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Diplomate

I.

Dr. Jun Jorge, chair of the Department of Medicine at PGH, called me up at 9 PM, March 14. I passed the diplomate exam of the Philippine College of Physicians. I'm now a board-certified internist. I will remember this day with Sir Jun's sonorous tone as background. He was perhaps holding back his excitement that everyone in my batch made it, some with the highest scores.

My heart is bursting with joy at the past and the present and the future, all of my life bearing the indelible mark of God's faithfulness. If doubts assail me in the future, I will look back to this moment. This is yet another milestone in my life, a testimony of God's goodness and love.

Whenever I celebrate victories, King David's calming and humble prayer gives me the right perspective.

Not to us, O LORD, not to us, But to Your name give glory Because of Your lovingkindness, because of Your truth. — Psalm 115:1, New American Standard Bible

II.

After the end of residency in December 2017, I spent the next two months at home in Marbel. My grandmother died, but I was able to squeeze in a few moments to read Harrison's, scribble a few notes, and manufacture mnemonics—the kind that I forgot after three days of having concocted them. People call that short-term memory loss, and I've been guilty of forgetfulness many times over. Interspersed with the flurry of activities, Netflix series, downloaded books in Kindle, and coffee sessions with high school classmates—many of them already married and with house-and-lots—I was able to work part-time as a physician in a coastal town in Sarangani and a company hospital where my parents had first met.

My family wasn't all that helpful. My father would drag me with him to the mall for his afternoon coffee or the farm for his morning appointment. My mother would volunteer my services to many of our close family friends. My brothers would question the validity of my studying: was I really remembering things when all I did was watch films and blog?

III.

My go-to café was The Brew Project along Judge Alba Street. I almost always had the shop's excellent single-shot espresso which kicked my dwindling afternoon consciousness to activity. I took photos during some of these study sessions, yet another proof that cafés are the new libraries.

January 5. The baristas, who saw me enter the store between 2 to 3 PM, remembered what I always ordered.


January 21. My TWSBI Eco and Valiant columnar notebook.


January 22. Infectious Disease was the longest topic.


January 23. This reminded me of the Viennese kaffeehaus.


January 24. My kid brother Sean would join me.


February 2. I interrupted my break with a short visit to Manila, where I took an online exam. I was able to catch up with Carlos, Racquel, and Abby, all diplomates in IM now, too. Congratulations, guys.


February 10. At Bo's Cafe, SM General Santos. I later spilled the creamer.


February 22. Austin Kleon's calendar served as my short-term planner.


February 23. Another day at the cafe.

IV.

Thank you for all your prayers and words of encouragement. I haven't told my parents yet.

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