Showing posts from August, 2010

A weekend well-spent

The past three days have been the first extended weekend I've had in a long time. I feel liberated; suddenly I had 24 extra hours to do other stuff, oversleeping not being one of them, although I had the option.


François Truffaut's 1959 film, Les Quatre Cents Coups (The 400 Blows) , tells the story of a boy.  The scene opens with the teacher writing on the board and the boys passing around a picture of a half-naked woman in lingerie. Antoine Doinel (Jean-Pierre Léaud), our hero, is caught, and he comes right up to the teacher's desk. He doesn't look scared. He goes to a corner—the French has a face-the-wall version, too—and patiently waits for recess. When the bell rings, however, the rest of his classmates hurry up to play outside—recess has always been for playing, not eating—and he attempts to join the rest of the crowd, until the scary teacher they call Sourpuss (Guy Decomble) calls him back, "Recess isn't mandatory; it's a reward."

Never the same

I treat myself to a movie after every test. It doesn't matter who stars in it, as long as it keeps me interested and I get something out of it. The Royal Tenenbaums (2001) is a comedy-drama about a brilliant, dysfunctional family. If you liked J.D. Salinger's Franny and Zooey , you'll probably like this, too. The three children are extremely gifted. Chas (Ben Stiller) is a genius in international finance. He also breeds dalmatian mice in his home-based lab. Margot (Gwyneth Paltrow), the adopted daughter, is a popular playwright. Richie (Luke Wilson) is a world-class tennis player.

Saturday morning

It's a crisp Saturday morning. My roommate, Monchi, has left earlier for yet another frat-organized activity; this man is restless and is hardly here on weekends. After checking my email and doing stuff for school, I feel hungry. I go out and feel the morning sun burn. As I walk along the streets on slippers, I hum a tune. The song is O Love That Wilt Not Let Me Go , an old hymn I like to be sung when I die. It's a great feeling, anonymity, the time you can do what you want in public without anyone—usually a classmate going through the same daily routine—recognizing you.

"I hated what was my own"

I enjoyed Autumn Sonata recently, a 1978 Swedish film directed by Ingmar Bergman.  A mother comes to visit her daughter's home in a beautiful, rural farm town. The mother is Charlotte Andergast (Ingrid Bergman), an accomplished classic pianist who wants distraction after her lover just died. The daughter, Eva (Liv Ullmann), now married to a preacher, welcomes her mother with open arms, with an almost childlike excitement. They haven't seen each other for seven years.

Over dinner with old friends, I jokingly told them I wanted to be a plastic surgeon

After what seemed like an eternity of after-class meetings, I got a text from an old friend, Katrina Magallanes . Now a student at the UP College of Law, she was in the Supreme Court to attend the Hacienda Luisita hearing, and she wanted to meet me. I was excited, of course. This was the classmate I often teased in elementary school. I wanted to know how she was doing, if she has been getting enough sleep, or if a man has been brave enough to finally ask her for a date, with her intimidating credentials and all that.

Sawi sa pag-ibig

The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao is more than a narration of a geek's life story. It is a tale of epic proportions, spanning different generations and weaving horrifying stories of the Trujillo regime in Dominican Republic. Published in 2007, this is undeniably Junot Diaz's masterpiece, having won the Pulitzer Prize. The hero is Oscar de Leon, an overweight, ugly, introvert, dark-skinned guy whose idea of entertainment is collecting comic books, watching sci-fi, and writing stories of his own. A quintessential geek, he has a hard time getting girls to like him.

Pus reminds me of cheese

The exam I took this morning just capped off Derma Week. You know how it is: puke-inducing pictures of pus, blood, and parasites; and beautiful doctors—consultants and residents alike—with glowing, almost pore-less skin. I couldn't help but stare if they weren't looking.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer's Prisoner for God: a man's love for his Savior

Over the weekend, I read Prisoner for God , a collection of letters, poems, and essays written from the prison cell by Dietrich Bonhoeffer , a pastor and theologian who participated in the German resistance against Nazism. Bonhoeffer founded the Confessing Church which, at that time, was a beacon of Christian hope and courage, encouraging the German people to persevere in their faith amidst the persecution. Because of his Christian leanings, he was imprisoned in 1943 at Tegel Prison in Berlin. He was later transferred to Prinz Albert Strasse. He was eventually executed in 1945.

A blessed, restful Sunday

Mike Tan —not the anthropologist-cum-Inquirer columnist—visited Higher Rock (my local church) for the first time. Boy, I was glad to see him again; too bad Luther Caranguian couldn't join him this morning. Mike was among my closest friends in Yakal, like a kid brother, even. I'd go to his room to listen to his newest song downloads, to pass away time, and to ask for prayers. We also shared a keen interest in books and table tennis. To celebrate the Lord's Day, we headed straight to Il Terrazo, a couple of blocks away from church. We ate at Banapple where the food is always delicious.

My UPCAT experience

Some of my younger friends are taking the UPCAT today. And as I've been praying for them, I tried remembering my own experience, a story that keeps my feet on the ground because to this day, I don't know how I managed to pass it, if not for God's grace. Seven years ago, on a clear Saturday morning, I woke up earlier than usual, took a hearty breakfast, and quickly made my way to Notre Dame of Marbel University, the testing center in my area. Minutes away from taking the exam that would change my life forever, I prayed for guidance, strength, and wisdom. In my heart of hearts, I wanted to pass. Desperately.

Medical board exam is tomorrow

Around this time of the year, the library is packed. The mood is quiet, hushed even, because one can't bear to disturb the new graduates as they prepare for the dreaded medical boards.

Where dreams take us

At 3 pm today, I closed my eyes. And as I drowned myself in darkness (and the good professor's voice with it), I started to dream.


I don't do groceries regularly; like any Filipino, I like buying my stuff piece by piece. A sachet over a bottle of shampoo. Cookies in little plastic packs over cookies in big metal containers. I patronize the sari-sari store economy. But this one time was a little different. I felt like I had to replenish my supplies. My parents would be relieved knowing I was munching something.