It's Better than Eating Alone

Thursday, August 31, 2006


This summer I learned how painful it is to have regrets. I have made mistakes in the past, mostly concerning my actions. However, now I realize what it really means when life is short and you're not able to do anything about it, except to live it to the fullest.

Apple, a friend of mine from University, has a great and hospitable family. I did not receive any news yet but she might as well have aced the recent medical board back home. Their house was always open to us when we were at the University, since it was located inside the campus and it was like home away from home (trust me, I've always been away from home). I would remember her mom and her smiles, and her outlooks and all the stomach-aching humor. I missed her.

I could not imagine that day though, when I went back to that same house, to see a different picture of her. Apple's mom has become ill, and she could not speak anymore. She breathes through a tube that runs through her throat, eats through another tube that's through her abdomen. My worst regret - I was not able to speak to her for about four years.

Here are some people who mean to me, people who are far detached from me as relations, but as close to my heart as family:

This is my former boss and his wife. This is the compound that I used to live in for two years. He lent his weight room (note: room) to me when I was trying to get big (obviously I failed), while she lent me some money to go back to my Masters. They have treated me as a friend, son, and as an equal.

This is Mama Emy. I call her that because she has been a mother to me when I didn't go home for occasions. She is Apple's aunt, sister to Apple's mom, and xiau's mother. She is still deeply funny when I went to visit her.

Here is a picture of my cousins from my mom's side. The only ones I REALLY knew when I was young. How could I forget them, when I lived with them for weeks and months when I was four years old! My cousin, the one beside me holding up my sister's little girl, is the only child of her parents (foreground). I visited the old neighborhood and nothing much changed. Look at the girl beside my cousin. That's her first child. She's taller than I am!
I know there were people and places that I didn't get to visit on this trip. But I'll try, try harder that I do not make the same mistakes again. I will try my best to look back, and see the people who have touched my life and made me who I am now.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Pruning the Bonsai

Before I went home I was invited by some old friend if I could talk to a Youth group in their church for one weekend. I love going through outings like this. So as a homage, I've included them in this blog.

Apparently they were having some problems with how they related to each other in the group. I learned that it was not so for longer than they can remember, and it only changed when some people apparently, well, "changed." There were those members who are recently coming out of their shells, and new ones that were not part of the "original" group. I didn't know these people, but spending that small time with them made me see how simple their needs were. They just needed to be reminded that they had to love each other. I wouldn't say more, simply because I couldn't, but I'm sure that after that weekend, everything would go through changes. For the better.

God bless you, my Youth.


The experience was even more accented that it happened in a lovely bonsai garden. I loved them.

A Crisis in Power


I have not been able to continue my blogging spree for the last couple of days for two reasons:

1) There is a power crisis in the island right now. The power company has taken steps in scheduling the outages, and each section of their grid has to be out of power for eight hours in a day. EIGHT hours! This week they were able to come up with a schedule for our section of the town, and it goes off at 1am 'til 5am, and then again at 1pm to 5pm. Imagine this: I teach computers four days a week, and some of my more important classes happen at 1pm 'til 3pm. Or this one: I have to work at night in the lab because I'm not able to use it in the afternoons when there is no power. And this too: My classroom, along with six other classes, only have so much windows to actually let air in when we are in the tropics (tropics = humid = can't breathe when there's no A/C). And then the final punch: It's gonna last for 3 months, the power company claims.

2) They took away the access point that was attached to my home PC. Well, actually I took away the access point because we had to build another network in the other campus and the AP was an extra one for such cases. I wanted to order online for a USB wireless adapter BUT amazon would not ship to my island. GREAT. So I had to have my sister in California order it for me and now I have to wait for it to be shipped to her and then wait for her to ship the gadget to me. I don't like being alone in the lab every night because its just no fun doing that, so I guess I'm gonna have to wait it out.


Sunday, August 13, 2006

For Isaac: The Oddities from Home

This is for roomie Isaac. I kept telling my family that you didn't believe a lot of what the Philippines could have offered you. Here's a gallery I came up with. Check them out:

This one is a jeepney plying the highway. "Look ma, no view of the road ahead!" They actually pile them this much, and my Uncle was even telling me that they have not loaded the vehicle enough yet!

On our way to Bukidnon my cousin-in-law slowed down so we could see this one. It's a Seventh-day Adventist Church by the highway atop the high mountain that we were trying to cross. Apparently this one rich guy had this built so that he could go to church close to his rest home. I like the color too.
Then I went back to the Manila area, and stayed with some friends from school. Remember that naked statue that I told you was my University's emblem? Well . . .

You've also heard about how wonderful the Division office here in the Philippines is for Asia-Pacific. I posed with the main building as my background. It is real:
Then I went home to our island and it's rice planting season. I was able to go with my brother as he drove our tractor to till the rice paddies. Here's a glimpse of one of the homes that was built right in the middle of the farms, with the irrigation canal right down their yard. I saw about four children in the house with their parents.

Sumi should see this one. This is the kind of frog that I used to chop their heads off and cooked, and ate of course. This one I took a fancy in because by our standards, it's huge! These come out whenever they till the soil because they're usually in the ground waiting for the night time. Yummy!So there you have it. Believe me, one of these days I will bring you to my home myself and have you enjoy the sights, the ride, and the food. Hehe.

'Til next!

Friday, August 11, 2006

Adventures Down South

I have always dreamed of going down south of the Philippines. It is one thing to go abroad, work or visit, but touring around home is something that had to be done. And I have. To top it off, my sister (who is in California) and I were able to plan that I take my parents with me on tour to visit my long lost cousins over in Bukidnon. I would say long lost because I don't recall an interaction between us (except at one of my cousin's weddings, where I have the faded memory of even meeting some of my cousins in person). Anyways, it was a grand experience.

Here is a picture of my sister and her daughter (my adopted daughter as well) with a small crocodile. This was when we visited the Crocodile park in Davao City. And then, on a Sabbath afternoon, we went to Eden Nature Park. It's on top of a mountain overlooking the whole of Davao City (which was a grand view too). Here would be, from the left, my Papa, my Uncle (he married my Papa's cousin), and then Rica. Now Rica is a friend of mine back when I was over at University. I've already graduated but lingered in the campus. She was my contact down at Davao City and she fetched me from the airport at 4:30AM. Imagine that. I stayed at their home before my family and I rented an apartelle. The funny thing was that my cousin, Neneng, who is beside my Mom (who is beside Rica), and Neneng's husband (farthest right) thought that I was going to propose marriage to Rica that's why I've gathered them for the reunion. We had a laugh about that all through out the trips we made. Down the line are my niece and nephew, and my sister and her daughter, Xynith. The park also had a beautiful mini-amphitheater that had a great view of the city. It was surrounded by a nice vine-laden trellis and beautiful flower beds. I told myself that this is a great venue for a wedding. My wedding. Hehe. After Davao City, we had to go to Bukidnon. this is where my cousins were born and grew up. I have only imagined what the place would look like. Gem, my cousin-in-law, drove us through zig-zagging roads and stopped by what looked like a very simple parking lot. But this is what I saw after a couple of steps: a vast plain surrounded by mountains, and it was green inside and out. It was a sight to see.

A day later I was also able to go to my dream
school - Mountain View College. It was beyond what I expected it to be. I also had to deliver a package from a mom here in Palau who wanted to give his son a book. I met him and here he is, naive about what's going on. Hehe. What he doesn't know is that I am enjoying so much of this vacation.

My cousin thought of bringing us to this special monastery with a chapel that's shaped like pyramid. It was an awesome place. It had a very nice garden around it too. What struck us all was that when we were getting ready to go home, this beautiful sunset just set the clouds ablaze and the foggy mountain turned into a masterpiece of colors and haze. I'll post that one of these days, but first, let me show you the pyramid chapel:

The next day we had a picnic to a lake. It was a long drive but when we got there it was well worth it. The place was very quiet, and the lake was like a sheet blanket that only had tiny ripples in it. We got into a hut-raft and pulled a rope so we could bring the floater in the middle of the lake. The water area was not that big, compared probably to some lakes in the States. But it was a nice experience still.

I'll close this one with another picture, something that kind of inspired me to have my thoughts running all through out my vacation. It was my Papa's cousin, who, coming from the North found her love and life in the South, that gave us basically this connection. But I've never met her, nor seen her, or heard her voice. All I saw was this, her tombstone. Engraved in love. The grave is actually situated atop a slope that goes down to a river. The land is owned by Mountain View College, the place she and her children, along with her husband, Uncle Mike, devoted their lives to. I wish I could have met her, and thanked her for these moments I had with my family. I will see her in Heaven, I'm sure.

There are more about my adventures in the coming days.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Finally Back

I am back to regular (?) blogging! And what else to start it with but to chronicle my adventures during the vacation back home. First, the actual airport scene:
I can only say one thing: I do miss you guys!

Can't believe I almost have the whole world around me right here. People from different parts of the world. The gals actually stayed on and waved at me while I was walking towards the plane. Trust me, that was not easy! Thanks for the memories, especially to roomie Isaac, who I wish would be able to chat with me longer (and vice versa). Take care you guys, and God bless.