Thursday, May 30, 2019


Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Psalm 115:16

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Fruits in South Cotabato

I'm home for my father's death anniversary. Has it really been a year? During this brief interval—a reunion of sorts with family and friends—the Lord has been kind to make me enjoy the abundance of fruits.



Marang—a sweet fruit

Kind fruit vendor




Saturday, May 18, 2019


Monday, May 13, 2019

Sunday afternoons


I'm asked what I do on Sunday afternoons after worship service. I take a nap, wake up refreshed, catch up on my reading, and work on stuff for Monday. The to-do list is hardly ever empty. Once in a while, I get to experience sweet Christian fellowship, which feels like drinking from a fresh stream after a long journey across the desert. Consider yesterday, for instance, when I ate solo at a restaurant along Timog Avenue. While sipping my americano, which I had ordered in advance, Pastor Caloy, Ate Berns, and their daughter Abby came in, looking for a space to eat. We ended up eating at the same table. The lunch was filled with stories of God's grace and faithfulness, that inexhaustible topic of those who believe and treasure Jesus Christ. We were all too engrossed in our company that we failed to immortalize it with a photo.


I was headed home for a nap (how much more middle-aged can one sound!) when I saw my dear friends Paul, his wife Jac, and the High King of Wales, Kuya Dave, riding the escalator to the exact restaurant where I had just eaten. They are like family. I joined them but did not order anything else; I was full. By that time my stomach still hadn't churned up the chorizo with glazed onions and fried rice. It was refreshing to be called "Lovely Boy" by Kuya Dave, who was instrumental in my growth as a young Christian. He shared God's Word to Yakal Christian Fellowship faithfully, on Thursday nights, with an emergency lamp and photocopies of his typewritten (with a typewriter) sermon outline. He remains as sharp as ever. He remembers our house in South Cotabato, then still being renovated, where he had stayed a few years ago. I love him dearly.

Jac Paul and Kuya Dave

I finally got my long-awaited shuteye, and I woke up just in time for Kuya Bobby's surprise 60th birthday party. The preparation was elaborate and well-thought out. There were photos of him on every table; at some point in his younger years, he looked like an action star. He never had a clue about the surprise being concocted for him. We from Pilgrim Cell were asked to prepare for a dance for the program. My participation involved horizontal movements, and I couldn't have been more grateful for Marky and Joey who showed their moves in the front row. It was a refreshing time to hear God's transforming grace in the life of Kuya Bobby, who still hadn't fully grasped what was happening in his party. Happy birthday, Kuya Bobby!

Happy 60th, Kuya Bobby.

Happy 60th, Kuya Bobby.
Pilgrim Cell, still incomplete at this time, with Kuya Ilyong, Ogie, Nerwin, Kuya Dean, Marky, and Kuya Ferdie.

Happy 60th, Kuya Bobby.
The theme was vintage cars, Kuya Bobby's favorite hobby.

Happy 60th, Kuya Bobby.
Dance practice, which lasted for two minutes.

Happy 60th, Kuya Bobby.
Kuya Bobby, younger versions. 

Happy 60th, Kuya Bobby.
BJ and Jotham, wonderful emcees last night.

Pilgrim Dance
My Bible study group, Pilgrim, brothers who encourage me with their love for the Lord and His Word. From left: Kuya BJ, Kuya Arnie (back), myself, Kuya Ilyong (back), Kuya Ferdie, Kuya Dean, Kuya Noel (back), Joey, JC, Kuya Vance, Kuya Bobby, Jason , Marky, Kuya Jess (back), Ogie (middle), Kuya Danny (middle), and Kuya Moncie, with his son Teo, who's probably looking for his twin, Rio.

That was how my Sunday went.


Saturday, May 11, 2019


Cancer Institute on a Saturday

First photos with iPhone 6

I like making rounds on weekends. Mark Ando, the new oncology fellow from Cebu, went with me. It was his first time to go on duty. On my way home, I passed by the unkempt gardens at the Cancer Institute. I saw two white butterflies hovering over the grass. My work is a blessing.


A year after


Exactly one year ago, an assassin murdered his father in broad daylight. The camera footage would show a gunman firing predetermined shots to a car; the said gunman would whisk away in anonymity, leaving a man dead in the front seat. His sisters, who were in the car, would recount the events as if it were a movie.

My friend was at work that afternoon, scheduling an MRI for a patient with spinal cord compression. “Para akong first year resident ulit!” he would tell me, his statements punctuated by laughter. We had only begun subspecialty training then, barely understanding the ropes of chemotherapy. It was the most harrowing day of his life. He would rush to the hospital, hanging by the railings of a public-type jeep, his face soaked in tears, his soul drowned in anguish.

A week later, my own father passed away.

Death sneaks upon us unannounced, but at least we can, for the most part, plan when we would cry. Roger and I said we would schedule our moments of “depression.” But we could only go so far with our plans—often, as I have experienced, the tears come during moments both expected or otherwise. I had a pair of glasses tinted so I could cry all I want during commutes without anybody noticing. I was congratulated for being fashionable, but that was the eye wear’s main utility. The tears have become less frequent, and there are days when I don’t even think of my father. But there are various reminders of him everywhere.

Today, it’s his father’s death anniversary. What do I tell Roger? What does one tell those who have lost precious loved ones?

Trust in the sovereignty of God, who knows exactly when we will be born and when we will be taken away. Let the tears fall. Grieve. Take time to be alone. Get enough sleep. Speak to your soul. Look to God, as the Psalmist did.

Why are you cast down, O my soul,
and why are you in turmoil within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,
my salvation and my God. (Psalm 42:5)

It does get easier with time. The darkness does lift eventually.


Tuesday, May 7, 2019


Thursday, May 2, 2019

Context is important.

Here’s an ink stain from a repurposed Lamy bottle, now containing #diamineochre, one of my favorite inks to date.