Showing posts from 2006


Last Saturday Manong Ralph and I arrived in Koronadal. The plane ride was eventful. There were so many familiar faces at the airport that I couldn't help but wonder how many of us from Marbel now study or work or live temporarily in the wide, colorful, and dangerous metropolis. There was Katrina, who sat between Manong and I, and who kept asking my brother about law school, the tuition fee increase in UP, the charter change, among others. We were a noisy lot. Kuya John, JP Asong, the Kuya Jasper and Norman Dagang, and the Suenos, were there, too. We got back home just around dinner time, but we had to wait for Nanay to finish uprooting a patient's tooth before we ate an absolutely hearty meal. I told my family, " Grabe, pati tubig, na-miss k o." I also told them that I was now a voracious eater, and that the reason for my weight problem was my hyper-fast metabolism. I knew I didn't sound convincing because my father still insisted that I eat a mouthful of bananas

Great year

(Some of my blockmates and I, resting atop the sewage line spanning the field beside University Avenue.) After almost a year, I'm finally going home. I should really be packing now instead of composing this. But there's just too much to tell that I can't stop the urge. But then again, I realize that words fail me. Praise be to God for this great year! You can also view my Last-Day-2006 Photo Collection here .


Three down, one to go. I’ve been taking exams for three days in a row—MBB 110 on Monday, Geol 11 on Tuesday, Chem 40 on Wednesday, and there’s Stat 101 coming up tomorrow. Please don’t imagine me writing the previous sentence with all smiles and no worries. On the contrary, those academic requirements have left me breathless. But lest I make the impression that I’m complaining—throwing emotional fits at others, ranting like the rest of the citizens of the blogsphere—I’m actually thankful. For now, I’ll abruptly end this blog post and return to my notes. May God alone be glorified tomorrow! TAGGED AS: blogging

Singing Christmas carols


When we come to the end of our strength

Last Tuesday I woke up feeling weak. I could hardly stand up. With only two hours of decent sleep, I was exhausted. I had a sleepless night marked by frequent trips to the bathroom, cold chills, and nausea. With only 30 minutes to take a quick bath, change clothes, pack my things, read my Bible, and pray, I figured I couldn't make it to my seven o'clock class. Either I'd risk my health coming to class (I had the fear of collapsing, however theatrical that may sound), or I'd spend a couple of hours more to rest and fill my empty stomach. I then found myself in earnest prayer. I searched the Scriptures and was reminded of familiar passages. I knew it was God's way of reminding me to trust in Him. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. Psalm 73:26. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. Philippians 4:6. Be gracious to me

The backseat

I tell my brother I'm going ahead. He nods his head, smiles, and says okay. The Church's family day isn't over yet, but I rush out of the building anyway, hail a taxi amid the dark skies and the pouring rain. "Sa UP po," I tell the taxi driver, his hair stained with remnants of a brown-black dye he had probably applied months ago. "Sa loob?" He asks. I say yes. I settle at the backseat, close my eyes for while, and eventually find myself looking out of the window. Past the buildings, the cars, the pavement, and the horizon is my home, miles away.

Salvation is born

Listening to: Salvation is Born Gregory L. Tulenko © 2005 Sovereign Grace Worship (ASCAP) featuring Shannon Harris Join with the angels proclaiming to earth Join with the shepherds in awe of His birth Join all creation rejoicing this morn The glory of God-become-man has been born Come, let us adore Him Jesus, the hope of the world Come, worship before Him Christ, the Messiah has come Salvation is born This song, playing in my room since I had downloaded it, reminds us that Christmas is all about Christ. Anything less renders our celebration pointless. You can listen to a free sample of the song here .

Blast from the past

My friend, Zcharmaine Yumang, whom I've met in Baguio five years ago during a convention, lent me her photo album just this morning. I saw two pictures of myself which she took of me during the awarding ceremonies. I was amazed at how small I was then, and how I've become so grown-up, so mature, and so bloody handsome. Do click on the two photos to see bigger portraits. "Do I still look the same?" I asked a friend. "I see pretty much the same smile."

I sound, but don't dance, like a professional cheerdancer

This is how the professional cheerdancers do it: 1. First they arrange themselves according to their weight. The greater the weight, the lower the altitudinal position. It is observed therefore that the lightest (though not exactly the smallest) creatures are the ones being tossed and carried, while the bigger ones serve as support. 2. The second step involves careful planning of the formation. This entails formulating free body diagrams, where summation of force and torque must equal to zero such that equilibrium is obtained. With equilibrium comes poise, and with poise, the assurance that nobody will crash on the ground and break his/her bones. This still depends, however, on whether the fallen creature has excessive cushioning (can be read as: fat) or the apparent lack thereof. 3. The final step is the most glorious one, as it involves not only all the strength one can muster, but also the ability to display excessively joyful emotions through the flashing of newly-brushed tee

Because I can't (cheer)dance, this is how I show my support for the MBB Cheering Team

TAGGED AS: doodle

Eerily thin


Arcade computer games with Manong and Sean

Years ago, when computer games were more popularly played with joysticks and tokens bought for give pesos apiece, my brothers and I would find ourselves falling prostrate before our mother's knees, begging her for money so we could go to the mall and play Street Fighter. She'd give us a generous sum of money which we divided among ourselves equally. But it wasn't fair; I should've been given more. After all, my brothers Ralph and Sean were excellent video game players--they still are. I was the exact opposite. It was as if they had hands whose chief purpose was to turn the joystick in all directions, while mine could only press one button at a time. Their mind-eye-hand coordination was inexplicably amazing; on the other hand, it took me minutes to realize that I had to jump or move to the left or go forward or use this and that power combo. A sore loser I was. So picture this: I would wait for hours for them to finish playing because even before Manong and Sean actually

Give me fin!

Everything was unplanned. A spur of the moment--yes, you can call it that. After the YCF core meeting this morning, I told Es, "Let's watch a movie, Happy Feet. They say it's fun. And I happen to like penguins." She beamed at my suggestion. Though hesitant at first, she agreed to go with me. We invited some more friends, but they either had classes or other academic things to do. After lunch, we barged in to SM North Edsa, bought tickets, and decided to eat lunch after the movie. We had fun. On our jeepney ride to UP, I said, "Sana maulit pa 'to, no?" Praise God for the most wonderful time of relaxation. It was truly a break from the hustle and bustle of academic life. Gimme fin, Es!

The discipline of a shut mouth

The realization came to me as a shock. I was jolted when it finally hit me, and the feeling was too overwhelming that I had to go out to breathe a sigh of relief, to utter a word of silent prayer, and to remind myself that things happen because God allows them to. "The volition [to sin] comes from something more deep-seated than the volition itself," Kuya Butch said when he talked about sin. I've been talking too much and too loudly, to the point that the words that come out of my mouth no longer glorify my God. The realization? I should shut up.

Extended fellowship at Philcoa

It was supposed to be called "Wednesday Dinner Date With Kuya Derf," but he didn't come because he had a masters class at the Asian Theological Seminary. So it came to be known as the Extended Yakal Christian Fellowship at Philcoa. We all had a great time, laughing, eating, and sharing one another's burdens. But it was "laughing" mostly. From left, clockwise: Riza (in pink), Ate Lavs (Ate Lavs for those younger than her, Lavs for those who are older), Paul Velasco, Jaylord (the small Chinese guy with the glasses), Shean, and Paul Balite . Razel ; Kuya Butch , Jason, Paul Velasco; the citrus fruit sculpture that defied physical laws.

Epileptic fit

People who are close to me know that I have near-zero tolerance for romantic talk. I cringe at the mere notion of hearing people in close proximity to one another (so close, in fact, that they can smell each other's breath) mutter, "You are my life, and I am not the same without you." My system would, under ordinary circumstances, fail to tolerate the increased dose of corniness. (It's not that I hate it. On the contrary, I think it's all normal). When people begin talking about their romantic lives and pursuits, even heartbreaks, at my presence, I would try my best to pay close attention; and I somehow manage, because these people are my friends--and what do friends do to each other but to listen and care? And though I sometimes find it hard to relate to them, God would be so good as to enable me to give them sound advice: "beware of the deceitfulness of the heart, be mindful of God's will for you." But when people begin asking me things alluding to

MBB lab, the first time around

Click on the photos to view full size. I still don't have much to say about my first MBB laboratory class, except that it starts from 1 pm and ends at 7. That's six hours of labwork. The trio, breathing sighs of relief after hours of looking through the microscope. The Group of the Older Ones. Except for Dianne, they're all past their fifties. Taking a break from work. My group, exhausted after the exercise, but still as fresh as the green grass in the morning. A moment of light laughter with Wegs . Now who says we don't have social lives?


I hope I'm not giving anyone the impression that I am not patriotic, that I do not love this country, and that my heart beats hatred for Manny Pacquiao, especially now when he has just knocked out Morales in their recently concluded battle a couple of hours ago. Please. Don't think of me that way. I also hope that by writing the aforementioned paragaph I'm not giving the impression that I have become a Pacquiao convert. You still won't find my name in his Fans Club roster of members. You won't find me queueing to get his autograph. You won't probably even hear me call him "the new Filipino hero." But, even if I rooted for Morales (to the dismay of some of my friends who think it absolutely unthinkable for someone so brown-skinned and flat-nosed as I am to support someone from another country), I think Pacquiao did a great an awesome job.


An official member. That's what I am now after finishing my application for the UP Molecular Biology and Biotechnology Society, which, in this blog, shall hereunto be referred to as The Org. After the interview, the sig sheets (which I had to do all over again because of my irresponsibility), the tambak, the talents night, the fun day, and many other things in between, I can finally breathe a sigh of relief. Finally, it's over. Special thanks goes to Ate Richelle, The Org's membership committee head; Jade, who spearheaded the talents night preparations; and to Coy and Arielle, for going the extra mile of sharing their stacks of newspaper during the times when I badly needed them. Just yesterday, I was wondering how I could possibly gather 7 kgs--seven!--before this Saturday morning. I thought of buying old newspapers from newsstands, even buying new ones, for the sake of meeting the quota required for application. My desperation, in fact, led me to ask for the phone number

The long jeepney ride

The jeepney was eerily quiet when I hailed it. It was about 7:30pm. Except for the para po's of the few passengers, everyone was silent. When we passed by Bio, the jeep halted. Then came two women whose faces I will forever associate with the cool, wood-paneled lecture hall and my experiences during the last two semesters in UP. I smiled at both of them upon greeting them good evening. "What are you doing here, Mister Catedral?" Dr. Jacinto asked. She was my Bio 11 zoology lecturer. I explained that I had been detained at Albert Hall for a choir practice. "Are you still very movable?" Dr. Amparado, my Bio 12 zoology lecturer, asked. I said, "Yes, Ma'am, I'm still as movable as before, but I'm eating a whole lot more now." She seemed pleased. We used to discuss the unequal distribution of energy throughout the earth's ecosystem when the topic of malnutrition came up. She was engrossed with talking about it when she singled me out from t

From Yakal and back again

Click on photos to enlarge. Yakal grounds. Everyone passes by the green lawn to get to Shopping Center, where readings are photocopied, snacks are bought, and meals are eaten. I know of some friends who'd rather take their food out and eat in their rooms instead of squeezing their way into the small "restaurants." These are the people who have the ATP and the zeal to wash their dishes after a fulfilling gastronomic pursuit. Still green on the opposite side of the road where the notorious dorm (do I hear Jac and Luther protesting?) called Molave is erected. The way. I'm not sure about this, but I guess a chivalrous group of artists, probably from Fine Arts, painted these nice graffiti on walls, electric posts, and public surfaces. (Well, yes, public surfaces isn't that bad a term, is it? You should read Kuya John's coinage of " elevating to a higher semantic pedestal ." I love your blog, Kuya!) Now back to my point: Chairman Fernando should contact

Expanding connections

A typical night in my room: I’d be in front of the computer. Splattered on the table would be scraps of paper inserted in the pages of thick books. Al would be at his desk, reading history books. Mark would be lying on his bed, tinkering with his laptop, waiting for me to finish so that the lights would be turned off, and he could go to sleep. And then, just when the clock ticks to 10:30, Art would come rushing in, tired after classes, org meetings, and church involvements, carrying his stacks of books, his backpack, and sometimes, food for all of us. He’d throw his things on his desk, wash his face—take a bath even—and then tell me, “Lance, anong oras ka matutulog?” “Mga 1:30 na siguro, Art,” I’d reply. “Pagising naman, o.” “Sige ba. Any exams tomorrow?” “Oo, may thesis pa akong tatapusin. Tapos, may take home pa,” he’d say, followed by his incessant reminder for me to get enough sleep because I shouldn’t tire myself, otherwise I’d get even thinner. I’d tell him, “Art, I’m okay, don’t

Si Baste

"Lance, ilagay mo naman ako sa blog mo," Baste tells me, wiping the sweat trickling down his face after a long basketball match in the dorm's court. "Bakit?" "Para naman sumikat ako." I laugh. I tell him that my Sitemeter doesn't give the actual number of unique visitors that have come across this blog--90% of it is because of me. "Pero sige, ilalagay kita." "'Yan ang gusto ko sa 'yo, Lance, eh." So there, Baste, aka Sebastian Julian, you're in my blog now. Hehe.

When class starts, I may just need a cup of coffee this big to keep me awake


The Catedrals. Bow.

I thought I shall never see Noses as flat as these three Noses that smell the cool, clean air As the breeze that enters the Catedral's lair The first is Ralph whose passion is law And whose face only Nanay can draw The second is handsome, whose name is Lance He talks aloud but can never dance The third is smaller and is called Sean Run fast and shoot the ball? Oh yes, he can! These three brothers, they live and play Under the hot, stifling summer day At the end of the day, what do they say? "Thank you, O Lord, this we pray."


Still about a week to go before enrollment. So far, I've spent most of my time in quiet retreat. I'm usually at home, reading stacks of good literature , editing and proofreading the August-October issue of the Torch (the church youth ministry's quarterly magazine), sleeping, eating, and watching cable TV. I've just read William Golding's masterpiece, The Lord of the Flies . It's a novel so gripping and moving it would lead you to ask fundamental questions on the evils of this world. Golding accurately gives an answer, albeit a subtle one: that the problems that plague society are caused not by the present system, but by the innate nature of the people who run the system. I'm now reading T he Foxe's Book of Martyrs , a Christian classic that tells of the sufferings of martyrs for the sake of Christ. God has used this book to show me how I ought to live: to live for Him alone. These martyrs have thought of Christ to be their sole treasure whose value is g

New template finally!

I had to change my template, not so much because Manong and Kent and Jef have changed theirs lately, but because there was a problem with the Blogger commenting service. The comments, for weeks, did not get published at all. I thought, perhaps, the problem was due to my switch to Blogger Beta [I made the bold move because this new interface (or program, whatever) allows me to organize my entries into categories]. I waited for the Blogger Team to do some tweaking; perhaps, commenting was the loophole of this innovation, but my waiting proved futile. I figured that the error must be inherent in my blog template. Thus, the radical change. Nevertheless, I hope you find this template--I'll call it Bottle of Olives --convenient. The links can be accessed by clicking the "Pull" icon in the upper right corner of the blog; a drop-down window will cascade before your very eyes, much like an avalanche or a stampede that will crush you at your wits' end (I'm being too metaph

This blog template is temporary. Yes, the comments get published now.

Next week, I'll be working on a newer template.

On retreat*

*Sorry for the lack of updates. No internet connection in my brother's place. At least, not yet. But I praise God for the wonderful time I'm having. Ah, the glorious moments called the sembreak!

The mosaic of God's immeasurable grace

Despite the enormous clutter lying on the floor, I think I'm done packing. And after finishing this wrapping-up entry for the sem, I will bring my taped boxes, my set of dirty clothes, and my stack of books to Manong's place in Kalayaan Avenue. If the semester were to be described in the fewest words possible, I'd do it this way: I've learned more about God, proven His faithfulness to His promises, and enjoyed His presence. Right in the beginning of the semester, I had prayed that the Lord increase my faith in Him (Luke 17:5). I had felt that this semester would be just like the others that have come my way: they would practically just "roll over you" (as a good friend put it) before knowing they're finally over. God's grace has enabled me to look up to Him when troubles assailed me. On my own, I wouldn't choose to trust Him; but His Spirit had created in me--and in all His children--the desire to trustfully seek Him. I took up Chemistry 31 (Organi

Preparin' for the big day

You're invited. A ticket costs 50 pesos.

CS Idol: The audition and the interview

My friend Paul dragged Jason and I to the College of Science (CS) Idol auditions. He was to represent NIP (National Institute of Physics) after his friends forced him. Yes, Paul, that's called compromise: you should demand a million-peso payment from the APAPF . So anyway, we saw a little less than ten people perform their pieces in front of the screening committee. There was Carlo Timbol, my pseudo-blockmate (NIMBB) who sang Larawan, his original composition. Made my spine tingle. There was the lady from Biology who sang a heartwarming song whose title I've forgotten. And then there was Paul. "If I could put time in a bottle..." Pass me the Kleenex. The best part of it all was the interview thereafter. Jason and I were privileged to listen to Paul being grilled by the panel. Here's an excerpt. * * * "Introduce yourself." "Hi, I'm Paul. Paul Balite, from the National Institute of Physics." "And what is your edge from all the rest of th

The post-semester days make me do things

If you're done with your bloody exams--everybody say NOSEBLEED!--if you've got nuthin' else to do but watch the most heart-warming and mind-provoking movie of our time--yes, I'm talking of First Day High --check out this photo collection I made using Tabblo. Click this link.

The glorious habitation

The early morning fog oozes its way inside the room, from the window that's still ajar because my roommate must have forgotten to close it the night before. I stir awake, yawn, and pause for a brief moment with my head still lying on my soft pillow. I then take a short trip to the rest room, wash my face, and gargle with water from the faucet. I slowly head back to my room. It is 5:30 am. I switch my desk lamp on, open my Bible and the book, 365 Days With Spurgeon , a collection of the man's early preachings that have so far guided me in the meditation and reading of Scripture. I begin praying, and suddenly, all the cares of this world--big or small--vanish at the mere conscious thought of God, He who is sovereignly in control over creation and over the affairs of man. I realize what a wretched sinner I am compared to an infinitely holy, loving God. How many wrong thoughts have come to mind for the past week? the past days? the past hour? How many unloving, careless words have

I'm not turning this website into a photoblog, believe me

We did a paper on MMDA as a tool for the aestheticization of Metro Manila as final requirement for Art Studies 2. By God's grace and by His grace alone, we were able to pass it today. That officially ends my semester. I am still wondering whether it'd be wise to still take the final exam in biology. I have the whole night to pray about it. "Lord, Thy will be done." You can view more photos of this and all the other pictures I've taken for the past weeks here .

Knowing the wonders of His grace

I was hanging around in Paul Balite's room, conceptualizing what to do for the powerpoint presentation for YCF's Kick-off Fellowship that night. My hands felt extraordinarily itchy at the very sight of his extensive book collection--CS Lewis, John Piper, and other lit classics--and so I grabbed one of them, something whose front cover had been removed. There I saw the words which rang true in my heart, which made me pause for a while: "Now knowing the wonders of His grace." Indeed, Lord, Your grace has sustained me thus far. And what an amazing grace it is. --- More pictures now. Kuya Jordan, Ate Estella, and Art: we'll all miss you. Awww. And here's to my eat-while-awake feeding program, due to the wonderful incident a couple of days ago, which you can read about here.

Comments comments comments

I'd like to apologize to people who, for the past weeks, have tried posting their comments to my entries, but have failed to see what they've written appear in this website. There's a glitch in the Blogger Beta commenting service, I suppose, and I hope this gets resolved ASAP. For now, please do send me your comments at .

Speaking the Good News

Two hours before I would go to my class, I was inside my room, rehearsing my opening lines. It was something like this: "I used to be a dead man walking around town. Yes, I ate, went to school, partied with friends; but I was dead--and sadly, I didn't know I was. I didn't have a decaying body, but I had a decaying soul. My soul was dead in sin and there was no other way to revive it. This is what I will tell you, friends--my life story, others may call it--and this is a story of love and grace and mercy all poured out to that rotting soul of an underserving, sinful man. I want to tell you of the message of the Gospel that has radically changed my life. And why should you spend the next five to seven minutes listening to what I have to say? The answer is simple, friends: because you may just find out that you are like me, a sinner, and that this message is all you will ever need." I've been to many speaking contests before, and I'd feel anxious--even nauseous--

My weekend in colors

Please click on the photos to view them (and the stories behind them) optimally.

The wind was so strong it blew the trees away

I've never grown up with storms. In fact, the first time I've actually experienced one was only two years ago, during my freshman year in UP, when classes were immediately cancelled, followed by a power blackout because an electric post had been knocked out. (Two years later, I would tell my friends that back home, classes were never cancelled because of storms. " Awww, kawawa naman kayo Lance," they'd say, to which I'd reply, "Not really. They were cancelled because of, uhm, bomb threats.") So it came as a shock to me to see outside my window in Room 125 the wind howling with such a brute force that it was able to uproot huge trees in front of Yakal, destroy some lamposts, and transform the University into a vast jungle full of twigs, branches, and debris. Milenyo . In a brief moment of peace--we were guessing the eye of the storm was passing by--some friends and I walked out of the dorm to see the damage. My, it was overwhelmingly tremendous. We wa