Tuesday, May 24, 2011

23rd of May

I imagine I'm graying and old as I step out onto the veranda of my humble two-story home and marvel at the way the vines cling to the once-white trellis, adding a much needed green to the fading specks of white.

Every year on the 23rd of May, I sit here, look out onto the lawn and occasionally see my grandchildren running around with reckless abandon, laughing, playing tag, the wind blowing and picking up the freshly cut grass, and maybe go through the latest book I've bought, or like what I'm doing now --write.

It is during these pensive times that I think of the life that I have lived. My parents taught me early in life to live content with what I had and not really spend beyond what I could earn. Thankfully, the hard work of medicine paid off with a fari number of patients, and eventually, good friends.

I looked up from the glow of my laptop and the silent world of my thoughts to see the reason I couldn't really ask for anything more -- just to catch a glimpse of her smile everyday, hear her thoughts and exchange an intellectual conversation -- and I never let a day pass without telling her how much she means to me.

"Hey." she says "Writing again?"

"Yup." I reply, relishing the warmth of her touch as she cupped my head in her hands and kissed me.

"Okay, don't be too long, dinner will be served in a while." She said, in her half-ment, half-kidding tone.

"Yup, I'll be right down."

I sat back to right down my thoughts to the unknowing audience of Scrubbed Out. If I had more time and more money, what would I do with it? The question was posed on the week's Blog Rounds, and I couldn't help but smile as I remember Gaya asked the same question on the relaunching of TBR, back when they added Voice of the Filipino Doctor as a byline.

I typed in simply: I'm happy, and I could not ask for anything more.

I thought about it. I wasn't Trump-rich, but the money that I had were spent on
- the majestic grand piano now standing in my music room which I proudly say I've made
- 2 self-produced albums of piano instrumentals and a 12 track CD of original songs
- the decked entertainment room complete with the latest movies and classics and a TV with 4D capability, and your choice of video games, interactive of course.
- minority stock shares in the Detroit Pistons franchise
- a beachfront house with pristine deep blue waters off Zamboanguita, a few meters walk from our family beach home
- a small ultralight plane I can fly anytime

During the first few years of our marriage, I whisked my wife off to
- travel to the places where I've always dreamed of going -- swimming in the Maldives, rocking the samba in Rio, treasure hunting in the tombs of Egypt, marveling at the ancient heads of Easter Island, walk among the mysteries of Machu Picchu, chilling in Hawaii, and standing in awe of the beautiful Northern Lights of the Arctic circle.

Well, I did spread the wealth around
- The sports center in the middle of my hometown is a delight
- My educational fund together with a couple of friends from medical school has put 50 scholars through high school and college
- A small farm on a stretch of mountain land away from the city.

Well it took a lot -- A LOT of hard work, indeed.

The sumptuous smells wafted from the downstairs dining room, as well as the sounds of scurrying feet stopped my train of thought.

Well, this should be enough for the day. One can never keep the family waiting for food, I chuckled, and I could be facing a whole slew of stern faces if I was late for dinner.

I shut down my laptop and thought about time.

Opening the door, I saw my kids gather around at the foot of the stairs and waiting expectantly, "Coming. Coming."  They had come to celebrate -- a gathering of families, and moreover to give thanks for so many blessings throughout the years.

I reached the lowermost step and was greeted with mano po's and good evening's

"Lola, eat na ta!" squealed the eldest of my grandkids.

"Wait, your lolo's still coming pa." She sat them down and looked up at me, smiling.

I smiled back, beaming back and realizing a most important thing about what to do with more time --
that time stands still in her eyes, so I plan to spend all of my spare time looking into them.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

i Blog because i am

I blog because I write.

I still blog because I still write (despite the schedule making me do the contrary).

I blog because I run little commentaries about the things that happen in my life while I'm living it but sometimes too lazy to put it on a pen and paper.

I blog because I am (sorry Descartes).

I still blog because I still am.

I blog to voice out, rant, shout out and say to the unknown audience what I think about the things I write about and the world we live in.

I agree that writing has become an art with dwindling ardent practitioners, and the blog, a once nice avenue for writers has slowly given way to the shout outs on Facebook, the tweets on Twitter and what have you. Some people have resigned their infinite thoughts and compressed them into the perfect tweet or the shortest FB post.

I blog to write.

I blog to write my thoughts while thinking about what defense I think about while preparing for the mortality and morbidity conference in the next week.

I write for the Blog Rounds and the fun I have reading and writing again.

I blog because I write.

I write because I think.

I think therefore I am.

I blog = I am.

A Place I Still Call Home

The big yellow Ceres bus I was on lumbered towards the city I called home for the greater part of my life -- Dumaguete City, and which I still do.

I was coming home for the first time in three long years. To some, three years may not seem that long, but I can't even remember the last time I lingered in my hometown for more than a day. So, it was good to come home.

I had expected everything to stay the same. I got my usual attack of my allergies -- rhinitis, colds, runny nose, the works -- which has happened every time I came home ever since I left for medical school. But the changes were tangible as we rolled past the Sibulan airport with a Cebu Pacific jet taxiing down the runway, the heat was pelting the roof of the bus and the cement road endlessly.

As I passed by the buildings, I made a mental note of the changes but lost count by the time I reached the boulevard and got up to get my bags in the overhead compartments. The St Paul's First Gate lawn seemed a bit more crowded with more signs and oversized plaques, the infrastructure fronting the Provincial Hospital has seen so much growth that I don't even know half the stores in the area, heck even the bypass road now has a name and a really big hole right smack in the middle.

Some things still remained the same though. The tricycles and motorcycles still dominated the roads with bad Dumaguete City driving (every person who comes from somewhere else endlessly complains of Dumaguete drivers zipping in and out of traffic coming from out of nowhere). The pillars of the city were still standing -- Silliman University, Lee Plaza, NORSU, not to mention the Public Market, the churches and parks -- but somewhat grayed and older.

I marveled at the changes that have happened since the last time I was here. So much has changed. Stores have moved. A huge Robinson's mall now stands tall a stone's throw away from our house, with all the trimmings of big city life -- the KFC's, Crocs, iStore and an entertainment section. I'm sure the Dumaguete people are quite thankful for the decent cinemas we can go to for the latest movies.

But so much has been taken away from what I remember Dumaguete City to be. I zipped easily on that warm afternoon as sunlight was slowly creeping away, I noticed even my favorite place to buy Pan De Sal during early mornings when went to Silliman Beach when I was a kid was now closed, Gold Label Real street was gone, food places weren't where I expected them to be like Negros, Scooby's Silliman is back but on the other side, and even National Bookstore Portal Building has packed up and moved out to Robinson's.

One thing I religiously do every time I come home is go to Taster's Delight to eat what I know to be THE BEST burgers in the WORLD! But sadly, those days are gone (hopefully just temporary) because Taster's has closed down and orders can be placed at Howyang, but those burgers don't taste the same as those freshly cooked Taster's burgers wrapped in the yellow and orange plastic (mouth watering) and when you take that first bite...the best, indeed. Bring it back please.

My leave was coming to an end and work beckons.

But changes have also happened to me in the past three years -- first I'm seven months married to a wonderful woman who keeps me laughing, and strong, I'm in training in a profession I love despite the stress and hours without sleep, and new friends on top of the old.

I guess the people have changed so much as well.

Dumaguete City, despite all the changes, is still home to me. Nothing can keep from family. My parents are still there keeping busy, my brother is doing his thing, my sister is married with her husband and newborn son, Lucas (sorry ma, Lucas sounds more uhm sophisticated, i.e. sa ebanghelyo ni San Lucas).

And I'd still be coming back.

See you the next time Dumaguete.