Monday, April 29, 2024

Bawal magkuha


I saw this sign from a private garden in the neighorhood. Paul and I looked on, careful not to trample on the vegetables.


Sunday, April 28, 2024


Iloilo extended tour with Ahmad, Brylle, and Cy

Iloilo City feels more like home than anywhere else in the country. My roots come from Panay, although we no longer have any connections with our relatives there, other than a vague recognition when someone shows up with a similar family name. Some cousins went to college there. The food tastes great, too. A great majority of residents from South Cotabato self-identify as "Ilonggo," even if some hadn't even been to Iloilo at all. 

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I wish I had paid more attention to physical fitness in my teenage years. Perhaps it's not yet too late to start.

Recently I've been walking the talk: doing regular exercises, getting myself a fitness coach, playing tennis once in a while. (Although, full disclosure here, I hadn't played in the court in the last three months). Much of physical fitness involves seemingly inconsequential choices which, when summed up in the end, might mean a lot: taking the stairs instead of the escalator, walking instead of driving, and so on. 

Months ago, the trainer asked me what my fitness goals were. I said I wanted to develop strength. I didn't care much about whether I'd look good. It was all about functionality. Before all this, I couldn't carry my own luggage at the airport. After months of doing regular exercises, I am pleased to tell you that my upper body strength has so improved that I even offer my own services to other passengers in the plane: "You need help with that, Ma'am?"

One great thing about exercising is that it keeps my mind sharper. I wish I'd known this before; I could have had better grades.

(Photo above: tennis court in Prague). 

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Saturday, April 27, 2024

Finding a place to live in

The writer of La Vie Graphite, one of the blogs I read closely and with much interest, has finally found a good place to stay. 

Amidst such anxious times, there’s a shelter in the storm for which to be grateful. Discovering a place and quickly moving in winter amounts to an unusual scenario for this area. My elation at finding a good way out of a bad situation generated its own traction gear, powering me through muscling the move and deep-cleaning both the newer and the former apartments. The season-that-was lasted nineteen excruciating months, devouring more than two-thirds of my earnings. There was nothing else to be found at the time. Now that episode is past; enough said here about numbers. Through the crucible, I could not have guessed at its duration, having to depend upon a housing market as feeble and fickle as the job outlook. But surely I know enough to be thankful. I mailed my first rent check in a thank-you note.

I remember about my own saga of finding a place to live in when I transferred to UP Manila for med school. 


Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Traveling at the speed of the soul by Nick Hunt

Nick Hunt on traveling:

There’s an old idea that the soul travels at the speed of walking. In an Arabic saying, according to the philosopher Alain de Botton, this is pegged specifically to the walking speed of a camel, which, at around three miles an hour, is the same as the average human’s. In “Essays on Love,” he wrote: “While most of us are led by the strict demands of timetables and diaries, our soul, the seat of the heart, trails nostalgically behind, burdened by the weight of memory.”


Friday, April 12, 2024

Join me tomorrow as I speak with physician-writer Dr. Susano Tanael during the Book Talk of the PCP Committee on Medical Humanities

If you're free tomorrow, join me as I speak with physician-writer Dr. Susano Tanael. These past days, I've been immersing myself in his essays and poems. I'm excited to meet him. 

Book Talk with Dr. Susano Tanael

The PCP Committee on Medical Humanities warmly invites you to the: 

Book Talk with Dr. Susano B. Tanael on his Book Ambiguities of the Body, moderated by Dr. Lance Isidore G. Catedral 

When: 13 April 2024, Saturday at 2:00 PM to 3:00 PM 

Via Zoom Conferencing and Facebook Live 

Dr. Susano B. Tanael has contributed to publications of local and international peer-reviewed medical journal articles. He has a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from the De La Salle University in Manila, Philippines.


Thursday, April 11, 2024

Daghang salamat, Prof. Marj!

Something came in the mail yesterday—Prof. Marj Evasco's precious gift, Ma. Milagros Dumdum's Falling on Quiet Water. The author is the wife of poet Simeon Dumdum, Jr, whose collection, Why Keanu Reeves Is So Lonely, I thoroughly enjoyed. 


Just a sampling of the excellent haiku (No. 18): 
Evening comes. I pray
With crickets orchestrating
Our pleas commingle.

On this warm April morning, I want to curl up in bed after reading that!  


Sunday, April 7, 2024



I envied this middle-aged woman who read beside me. Lost in her book, she ignored the noisy crowd in Montmartre, on a busy after-work afternoon in Paris. She had a glass of wine and dark olives. She smoked in between pages and looked lonely, completely lost in her thoughts. After hours of walking, I rested my legs, had a glass of wine myself, and sat there, watching the locals and tourists pass by. The lady then packed her bags and left. 

The image evokes the word, liminality—the in-between, the transition. 
Liminality represents threshold space, margins between paragraphs. If you can find yourself the luxury of pausing between obligations and demands, there you’ll find those mental spaces to muse. I remember a professor from graduate school, a brilliant lecturer, who would occasionally stop speaking and look out the window. I admired that, realizing he was reflecting in mid-flight. Because the constantly streaming media in our midst obstructs our natural musing tendencies, misconstrued as unproductive, threshold thinking becomes intentional.

The pausing and musing and resting are valuable ingredients to a rich inner life but things our generation often ignores and sets aside. We have lost the art of meditation and are now poorer for it, having settled for cheap alternatives, like social media. 

For the believer, this liminality can be likened to moments of prayer, those precious, Spirit-filled moments of quiet conversation and contemplation. 

Or Sundays, when much of the city gathers in houses of prayer, setting aside the cares of the world for a day devoted to church and, later, rest.

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Friday, April 5, 2024

Undersea cables

Fascinating read: Undersea cables are the unseen backbone of the global internet, via The Conversation.
Have you ever wondered how an email sent from New York arrives in Sydney in mere seconds, or how you can video chat with someone on the other side of the globe with barely a hint of delay? Behind these everyday miracles lies an unseen, sprawling web of undersea cables, quietly powering the instant global communications that people have come to rely on.

Undersea cables, also known as submarine communications cables, are fiber-optic cables laid on the ocean floor and used to transmit data between continents. These cables are the backbone of the global internet, carrying the bulk of international communications, including email, webpages and video calls. More than 95% of all the data that moves around the world goes through these undersea cables.