Showing posts from December, 2017


The flight was delayed. It meant that I’d miss lunch. I ate a cinnamon bun I intended to give as pasalubong to my parents for when they’d meet me at the airport. I slept through most of the flight. I gazed outside my window and saw that the sky was blue and the sunlight glaring. I closed the shades until the flight attendant asked me to lift it fully. My aunt was crying over the phone just minutes before I boarded the plane. My grandmother, Lola Gloria—90 years old, the most organized woman I know, the matriarch who saw that my father grow up to be a good man—was dying. The picture of her lying unconscious on the bathroom floor struck me. I replayed Tita Beb’s panic-stricken hysteria. It made me uneasy. I dragged my bags from the conveyor belt. Tatay helped me carry them. Nanay waited inside the car. We decided to visit Lola in Polomolok, the same house where she installed swings, see-saws, and a slide for us, cousins, her flesh and blood, whom she fed breakfast, lunch, and dinn

Lunch and snacks—forgive this title

Meeting friends can be exhausting, a trait I probably got from Carlo, my friend since med school, and whom I met for lunch today. Friends leave indelible marks on a person, and this newfound introversion—a fake construct, say my other friends—I largely attribute to my hanging out with Carlo. I would drag him to dinner or to coffee shops, away from his comfort zone: his privacy. Things always make sense when I talk to him, as friends are meant to do: giving us clarity by helping us see many things as they are. He gave me a fountain pen as a graduation gift. I should probably do the same when he finishes his radiation oncology fellowship in two years. He's a fine physician, and his dedication to his work and his patients always inspires me to do better myself. For coffee and afternoon snacks, I met Jo Lucero and Rac Bruno at a quiet, unassuming café called Commune in Makati. Jo is the out-going chief resident of IM; Rac is her executive officer. I'm glad to the call these women


My TWSBI Eco Pen, with the 1.1 mm nib, and Tom's gift, which couldn't have come at a better time, since my wallet is in its final stages of dilapidation (taken from my Instagram:  @bottledbrain ) I mostly lived at Quisumbing Hall (Residents’ Dorm 5) for the past three years. It has been a place of respite, quiet, and sleep, largely owing to my roommate Tom—a ( former —ah, the finality of it!) neurology resident—whose presence reassured me that there were, in fact, people more tired than I was. As I packed my things this Christmas morning—a ritual of beginnings and endings—I saw Tom’s gift on my table ( see above ). Yes, Tom, I loved Fargo (the series and the film), and I’ll miss the late night talks that almost doubled as entertainment and therapy when training got the better of us. What should I watch next? Nothing with John Lloyd please.

Taiwan: people

I didn't imagine how traveling with a large group could be fun and grueling—and possible. For our proverbial last hurrah, just a few days before the end of residency, my friends and I went to Taiwan, where the streets are walkable, the air clean, the pervading feeling calm—even during rush hours. The signs are readable. Public transportation is functional and is easy to figure out. The locals don't speak English, though, a difficulty surmounted by Google Translate, a must-have for travels to foreign lands. We spent three full days in Taipei, the capital, and neighboring cities, Keelung and Shifen. I've come to a point in my life where I don't have to take pictures of all the things I see, mainly because my friends are doing it anyway. I did take intermittent snaps with my iPhone. Here are my favorite portraits of friends and short descriptions of them. I will miss them. Here's Bea Uy just as we had left the Sun Yat Sen Memorial to look for a decent cup of coffee

Reading for Taipei

I'm headed to Taipei today with friends and colleagues from Internal Medicine. It's our proverbial last hurrah before we part ways towards the end of the year. As always, part of the plan is determining which book I'll bring. I'm all set to reading George Saunder's Lincoln in the Bardo  and Christopher Isherwood's The Berlin Stories .

Team B Christmas Party

My OPD forever-mates! I'll miss them. What a riot that night was.

Christ, our treasure

Since we see that the whole of our salvation, and all the branches of it, are comprehended in Christ, we must be cautious not to alienate from him the least possible portion of it. If we seek salvation, we are taught by the name of JESUS, that it is in him; if we seek any other gifts of the Spirit, they will be found in his unction; strength, in his dominion; purity, in his conception; indulgence discovers itself in his nativity, by which he was made to resemble us in all things, that he might learn to condole with us; if we seek redemption, it will be found in his passion; absolution, in his condemnation; remission of the curse, in his cross; satisfaction, in his sacrifice; purification, in his blood; reconciliation, in his descent into hell; mortification of the flesh, in his sepulchre; newness of life and immortality, in his resurrection; the inheritance of the celestial kingdom, in his entrance into heaven; protection, security, abundance, and enjoyment of all blessings, in his ki

The search for the perfect blue-black

My new-found fascination with fountain pens has taken me to the discovery of various ink choices. My favorite color for writing in medical charts is blue-black: it's more black than blue, but can pass as the former, should the elderly nurses in the hospital do random spot-checking for hospital standards. (I was criticized once for using sky blue ink, and I had to rewrite my prescriptions with a darker shade of blue--an incident that made me ask how blue should blue be.) My choice of blue-black is the Pelikan 4001. It's more expensive (around Php 400-plus for 62.5 mL) and harder to find. I'm glad I found a bottle at Scribe, a cool store in EDSA Shangri-La Mall. The salespeople there are used to newbies and would gladly help them pick the best choices for beginners. Last week I tried Pilot blue-black, which I got for less than Php 200 at National Bookstore, but a colleague told me one can get it for around Php 135 (30 mL) at Cosmos Bazaar in Binondo Area. It's Pilot'