Showing posts from June, 2008


Peals of thunder woke me up early that morning. The clock read 4 am. Outside my window, strong winds were howling, and the rain was pouring hard. Moments later came the power interruptions. There wasn't going to be a fine weather that Sunday. When I got out of the dorm for church at 8:30, the winds had subsided—temporarily, at least—but the rain was unceasing. I made my way towards the waiting shed, waited for what seemed like 30 minutes for a jeep, and settled for a taxi instead. Everywhere the water was overflowing—along the Elliptical Road, Quezon Avenue, and Timog. The scenes made it easy to imagine the flood that put Noah's ark to good use. I arrived 15 minutes late for Sunday worship. There were few people in the sanctuary, about an eighth of the usual number of attendees. But I had a blessed time. Few as we were, Pastor Bob didn't postpone our present pulpit series on the Ten Commandments. I later learned that Frank (typhoons have male names nowadays, I wonder why)

Paul Velasco has left for good

The last time I saw Paul Velasco in person was a couple of weeks ago. He came back to get his transcript of records. I met him as he was queuing at PNB to withdraw cash from the ATM. After weeks of not seeing him, he didn't change much. Paul still had the bulging tummy, hairy legs, and that face people mistook for Brad Pitt's. “Kumusta ka na, Paul?” I asked. “Mag-mimigrate na kami sa New Zealand. By the end of June or start of July,” he said. The news stunned me. Though I had it coming—Paul's parents have gone to work in Wellington since we were in third year—it was difficult to swallow the news. Paul was leaving us for good. That day, he treated me to Figaro, in the College of Home Economics' Tea Room, where he used to have his practicum during his college days. After many kumustahans, we had to part ways. My mice were waiting for me in the lab; he had other friends to meet. I think the last words I said to him were, “Read your Bible and pray everyday.” Wherever he is

Now using Ubuntu. How cool is that?

I write this using my newly-installed operating system Ubuntu. I'm running version 8.04, the Desktop Edition. Ubuntu is a Linux-based OS that can be dowloaded for free. In my case, I filled out the form at the Canonical website —the worldwide distributor of the OS—and got my CD through mail after about four weeks. The good news is that I got it for free. I didn't pay a single centavo even for shipment. Ubuntu is an ancient African word that means “humanity to others.” It's the promise of Ubuntu that it will always be “free of charge, including enterprise releases and security updates.” Written on the CD package were these words: “Ubuntu CDs contain only free software applications; we encourage you to use free and open source software, improve it and pass it on.” Reading that totally changed my mind. Why pay for something you could otherwise get for free—with almost the same quality, if not better? Some of my good friends have made the switch to Ubuntu, and I know quite a

Now he's 18

Today is Sean's birthday. He's turning, what, 18, and it's still hard to believe. My younger brother is a growing man. One of the things I probably regret during my childhood is that I never got the chance to be close to him, inasmuch as I've always been close to Manong Ralph. In a sense, it was because our interests were clashing. Sean wanted to watch Cartoon Network; I was hooked to BBC. Or he wanted to play outdoors; I wanted to read indoors. And the only times we got together was during those time when I'd be away for a while and a couple of days after I returned. After that, we were always back to our old ways. I had the penchant for making his life miserable. Far from being angelic (as some family friends thought), I was a horrid, cruel boy. I would come close to Sean and distract him with irritating sounds from my throat. Or I would lambast him with insults whenever Tatay asked me to tutor him with chemistry. But he had his share of wrongdoings, too. When we

Greatest treasure and reward

My study on Acts has so far taken me to Chapter 3. The account begins with the lame man begging at the gate of the temple (Acts 3:2). As Peter and John are about to enter the gate, the man sees the two apostles. Here we see Peter and John's changed hearts. Instead of hurrying past him (as most of us are prone to do these days, whenever kids in Philcoa ask us for alms), they take notice of him and say, "Look at us" (verse 4). They saw, not only his physical, but moreso, his spiritual needs. Under any normal circumstances in the past, they wouldn't do this, of course, but the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:1-4) transformed their hearts. Expecting monetary gifts, the lame man looks at Peter and John. At this point, Peter would say something that would absolutely shock him, words that would change his life forever. Peter says (Acts 3:6): Silver and gold, I do not have, but what I do have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk. Then Peter lifts him up.


"You look tired, Lance," my classmate Chesca told me during lunch time. "I am...and I still have many things to do," I replied, forcing a smile. I just got out of the lab to buy something to eat over at Fine Arts (where they sell cheap but delicious siomai--something you shouldn't miss for the world, I tell you). In my mind was the lost list of responsibilities to finish, including the long experiment I had to do at 4pm, the mice I had to check, the meeting I had to cancel, the org requirements I had to fulfill. That's how I am these days, by the way. Busy. And this time, it's for real. At this point, I'm still getting used to the fact that I cannot enjoy my free time as much as I used to. Before I graduate next year, I want to immerse myself in extra-curricular activities, and also do well in my thesis--things I've never done since I entered college. In a sense, I want to see how far I'd go...if I could juggle numerous commitments as well as

Coming home

I’m coming back to Yakal today. The first time I did so was in 2004, with an excitement quivering down my stomach. I’ve heard many things about the place—Yakal was the place to be. But three years since, I no longer have that kind of fascination for dorm life. A greater part of me wants my own room, something I could have for myself, without the trouble of telling my roommates to stay quiet because I’m studying. This year is different because the people I used to hang out in the lobby with, my Kalayan batchmates, are no longer going to be there. Many of them have graduated—some weren’t admitted. Last week, when I dropped by to get my keys, all I saw were new, unfamiliar faces. I’ve also been assigned to a different room, in a different wing altogether, with a new set of roommates I don’t even know by name, save one. I have no idea how things will turn out—if they’ll turn off the lights when I go to sleep, if they’ll shut their music off when I open my book, if they’ll sweep the floor w

Strolling around UP Village, I couldn't help but stare at these ladies. They didn't seem to mind the attention.

A panda like you've never seen before

I was in Trinoma with Hazel Baconga and Checa Robles last night to watch Kung Fu Panda. The movie was hilarious. There were no dull moments, and it was totally action-packed. Where else can you find a mantiz that can carry a weight that's 1000 times his? Or a panda who calls an long-necked avian his dad? Or a tigress who sounds like Angelina Jolie? But, on hindsight, maybe I really had fun because Po, the panda, reminded me so much of Monchi Goce. The similiarities are striking. They'd both kill for a dumpling.

The Summer of 2008

As a child, summer always meant longer days to play outdoors, or a month-long stay at Lola Glo’s house in Polomolok, or a divine chance to soak in London Beach. Now that I’m in college, I can only look back to those days as memories now tainted with the dirty patina of time. The past two months have been stressful. God has made me realize what a sinner I am, and how I need His grace each day of my life. But in Him, I have hope. “In the multitude of my anxieties, your comforts delight my soul”(Psalm 94:19). My delight is that the Lord would forgive me and bring me closer to Him. Classes are about to start next week. What will the Lord be teaching me this time?

Wonderful day

It's a fair afternoon in Quezon City, with hardly a cloud in sight. I go outside, take this photo from the shade of a tree, and say, under my breath, "Thank you, Lord, for this wonderful day."

Devouring a bag of chicharon

While walking on the street, we see a man carrying bags of chicharon. We hesitate at first, but the desperation of the man's face, combined with our palate's search for novel tastes, got the better of us. We pay him 30 pesos for a pack. At home, we devour the food--it's really just fried pig skin we soaked in native vinegar. While munching, Kuya Imay comments that our money is worth it. "Maraming laman. Hindi gaya ng iba na puro hangin lang malalasahan mo." "Oo nga 'no?" I realize his point. "Pero hindi kaya double-dead lang 'yung baboy na kinatay?" He lost his appetite while I continued with my gastronomic rites.

To the second mouse I shall be dissecting this afternoon

You were sleeping when I dropped by your cage. That was four days ago. You were sleeping like a baby, completely unaware that I was peering at you from the wire mesh, until I grabbed you by the tail to check your belly. I can’t believe how strong you were. I half-expected you to weaken after we moved you to a new facility. You see, the mouse room was repainted last week. We just didn’t want you to get choked by the paint fumes. Today, I ask for your forgiveness. I’m not sure if you realize how difficult a situation I am in right now. I’m not so sure if it’s easier the second time around—the procedure, I mean. Somehow, it still gives me the creeps—the thought of sacrificing innocent lives—all in the name of science. But I will have to do it, not so much because I want to, but because I have no other choice. If only you could tell me your last wishes, I would gladly do them. But hearing you speak out loud would make your defenseless screeching and painful screaming a million times harder


I ride jeepneys all the time. I've never owned a car, let alone driven one. So I choose to think that commuting, although stressful and demanding at times, does have its own share of joys. For one, you don't have to worry if your car has been stolen. You don't have to drop by the gas stations to pay for the fuel. And you don't have to put up with suicidal drivers. Yesterday, on my way to the Albert Hall, I rode a tricycle from UP Village to Philcoa. Then I hailed a jeepney that would take me to UP. "Manong, bayad po." I passed on the hundred-peso bill. It was 9 in the morning. In a jeepney with the sign, Barya lang po sa umaga . "Wala ka bang barya?" asked Mamang Driver, looking at me through the mirror above his head. I said no, I didn't have loose change. I said I do have six pesos, but that was two pesos short of the minimum fare. I expected a tongue-lashing from him. Almost all jeepney drivers have loud mouths. Maybe it's part of the tr