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Showing posts from July, 2020

Vegetable garden, kangkong flower

Maharashtra, India

Old building in Art Deco style, Mumbai.

Flying home tomorrow

(Alunan Avenue, Koronadal City, taken in 2011)

The upright man

I read Thomas Watson's The Character of an Upright Man . I love Thomas Watson and the Puritans in general. I turn to their writings if this world's air becomes too toxic. Their works offer a glimpse of heaven. There are some of my book highlights. The upright man is no adorer of public opinion. (location 45) This is the question the upright man propounds to himself, "Will this bring glory to God?" He labors still to bring in some revenues into the treasury of heaven. He prefers the glory of God before whatever comes in competition with, or stands in opposition against it. If life is laid in one balance, and God's glory in the other--the glory of God outweighs. (loc. 86) An upright Christian, though he fails in every duty, yet he makes conscience of every duty. (loc. 110) The upright Christian does not whirl about, or sinfully prostitute himself to the lusts and desires of men. (loc. 121) True grace ennobles the heart, dilates the affections, and ca

Adrian Tomine's Scenes from an Impending Marriage

I avoid weddings. I'd rather not go, if I can help it. If I must, I prefer to sit in the periphery where it's easier to leave after a few minutes of meeting and greeting. My friends, the newly married couple, understand me. Because they're too tired to bother anyway, they barely notice that I'm gone. Adrian Tomine's Scenes from an Impending Marriage: Making Light of Nuptial Narcissism  is a hilarious graphic novel that explores what couples have to go through to celebrate a wedding. I had fun reading this, especially the part where the man decides to exclude some friends to spare them the hassle of attending. I am one of those who like to be excluded. If you have problems with your wedding shortlist, feel free to remove me. You're doing me a huge favor. It's hard for me to understand why some people hold grudges against couples who don't invite them. At the behest of his soon-to-be wife, Adrian Tomine set out to create a wedding favor for their gue

Manong's lemon yogurt cake

Afternoon merienda, baked by Manong. I don't know why, all of a sudden, both my brothers have taken interest in the kitchen–Sean with his flat bread, Manong with his cakes. I'm useless in that department. Sean jokes that I can't even turn the gas stove on properly (this is partly true, a fear kindled by my experience with a patient whose stove exploded, killing all his family members—surely the exception, rather than the rule). I compensate for it by having good taste in food. "This is too sweet," I would say, like a fake food critic. But this cake had the perfect sweetness. The lemon's tangy citrus flavor made me happy. It had a vibrant fluffiness, best served with Matutum coffee in French press. Kaon ta !

Language of God: Notes No. 2

Folding at Home: in search for cures for cancer and other rare diseases

My friend Luther alerted me to Folding at Home . It's a global endeavor where you share a small portion of your device's unused computing power to enable calculations for scientists in search for cures for cancer and other diseases. I installed the program two days ago in an old HP laptop that operates on Windows. Since then, I've been involved in a COVID-19 modeling study. Now I'm contributing (albeit passively) to Project 16447. This project seeks to understand G protein inhibition in the treatment of uveal melanoma and other Gq-related diseases. The heterotrimeric G proteins are molecular switches regulate biological functions like sight, smell, and memory. This pivotal role makes G proteins essential players in physiology and pathophysiology. However, when G proteins mutate, they result in a variety of diseases from cancer to heart disease. For example, a single mutation in the Gq protein is known to cause uveal melanoma, a cancer in the iris of our eyes that r

Language of God: Notes No. 1

The handwritten notes above make up the initial draft of what should be a coherent essay/review, sort of a personal experiment that seeks to answer the question, "How do I sound if I don't edit myself?" The sentences bleed into each other. I envy people who can put their ideas together without so much as minor erasures. This is a specimen of my lazy handwriting. I used Pilot Custom 823 (given by my friend Freddie) with Waterman Blank Ink (given by my mentor Dr. Strebel).  I must tell you that I write more legibly in medical charts and prescriptions. I like to resurrect the old habit of writing using pen and paper as I make brief reflections on Dr. Francis Collins's book, "The Language of God." Chapter One, "From Atheism to Belief," begins with the writer's childhood. He calls his early life "unconventional." He gew up in a farm, with loving yet unusual parents--"a happy mix of pastoral beauty, hard farm work, summer

The Language of God

This morning I got hold of a copy of Dr. Francis Collins's book, The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief.  Dr. Collins led the Human Genome Project, an ambitious endeavor that sequenced the human DNA. As an undergraduate student in molecular biology and a young Christian, I studied genetics and physiology of eukaryotic systems with a sense of awe and worship. I saw God as I attempted to molecular and cellular processes. This was the same God who saved me from my sins, who was involved in my daily affairs, who gave me the strength to wake up and the joy to live my life. To read of this harmonious marriage between science and faith from Dr. Collins's perspective is what gets me excited. Not everyone can articulate this dynamic well. Dr.Collins writes in the introduction to the book: ... For me the experience of sequencing the human genome, and uncovering this most remarkable of texts, was both a stunning achievement and an occasion for worship. Many

One of my guilty pastimes is

Watching videos of Mandy Patinkin and his wife, Kathryn Grody . I'm a big fan of Mandy's Saul Berenson in Homeland, one of my favorite TV series of all time. Because Saul is a no-nonsense guy, always serious and calculating; I find the Twitter home videos of Mandy disconcerting. So this is who he is when he's out of character. Recorded in their vacation home, with a dog and lush greenery, Mandy and Kathryn interrupt each others sentences, making up answers to technology-related questions ("Is wifi different from the internet?"), while snacking and sipping water. Vulture magazine published an interview by Rachel Handler . Here's an excerpt. What’s the most profound thing you’ve each learned from each other? KG: Oh gosh. Is this an overnight? For me, there is no way of feeling the depth of staying together for 40 years. You share it, you’ve created a common history. You see a lot of marriages you don’t want to be like, and you have the illusion you’ll neve

Dog of Mandaluyong

Portraits for master's degree

My classmates Freddie, Kmomsh, myself, Rich, and Raj. My friends and I are graduating with a master's degree in clinical medicine (major in medical oncology) this year. Cramming assignments, figuring out solutions to problems in clinical statistics, rushing presentation slides a few minutes before class--we had fun! The graduation organizers asked us to send a sablay photo to be presented for the virtual graduation (I don't know when that will be). The last sablay photo I had was in 2009. I gained enough weight to create a stark difference from then and now. To comply with the requirement, I had my brother shoot my photo with an iPhone in the apartment. Congratulations, everyone!

Call for help for Dr. Karen Senen, neonatologist from PGH

Dr. Karen Abat-Senen—neonatologist, singer, and fountain pen enthusiast—has been readmitted . The joy of a doctor who had recovered from COVID-19 was cut short after she again tested positive for the virus a few days after she left the hospital. According to Ivan Mayrina's report on "24 Oras," Dr. Karen Abat-Senen could not hide her joy and even posted a video of her singing on July 3, the day she went home after a month of confinement at the Philippine General Hospital. However, a few day later, the doctor experienced worse symptoms. I took the liberty to re-post this from Dr. Hope Sagayaga's Facebook feed. Please include our hospital Neonatologist in your prayers. Dr. Senen is a dedicated and passionate pediatrician with a heart of service for the Filipino babies. She is the wife of Dr Jerome Senen, (also a pediatrician) and mother of two. Both are UP College of Medicine alumni. [Reposting] Help and prayers for Dra. Karen Abat-Senen. This is a call f

Cat of Mandaluyong

The cat knew its place under the sun. I spotted it at Mandaluyong City Hall.

Yours for success

This is an image from page 273 of "Penman's Art Journal" (1909) . I should sign my prescriptions with curlicues!

Friends and Korean shows

Many people I know are rabid Korean film fans. Even my mother watches Korean shows—this, after watching all the American and British shows in Netflix. Detached from the outside world, holed up inside her room for most of the day, she recommends to me what shows I should watch next. She recommended Yong-pal and My Country to me. Hannah, Uncle Toto’s eldest daughter who lived with us when she went to school in Marbel, recommended Goblin . I watched these shows with a steady fascination and a kind of detached cluelessness. Yong-pal is about a surgeon who tends to injured gangsters in secret, so he can pay off his debts. My Country: The New Age , a period film, is about two friends—I never got past the second episode. To my mother’s disappointment, I watched Kingdom Season 2 instead. It is about a raging pandemic spreading across ancient Korea. “What pleasure do you derive from watching those zombies?” my mother asked. “These zombies are the fastest runners I’ve seen!” I said. Gobl

Five novels for Christians

Leland Ryken recommends five novels that Christians should read . With the two criteria of edification and entertainment or enjoyment serving as a platform, here are five novels that I feel comfortable recommending to Christian readers. These novels are: Great Expectations by Charles Dickens The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne The Death of Ivan Ilyich by Leo Tolstoy The Hammer of God by Bo Giertz The Stranger by Albert Camus Ryken writes: Does God care about what novels we read? He does. He expects us to exercise good stewardship of our time, which includes a realization that leisure is a Christian calling in the sense that God commands it. With that as a starting premise, what constitutes a good use of our leisure time? Growth. Leisure can edify as it refreshes. I'm most curious about The Hammer of God. I read Great Expectations and The Stranger many years ago. Thanks, Ate Sharon, for the link!


Screenshot from an online Sunday preaching.

ABS-CBN franchise vote and stage 4 breast cancer

We must associate human faces and stories with national issues. The story of this ABS-CBN employee, the family's breadwinner, resonates with me. How will he sustain his mother's treatment for breast cancer?

My last duty at PGH

Saw Lennie and Carlos, block mates from med school on my last duty stint at PGH. Lennie C. is a neurologist, taking her fellowship in stroke. Carlos C. is a gastroenterologist, with special interest in bourbon, English shoes, and bespoke suits. I'm proud of them. (This is a screenshot of Lennie's Facebook post). This was in March 29, after my last 24-hour stint at UP-PGH as a trainee. I've been out of the hospital, and of work, since then. I look forward to what the Lord has in store for me. Please pray for me as I seek His direction career-wise. We've come full circle  may well be the caption of this photo. My first clinical exposure was in LU3 (first year in medicine) at the Neurology ward (Ward 5), with Lennie, Ching, the Catangui twins, Jegar, Casti, Marv, Dalvie, and Joreb. I had no clue how to remember the spinothalamic tract! (Carlos belonged to the other half of the block; their preceptor asked easier questions!) It seems fitting that in my final day at PG

The Tales of Beadle and the Bard, J.K. Rowling

My friend and colleague Harold recommended this to me. Very fascinating. Best enjoyed a few minutes before sleep.

Dog in the lobby

The most polite canine.

50th floor

Climbed the 50th floor of the building (I started on the 20th). Good cardio!

Lamy Safari and Russell Moore

Can't remember where I read this line. I often write random words when I overhear a speech or read a line.


Fruit of Manong's culinary adventure.

Korean beef stew

One of Manong's dishes.

Unto the shore, the rock of Christ

Each time I read the news, I'm assailed by bad news. It takes a lot of commitment to see the world from a biblical perspective. Christ our Hope in Life and Death , a stirring modern hymn, spurs me to think about my sure hope--not in medical science, not in human government, not in familial relationships, not in my own abilities. But only in Christ, my Savior and Redeemer. Unto the grave, what shall we sing? “Christ, he lives; Christ, he lives!” And what reward will heaven bring? Everlasting life with him. There we will rise to meet the Lord, Then sin and death will be destroyed, And we will feast in endless joy, When Christ is ours forevermore. Words and Music by Keith Getty, Matt Boswell, Jordan Kauflin, Matt Merker, Matt Papa ©2020 Getty Music Publishing (BMI) / Messenger Hymns (BMI) / Jordan Kauflin Music (BMI) / Matthew Merker Music (BMI) / Getty Music Hymns and Songs (ASCAP) / Love Your Enemies Publishing (ASCAP) / adm at From the YouTube ch

Associate member of the PSMO

I was officially inducted as an associate member of the Philippine Society of Medical Oncology last night. The ceremony was prerecorded. The video clip began with our replies to the question, "What is the most important lesson you learned during this pandemic?" I gave a short but truthful reply, "I learned to trust in God alone." Others gave fascinating answers, most of them quotable soundbites. Fred gave the Korean heart sign at the end. Rich spoke about the politics of health. Karen alluded to the distance and nearness of human company. Roger talked about the "mess" of this Covid-19 crisis, the most exasperated version of him on camera. Kgel from the University of Santo Tomas threw in the word, "plasticity," clearly an offshoot of her readings in DeVita about the defining characteristics of cancer. Marge, also from UST, talked about valuing the things and people that matter the most. It amazed me how many new fellows were comfortable in front


Pens in films: The Spirit of the Beehive

Watched The Spirit of the Beehive (El espíritu de la colmena) yesterday. You can watch it by following the instructions here . It's a quiet but disturbing film about childhood and imagination. What I found most interesting were the fountain pens. This was set during the time when fountain pens were commonplace. Jessica Zafra writes: The Spirit of the Beehive is set just after the end of the Spanish Civil War, and the house is paralyzed with sorrow, or fear, or both. Franco the dictator was still alive when the film came out, but maybe it was too enigmatic to incur the ire of the censors. Or else the censors counted on the audience not getting it. Today it is hailed as a masterpiece, its eerie quiet the appropriate soundtrack for a nation traumatized by war. Some screenshots of pens. If you can identify them, please let me know! I should compile films with fountain pens in them!


How my journal looks like

A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles

Comfy Airbnb bed, Seoul, Korea


New South Wales, Australia