Sunday, February 21, 2016

Old friends

LAST NIGHT was a riot. I had to hold back sleep over dinner because it's not every day that I meet my good friends, Paul Velasco, who now lives in New Zealand, and Jeiel Guarino, who gave me one of my favorite books to this day, Jerry Bridges's Trusting God. Manong Ralph also tagged along. Basté Julian also dropped by. He spotted us from the outside; he was walking, holding hands, with his girlfriend.

Paul Velasco and Jeiel Guarino dinner

It's funny how, after six years of not meeting together, save for the occasional emails we send each other during the downtimes our lives, we still laugh at the same things, usually at the same time. Paul still calls me "contemptuous," a word I haven't heard in a long time and one that makes me feel nostalgic. I remember raiding his room at Yakal's East Wing 2, where I was greeted by fresh underwear hanging to dry; they smelled of Downy. I'd also take over his writing assignments, shooing him from his desk, and taking his laptop—"Let's include this paragraph," I'd say; and Paul would get worried, thinking his professor wouldn't believe he'd written the piece. Oh, I've missed him. He has lived in New Zealand since graduation and goes crabbing once in a while.
Keep Reading


Saturday, February 13, 2016

Darkness creeps in

Darkness creeping in

PGH experiences sweltering afternoons, what with the lack of centralized airconditioning in the Charity Wards—and rightly so. We prioritize labs and medications before physical comfort. I took the photo above as I walked out of the Ophthalmology building [1], seeing a patient there for preoperative clearance. Darkness was creeping in. The shadows were getting longer. It was 4 PM. Night was coming. Directly above was the small tunnel that connects SOJR to the PGH Main Building.


[1] Sentro Oftalmologico José Rizal, named after the country's national hero—an eye doctor. The building was donated by the Queen of Spain, whose forefathers were our colonizers.


Friday, February 12, 2016

God gives us more than what we need

Give us this day our daily bread is a familiar phrase, part of the Lord’s Prayer we’ve memorized since the time it was taught to us in school. As with many words and phrases that we’ve gotten very familiar with, its meaning has been lost to us, hidden behind callous repetitions or distant liturgical practices.

We discussed this passage during our Thursday cell group. “Daily bread” means our daily physical needs, such as food, shelter, and clothing. Why we have to pray that God grant them to us daily is another matter. Why has God designed His appropriation of His blessings to us that way? Why doesn't He give us all His blessings all at once?
Keep Reading

Wednesday, February 10, 2016


End of the road
End of the road at Pierce Point, Singapore, taken during an early morning walk.

There’s no virtue in it for me—I wake up early. It was never a struggle.

I’m a morning person. I’m usually awake by 5 AM—6 AM if it’s a holiday or if I had stayed up late in the night, which rarely happens. My brothers seem to follow the same circadian rhythm. As children, our parents woke up before us. They’d have coffee in the porch or in the garden at 5:45 AM, then we’d be up by 6 AM, at which point my mother would dish out her instructions for home work—literally, chores to be done at home. My father wanted us out of the house to enjoy the early rays of sunshine. He’d take us walking or jogging to as far as Rizal Park near the SMRAA complex, occasionally with Rocky, our spitz, by the side. We’d be done by 10 AM. We’d take our morning showers after having tended to mother’s plants or having made sure the windows were sparkling, only to be drowned to sleep by ABS-CBN Tagalized cartoons. I still get my best sleep at 10 in the morning—I attribute that to how I’d been brought up.
Keep Reading


Tuesday, February 9, 2016

New look

I'VE DONE away with the two-column template with the drop cap—I will miss it, of course, but it limited what I can do with the photographs. I want the photos big. So I've shifted to a single-column minimalist design, adapted from Wordpress's Twenty and One classic theme. I've missed having a side-bar. Not that anyone cares; tweaking with the code has brought me back to the days when I'd kill time by learning html and CSS. I remain an amateur in that respect. I've decided to settle with a text instead of an image header. Minimalism, yo.

Meanwhile, below is a photo of what I call The Hanging Gardens of the Burn Unit at PGH. Not the most beautiful garden there is, but people in these parts do what they can.


Also, here are my pabebe brothers, both with bulging flanks—yet another proof that one can't escape genetics. The Catedral body phenotype: bulging at the poles, flattened at the equator. You should look at my father. And may I add—as I hope it applies to how we construct our sentences—short and sweet?

Brothers humoring me during Sunday after-preaching coffee.

Labels: ,

The Chinese New Year

THE CLOSEST thing I’ve come to being Chinese is to have been mistaken by rowdy Filipino OFWs as Chinese; this, while buying fruit juice at Schipol, on my way back to Manila to catch my Nephrology exam. They were taunting a guy named Noy, who kept a mistress in Surigao, unbeknownst to his wife in Iloilo. I understood a joke I no longer remember, chuckled in amusement, at which point they looked at me and said, “Pinoy ka pala.” The gang, who I later learned were seamen working for a Norweigan vessel company, forced Noy to share his chocolates with me. “Huwag kang madamot. Bigyan mo naman si Doc!”

Yesterday, despite the lack of immediate Chinese heritage in my blood, I celebrated the Chinese New Year. I did away with wearing red, inasmuch as I’ve done away with many things I don’t believe in, but I enjoyed the pleasures it entailed: more time away from the hospital.
Keep Reading


Saturday, February 6, 2016


I don’t remember the last funeral I had attended. My experience with death is largely limited to the hospital: me, attending to a code, defibrillating, doing chest compressions. As soon as the death certificates are signed and the bodies brought to the morgue, I don’t know what happens next. There must be mourning and crying and staying up late over multiple tables of mahjong and cards, entertaining guests with crispy crackers and hot cups of coffee.
Keep Reading