Showing posts from July, 2017

Pambansang photobomb

I saw this poster at the PGH seventh floor, featuring Dr. Jose Rizal and the National Photobomb, a testament that in this country, anything is made possible.

Weight loss


Books—digital or otherwise

The only time I regret owning many books is when I move out of a place. Books and other reading materials—but mostly books—constitute majority of my material possessions, a humbling testament to my current net worth. I still get the childlike wonder of leafing through physical pages; of going to bookstores to while away time; of wandering inside cold, dark, and damp libraries. The physical presence of tangible books reassures me that I won’t go idle for many days. A stack of books sits beside my call room table, as if to remind me that I have friends who can take my mind off death and dying and clinical dilemmas. Another stack of books lies on my bedside desk, so I can pull out a story to keep me entertained for the night just before I sleep. But I’ve cut back on my book spending, a moratorium I intermittently violate whenever I find rare titles, as if leaving them un-bought were a crime. This weekend I shipped my books to the province, a tedious task that entailed a lot of carryin


I'm not the biggest fan of Calibri, Microsoft Word's default font. Recently it has figured into different anomalies and has generated interest about fonts. Lucas de Groot, a Dutch typeface designer living in Berlin, recently began receiving a flood of calls and e-mails from Pakistan that, he said, “seemed very urgent.” He soon discovered that Calibri, a font he’d designed almost fifteen years earlier, was playing a central role in a corruption scandal engulfing Nawaz Sharif, the Prime Minister of Pakistan. As part of an investigation launched by the country’s Supreme Court, the Prime Minister’s daughter had released a supposedly exculpatory document signed and dated February 2, 2006. The document, however, had been printed in Calibri, which was not widely available until 2007. Investigators deemed the document to have been falsified, and the term “fontgate” began trending on Twitter. Do you like Calibri? (My friend Rac said, "I don't like Calibri, but I like libr

More Instagrammable

Casey Newton's article in The Verge tells us how restaurants are changing their designs to look more Instagrammable . Now some entrepreneurs are taking the idea a step further, designing their physical spaces in the hopes of inspiring the maximum number of photos. They’re commissioning neon signs bearing modestly sly double entendres, painting elaborate murals of tropical wildlife, and embedding floor tiles with branded greetings — all in the hopes that their guests will post them. To be sure, restaurateurs have always wanted their spaces to look attractive. But in the era before social media, a designer could concern herself primarily with the space’s effect on its occupants. How a room looked in photographs was, at best, a secondary concern. Ravi DeRossi, owner and primary designer of 16 bars and restaurants, including the pioneering New York craft cocktail bar Death & Company, says he has never used Instagram, preferring to design by instinct. “I want my places to feel

Morning persons

"It's still too early," I tell Tatay. He disagrees with me, "No. Alas singko na." Tatay and Nanay have their early morning chats at 4 am these days. This is why I'm a morning person.

Off the beach coast

When civilian boats voluntarily sailed through the English Channel to rescue the stranded soldiers off the bloodied beach of Dunkirk, France; I was almost brought to tears. After all, home brings a certain relief for most of us, and in this historical display of humanity and nationhood—two concepts that must necessarily, but do not always, go together—home came to hundreds of thousands of men, with gratitude to some yacht owners who braved the turbulent seas, with all the risk that this had entailed. The 1940s was a time when the world, led by the British, was at war against the strong Nazi forces. Soldiers drowned as British ships capsized. Bombs were dropped from the air. The soldiers would only duck for cover rather than doing nothing at all. Airplanes crashed after being bombed themselves. The magic of the film was its ability to trap us into the visually disturbing and noisy montage of bombs and planes, blue skies and wide beaches, drowning and crashing, hunger and food, agony a


Jesus, my deepest thanks is always reserved for you. You have always been faithful to your word, though I have not always been faithful to trust it. Thank you for the amazing grace you have extended to me. Thank you for hiding your most precious treasures in the most difficult and painful experiences. And thank you for all that you have done to teach me to walk by faith (2 Cor. 5:7) and put my greatest trust in things not seen (Heb. 11:1). I look forward to the day when the dim mirror of this age is removed and I finally get to see you face to face (1 Cor. 13:12). I know you long for that day, too ( John 17:24). May it be soon. — John Bloom, Dedication. In: Things Not Seen. Crossway Publications (2015). A blessed Sunday!

Bonding with my friends' kids

Our last batch trip to Bohol was fun. The highlight of the trip was that I got to bond with my friends' kids. Here's Monay Mondragon, barely a year old, holding her Uncle Lance's hand firmly. She has the makings of a future diplomat. I haven't seen a child so sociable and well behaved. Her real name is Alessandra Mondragon, a fact that made us expect that this girl would grow up a diva. "Turuan na nating maging maganda," said Jay. Interestingly, during the entire trip, Alessa didn't cry or make a fuss about anything, the way kids her age usually do, so much so that Karen, her mother, told us, "Now she's [Alessa] making me look like I'm lying." Karen would amuse us with her motherhood woes—stories of love, sacrifice, and breast milk. . These days, Karen shows us photos of Alessa's crawling and recent transition to more solid food—like mashed vegetables. She'll grow up to be a kind, gracious, smart, and beautiful lady like her

Bluer than blue


Avoiding children in the plane

I avoid sitting next to children during long flights, mainly because I want to rest during travel. But this article offers a Christian perspective about (and against) this attitude. First, children hold a special place in the eyes of God. Even the rowdiest of kids brings a smile to God’s heart, and they should bring a smile to ours. Jesus, after all, beckoned the children to come to Him, and we may hardly be more like Christ than when we do the same.

A joyful wedding

YESTERDAY, at Paul and Jac's wedding, I met good, old friends from way back in college—all very dear to me, like brothers and sisters. I hosted the reception party, had tons of laughs with the amazing co-host Sarah, who never lacked the right words to say, and whom—interestingly—I only meet every time we're cohosting weddings and when she gives birth. I saw Paul cry as he made the speech about how thankful he is for his family (and what a wonderful family he has), and Jac, too, who was more in control of her emotions but who succumbed to tears anyway. What love the Lord has granted them for each other, and how their lives have been blessings to everyone around them!

Ssssh, I'm reading

“I TOLD YOU LAST NIGHT THAT I MIGHT BE GONE sometime, and you said, Where, and I said, To be with the Good Lord, and you said, Why, and I said, Because I’m old, and you said, I don’t think you’re old. And you put your hand in my hand and you said, You aren’t very old, as if that settled it. I told you you might have a very different life from mine, and from the life you’ve had with me, and that would be a wonderful thing, there are many ways to live a good life. And you said, Mama already told me that. And then you said, Don’t laugh! because you thought I was laughing at you. You reached up and put your fingers on my lips and gave me that look I never in my life saw on any other face besides your mother’s. It’s a kind of furious pride, very passionate and stern. I’m always a little surprised to find my eyebrows unsinged after I’ve suffered one of those looks. I will miss them.”—Excerpt from: Marilynne Robinson's “Gilead: A Novel.” I always read Miss Robinson with a sense of wonde


Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your heart to God.—Colossians 3:16 The word of the Lord, when it occupies the heart, affects it in such a way that the person’s actions, words, and thoughts become transformed into more Christ-likeness. The passage starts with a verb, “let,” which means “allow” or “provide an opportunity for.” There is a sense in which a Christian must actively allow this to happen and to do so effectively such that Christ's word dwells richly. Scripture shouldn’t just reside in the heart—it must flourish there. Here Paul seems to say that the person must be saturated with the word of God before any effective teaching and admonishing, singing and being thankful, can happen. And doesn’t Paul describe a joyful man? Someone who “sings psalms and hymns and spiritual songs,” someone who is thankful to God for everything. The key to joy is

Millennial problems—and funny causes of death

This New Yorker Shout-Out cracks me up: a collection of obituaries a mother writes for her twenty something daughter. How millennial.* It is with deep sorrow that we announce the passing of Bess Kalb, twenty-four, of San Francisco, formerly of New York. The cause of death was botulism from a homemade strawberry-rhubarb jam that was prepared by one of her housemates. The housemate, Aviva Something, holds a degree in—I kid you not—modern culture and media. She certainly had no formal training in sterile canning and preservation. If the kitchen in this “co-op” where the jam was prepared looks anything like it did six months ago, there is compost decaying right there on the counter next to the sink. Bess is survived by her brother, who once looked up to her. I certainly don't label myself a "millennial." I don't like the word; I clump it in the same category as "netizens"—that is, words I will never use, except as an example, as in this sentence, to demonstr

Why exercise isn't the best way to lose weight

Interesting take on weight loss.

Trip to Cubao Expo

Racquel Bruno, one of my dearest friends in residency, went to Cubao Expo with me. The place—an old but not dilapidated square of local shoe shops, antique stores, and restaurants—was a welcome respite from all the commercial establishments now undergoing construction at the Araneta Center. I suppose time will come when the rest of Manila will become a city of malls and condominiums.

Ode to our interns

One of the greatest joys—and pains—of my residency training has been working with (and for) medical students. Since January I’ve been appointed one of the Learning Unit 7 (LU 7) resident monitors, a task I’d originally resisted but a responsibility I’d later come to like and actually love. I work with Mervyn Leones, who has been my all-around partner in the extra-curricular of residency, including research, where we’ve worked on our meta-analysis and, now, our original study involving something about discharge planning. I also work with Rich King, who never complains about the tasks I assign him, things he has every right to refuse but gladly does anyway. I also work with Alfie Chua, whose meticulousness cuts through every grade that’s improperly input, a trait that manifests in the clarity of his charting and formulation of diagnoses. Together we orient the 26 blocks of interns that rotate with the Department of Medicine at some point during the academic year. These blocks are comp

I will rejoice in my Redeemer

During communion service yesterday, we sang “My Worth Is Not My Own,” a song that lifted our spirits, reminding us to rejoice in Jesus Christ, “greatest treasure, wellspring of [our] soul(s).”