December 22, 2004
last monday's christmas party turned out to be just as fun as in the past. the only difference is that there were hardly any kids, and the ones who came with their moms must have been terribly bored since there were no games. congratulations to tekpipol for winning the best presentation.
this afternoon, fellow tekpipol macky and archie will tie the knot at santuario de san jose, while vlad will marry his long-time girlfriend len at barasoain church on the 28th. pangga went to her friend's shower last night, with the wedding slotted on january 2.
wow... so many weddings...
congratulations and best wishes to you all!
well, that's it, my last blog for year 2004. it's been a very eventful year for me. while the time to reflect is such a rare luxury, i pray that all the year's lessons be remembered and learned. for now, i need to rest.
have a blessed christmas and new year ahead. ^_^
December 18, 2004
the office decided to give some of the funds meant for our usual christmas party to the calamity victims in quezon, and i'm so happy the management did that. beer is all that i need to be the happiest party-goer you can find. heehee! Ü
and there will be none of the wacky and noisy games. the passing of FPJ deserves solemnity -- he is, after all, the first cousin of papa bear, and he has always been generous to us. sometimes, i think God has a better plan for him, and He made sure that Da King leave this world still untainted by the ugly world of politics.
the other night, my housemate Ruby mentioned that FPJ's death wasn't as shocking as that of rico yan and nida blanca. true, and i thought i would prefer to leave that way: fading. it doesn't matter how, i just wish it would not be abrupt.
i remember, back in my highschool days, that i swore to never grow old, sick and helpless. back in those days i wished for death to be swift and if possible painless, should it be my time to go. i've seen how old people wither away slowly in pain.
my fear of slow death somehow pushed me to document my life through journals, pictures, and what-nots. my thoughts and memories can now be summarized in about five shoeboxes of letters and mementos, eight notebooks of journals, two webpages (including this blog), over three gigabytes of digital photos, six hardphoto albums, and many more unsorted hardphotos. except for a fully writen will and testament, i'm pretty much guaranteed of a well-documented life should i die anytime.
and i'm ready to die anytime.
but just now, it occured to me: why do i need those documents? has my life been so utterly boring to be even considered "living"? that i need these journals, poems, drawings, and photos so people close to me get to know who i really am while i walked this earth so quietly and inconspicuously? i have neither a nobel prize nor a worthy achievement to remember me by... so maybe i'm desperately piecing together a memory of life, stored in shoeboxes, sketch pads, and photo archives.
many have celebrated their 30th birthday last month. one of them told me how he felt: "i feel old at thirty, and what's worse is that i have nothing to show for myself except the abundance of flabs." i may not have that much flabs, but the truth in everything he said struck me like a sledgehammer. sigh...
this month, two of my friends will get married. they have somehow assured themselves a certain continuity by joining their lives with another. soon they will have children and families. their legacy to this life is coming to a full circle. congratulations and best wishes to you, arch and macky, vlad and len!! the christmas may be silent, but may you have lots of bangs this year-end. (hwehehe! grabe, green na ito ^_^)
merry christmas!! stay clear of firecrackers, okay?
December 14, 2004
to Da King *raise mug of coffee* may your legacy never be forgotten.
okay, i feel genuinely sorry now for what i did (refer to prior entry and comments). i'm working to (try) make amends.
i'm not making excuses, i take responsibility for the whole thing, but something just occured to me -- no one has ever told me that someone is missing in the front page of the postcard. the draft went around (except, unfortunately, the person missing) for comments, but none has noticed that someone is not in the picture.
is it by chance that everyone is too busy to notice?
December 13, 2004
i guess it was a bit too much, what i did, even for someone like him.
was that remorse i just felt? that's a good sign, i guess. but sorry is the only thing i have to say.
sigh. i hate this side of me...
the monster within just smiled, licking its bloody claws in satisfaction.
December 09, 2004
December 08, 2004
it was in highschool when i first espoused this belief: have fun like nothing else matters. somewhere along those crazy years, despite the dominant feeling of invulnerability among us, my friends and i developed this view that any day could be our last, so we must make the best out of it.
sing, like no one is listening. love, like you'll never get hurt...
but things change.
gone are the days of immortality. we're not invulnerable, after all. the booze has got to stop at some point. smoke has got to go. your burned and scarred heart should have learned by now to automatically raise its shields if it doesn't want to bleed anymore.
and you worry now about a lot of things -- your reputation and that of the institution you represent -- you know, all that professional crap.
but change is good. the concept of fun will not always be the same. when i find myself in the quiet company of a good book, a mug of hot coffee, gentle sea breeze, in a pristine white beach, i realize that i'm having fun -- and that i can die peacefully the next day.
i can still dance... i can still sing... i love... and i will stay this way.
oh about that professional crap thingy, it's a different thing of course if it's your boss who's giving the thumbs up to let loose. and so at the Marketing and Opinion Research Society (MORES) christmas party last night at New World Renaissance Hotel CATZ disco, we did just that -- have fun.
l-r: mae, lynn, boss mahar, mear (partly hidden), mike, and me.
December 06, 2004
that particular friday, the malls at ayala and the one at north edsa simultaneously held a sale (kiss those 13th month pay goodbye, wage earners! har har!), and in my the trip back to quezon city, the train was full to the brim.
i was standing with my back on the wall next to the glass window. a lady took the space in front of me. as the train stopped at the next station, and another deluge of people boarded, we got squeezed together -- with our faces just barely a foot away.
no problem with me. i usually daydream when commuting by train, and my face usually looks blank when i'm at it, with my eyes fixed onto nothingness. one glance at the lady and i can say that she's doing the same: blank expression, eyes looking at nothing.
suddenly she smiled. nope, she's not smiling at me. i looked behind me to find no one, and nothing, except the glass window -- she was smiling at her reflection. she paid absolutely no attention to me, so i went back to daydreaming.
and then she stifled a laugh, covering her mouth.
it was hard to ignore her this time, "miss, bakit?"
"sorry, wala lang,” she said, still smiling.
wow, she just had one of those moments – out of nowhere, you remember something so funny and so happy that you can’t stop smiling at yourself, and even laugh out loud.
i remember having those moments when i read Pol Medina’s Pugad Baboy 2 (his funniest compilation ever, in my opinion). i had to laugh out loud by myself inside the UP ikot jeep, or else i’ll suffer from gas pain and stomach cramp (or worse, i might "break wind"). “para kang naka-joots, ah,” i remember my friend telling me.
the lady in front of me just had a happy thought. i felt a little envious.
my mind has been too pre-occupied with daydreaming, of planning what to do next with life, thinking of solutions to problems, and fantasizing what life and future would be without those problems.
my envy didn’t last long, though. i can look anywhere and find something that can bring forth a memory, a happy one. sure, life has been harsh and will always be, but as a good friend once told me “good memories should be written on stone and the bad ones on sand”.
i looked through the glass window, at the traffic below the railways. it was horrible. the buses that filled the streets were lined up almost motionless.
so many buses...
before i knew it, i was smiling.
we had our usual updates (and chismis). somewhere along the conversation a familiar name popped up, and the mood changed:
"me: any news about mon (note: not his real name)?"
"landlady: nope, none at all. mau's (note:not her real name, too) parents are tracing his relatives in cavite. that guy is so "madulas" (slippery), "parang siyang palos" (he's like an eel)."
"me: okay. i hope they find something. my regards to mau."
having spent my entire adult life in boarding houses, dormitories, and apartments, i had chances of meeting, and living with, the most interesting personalities i've come across with -- and the adventures (and misadventures) that go with them.
there are a few that i recall with a certain fondness, simply by their sheer uniqueness and the things they've done. here are my top three most memorable roommies.
first, back in undergrad, is the guy who takes a peek inside his roommates' pants every dawn. why? he wanted to see our morning erection and compare them with that of his own. in the absence of morning erection, he would try to induce it by you-know-how. omg! he already got punched several times (one of which from me), but that didn't seem to have any effect.
we've always been uncertain about his sexuality -- none of our roommates' "gaydar" worked on him. he's got a girlfriend, and he's an rotc officer too boot. that guy was transferred to several rooms, and victimized six other guys before finally getting kicked out of the dorm. last thing i heard was he got married and settled in the province.
second is the guy who ran away with my 5-month lodging fee (almost P10,000), my sony walkman, and my watch, and went missing for half a year. his poor parents in the province called me almost everyday, asking for his whereabouts. i had to file a police blotter at the local campus station, and face the ire of those he owe money to. six months later, he showed up asking for forgiveness. it took all my self-control not to beat him him up for what he put his parents through, but in the end i was just thankful he's still alive (though i wouldn't know for how long, considering the many people he owe money to were out to give him serious harm). he disappeared to his province (a very wise move, i say). he never paid me a single cent. his parents are small-land farmers, and i never had the heart to ask them for what their son took from me.
this guy is one of the most musically-talented persons i've met. he plays the guitar like something straight out of a spanish classical, and he can turn any song into a guitar solo. he was active in religious and student organizations, and i see him in every mass held at the campus dorm back in undergrad. we have common friends, who spoke positively of him as well. that was why we readily accepted him in as our roommate, and gave him my full trust. little did i know it was to be one of the biggest mistakes i'll commit, because suddenly he changed into someone we never expected, and caused havoc to his friends and his family.
he has all the talents i could only dream of, but i guess we'll never know what life has in store for any of us.
finally, mon, the pretty-boy who smokes pot, and got our neighbor's daughter pregnant. at the first few months, he was polite enough to bring his smoking outside the house. he's a nice guy, and a generous one too, as he would offer us his pot and supply of condoms in his cabinet, should we need them. a true vanidoso, he showed us a lot about male vanity and the art of female subtleties (here i remember the movie "the tao of steve"). minus the pot, he would have been someone i'd like to hang around with -- he works for an ad agency, while i'm into social research. we also share the same passion for beer. he's never said no to any of my invitation to visit the nearby campus beer garden, and we would drink and talk till wee hours of the morning.
but later on the smell of pot started seeping into our room, beds, and clothes. our landlady booted him out after a warning, but we learned later that he did more than just smoke pot. a few days after he got kicked out, the girl next door, mau, tearfully showed up with her father, asking where they can find our former roommate. it turned out that, when all his roommates are out, mon would invite mau inside our room, smoke pot, and have you-know-what (my my, whatever happened to all those condoms in his cabinet?). the guy now is in hiding. every now and then i would visit my former landlady, and catch a glimpse of the girl next door, with her cute and bouncing baby girl. sigh. i wish mon could see the baby. maybe, just maybe, he'd change his mind.
well, the rest are history. taking everything as a whole, i'd say i've been (and still am) lucky with the people i live with. these few exceptions are there as life's precious lessons as well.
November 30, 2004
November 26, 2004
November 25, 2004
November 18, 2004
i guess the time still isn't right, and that nothing has changed...
anyway, here's something new. last saturday an idea about putting up a common blog for the technical people of sws came up. i thought it was a good idea, knowing that some of my officemates really have something to share on the writing side.
and so http://samahang-walang-sabado.blogspot.com/ came about. so far it's just me you'll find there, but i hope people here at tech really use it.
er, stay tuned, i guess.
November 17, 2004
bagacay beach resort became my home for the next six days. it's a quiet place just a few minutes away from the town proper. i later realized it's also a prime spot for lovers to spend overnight or even "short time" (three hours or less) in one of its private rooms. how ironic -- i was there for a project about safe motherhood and reproductive health, and everywhere i look around the resort there's lot of S-E-X going on. but i'm not complaining. for once i've found a sex-ridden place that doesn't feel or look sleazy. all in all, i'd say my field anchor did a good job of securing a place that could serve as our field headquarter.
anyway, the resort has a lot of wholesome things to offer as well. the more public areas of the resort are always full of families and barkadas having picnics and playing parlor games. the restaurant also has a videoke bar that goes on until wee hours of the morning (oh my ghulay, my tenga). don't get me wrong -- the locals have awesome vocal prowess, but maybe only about a fourth of them could get the somewhat proper pronounciation for the english songs that they so love to sing.
i hit the ground running, and on the first day i claimed one of the beachside cottages in the name of sws. from then on, for the next six day, the locals would have known me as "the guy from sws". i stuck out like a sore thumb because of the bundles of questionnaires i carry around. from sun up to sun down, i checked the questionnaires, pausing only for meals, rest, and, if the pressure and drudgery get unbearable, a quick swim.
in some ways i was thankful i hadn't that much time to look at the place, because upon closer scrutiny, one will see how mismanaged the entire resort is. there's not a single trash can in sight, and people just leave their mess around. the only thing that has kept this place's garbage levels bearable is that one guy who sweeps the place twice a day. in between his daily routine of cleaning the place, i would find him snoozing in a hammock under a tree. it became my daily habit to remind the nice ladies at the restaurant (one of them being the wife of the resort owner) to place a garbage can in every room and cottage. gosh i hope they paid attention.
it is in the evenings that the place reveals its full beauty and charm. the sea becomes still, and when you stand in its shoulder-deep waters, you could almost hear the sun set. and when the sun finally sinks beneath the horizon, fishing boats create myriads of lights that look like lanterns floating in endless stretch of black and blue.
calbayog city and its barangays are mainly fishing communities. it is somewhat baffling, however, to find the prices of fish just a fraction lesser than the ones you'll find in manila. ah it must be that inevitable tendency for prices to go up once the seller learn that you're not a local. even my field anchor, who is from leyte, had a hard time bagging a fairly cheap catch.
but it's in places like these where i can leave my supply of antihistamine behind, and have absolute faith that the fish and seafoods are fresh, fresh, fresh! (i somehow developed severe allergies to unfresh prawns and crabs. bad bad. you won't find the prawns and crabs here in the photo because i ate them all up.)
calbayog has the finest pedicabs i've seen, so far -- large, sturdy, and fast with the cab under full suspension. the pedicabs use the kind of bicycle just like what my lolo used in his younger days. the bodies are not alloy, and they's darn heavy. at first i thought they're cumbersome to use, but they adjusted the gears to deliver maximum power for a fast and easy drive. the steel bodies make these pedicabs one heck of powerloaders, too.
the pedicabs charge five pesos more than the motorized tricycle for long distance trips, but it's a nice, relaxing ride. i was told that the true makers of these pedicabs originated from catbalogan (the capital city of western samar), but the artworks has adapted a uniquely calbayog characteristics (i wouldn't know, haven't had the time to stop by catbalogan).
finally, i give thanks to the field anchors and field interviewers -- they are the foundation of survey research. these extraordinary girls have braved storms and slippery slopes, long walks and hostile territories. here, they share their success stories, as well as tales of horror -- and i will always wonder at the inner strength each one of them possesses.
going home, i decided to take the bus. little did i realize i was off to my last samar (mis)adventure. warning: do not ride buses with no signboard! the bus i rode was a "kolorum" (unregistered), and we got flagged by police and traffic enforcers in every checkpoint. in every occasion, the driver has a "lagay" (bribe) ready at hand, but not after a fifteen-minute or so charade and what-nots with the enforcers. my ghulay, corruption is alive and kicking!
and so after getting flagged six times all the way from calbayog to tacloban city, i was sure i'd miss my flight had it been on time. but the flight is RARELY on time in tacloban, as i was already informed by the office days ago that the flight WILL be one hour delayed. just the same, i learned my lesson to take only the tried and tested modes of transportation (in this case, Grand Tours or any of the established bus liners, such as Philtranco, Tritran, and Bltbco).
it's good to be back. Ü
November 06, 2004
as we were travelling back to the office from a morning meeting in ayala the other day, my boss took out his new digital camera, and asked me how to change the picture quality -- he wanted to decrease the file sizes of the photos.
i looked over his shoulder from the backseat of the car, without thinking (because i was so sleepy), i said "try that one, sir, the format menu."
he is a good student, that boss of mine, and he has absolute trust in what i was saying, because he was quick to follow my instructions. too quick. the realization of what i just told him came in too late, and before i could say (or rather, shout) "wait!!", he pressed "execute".
the memory card got formatted in a split-second.
if i could describe my face at that time, it would perhaps resemble something like a squashed spider. my boss saw my expression, blinked a few times, turned pink, and said, "oh dear."
i was devastated. i knew he has not transferred any of the images to his laptop since all saint's day. the pictures of his vacation with his family, his meeting with amina rasul, his trip to cebu, the paintings of don jaime zobel, and many more (he's a trigger-happy snapshooter like myself)... all gone.
"i'm soooooo sorry, sir..." and went into more apologies. i never was the person to screw-up on techie stuffs, and i am careful and meticulous with anything that's new. but at that moment, exhausted from the 8-day fieldwork and lack of sleep, i made the biggest mistake of not taking that darn thing out of his hands and giving it a thorough inspection first.
"it's okay, don't worry about it," was all he said, made a little crying face ("booohoohoo, i promised amina i will send her our pictures..."), and laughed. he then proceeded with his morning phone calls like nothing happened.
but i wasn't okay. i remember exactly how i felt when priceless moments captured in digital images accidentally, or deliberately, get deleted. i wish camera manufacturers make it extra harder to delete images -- like adding perhaps an additional message "are you really, really, 100% sure you want to erase this image?" or something like that.
my boss noticed my misery, because i was unusually quiet at the backseat, staring blankly at the traffic. as he finished a call, he told me a little story:
"when i was in indonesia, i met a nice lady who lives in one of the oldest houses i've seen. the place is a treasure chest of antiques and memorabilia. one day her grandchildren came to visit, and one of the priceless antiques was broken while the kid was playing. but instead of worrying or getting upset about the broken item, she was thankful that the child wasn't injured. so you see, leo, don't worry about the things that's been lost, because worse things could have happened."
i guess it comes with age, this uncanny skill to draw light out of pitch darkness. my boss, whom my officemates affectionately call "papa bear", has gone through a lot of trials and challenges. but at 60, he still has the wonders of a ten-year old -- eager to try new things, and always finding ways to have fun. i dread the day he will have to retire and leave the office.
hey hey hey! it's great to be back in manila. samar is beautiful, its beaches and the people -- but when you're stuck in a rural area, even just for eight days, you are bound to miss a lot of things (like blogging). i'll post something about my visit there soon. ^_^
taken at a beach resort in calbayog, western samar.
October 08, 2004
it takes just one figure to remind the government of the severity of poverty that ails this country.
The Social Weather Survey for the Third Quarter of 2004 found a near-record-high 15.1% of household heads reporting that their families had experienced hunger, without having anything to eat, at least once in the last 3 months -- the second-highest national proportion since SWS began surveying it in 1998, after the record 16.1% in March 2001. (source: http://www.sws.org.ph)
the moment it was released, media scrambled to give this number a human face: vagrants that litter the city street, footages of families cooking and sharing food gathered from garbages...
government scrambled, too, to patch up the problem: food coupons for those with nothing to eat...
the solution is not lasting, but this is what gives meaning to all that i believe in: research... so we may see, feel, and understand the social conditions.
enough numbers. how about showbiz?
my personal favorite starstruck ultimate survivor Jenelyn Mercado showed me what it really means to be a public figure -- nothing can stay private. eventually people will find out about her past, and she made a very wise move to tell the people about it way ahead of everyone else.
here's to you. *raise mug of coffee* you're a true survivor.
October 05, 2004
the surprise was delightfully mind-blowing!
the idea of putting in more in-game characters in the movie was already brilliant, but getting the right people to play the part is a colossal feat. whoever drafted Siena Guillory as Jill Valentine is a genius. she is awesome! -- with just the right blend of being nice and nasty. Resident Evil: Apocalypse really satiated the Jill-fan in me, and finally convinced me to add RE in my "must-haves" list of movie collection.
i have to review my copy of Ludlum's Bourne series. i was expecting Bourne Supremacy to set the stage for the showdown between Bourne and the legendary hitman The Jackal, and also introduce Bourne to his future wife-doctor, who plays an important part in the last book, The Bourne Ultimatum. the movie gave very little attention to Bourne's headaches as well (in the book the headaches were more incessant and almost debilitating). oh well, i guess my memory is failing me and had this all mixed up with the rest of the Bourne novels.
anyway, enough movies. got my bicycle last sunday. i'm calling it Red (the body name is Vortex Montana, but it's the color that made the first impression on me). it's been a while since i last rode a bicycle (ugh! painful on the butt). sigh... i hope UP admin still hasn't converted that piece of grassy land behind UP math building into a parking lot or something.
October 01, 2004
Major with the gang at the end of his last working day at SWS (l-r: mear, vlad, mike, lynn, penn, me, major, and mae) he won't let go of the blue pillow -- a gift from our friend Rain (hi Rain!). ^_^
September 27, 2004
my encounter with sampoerna happened last july during my visit to jakarta. my friend took me out for some sight-seeing around the city. somehow, everytime i'm in a new place, it has always been my tendency to be curious with sidewalk sceneries -- where are the traffic and law enforcers, how they look like, what's their version of "bangketa", street vendors, what are the wares being sold (dibidi, bisidi... yup they have that too) etc etc.
my friend, who is a smoker, showed me the more popular local cigarette brands, gudang garam and sampoerna -- which i ended up buying as pasalubongs for my smoker officemates -- and he specifically recommended that i try the latter.
i did, and that's how it started -- i went home with two packs (note: dalawang kaha) of sampoerna for myself. "sampoerna", by the way, means perfection in indonesia.
i smoked the last stick yesterday. with one long drag and puff, i ended my affair with smoke, and will not get into any more smoking activity unless it's a chance to puff a rare cuban cigar, or if my friends treat me again to a hookah bar. ^_^'
speaking of hookah, i got another look at this memorable smoking pipe last weekend when my girlfriend and i watched "La Bayadere" by Ballet Manila. "La Bayadere" is:
A three-act Petipa/Chabukiani/Minkus ballet masterpiece set in India, which tells the story of Nikiya, a bayadere or temple dancers who is caught in the middle of a forbidden love for the warrior Solor and the unrequited love of the High Brahmin. Forced to wed Gamzatti, the Rajah's daughter, Solor watches helplessly as Nikiya is murdered during the celebration. An opium-manifested dream reunites the two lovers in one of the most demanding acts in Russian Ballet - the evening's finale set in the Kingdom of Shades. -- Malaya Online
it's all about forbidden love and opium-induced dreams, thus the hookah stood symbolically on the stage at the end of the last act.
The ticket was sold at Php125, and later can be exchanged at star city for a ride-all-you-can ticket. not a bad deal at all. nothing like a good bumper car ride to get the blood flowing after the two-hour show.
September 22, 2004
thanks to the kids, i now remember the games in my collection. here's the list, and my status for each:
- final fantasy VIII: finished twice (first w/o walkthrough, next w/ walkthrough. quistis! *sigh*)
- south park rally: unplayed
- battle tank: unplayed
- duke nukem: unplayed
- nba 2000: unplayed
the next day, with my permission and their father's strict reminder to be careful, the brothers browsed through *gasp* my most sacred corner of the house -- my pc table/shelf. there stored are my prized collection of comics, magazines (no smut in there, promise), and books. the pc used to have dune, starcraft and warcraft, but when i started working on my thesis, i deleted all the games except for pharaoh (cmon, everyone needs a break). they borrowed my entire collection of culture crash (oh dear, i hope they take good care of it *shudder*).
at the office, the pingpong table was wiped clean and set, so the kids played while the rest of us worked. at the strike of 615pm, we were playing with the kids and i ended up with blistered feet for playing on my formal shoes.
the house and office were again quiet the day after the brothers went home. the ps1, now free from dust, is back in its shelf, and the pingpong table is back in storage. everything is back to normal (except they still have my culture crash!).
September 21, 2004
speaking of wishlist, the rising tricycle fare is forcing me to address that item at the bottom of the list -- "a new bike". it's been eight months since my old trusty mountain bike was stolen (sniff!), and i badly need the exercise.
bike-hunting in quiapo this weekend sounds like a good idea. hmmm...
"One night my throat was swollen and my mommy thought that I got bit by a bug. My throat didn't hurt though. So she gave me medicine you take when you get bug bites and it didn't work. Later that night I had a hard time breathing so we went to the hospital and they told me the cancer was wrapped around my breathing tube and that's why I had the bump and couldnÂt breathe. Now I have to go through three years of chemo." --- (Jalen, 9, FL)
"When I was 10 I broke out in what looked like a rash and when I went to the doctor they knew it was no ordinary rash and ordered blood tests. The next day I went to a new doctor for more tests which showed my blood counts were not normal but it was not easy for them to diagnose me. It took about five months and many more tests to get a final diagnosis of a form of leukemia that is rare in children but common in senior citizen men." --- (Tiffany, 11, MI)
Until mid of last year, Sheel was your typical 7th grader, who memorizes boy band hit songs by heart and keeps life-sized posters of her favorite band. She has been living a typical teener's life, cheerful and carefree, until one July morning.
Just like Jalen and Tiffany, Sheel's condition started with something that seemed simple and unalarming. In July 2003, she noticed her left eye was puffy and a bit protruded. She was taken to a series of specialist, from opthalmologist to internist and finally to her doctor in the past year, a pedia oncologist. Her doctor never mentioned the word Cancer but Sheel knew what chemotherapy is all about. She cried about the possibility of having to miss school and the idea of losing hair.
It's been a year since. Sheel had undergone all the requisite treatment. She did not miss school as she was earlier anxious of, but skipped classes during days when she was required to undergo her chemotherapy. These were the days when she would be totally drained due to bouts of throwing up, one of the side effects of her treatment. While Sheel was able to hold on to her studies, her hair is a different matter altogether though. She inevitably lost strands of it, but learned to manage her bad hair days with the help of her bandannas.
Sheel has been living with the Big C that causes the bad hair days for a year now. The tumor was found to be Rhabdomyosarcoma of the Orbit -- a rare type of cancer found among children. For awhile, Sheel thought she was free of the nemesis when her oncologist declared that she's officially on remission. But it was not meant to be. Yet. A few weeks after the remission, Sheel's eye started to protrude again. And this time, it's bigger than the earlier bout. Apparently, she had developed resistance to her earlier chemo drugs. After another round of consultations, and tests, the doctorsÂ mandate is for Sheel to undergo another series of 5-day chemotherapy every three weeks, using another chemo drug stronger than the one used on her last year. When Sheel first heard of this, she told her mom that she is too tired and spent up to go through all these all over again. Well, who wouldn't be? Instead of spending time with her barkada, or indulging in activities typically enjoyed by kids her age, she would be trapped inside four white walls for days in a row again. But knowing chemo is her only choice, Sheel eventually geared up for this re-match. She is on her first session now at the NKI. Hopefully, she responds to the chemo well and the therapy will be over in 6 months.
Sheel's first year of battle was difficult. But with the help and prayers of relatives and friends, she has come this far. This round of chemotherapy is expected to be more rigorous and more draining, physically and financially. But with your help and prayers, Sheel and her mom are hopeful that Sheel will win the battle against the Big C this time around.
Cancer can be beaten...
but not alone.
So let's be with Sheel
BPI Family Bank
Matalino Branch Quezon City, Philippines
Joint Account holders:
Joy Casuga and/or Melinda Marcelo
September 17, 2004
September 14, 2004
anyway, yesterday i went to supreme court to represent the office in the opening of project proposals. this was something new to me. coming from the point of view of an NGO person like myself, my experience with government transactions, until now, has not involved opening project proposals in the presence of all bidders. i was later told that government has implemented a stricter guideline in dealing with private consultants and contractors, and opening of bids in front of everyone involved is one measure they adopted to guarantee transparency and corruption-free transactions. any issue, discrepancy, or revision in any of the proposals was discussed and resolved by the committee-in-charge and fellow bidders. the project's funding institution also requested for such transparency to be in place.
it was a grueling three-hour meeting (including the 2-hour wait... sigh. i guess time-management in government still needs improvement), and the air-conditioning was horrible. but i'd gladly go through hundreds of these meetings -- if each time would mean one less corrupt government agency in this struggling piece of country called Philippines.
last sunday was another adventure. my girlfriend and i went to arroceros forest park in manila to check out the place and see why there is so much media fuss about the mayor's proposal to demolish the place. when they say forest, i was expecting lush greens and majestic, old trees, and the like.
well, the place fits the description, but i'd add the words "spooky". i wish i had my camera then. the place is a great spot for a fantasy photo shoot (imagine faeries and "lamang-lupa").
i'm now one of those who oppose its demolition.
sigh! i have to design a new christmas card for the office. i wonder how i could fit over 30 faces in a postcard? wow, how the office have grown. ^_^
September 10, 2004
September 09, 2004
it was good. in less than a minute i felt my muscles straining despite the fluid motion and seemingly effortless movements. another perk that comes with the machine is you could watch tv while sweating it out. cool! amazing technology.
my interest with the gadget was shortlived, though.
for me, nothing beats the feeling of jogging in the crisp open air, with the sight of lush greens and people's faces passing by, and the sound of your own breathing and footfalls mingling with the occasional bird songs and the white noise of traffic.
ahhh... thank goodness for all the good things. ^__^
September 08, 2004
the film starts at 7pm, and i was already packed up and ready to leave the office at 6pm. the review says that the film would be two hours long, so i texted everyone (close to me, that is) of my whereabouts by then. in short, I AM EXCITED about this film.
but like all there is in life, some things are bound to go haywire. ^0^
big papa bear, as we staffers would call our boss, needed some last minute data from a project. i wasn't directly involved with the project, so i could have left the office already. but, instead, i stayed and helped out.
i'm glad i did.
we finished at 7:30pm and got to the theater at 8:00pm. all of the technical staff tagged along to watch the film with me. afterwards, we had dinner at krus na ligas (a place in UP-Diliman), and had some beer at sara's (another landmark at UP-Diliman).
it was a good evening. i may have missed half of the film, but i gained something better: a chance to better know the people i work with -- my team -- however old or new they are.
l-r: (standing) mae, mike, major, mike, vlad, aileen, (seated) lynn, mear, and me.
September 06, 2004
September 03, 2004
August 20, 2004
first, a drawing tablet. come august 29 (ehem, my birthday *hint hint* Ã), i'll pick up a wacom graphire 3 from my suking tindahan. ooohhh excitement!
second, a new guitar. it's been almost a year since my housemate accidentally broke my old lumanog (an heirloom from my mother *sniff*), and i've already forgotten most of the chords of the songs i love to play. yesterday, the donjon company had a sale at robinson's place malate, and the price is too sweet to resist. but more importantly, the feeling is right -- it's about time i play some music again. and so i went home with a blue, fiberglass-backed, amplifier-ready beauty. hmmmm mmm mmmm...
above all else, though, it's the blessings i've been getting this past year that i'm most thankful for...
i'm blessed with the most beautiful nephews and nieces. two boys and a girl from my sister-in-law, and just last march my sister gave birth to their first baby girl. i'm honestly not fond of kids, and they tend to cry when i'm around. but these four young souls are different, and i love them so much.
my parents are in good health, thank goodness. my mother has kept her blood pressure at normal levels. recently she went down with pneumonia, and had to stop work for four weeks, but she's well now (and gained weight as well from all the rest and recuperation. heehee!). my father's diabetes is under control, and i hope he's sticking to his regular exercises.
i'm in good health. i added a few pounds and gone are the dark rings around my eyes. the gym has worked wonders, too. it's been years since i felt this good.
for the friends that never left my side, wherever they may be, and for the friends i never realized i had. now more than ever i value all those who never pull their punches when i deserve them, because they also are the ones who will never abandon you. for those who never forget who i am and what i represent, for those who were there for me in my darkest hour, for those who have forgiven me even before i could begin to forgive myself, for the new friends that came into my life -- i'm forever thankful for them.
these, and the countless other blessings life has given me, whether or not i even comprehend them, i'm most grateful to God.
August 10, 2004
August 04, 2004
July 30, 2004
July 20, 2004
last sunday, all of my housemates went home, and i became the apartment's supreme overlord -- the living room, the tv, and the cozy beanbag are mine all mine! *evil laugh* not wanting to do anything or go anywhere (procrastination... taking... over...), i fell into one of my rarest pleasures -- solitude. just me, my thoughts, and my rock ballads collection.
the thought of hearing the afternoon mass occurred to me, but somehow it wasn't that compelling. come to think of it, i never considered myself as a devout catholic, and i somehow never had the drive to learn and understand more of the church's teachings beyond what is preached in its halls on sundays. i still cannot recite most of the prayers and responses verbatim (in any of the three philippine languages i know -- shame shame on me), nor do i understand the reasons for most religious holidays, among others. i shy away from debates about faith and religion, which i find completely pointless (reminds me of the classic "ang tamang daan" versus "iglesia ni kristo" word battle and mudslinging, aired over their respective tv networks on primetime. ugh!).
what bothers me is that this doesn't bother me at all. i was never the one to have spent parts of adult life suffering from religious identity crisis because it never mattered to me in the first place.
not yet, though.
sooner or later, i will have to compel myself to fully understand the faith i was raised with. someday, if fate be kind, i will be raising my own kids, and i will have to answer questions about faith from their young, inquisitive minds. for now, i comfort myself that my faith is there, alive in my own understanding.
kids? oh no! i am getting old. ^_^;