Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The end of the road


When older friends warned me that undergraduate thesis work was going to be hard, they weren't exaggerating. May God give me grace to trust in Him as I journey to the end to of the road.


Thursday, February 19, 2009

Why I'm voting for Titus Tan—again

The on-going campaign trail for the University Student Council has so far been unforgiving. The room-to-room campaigns, the impromptu speeches, and the hurried handshakes have taken their toll on the candidates. It's amazing how, despite the sleepless nights spent on planning and organizing, they still manage to put up a good show. Every time.

Candidates from Alyansa, KAISA, and Stand-UP were in Yakal Residence Hall tonight for the annual Ligwakan, an avenue for dormers to test—rather, grill—each candidate based on their answers to questions, their substance, and their platforms.

The most important point raised was the proposed revision of the dorm admission policy. Presently, the Office of Student Housing assumes the responsibility of centralizing the admission process. Based on the number of deserving people who've been booted out of the dorms or transferred elsewhere, this process has been far from ideal.

titus tan

Titus Tan, KAISA's standard bearer, outshone the rest of the candidates in his plan to include student representatives in drafting the rules for the dorm admission process. This will empower the dormers—who are, first of all, students—and give them an active role in improving the current policy.

It's no secret, of course, that I'm voting for Titus Tan this coming election. I haven't changed my mind about what I've written about him during the days when he was still running for vice-chair:
I can tell you that Titus is a good leader. He did well as chairperson of the College of Science Student Council (CSSC). The students felt that there was something good going on. Finally the Council was at work. In a sense, under Titus's leadership, CSSC's role in the studentry was redefined and broadened.

Titus is a hardworker. He sacrifices his time (which should otherwise be spent writing his lab reports) for the Council. He is dedicated. He is honest, humble, and never self-serving.
And, as I look at his yellow posters pasted around campus, these last words remain true as they always have:
I think I know Titus well enough to say that he's far better than what he claims to be. And he can do so much more.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

By faith, not by works

Reaching the heavens

My personal study of the Book of Acts has so far taken me to Chapter 15. In this section (Acts 15:6-21), the Jerusalem Council was convened to decide on whether circumcision is a requirement for salvation (Acts 15:1-2). In effect, it sought to answer the question, "What must a person do to be saved?"

After a lot of dispute, Peter stood up and said:
"Now then, why do you try to test God by putting on the necks of the disciples a yoke that neither we nor our fathers have been able to bear? No! We believe it is through the grace of our Lord Jesus that we are saved, just as they are." (Acts 15:10-11)

By saying that, Peter asserted that salvation is only by grace through faith and not by works (cf. Ephesians 2:8). All the other requirements are simply an unbearable yoke.

James supported Peter's claim (Acts 15:15). In the end, the Council decided that a few of their chosen men were to go with Paul and Barnabas. These men, Judas and Silas, were to confirm Paul's message of salvation by grace through faith to the Gentiles, especially in Antioch, Syria and Cilicia.

Good works are not necessary for salvation; they are a result of it.

In this, the Lord demonstrates His mercy. We don't need to be good and do good to be saved—how can we? We're spiritually dead and incapable, in the first place (Romans 3:23; Ephesians 2:1).

However, by putting our faith in Him, acknowledging our sinful, wretched, helpless state, we are welcomed into the eternal embrace of our Lord Jesus Christ who willingly gave His life to save us.


Saturday, February 14, 2009

Together we can break any wall that divides us


I purposefully didn't wear black for fear of being mistaken for a Jumping Jologs—a term to denote teenage, Gothic-looking kids who throw mineral water bottles in mid-air during concerts. (Are they aware of this label?)

Last night was to be the second time I was going to the UP Fair, a week-long event in the University featuring local bands and food booths. A glorified peria with a twang of UP-ness.

My intention was not to stay long, of course. My friends know it's not my thing. Rock music disorients me, and I find huge crowds overwhelming.

But, this was to be my last year in UP Diliman, and I didn't want to miss out on the experience.

While we were busy roaming around, suddenly there was a problem with crowd control. Those who weren't allowed entry, at one time, began throwing rocks, rocking the make-shift fence, and ended up destroying a portion of it. This caused quite a commotion that GMA News did a live reporting on the scene.

But the tension died down, I had the first-hand experience I was after, and I longed for my room.


Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The prospect of death


"How do you comfort someone whose loved one just died?" I asked the seventy-something Welsh preacher as we waited for people who'd be coming to the weekly dorm fellowship.

Kuya Dave turned to me, "I've been to many funerals before and preached in a number of them..."

"And what do you say?"

He motioned me to pay attention, looking at me with a sense of urgency, as if the previous lines we told each other were but a prelude to what he was about to say.

"I tell them the three G's—grief, gratitude, and gladness. We grieve with the family; Jesus did that (John 11:35). Then, we give gratitude to the Lord for the life that person shared with us. And, if the person who died knew Christ personally, we celebrate with gladness because he is now in heaven with Him."

"But if he wasn't a Christian?"

"We challenge the family to be assured of their salvation, to hope in the promises of Christ Himself (John 11:25) who gives eternal life to anyone who trusts in Him."

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Sunday, February 8, 2009

Peaceful retreats

I figured I won't last long given my current lifestyle. I hardly complete my eight-hour sleep. I don't exercise. I eat Jollibee french fries often.

For a change, I decided to go out by myself on a Sunday afternoon, the laziest time of the week. I haven't done that in a long time. My plan was to do brisk walking while taking snapshots of interesting things. For someone who spends most of his time indoors, the experience was surreal.

"There is a whole new world out here that I've totally missed," I thought.

Around the Academic Oval, I saw people jogging, picknicking, taking pictures, and playing. I saw lovers cuddling, kids biking, and foreigners exploring. I even had a chance to watch a concert by tenors and sopranos from the College of Music.

Retreats like this are a comfort to the soul. Thank you, Lord, for the great time.


Saturday, February 7, 2009


For the past days eight days, I've been posting eight things that made me happy. I haven't exactly been consistent, but the exercise led me to the discipline of looking back at the day with gratefulness at even the minor things I'd often take for granted.

Here's the list for today:
  • The chance participate in The Moleculympics.
  • Arielle's Immunology book whose parts I had photocopied.
  • The restful siesta.
  • The Biblical manhood conference at Higher Rock. Pastor Mark Chanski was a blessing.
  • My cell cultures.
  • The song, "This Is Not A Love Song" that we composed.
  • Sumptuous dinner at Ayala TechnoHub
  • The Timezone experience with Biji, Kuya Francis, Checa, and Juanchi
But what truly makes a happy man?

The Bible is clear: the confession and forgiveness of sins (Psalm 32:1,5) because of the vicarious death of Christ in the cross (2 Corinthians 5:21).

Life centered in and lived for our Lord Jesus is filled with goodness and joy. May you find that joy in Him as well.

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Friday, February 6, 2009


  • My thesis adviser who guided me during a mouse dissection protocol. "Use whatever works for you" was a life-changing advice.
  • The 12.5 day old embryos that Ate Myka gave me.
  • MBB 150 exam—what a way to check my pride.
  • Cheesecake and that flour-less chocolate cake eaten with whipped cream, all bought from a pastry store in Timog called Bruno Uno. Thanks, Kino!
  • Anna and Ate Myka for driving me back safely without killing anyone in the process.
  • The fog.
  • The lesson God taught me—men will be, at best, men. Acts 14:15
  • And another one, His excellent mercies that no one can deny. Acts 14:17

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Thursday, February 5, 2009

Hopping back and forth in time

I think I understand why Audrey Niffenegger's bestselling novel, The Time Traveler's Wife, has become a big hit.

It's a love story between Clare Abshire and Henry DeTamble. Henry has a genetic disease that makes him time travel. He has no control about it. He disappears anytime, especially during stressful situations.

Niffenegger doesn't miss out on the fundamental details. Henry travels back and forth in time, but it appears he can't change a thing about the past or the future. Henry also leaves his clothes at the very spot where he disappears, and when he emerges at a different time period, he is naked. This is why, through time, he has developed the skill of snatching clothes (and matching them) or stealing shoes.

The book presupposes that no one—not even people with special abilities like Henry's—can change what has been written. Although he can travel back and forth in time, he is helpless in reversing the universal scheme of things.

Audrey Niffenegger uses an interesting literary tool. The story is told in alternating viewpoints: Clare's and Henry's. For this to succeed, the author must exercise flexibility and demonstrate sufficient knowledge of how both sexes generally perceive things. Niffenegger gets it right most of the time.

However, I feel that the book was stretched out, painfully at times. Some details that should've been omitted were there, like thoughts of "I love you, Clare" or "Please don't leave, Henry." For some people, these probably strengthen the notion that they do love each other.

There were many allusions to molecular biology that I enjoyed and even analyzed. In one of the chapters, Dr. Kendrick, my favorite character, explains how the genetic disease has come about and finds ways of curing it.

A movie starring Eric Bana and Rachel McAdams will be shown some time this year. I hope it does justice to the book.


Wednesday, February 4, 2009


UP College of Engineering Parking Lot

  • My meditation on Acts 13, and the grace of God that extended to the Gentiles.
  • Had a relatively light day in school.
  • Dr. Aquino cancelled the scheduled quiz.
  • Pizza and business plans.
  • Late afternoon walk in the wilderness, that wide expanse of land beside University Avenue.
  • Got my schedule for the interview: it's on Feb 26!
  • The good food I ate.
  • Slumdog Millionaire, a great movie!

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Tuesday, February 3, 2009


I was caught up with acads last night, so I didn't get to blog anything. At any rate, let me continue with the things that made me happy today:
  • Praise God for the guidance given to me and my groupmates during the debate this morning. Update: Wegs Pedroso's team won! It was a tie.
  • Had fun with the SocSci1 presentations; we presented the African story of creation.
  • The Bible, and the wonderful story of Creation.
  • The long, afternoon sleep.
  • The peaceful afternoon I woke up to.
  • Internet has been restored—hopefully, for good.
  • Yakal Christian Fellowship, which starts at 8 pm tonight.
  • Jana Mier who gladly agreed to get something for me.

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