts—abstract, invisible ideas in one's brain—into tangible letters which form words, then phrases, and then sen