Saturday, August 30, 2008

Much Ado About Change

By now, the world pretty much knows who this guy is.

He was standing in front of thousands of supporters at the Democratic National Convention at Mile High Stadium in Denver, Colorado, and so much was made of his historic acceptance of the Democratic Party's nomination for the next President of the United States.

I listened to his speech for the whole duration of it and said to myself, wow, this guy is good. A good speaker, that is. He has charisma and is able to deliver his stuff. This guy with a funny name can be the next US President.

So much was made of "The American Promise" and well, a platform all based on the notion of change, and with how he delivered his speech, he sounded like he could actually do it, sounded being the operative word. To actually do it, of course, is another thing.

As a Filipino, with no aspirations to migrate there (not yet anyway), I love looking at American politics (Philippine politics, gag, vomit). So much is going on with Barack Obama -- change, race, economy, his perceived weak military background, his platform on oil, environment, and healthcare, among others.

One thing is for certain, he is certainly a more able speaker than Dubya. Bush doesn't have the chutzpah to pull off a speech like that. It had sketchy spots, I think, but he made it work. I was sitting in my mom's bedroom and said to myself, this guy could actually pull this off. And there is nothing like the undercurrent of the first African-American presidential candidate rallying his supporters on the 45th anniversary of Martin Luther King's "I Have A Dream" speech. Now that is political manuevering.

As I write this, well, Republican Presidential nominee McCain chose Gov. Palin to become his Vice President, no doubt to secure the women voters and of course, the stranded Hillary Clinton supporters. Haha, now that's politics. I can't wait to see what the Republicans have in store at their convention, which I think, is next week.

Philippine politicians, throw away the mud and start making sense, please.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Much To Be Thankful For

It's over. The wait that is.

I passed.

Endless thank yous to all those who prayed for us. CIM Batch 2007 (Batch 1 set A) is 100% topping for the category of schools with examinees 50-99. That makes it 4 straight exams for the school with 100% (including February), first with a topnotcher (kudos to Shiela!) and a perfect rating, and a perfect slate for the CIM PBL program. Hahaha, we must be doing something right, right?

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.


While I was riding home on the ferry, two days ago, my mood was subdued despite having met up with my aunt and nephews at the terminal. I was thinking about how I am 28 years into this so-called life and I'm still riding the same trips home, and how others have done more with their lives by this age than I have.

I then tried to proceeded to walk through my memories and pick out things of significance and realized, there is much to be thankful for. I've travelled to the States, been to different places in the Philippines as part of my PT internship (Bacolod, Iloilo, Guimaras, Manila), swam the 1 mile and more of open sea in the Red Cross Water Safety Training, gone to Casaroro Falls, Guintubdan, camped out at Mount Tumikom the 2nd highest peak in Negros Oriental, played in my share of sports tournaments, and had my share of educational achievements, and so much more.

I realized I have much to be thankful for.

Some have less.

It never is how many times we go and do something remarkable, it's how we get it to mean something for ourselves. I could be just brushing my teeth and have it be a footnote in my life (saving the world from tooth decay).

Maybe I'll join Gaya and whoever she drags along with her on her Antarctica cruise (how about it, hon? haha).

Truly I have much to be thankful for. Sometimes, we just need to be reminded of that fact.


I passed!

Lord, thank you. Can I ever thank you enough?

To those who helped us through this, Doc Ness, Dr Ducay, our parents, our friends, each other. Thank you.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Thoughts On My Way Home

I got out of my rented pad this morning to a relatively quiet holiday morning in Cebu. I had already made plans to go home and rest for a few days, awaiting judgment, and was going out to get some of my laundry done when all of a sudden, a series of successive honks scared the zonkers out of me. I thought I was done for. I quickly turned to see a taxi pulling up a few inches beside me and the driver asking me in taxi-driver sign language, if I wanted a ride.

What?! You nearly run me over (which I now realize was not going to happen, because I'd just be no use to him all crumpled at the side of Ramos Street) and you completely destroyed all semblance of a perfectly quiet and peaceful walk, and you ask me if I wanted to take a cab ride? Did I raise my hand or signal you in any way? What's it come to that taxi drivers hail passengers? Didn't it used to be the other way around?

I shook my head, and with the customary hand wave I said no, then another taxi comes and does the exact same thing.

On my way to the bus terminal, I was listening to the radio and it was all about the ongoing war in Mindanao between the rebels and the government (I'm pulling for peace), when this military official comes on and says they started launching offensives against the rebels early this morning, stationing the troops at some key points in Mindanao, and other strategies.

Uhm sir, I'm no military strategist but wouldn't those tidbits of information and military tactics be better off kept to yourselves? It's not like the rebels don't have radios. Then again, that could be the plan, say this over the radio and do another thing. Misinformation. Nice strategy guys. (Picture me nodding head in realization, in pure unadulterated sarcasm of course)

The bus was rolling along when one of those pasalubong vendors came up and tries to get passengers to buy his otaps and masa reals. He comes up to a couple and does his sales talk, "Ma'am otap, 3 for 100, ako ibutang plastic. Ako na ibutang plastic"

I silently thought to myself, what was that? Was that a threat? "Ako na ibutang plastic" Haha, I silently chuckled trying to say it myself. Or was it a reward, like now that you have bought these delicious biscuits, I'm gonna place them in plastic as a bonus!

On my way home, these random thoughts went through my mind. Maybe they are just facades to the anxiety I'm feeling. Maybe. But I do thank the heavens for taxi drivers who don't run me over and don't honk at me while I'm walking safely at the side of the street, the military forces who are risking their lives to achieve peace (I still think you can't talk peace and have a gun, maybe a bat would do), and those people who bring us otaps to bring home. They make a guy's trip home a bit more anxiety-free.

It was a nice day.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Me Thinking Not So Striaght Right Now Raelly

What I was thinking a couple of minutes before this post:

1) That the 2nd half of the boards are coming up this weekend, and I want it to be over, despite the fact that the results scare me more than the exams themselves.

2) Yes, as Gaya mentioned, by this time next week, things will have happened -- whether we all pass or not, whether we get to practice all of what we learned the past 5 years.

3) That I'm really having a difficult time studying for this final leg because there are 6 subjects, 5 days, and so many things to read. How do you fit a whole Pediatrics or Internal Medicine into one day? Not to mention the two subjects you'd have to fit in a day because 6 subjects and 5 days just don't agree with the basic principles of Math.

4) That I get visions of my testpapers getting all crumpled going into the machine that checks it and junks it. Well, I'm not saying that the score would be any better but I think I put a whole lot of thought into those answers and I'm hoping for a chance to get some correct.

5) That I'm praying for my friends and I to pass this test.

6) There are just 240-250 examinees in Cebu, a rumored 50 in Davao, reports of 1500 total examinees and some reports of 2100 in Manila. Either way, those figures pale in comparison to the 65,000 takers for the Nursing Boards and the 27,000 passers. Talk about a lopsided ratio.

Things I'm thinking of right now:

1) That the boards have been the main thing that has been going on in my life for the past 3 months, that I don't know what I would be doing after.

2) That I'm really scared of failing after realizing that I love doing this work, and I would want to do this for the better part of my life to come.

3) That if only the boards graded effort, desire, and service aside from the straight-from-the-hip-tricky multiple choice questions we would get a whole new breed of medicine. But there's just no grading system for that.

4) That I should be getting back to my books.

Friday, August 8, 2008


I woke up this morning, the 8th day of the 8th month in 2008 with more concern for the next day. Yes, the subject of my recent trail of posts -- the board exams.

It starts tomorrow. And I am terrified.

I woke up to the early morning sunshine streaming through my dust-lined screened windows, and realized it was as beautiful a morning as any. A cool breeze picked up and wafted through my room. It felt good just lying there. But like the countless mornings these past few months, I got up and took a bath, read a couple of paragraphs from a random book on my room floor and headed out.

Today we got our room assignments for the executions err examinations.

The reality of tomorrow starts to sink in and well, there's just no stopping it. People say it's better to relax on your last day, but I'm more for the cram-til-it's over mentality. So study again. As Gaya aptly put it, "habang may buhay, may pag-asa."

The texts flooded in. Beautiful prayers I all said quietly in my mezzanine seat. Chain messages, which I forwarded on my Sun phone. Bible passages to inspire. Everybody is turning to prayer at this point, as we should, but if all the rumored 1500 examinees pray, would all of us pass. We could try.

If I remember correctly from my days taking up Music Appreciation, Johann Sebastian Bach, one of music's greatest geniuses always wrote "INDNJC" on his sheet music when he composed his masterpieces. In Nomini Domini Nostre Jesu Cristi. His every work done in the holy name of our Lord Jesus Christ. A tribute. A covenant.

I used to do that once I learned of it. Write it on the top of my exam sheets. My notebooks. I don't know if I actually passed every exam, but it was taken with Him.

Here I am. Weak. Tired. Afraid.

I don't know if I'm ready or if I'll ever be, but I studied the best I could.

So many times in the past few months, the fear has crippled parts of my life, brought frustration and anxiety, and driven me to my knees in prayer and tears. Yet I look back and realize, it also brought me friends, forgiveness, reconciliation and the reaffirmation of the love of those close to me.

In Nomini Domini Nostre Jesu Cristi

As I end this day to retire to my room, I thank those all who have kept us in their prayers.

The uncertainty of the exam results are there, yes. I wish and shout it from the depths of my heart that I want to pass, I want my friends to pass.

We lift the boards to Him, not just leaving it there on that table, but rather, have it become a covenant -- that each shade, each letter, each dot, each number be all in His name. An exam that We take together.

Monday, August 4, 2008

4 days more

Something Gaya said in one of our marathon mock text questioning, struck a chord. We had gotten to a point where she said she realized that she loved writing more than probably becoming a resident after (Was it? I can't really remember Gay). I said, fine by me, because she writes great. I don't know how serious she is, but, there have been several medically-inclined people who have done that successfully like Robin Cook, Michael Crichton among a few. Though in all seriousness, I think she should go into training or practice while writing, because she is freakishly smart.

I tried to recall when I started to write.

Back in kindergarten, I started reading mysteries like Hardy Boys and the picture-filled Bible books. So by grade school, I began my attempts at writing my own mysteries. As I went through high school, writing was more journalistic reasons but I continued to read and write. Attempts were all they were as I never finished anything I wrote. HAHA.

Which brings us to one of my most treasured memories of College. I was taking up English 48, Introduction to Philippine Literature. I took it in the 2nd semester of my 2nd year in college and found out I was under Timothy Montes. I knew him by reputation as a Palanca Awardee and a cool English teacher. We took up the works of different Filipino authors -- Tiempo, Joaquin, Arguilla, among others. Before the Christmas break, he challenged us to write a short story. The best would be published in a literary publication and earn a pretty high grade I would think. So I ended up writing something, at that time, more for requirement than anything else.

It was a short story entitled Akeldama: Fields of Blood. I will never forget what he wrote on that cover sheet. The grade was a 3.7 and comments that said my story echoed the picture and some prose of Manuel Arguilla's Midsummer (which was one of the stories we read, so it likely had some influence haha) and that all in all, I could make a good short story writer.

I didn't get published. And for the record, I didn't even think it even came close to Arguilla's beautiful Midsummer, so it was definitely not plagiarism.

I came away happy with writing, a good grade, and a wonderful memory. I've come to love medicine too much to put writing ahead of it, but I guess that's what time management is for.

Anyway, the real theme of this post is in the title. The boards are 4 days away. Hope springs eternal that my friends and I pass.

Keep us in your prayers.