Monday, July 23, 2012

Breathtaking Bohol

The island of Bohol will always have a special place in my heart for a myriad of reasons -- people, places, memories.  I long to visit this island soon.

I took this photo at a restaurant located at Maribojoc, a neighboring town of the capital city Tagbilaran.  Aup Aup KTV and Restaurant offers a breathtaking view of nature, a heavenly slice of the breathtaking island that it belongs to.  

I haven't really asked why the owners named the place as such.  Tapping the utmost of my vernacular faculties, aup aup means flickering, usually referring to light.

The restaurant is a true recluse from the city.  It offers a selection of very affordable seafood delicacies most especially, the saang, a kind of seashell.  I haven't tried it yet but I know I will, very soon.  I will grab the next chance I get to visit this place again.  More likely with C and with friends like Mel.   Now, that's another item on my bucket list. 

Friday, July 20, 2012

Tips in taking the medical board exams

For incoming physicians and future colleagues, the medical board exam is just right around the corner.   I  could still remember how the mere thought of taking a licensure exam sent jitters down my spine and how it created knots in my insides -- not really as pleasant or as exciting as having butterflies in the stomach. 

      However, taking the board exams is the only way to go.  Years of burning the midnight candle while studying in medical school would all be put to waste if we don't brave to take the boards to earn the license to practice the profession.

     So for the future doctors, let's get it on and have this over and done with.  Here are some tips I want to share. 

1.  Don't spread yourself thinly.  On this side of the planet, there is no definite list of recommended review materials, but we are hoarded with a list of materials, from books, to old testpapers, to transcribed lectures of review instructors.  Please resist the temptation to read everything.   Ask previous board takers and board passers, which materials most of them read and which ones they found to be helpful to them when they took the exam.

        Mastering one or two review books for a certain subject is already enough quota, and reading more than that would be spreading yourself thinly.  You don't want to be in a situation wherein you have read 3 or 4 books for let's say, Physiology, but when asked a very basic question on the subject, you can't come up with a definite answer. That could be distressing. 

           Another helpful tip would be to take time to read old testpapers.  Trust me, this is really helpful. A number of doctors could testify that there are some 'recycled' questions in the board exam.  

        You can either do your testpaper review a week or two before the exams, or allot one whole day for reviewing testpapers.  I did the latter during my review for the medical boards.  My friends and I agreed to meet up one afternoon and we reviewed each question and corresponding answer.  Do not also forget to answer the review questions at the end of each chapter of your review books.  That would also serve as a gauge of what stuck in your mind after reading.  Besides, our brain is stimulated to think when we try to answer questions. 

2.   Study at your own pace.  Reviewees usually have the urge to compare their progress with other reviewees, and sometimes this could create some kind of panic or insecurity even, especially if the others already read more books than you did.  There is actually nothing wrong with asking your fellow reviewers what book and subject they are currently working on and how many books they have finished.  However, you should remember that each reviewee, you included, has his or her own comfortable pace in studying.  So know your pace, and study at your own pace.  It is all actually a matter of how strong your foundation of  medical knowledge is, and not how many books you have read or how fast you have read your books.  

3.  Know your peak hours of performance.  There you go, I know you know what I mean.

4.  Do not deprive yourself.  Another important advice.  Do not ever deprive yourself.  When you need to sleep, when your face is about to fall on the page, go get some shut-eye.  A twenty-minute power nap could do wonders.  Aside from giving your brain some time to rest, it also gives time for memory consolidation.  After that, you're perked up and ready to take on another round of review.

             If you're hungry, stuff yourself up, but not too much though or else, blood would be shunted to the splanchnic circulation, making you sleepy.  Don't deprive yourself of the food you are craving for, or the food that you have always loved to eat.  Your brain, which is your best armamentarium for the boards, needs all the glucose it can get anyway.

             Lastly, find time to relax and unwind.  My favorite tag line for this would be, study hard but party harder.  We all need to unwind so we can have ourselves recharged and ready again to take on anything.  

5.  Pray and claim it. Lastly, but definitely not the least, do not underestimate the power of prayer. All our efforts would be to no avail if we do not give glory to the guy above who is the architect of all things, the course of our lives included.  Thank Him for getting you through everyday since medical school, (and through that brain smashing, heart breaking,  nerve-wrecking internship), and ask for guidance for the upcoming board exams.  Claim your victory as early as now and thank Him for it.   

That's about it, soon-to-be doctors.  Good luck, and all the best!


Monday, July 16, 2012

Spellbounding Surigao

Sometime ago, I took a leave from work, sailed the deep blue sea overnight, and traveled at dawn for almost an hour on a dirt road just to see this.

Punta Beach, Malimono, Surigao del Norte.  PHOTO BY SHING CAMPS

      This beach is secretly nestled in one of the remote towns located at the outskirts of Surigao City.  Untouched and never tampered, it is nature's beauty in its rawest form.  It is only here where I saw, felt, and drank brackish water --  only here where the river meets the deep blue sea.  

     There are moments when, while I'm in the urban jungle called Cebu City, I yearn for the tranquility that this beach has to offer.  Nature indeed does magic, it has the power to calm one's nerves from all the wreckless nonsense.  It could cradle you and make you feel like a baby again, comfortably sleeping, dreaming, without any worries of what tomorrow might bring.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Long live the King!

                                WITH A SMILE ON HIS FACE.  This is how
                                I would like to remember Dolphy. (Inquirer photo 
                                taken from here)

Philippine Comedy will never be the same again.

This is a reverberating fact each time we are reminded that the King of Comedy, Rodolfo Vera Quizon, or popularly known as Dolphy, finally took a bow on the evening of July 10, 2012, after approximately a month of fighting Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).  He succumbed to the complications of high-risk pneumonia which eventually led to the failure of most of his organs to function, including his kidneys.

His family did everything to hold on to him and his Filipino fans were glad that the family did all that they could.  I myself am.  

I am not part of the medical team that attended to him but when a physician encounters a certain disease at a certain stage, most of the time, he or she already has an idea of the prognosis of the case.  Prognosis means the assessment of the future of the course and outcome of a patient’s disease, based on the knowledge of the course of the disease in other patients, together with the general health, age, and sex of the current patient.  The course of the disease could lead to a lot of endpoints such as cure, stability of the disease which means it is not cured but is not also causing harm to the patient, and lastly, and the most dreaded endpoint, is death.  

Death would inevitably ensue and that holds true for all of us (nobody gets out of this life alive, anyway), but for the disease-stricken (and the badly struck, at that) it appears to come sooner and the only thing the medical team can do, along with the patient’s family, is exhaust all means to, first and most importantly, cure the patient if there is an available cure.  Second, if no cure is available, is to delay the complications of the disease which most of the time become the cause of death.  If complications are already apparent, the next step is to control the effects of these complications, so that at least death can be delayed.  In the end, it all boils down to buying time – more time for the family to be with the loved one and more time to prepare oneself for the impending loss.

 Mang Dolphy’s or Tito Dolphy’s family were able to buy time and his Filipino fans who prayed for him, were glad that the family was able to.  I myself am.

Who doesn’t want to hold on to someone most of us could relate to?  Who does not want to hold on to someone we look up to for so many reasons, one of them is his heroic rise from poverty?  Who doesn’t want to hold on to someone who made us laugh until our tummies hurt?  Definitely, not Dolphy’s family.  Definitely, not the Filipino people.  Definitely, not me.     

I am still part of the generation that witnessed how John en Marsha made waves of popularity on Philippine television.  (Yes, I’m that old.)  Until today, I could still picture the scenes, in full black and white. (Colored television was not yet popular then.) 

I personally loved John Porontong and his composed and witty manner of dealing with his filthy rich mother-in-law, Donya Delilah, who would always say her famous line directed at John – “Kaya ikaw, John, magsumikaaaap kaaaa!!!” (So you John, should strive even harder!)  Now I realized she was not only directing that to her son-in-law, but to most of us Filipinos as well, who should strive harder to make our ways of living better.  If we think out of the box, it would also mean, to give our best in whatever we do.  

I could not remember all quips I saw in that series (there were scenes when out of surprise, he accidently threw up on someone’s face while he was gargling his mouth – nobody can pull that off the way Dolphy does) but I am pretty sure, sure as you are reading this, that I laughed my heart out then.  Tito Dolphy delivered his lines with grace, they were like arrows of laughter aimed at you as the unwitting target.  I believe he can make the most serious person in this planet break out into laughter.  When he delivers his lines, he does it with so much ease.  It’s as if he didn’t really mean to but he just does it over and over and over again, he made people laugh.  His was a true talent, polished and made better by time and experience.  He was born with it and so he made people laugh without so much effort. 

John en Marsha the TV series spun off a lot of movie versions, and I am proud that I was able to watch one of those John en Marsha movies, right in the moviehouse. Betamax, VHS, and DVD were not yet popular then.  (Yes, I am that old.)  It was a family thing - my father, my mother, and I went to the movies to see John en Marsha.  Oh, ‘twas a great joy for the kid that was me!

Fast forward to 1995, I was almost out of high school when Tito Dolphy made a successful comeback on television with Home Along the Riles.  Of course, I did not miss the premiere episode.  He was Kevin Cosme, a single dad to his four kids who were portrayed by Smokey Manaloto, Gio Alvarez, Claudine Barretto, and his true-to-life son, Vandolph, his youngest son both in and out of the series.  In the first episode I could remember he woke up first and then woke his children up himself.  I could still picture how cute and chubby Vandolph was back then.  (That doesn’t mean though that he does not look good these days.)

Who could ever forget how Ason (Nova Villa), the twin sister of Kevin’s late wife, could not desperately hide her admiration for her brother-in-law.  I loved that the series also incorporated life’s lessons for its viewers.  Kevin would be scolding his kids one moment, then it would end in a bout of laughter, but the lesson remains.

I am not one of his daughters.  I am just an ordinary fan of his, but I urge everyone to just give all the credit he deserves.  Let’s just give it to him and nobody else.  He will always be our King of Comedy and nobody else could ever take that away from him.  He may not be perfect but who is, anyway?  (His longtime partner, ZsaZsa Padilla, said in her eulogy, that if Dolphy had a weakness, it was his generosity almost to a fault.)  He may have loved a lot of women, and fathered a total of 18 children, but he took care of them and provided for them very well.  It was not his fault that he had the greatest appeal of all, humor.

Dolphy gave Philippine Comedy its character.  He made us realize that amidst life’s atrocities, we Filipinos are still a fun-loving bunch.  Because of him, comedy was almost an escape from problems as much as a way to deal with problems.  He gave Philippine Comedy a face, and a heart.  

Rest in peace, Tito Dolphy.  We may have not known each other or met each other personally, but I, like most of your fans feel a certain connection with you.  I never thought I’d be this sad when I knew that you’ve passed away.  I grew up, with you making me laugh, and you have no idea how that gave a lot of color not only to my childhood but to most of your fans, young and old. You will be deeply missed.  We love you.  Thanks for all the smiles and the laughter. 

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Let's talk about Fooooddd..!

Something's, well, actually a lot of palatables, been pleasing the palate of the regular crowd around Cebu Velez General Hospital, or in F. Ramos Street, Cebu City for that matter, especially at night.  That may sound creepy but I assure you, it isn't.

When you happen to pass by this hospital at night . . . or when you happen to have a rough night's duty in the hospital or in the nearby call centers or establishments . . . and you find your stomach clamoring for food . . .  worry not, for you don't have to go so far.  Even in the wee hours of the morning, you will have a chance to grab a bite.

Food trip No. 1.  Barbecue CornerCebuanos have always been in love with grilled and barbecued food. That's the reason why there's a greater chance you will see barbecue stands each time you make a quarter turn when you're in this city.  

                                   This side of town has its own share of barbecue heaven at night, located at the corners of F. Ramos and Ranudo Streets in front of the Paper Box Study Center. Just right across my medical alma mater.  

                                 The vendors would arrange the chairs and tables on the side of the street, as soon as darkness falls.  You'd see an avid crowd flocking around a table full of marinated pork barbecue, chicken skin, fish intestine.  Yeahp! 

                                   Their barbecue offerings in general have a very good and distinct flavor to them, that's the reason why their customers is a homogenous mix of people from different economic strata -- medical students, doctors, professionals, and even the ordinary tao.   Their barbecue tastes really good, it has been breaking barriers since maybe five years ago.  Dip it in their served concoction of soy sauce and lemon and red chili, then eat it with rice wrapped in coconut leaves -- the famous puso, -- then gulp everything down with ice cold softdrink. 

                                  They open store as darkness falls and they immediately pack up once all goods are sold, usually before midnight.

Food trip No. 2.  Babsi's Food Corner. Actually, a food establishment that stands exactly at the corner right across my medical alma mater.  It offers a modest amount of food choices which the owner of a busy stomach might want for the moment.  It's breakfast all day long for those who'd want bacon or hotdog or spam for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  Count in the regulars too -- tuna flakes in oil, Spanish Sardines, and the ever dependable pancit canton or noodles with egg.  They also have other cooked dishes to choose from, among them are  sweet and sour pork and fish in oyster sauce, which are my favorite.

Food trip No. 3.  The Vanishing Store.  This, I have to admit is my favorite of all night foodstops.  Hospital people fondly named this store as such because it pretty much is it -- vanishing.  It appears at night and vanishes even before daylight sprawls on the sleepy street.
                                  For a first-timer, I would highly recommend their cornelette, a perfect  combination of corned beef and omelette.  It's a marriage made in streetfood heaven, I tell you. Again, we have created that name for the dish ourselves, so it may sound foreign to the vendor/cook.  So just order it by saying, cornbeef with egg.  You can choose to eat it ala carte or with rice.  They also have pancit canton and hot noodles, as well as beef loaf or luncheon meat dunked in egg.  Aside from enjoying my food, I love eating at the vanishing store since  because you get to people-watch and aside from that, enjoy the new, and very much improved facade of the hospital where I work in.  (I'll try to take a photo of the facade and post it here soon.)

                                            All these talk about food makes me hungry now.  Well, I have always loved food in spite of my very slender physique. I even find myself spending more on food than on stuff - which I know would spark disapproval from some.  Some individuals would rather spend on stuff they can see rather than spend much on food.
                                            Well, each to his own, people.  Variety has always been useful for this planet.  As for me, I savor each bite of the food I love.  After all, I live to work, work to eat, and eat to live.     :-) 
                                            Do tell me friends if you happen to drop by the places I mentioned above and try their food.  Bon appetit, everyone! :-)

Monday, July 2, 2012

Turned pages

I just got my blog a new look. 

A new look for a new chapter in my life.  

Pages have been turned and those books containing them will be shelved.  

There's no other way to go but forward.  Give each day a chance to reveal its own surprises.  

Allow each surprise to break your lips into a smile.

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