Review: Jipan Japanese Bakeshop

My lunch today was at Jipan Japanese Bakeshop located at the Upper Ground Floor, Building A, SM Megamall. I learned of this place through Atty. Connie Veneracion's blog where she wrote:

Some restaurants we try out of curiosity. If we don’t like the food or the service, or if the prices are way out of proportion with the quality of the food, we don’t go back. If we like the food, service and price, the restaurant becomes a habit. Jipan is one those habits. 
I dragged Manong Ralph with me, and it was a first time for both of us. What almost always happens is that I research interesting places to eat, while he pays the bills. That happened today.

Psyched

Maybe it's a good thing that our block's rotation schedule mimics the normal rhythm: we're on our Psychiatry rotation during the semestral break. Doesn't feel like we're deprived of anything. Psychiatry has been uneventful so far, no backbreaking work, no demanding paperwork, no nothing when you think about it, and the enjoyment mostly comes from actual patient encounters.


I'm glad to finally learn what Psychiatry is all about; it's listening to patient's stories and making sense of them. Clarity of mind, the consultants say, is what we all should have. How can we make sense of others when we can't make sense of ourselves? Listening can get stressful, and as I inquire about my patient's feelings and wait for her to finish her train of thought, dotted with psychotic remarks that are mostly amusing, I find myself admiring psychiatrists more and more. They do this for a living, risking their sanity to help those who have lost theirs.

Sixty

We're not big on birthdays, our family. But my father celebrating his 60th year on earth—now that's extra-special. Weeks ago I planned on writing Tatay a letter, scribbled with my own handwriting, to be sent via post. But I forgot all about the surprise until this morning, when I looked at my phone and realized it's too late for big gestures. Today is that time of the year, October 26. My father's birthday.

When you're 60, people aren't hesitant to call you old because you are just that: an old man, but wiser, more sensible, more enlightened than the oily-faced teenager on the street.

Somethin' Fishy

The plan was to leave later in the evening to catch the unlimited breakfast buffet at Somethin' Fishy, a restaurant at the heart of Eastwood, Quezon City. What was originally planned to be a bonding activity for our block turned out to be a boys' night-out after the ladies backed out at the very last minute. We missed their company, of course.


Eat-all-you-can offerings are notorious for two things: there aren't enough food choices or the food tastes bland. I'm still baffled by the economics of how these establishments operate, too: don't they ever lose money? But the fact that many dining places of this nature have cropped up recently proves they earn more than they lose. It's a booming business, so to speak.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer's Christ is the Center: lectures on the centrality of Christ in Christianity

Christ the Center Christ the Center

Christ the Center, published by Harper Collins, is a collection of lectures given by Protestant preacher Dietrich Bonhoeffer during the summer semester (May-July) in 1933 at the University of Berlin. In these talks, Bonhoeffer stressed the importance of having the correct knowledge of who Jesus Christ is. In one of his letters, he wrote, "The world's coming of age . . . is better understood than it understands itself, namely on the basis of the Gospel and in the light of Christ."

It must be noted, however, that the texts were reconstructed from the notes of Eberhard Bethge and a few of his students who actually sat down in those lectures. According to Edwin H. Robertson, the translator of this work, these lectures are important because "they stand between the developing theologian influence by all that he had read and thought on the great doctrinal issues, and the leader of the resistance, who was determined that this resistance would be theological rather than political." Bonhoeffer, of course, is known for founding the Confessing Church, part of the Christian resistance against Nazism.

Saturday night dinner: Burger Project and Sancho Churreria

A phase is what this probably is: my recent food adventures, fueled largely by a schedule free from excessive academic work. Except for the upcoming Management rotation in Bicol, these past two weeks are probably the closest I'll get to a decent sem break this year.

I'm blogging from my brother's apartment, and I'm stuffed. We just had dinner at Burger Project, a restaurant along Maginhawa Street, Teachers' Village, an area now bursting with life because of the recent emergence of places to hang out. This street used to be quieter when I was in college at UP Diliman.

Review: Assad Café

The apartment was empty when I came home from class. It was depressing.


So I put on a shirt and old jeans and walked along UN Avenue, which is just near where I live. I was going to eat dinner at an Indian restaurant in Paco called Assad Café, a place I only knew because of this blog entry.

It was my first time to see the other side of UN Avenue (Taft Avenue being the reference point), and I felt like a tourist again. I was surprised, for example, to learn that there was a big Philippine Christian Book Store branch nearby. And I saw an office of the Philippine Bible League, with lots of beautiful Bibles on display. These stores are just a stone's throw away from where I live. And the realization hit me once more: that I live in Manila, but I hardly know the place.

Hidden meanings


Yesterday afternoon, on the comfortable Radiology Department lounge, my friends were debating on whether I should change the name of my site to something else. 

"Bottled brain—what does that mean anyway?" Bon Buño asked me. I know that some of my classmates read my blog on a daily basis, and it's a privilege to waste their time, but Bon isn't one of them. He hardly goes online, and when he does, it's only because of group work deadlines.

"I just like the sound of it," I said.

"You should change it to something more . . . sizzling. To attract more readers, you know? And so that you'd sound really hot. Change it to something like . . . Paranoid Pepper," he said.

Review: Pizza Nero

After a big meeting on our upcoming sex education lecture for high school students last night, I approached Lennie Chua and Elizabeth Ching, "Let's eat dinner."

They asked me where.

"Where our feet will take us," I answered, to which they excitedly said, "Let's go."

Eventually Lee-Ann Caro, Krushna Canlas, Margie Bocaya, and Casti Castillo joined us. Unfortunately some friends weren't able to make it—they either just wanted to rest or they had romantic dates lined up for the evening. Mostly the latter.

That's the joy of having time to spare, I guess, a thought made alien to us by the jampacked schedule and unavoidable stresses of medical school. But now that we're on our radiology rotation—something we cherish because, for once, we're taking a two-week break from actually seeing and examining real patients, limiting ourselves to a cold room viewing X-ray or CT plates—we have time, quality time, to go out and explore the streets of Manila.

Review: Nomnomnom Happy Place

If he's not rushing to go home after church, Manong Ralph treats me to a sumptuous lunch. He's been doing this since he started working a couple of weeks ago. Having been a student himself, he knows that my weekly allowance runs quite low on weekends. I don't know how much he makes, and he refuses to divulge the said information, because I might just ask him to buy me a two-door refrigerator.

Most of the time he lets me decide where we'd spend lunch. The thing with me is that while I think of myself as adventurous in terms of trying out food choices, I'm not adventurous enough. My choices are limited. I'm loyal to the good places I had been to, and I'm not the type to look for new places for the sake of experience. I tend to believe reviews from word-of-mouth. Only last night did I try to search the internet for the restaurant reviews in major areas of Metro Manila.

"So where do you want to eat?" he asked.

I whipped up my notebook. "Nomnomnom Happy Food. I looked for reviews online. It's along 1 Tomas Morato cor E. Rodriguez Ave. Besides Shell Gas Station. That's very near the church," I said. And we were on our way.

Under the rain

I woke up hungry at 9 pm. I slept through what remained of my afternoon. I was tired after a day of taking blood pressure measurements, among other things. I decided to go out and explore new places, wondering where my itching feet would take me. It was almost 10:30 pm. I hailed the first jeepney I saw. It was raining. Didn't carry an umbrella with me. So there I was, walking along the streets, soaked, enjoying every minute of it. Heard random conversations during my commute. Saw lost teenagers in pitch-black alleys. Until I found an inviting restaurant along Vito Cruz and ordered these. Praise God for the wonderful time!

Under the rain

On treating human beings, not diseases

The mantra is for a doctor to view patients not as diseases but as human beings who happen to be suffering from something. I've heard this being trumpeted time and again in our Art of Medicine lectures—a subject only recently injected in the UP curriculum because of previous feedback that while UP graduates are competent and knowledgeable of the treatment protocols, no question about that, they severely lack bedside manners.

Grief, in stages

Taxi

During the taxi ride last Sunday, I asked the driver how he was faring so far. "Wala talagang pasahero 'pag Linggo (There are really no passengers on Sundays)," he said. I noticed a familiar Ilonggo accent in the response—a habit I got from my father who has the uncanny ability to geographically and culturally place people based on how they speak—and from then on I talked to the driver in the Hiligaynon vernacular.

Big, big milestone in my reading life

Except for James Joyce's Ulysses, which I never got to finish, I've never felt so exhausted after reading a novel until I got to the last page of Thomas Pynchon's Gravity's Rainbow.  They say only ten percent of people who start reading this work actually finish it. And I see why: the writing is simply overwhelming, featuring some 250 plus characters, many of whom disappear after a few paragraphs, only to resurface again in the ending chapters. There are unpredictable shifts from first- to third-person, and these occur quickly. Poems and song lyrics (95% of them I couldn't understand) are interspersed in the long sentences that remind me of the works of Gabriel Garcia-Marquez (One Hundred Years of Solitude) and Mario Vargas Llosa (The Green House).

Just finished Gravity's Rainbow!