Wednesday, December 17, 2008


Yesterday I made a quick list of names of family members and friends to whom I am planning to give gifts this Christmas. I was caught off guard when I was about to include my Lola, my mother's mother, in the list.

I did not know if I should laugh or cry when I caught myself about to do that. You see, my maternal grandmother passed away two months ago. When we learned that she was admitted to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU), we immediately rebooked our plane tickets so we could fly back to the Philippines the following day. Thank God, after more than 24 hours of crossing time zones, we reached her. Alive. She was still in the ICU, complete with IV lines and monitors, but she was alive. That was the most important thing as of that moment. The first fear I had then was that she will be gone even before our plane landed on Philippine soil. Thank God, she waited for me and my mother, who is her youngest daughter.

I was at a loss when I peeped through the ICU and saw her lying on her hospital bed for the first time. I felt like my license was stripped off me. I felt as if my brain was washed clean of everything I knew in medical school. The great flood that rocked the ark of Noah was inside my head. It's hard to be objective when this time the patient was my grandmother, the woman whom I have been with most of my life.

She waited but did not stay long. She left us a day after we arrived. She left, never to return again.

This will be my family's first Christmas without her. As I look back, I realize she had a life well-lived, just like her namesake, Mother Teresa. She was God-fearing, enduring. She is the most patient person I know. To say that she is loving to all her children, grandchildren, great grandchildren, in-laws, etc, would be giving out the biggest understatement of all. She will always be in my mind and in my heart, most especially. I am still going through the stages of grief right now and I don't know for how long. All I know is, I am glad, that my life was blessed with the presence of my own Grandmother Teresa. Still, I long for her. I miss her sooooo much. But yes, life has to move on. Maybe not a mile a minute as for now. But though slowly, I will move on.

Manong Driver

Kagabi sinundo ko ang kaibigan ko sa paglabas nya mula sa kanyang duty sa ospital. Hinintay ko sya sa isang kanto kung saan may maliit na tindahan na may naka-park na tempurahan sa tabi. Tempura on wheels kumbaga. Dito mo lang 'yan makikita sa Pilipinas.

Maraming tao sa kantong tinambayan ko. Maraming dumadaan. Palibhasa kasi palitan na ng duty. Marami ring pumupunta sa lugar na ito lalo na 'yong naghahanap ng mura pero masarap na barbecue. Minsan nga, nakita ito sa TV, sa Extra Challenge yata 'yon ng Kapuso Network. Pinaluto nila rito at pinabenta ng barbecue 'yong mga artista nila.

Meron namang nag-uusap lang sa tabi ng daan, dalawang babae at isang lalaki. Meron ding katulad kong nag-aabang ng kaibigan o kapamilya nilang galing sa duty. Si Manong Driver naman ng tempura on wheels, nag-aabang din ng kostumer para madagdagan ang benta. May babae namang gumagamit ng pay phone sa maliit na tindahan. Abala kaming lahat, walang pakialam sa isa't isa.

Nagulat na lang ako nang patawang sinabi ni Manong Driver, "Babae pala! Akala ko bakla!" Tinutukoy pala nya 'yong isa sa mga babae na may kasamang lalaki. Oo, 'yong nag-uusap lang sa tabi ng daan. Papalayo na sila nang sinabi 'yon ni Manong Driver. Akala nya siguro bakla kasi matangkad 'yong babae at medyo payat na parang hugis-lalaki na ang katawan. Pero naka-shorts 'yong babae, at mukhang flawless din naman tingnan kasi maputi siya, kahit na bombilya lang ang ilaw sa kantong 'yon.

Okey na sana, eh. Pwede ko na sanang palampasin ang sandaling 'yon. Pero inulit-ulit pa ni Manong Driver nang maraming beses, "Babae pala! Akala ko talaga bakla!" Si Manong Tindero ng maliit na tindahan ang kausap nya, pero 'di naman ito umiimik. No comment lang si Manong Tindero. Napag-isipan ko tuloy, baka nanghihinayang si Manong Driver na hindi nya napagmasdan nang mabuti ang babae. Nanghihinayang siguro siya na hindi nya tinuloy-tuloy ang pagkilatis sa babae kasi akala nya ay bakla ito. Iniisip nya siguro, sana tumingin pa ako nga matagal, babae naman pala. Sayang. Dinaya si Manong ng kanyang paningin. Kasalanan ng bombilya.

Pagkaraan ng ilang minuto naka-recover din si Manong Driver sa kanyang pagkamangha. Mabuti naman. Tahimik na uli sa kantong tinambayan ko. Marami pa ring dumadaan. Umalis na ang babaeng nakigamit ng pay phone. Paglingon ko, wala na ang tempura on wheels. Napadaan lang din pala si Manong Driver.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

It's a plane! It's Superman! No, it's a pair of size 10 shoes!!!

US President George W. Bush experienced un-bottled rage ala Iraqi in the form of a pair of size 10 shoes hurled at him, one after the other, during a press conference in Baghdad last December 14, 2008. Fortunately for Dubya, he had excellent ducking skills to protect himself from being hit. The shoes belonged to Muntazer al-Zaidi, an Iraqi journalist, who jumped up as Bush and Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki was having a press conference regarding the signing of a U.S. - Iraq security agreement. The said agreement calls for U.S. troops to withdraw from Iraq by the end of 2011. It was Bush's surprise visit to Iraq but I'm sure the tables were turned when he saw the shoes flying into his face's direction. Bush laughed off the incident and proceeded to Afghanistan to complete his farewell tour before he vacates his seat for President-Elect Barack Obama.

But this ain't any laughing matter. Yes, we deserve the entertainment that this drama has created. But it is Bush that should laugh last or not at all. This should be a warning for world leaders who have long been triggering their subordinates' anger to be ready to tap on (more than) their ducking skills in case something is hurled at them. Anything could be hurled at them. Fortunately for Bush, he saw the shoes coming. What if it was hurled from behind? But what if it wasn't just some pair of size 10 shoes? Scary. I believe that anger could compete with pain in being the greatest motivator.

Those shoes (on which wings instantly grew) owned by the angry Iraqi journalist might as well be the start of a list of stuff being hurled at political leaders. Let's see if some more would be added to that list, tangible or not. Although the intangible list has been growing since one could ever recall, it might be interesting to focus our attention on the tangible list this time. Let's see how the targets would rake more puns to defend themselves or how they would vividly recall other odd political incidents just to distract the reporters crowding at them.

It was through this incident that I learned that soles of shoes are considered the ultimate insult in Arab culture. Many people beat the face of Saddam Hussein's statue when it was toppled down in Baghdad in April 2003. Now who can just downplay and laugh off this flying shoes drama?

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Struggling to read

Reading has been a struggle for me lately. Could this be because I was drowned in a sea of books since I learned how to read? I am not really sure.

When I first discovered the wonders of reading, I was introduced to a whole new world which was waiting for me to be explored. Delighted would be too subtle a word to describe what I felt each time I visited the library after class. I felt like I wanted to read all the books on the shelves but at the same time I was lost on which one to read first. (Ratol! - LOL!)

And now, this struggle. I don't know why and how this happened. Could this be because of medical school which offers its students an ocean of books to read? 'twas really like trying to drink water from a broken fire hydrant. Read today, examination tomorrow. Read today, examination tomorrow. That was mostly the cycle that we had to follow. But the medical school theory will remain just that - a theory.

I would like to think of this struggle as a temporary honeymoon phase with uhmm, I really do not know what, even. It's a struggle because the desire to read is still there. It is still there. I know and I can feel that because I still find myself wandering in bookstores and staying there for hours trying to get a free load of the books and magazines.

Right now, I am trying to read John Grisham's The Street Lawyer. I got it from a thrift store in Alabama. I am stuck on page 200-something. I put it down around 3 weeks ago, I think. First, it functioned as a sedative for me, putting me to sleep while travelling at sea. Then, for a while now, it has become the forgotten firm bottom of my backpack, but still, I found myself wanting to buy one of Joyce Meyer's books when I dropped by at Power Books at SM last week to accompany a friend who was shopping for a suit. It was good that during that moment, I was able to stop myself from buying another book and adding to my pile of unread books. It was good that I was able to set a condition for myself then that I should finish reading this first before I buy another one. Its plot is not boring at all, there's nothing wrong with the book. It's just the reader who has issues, with reading for that matter. But this struggle will pass I know. I shall finish this book this month so that I could finally grab that book by Joyce Meyer which I have been wanting to have. I have to finish reading this Grisham book first or else allow myself to drown in this struggle. And that is something I will not permit to happen.

(Last book I read was Alligator John D: My Testimony. I read it last September and it only took me one day to finish it. My drive and motivation to read it - it is my uncle's autobiography :-)



Mao kani ang tukmang pulong para kang Oscar "Golden Boy" Dela Hoya sa niaging pagsangka nila ni Manny "Pacman" Pacquiao didto sa MGM sa Las Vegas. Daghan nag-ingon sa sinugdanan na ang ilang pagkita sa boxing ring usa ka dakong mismatch. Ang kadaghanan nagtoo nga dehado gayod si Pacman kontra kang Golden Boy, ilabina kung ang timbang, ang katas-on kung height, ug ang kalayo sa maabot sa kumo ni Golden Boy kung reach ang istroyahan. Daw murag si David ug si Goliath ang nahitabong drama niadtong panahona, Domingo dinhe sa Pilipinas.

Apan tungod intawn sa sa kadako ni Golden Boy, maong wa gayud nisipyat ang mga gibuhiang kumo ni Pacman. ("He's so big, I could not miss him!") Ang pagkagamatitoy ni Pacman mao pud hinuon ang iyang nahimong lusot na makalikay sya sa mga sumbag ni Golden Boy na kadugayan wa nay direksyon ug sa hantod na, wa na gyud nabuhii - wa nay kumo nga natubag si Golden Boy batok sa mga kumo ni Pacman nga nagpusot-pusot.

Intawon kalouy na man lang ni Golden Boy. Daw gidula-dulaan, ug gisayaw-sayawan ni Manny. Pero matod pa ni Pacman, iya lang gihimo iyang trabaho. Dili sya gustong shortchanged ang paminaw sa iyang mga sumusonod. Ug kini matuod man, kay gawas sa si Pacman usa gyud ka entertainer na boksingero, naa pud syay giprotektahang pangalan sa larangan sa boksing. Walay personalan, trabaho lang, bai! Ang bag-ong kadaugan ni Manny "Pacman" Pacquiao nagpaila nga sya na ang pinakamaayong boksingero sa kalibutan karon. Tanan mohangad kaniya, apil na si Oscar Dela Hoya ug uban pang boksingero nga ilado sauna, ilado karon, ug kadtong mga boksingero na nagsugod pa lamang ug panday sa ilang pangalan.

Sadya na pud ang mga Pinoy. Sa pipila ka oras, nagmalinawon ang Pilipinas, walay krimeng nahitabo samtang ang Dream Match gipasundayag, matod pa sa kapulisan. Haay, tinood ba kaha kini? Hinaot unta, kay kanindot man pud paminawon. Apan d ba kaha under-reporting ang nahitabo, kay ang mga pulis busy man pud sa pagtutok sa TV adtong mga panahona? Anyway, hehehehehehe... Sige na lang usa kana. Sa sunod na lang ko magyawyaw kabahin niana. Sa pagkakaron, magsadya usa kitang tanan. Magpakahubog kita sa kadaugan ni Manny. Ing-ana man gyud kitang mga Pinoy, malipayon gyud kung ang isigka-Pinoy molampos. Ako karon hubog pa usab sa kadaugan ni Pacman. Sa kanunay, sama nimo. Pinoy gud!

Saturday, December 6, 2008


One more day to go. The world is looking closely. Everybody is holding their breath.
Everybody is waiting to exhale.

One more day to go and the dream match will finally come to reality. With the world, I look closely. Along with everybody, I am holding my breath and waiting to exhale.

Saturday, November 29, 2008


Sigurado ako nga naghinam-hinam na pud ang kadaghanan natong mga Pilipino sa umaabot na laban sa paboritong atleta o boksingero sa nasod na si Manny "Pacman" Pacquiao. Kini dili na ikalimod kay samtang ako naglakaw sa kadalanan sa Sugbu, bisan moagi pa ang kapin duha ka semana bag-o pagahimoon ang pag lantugi ni Manny batok kang Oscar "Golden Boy" Dela Hoya, daghan nang mga establisimiento ang nagpadagan sa ilang mga pagpahibalo kon promo nga cla modalit ug lunch buffet sa igong kantidad samtang ang mga kustomer motan-aw sa gitawag nga The Dream Match.

Daw damgo gayud kani nga panagsangga ni Pacman ug ni Golden Boy kay dugay nga panahon usa ang gihulat sa tanang sumosonod sa boksing bag-o kini nahinayon. Kay ang duha ka boksingero mahimo mang maingon na mga tinahod sa ilang duwa, daw murag duha ka dagkong bato nga nagbangga, dili na ikakurat nga ang ilang mga tagsa-tagsa ka partido mo-negotiate ug unsay ilang tan-aw nga angay madawat sa ilang manok.

Ako usa pud ka dakong (o gamayng) boxing fan apan karong buntaga, wa gihapon ako magdahom na ang mga promo kon advertisement kabahin sa The Dream Match moabot sa akong telepono sa panahon nga diha ako nitambong sa lubong sa akong uyuan na si anhing Job Bonotan Tabada kinsa among gihatod sa papahulayan sa iyang kalibutan-ong lawas didto sa Cebu South Memorial Park sa siyudad sa Talisay. Nihaom pud sa panahon ang pag-abot sa maong multi-media message kay ang nipanaw nakong uyuan usa pud ka dakong boxing fan gani ang iyang column sa Cebu Daily News ginganlan niya ug Straight Jab kon diretso nga sumbag kay ang jab mao man ang punch o sumbag sa atong linggwahi. Kani pud nga ngan sa iyang column daw tanghaga usab sa kaprangka sa iyang mga artikulo. Apan ang akong uyuan nailhan sa iyang pagka-objective. Nailhan sya nga moatake sa isyu but dili gayod mahimo nga personalan na ang tema sa iyang pagsuwat.

Balik sa umaabot na The Dream Match, pareho si Pacman ug Golden Boy nga naay bug-at nga mga rason nga makigbisog para makadaog batok sa kalaban. Si Pacman, ang pag depensa sa iyang pagka-numero uno nga pound per pound nga boksingero sa kalibutan karon. Kinahanglan d matatsahan ang record ni Manny. Kung mogawas man siyang madaogon, kini magsilbing inspirasyon na usab sa tanang mga Pinoy na boksingero nga nagsugod pa lamang. Ang kadaogan ni Manny makapausbaw usab sa morale sa mga Pinoy na boksingero na niagi ug kapildihan labi na sa morale ni Rey "Boom Boom" Bautista nga bag-o lamang napildi sa Estados Unidos.

Sa pikas na bahin, bug-at pud ug rason si Dela Hoya nganong kinahanglan niyang maangkon ang kadaogan. Gawas nga ang iyang kadaogan mahimo nyang pamawi sa iyang kapildihan kang Floyd Mayweather labwan isa ka tuig na ang milabay, mahimo pud ning akto sa iyang pagpataas sa bandila sa iyang mga ka-lahing Mexicano na niagi sa mga kamot ni Pacman ug nakatilaw sa kumo sa kapildihan.

Sigurado akong alegre kaning umaabot na panghitabo sa boxing. Ang duha ka boksingero adunay apan ug labaw. Si Dela Hoya giisip na mas hamtong na boksingero kung ikompara kang Pacquiao. Mas dako usab sya ug timbang ug lamang sya sa height apan ang Pinoy bisan gamay mas batan-on man ug sa ato pa, mas abtik. Daghang ispekulasyon ang nagbukal sa pagkakaron apil na nga dili kuno patas ang umaabot na pagsugat sa boxing ring duha ka ginganlang boksingero. Kinsa gyud kaha ang madaogon?

Pag-abot sa adlaw sa December 7, siguradong mangabanhaw na pud gikan sa mga aparador ang mga t-shirt na adunay Manny sa disenyo. Mga higala, mga officemates, kapamilya, kapuso, kapusod, magkatipon, magdungan ug atang sa dagan sa duwa. Bibo ang mga sinehan ug mga kan-anan nga mopasundayag sa event na pagahimoon sa MGM Grand Hotel and Casino didto sa Las Vegas sa Estados Unidos. Kinsa gyud kaha ang modaog? Excited na pud 'ko. Pareha nimo.

Friday, November 28, 2008


At last, after eleven years, I and my classmate and childhood friend, songwriter Jude Thaddeus Gitamondoc, had the chance to meet and catch up with each other's lives.

It was a meeting long overdue, considering that we both have been moving around the same city for around a decade now, although he has been staying here longer than I am. He transferred to Cebu City right before and after an undesirable event changed his life. Since then I never saw him. My last memory of him was when we played whole afternoon with another childhood friend, Joey. Jude just arrived from the city then and Joey and I were just ecstatic to meet and just be with our playmate and friend who was already a city boy then. But anyway, enough for the reminiscing.

Our chosen venue for our mini-reunion, The Outpost, at Nivel Hills in Lahug, Cebu City. It was the kick-off night of the Cebu Guitar Festival 2008, a gathering of homegrown, Manila-based and expatriate musicians to celebrate their love for music. This festival, which will be held on the nights of November 27 t0 29 at The Outpost, is still a baby at two years old, but shows a lot of promise just like the musicians whose talents it showcases. That night, again, music never failed to give me that indescribable high. I particularly enjoyed the performance of Edgar Nacua, which totally brought the house down that I felt I had to keep my jaw from dropping. It was acoustic and jazz night and it was hardcore at that. I knew I was in the territory of musicians and/or artists and it was a great company that I truly enjoyed, though I have met and seen them all for the first time - even Jude (Thaddy/Thaddy Boy for us way back then) who I met that night for the first time, after eleven years.

During and between performances, we talked about our classmates, how life has been since we last saw each other, how both of us have been doing in our respective careers, how the music industry is struggling (I learned a lot from him that night about how piracy affects them artists and the story behind gold/platinum records), and he even thought about organizing a class reunion in Baguio City. It was really great meeting a good friend from the old days. We talked and raised our voices louder just to hear each other (when the music was pleasantly loud - I mean that), laughed at how we were when we were still kids, and sighed how "adult" we have become now (somehow- LOL!), and bobbed our heads away to the rhythm of the music that echoed all over that strip in Lahug. Saying that it was a great night and I had fun was an understatement.

Time flew fast (as usual) and I had to head home early. As I rode the cab, I could still hear the muffled music tempting me to stay. But I had to go. Anyway, I know that this intoxicating high will take time to wane and when it does, maybe it would be just in time for the next festival, or maybe the next reunion with another or the same friend.

That's Jude when we were still in Grade 1. Now guess who's that girl standing beside him.

Now click play and listen and see what that little boy has become now. Yes, he wrote and composed this song. And more.

Sunday, November 23, 2008


I am an accidental tourist. Never did I dream of becoming one. Of course we would love to do some touring on the side, while having break from work. But it is my work that has brought me to cross the sea channels of Bohol and Cebu City two to three times a week.

But today is different. I am staying at home. At least for today, I get to rest my nerves from travelling and give them a break from the subtle roar of the sea fastcraft engine.

Today, I get to watch shows on television as much as I want until my eyes droop. I get to stare all day long at the television without worrying of ward calls or of answering the phone for inquiries which are not for me. Today, I get to lie on my bed all I want, without worrying of being awakened by the nurse for a new admission. Today I can be what I want to be and do what I have been thinking and wanting to do while I am at the confines of hospital duty. Today will be just for myself.

But that won't be for long. Because tomorrow awaits, and I take on my role again of being the doctor-turned-accidental-tourist. But I ain't complaining.


Monday, November 17, 2008


My favorite actress of all time, Meryl Streep, is singing for me now.. "I' was cheated by you/ And I think you know when.." For one who is not exactly known for her dancing and singing skills, she continues to amaze me for being able to get away with all the singing and dancing she had to do in the movie Mamma Mia!

No videos for this one guys. I mean I am not including one. For one who does not exactly have any talent in dancing - I'm really born with two left feet - I myself am surprised now that I suddenly could not stop moving with the rhythm. My, my, I could not admire this lady more.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


I am a big fan of music. Rock bands, most especially. Perhaps this fanaticism grew out of my greatest frustration which is - tadaaaaaaaaaaaaann!! - to be a band singer. Music never fails to entertain me. It is the breath of life. I wonder who can live without it.

Here are some of the music videos I love to view every now and then. Unlike me, most of them are old. (Insert sound of canned laughter here.) Some are new. I realized that these songs are more fun being listened to
and watched at the same time. Not all of them are my favorite bands and singers (I find it hard choosing my ultimate favorite) but in some point in time, in my busy and crazy life - patient's and ward calls here there and everywhere - I was able to relate to these songs, they caught my attention, and made me say, "Hey, this is cool!"

In random order, I present them to you. Enjoy.
1. Loveteam by Itchyworms. Can you feel the desperation of one who is caught in the middle of reality and of whatever?
"Sana'y magkasingkulay ang drama at tunay na buhay ko..Kapag may tao ay nilalambing mo ko/ Pero pag wala ay sumasama/ Turing mo sa akin ay parang hangin" (Ouch!)

2. Sunday Driving by Rivermaya is so good to the ears and soothing to the nerves. If you listen, closely it's really a nice lovesong. So aside from its rhythm, its lyrics (like most songs I love) swept me off my feet. This video was ranked as on of the top 100 music videos of all time in a poll I read somewhere. This song was with me when I was alone nursing a wounded heart. And it is still with me now that my heart is whole again, since my "you" returned two years ago.
"Driving on a Sunday.../ I think about you as the/ Sun blinks between the trees/ Warm tender gentle breeze/ I try to memorize the feeling if you can/ See, the world that I see/ Hear, the beating of my heart/ Feel, the flame that grips me/ Would you believe in us?/ Would you believe in us?"

" The wind's whispering your name/ It's slow driving me insane, my shelter/ I daydream your hand in mine like/ Sweet little melodies/ I embrace the memories until you return/ Into these arms you once called home/ And see, the world that I see...

3. How would you feel if you are separated from your special someone and you are away from her/him as far as the moon? Kamusta ka by Blue Ketchup is a remake of Rey Valera's original. Nothing is really new with the vocals. You'll feel like hallucinating - hearing Rey Valera's singing voice - while listening to this remake but the video shows the kinder side of missing someone. Now what do I exactly mean by that? You'd be thankful that at least not one of you is exiled in a heavenly body somewhere in the intergalactic region.
"Kay tagal din nating 'di nagkita ako'y nasasabik na sa'yo/ Kamusta ka na, nalulungkot ka rin ba?/ Sana ay kapiling kita... Tandaan mo na lang ang sasabihin ko sa'yo/ Ang pag-ibig kong ito'y 'di magbabago"

4. Everyone wants to her to be their girlfriend or girl friend. But aside from the palpable star quality that this singer has, and the playful and foxy rhythm of this song, KC Concepcion's Imposible makes it on my list because this song was written and composed by my kababata, Jude Thaddeus Gitamondoc. Who would ever think of what great things lie ahead for all of us who hail from a sleepy town in Mindanao. Hey, Jude, I'm proud of you, dude! Turns out though, that for Jude and for all of us who wish to go after our dreams, nothing is impossible. But let me save that for another blog.
"'Eto ka na naman/ Walang alam, walang pakialam/ 'Di mo ba nakikita/ sa 'king mga mata/ Hindi ako nasasaktan/ Hindi kita kinakailangan/ Hindi ako nagdaramdam/ Pag-ibig mo'y limot ko na/ Hindi kita naaalala/ Hindi ako aasa pa/ Imposible...!"

5.> I get myself another helping of Rivermaya with Balisong .
For your "You" and mine too. Of course.
"You mesmerize me with diamond eyes/ I try to fool myself to think I'd be alright/ But I am losing all control/ My mind, my heart, my body, and my soul/ Never in my life have I been more sure/ So come on up to me and close the door/ Nobody ever made me feel this way before/ You're everything I wanted..and more"

6. When one's biological clock is ticking, one wants to run away from this reality - fast! Either you grab a boy or grab a girl in four minutes, or you play deaf to that teasing sound. Whatever you decide to do, Mojofly's Tumatakbo plays it light. Then you realize, time is indeed running veeery fast.

This music video also made it to that top 100 music videos of all time. Now let me scan through the ruble of magazines in our quarters to look for that feature article.

"Laging bigo/ Laging sawi sa pag-ibig/ Minamalas O kay sakit/ May balat nga ba ako sa pwet/ Mabuti pa ang tindera sa aming kanto/ Nakakainggit T.L., ang sweet nila ng kanyang nobyo.../ Tumatakbo ang oras.../ Di na nagbago'ng bawat araw/ Pare-parehong parang kahapon"

7. I vividly remembered staying up late at night just to see the making of the music video of this song. That was when I was younger when "Wala pa nung Myx, wala pa nung MTV" - to borrow Raymund Marasigan's words in Betamax. In the making of that video, they let the girl stand on a platform which some of the crew rotated using their hands, on that part where the persona relates how his dance partner died. One more time, let's dance to
Ang Huling El Bimbo by Eraserheads.
"Ngunit ang paborito/ Ay ang pagsayaw mo ng El Bimbo/ Nakakaindak, nakakaaliw/ Nakakatinding balahibo" {"Whew!")

That is as far as I can fill the the list as of now. More soon, when another music video, makes me really stop and follow it through from beginning to end.

Monday, November 10, 2008


I had no idea it was already Quinta asserting its presence on Philippine territory when I left for Bohol during the early morning of Thursday, November 6. If Quinta was named after a woman, I could tell that, with the way it splattered it showers - hinay-hinay pero kanunay. It was almost demure, I thought. (So similar with the way Mefenamic acid takes effects each time us girls get our monthly dose of menstrual camps.) But I had to leave for Bohol to work, and even if I was surprised that it was raining when I got out of my apartment, I had no choice but brave the very dimpled and pimpled blue, courtesy of Quinta.

I brought with me an old newspaper. It was the first time I did that. It was a local paper released around two weeks ago. When I saw it, I was actually wondering why I took the effort to slip the paper into the pocket of my backpack the night before. I thought maybe I read something in it the night before and decided to finish it the following day so I brought it with me anyway. When I got out of the cab, the paper accidentally fell on a shallow pool of mud water, but still I picked it up, and brought it with me anyway. Brownish water was dripping from its wet parts. I was thinking there might really be something about this old issue that compelled me to still pick it up and not mind the puzzled glances of my fellow passengers.

When I arrived in Tagbilaran City, the newspaper was deposited into a forgotten corner - well, I should say almost, because yesterday, - at last - I decided to scan through it's pages and I realized that it must be Juan Mercado's column, working its magic on me, to bring the paper with me no matter what. This is what I wish to share to you. I found myself being treated to paroxysms of laughter while reading Inday's love story - kuno . I hope you will too. It gives an appropriate relief in these trying times we are in now. This is another Inday though, different from the one who gave us uniquely atraumatic nosebleeds and threatened Former President Estrada's Eraptions, with her amazing English-speaking skills. But still, she is equally amusing and entertaining. You'll find this Inday just trying to speak her heart out. You'll feel that she is simply, in love.

It made me remember an old joke about a Filipino asked by an American about directions to a certain house. Remembering astutely that one would only need to follow the street, then turn to the left corner once one sees a faucet (gripo in theVisayan term) by the roadside, the good-natured Bisaya said to the American, "Just straight that street and when you see grips, curvative to the left." I hope the American found his way. I bet he was looking for grapes. Well, the Filipino tried his best to help.


I am sitting on my bunk as I am enjoying - or at least trying to - a chicken siopao with its insides drowning in cheap catsup. I am thankful though that I have something to heal my hunger, though I cannot really define its taste. I could not even taste the chicken! What mattered then was I have something to fill my rebelling stomach with. Suddenly, and surprisingly, I lost my appetite for the sweets I brought along with me for baon so I had to buy from the canteen whatever I think would taste good.

I glance at my watch and then hold out a deep breath. It's a long ride home and it will last me the rest of the night. I told myself, aside from eating, I have to keep myself busy to stop the boredom which is slowly setting in. People-watching does not interest me that much (okey, anymore) and suddenly, again, I lost my appetite for the fiction novel I brought along with me. Lying on my bed and staring blankly on nothingness (i.e. maglutok-lutok, as Jenda puts it ), with the subtle roar of the ship's engine on the background does not appeal to me and sleeping early would even be a tall order for a self-confessed insomniac.

It was a good thing my bed was stationed in front of the television. Then I started to notice people who were slowly starting to position themselves in front of the television. They even looked behind them as they position themselves in front of the tube, taking much care not to block anybody who's also watching what's on TV. What's on TV? You guessed it, the immortal telenovela.

The sight amazed me. We, yes, including myself, seemed to be drawn to a force we could not resist. Suddenly, strangers care for each other and exerted their own efforts to be considerate no to block the others' view (especially those from behind who found out a little too late that there was a TV on this corner of the ship), even if it meant that they shoud position themselves like contortionists while watching Isadora and Catherine trying to kill each other. (One thing I also noticed was that when characters in Pinoy telenovelas - or is it the same even in other foreign versions? - are aiming their guns at each other, they go around in a circle while saying their lines. Why do they have to do that?) But anyway, suddenly, varicose veins are out of the topic as of the moment. What's important is that we, yes, including myself, would not miss this critical turning point of the story.

A few runs and a few commercials after, that night's episode ended. And then we were off to another rollercoaster ride via the next telenovela/ teleserye/ sineserye/ Koreanovela/ Mexicanovela, whatever you call it - it's the same banana. Truly ours is a telenovela nation and one could not deny it, including myself.


Sawa kana ba sa mga hassle sa buhay mo?/ Ayaw mo na bang mag-isip para sa sarili?/ Tinatamad ka nang bumiyahe, ang gusto mo’y nakahiga na lang/ Napapagodka na ba sa kakayakap sa asawa mo?/ Ako ang kailangan mo/ I-dial lang ang telepono...- Superproxy, Eraserheads

It was Ely’s voice that was reverberating inside my head. Complete with the pounding drums and grind of the raw metal strings, it was this song that filled the small confines of my room on this early Monday morning of December 2006. The volume was reduced to a soft hush, (so as not to disturb the patients on the next floor) yet it was almost deafening and it was shaking myinsides. I don’t know what got me topush play. I could not find a reason at all, except that I have always loved the band and the song. Maybe that was reason enough.

Then a thought struck me. What if there really was someone offering proxy service? For anybody - you, me, or anyone, who just wakes up one day and lazily decides that,for that day he calls the mighty surrogate. Would you avail of that someone’s services? Without batting an eyelash, I would.

Hindi na dapat maghirap/ Sa iisang iglap, ang buhay mo ay sasarap/ Huwag nang mag-atubili/ Kumuha na ng superproxy...
I was tempted, and was nearing the point of desperation, to grab a phone directory and see for myself if services of such nature do exist. I was thinking, I need some kind of a breather, a type of resuscitation to save me from the toxicities of hospital life. I felt like standing on the hungry mouth of a great abyss in which falling into nothingness was close to losing the little sanity I have been holding on to. The hole is so tempting in spite of its empty promises. It was luring me, like a mouth wanting to swallow me whole. I need a refreshing over-indulgenceof fresh air. If only those heavy oxygen tanks could give me that, I would gladly suck them dry.

Ako ay kaibigan na lagi mong maaasahan/ Umulan man o umaraw, ay nariyan kapag kailangan/ Ito ay special offer sa mga taong katulad mo…Akong bahala sa iyo/ Ang buhay mo ay buhay ko. . .Now don’t get me wrong. Definitely I am not complaining. Being a doctor is indeed very rewarding. It is simply indescribable, that feeling,that sense of achievement or fulfillment that gives a doctor a certain high, when a patient is saved from the shadows of death, or from the discomfort of pain, and from the crippling impact of sickness. No doctor would object to that. However, given the harsh working conditions in this country, you find yourself asking the inevitable question, ‘why did I decide to become one’? To add to that is the biting reality which is the state of poverty this country is wallowing in. It stings, it pierces through you,and the patient is a living testimony to this reality, that it reaches to the point when you almost want to believe that the thin line separating life and death is made of money, and is not colored red.

Definitely, those are just one of those days. But those days could really be disturbing, that the unsettling thoughts could stain and lose the blinding radiance of the white uniform, which, I believe, drew me to this profession when I was yet a small kid. I did not expect to find what was underneath it. The journey of discovery was both test and proof that this is where I want to be. That is where, for me, commitment comes in. Inspite of everything, inspite of me.

The commitment to save a life, and to maintain loyalty to that commitment. To live up to the oath. Maybe after all,that makes all of us stick. Now, did anybodyever mention the word proxy? Yes, ‘twas me. Hmm, maybe I’ll let you put on my shoes. Yes! – but only for a very little while. And while you try it on, let me,to the superproxy and to my patients, sing. . .

Akong bahala sa iyo. . . Ang buhay mo ay buhay ko. . .
Then give me backmy shoes. Time’s up.

8 Ways to take care of our mental health during the COVID-19 Pandemic

          During this era of the COVID Pandemic, it would be easy to overlook our mental health which is essential in order for us to h...