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Showing posts from April, 2011

Week 17: Plants

No more housework

During a visit to my mother's clinic, my kid brother, who's training to be a dentist, motioned me to get onto the dental chair so he could see if I have new cavities.

A summer update you can always skip

I'm writing this from a coffee shop along General Santos Drive in Koronadal. I've just sent my Medics column to my editor, something I should've done three weeks ago. This morning I washed the dishes, cooked breakfast, wiped the floor, and rearranged the cabinets. When I'm at home during summer break, it's almost impossible to escape domestic duties. Our forty-something househelp has left us for her twenty-year old textmate, someone she hasn't met personally, so Sean and I are alternating in washing the dishes, a truly tedious task when performed at the peak of lunchtime sleepiness. That and the impossible heat.

Week 16: Seafood

Flaggelations, among other things people do during the Holy Week

Sometimes—and this may be the exception rather than the rule—the best decisions are the ones made spontaneously, without thought or careful consideration. At least that's what I'd call my recent visit to Balanga City, Bataan.

Why I celebrate the Holy Week

I often get asked if evangelical Christians celebrate Lent or the Holy Week. I would answer, yes, we remember and meditate upon Jesus' suffering, but we don't do the rituals and ceremonies associated with the season. Nevertheless we treat the Holy Week as an occasion to look back at the most glorious display of God's love for mankind: Jesus Christ dying for sinners such as us. Sadly many people miss the point of the Holy Week entirely: they think that by fasting, by not eating meat on Fridays, by reciting prayers, or even by flagellating themselves, they can earn plus points in heaven.

Netherlands (Part 2)

Read Part 1 here. There are two effective antidotes to physical stress—food and sleep—but since my schedule didn't permit me to doze lazily on my bed (I had, after all, just been through more than 12 hours of travel), at least I had a sumptuous breakfast. The Dutch aren't fond of rice, something Southeast Asians can't live without, but what I saw on my plate was a treat nevertheless. I had no idea of what half of the food served tasted like, but I took my time to sample as much as I could.

Learning disappointments

A boy in school uniform is crying silently, wiping tears about to burst from his eyes. He's short, lanky, probably in second grade, and he reminds me of myself when I was a kid. He holds his mother's hand. She leans toward him, consoling him with, "Don't worry. We'll find another one."

Week 15: Festival

A human brain on a cookie jar, and other summer stories

After what feels like forever, I've finally drafted the logo for this site: a human brain on a cookie jar. The tagline, "On the lookout for zebras, not horses," is an idiomatic expression that means, more or less, "I'm thinking of a brain tumor metastasizing to the colon when a person who has swallowed ten  santol  seeds complains of constipation." The rule, of course, is: think of the more common conditions first, not the extremely rare ones. Sadly this doesn't always happen during small group discussions, especially when the consultant pressures us for better answers at the point when our brain reserves have already been depleted.

The grainy feel of the sand on my toes

The instruction couldn't have been clearer: meet at McDonald's Quezon Avenue at 6 am, American time—a Filipino way of saying, if you're not here by then, we'll go ahead without you. The destination: Camaya Cove, Mariveles, Bataan. The purpose: a summer getaway with the mentoring group.

Week 14: Into the Woods


I love the look on my working friends' faces when I tell them I have nothing much to do this summer. I'm going home after my brother's oath-taking, so I'll be spending half the time in Manila and half in Koronadal. I do want to make the best of this break, arguably the last summer when I can still opt to bum around. My classmates have the same goal. Some have gone to beaches, to vacation houses, and even to different continents. After all, next school year we will begin our rotations as space-occupying lesions in the Philippine General Hospital, and the schedule will extend up to the summer vacation.

Who? I Am.

I just got back from the church's Summer Youth Camp at Jabez Campsite, Dasmarinas, Cavite. The theme was "Who? I Am." It was based on Exodus 3:13-15, a passage that recounts Moses' burning bush experience. Much of the preaching, the songs, and the group discussions focused on this important Biblical account. The last time we had something like this was three—or was it four?—years ago, when Monty Banta was a high school freshman, when Jason Amigo's voice still hadn't cracked completely, when Banjo Acuna was still a single man. This year, many of our attendees were  in the 11 to 15 age range. I know, they were that young. "So when were you born?" I asked some of them, to which they replied, "1998." I was amused: I was already in fourth grade when they were joyfully expelled out of their mothers' wombs. The following is a brief account of what happened during those three days.

Week 13: Current City

Some things never change

I was in the library this morning to do the groundwork for the  UP Medics  archiving project; the official college newsletter celebrates its 60th year next sem. We looked at age-old copies of previous Medics issues—many of their pages already brittle—and picked out stand-out articles for compilation. I chanced upon the lampoon edition dated December 1974 (Vol XXIV, Number 2). It was a total laugh trip!