Showing posts from March, 2010

Give me a break

How To Train Your Dragon was just the break I needed from all the boredom and pre-exam stresses I've been sustaining these past days. It so happened—as it always does—that I suddenly had the inkling to do something else, so I got out of the depressing shell that was my room and headed straight to the cinema. A masterpiece from Dreamworks, the movie is hilarious yet insightful, in just the right combination, in all the right places. No wonder I had to restrain myself from loudly speaking to myself in public—I think I said words like, "Oh, man, that's really funny" or "Aww, that's just so . . . sweet"—because that's how well this movie rolls. It gets into you. The story is set in a mythical Viking world called Berk. I like how it's described, "It snows for six months, and it hails for three." True enough, the place looks bleak, but it appears scary when fierce-looking dragons begin flying all over the place, eating the cute-little sh

To Jana, on her birthday

We go a long way. Who could forget Kalayaan Christian Fellowship (2005) when you were in first year, and you were our only regular attendee? We then became classmates in MBB, and now we're stuck in the same class in Medicine—for the next four or more years. Your life stands as an encouragement not only to me but to the rest of us who press toward the upward call of God in Christ Jesus (Philippians 3:14). Seek the Lord, for the nearness of Him is your good (Psalm 73:28). And continue to glorify Him in your relationships, studies, and ministries. Happy birthday, Jana Mier! I'm looking forward to more Monday morning prayer times and weekly Bible studies. (Photo: Gino Gomez )

Burnt skin

It was never my intention to blog about this for fear of public ridicule: I had my warts removed. Who has warts but people who don't wash their fingers, right? But that's a common misconception. You can get the virus anywhere. Oh, the warts were in the right hand, just so you know. I had fun during the medical procedure for two reasons: one, the dermatologist was pretty, and, two, it felt great to see portions of my skin burn. But it was mostly because of the dermatologist.


When I'm tempted to pity myself for being so mediocre in anatomy, I remind myself that God's design of the human body is too complex, too amazing, that my puny brain could only understand parts of it—and incompletely at that. Isn't med school such a humbling experience?

Old Manila

The entire afternoon is free, and I have nothing else to do—except to wallow in solitude inside my room if I choose to. There are times when it's healthy to be alone; this isn't one of them. And so I spend a couple of minutes at the Stones where my transbox is—a glorified locker, but only an eighth of the size—hoping to see people and start conversations with them. My friend Marvyn comes right up to me, "Do you want to go to Divisoria with us?" "What are you and Jonas up to now?" I ask. "We're starting a business: uniforms. We're buying the fabric today. Do you want to come?" I'm personally not a fan of crowded places, but Marvyn's smile, combined with Jonas' innocent insistence, is disarming. I immediately say yes until I realize I'm carrying a laptop. Divisoria is a place teeming with thieves and robbers. I remember meeting a friend's aunt whose earrings got snatched when she went there. And there are countless

I sing, you sing

I had the opportunity of watching the UP Medicine Choir concert entitled "I Sing You Sing" at Philam Life Auditorium, UN Avenue a while ago. I had nothing else to do, save for some errands here and there, so I felt my feet itching to go somewhere else. I figured it's been a long while since I had last listened to a concert, so I went. Besides, a few of my classmates—Laureen Lukban, Maisie Magnaye, Rich King, and Anne Barraquio—were performing. It was also a benefit concert for the Foundation for the Advancement of Neonatal Technology and Services (FANT)—I saw Dr. Blas Mantaring sitting in the front row. The show turned out to be an emotional high for me. The song choices were wonderful. The first half featured more serious, classical songs; the second was more lively and contemporary. The singers looked like they enjoyed every bit of their time on-stage. There were some awkward moments, too, when cell phones were beeping in the middle of a heart-wrenching song, so I g

The Good Shepherd

Perhaps among the imagery in Scripture, the picture of Jesus as the Good Shepherd is dearest to my heart. Pastor Bob Amigo preached from John 10 last Sunday, and it left me stunned, overjoyed, and at the brink of tears for most of the time. To deeply appreciate this passage, we must understand what Eastern shepherds did during those times. They treated their flock as their own; the shepherds' greatest possession was their sheep. Because sheep are such dumb creatures, any good shepherd should guide them: to the freshest streams of water, to the best pasture where they can graze, to the safest land where they can rest. The shepherds also risk their lives to protect their flock—from attacks of wolves or robbers—and are therefore always at guard, even at night. The sheep are powerless without the shepherd. They're not smart. They're prone to diseases. They're easily frightened. But despite these, the shepherd cares for and comforts them. The imagery is powerful, espec

Baby steps

I awoke early in the morning to check my mail, expecting to find another set of queries about our research paper. My groupmates have been working extra-hard these past days, and I can liken the stress to my experience of writing my undergrad thesis. I'm sure the same goes for them, perhaps even worse because three are writing a scientific paper for the first time. Thankfully, the first draft is done, and our adviser is checking it at the meantime. I'm not sure if I should write about the updates about our project, but blogging seems a pretty good way of outlining my thoughts. Of course, things are far from over, but I'm thankful we're taking these small, baby steps towards the finish line. Instead of going back to sleep, I watched a video of a man taking a 21-hour train ride to go to Northern Russia. Will someone please take me to Russia after the research presentation is over? Assuming, of course, that it will be.

The story of the phone that was lost and now found

Not many people know this: that I get unconscious when I travel for long hours—precisely the reason why, for the past two months, I've lost two phones simply by taking public transportation. My pockets weren't even slashed; my phones simply chose to slip off. If I were, say, in Tokyo, a missing phone wouldn't be a problem. The Japanese are too honest; they return things to the rightful owner without any theatrics. In Manila, news like that would make headlines in TV Patrol. When I got off the FX, on my way to Quezon City, I could no longer palpate my phone from my pocket. I knew I had lost my phone forever.  A day later, I got an email from someone named Jonell: We took the same FX yesterday from Manila. I found your phone in the seat beside me when you alighted at NBS [National Bookstore], and I've been waiting for any text or call from you. So I read your inbox (my apologies) and found your Kuya's number. I texted him, introduced myself and asked for any contac

Admitted to UP College of Medicine Class of 2015

Here's the list of applicants qualified for admission for academic year 2010-2011. Congratulations, Class 2015! Get as much sleep as you can, for next sem, the real work begins. (HT: Nicole Bernardo for the photos)

Take care of your eyes; nothing beats the original

I've been wearing eyeglasses since Day One of med school—that is, until two days ago when I tried contact lenses again. I did it out of a whim, really, when I accompanied my classmate Carlo de Guzman over at Executive Optical to have his torn lenses replaced. Right there and then I realized I had to buy a pair myself. I'm impulsive like that. I think that's why my classmates think something's quietly missing when they look at me without them—the glasses, I mean. Like my front teeth just fell off.  Jonas Bico said l looked weird. Jay Magbohos said I looked better. Camille Yuga said I suddenly had smaller eyes. The funny thing is, I myself need to get used to my new, original look. But enough of me. I just hope I don't forget to take them off before going to sleep—or else I'd go blind.


I thought I came to the movie prepared. I had read Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass in 2004, and while I could hardly remember the story, I had clear expectations of what the movie ought to be. Apparently, it was supposed to be a modern adaptation: Alice, now grown up, would go back to Wonderland and defeat the Red Queen. The movie didn't turn out to be as good as critics thought it would be. I feel alone in saying this, but there wasn't much to it, except for the graphics. Johnny Depp didn't even deliver. Feel free to disagree.

Master of ceremonies

For a six-year old, I looked rather stiff. The photographer—or my parents, I don't remember which one—must've motioned me to stand straight. This was taken during our pre-school graduation in Precious Child Learning Center in Koronadal City, a wonderful school where I learned how to read and right properly. I was Master of Ceremonies for the program. I remember having these cue cards the size of 5 x 8 index cards where really large letters were written. One of my favorite lines was, "Let us welcome Mrs. Mila Precioso, the school principal, for her opening remarks. Let us give her a big round of applause." That was in 1996. And what's amusing—funny, even—is that I still say the same things today, when I do the emcee-ing. Some of the things we did in our childhood leave indelible marks on our present person.

Ma. Orosa Street

My shoulders hunched, I take the quiet, solitary walk to where I live As I greet the dirty streets with a lonely sigh, the pavement looks back with indifference The stars no longer twinkle as they used to do in the days of my childhood have they all fallen? I go past cluttered corners and see dirty people in ragged clothes dreaming in silence Bogged down, I grasp the meaning of rest.