Tuesday, April 28, 2009

aivan made it! :-)

There he is. :-)

Thank you, thank you, thank you to all those who prayed for him. :-)

Monday, April 27, 2009

dear companies

Dear Various Companies,

In behalf of all well-intentioned workers, I would like to remind you that:

1. Workers have the right to be sick!
2. Sick people have the right to work!

Best regards,
Someone Who Is Sick Of Having To Play By Your Rules

P.S. I sincerely hope, for your sake, that you never contract any sort of illness. Because then I would gleefully decline to give out a med cert / clearance. After gleefully saying, "Well, well, well, look who's here."

P.P.S. But of course you won't get sick. You're not human. You're a walking bottom line.

Friday, April 24, 2009

morbid favorites

I know it's weird, but this song -- usually sung at wakes, during the 9-day pangadyi -- is one of my favorite, favorite songs. Getting to sing it is one of the things that makes the monotony of wakes bearable -- aside, of course, from the food served afterwards. :-)






Pahulayng dayon ihatag kaniya, Ginoo

Kahayag nga di mapalong ipadan-ag mo


Gikan sa kahiladman kami nagaagulo

Pamati-a Ginoo ang among mga bakho

Kay ikaw ang among maloloy-ong Manunubos

Ngalan kanimo angay, sibo gayod ug takos



Dili bug-os hukom ang among gikinahanglan

Sanglit daghan ug dagko ang among kalapasan

Kalooy ug pasaylo ang among gipaabot

Ang imong gasa sa grasya gikan sa kalulot



Nag-ingon ka: "Dali kamong tanan nga nagbudlay,

Sa kahago tagaan ko kamo ug pahulay."

Tan-awa kami, Jesus, kanimo nagadangop

Nagpaabot sa imong kalooy ug kaaghop



Nan mga hinigugma nga among gitalikdan

Hinumdumi ang igsoon ug ang ginikanan

Pagkaon, wala kami magkinahanglan

Misa, pag-ampo, among gikalipayan



Ang luha ugod ma-uga, ang bulak malaya

Ang kalag magpadayon samtang ang lawas madugta

Ginghari-an sa Dios kami dili makalabang

Kon kamo sa mga pag-ampo dili motabang



Sa kanamo pag-ampo dili kami malimot (?)

Aron ang Dios kaninyo kanunayng mahimu-ot

Kon kamo mahinumdom ug malooy kanamo

Kami unya alang ninyo kanunayng mag-ampo




Another favorite is that one sung during Holy Week, the one that goes:


Jesus malo-oy ka kanamo

Pasaylo-on mo kami

Ang sala gidumtan namo

Dili na mag-usab kami


What I love about this one is the sheer misery with which it is sung. :-)

Sunday, April 19, 2009

love, family and death

Even in their 80's, Lolo Octoy and Lola Uping were the image of a loving couple. Theirs wasn't a perfect marriage, I suppose, and they probably weren't perfect people. But everyday they could be seen holding hands as they walked to the nearby village or heard mass together. They were, for me, a real-life example of what marriage can be, years after the excitement and the romance had faded. Some couples grow apart; they didn't. They seemed to have accepted each other's foibles and follies, and nonetheless grown stronger in their union.

Lolo Octoy is my grandfather's eldest brother. When they heard that I had taken up Medicine, Lola Uping was very happy. She would hug me and kiss me whenever we met, and she told me she looked forward to the day I would become the family's first doctor.

As med school took up most of my time, our encounters, already sporadic, became even less frequent. While I was in Dumaguete, I only heard that Lola Uping's eyesight had totally failed her. She could no longer go on her daily walks with Lolo Octoy. Her life became restricted to the four corners of her room, and she grew even more cantankerous.

My life, meanwhile, went on. I reviewed for the board exam, and passed. I got my first job, and quit. I got another job, and stayed. I was busy being a doctor, or busy resting from being one.

At 3:40 AM this morning, I received a call from my aunt, asking me to come over to their house, where Lola Uping was staying. When I got to her room, Lola Octoy was there, sitting on her bed, leaning over her and arranging her hair. She was no longer breathing.

No doubt Lola Uping is now in a better place. But I couldn't help crying my heart out when I had gone back to the darkness of my room. To have become a doctor, just as she hoped, and yet to have done no more for her than to pronounce her death...

And yet, in my heart, I know Lola Uping is happy now, where she is.

Please pray for her soul, and for those she left behind.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

HOW TO... Invest in a Mutual Fund

(Because having "investments" sounds a whole lot cooler than having "savings.")

1. Don't go in blind. Get rid of the basic questions first. What is a mutual fund? (People pooling their money, paying someone to invest it, and proportionately dividing the returns/losses. Basically. Take note of the slash-losses.) Is it better than a savings deposit? (Potentially. The rule of thumb -- whether it's savings deposit versus mutual fund, or one type of mutual fund versus another -- is that potential rewards are directly proportional to the potential risks.)

2. "Profile" yourself. Why do you want to invest in a mutual fund? (Aside from the obvious coolness of it. Hehe.) Will you be needing the money right away? And how much risk are you comfortable with? All this will help you decide on what type of mutual fund you want to invest in. Generally...


"Equity" funds generally mean stocks. Bond funds are also known as "fixed income" funds. There are also such things as "balanced" funds, which invest more or less equally in both stocks and bonds.

3. Learn as much as you can before taking the plunge. Do some snooping. Which mutual funds have performed well in the past? Which are known to have poor customer service? Which ones have easily accessible offices? What is the initial investment required by each fund? How much is the minimum additional investment? (I think it's better to invest with the ones that are known to perform well, have good customer service, preferably with nearby offices or at least a representative who answers emails promptly, and with a low minimum additional investment so that you can take advantage of the occasional dips in the fund value to buy more shares.)

But enough with the hypothetical.

Let's say you've thought it through, and researched what there is to research, and you've decided to invest in the First Metro Save & Learn Mutual Fund.

You will need:
1. P5,000 - as initial investment
2. 2 valid ID's
3. Account Opening Form, Investment Application Form and Signature Card - may be downloaded from their website

What to do:

1. Email Ms. Florabelle J. del Mundo at FAMI@firstmetro.com.ph and ask any questions you may have. Otherwise just, you know, let her know you exist and that you plan on sending your hard-earned money their way.

2. Deposit the P5,000 at the appropriate Metrobank account:

First Metro Save & Learn Fixed-Income Fund - SA # 016-3016-25146-2
First Metro Save & Learn Equity Fund - SA # 016-3016-25149-7
First Metro Save & Learn Balanced Fund - SA # 016-3016-25791-6

3. Fill up all the forms.

4. Email the forms, a copy of your 2 valid ID's, and a scanned copy of the Deposit Slip to FAMI@firstmetro.com.ph. They will then process your investment.

5. Send the original filled-up forms and clear photocopies of the Deposit Slip and your ID's to:

Florabelle J. del Mundo
Sales and Marketing Department
First Metro Asset Management Inc.
18/F PS Bank Center
777 Paseo de Roxas cor. Sedeno St.
Salcedo Village, Makati City

Disclaimer: I am so not an investment professional. Take any of my advice at your own risk. :-)

Sunday, April 12, 2009

my colorful Black Saturday

Colorful because my parents and I accompanied my sister to her first-ever visit to the Simala shrine, and we stopped by the SRP (South Road Properties) for a bit of sea breeze on our way home.

We left for Simala at 5 AM so that we could get there before the crowds came.

Someone please educate me on how to shoot [from] a moving object? This is the least blurred of my photos from the car.

We got there at 6:30 AM, but to our chagrin there was a sign announcing the shrine would open at 8 AM. So...what does someone with a camera do to keep boredom away? Self-portraits! (See how a swiveling LCD comes in handy?)

One awful thing about being Catholic -- in this country, at least -- is that some of us are so gullible that anything "holy" can get commercially exploited.

Like God would really care what color of candle you light! (And, of course, another awful thing is that weird sort of devotion that verges on idolatry in some people.) Frankly, it's disgusting. But then again, maybe, for some people, that is already the best way they can think of to make their faith a living reality. Who am I to judge? Am I doing my best to make my faith alive and active? With those dark thoughts occupying my mind, I consoled myself by taking pictures of flowers. Hehe!

My sister praying under the beautiful ceiling of the shrine.

A nice, orange candle. :-)

Rural life...

On this site (somewhere) will rise the UP Cebu graduate school. Yey! Well, actually, UPCC already has a graduate school but they're planning to put up a building here, initially for MBA programs, and then IT, and eventually the others. Hmmm...it would be fun getting an MA in...hmmm...maybe Social Psych.

Somewhere in the SRP is a place with benches and wooden beams where you can look out at the sea and enjoy the breeze.

Lani is more into photography than I am, and in this photo, she is taking a shot of...

...well, here, she is taking a shot of the awful garbage stuck where the water met the wall.

Our family...

This was yesterday. Today is Easter! The Lord lives! :-)

nuts unlimited

No, it's not the new term for the psych ward.

It is the fresh, new blog from Nathan Cataluna, and it is S U P E R.

After warning would-be readers that his school essays often bore a red-inked "Out of Context" comment when they were returned, Nuts proceeds to make his hilarious first ever contribution to The Blog Rounds with "Life and No Letters" then makes me cry with his simple tale of a mother's love in "My Story."

Be sure to include NUTS UNLIMITED in your reading list.

isn't my sister a regular Van Gogh?

I totally lifted this from her blog without permission.

Leilani is currently on the last leg of her Marine Bio masters at UP Diliman. And she's in Cebu right now for Holy Week. And at this very moment, she's still upstairs sleeping.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

TBR MD's: Their Lives and Letters

By now, I think everyone has read everyone else's posts -- heehee, sorry for the round-up delay -- so I've decided...
I'm giving out a pop quiz! :-)
Ready? Here goes...
1. Who previously considered a career in music?
2. Who muses, "Funny that I remember little about biology, the study of life, but remember all the details of life then?"
3. Whose soul is 2,000 years older than her mind would want her to believe? (Hehe...took me a while to figure out how to restate it.)
4. Who wrote, "For every reality and phenomenon that exists out there, there are a thousand corresponding angles from which to look at it. One must choose an angle best suited to liberate one’s thinking and save mankind from the uncool?"
5. Who is "The Morning Doctor on Wave 891’s Morning League?" (Hey, I didn't know that!)
6. Who is always carrying around a Canon SX100 IS? (Bonus point: In which pocket?)
7. Whose childhood dream was to own a Tamagotchi?
8. Who says, "The rules of this world suck, so I'm making my own?"
9. Who makes it a point to celebrate her birthday by writing a poem with the same number of lines as her age?
10. Who admitted, "I never thought of being a doctor when i grow up. Unfortunately, I was made to memorize a speech when I was in kindergarten saying..."when I grow up, I want to be a doctor". That changed everything?"
11. Whose "inner mouse" and "inner goddess" are often at odds?
12. Who says he can better "communicate and express myself through writing rather than conversing?"
13. Who married her first and only boyfriend at age 34?
14. Who says, "More important than the three letters after my name are the pitter-patter of three pairs of feet running after me?"
15. Who is the Cabalen TBR MD?
16. Who describes herself as a former "egotistical self-righteous preachy idealist?"
17. Who "scaled Mount Sto. Tomas, crossed Laguna de Bay and surveyed Lingayen gulf" in one summer?
18. Who says, "I am a student. Not only because I am trying to finish my Masters in Hospital Administration, but because I’m perpetually a student of LIFE?"
19. Who, if he had not become a doctor, would rather be a teacher?
20. Who attended an important meeting with industry executives smelling like burnt toast?
21. Who lives near the church featured at the back of the ten peso bill?
22. Who said, "There are two sides to my life at the moment, the one that exists and the one that exists in my head?"
23. Who just ran a 10-km marathon? (Bonus point: What was her time?)
24. Who wrote, "I am many things and I am no thing / I am many personas and I am no one / I am not my curriculum vitae / I am more than that / And also less than that?"
25. Who is currently a radiology resident?
26. Whose addiction to his work is the reason for his remaining a bachelor (for now)?
27. Who almost didn't graduate from med school due to paperworks?
28. Who is from Zamboanga Sibugay?
29. Who describes herself as "crazy in love?"
30. Who wrote, "Basically, you could think of me as a chronicler…a storyteller who takes the little moments of life, whether they be serious or not, seriously?"
31. Who was once told, ""Ang hirap mong debatihin kasi ang yabang mo!"
32. Whose son, Dean Russel, is planning to follow his footsteps?
Hmmm... Since some of these items can apply to more than one of us -- for example, I suppose I could also be an egotistical self-righteous preachy idealist, hehehe -- your answer will be considered if you own up.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32
Seriously: I expected only...maybe five contributions. So the overwhelming response is overwhelming me! Thank you, everyone, for participating. Happy, happy summer! :-)
And who came up with this kicka$$ idea called The Blog Rounds?

Friday, April 10, 2009

this TBR MD

"What do you know how to do?"

This question was posed, to me, by my 9-year-old nephew Joshua.

Twenty-eight-year-old me scratched my head. "Huh? What do you mean?"

There were, I suppose, several possible answers to his question, but nothing sounded quite right at the moment. It was as if somebody has asked me the meaning of life. (And Josh had been living most of his life in California, so this really was in English, which made the whole thing more surreal.)

"Well, do you know how to sew?" he demanded.

"Um..." I thought of the sequined pencil cases I used to make and sell. "A little..."

"Do you know how to carve?"

(No! Who the heck knows how to carve?)

"Do you know how to tame a wild cat?" Josh persisted.


Having thus measured and found me wanting -- at least in terms of needlecraft, woodcarving and wild-cat-taming -- Josh shrugged, let me off the existential hook, and invited me to join him in his search for spiders.


I'm a doctor by profession, so I guess I know how to do that. People come to me when they're sick, and I listen to them, and I examine them, and I tell them what to do. I am a general practitioner, so the cases that come to me don't stress me out too much. (Which is good, because I intensely dislike being unnecessarily stressed out.) I don't have my own clinic -- yet, although I'm keeping my fingers crossed for next year -- but I'm one of two general practitioners in a multi-specialty clinic being run by an HMO.

That's what I do in the mornings. Afternoons I work for the same HMO as a medical evaluator, which basically means that, for each patient who comes in for an annual or pre-employment physical examination, I put together their history and PE findings and lab results, and come up with a diagnosis and recommendations. It's a job that involves a lot of paperwork, and all my friends have a good laugh when they hear about it -- they remember all too clearly that I almost didn't get to join my med school graduation ceremony because I had fallen behind (like, way behind) in my paperworks.

I used to work for a medical software company, and, just a few days ago, they asked me to come back, and offered me as much as five times my old salary. What?!?! It was a ridiculous amount of money, and it was unreal. And I refused.


I sometimes look back on the decision and curse. But, well, it was a job I wasn't happy in. And it would mean giving up my current job, which I happen to like a lot. And, not too long ago, didn't I loudly preach, "Don't make decisions based on salary alone"? Some people would say I wouldn't have been making that decision based on salary alone. I would have made it because of what the salary can give me -- a clinic, perhaps a house -- a chance, in short, to achieve my dreams. But I don't believe in doing something I thoroughly dislike now so that I can do the things I want later. LIFE STARTS RIGHT NOW. And I refuse to accept that re-conceptualization of the Golden Rule: that "those who have the gold make the rules." The rules of this world suck, so I'm making my own. I want to do what I want to do starting now. Besides, I am already financially blessed -- not because I already have lots of money (I honestly don't), but because I have so few needs. I take the jeepney. I don't wear make-up. I don't have to have my hair rebonded every so often for the simple reason that I have never had it rebonded and therefore it doesn't look the awful way hair does once the chemicals start to wear off. I like coffee but it doesn't have to be Starbucks.

And I'm telling you all this because this is what it means to be me. Hehe.

And, oh yeah:
1. I'm from Cebu, and I have lived here all my life, except for PGI year, when I lived in Dumaguete.
2. When you're in Cebu, try...the lechon. Hehe! The ones in Carcar and the ones sold near the Liloan church are the most lami. Also try the lechon manok sold near the sports center in Talamban -- it's The. Best. As for places to visit, um, the islands of Bantayan, Malapascua and Camotes are known to have great beaches. (But I've never been there. Unbelievable but yeah.)
3. I'm not married, but maybe next year. Hehe. If all goes well.
4. I say "hehe" all the time.
5. I do remember my first mortality. I was in Family Medicine, and a little boy came in for diarrhea. He was so dehydrated, his fontanelle was sunken beyond belief, and his eyeballs were literally dry. His guardians had been playing mahjong and hadn't noticed.
6. When I'm not working, I...do nothing. Hehe. I do a lot of staring into space and thinking about nothing in particular.
7. I'd really like to be a travel writer.


The writers who have influenced me the most are:
1. C. S. Lewis
2. J. R. R. Tolkien.

Anyone who knows me could have predicted that. Hehe! But it's true. They have. I have often said that I am the product of what I have read, and although that statement can't be wholly accurate, I do have a tendency to find parallels in literature for the things that happen to me. In that sense, Lewis and Tolkien rarely disappoint. For example, when initially faced with the ridiculous job offer, I remembered this passage from Lord of the Rings: Return of the King:

"In that hour of trial it was the love of his master that helped him most to hold firm; but also deep down in him lived still unconquered his plain hobbit-sense: he knew in the core of his heart that he was not large enough to bear such a burden, even if such visions were not a mere cheat to betray him. The one small garden of a free gardener was all his need and due, not a garden swollen to a realm; his own hands to use, not the hands of others to command."

Must-read books:
1. The Chronicles of Narnia and The Lord of the Rings go without saying.
2. Mere Christianity by C. S. Lewis
3. The Sherlock Holmes stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
4. To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee
5. the Harry Potter books by J. K. Rowling
6. The Man Who Was Thursday by G. K. Chesterton
7. My Dick Francis favorites are To The Hilt and Decider but most of his stories are good. Warning, though: the ones co-written by his son are written by his son. (That's just my theory, but do avoid Dead Heat at all cost.)

Three blogs I regularly visit:
1. Jessica Rules the Universe
2. Clever Girl Goes Blog
3. Not a blog but I love it -- Wikipedia. Haha! For anything you want to know under the sun. For example: my latest searches: Who is that guy who plays Lucy's husband in Seventh Heaven? Did Dan Brown really say that 99% of the Da Vinci Code is true? (Yes. He did.) But that's crazy! I can cite several inaccuracies off the top of my head! Am I only the one who read Bible stories as a kid? What do the others say about it? And, more important, what's up with the guy who played Eomer these days? Oh, yey, he's gonna be in Star Trek! He'll be playing Dr. McCoy. Hey! What's he doing clean-shaven?! Wikipedia = Addictive.

Favorite past posts (just 'cuz):
1. My First Ever Post
2. PGI Year 2007 in Pics
3. the first part of Murder I Wrote
4. Shot Sa^
5. Outside Looking In
6. About A Guy
7. Lessons from Beggars
8. Freedom from What
9. Bloody Hell
10. His Ways

Thursday, April 2, 2009

a nation of slaves and people who can't keep their words

The obviously sensible thing to do when insulted is not to rise to it. To whine less and do more.

(For example:

1. Take the guy's housekeeper from him, see how he likes washing his own socks
2. Publish a "classified" psychological profile obtained from "highly reliable" sources -- come on, the guy obviously has delusions of grandeur, apart from an irresistably kickable a$$ -- and if there is no such report, why, manufacture one
3. Other unprintable courses of action, and I mean action

I'm just kidding. Sort of.)

Anyway. It's more dignified not to rise to an insult. But one can't help coloring in the face nonetheless. A kick from a smelly camel still hurts. (No offense to camels.)


By all means, make a bet on Pacquiao, but don't make a bet with him, or come to any sort of agreement with him. One would think people would learn from his Golden Boy Promotions (not sure that's the right name) deal.

But most Pinoys won't care. It's just our thing to let people who don't keep their words get away with it.

Once upon a time, someone planned to run for president with Sen. Tito Sotto as her running mate. Then she changed her mind and ran as vice president under someone else's banner, leaving the senator out cold. When she eventually became president (not on her own merit, though she seems to have forgotten Edsa Dos was done to remove a corrupt president, not to install a new one), she promised not to run during the next elections. But she did. Not only ran but made controversial phone calls left and right to ensure she got "elected."

We aren't slaves. We're just stupid. And in the end we get the "heroes" and "leaders" we deserve.


What's a satire anyway? Hehe.

The ever-reliable Wikipedia comes to the rescue:

Satire is often strictly defined as a literary genre or form; although, in practice, it is also found in the graphic and performing arts. In satire, human or individual vices, follies, abuses, or shortcomings are held up to censure by means of ridicule, derision, burlesque, irony, or other methods, ideally with the intent to bring about improvement. Although satire is usually meant to be funny, the purpose of satire is not primarily humour in itself so much as an attack on something of which the author strongly disapproves, using the weapon of wit.

A very common, almost defining feature of satire is its strong vein of irony or sarcasm, but parody, burlesque, exaggeration, juxtaposition, comparison, analogy, and double entendre are all frequently used in satirical speech and writing. The essential point, however, is that "in satire, irony is militant". This "militant irony" (or sarcasm) often professes to approve the very things the satirist actually wishes to attack.


Full text of 'The War at Home' by Chip Tsao
(taken from the Philippine Star website)

The Russians sank a Hong Kong freighter last month, killing the seven Chinese seamen onboard. We can live with that-—Lenin and Stalin were once the ideological mentors of all Chinese people. The Japanese planted a flag on Diàoyú Island. That's no big problem-—we Hong Kong Chinese love Japanese cartoons, Hello Kitty, and shopping in Shinjuku, let alone our round-the-clock obsession with karaoke.

But hold on-—even the Filipinos? Manila has just claimed sovereignty over the scattered rocks in the South China Sea called the Spratly Islands, complete with a blatant threat from its congress to send gunboats to the South China Sea to defend the islands from China if necessary. This is beyond reproach. The reason: There are more than 130,000 Filipina maids working as HK$3,580-a-month cheap labor in Hong Kong. As a nation of servants, you don't flex your muscles at your master, from whom you earn most of your bread and butter.

As a patriotic Chinese man, the news has made my blood boil. I summoned Louisa, my domestic assistant who holds a degree in international politics from the University of Manila, hung a map on the wall, and gave her a harsh lecture. I sternly warned her that if she wants her wages increased next year, she had better tell everyone of her compatriots in Statue Square on Sunday that the entirety of the Spratly Islands belongs to China.

Grimly, I told her that if war breaks out between the Philippines and China, I would have to end her employment and send her straight home, because I would not risk the crime of treason for sponsoring an enemy of the state by paying her to wash my toilet and clean my windows 16 hours a day. With that money, she would pay taxes to her Government, and they would fund a navy to invade our motherland and deeply hurt my feelings.

Oh yes. The Government of the Philippines would certainly be wrong if they think we Chinese are prepared to swallow their insult and sit back and lose a Falkland Islands War in the Far East. They may have Barack Obama and the hawkish American military behind them, but we have a hostage in each of our homes in the Mid-Levels or higher. Some of my friends told me they have already declared a state of emergency at home. Their maids have been made to shout 'China, Madam/Sir' loudly whenever they hear the word "Spratly". They say the indoctrination is working as wonderfully as when we used to shout, "Long live Chairman Mao!" at the sight of a portrait of our Great Leader during the Cultural Revolution. I’m not sure if that's going a bit too far, at least for the time being.

Make your own judgment. :-)