Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Much Ado About Helmets

I've lived in semi-rural, semi-urban Dumaguete City for nearly most of my life. Part of the joys I take advantage of when I'm home is riding my motorcycle because, as much as a car offers shade from the midday sun or the occasional sudden downpour and you don't have to worry about getting an insect in your eye, nothing beats the wind in my hair and exhilaration of zipping along the city streets on a two-wheeled motorbike.

Yup, no helmets here.

From memory, I know some law-enforcing agencies have tried to implement the helmet rule years back but seemingly, Dumaguete is above that rule. Local officials even went as far as declaring that helmets are only needed for out-of-the-city trips.

Give or take a year before, Silliman University instituted a helmet rule in the campus -- meaning you'd have to be wearing a helmet if you were to drive a motorcycle inside the campus. It was funny because, being in a city where motorcycles are a main mode of transportation, students would hang helmets from elbows, handlebars, or keep it in their bags until they had to use it to get into Silliman.

Just a few weeks ago, officials from the DOTC and LTO launched an operation in the city to catch people on motorcycles not wearing helmets. Now, elected city officials have filed a complaint regarding the matter and that what they did is not constitutional.

OK, settle down for just a minute.

Helmets? Oh the joys of living in Dumaguete. Yep, Wall Street is crashing, terrorist attacks, economic turmoil, all that doesn't matter to us here.

I'd be the first to say that I hate wearing helmets when I'm driving. It takes away part of the fun I get when I drive (remember wind in my hair...). But I've also become a doctor and I've seen my share of deaths in the emergency room and seen more than a couple of lives saved by using some head-protective gear. Just because it's inconvenient to put on a helmet and drive a motorcycle a couple of blocks from Silliman to Lee Plaza, it does not mean that the risk that a 10-wheeler cargo truck could hit you while you cross any of the 3 intersections in between, is taken away. Sure that scenario could be a bit overkill and the helmet wouldn't protect you anyway, but I'll see you the next time in the ER when you would be regretting why you did not wear one when CT scans show a skull fractures or subdural hematomas.

Honestly, I probably will not wear a helmet while I drive around my city in my motorcycle. But I'm saying we should.

If that time comes, I'll be using the car.

Friday, September 26, 2008


I rediscovered the TV these past few weeks after spending the past years in med school.

I saw this recurring ad at a particular channel announcing the concert of Paul Potts in the Philippines. And I said Paul who? I didn't have any idea who the guy was, but it certainly piqued my curiosity.

I knew he didn't look much like an opera singer, but I got the idea he sang arias and whatnot.

I knew he must have come from a reality talent show but didn't know where.

I only got to search him recently and I am sharing his talent and story with you.

Paul Potts' audition on Britain's Got Talent singing Giacomo Puccini's "Nessun Dorma"

My goosebumps had goosebumps.

I was as slack-jawed as Simon Cowell.

All I could say was "WOW."

Check out tidbits of his story here.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

The Road Less Traveled (Doesn't Exist)

Sorry Mama Gaya, I didn't have any original ideas as to what to blog about as I contemplated not blogging for the rest of September as I have already blogged more this month than I ever have before, but, I know you get cranky when you don't have anything to read so bear with me as I rehash your own blog topic.

What I'm saying is that the road less traveled does not exist. Yes, it does not.

All that is left is, simply, the road. Roads, in fact.

I know there are people better suited to studying this stuff, like shrinks and psych people, but I've simply concluded that the road less traveled is a myth. Or maybe, just maybe, I'm making this stuff up to make an excuse for my decisions, the lack thereof, or the doubting if I'd ever make the right one. With that blow to the credibility of this blog topic, I'd like to present my case.

Case one: Here's a young Filipino doctor, idealist, save-the-world, rookie, deer-in-the-headlights look on his face at the crossroads after facing the boards and emerging victorious chooses to go into residency right after to specialize and earn at the same time (not that it's much to live on). He stays in the country, and earns a living as a good clinician. Yet he wonders, what would his life be if he went to the US or UK to practice there? What would his life be if he enjoyed life a bit after boards and did a little moonlighting? What would it be like if he just wrote novels for a living or chose another specialty?

Case two: Here comes another Filipino doctor, strong-willed, brave, and chose to take the USMLE, or let's say fell in love with uhm, let's say, New Zealand, and after attending a couple of seminars and moonlighting jobs saved enough money to join the exodus of doctors to foreign lands in search of better pay and adventure. He has the time and resources to see the rest of the world out there, leaving friends, family and significant others, to come back a millionaire with dollars, euros and whatnot. Still he wonders if his life would be better off if he stayed and established himself here? Or had he went into residency or simply being with people who matter to you?

Case three: A third Filipino doctor, compassionate, happy-go-lucky, go-with-the-flow type of personality who knows that he wants to touch people's lives with his work. He does outpatients at a self-made clinic as a general physician, and is adored by the people he serves though most patients barely afford his services. Yet he still wonders basically the same stuff that all the other guys worried about (couldn't type all that again).

Can one really say to the other that "I took the road less traveled?"

Number one says I took the road less traveled because so few doctors stay, go into residency and build their careers from there. Num 2 didn't 'cause it's the trend to go out of the country, and num 3 is easy because he handles the outpatients and doesn't get the bad cases.

Number two gets up, and indignantly exclaims that he took the road less traveled because he was the one who braved the discrimination and insensitivity of foreign lands to build his own career. Num 1 got it easy because he stayed with family and friends and agreed to what num 1 said about num 3.

Number three argues that he took the road less traveled because he barely gets paid for his services sacrificed specialization and the call of going abroad to serve his calling to help people.

Enter me.

I come in and explain to them that the road less traveled does not exist. It is merely a road -- a choice that you make for yourself. A choice that you feel you most likely can live with and not necessarily, always feel good about. Sure, there will always be the intersections towards the roads you didn't take, and there will be times where you'll ask yourself, what ifs and what about ifs, but it's just another turn at the intersection or go straight ahead on the road your on.

Lately, the road less traveled has become an excuse for those with regrets.

And I try my darndest not to ever be one.

Sure, sure, any psychologist could make the case that this post could be my rationalization for my own crossroads and all the cases are me (just thought I'd all beat you to it), but ask yourselves, does the road less traveled exist? Or are you just saying it does just to prove a point?

Choices are hard regardless of the number of people who have come before you and made the same hard decisions whether to take the left at the crossing, go straight ahead, or the right at the fork.

Now that I got that off my chest, where's the map at?

Friday, September 19, 2008

Bittersweet Friday

I spent a good hour or so this afternoon with someone who means a lot to many people, and I'll tell you how much she meant to me.

When I came home to Dumaguete City last year as a graduate of medicine and ready to take on the responsibilities as a post-graduate intern at Silliman Medical Center, she was already there. We were newbies, my friends and I, to this whole medical jungle that lay before us. Sure, she intimidated at first, but I always got something else from her -- she actually cared.

Yes, she will most likely remain anonymous in this blog as it is not my place to talk about the stuff that happened, and all will reveal itself in time.

She was everything we needed at SUMC -- a friend, a mentor who taught us the ropes of medicine, a stubborn parent who gave stern warnings(haha, it's true, don't deny it), a patient who humored us that we could actually give her medical advice, a confidante who always had a ready ear, a doctor more than any of us can ever measure up to by touching our lives -- and she looked over our welfare as much as her own.

I know that all of us PGI's had special places in her heart, some more so than others, I think, but special nonetheless. The talks in the ER, the food we uhm, devoured, the laughter we shared, all of it will be a bond I will take and treasure.

I learned a few months back that she was planning on leaving SUMC and found out just today that she was leaving for good. I was a bit disappointed, and a bit crestfallen would be an understatement. Her influence was probably one major thing that even had me considering coming back to SUMC, and now she would be going away. But in a way, I guess life has its way of showing us where we belong or where we are needed. She said she was going home for a while and see what it holds for her over there.

While we talked this afternoon, I still saw the feistiness, the strength, the humor, the common sense, that we grew to admire in her. We talked about what lay ahead for all of us -- my confusion about what to do (and she gave me sound advice), Ligaya's quirks and closet rebellious nature, Tonett's plans, post-us SUMC, Benjo's return, among other things -- until I saw the time and I got up to go just as another friend came in looking for her.

We both made promises to see each other again in Cebu and in the future and hopefully we'll all keep in touch.

I don't know if she'll ever get to read this (wink), but if it were for somebody else and knowing her, she'd probably print it out and have that person read it. She was selfless in that way.

And for that we thank her.

From the bottom of our hearts -- Me, Tonett, Ligaya, our co-PGI's and all the people who don't know how much they should appreciate you.

We love you, and thank you for doing so much for us and for always being more than we need you to be.

So I spent a good hour or so of this Friday afternoon with someone who means a lot to us and because she made us become better persons, it was bittersweet to say goodbye. She'll be a bit farther than the casual trip home, but she'll be somewhere where she is needed and touching lives as she always does.

Kitakits ha, I'm sure.

Spins on Sins

I came by a snippet in Reader's Digest the other day about some "additional" sins the Catholic Church has come up with to keep up with the changing times. We know that there are seven deadly sins -- we all saw the movie Seven right? -- lust, gluttony, greed, sloth, wrath, envy and pride, along with that supposedly born-with mortal sin by Adam and Eve that they taught us all when we were young. Well, the church has conveniently added another 7 more sins, namely:

1. "Bioethical" violations such as birth control
2. "Morally dubious" experiments such as stem cell research
3. Drug abuse
4. Polluting the environment
5. Contributing to widening the divide between the rich and the poor
6. Excessive wealth
7. Creating poverty

Did I miss something? Who saw the burning bush? Did anybody see a couple of stone tablets appear anywhere?

I am a Catholic by birth, upbringing and by affiliation. But I prefer to be non-denominational Christian.

The thing with most religious affiliations nowadays, the Catholic Church included, is that it is now more often a clergy of men who dictate rules they come up with than followers of faith. I mean, seriously, it feels like that list was just made up. Just because they were the fancy clothes doesn't mean they can make the rules up as they go along.

The Church has become more of man and less in the praise of Him who matters.

By all means, I am a sinner. I am not perfect. But Jesus once declared that blessed are those who are poor in spirit, the sinners for the kingdom of God is theirs. With that said, anybody who uses contraception to curb the population explosion is a sinner (oh yes we are overpopulated, but that's just me). The boy whose life was saved by stem cell research and the doctor who gave it is a sinner. The drug abusers, well, res ipsa loquitor. Anybody who drives a car is a sinner. I really wouldn't want to be Bill Gates right now because he pretty much takes up 5, 6, and 7.

Someone, who we love and adore over most things on this earth once said to love Him with all our hearts, souls and minds and to love each other as we love Him. I think that pretty much suffices, doesn't it?

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Hmmm, What To Do...

Over at Ligaya's, she brought up lists of books and her love for reading, and incidentally she also texted me, demanding a new blog, so here we are. Hahaha, we wouldn't want her to run out of reading material would we?

A few months back, I watched a movie starring Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman entitled "The Bucket List." Well, it was basically about two cancer-stricken guys doing together what Morgan Freeman's character called his bucket list. He said it was a list of things he wanted to do before he "kicked the bucket."

No, it's not some morbid way to think of up a topic for my next blog but, Gaya pressed me into it, so here it is. Hahaha.

It's not necessarily a "bucket list" but, a list of some things I'd like to do in the near or far future.

TRAVEL: I'm not really that much of a traveller. I hate having to pack up and leave the comforts of home, plus the allergic rhinitis of adjusting to a new place always gets in the way of enjoying things. But with that said, I still have a few places I'd like to go to in this lifetime.

1) Greece - Something about Greece just appeals to me. Whether it be staring in awe at Greek architecture or being in hillside villages and enjoying the views and sunsets of Santorini, I'd love to go there and just chill and read a book overlooking the sea.

2) Africa - There's just something spiritual about Africa. Plus there's the wildlife you can't appreciate anywhere else.

3) Brazil - I think Brazil's parties are the best. Plus the beaches and the women are beautiful (but they all pale in comparison to you hon, don't worry, haha).

4) The Pyramids, Stonehenge and Easter Island - I'm a big mystery guy so I'd like to see these mysterious structures up close. Who knows? Maybe I could figure them out.

5) Norway - I'd honestly like to see the fjords. I think they are magnificent structures. And it helps too that Norway is part of various countries in the Arctic Circle that have seasonal variations in sunlight, and there are times during the year that the sun never actually sets, hence, the name the Land of the Midnight Sun. How cool is that?

Lastly, Mordor. Seriously, wherever they shot the Lord of the Rings, they have breathtaking scenery.

Let's move into the near future as there are a couple of stuff to do before all the travel plans get, well, planned.

BOOKS: I've always loved reading. Recently, I've gone more pop culture with books and trying to cram as much as I can reading fiction before I actually get to reading all the real medical stuff (rolling my eyes as I wrote that).

1) Brisingr by Christopher Paolini - Yup, the 3rd part of the Inheritance series from Eragon (yup the movie flop of the same title was based on), to Eldest, to this Brisingr (if I recall correctly means Fire). I can't wait to see what happens with Saphira and Galbatorix's dragon. Hey, we all have to find our Harry Potter substitutes!

2) Eclipse and Breaking Dawn by Stephanie Meyer - Yeah, yeah, a teenage girl falling in love with a vampire, complications with werewolves and other vampires. I told you I went into the mainstream these days. I am pleasantly surprised at the series. It's actually engaging, thus all the fuss about the upcoming movie and the fifth installment.

3) What's after the 6 Sacred Stones by Matthew Reilly - Like I said, I'm a mystery guy and this series is all about the mysteries -- Pyramids, Stonehenge, Easter Island, Hanging Gardens of Babylon, etc -- I don't actually know the title yet, but Mr. Reilly better come out with the next book and fast.

MOVIES: I'm a big movie buff, and I like to see all the movies that matter when they come out. I guess that qualifies me as a critic. Haha, seriously, I like to watch movies because they tell stories, make me use my imagination an escape, if you will, to someplace, well, not here.

1) The Boy In the Striped Pajamas - I can't wait to see this movie. A holocaust movie seen through the eyes of a German child. This is a story about a German kid who befriends a Jew in a camp. One can just take the ramifications of this friendship and run it around the bases for a home run of a story.

2) Zack and Miri Make a Porno - Funny stuff. As crazy as the title says, I was all cracked up just watching the trailer.

3) Soul Men - Another comedy starring the late Bernie Mac and Samuel L. Jackson. Two over-the-hill musicians, trying to make a comeback, with funny consequences. Rest in peace Bernie Mac.

4) The Miracle at Santa Ana - I saw the trailer, and I want to find out what the miracle was, basically.

5) Burn After Reading - I'm sure all the women will want to watch this, but knowing the Coen brothers, this will probably be another witty, savvy comedy.

There. Lists of stuff I want to do.

Will I actually get to do, read, travel and see all of these?

That, indeed, is the question.

Monday, September 8, 2008

The Cards On The Table


I'm at a loss.

I don't know where to go from here.

I realize now that, yes, life after the board exams doesn't get any easier -- more complex choices, more personal life-altering decisions, more difficult situations -- that's not including the lives we hold in our hands as medical doctors.

As much as I've admitted never really thinking about doing this for a living until I was soaked in the proverbial sea of my PGI-ship, I didn't also realize that it would be this difficult deciding what actually to specialize in.

Let's put all the cards on the table and let's see what we get (all of these are my opinions and formed (mis)conceptions, but insight is appreciated, haha).

SURGERY: Ah, the glamour specialty. Everybody knows the surgeons. They get the glitz of the profession from having your hands inside a man's insides to doing life-saving emergency procedures. I've had the fortune of being in the presence of good surgeons and great surgeons (haha, playing it safe).

I know that: I love of surgery (or at least part of it). Orthopedics comes easy to me being a physical therapist. Neurosurgery has always been a dream job for me and I love the challenge and rare skill set to be in the same boats as my neurosurgeon role models. I love the diagnostic part of General Surgery and actually doing something about the problem. Plus the scrubs, the sutures, the excitement of trauma, it makes one look so cool.

The thing about it is that: Though I think I'd do good in Orthopedics, it's just that I'm not really feeling it (as if that makes it clearer), not to mention too many orthopods in Dumaguete (that is if I end up practicing there) and Ver plans to become one as well. For neurosurgery, well there are no vacancies. I haven't really ruled out training in Manila, but I'd rather be nearer to home. I hate diabetes insipidus and my aversion to long OR's has long been established. As for GS, I don't fancy working on colon evacuation and colostomies and despise not being able to scratch my nose when it itches and wipe my brow when I sweat.

INTERNAL MEDICINE: The thinking specialty, as claimed. These are filled with the brainy doctors who, as the popular medical joke says, "know everything but do nothing." They find out what's wrong with you, tackle the diagnostic probabilities and give you the treatment you need.

I know that: I grew to love IM. It's probably because I've had my eye on surgery for so long that I never considered it, but after internship, I discovered a whole new aspect of IM that called to me. I've also had the fortune to have had the experience of working with great clinicians and diagnosticians over my few medical years. I love the thinking aspect, the constant diagnostic challenge, and the fact they often are at the frontline in ER's. I love mixing up insulin regimens, the coolness factor of nailing the reading of the ECG and of course, getting your diagnosis right.

The thing about it is that: Well, I've always appreciated what I could see. It's different just judging how much your good your doing by seeing a patient's O2 saturation pick up or an improvement in blood pressure than actually say, fixing a fracture or removing a mass. I can't see a hormone's actions on its receptors nor antibiotics donning armor and battling microbes. Sometimes, I wonder if that adage I mentioned is true -- it tends to be passive at times, just waiting for the medications to take effect (thank you for interventional subspecialties!)

Those are the two I've narrowed my choices down to.

The rest of the field:

1) Radiology: I don't know if I could take looking at X-rays all day, MRI's, CT's. It's just not my thing. I think I'd get even more obese thinking about it. (Dream sequence: X-ray. Eat. CT. Eat. MRI. Eat)

2) Pediatrics: I love kids. But I've never really quite gotten the hang of drugs and dosages for pedia, computing the fluids for every patient, immunizations and computing for the nutrition requirements for preterms. I can handle the kids but I don't have the required temperament and patience to deal with overbearing parents. Pediatricians are given that gift. I guess I missed out on it.

3) Family Medicine: I can't handle the genograms, family case studies, among other things. I have all the respect for family medicine specialists who manage their patients, but I guess I have been disillusioned by so many others who just refer to a specialist when the going gets tough (I think, they're required by law and ethics to do that, but it shouldn't ever reach that point, in my humble opinion).

4) Anesthesia: Hi Doc Ness, haha. I think it's a rare breed to be in anesthesia, as well. It's scary breathing for the patient like that. Just a slight overdose of pento and wham, I'd be out of a job. I'm more of out-in-the-wards kind of guy than an OR person, (except of course neurosurgery haha).

5) Obstetrics and Gynecology: Haha, I've drawn a lot of flak and praise by getting Best in OB-Gyne during my PGI-ship. I got it because I did well during exams, answered right during rounds, did my patient rounds almost 3x a day, and well, generally did my job well. Let's just face it, I'm not cut out for OB-Gyne. I shy away from primiparas and delivered the grand multi's so I won't have to do episiotomies, not to mention all the stress, anxiety and panic I get just mounting a fully dilated patient.(I'd die young). See previous post on this subject.

6) ER Medicine: I love the ER, but I've appreciated the art of following up patients in the ward too much to give it up.

7) Sports Medicine: I love sports. Aside from the fact that there isn't anything like this in our country (I think), there are too few leagues to matter. If I went abroad and did this for a living, I'd really question my dedication because there really is just one franchise I'd consider, haha, see previous post on this subject.

Again, I'd like to reiterate that I mean no disrespect to those who have come before me and have chosen to blossom in the fields where they have chosen to be planted. If you can enlighten me and the rest of the young doctors like me who are just as confused, we'd appreciate it.

I'm lost.

I'm sending out applications this week.

To where, I guess I'll just wing it.

If anybody out there knows where I should be, preferably with an address, a name to send the letter to and the requirements, suggestions are appreciated.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Piano By Starlight

The curtains were drawn back. The instrumentalists were ready in the shadows of the stage as the lights were dimmed for the introduction. Like the dark sky of night dotted with starlights and moonbeams, he thought.

There, standing in the wings, was the young composer ready to step out onto the waxed wooden floors of the Luce Auditorium to present his song. His singer stood beside him, crossed himself, and said something that was lost in the applause and the loud banging of his own heartbeat.

"This is it." he said to himself "Just like playing the piano in the house."

With that thought, he stepped out into the light and strode over to the grand piano, majestic and beautiful on the left side of the stage. He took his seat, took a deep breath and closed his eyes.

He started out young playing the piano, but never really that serious about playing someone else's songs. He wanted to make his own -- this performance would be a culmination of his belief in himself, a belief that everybody has a song to sing and music to share.

Applause came after lights were dimmed and the spotlights came on. In a split second, he saw everything that happened in the past 3 months -- submitting his raw entry of just a few piano notes tinkered over at home and a bunch of forlorn lyrics strung together to make a melody, to getting picked to rework it with an arranger, and deciding to stick with that same raw song and add a bit of strings in the choruses, to deciding to play it himself -- he smiled, cleared his mind, and with his hands gently on the ebony and ivory of the grand piano, started to stroke the notes of his song.

He became slightly aware of applause after the last notes of the intro faded out into words and vocals, and smiled, and thought, it was beautiful -- oh how the notes just flowed from the piano hammers striking the strings, and how the words just went well with mood and persevering message of the song.

The strings came in as the music built up to the chorus and to the bridge, with smatterings of applause in between. He closed his eyes and let his hands dance over the keys, gliding, caressing every note. He thought, "How perfect is this?" Knowing full well the answer to his question, he opened his eyes and risked a glance at the audience, taking in every smile and every teary eye.

He became slightly aware that the song was coming to its end. The strings were fading out, their haunting echoes resonating their last notes in the auditorium, and once again the piano was alone, in the spotlight.

He played the final notes, oblivious to the the dark sky slowly giving way to appreciating faces and applauding hands, and the starlight that shone on his piano dimming to give way to the house lights.

He couldn't help but close his eyes once more, not in awe of the beauty of the music that he was able to make, but in honor and gratitude to the One who made it possible. "Thank you Lord, it was perfect."

He said his little prayer of thanks, opened his eyes, stood up and took his bows and smiled.


Thursday, September 4, 2008

Debriefing (My 76)

I got my Student Performance Evaluation sheets back today. These letters are requested from the school when applying for residency and further training and sent to the offices of the prospective employers.

They contain tidbits on our character as students -- how we looked to our superiors when we were roaming the halls of CIM aimlessly -- and are purely subjective.

The problem with these evaluations is that they go on your permanent record. It's stuck with your applications to every hospital you apply to, and the next, and the next. It's like cattle getting branded.

My IM evaluation said as a leader, I was not good in unifying the group members, and secondly, I was not confident in answering questions during endorsements.

Well, it's quite convenient that I'm also thinking applying to IM. Aaarrghh.

I'm not really angry nor upset. What I'm feeling right now is more amused than anything else.

Stuff I'd like to point out:

1. We do not hold elections to see who leads the group during internship. With the 5 of us in the group, the fact that I was seen as a leader is kind of a testament to the kind of person I am.

2. The IM rotation is one of the more dreaded departments in Velez due to its patient load and paperwork, so usually, everybody tries to get their own stuff done on time. That may seem like non-unity to other people, but I'd like to say it's more survival than anything.

3. Confidence is in short supply when you're an intern. I've never backed away from questioning. I acknowledge that though I have strong points in certain subjects, I'm notoriously weak in some. In those cases, I choose to shut up, listen and wait for someone to teach me rather than blabber away in an attempt to cover up my incompetence. It doesn't help that the barrage of questions doesn't stop until you've finally run out of answers. I don't care if I'm berated, made insignificant or insulted, just as long as I get taught the right thing.

4. I acknowledge that our group did not have the best dynamic. But we did our jobs.

Out all the other stuff they could have extolled, they chose to put that in my evaluation. I didn't even merit the "satisfactory performance" cop out comment? Hahaha. Really? Out of my month-long rotation in Internal Medicine, that was all they remembered about how I worked? Jeeeeez, talk about selective memory.

Oh well, I don't really how hospitals go about selecting their residents, but I certainly hope they look at other aspects of a candidate other than a comment on a sheet of paper.

Well, to me, it's just another evaluation to prove wrong.

Monday, September 1, 2008


I was in high school then.

When the noon breaks came, and again after classes ended, I remember Bagem or somebody else pick up a guitar and just strum an Eraserheads song and we'd all get worked up and sing along from the mellow "With A Smile" to the anthemic "Minsan."

I love music and I went through my 4 years of high school listening to Ely, Raimund, Buddy and Marcus. Those guys were OUR Beatles. I don't know if they set out to be the icons they eventually turned out to be, but their music spoke to almost the entire Philippines, especially the growing youth movement then. Which is why I've always seen them as UP's 3rd gift to us, along with dynamic minds and Ligaya Solera.

I had all the albums that mattered. Ultraelectromagneticpop! with "Pare Ko", "Toyang", "Ligaya", "Maling Akala", "Tindahan ni Aling Nena," was already a masterpiece. I wore out my tape as I played it over and over and over and then some.

Next came Circus with masterful and witty songs like "Sembreak", "Hey Jay", "Wishing Wells", "Magasin", "With A Smile", which I even brought along to the States so that I could play it over my cousins stereo while zipping through the freeways of California.

One of the biggest albums in Philippine music industry, Cutterpillow came next. It probably was the last Eheads album that mattered with the institution that is "Ang Huling El Bimbo", "Overdrive" and "Huwag Mo Nang Itanong".

So that is the reason why people were so hyped to hear that they were coming back together for a reunion concert. I, for one, was. When I think of them, I think how they usually have a song that I can hear as part of the soundtrack of my life. Yes, there were other bands that came along like RiverMaya (who only mattered when they had Bamboo as their front man), Yano (not so bad themselves) among others, but the Eraserheads were untouchable.

I couldn't go to Manila. I just looked at a couple of videos of "Alapaap", "Sembreak", and "Ligaya" and it was enough to wax nostalgic of all the Eheads songs. It was sad to know that their reunion concert was cut short because of Ely's health problems, which thankfully was stabilized.

How big were the Eraserheads in our lives? Well, our high school batch had "Minsan" as our unofficial graduation song. Tonett was not here during those years but still she knows them by their music.

This reunion will no doubt spark a search for Eraserheads stuff -- songs, torrents, album covers -- and I'll join them. I've long lost my tapes, but the songs, no way. Somehow their still playing "Wishing Wells" on that life soundtrack...