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.

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