Showing posts from 2005

Looking back (2005)

I want start a tradition in my blog. I want to end each, single year with a Looking Back entry, like the one I had written a year ago . Humans, after all, are forgetful people—I am not excluded—and chronicling significant events of the past year through blogging will definitely emboss these seemingly insignificant embers of history into my brain. And just how forgetful are we? Forgetful to the superlative level. To illustrate: whenever the teacher asks, “What did we discuss yesterday?” I’d have to dig my brain’s dysfunctional memory card—what did we talk about last time? What? WHAAAAT?—and find it blank. But that’s a very shallow example, so here’s a deeper one: we hardly even remember the Lord’s goodness for the past year. We are so comparable to the Hebrews, God’s chosen people forgot God’s great miracles—like the Parting of the Red Sea —after only a few years. All they ever did was complain. These are the events that have happened to me, events that the Lord has used to


I was browsing through the blogs and websites than linked me and was shocked to see Mr. Manuel Quezon III's blog in the list. In one of his Christmas entries , he greets the bloggers who read him and whose blogs he reads, too. My blog, bottled, appears in the Blogger-ful list. Merry Christmas!

About Christ and Him alone

Maybe it's just misinterpretation, if not downright ignorance, that plagues the world, including some supposed parts of Christendom, during the Christmas season. What bothers me is that people have developed a wrong sense of the celebration and have perhaps forgotten the real reason for the rejoicing. Christmas is not about Santa Claus nor the gifts he gives to children. It is not about freezing water or the drowsy air from Siberia nor the existence of red-nosed reindeers in the North Pole. It is not about Ethel Booba making amends with another Gwen Garci in Startalk nor about Kris Aquino crying tears of joy after a 15-year old high school senior won the million in Game Ka Na Ba. It is not about going to mass and making sure that one's attendance is complete for the entire Simbang Gabi. It is not about the sky precipitating cool, white bits of ice. It is not even chiefly about giving, forgiveness, love, happiness, family, friends, and goodness. So what is Christmas then? It is

Prayerlessness is deprivation to the soul

I wanted to know if prolonged failure to update my blog would give me hemorrhoids or temporary insanity, or, worst, a pimple in my nose so huge it looks like a ripened tomato. No. It doesn't. However, experience tells me that a prolonged failure to have a daily, quiet prayer time with the Lord makes me terribly pained. It is a feeling that something is wrong--that something could go wrong. After all, not being able to pray is not being able to rush to the comforting arms of my Savior and be comforted by His timeless promises amidst the conflicting anxieties of my soul. It is to deprive the soul with the very air that nourishes it. Do we take time to pray? Do we immerse ourselves in intimate conversation with God rather than talk about the latest gossip in town? Prayer is to the soul as blueberry cheesecake is to the body.

Listening to molecular carols this Christmas. Part Two.

And I continue: The CS Carol Fest ended with us smiling widely. After all, the MBB Choir wowed the audience: they sang with much fervor that it made our mammalian fur shiver. In singing competitions, that’s always a plus. Anyway, I proceed with my tale. This time, the victory party. Still filled with the rush-hour excitement of winning, I heard people shouting, “ So, saan ang victory party?” “Sa Albert na lang. Malapit.” [Albert Hall is the home of the National Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology]. “Sino’ng may gusto sa Eastwood, sa Libis?” Opinions were varied, and so were the voices that made them. And so, after quite a few minutes of debate, they’ve decided to hold it in Libis. And so, like a chaff that’s being dragged by the wind, I went with the group. After all, we were supposed to be treated to a sumptuous dinner by Sir Carlo, one of the instructors I think. I was hesitant at first because of these two valid reasons: 1.) I am not a member of the choir and 2) I am no

Listening to molecular carols this Christmas

When Angela and Juanchi sounded so terribly convincing, I knew that I had no other choice but to join them. I asked myself: Why not sacrifice a few hours of my time watching the CS Carol Fest at Aldaba Hall? Why not contribute my presence to support my fellow MBB (Molecular Biology and Biotechnology) majors? And oh, why not take a breather from lab reports and quizzes and exams to listen to comforting Christmas music? "Why not? Sige , I'll go with you," I told them. It wasn't really a hard decision to make: since I had shifted, I've never really involved myself in any of the College of Science's (CS) activities. We first dined with Ciara at Lutong Kapitbahay, walked all the way to Yakal because I needed to brush my teeth and get a decent jacket, then proceeded to Aldaba Hall where we saw groups of people who wore the same attire and carried colorful props around. The show started promptly, as soon as the hall was opened. Nine CS organizations competed for the

Quote me on this

There are a million ways to offend others, and the possibilities increase all the more when national boundaries are crossed. Go Team Philippines! If you don't get the overall championship, it's your fault that you didn't allow me to participate.


More than ten years ago, Tatay gave us new scissors. Mine was yellow, Manong's was red: or perhaps, it was the other way around -- I'm not really sure now. History has a way of deleting precious colors from memories. My father didn't exactly know that deep inside his two cute children -- I was the cuter, and still am -- were terroristic tendencies to cut anything that could be cut. And so, Manong and I, with our scissors, cut pieces of paper from books, Nanay's flowers in the garden, etcetera, etcetera, until our options were exhausted. "Why don't we cut this?" My brother pointed at his hair. My eyes glowed with excitement, and my fingers couldn't resist the urge to trim it, like a bush that has grown uncontrollably for ten years. You get the feeling. "SIGE!" Then, we were giggling with immeasurable delight, and eventually found ourselves cutting, bit by bit, strand by strand, each other's hair. We saw bundles of keratin-rich cells fall t

December na!

It suddenly occurred to me that the temperature air has gotten cold with fresh, crisp air, a sure reminder that Christmas is here! While I do appreciate the cooler temperature in the morning, the one thing I necessarily detest is the icy water. Of course, that’s never a problem if you don’t have classes or work early in the morning. But for students like me who need to wake up day after day, whereupon encounter the refrigerated feeling of H-two-O in the process of showering, it is always a difficulty. When the water is frigid, the time it takes for me to take a bath is prolonged. In scientific terms, temperature is inversely proportional to the time of bathing. The cold makes me rather unproductive. Upon undressing, I would gently twist the shower knob. Tiny drops of water would squirt out of the shower head, and then slowly, slowly, very slowly, I would draw near the trajectory of water: first, my head, and then my arms, then my feet. Lastly, I would drench my torso, my upper body. I


"What do you want for Christmas?" "Can I be materialistic?" "Sure." "I want more fat." "You can have mine."


My dormmate, Rod, who's a Fine Arts major, took the three photos in Intramuros, Manila. I edited them to create this look. I just wanted to kill time.

To be a lawyer

Manong Ralph is taking the UP Law School's Law Aptitude Exam today. It's a tough exam: thousands of lawyer-wannabees are desperate to get in the most prestigious law school in the country. But my brother is not consumed with desperation. Instead, he is overwhelmed with preparing his heart, more than his mind, for it. I know he'll do well and that he'll do his best. Even in Math. But I know for sure that he will not be able to answer a single question unless the Lord gives him the means to do so. Today, he will get an idea, (but may not exactly observe), how the Lord operates in His children's lives. Whether he passes or not is secondary. What is most important is that my brother, in his time of need, will see himself utterly lacking and will therefore take the exam in calm surrender, knowing fully well that God is his God.

Be still. Shut up.

People close to me know for a fact that I talk a lot. They seem to listen to me all the time; I don't think they're sick of my blabbering. My mother, however, insists that I KEEP MY MOUTH SHUT if it's possible to do so, especially when I watch TV Patrol with her at home. She hates it when I talk while the reporters are saying something about the current state of dirty Philippine politics. I now get her point. I'm talking about this now because I attended the Youth Fellowship's Mid-School Year Retreat with the theme, BE STILL AND KNOW THAT I AM GOD (Psalm 46: 10). Kuya Lito Sto. Domingo, the youth pastor of Higher Rock Christian Church, explained that God is a person to whom we can turn to for safety; He is a source of strength to those who are weak and defenseless. Kuya Lito went on to tell the story of King Hezekiah in the parallel chapters of Isaiah 53, 2 Kings 18 and 2 Chronicles 82: the king of Assyria had already invaded the neighboring cities except Jerusalem.


Myopic as my eyes may be, I live for a grand purpose. The world views this goal as foolish, nonsense, stupid; but I am not deterred. I do not live to please these wretched people; I live to please Him. To bring Him the honor and glory is my passion: I enjoy pursuing His joy such that it, too, becomes mine in due time. I desire to be with Him--and I desire Him--more than the fleeting trophies of this life. For to be with my holy Master brings me enormous joy, lasting peace, and eternal life. My lips sing praises to Him who first loved me while I was so unlovely. I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who lives, but Christ lives in me. What truth can be better?

Breaking the rules

When my math instructor sees this picture, he'd be fuming with inexplicable rage.

Seventeen, going on nineteen

Nineteen units. Yes. Nineteen units of science courses that will make blood ooze out of my wide, fat nose. Nineteen units of subjects that will, in due time, sap all of the strength I've stored up during my day-long naps during sembreak. Nineteen units of Chemistry, Biology, Calculus, and Physics that will turn me into a skeletal human being walking around the campus. I'm exaggerating, of course, but in UP, 19 units is a lot to keep someone wide awake during the night. I'm not complaining, though -- that's a stupid thing to do. But I do know of a few friends who have enlisted 20 or 21 units, and I'm wondering how they could possibly manage their time -- rather, themselves. If only cloning or time travel were plausible options. I'm in the second-to-the-last leg of the feared UP-Diliman Math Series; it's Math 54 (Elementary Calculus 2) I'm taking. My instructor is Mr. Christopher Santos, a tall, bespectacled man who knows everything he's talking about,

Crystal clear

I've never been good at finding things. I remember my father giving me the use-your-eyes-not-your-mouth lectures whenever he'd ask me to get him something, and I wouldn't be able to because I couldn't find it. Then, he'd look for it himself, and would clearly demonstrate that through silent searching, one could find what one is looking for. My Bio 11 laboratory activity therefore comes to mind. The class was asked to find all the crystals in the cell's vacuole. I chose the Begonia stem. I did a cross section of the stem, mounted it on the slide, placed a cover slip on the sample, and poked my tired, bespectacled eyes through the microscope. The sample looked amazing under the LPO: the compartments called cells were clearly visible, even the vacuoles where those crystals could be found. But the problem was when I had to focus it under HPO to create a greater magnification of the sample. The image I saw was darker, and while there were things that looked prominent


During my free time, I edited this photo through the wonderful program called Adobe Photoshop.

Adaptive mechanisms

Spot the difference . I've been playing this game all day, comparing last sem with this one. This sounds crazy, but the differences, I've realized, are rather stark. For instance, I used to really get sleepy and tired in most of my classes last sem, but there's something rather exciting about the classes I'm taking now. And then, I feel that I'm more receptive to the lessons, I write more notes, I smile a lot more. Is it my instructors? My classmates? Or is it my newly-evolved sleeping habits of six hours or so a day? Living things do learn to adapt.

Pixellated memories

Like a pilgrim I walk To marvel at the twisted, orange rays of light That signal the end of the day And the reminder of others to come. I embrace each moment For tomorrow, this world may hear the last sigh of my breath Never to be seen alive, but only through the teary eyes Of loved ones laying down flowers in my peaceful grave Only a memory doomed to be forgotten through time. With myopic eyes I see the world In pixels of myriad colors Blended to reveal the timeless portraits of Creation Whose beauty lasts but for a second. What wonder and awe! I am overwhelmed. I may not remember all. My wish is relish each moment To capture the pixels of the present In timeless frames of portraits That seem to shout, "Perfection!" So that someday When my hair recedes and turns grey in old age I can relive the captured moments And with breathless expectation leave this world With pixellated memories.

What pride does to one's head


New look

I changed my blog template for the nth time. This minimalistic blog design is inspired by Tom Kealey's blog, a Creative Writing professor at Stanford. I hope you like it, just as much as I do.


The beginning can never determine the end. A good start can only pave the way for a good ending. It cannot dictate the end. But who doesn’t think good beginnings are better than bad ones? After all, in the aftermath of the events, the end is inevitable and will perhaps remain elusive until we have almost reached the finish line. Therefore, in our cluelessness, we ought to start things right. The problem is that we can’t. Or, more appropriately, we can’t on our own. Even if we so desire to do so, even if we’ve exerted all the effort we can muster, we can only do so much. We don’t have the final say. The final card isn’t in our sleeves. We need help. But help from whom? It must be help that comes from Someone who knows all things, plans all things, and does all things for our good. We need God’s help. Better yet, we need God Himself. Isn’t it He whom the Bible magnifies as the Alpha and Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end?

First day in Bio lab

"My eyes will pop out." 'What are you looking at? Is it the globular thing with red spots on it?" "17 EMDs! Why that big?" "Can't focus it." "This microscope's too heavy." "It's so hot. I feel so oily. I want to wash my face."



Baby talks

I was provoking my little cousin, Naomi, to anger yesterday. "I own a hundred of those [referring to the rice fields we were passing by]," I told her. "I own a thousand," she said. "I own ten thousand." She just wouldn't give up. "I own a hundred thousand!" I said, "I own a million. Can you beat that?" I was grinning. "Aaaaarggghhhh!" She was quite furious with me. She doesn't know any number greater than a million. I couldn't stop myself from laughing--I'll wait till she gets into calculus.

Cries of desperation: The Comments

I've been to Banga, South Cotabato to visit my mother's side of the family. It's a tradition, see, but I don't really look at it like that. It always gives me a wonderful feeling to talk to my aunts and uncles, to laugh at the seemingly incessant problems that flood them, and to play with my cousins who are getting taller every time I see them. But while I was there, I couldn't help but think, "Will people misunderstand what I had written yesterday?" This, folks, is my post Cries of desperation . I was hoping to jolt people who happen to stumble into this blog, and remind them that we, as living beings, ought to put greater importance to our souls rather than to our physical bodies. I was hoping to remind these people to come to Christ, or else, their souls will rot like animal carcass eaten by filthy maggots. But praise God for the two people whose comments may have shed light to this issue. My friend, Jef , wrote, What a wretched fate those departed soul

Cries of desperation

Tomorrow, millions of Filipinos will rush to the graves. They will bring with them candles, matches, and, for those who have extra money to spend, food and beverage. Like ants marching to their burrows, they will brave the heat of the sun--or, if it rains, the torrential rain showers--to heave sighs of desperation and sadness. No, they cannot bring back their dead to life, and it pains them everytime memories of their loved ones come to their remembrance. At the end of the day, they will return to their homes, perhaps with satisfaction in the fact that they have fulfilled their yearly quota of one visit to the cemetery. Then they will try to forget that six feet below the ground are worms that slowly and gradually chew the remaining flesh of the body of their loved ones. As they close their eyes at night, the souls of their dead now living--or dying --in the fiery pits of bottomless Hell cry out to them for help. , but they won't be able to hear them. Happy Halloween.

Tricycle rides

I wander around town, oblivious of the pain in my legs. I see in the streets colorful tricycles lining up in the highway, as if in a queue of slow traffic, and realize that in the place where I study, these three-wheeled vehicles are as rare as students who graduate summa cum laude. The heat is overpowering; and yet, nothing seems to stop me, not even this heat that simulates the temperature inside an oven. Then I stop. Just like that. The numbness inside me thaws like the ice caps on mountains when the sun strikes on them. I shiver and tremble and mumble in pain. I seek refuge, and suddenly, I find myself in one of these tricycles. " Manong, sa St. Gabriel ," I say to the driver who immediately confirms with a nod. Going home gives me an emotion that has an incomparable quality to it--there is much expectation. And so, while I view the sights of the sleepy, cozy town where I had spent most of my life, I remember the Lord's gracious promise to all of us who believe in Him

Killing boredom

My older brother, Ralph, called two days ago. "I'm so bored, Lance." His voice echoed the urge to do something useful so he could kill the time. "Why don't you read your lessons in advance? It will make your life easier next sem," I suggested. I've been doing just that--after all, I don't want my brain to rot in idleness. I was surprised to find that Campbell's Biology isn't that much of a sleeping pill; in fact, I found it rather interesting, especially the part on ATP and the chemical principles of metabolism. "I don't need to do that." I forgot that his academic load will only be nine units next semester; mine will be 19. Our conversation took a different turn when we talked about my blog. "Your posts are getting worse," he told me. "Really, Lance, I really think that you're writing from a Tagalog or an Ilonggo mindframe [not his exact words, but that was how he sounded]. It's so obvious. There are many

Forgive me, but this email is really funny

I rarely read forwarded emails. Don't we all? That's why it makes me wonder why, oh why, is my mailbox always cluttered with emails blatantly telling me that if I don't forward this and that email, I won't be able to find my true love. I think that trick is rather stupid. I have found my true love. He's Jesus. But I was surprised (both with the message and more with my reaction to the message)when I read my classmate's (Arielle Sulit's) forwarded message, On the lighter side . WARNING: This may cause stomach cramps. ATTORNEY: This myasthenia gravis, does it affect your memory at all? WITNESS: Yes. ATTORNEY: And in what ways does it affect your memory? WITNESS: I forget. ATTORNEY: You forget? Can you give us an example of something you forgot? Here's another one. Liars just can't lie all the time. ATTORNEY: What was the first thing your husband said to you that morning? WITNESS: He said, "Where am I, Cathy?" ATTORNEY: And why did that upset


They say a picture is worth a thousand words. I say, we have to qualify that statement further. This picture does not need any qualification. That's why I'm posting it.

Quote me on this

Two days ago, while having my daily (or nightly) quiet time with the Lord--the time I spend reading the Bible and meditating on the incomparable glory of God--a line from Warren Weirsbe's A DAY WITH THE PSALMS was stuck in my head. When you can't sleep, don't count sheeps. Talk to the Shepherd.

Storms and rains that come our way

Rain has been pouring incessantly for the past two days here in Koronadal . My house--with all its windows and open spaces--is perfect for sleep, and who wouldn't think it like that when the air is so cool it could practically drowse you to sleep like a, uhm, sleeping pill. I had once told a couple of my friends last year, "I've never experienced a real storm. Hindi talaga binabagyo s'amin." I really felt it a shame in not having been able to relate with their stories of cancelled classes because of Bagyong Rosing and their concrete understanding of what Signal No. 3 really meant. "What?" They must have thought it unfair. Many families in their provinces(I praise God they weren't included in the list)have been displaced and destroyed by the sky's outbursts of innumerable tears; power lines have been cut off; harvests have been ruined; businesses have been disrupted! "As in, no storm ever comes its way to your province?" * * * Jac sent

Nosebleeds and stories of home

There are still many things I don't know, like why my classmates in UP almost always get shocked whenever I tell them for the first time that I come from a distant island called Mindanao, in Koronadal City, South Cotabato. There's a terrible weirdness to this. For one, Mindanao does exist, doesn't it? And then, the UP student population is compised of students coming from different parts of the country (yes, from Luzon. Visayas and Mindanao)--it's a fact that is known by UP students as Chemistry majors know the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle. "Really, Lance? So ang layo n'un!" Their eyes would be disfigured in unbelief. "Uh-uh," I'd say. "So namimiss mo na talaga ang family mo." "Hindi naman masyado. Of course, at times, you can't help but miss them." Then they would go on with their mantras on how they couldn't possibly live outside their houses because then they wouldn't get to enjoy the comforts of TV, of

Geneskwela. Lessons in Biotechnology.


A lesson in proofreading

It's my weird little ol' habit to browse through my blog ever so often, which has something to do with remembering exactly how I had felt when I wrote those entries. So don't be surprised when the site meter shows an influx of 15 visitors a day--it's really just me. Well, not entirely. But it's not all pleasure I get while re-reading my posts. I would realize drastic grammatical errors (albeit it’s lack of support in the nosebridge area and I Dr. Sergio Cao said, "Congratulations")in one or two posts, mistakes too unbecoming for a former-English major. I would scratch my head and say, "Not again!" The lessons? Proofread ALL blog posts. Nobody's perfect.

What the University Chancellor told me

I remember a couple of months ago during the Kalayaan Formal Dinner Party, I Dr. Sergio Cao said, "Congratulations." "Thank you, Sir," I replied. "Pero sigurado ka bang college ka na?" He must have thought I was a high school sophomore--a usual mistake people make about me, especially in malls. Dr. Cao is the new Chancellor of the University of the Philippines in Diliman. He used to stay in Kalayaan during his freshman year. In Basement. In B-18. The room in front of mine.

Early morning rituals

I woke up at 3:45 in the morning today. I don't usually get out of bed during the wee hours of the morning, but when the situation calls for such action, I can give a satisfactory response--I'm capable of that. And so, after a word of prayer, I jumped out of my bed, which is above my brother's (it's a double-deck furniture we have for the dorm's boy's wing), and rushed to my study table to study the remaining chapters in Math that I hadn't studied last night--calculating volumes and areas using slicing and cylindrical shell methods. Oh, my favorites in Math 53. It's almost always like that, you know. Every night, I'd begin studying a subject for tomorrow's long exam and when the urge to sleep would knock at my consciousness, I'd postpone the remaining two or three pages of my notes for tomorrow. What usually happens is that my roommates would have a hard time--and I mean, BLOODY hard time--nudging me to get out of bed, especially when my drea

Whining and complaining

My inbox is cluttered with emails from e-groups of which I am part of, reminding me from time to time of the fundamental concept of entropy or disorderliness. If I have time, which by the way occurs pretty rarely nowadays, I'd read everything, even the stupid forwarded messages that I've received more than five times already. "Don't these people remember that they've sent me the message I had sent them yesterday?," I'd ask myself. But there has been a lot of buzz in my high school's e-group , and I thought it a pity not to join the conversation. My classmates, studying in different parts of the country, in different schools, with different courses, have been ranting about the difficulties of their college lives. Genesis, for one, studies Nursing in Davao. She tells us that her clinical instructors are giving her and the rest of her class a hard time. She has to study this big book on pharmacology, and she has to memorize everything. My classmates in ND


After exams, and I'm sure UP people can relate to this, I always find myself scratching my head, saying, "Ba't hindi ko nabasa 'yun?" or something similar like, "Ba't di ko naconvert ang units?" It's almost always like that. A few minutes before passing the test paper, I'd wonder what trance I had gotten myself into while answering the questions. I don't know. Test questions just have a way of hiding the important points that a student ought to notice. But I remind myself about what I had written days ago . Never worry, for the Lord will take good care of everything. Sometimes, I have to smack myself in the face to achieve that realization.

Your strength is made perfect when I am weak

I’m in the midst of exams. I have three of them today. Tough subjects, really. Sometimes, when I become rather pessimistic, I’d wonder why I need to spend the whole night—or a whole week even—just to study to answer 40 multiple choice questions. But this is my calling. This is what I’m tasked to do, and I’m enjoying every bit of it. Through these trials and tribulations, I gain a deeper knowledge of God.

I'm going to have a hard time this week

I can only surmise that this week will prove the hardest in this semester. On Friday, I have a practical exam in Physics 71.1 and in Arnis (PE 2). On Saturday, I have written exams in Physics 71.1, Physics 71, and Chem 16. People who read my blog frequently (if their existence could indeed be proven) would observe that I've been ranting about the unique difficulty of this semester . Maybe it's my new course. My classmates would say, "Ang layo naman ng pinanggalingan mo." They're right. From English Studies, I had taken a leap of faith to Molecular Biology. I sometimes comfort myself with the thought that the two courses are really related--the relation is just not conspicuous. The relation is that both courses use language. Hahaha. My adjustments, my pains, my joy, my disappointments, and my victories would make an interesting entry, but now is not the time to write about them.

Don't worry

The semester is coming to an end, but we know that during this time of the year, the exams will come rushing through us like giant waves, practically knocking us out of our wits! For those who do not have Christ, this is cause for great anxiety: how will I pass my exams? How do I get high grades so as not to get kicked out of my college? Will I be able to finish my requirements so I could pass them on time? These questions are not unsual at all. But as Christians we have a living hope, and that hope is written in Scriptures to encourage and remind us of the Lord's faithfulness in providing even for the simplest of our needs. Let's turn to Matthew 6: 25. THEREFORE I SAY TO YOU, DO NOT WORRY ABOUT YOUR LIFE, WHAT YOU WILL EAT OR WHAT YOU WILL DRINK, NOR ABOUT YOUR BODY, WHAT YOU WILL PUT ON. IS NOT LIFE MORE THAN FOOD AND THE BODY MORE THAN CLOTHING? Jesus went on to say that God even provides for the needs of the birds of the air, so how much more will He provide for our needs,

Open house pictures this time

These are pictures taken during the Yakal Open House.

Born again

This is a short story I wrote which is inspired by the preaching of Pastor Bob last Sunday. I shall improve on this later on. So far, this is the draft. I hope you too will be blessed. About five hundred kilometers away, people were dying every minute as guns were fired and bombs were dropped. The young soldier named Mallinson, only in his seventeenth year, did not expect to see so many men with such careless hate, men willing to kill even the innocent to forward their wretched ideologies, so after sustaining a gunshot wound in his left arm, he knew that he would not live long. He had lost a great amount of blood, and the infection that occurred was almost incurable according to the doctors who treated him in the make-shift hospital ward. The pain he experienced was both physical and emotional, and it was something that no person could take lightly. Mallison was not an exception. The boy could practically see death coming towards him, but he would not succumb to it because he felt a ne

UP fight!

I had to see the UAAP Cheerleading Championships at the Araneta Coliseum to cover up for my pentiful absences in PE. Ms. Peneyra, my kind arnis instructor, will give incentives--like erasing some absences from her record--to those who'd be watching the competition. Besides, it's a yearly event that every loyal UP student looks forward to. "So why have you been absent anyway?" you may ask. Let me answer that question. You see, Physics 71.1 (the laboratory part) is every Friday from 2 to 4pm. Our classes are held at the new building of the National Insitute of Physics near Katipunan road. My arnis class is scheduled every Tuesday and FRIDAY at the UP Vanguard Building where you can overlook the Commonwealth Avenue. The University of the Philippines is a horribly big campus (400-something hectares), mind you, and it is this very reason that has led to the compounding of my absences: it takes me 15 to 20 minutes to hop from one building to another through the Toki jeeps w

The door has been opened

Just a few months ago--February 12 to be exact--I had my first dose of what they deem to be the most exciting part of a UP dormitory life, the yearly Open House (at least, it was yearly in Kalayaan). It's an event that all dormers look forward to because, once in a blue moon, outsiders (the dorm jargon for non-dormers)get the chance to enter the otherwise locked doors of the residence halls. Now that I'm in Yakal Residence Hall, the experience takes a different beat. The reason why I'm writing about dormitories and open houses must have been made evident already, dear readers (if you do exist). It's Yakal's Open House today. And I've been out of the hall all day, in the wide expanse of the campus, listening to lectures, wondering at times when I'd be back home to celebrate with my dormmates.

Real food. 18th birthdays.

At last. Food. Real food. Shean (a high school classmate studying in UP) and I have just arrived from Rowena's birthday party in Cubao. The party and the people made me feel as if I were in Koronadal, my home sweet home a thousand miles away, because almost everyone spoke Ilonggo, that charming, familiar vernacular, and the atmosphere was so, uhm, "home-ly" that somehow I had a hard time reconciling conflicting thoughts: I studying in molecular biology and I eating tuna from General Santos. I saw familair faces in the party. Rowena's mother, for one, told us too many things about KN (which is Koronadal National Comprehensive High School--my high school), and how things are changing so fast there. It was bliss to forget that I still have a class tomorrow, to pretend that I'm in Koronadal, to talk to familiar faces, to hear wonderful news from home, and to eat until my stomach hurt.

Transport strikes. Tenth place.

My Chem Lab classmates, a few minutes ago, have been too optimistic to hear an announcement that classes for today would be postponed. In my mind, I thought, "Why not?" There was practically no jeepney in sight--the drivers went on a transport strike, I was told, to show their protest against the ever-increasing oil prices (I mean, what else is new?). My classmates--Vienna, Don, Princess, and most of them--were busy discussing how they were going home; commuting was the only means, so how were they to do that without jeepneys? The announcement came, of course, otherwise I wouldn't be here to write this entry. We were too ecstatic--Rachel was shouting her vocal cords out, especially when we heard that Sir Acy Yago passed the Chemistry Board Exams with flying colors. Tenth placer. I wasn't really surprised. Si Sir Acy pa? Congratulations, Sir.

Lazy Sundays in UP

Sunday afternoons in the University of the Philippines (UP) have something different in them--a lazy quality perhaps--that makes people want to doze off for a few hours. Sleeping is utterly irrestistible, but there are times when you've got to oppose the urge to "drift away" especially when you have exams the next day. By God's grace, I will most certainly enjoy this time of sleep. UP does look wonderful, even under the heat of the scorching Philippine sun. Why I said that, I don't know, but one thing's for sure: to live in a forested area like UP campus is, in effect, a far better privilege than to inhabit polluted places like Philcoa (which, by the way, is still in UP). And so, dear readers (if you do exist), excuse me for I shall now sleep.

Sighing as sembreak looms

I still couldn't believe my ears whenever I hear people around me say, "Yey! Patapos na naman ang sem." For one, I still have lots of things to do before that; second, my mother told my brother and I that we will not go home to Marbel during the break; third, I couldn't feel it in the air. Time just flies so fast, don't you think? And the more you think about it, the more you get baffled by what you've done with your life. I, for one, ask myself questions like, "What have I accomplished this sem? What do I need to improve on?" I don't thoughts just drift from place to place, so forgive me, dear readers (I sometimes wonder if I'm the only person reading my blog--if that's the case, it's perfectly okay with me), if you couldn't get something important in this entry. I can only sigh a sigh of relief whenever I hear people sighing like the way I do.

Lessons learned in panic

Today I’ve learned another lesson—in a way, it’s a reminder—and the more I think about it, the more beautiful it becomes. I studied hard last night in preparation for my math exam, the fourth one. I spent quite a few hours studying it—I started at 4:00 in the afternoon and ended at 30 minutes past midnight. Don’t get mistaken: I had breaks in between, for meals, for bathing, for tooth brushing . . . need I elaborate? But the fact is, I’ve studied. Hard. I woke up at 5 am the next morning. I knew I had to be early so as to salvage the time: Sir Vry comes quite early during exam time and I knew I couldn’t waste even the extra 15 minutes, a bonus for people who come early. I walked all the way to Math Building (from Yakal) because there was no Toki jeep in sight. It was still too early that everything still felt sleepy. Still I charged on. And then the exam… When I browsed through each of the questions, I said, “Thank you, Lord. It looks easy.” It really did look easy…I knew I had studied

Dreamlike temptations

The clock read 1:03. His gasping was the only sound that could be heard, for everything seemed at peace at this very wee hour of the morning. He sat on his bed…his night clothes soaked with cold sweat; his palms were moist. The dream was too vivid that his mind replayed it over and over again. The reality of the dream was too tangible for imagination. * * * There he was, holding hands with a seemingly-innocent girl. He felt something else…something utterly indescribable that made him feel as though he was doing wrong, that he was offending someone. It was an uneasy feeling, and he wanted to tell the girl about it, but he couldn’t muster enough strength to do it. He didn’t want to be branded a coward. “Let’s do it…” The girl motioned him to come inside a room. She clutched his hands, now cold and sweaty; she had this power to command him to do everything she wanted him to, and though he hated it, he couldn’t do much but give in. They spent a hour and a half inside the room, and when the

UP, UPCAT and life

Dr. Butch Dalisay, member of the distinguished faculty of the Department of English and Comparative Literature of UP's College of Arts and Letters, writes this interesting piece about UPCAT, his pride in having passed it eons ago, and his thoughts on the current circumstances in the University. Excellence and equity, revisited PENMAN By Butch Dalisay The Philippine STAR 08/29/2005 My recent piece on my mom remin-ded me that it was she – a 1956 BSE graduate – who brainwashed me very early on about the absolute necessity of getting into UP if I was to be worth anything in my adulthood. She managed this by the simple expedient of playing a 78 rpm record of Push On, UP! – flipsided by UP Beloved – on our phonograph for what seemed to me like morning, noon, and night, even before I was old enough to tie my shoelaces. Soon I was playing the record myself, oblivious to its lyrics but happily agitated by the perkiness of the fight song. And there were, of course, the 1948 UP Highlights Yea

Looking back

This is an email I sent to friends on November 8, 2004. I was just reminded of how faithful the Lord truly is—day in or day out. I hope you too will be reminded of that precious truth. It is finished.For three agonizing days, I have been enrolling. For students in other schools, this must be an exaggeration; here in UP, it is as normal asseeing protesters demanding for Gloria's resignation. For three days, I have lined up for queues just to get the subjects that would interest me. These queues are long; the processing ofdocuments and the like is so slow you'd wonder if there's progress at all. For three days, I have rushed to and fro the large, wide campus that is Diliman. There's always the adrenaline rush when I hear that subjects are still open for pre-enlistment. "Saan? May open pa bad'un?" "Ilan pa ba ang available?" "Magpe-petition ba kayo for EnviSci?" Oblivious to everything else, I would follow the flow of people; again, linin

Sore, sore throat

I have sore throat, and unless you were born in another galaxy, you’d be able to relate to this wretched pain I’m going through. There’s one thing I’d like to say: second to toothache, a sore throat is the worst physical pain practically all humans normally experience. Okay, so maybe that’s not as painful as, say, having a brain tumor or having your right limb cut off—just like that beautiful character, Sophie, in Kill Bill 1—but you do get my point: the pain is unnerving, intolerable, and  almost omnipresent; it has to be cured immediately. I called up home to ask what to do. Tatay told me to gargle hot water with rock salt. I did just that, and the pain subsided, albeit for a while, but it came back after a few hours. My friend, Paul, told me to buy Deflam (like Strepsils) because, he says, his mother once had sore throat, and that product was so effective that she was immediately cured. Once in a while, I still dissolve Strepsil candies in my mouth. This has led me to learn the foll

Punctuality and Math

It was a lame start: what could be more lame that waking up late on a day that requires nothing less than punctuality? Jolted out of my wits, I jumped out of my bed, looked at the premature yellow rays of the morning sun, checked my clock(which is really my phone), and upon knowing that I had only 30 minutes to take a bath, walk, and review my notes ( 30 minutes to do all those!), I knew I was in that state called panic-but-not-really-panic. I hurriedly scrubbed my face with soap, shampooed my centimeter-long hair, put on a red shirt and denim pants, and wore my socks without drying my feet. "Lord, tani hindi ko ma -late." (Lord, I hope I don't get late.). That was the first stretch, the preparation--and so inevitably came the second part: the 15-minute walk to the Math Building. I went out of the dorm at 6:35 and was quite expecting something as miraculous as a Toki Jeepney on a Saturday, but there was none. I had no choice but to walk, jog, and run and a combination of

Almost a year now

It's always the internet that people use when looking for something. I mean, you can practically learn everything from this wide cyberspace they call the world wide web. There are so many things that will surprise you, of course. Some websites are fascinating, others interactive, and some are so packed with huge bulks of information that may just as well cause information overload. And of course, there's my blog: a collection of entries that speak a lot about me and about the things that happen to me. It's short of one year now since I last started this. And now, it's time for an evaluation: have I truly glorified the Lord through this? Have my readers--if there are such people who exist--known the Lord more because of what I've written? I hope and pray that it's a yes to both questions.

Yakal Christian Fellowship

I'm afraid these are the only photos I have of some of the regular attendees of the Yakal Christian Fellowship, a dorm-based fellowship in Yakal Residence Hall of UP Diliman. Let's start at the left photo at the top, then continue in a clockwise direction: it's Jaylord with Ate Lavinia and Jeiel during our Rummage Sale at the UP Village Barangay Hall. Next photo shows me, Manong Ralph, Ate Lavinia, and my high school classmates and still college schoolmates, Vanessa and Shean during our dinner at Ihaw1. Then, it's still at that dinner: Manong, then Ate Joan, then Kuya Derf, Kuya John and Kuya Reymar. And lastly, I and my brothaaah, Ralph.


A breather. That's what I choose to call this ten-minute break I've given myself. It's a terribly short one, and part of me desperately wants to continue this until tomorrow, but I know I have to study: I need to. I've just been to Molave to study Elementary Analysis I, aka Calculus, aka as Math 53 (the second in the horrible UP Math Series) with Stephanie and Ralph, my classmates who, like me, are not as prepared as we ought to be. Besides studying Math, I have to finish my Physics Lab report to be submitted tomorrow, prepare for a possible Chemistry Lab Post-Laboratory quiz, and many more. Please don't blame me for cramming...close friends would surely disagree with that. You see, I tend to do things ahead, but the things I'm doing now are the things that I had started doing two days ago but still remain unfinished to this date. I thank the Lord for the internet connection I have in my room; it was disconnected for almost three days, but now it's back. I g

Greener grass

He is dead. "I WANT to be remembered as someone who planted the seeds of change." He said that he did not want accolades, and that his greatest legacy would be his dream of a new Philippines devoted to the basic tenets of democracy, fair play, decency, dignity, honesty and honor in public service. But he is dead. "And where are the seeds of change?" we may ask. His son gives us a wonderful answer: Let the seeds spread. The grass will be greener the next day. I learned of this untimely death while I was browsing through the Inquirer-GMA website. Shocked, I read the whole story and felt downtrodden after. He was a great political Filipino icon: he didn't take sides when that was what the others did. So that was the reason why, all along, I didn't hear the intelligent, sensible eloquence of Roco these days. He was confined in the hospital, perhaps waiting for his day of death. I think he'd make a good president, but how can he be one if the majority of

When the going gets tough

I've just arrived from my Physics Laboratory class where I had an exam. I had two exams today, by the way: math and physics, and both were equally tough. I'll have my PE class (which is the popular Pinoy sport called arnis) in a moment, but I'm still wondering if I can manage going there without collapsing. Maybe I'll give my time a break. It's a miracle--and I say this with much conviction--that this day ended without me getting insane, or has it? I didn't get much of a sleep last night, it was rather a nap. I went to the University Main Library, that huge, domineering piece of architecture in the middle of the campus, with my brother and Kuya John (who hails from my North Cotabato) to study. You see, for those who haven't discovered it yet, the Lib is so conducive a place for studying that almost all bits of information rush into your head like electromagnetic waves. But there are always exceptions, and I think, to my dismay, that last night was. Maybe it

Heavy load

This week was like a heavy, loaded backpack that strained my spine, beating my body to its fullest extent so that I almost thought of nothing else but rest. Early in the morning, when I'd wake up and notice everyone still sleeping, I'd feel as if another burden, this time a different one, had been placed on me, and that as the day would progress, that burden will increase until I could no longer bear it. This week was likewise emotionally stressful. Jef Sala, a good friend and a brother in Christ, has left the country for good. His family is already in the US and his parents have decided that he'd study Pharmacy there. I asked him why he wouldn't take up Molecular Biology, but apparently, peoples' minds change. I wouldn't be able to see him vis-a-vis, unless of course we do the webcam chat, something which the University's Terms of Network Service prohibits. This week was mentally stressful. My brain, if it is still functioning at its prime, must look like


Tough times call for toughness. And when you can't seem to respond to the call of the times, then you may be lost and in dire need of help. The past weeks have been rather arduous for me. I had two exams in a week in equally tough subjects. I tried studying to the best that I can but my efforts were rendered futile when I took such exams. My head was practically an evaporating dish: it was as if everything evaporated. Whatever happened? The Lord is humbling me, I guess. I have been relying on my own, even forgetting to pray before I study, thinking that I could manage things. But I am mistaken in this regard: on my own, I am nothing. I can do nothing. It will do us well to depend on God alone.


Technology often drives science, science drives medicine, and medicine is always pushing society into ethical corners.—Dr. Mark Hughes, Researcher The issues concerning the modification of the genetic make-up of animals have already sparked enormous controversies. I am not surprised, therefore, to hear that familiar clash of ideologies and opinions—this time, in louder, more forceful tones—now that the issue has been directed to humans. The area of debate is essentially this: we have the technology to manipulate the very codes that determine our genetic make-up and there is a wide variety of options out there, some of them still untapped, but do we have the right to meddle with it (our genetic make-up), let alone with other people’s bodies, especially our children? Some people would even ask, “Do we have the right to play God?” It would do us well to remember that the discovery of the DNA revolutionized the way we think of life. Sometimes referred to by the scientific community as a br