Thursday, October 31, 2019

Published in the Journal of Global Oncology

Journal of Global Oncology

I'm happy to announce that our study has been published in the Journal of Global Oncology. You can read the abstract here. We presented this paper in the inaugural American Society of Clinical Oncology Breakthrough Summit in Bangkok, Thailand last October 2019. Many thanks to Mervyn and Berbi who worked with me on this.


Saturday, October 26, 2019


On my father's supposed 68th birthday, I find myself wishing he were here to congratulate me on my first prize wins for oncology research, or to tell me that I'm losing weight and should eat some more, or to listen to his hearty laughter that my brother and I remember him for. I miss you every day, Tay, and I look forward to the day when we meet again.

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

My morning anthem

Just when the day starts to overwhelm me, I am reminded by the fact that the Lord is in control, sovereign in all things. There is no cause or need for worry because if the birds of the air do not, why should I, whom the Father loves?

Each morning for the past weeks I've been playing Keith and Kristyn Getty's What Grace is Mine.

What grace is mine that He who dwells in endless light
Called through the night to find my distant soul
And from his scars poured mercy that would plead for me
That I might live and in his name be known

So I will go wherever He is calling me
I lose my life to find my life in Him
I give my all to gain the hope that never dies
I bow my heart, take up my cross and follow Him

What grace is mine to know His breath alive in me
Beneath his wings my wakened soul may soar
All fear can flee for death’s dark night is overcome
My Saviour lives and reigns forevermore

So I will go wherever He is calling me
I lose my life to find my life in Him
I give my all to gain the hope that never dies
I bow my heart, take up my cross and follow Him

To lose my life, to die to self, in order to find my life in Him—there is joy, peace, and strength in Him. Listen to the song here.

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Tuesday, October 15, 2019

James 4:7, ESV

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Retrospect and Prospect, from the Valley of Vision

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

No monopoly of greatness

Spot on, Kay Rivera, my med school batch mate and favorite Inquirer columnist! How long has it been since we took the UPCAT? How time flies. She ends her piece with this.

Clearly, UP is not homogeneous. It takes all kinds to make a university. For those who have made it past this weekend’s hurdle, my limited, unsolicited advice is simple: don’t romanticize the university, lest one be prone to complacency; don’t rest on your laurels or belittle the achievements of other universities; don’t buy into the thinking that it’s UP or nothing; and realize that what makes UP, even more than its staff and its professors, are the mettle, passion and moral compass of its students. The expectation shouldn’t be that UP ought to make or break you, but that your actions and choices can make or break a university which is held to a certain standard of freedom of expression, justice-seeking and political awareness. UP is only as good as the students it produces, and to respond to the needs of an ailing nation, you’ll have to be very good students indeed.

One thing I learned throughout the years: UP doesn't have the monopoly of greatness. This is both humbling and comforting.


Monday, October 7, 2019

Diamine chrome

Sunday, October 6, 2019

Aliwagwag Falls: my mother's adventure


To keep her busy, I've asked Mother to take pictures of her every day. This is a year-long project. I installed the Flickr app on her phone and configured it so that all photos are automatically uploaded to a private cloud. Because of this, I know that she has gone walking, or has met with high school classmates, or has attended yet another funeral—events she can't seem to get too much of, as she wants to encourage the grieving families with God's comfort, as she has been comforted when we lost my father.

She went on tour with our church family from Marbel Evangelical Fellowship to visit Aliwagwag Falls in Compostela Valley-Davao Oriental.




Here's Mother, with Auntie Cecil, her forever best friend who sticks closer to her than a sister (they've shared the same dental clinic for years, until her retirement) and practically a second mother to us.


Nanay takes good pictures, doesn't she? I tell her to take photos of clouds, flowers, moving things, and people. She listens to my advice occasionally.

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Saturday, October 5, 2019

Quietly extraordinary

week 29 (waitress)

Over breakfast coffee, I talked to my colleagues and friends, Berbi and Marvin, about generation gaps in medicine, sentiments about fellowship training, funny experiences in the clinics, and life in general. I love these conversations. I liken them to well-written systematic reviews because they clarify the meaning of certain life events that have happened during the past week or month, amplify the important lessons in those time periods, and offer future directions.

We talked about our desire to live simple, quiet lives—doing God's work in our little corner of the world. "And maybe that's not such a bad thing," we concluded. Some people are destined to change the world and rally others to do the same. Others are called to carry on the good work quietly: a doctor in his clinic, a mechanic in his shop, a student in his class. It is a meaningful life.

And then I came across a beautiful tribute to a man who worked with medical missionaries in Bundibugyo. I don't know Drs. Scott and Jennifer Mhyers personally, but their blog has become one of my favorite go-to's in the internet. I am always refreshed, encouraged, and moved by their testimony. The man's name was Yosefu Mutabazi.

He was never in a hurry, never demanding, patiently deliberate, dedicated to Scripture and truth and mercy. Perhaps because he began as an outsider he was sympathetic to our neediness. After knowing him for more than two decades we found ourselves entrusting our newest missionaries into his care. I don't think any of us imagined Bundibugyo without him.

This brought to my memory the lesson we had this week in my Bible study and prayer group (Pilgrims) on arrogance (1 Corinthians 13:4–7).

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Yosefu Mutabazi, based on the Mhyers's account, wasn't full of himself, did not consider himself important, but cared for the needs of others. He lived a "quietly extraordinary" life, doing God's work in his little corner of the world.

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Photo above was taken at Midtown Diner in 2011. It remains one of my favorite breakfast places in Manila.


Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Thanks for this, Sir Kenn!

Dr. Kenn Samala gave me a print out of a photo he took from the New York Central Park a few months ago. Printed photos are a different thing entirely.