Archive for the ‘alumni’ Category

Jong’s Call

September 24, 2009

Texting has given me different roles to my friends and batchmates: to one I have become a complimentary subscriber to his forwarded messages and jokes, to some am the batchmate directory and event post master…. But to Millie, the wife of Jong (Jesus Ong), I am her prayer warrior. In fact, my friendship with Millie jelled on the fibers of piety. So, frequently I would receive texts messages asking for prayer for her lectures, presentations, her sons and personal concerns. Then once in a while, to celebrate the bonds of friendship, she would send a text invite over dinner either with her alone or with some other friends of hers and of Jong. Last September 8 however, along side with her usual petition for prayer is a question that had stirred my query minds to gyrate like a ping pong ball hit by a paddle in a swift slicing stroke. Although the question is not a matter of life and death rather it is something that insinuates an opportunity of a moment that close friends look forward to. In my animated SGH-E590 the letters came out flashing one by one “I texted you yesterday regarding dinner on Saturday 7PM. Do you have any suggestion?” To this I answered “Sorry I did not receive any message… A___ is a good fine dining restaurant.” Then she replied “Thanks.” Such a very brief exchange of text message left my CPU (Cognitive Processing Unit) to hang and thereby triggering my LED (Life’s Ethic Device) to blink… should I assume that am invited over dinner or am I simply asked for a restaurant venue? So I turned my  eyes to my FAQ (Frequently Asked Quezonbased-batchmate) Nixon Cabochanpongco for his opinion. Him being skeptical on the fact that such a short notice invitation would somewhat impels me to travel for 3 to five hours along 96 km highway, negate my incredulous assumption. His uncluttered mind that appreciates minimalist Japanese art succeeded to pacify the pendulum motion of the volitive fibers of my cerebrum to finally tie itself to the conclusion that I was simply asked for a restaurant venue thereby pacifying my LED. Yet the following day, the fickleness that goes along with the nature of my gender, charged up my LED and loosen the knots to free off a swing that went knocking down the lettered buttons of my cellphones. Nevertheless, LED lead me send an inquiry of concern regarding the asked prayer but enclosed within is the invisible inked text message (“am I invited to the dinner on Saturday?”) seen only by eyes of intuition. Soon enough vivid letters signifying gratitude over my queries of concern came flashing out followed by an outburst of combined letters showing “Cya on Saturday Dinner!” Immediately afterwards my LED logged off.

Letting Go

In an advance level of the college of virtues, a student will eventually find himself immersed in an environment of bountiful good. Yet amidst the world surrounded with goodness there still comes a time where one gets confronted with indecision. Such did not arise from a sneaking evil that penetrated through the thick fortress of faith, for evil in such university is never an item of choice but an obvious object of rejection. Rather it is the kind of irresolution brought by a choice between two seemingly equal good. One may think that since both ends of the scale are good, a preference to one would do no harm.  But the result of which has proven well that it normally ends up in suffering the pain of losing the other. The lesson of life is then learned that we indeed cannot have all the good things in life. But the virtue of wisdom does not settle for a simplistic favoring of one good from the other, and suffer the pain of loss; it further demands that the choice to be made must pick out the right good. In this stage, the second remedy is to be applied… ”Between two seemingly equal good where one cannot be with the other, the wise lets go of the good that will allow a greater good to happen.” This golden rule enables the eye to set its gaze on a greater good and consequently free the mind from such a crisis of indecision. Applying this principle, letting go of my appointment to a Satuday Open House Event in a beautiful rising elite city in Laguna, became such a painless and easy task. For even if it would be wonderful to have a brief taste of the life of the rich, but there is a long lasting wealth of joy that seeks to dwell in the hearts of those friends who will come to meet each other over dinner on Saturday.

The Dawning of a Get-together

In recording the Saturday dinner event in the calendar of my mobile phone have left the venue slot  unfilled for the SMS conversation with Millie failed to provide me with that information. Once again I pulled out from my resourcefulness to find words to ask the name of the place where the event is to take place. Millie answered that she will text me as soon as she figured it out together with Jong. That was the only time I realized it is a dinner date with a couple. Saturday afternoon came; I pulled my backpack’s wheel to roll along the cemented road of city proper of Tiaong, until I reached the waiting shed where buses stop. Ten minutes passed, the bus bounded to LRT Taft finally came in sight. I raised my arms to wave the bus to stop and it did.  So, I darted my way up and had myself seated comfortably. In no time did I start texting Millie to inquire once more for the name of the restaurant but my message tone remained silent. Nonetheless, I love surprises so I had my hand detached from the phone and pull out the bracelet from my wrist. I then filled the entire length of my travel tracing the beads with Ave Maria taking advantage of the whole stretch of the trip to pray for the concerns of Millie that has been spoiling her day. Hours later the bus parked itself to LRT.   From there, I took the jeep to get to my brother’s house for a stop over. I checked out my phone but still found nothing. So I texted Jong instead and in a short while he replied “Café bistro tomas morato 7pm CU. D ko pa na invite sina Karl.”  only then did it became clear that it is going to be section A-MT90 get-together.  S oon enough I received an announcement from Karl “ Hi Campañero, getogether tayo s café bistro 2nyt 7pm if u r free…Thanks = from doc hesus jong ong” Such made me to laugh a little because of a memory of a getogether organized by Jong last year.

Falling Forward

 “Failure is only the opportunity to begin again more intelligently.”

-Henry Ford

Although sections are no longer a ranking during our college days, Jong lived up to the image stereotyped to an “A” section. For a span of four years and beyond, Jong has consistently soared the height of flying colors. Hence despite the consideration that Jong is only human; his blunders generates a slight shock wave echoing back with as a tease among classmates that may build up into something quite annoying. Indeed, last year of the same month, the getogether which Jong had been brewing for several months ended up served by her wife in his absence for reasons incongruous to his IQ (for a recap of this event please read the write up in this link This eventually gave rise to a lot of taunting but only for a couple of days, coz Jong who was already tormented for such a preposterous occurrence begged to be relieved of further injury. With fraternal compassion did 4amt90 yahoo shift its attention to Christmas ’08 get together. One year after, Jong who is much of a sport and a man with a successful mind, would have definately  learned from his mistake … hence I laughingly concluded…“perhaps Jong wants to make sure that he has set his foot in Manila before calling out the get together in order to ascertain his presence in his organized dinner party.”   Lucky for me however that am a friend of his wife Millie who in the face of keeping the hidden agenda had booked me for a dinner that Saturday so the announcement came not much as a surprise but like a garnish to a dish…something that enhance the date  I put down the phone thinking Jong has a funny way of showing how to fall forward. 😉

Travel Considerations of Migratory Birds

When my cellphone flashed the single analog clock display at 6:17PM, another text message came from Jong giving the exact information as regards the venue of the organized get together. The message read “Chef bistro tomas morato cor sct gandia. C u.” The correct announcement of the name of the restaurant has finally deleted the slight confusion that rubbed in my culinary s quotient. Café is a concept incorporated in a bistro, hence the name “café bistro” is redundant in nature. Nevertheless, it is an issue that I did not give much of a fuss except that, had it not been corrected prior to the dinner time I will end up looking for a non existing restaurant. So I set out to the street opted for a two ride route: an FX and a taxi instead of taking the LRT , MRT and a taxi. Without getting lost, I arrived just in time that Millie and Jong alight their car. Under a drizzle, we exchanged “hellos” and “how are you.” Shortly afterwards, the waiters had us seated in bright mezzanine that is good for a guests of twenty. In no time did I started with my queries regarding their son and the business that Jong’s father is venturing into. I then felt so much of an advantage for being an early bird because I was able to take picture of the couple and I can converse freely with them in all confidence which would otherwise be deterred by presence of other guests. Taking note of this, we (Jong who came all the way from Palawan and me from Tiaong) ended up concluding that migratory birds usually comes early because they always give allowances for the unexpected and if there is no place for allowances, do it the other way around, like Jong did — announce a gathering at an unexpected time where you are sure you won’t fail your guests expectation. :p




Meeting the coouple prior to the get-together

Meeting the coouple prior to the get-together



Birds Begin to Flock

As time progresses, friends of Jong and Millie started to arrive one at a time (only MT90 batchmates will be mentioned here even if the get-together is not exclusive to the batch). I am extremely happy to see that Michael Lui finaly bring along his wife. It is my first time to see her. Her neon green blouse, exuded out a her refreshing beauty and yet spiced up her otherwise very serene presence.

wife of Michael Lui

wife of Michael Lui

Then came Willy Alba by himself who later explained that he cannot bring along her family because together with his kids, the playful child Willy would resurface and dominate the now adult Willy and would require a prodding to wake up the adult Willy.

Jong and Willy Alba... the glass wall reflected on the side of Jong

Jong and Willy Alba... the glass wall reflected on the side of Jong

Then the full of life Edwin Rodriguez of MT90 section E came in. Although I have not coincided with him in any Medtech activity nor internship back in college, he greeted me as if I am more than an acquaintance and engaged me in a conversation that would tire up my zygomatic muscles from smiling and laughing.

Edwin and Millie... notice Millie is somewhat controlling her laughter here... kasi naman nakakangalay na tumawa

Edwin and Millie... notice Millie is somewhat controlling her laughter here... kasi naman nakakangalay na tumawa

 Then Karl arrived joining the Chinese brothers who had flocked together… he blended well with them with his chinky eyes. Eves dropping, I heard him enumerate the trivial tips he has learned from them…from the cheap lunch deal at Lopez Canteen whose mountainous serving of rice has lethargic effect to the not advisable installation of aquarium in a room of study or else you will fall into a trance and will never get to study at all.

Karl Zafra and Willy Alba in Black Or White

Karl Zafra and Willy Alba in Black Or White

 Finally of the last MT90 batchmates who came is Florante Manahan who always bring along his wife or his son or his daughter. His presence always exudes an atmosphere of serenity unperturbed by the rests whose noise sounded like chirping birds.

sorry for the blurred picture... it takes to know the camera well to get a good picture...

sorry for the blurred picture... it takes to know the camera well to get a good picture...


Boys Talk... di ko na alam ang pinag-uusapan nila dito

Boys Talk... di ko na alam ang pinag-uusapan nila dito


As we grow in number, guests subdivided into two: to my left is the group of Jong composed section A MT90 and to my right is Millie’s friends composed of non-MT90 except for Edwin Rodriguez.   At first I belong to Jong’s group which is somewhat a boys talk, the few topics I caught consists of BIR, technology, one event of a naughty adventure during college days. Yet one topic that I find quite impressive is when Michael Lui relayed how his Thomasian trained conscience objected in embarking into contraceptive device business even though it is a guaranteed way of feathering his nest. He said it is indeed a lucrative product but somehow his conscience finds it repulsive due to what he had learned in ethics subject while in UST medicine.

Jong's group

Jong's group

Soon, another ethic topic caught my attention, but this time the story is coming from the group of Millie. Since am seated beside Edwin, his animated narration of ethics in Medicine had my ears shifted towards his direction and nailed there. There he express his belief on the moral stand of UST against artificial method of conception. In those two topics, I begin to see the mark of Thomasian encrypted in our hearts.

Tickled by a Feather

When the night has gone deeper, the conversation grew lighter. Too light it seems that like a nitrogen gas we burst into long laughter.   By that time, Edwin has successfully engaged even Jong’s group into listening to him. Edwin it seems, is very good in class management for he successfully maintain our attention to him for more than an hour. Who will not be glued to a very entertaining and funny adventure of catching medical student cheating during exams. Nope, Edwin is no terror as a professor but as a proctor in Pharmacology exam he is a relentless as a paparrazi. But outside the exam, Edwin goes back to his being lively, accommodating, enjoyable and special preference to handsome students. Well, that did not come from me, he claimed it himself. He in fact confessed that back in his time as medical students that they would push the good looking men right in front of a gay professor to influence a favorable mood, now he feels standing on the shoes of that professor. Then he started speaking about the dilemma of perhaps almost all of professors/teachers to which I and Karl can relate. Whenever he goes out malling, he has to deal with a lot of guessing game…guessing who is this person who greeting me. Apparently in the mall, there is greater chances of  crossing paths with students especially of a big university to which he is teaching for several years now. But it is less likely that a professor will remember all of them, more so when they are not in their uniforms. Hence, most of the time,  he feels embarrassed within when his memory search engine says “no match found.” Yet despite his embarrassment to himself  his wit can turn a case into one enjoyable encounter. Edwin can make you laugh as if tickled by a feather.

Edwin of Section E making us laugh

Edwin of Section E making us laugh

Everybody’s Birthday

Just in time when I started massaging my zygomatic muscle that started to hurt from a lengthy laughter, the cake brought by a friend were put out of the box. The white snowy frosting looked so enticing that the conversation died down in an instant. Yet, serving the cake was put on a hold because Jong was requested to blow a candle. Although the dinner was organized not for the purpose of celebrating his birthday but rather to sincerely have fun with  friends, Jong acceded to the request. The blowing of candle however was so fast that no photo was taken, so I requested for a repeat performance.  Jong complied kindly. To the re-enactment we sang the Happy Birthday and captured the moment beautifully.

jong blowing his birthday candle... yes isa

jong blowing his birthday candle... yes isa

jong slicing the cake

jong slicing the cake

In no time, the cake was sliced and it  revealed  what lies underneath.  Beneath is a layer of dark chocolate moist cake inter-layered with crunchy sugar caramel. Biting a spoonful is a taste experience of a creamy sweet frosting moistening a bitter sweet chocolate cake with a teasing tacky feeling of sugar caramel crumble. Such a variety of taste and texture compliments very well with the mixture of different personalities brought together by a couple that eventually led to an enjoyable bonding moments . It was like everybody’s birthday.

When we finally call it a night, Jong and Millie gracefully gave me a lift to the gate of my brother’s house.

I Slept Smiling

Despite the frequent get-togethers that section A had, every gathering continues to shed a light into the personality of each one (although this latter affair was not created exclusively for A, and in the presence of one from section E it such a bonus ) It is inspiring to hear that Mike Lui and Edwin Rodriguez despite the passing of years continues to uphold to the ethical foundations established by our alma mater. It is amusing to hear Willy Alba’s playful dealing with his kids and from time to time crack a joke composed of silly logics. It is heartwarming to see a seemingly cold Florante always prefer to enjoy the company of his batchmate together with his wife or kids. I am awed to hear Karl remembers the tips taught to him by fellow classmates even on some trivial matters. Mot specially am deeply moved when Millie and Jong’s gave me a lift from Quezon City to Malate to make sure that I reached home safely, a gesture of their special regard to this friendship. That night I slept smiling.

sayang that the glass reflected the flash... but this is the best group picture we had using my cp camera... nangangamo talaga ang camera... here we asked the waiter to take the photo

sayang that the glass reflected the flash... but this is the best group picture we had using my cp camera... nangangamo talaga ang camera... here we asked the waiter to take the photo


before Willy left

before Willy left

Gene Fortitude

April 7, 2009
The invitation

The invitation

March 26, 2009, 6:00PM, I received a phone call from Mike Lui and his immediate question was “What is this I read in your message about Rachel and FF?” So I have to explain that Franz Pantaleon, 18 years old, the eldest son of FF and Rachel Evangelista-Pantaleon was diagnosed to have Extra Skeletal Ewing Sarcoma.

Part 1: Joining Arms
One time Franz wrote in his facebook account that he is treating his condition like a computer game. There is indeed a similarity in this case, not in how the game is played but how the games were made. I remember installing games in my computer. In a normal course of installation, so long as the computer user follows the instruction prompted on the screen, the games will be set up properly. But what if despite careful obedience to the instruction, there arise some abnormal electrical influx or disturbance during installation that made one program of a game fuses with another and then replicates itself progressively, increasing its file size indefinitely… a system failure is expected to happen.. Similar things perhaps must have happened to Franz’ kidney.
Extra Skeletal Ewing Sarcoma or Primitive neuroectodermal tumor (PNET) is a malignant round cell tumor of the soft tissue caused by translocationn between chromosomes 11 and 22 , which fuses the EWS gene of chromosome 22 to the FLI1 gene of chromosome 11. To my understanding, this means that sometime when Franz was still a bunch of cells (no limbs, no arms, no organs yet… still a lump of cells), something unusual happened, particularly in one neuroectodermal cell. Two chromosomes: chromosome 11 and 22 joined arms when they are not supposed to. This resulted to a change of genetic make up, rendering it a mutant cell. Unfortunately however, this type of cell is still in the stage where it is actively multiplying, hence with the passing of time it’s population increases until it reached a gamut of overwhelming size… in this case at Franz’ kidney. By November 2008, Franz urinated blood and recurred several times sometime January 2009… an indication suggestive of a renal system failure.
Part 2: The Big Boulder
The news of Franz’ condition came about when Karl Zafra forwarded Rach’s message asking for prayers. The texts in my cellphone screen appeared like a crystal shattering from extreme internal pressure . A long deafening sound reverberated into my ears rendering me to stare blank onto the white ceiling. My mind got suspended at life’s episodes that the Evangelista-Pantaleon family is trailing. Then came flowing some thoughts… now that the tracks has been regained, that the threats has been conquered, when things started to fall into their rightful places and the ride seems to run smoothly, a big boulder came rolling down the hill, blocking the road making it impassable. Everything seemed to freeze as everyone tries to size up the boulder. Perhaps figuring out what kind of strength is needed in order to move that gigantic blockage out of the way. Clueless of what steps to take, I started off by joinibg the FOR FRANZ PANTALEON e-group at facebook, which was created by the friends of FF. In that e-group, Rachel narrated in detail the inside story of discovering Franz’ illness. After reading, I took note of their address and set off walking under the scouring heat to get to the house I once visited year 1995 to 1998.

Part 3: Rachel, FF and Franz De-coded

As I walked towards the Evangelista-Pantaleon residence, my memories replayed back to the moments when for three years I was a neighbor. Back when I was assigned to that areal, I was only a few blocks away from Evangelista-Pantaleon. Being new to that place, I have decided to pay a few visit to Rachel.

For section A, Rachel, is the symbol of beauty and literary arts. The honor she gave to our section with her winning on the Miss Thomasian Pharmacy and Spanish Inter-collegiate contest is something we deeply appreciate. Her team up with FF is one that we have gotten accustomed to. . Although, theirs is a love story that was initially sneered upon by a few but later was learned to treasure and follow dearly. With this, FF has been regarded as the adopted son of A-MT90. Since then, Section A have greatly enjoyed FF’s wackiness. Five to eight years after graduation FF and Rach proved their love is grounded on a strong foothold. Armed with FF’s humility and Rachel’s strength, the couple managed to topple down their long lingering enemy. When things had gone well, they finally crowned their victory with a matrimonial vow. Franz that time is perhaps only 5 to 8 years of age. He was a very smart boy resembling the face of FF. In pictures, he projects an awkward smile, reflecting a child who is not comfortable before a camera. His assignment notebook or planner manifests a diligent student well guided by his mother. Ten years has lapsed, Franz now stood taller than his father, wearing the smile, the strength and writing skills of her mother.

Part 4: Keeping Us Posted

In the advent of summer heat, after coming from a blood laboratory check up, I came to meet FF and Franz once again. It is not at all difficult to start a conversation with FF, for words do comes out easily in his nature. In his usual spontaneity are narrative accounts of the painful surge of emotions that engulfed him; the close vigilance on the availability of blood units for transfusion; the tiring repeated answers to the deafening repeated questions asked by compassionate relatives and friends; the heavy feeling they have to bear every time they are confronted with a pitying face; and so on and so forth. Soon, tears started to well up FF’s eyes. Good thing I have a tissue at hand with which to dry his eyes. As he wipe off the tears he continued on venting out. But all these he relayed in a tone of a father who is at a forefront of a battlefield. After a quearter of an hour, a man arrived to deliver a gift from a relative. To their joy, it is the much desired continuous internet access. It brought in cheers to the Evangelista-Pantaleon, for this will keep Franz connected despite his leave from school. In the following days, Fran would update his facebook account, bring up to date his status, replies to comments as well as publish his insightful writing composition, thereby keeping us posted.

Part 5: Chinoy’s Math

At the end of my visit, am already elucidated of the type of help a classmate can offer: to support the fundraising project and help disseminate information of it to my batch-mates… the first in line is Rock for Reason.
Rock for Reason is an event set up by RockEd, an organization that uses the rock music community to support various causes and advocacies. With only 150Php entrance fee, one will have the joy of a bottle of beer while listening with the great line up of bands. The artists are composed of: Sandwich; Pedicab; Chillitees; Bagetsafonik; South Super Highway; Gasolina; Juan Lunar; Chubibo and Rivermaya. This news elicited queries from a few and for some, their generosity. One Chinese classmate even expressed how small a 50% of 150Php will be and so asked for the details of a bank account into which he can deposit his donation. This generosity was replicated by another Chinese classmate who was saddened by the news. The benevolence of these two Chinoys brings in agreat warmth in the heart for with a peso spent in text messaging, their reply insinuates a hundred fold or perhaps even more. Hurray to Chinoy’s math.

Part 6: Timely Talents

At 7:00 PM, of March 26, 2009 Judith and I agreed to get to SaGuijo on time or we will lose our chance to get a seat. So, we took our meals, get down from the condominium, hailed a taxi and soon we arrived without getting lost. At 9:00 PM, the beginning time stated in the invitation, SaGuijo bar is already buzzing with people. Both the text generations and that of the eighties swarms the streets of Guijo giving it a very festive mood. After getting off the cab, we immediately caught sight of Rachel and FF. Both were clad in a black shirt; a get-up that can adapt well to all age group. Rachel spotted us and in no time did she welcome us with a big smile. In order not to tie her from meeting other guests that is continuously coming and would definitely want to see her, I gestured to get in the bar and find a place to stay. Rachel gladly pointed to the direction. Up the entrance were kiosks of tote bags, shirts and other paraphernalias—the proceeds of which will go to Franz treatment. After paying our entrance fee, we were given the blue drink stub and a stamp mark on our arms. Judith and I entered the room, but all seats were taken, so we decided to try the side veranda. The garden sets were already taken by a few but ssince there are still vacant spaces, we requested a couple if we they can share with us and they complied. Judith and I then sat quietly to that corner until a familiar figure and voice emerge from the dark… “I was looking for the curly hair” she said. Leah Illada-Vasquez, along with her husband, came to join us. Judith and I then moved a little to accommodate the two.

@ Rock for Reason

@ Rock for Reason

@ Rock for Reason

@ Rock for Reason

Shortly the band begins to rock and we started teasing each other as to the relevance of getting a seat—the bones of the eighties has come to stage that long standing becomes an issue. A few minutes after, three teen-age girls joined our place and such elicited a conversation from Vasquez couple as regards their daughter. It is noticeable that the two are getting themselves prepared for the coming teen year of their girl. In a while the sound of one of the nation’s favorite band begins to roll and the three teen-age ladies stood up to join the crowd for jamming, they leaving their French fries for us to guard. Our attention then get pre-occupied with all the reasons we can give the girls as an excuse for eating their snacks. With the coming and goings of strangers who shared a seat with us, we soon found ourselves giving in to our cravings for the strips of potatoes we were entrusted to guard. The hunger pangs, all the more get the better of me that I decided to order for a pizza and that was the time I received a message from Karl saying they are at the site. So Leah went to peak behind the walls while I stood on top of the bench hoping to find them. Frustrated, I decided to pass through the crowd and at the driveway and there I found Karl and Weng leaning on the wall. Failing to see them, I went to meet them and bring them to where we were seated.

@ Rock for Reason

@ Rock for Reason

Greetings, taunting, updates and laughter lingers in that corner. The upcoming get-together with Joy Fernandez were brought up, followed by posing of pictures for a snapshot of the gathering. As the night were getting deeper and the young crowds are getting high with the jumpy rhythm of the bands, the Vasquez couple bid their farewells to the quartette of singles: the bachelor Karl, the spinster Nova, the single again Weng and the geographically single Judith.

Rock for Reason Concert

Rock for Reason Concert

@ Rock for Reason concert

@ Rock for Reason concert

@ Rock for Reason

@ Rock for Reason

The four of us stayed on for a few minutes, posed for three more photo shots and then decided to call it a night. So we get off our seats and search for FF, Rachel and Franz for a picture with them. Our sleepy heads however got lost in the confusions that no pictures were achieved. Save the one in Rachel’s camera… although a copy of which remains a mystery as to how it will gets its way to the e-group. When the situation strongly suggests that our goal can no longer be achieved, without a word we walked towards the car that will wheel us home. Despite the vague verbal directions from his passenger, Karl managed to drop us off the condominium building. I went to bed amazed at the number of friends that can be gathered in times when you need them most.

Few days after, Rachel did not leave everyone wondering if indeed the activity reached its goal. In FOR FRANZ PANTALEON e-group she wrote:

At the end of the day, between gate sales that reflected 330 or so attendees, merchandise sales, and donations in that hefty box, everyone’s concerted effort yielded a staggering Php 90,000 for Franz’s chemotherapy. Just a few weeks ago, as my sister reminded me, I was worried about the new cost of Franz’s chemo for April amounting to Php 125,000 excluding hospitalization. Now, seemingly in the blink of an eye, the lion’s share of Franz’s upcoming treatment is covered.

Great things can indeed be achieved when many people gather up together and work for one purpose. Rock for Reason is not just a concert of the bands but a concerted effort of friends who no matter how little they can give has a great talent of being there when you need them.

Part 7: Chromosome Fortitude

“In the beginning is a word… and the word was made flesh.” This is a biblical passage that one of a great French geneticist had reflected on in relations to the subject of his profession. This passage pertains to the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity, but this somehow bears a likeness as how genes work. For genes indeed are referred to by geneticist as words, which holds information to build, multiply and maintain their cells until they become a fully developed living organism. In this regards, it is apparent that humans indeed partially resembles its Maker. It is however in this genes too that cancer cells are formed. But this is not because there is a genetic composition for this illness, but because the normal genetic make-up has been abnormally altered. In the face of this intrinsic genetic defect we may feel helpless. But a man of great faith knows too well that within him is a power more superior than the material word written in his chromosomes—the power of the supernatural reality that God created us in his image and likeness. Within this reality man can draw the energy to topple down a difficult enemy. This energy is what I learned as the virtue of Fortitude.

Throughout my dealings with the Evangelista-Pantaleon couple I have had a few glimpse of the power of fortitude permeating in their soul. From the onset of their love to tying of their knot, it has been colored with valor. Such power continues to fortify their spirit as they moved onto a path of discipline and as they cross the road with a buried land mine. Exemplary were they in living it well that it has been replicated in Franz manifests the same. In the evening, of March 26, 2009, Franz together with his family have shown an amazing sportive optimism as they mingle, dance, laugh and play along with the guests who have come to support them. Now, I am convinced that Evangelista-Pantaleon is chromosome Fortitude.


@ Rock for Reason

@ Rock for Reason

@ Evangelista-Pantaleon Residence

@ Evangelista-Pantaleon Residence

ARMfully Beautiful

March 28, 2009


“You have a beautiful glow in skin!” Hearing these words from a friend, I knew I hit a gold mine when it comes to beauty products. It was only three days of applying the skin whitening ng product given by Alvin R. Matulac through his company A.R.M Skin Essentials Corporation, when they already show pleasing result. From then I knew am going to buy again. After a month, following Alvin’s advice, I then tried using his anti-aging product. A week after, my former co-worker then commented, “Whatever that product you are using for your skin, it really did a great job and please sell them here because am going to buy.” From that moment on, I texted Dr. Alvin R. Matulac for the permission to sell.

Part 1: Getting a Date

SMS is not a thing for a very busy person like Dr. Alvin R. Matulac, yet there was a time when I was very much in pain that Dr. Alvin, has proved to be a friend. So, I gave texting another shot. A day had lapsed and there was no reply. So, I went to see the business card he distributed and there I found the number and address of the company. In haste, did I call, but I was told that Dr. Alvin seldom visits the shop anymore. Nevertheless, I asked for some directions on how to get to the office in order to purchase the products for myself. After I have gathered the information I needed, I hang up the landline phone and pick up my mobile phone. On the screen is a flashing one message in the inbox. I pushed the button to read it and there appeared Alvin’s Message:

“Sorry for late reply. Judith is also interested. You may coordinate with her for a schedule of seminar so that I will teach you how to use it.”

A current of thrill, once again flowed into my nerves as this somewhat promises another business venture. So, I texted Judith right away and 11:48 AM, I received the response:

“Sorry for my late reply. Antay ko lang availability ng sister ko sama daw cia txt u f ok n para m set ntin date. “ – Judith Mendoa-Torda, 27 Feb 2009

To this, I agreed and waited. March 12 came and I still have not received any update. I texted Judith once again and so she suggested to go with me even without her sister. To this, I texted Dr. Alvin right away and the date is set on March 18, 5:00 PM. He then suggested that we take our dinner in their house because it is going to take long, perhaps until 11:00PM. “That long!” Judith replied to my forwarded message. But despite the surprise we both agreed to the schedule because an efficient beauty product is not something that can keep waiting.

Part 2: The Road We Travel

March is the beginning of a searing hot summer, yet when 18 came, I knew I just have to be valiant about the roasting temperature to get to the place where my skin will be treated well. Upon climbing up the bus, I texted Judith and Alvin to remind them of the arranged seminar. Alvin confirmed the time and the place where Judith and I will be picked up. I then coordinated with Judith as regards the manner with which we will go there. At 1:30 PM, I arrived Manila from Tiaong, Quezon. After my meeting with another person, I set out from La Salle Taft to get to PGH where Judith is receiving her training in Microbiology. By the time I reached PGH, it only took 5 minutes of waiting until Judith came in sight. With great anticipation did we travel along the long stretch of Taft Ave. and España in a cool FX taxi-jeep. Upon reaching Welcome Rotonda Judith asked me if I still knew where Capitol Medical Center is, I answered positively. Yet, that query made this certified probinsyana’s back to depart from its restful leaning position. I stretched my neck up letting my head stick out above the rest of the passengers in order not to miss the hospital. When an imposing blue building caught my sight, I halted the taxi-jeep with the break word “PARA!.” Hurriedly did we jumped out of FX to silence the beeping horns of cars behind. As soon as we landed the street, our feet walked us towards the café where we took a little bit of a snack in order to wait a while because we are an hour and a quarter early. Hoping for the possibility of being picked up early, I texted Alvin to announce that we had arrived. Alvin however gave no reply, perhaps still engaged in another meeting, so we just waited for 5:00PM. Ten minutes before five, the event calendar announcement flashed out of my cell phone screen, followed by an incoming message from Alvin saying that he is on his way. Very punctual did he arrived at an agreed time. We get into his dashing car and soon the wheels rolled.

Part 3: Celestial Abode

The wheels ceased to revolve in front of one of the unit of houses painted with streaks of empireal yellow. The sedan smoothly parked into the covered garage and from there we alighted. We then enter the house and immediately bedazzled with the radiance of glimmering golden room decked with cherubim emanating a sweet silent sound of a heavenly home. arm_editedI can’t help but get entranzed by the surroundings and be beaconed to comfortably lounge in one of the lovely Victorian couches. As my eyes wonder around every details of the living room, I got captivated at the sight of Judith sitting beside the angels. image544This inevitably made me tease her with her angelic role in the drama fest twenty years ago. Five minutes later Alvin’s household staff brought in some sodas for our refreshment. As I enjoy the sizzling perk of this tingling sensation of a drink on my tongue, Alvin told us to wait a while until he finish his meeting with the medical representatives. I then took the opportunity to take pictures of seemingly celestial abode and to try my luck with the Alvin look alike one and half year old daughter.

Part 4: A Beautiful Future

After a quarter of a minute a very fair lady with a long dark black hair descended from the stairs to greet us. She sat right across me and from there I could clearly see how well had Alvin taken care of her skin. My tongue could no longer hold to utter words of adulation. Hers is a flawless silky white skin that would drop the jaw of anyone who crosses her path. She then relayed the skin regimens that she had undergone. Moments later, a cute little girl by the age of four or five strut down the staircase and joined her mother. The stark contrast in their complexion gives a visual testimony of how well A.R.M products do its job. In her one can see a beautiful future of what and A.R.M. users can be.

Part 5: Twenty first Century Professor Higgins

Past an hour lapsed, the medical representatives bid their farewell. Judith and I then proceed to the dining room after Alvin called for us. Without wasting much time he gave us presentations of his numerous products. The first part was like a review of skin histology. It is quite amusing to see how the “Bonging” of the class whom his cheatmates used to coach is now the one giving a lecture. After skin overview, he introduce the different processes by which soap is made. This portion was like a supplementary class to soap making class in one chemistry subject we had years ago. This is then followed by introduction of wide arrays of skin soaps. But he emphasized on the need to treat the pimples or acne first had any client manifests such skin problem. Si he showed us the batch of Anti-bacterial soaps like Guava soap, T3soap and Sulfur Soap with Salicilyc Acid. The next batch are the hypo-allergenic soap like Oatmeal soap. After these he brought out the whitening soaps: Black Pearl, Bleaching, Calamansi, Green Papaya, Kojic Acid, Mushroom Soap, Papaya and Milk, Pineapple, Tamarind, vitamin C, Licorice Soap, Burberry, Glutathione and Singkamas. He then proceded with Anti-wrinkle soaps: Carrot, collagen, Green Tea, Placenta and Tretinoin. He then move on to acquaint us with other soaps like moisturizing soaps: oatmeal with honey soap and goat’s milk. The soap lesson was concluded with accessory soaps like Musculine Bar, Coffee for slimming and deodorant and Prosperity Soap.

After the soap lecture comes other forms of skin care products like those in solution forms, lotion forms, and cream or gel form be they for whitening, toning, anti-acne,moisturizing, sunblock, anti-wrinkle or body scrub. He emphasized on using the middle and ring finger in applying these on face. arm-products



Then the last part of the presentation is the medical procedure for a more aggressive skin whitening. With this comes the surprising models: his household helps to whom he had these procedures applied in gratis. This revelation made me lift myself off my seat to joke about my envy and interest to be hired as his house personnel. It dawned on me that in that home, the household staff were like Eliza Doolittle on their way to becoming lovely fair ladies. Alvin Matulac is the twenty first century Proffessor Higgins.

Part 6: ARMfull

Supper was served in between the seminar. Alvin and Joy provided us with an abundant amount of roast pork and fresh lumpia. I had stuffed myself so much that made me feel sleepy and so hardly catching up with the chaining words of Professor Alvin. Thanks to technology that recording is made easy via cellular phone. After the lecture, the products that were presented is for us to keep. Alvin, who is such a nice chap, had the grace of providing us with a company cotton fabric bag to give dignity to our luguage. But before leaving we had our pictures taken for a souvenir.


Yet, that is not where Alvin’s generosity ended, together with his wife and his look-a-like daughter, he drove us all the way from Quezon City to Pasay City, in order to make sure that we get home safe. We get off from car extremely grateful for we are blessed with an ARMfull (the acronym in A.R.M. Skin Essentials Corporation stands for Alvin R. Matulac. ARMful is a play of words to signify that we are recipients of the benevolence of A.R.M Skin Essential products and services).

Part 7: Beauty Right Through Your Finger Tips

Alvin, for section A is the “Bondying” or the baby of the class. His manner of being gives delight to the group in a way a whole family takes pleasure over their youngest sibling. Much to our amusement is his childlike hanging on the arm while we cross the pedestrian of España and his fidgeting over a fright of being discovered by his mother that he joined the class excursion. Yet, life indeed is full of surprises. Who will suspect that the easy going Med. Tech student Alvin is a Beauty Products Manufacturer in the making… a man who will provide jobs to more than a hundred Filipinos, a man who gives business opportunity to entrepreneurs here and abroad, a man who supplies to the country’s well known beauty doctor of the stars, a man who applied an iron hand to thefts and scandalous staffs and most especially a man who confirmed that Beauty is only skin deep and hence is achievable through your middle and ring finger tips.

Professional Skin Care Formula (Renewing Ties 5 Years After)

This blogpost is brought to you by:


Private Rylan

February 21, 2009


dr. rylan florespresentation12



Part 1: Hurt to Be Strong


Only 17 days had lapsed since I was discharged from the hospital, am still dealing with a difficult customer and is two days nursing a grief over the loss of my sister when all of a sudden a Labrador came rushing towards me and bit my upper right thigh, thereby throwing my mobile phone up into the air then dropping three meters away from me while am pushed down to the floor landing on my butt. The helper then rushed to pull back the dog at its collar while I picked myself up and my phone then walked limping towards the living room. My hostess’ relatives were stunned and ashamed for what had happened. They instructed me to put down my pants to see if I was wounded. My skin showed scratches and small spots but no blood leaking. Then my hostess assured me that her Labrador stays only within their backyard and is complete with anti-rabies vaccine. Nonetheless, while I was letting my shock pass, I started making a broadcast SMS announcing my dogbite accident and inquiring for a smart immediate measure and who is the nearest doctor in the hospital now. In an instant Dr. Ricky Deang replied in SMS telling me that it is advisable to have an anti- tetanus vaccine because dog’s teeth are dirty and then he prescribed antibiotics for the wound. After half an hour of rest, I then bid my host goodbye. In pity that I will have to walk a long stretch of meters to get to the MRT station, the host then offered me a lift. Upon getting down the car I heard a ring from my cellphone and at the screen is the registered name of Mon Carmona. From there transpired an online consultation with Dr. and Dra Ramon and Tin-tin Carmona. As a result I was given the same prescription that Dr. Deang texted me earlier. When the conversation ended I then immediately hailed a taxi in order to bring me to the nearest hospital which is East Ave. Hospital.


Part 2: Lose to Try Harder


In haste, did I get out of the taxi when it finally halted at the front of the gate. Then in no time did I planted myself before the information clerk at the emergency department only to be let down saying that dog bites are not treated in that hospital but rather in San Lazaro. I begged the man, if at least some staff looks into my wound and clean it because San Lazaro is too far and am alone. But I was declined by saying the same procedure will be done in San Lazaro anyway so it is better to go to San Lazaro. So with self-pity that I left the emergency department, walked towards a bench interior park and went back to my only hope… a response from people I texted a broadcast. When the screen appeared blank, my tears started to fall profusely out of exasperation due to the fact that am in two days morning, my acute erythomatous gastritis is still painful and once again am alone trying to figure out what am I to do with myself in this time of misfortune. Then a sign of hope... I saw a minivan ambulance with the sinage that it belongs to my hometown Tiaong, Quezon, rollin in the hospital compound. In despair, did I approached the driver and asked if I can be assisted. The driver responded that he is not from my hometown and he was only asked a favor to drive for a particular patient. Once again I felt the rejection and went back to the bench crying… hoping to receive a response from any doctor friends who might be available in a nearby hospital.


Part 3: Smile to Overcome them All


After a quarter of an hour waiting, my cellphone beeped and there appears a message coming from Dr. Rylan Flores… the message says that he will be in Delos Santos Medical Hospital at 3:00 PM. Although this means an hour of waiting, such a message brought up a smile on my face,  feeling the hope of redemption had arrive. Hence, I dashed out of that apathetic government hospital, called for a taxi and ordered the driver to get me to the De los Santos Medical Hospital. In fifteen minutes I arrived. I then texted Rylan that I already arrived and is waiting at the lobby area. While waiting, I tried to remember who Rylan Flores is….


Searching over my brain files, I remember a picture of Rylan in Internos. Such an image reminds me that we were not introduced to each personally nor did we ever crossed each others path. Yet towering existence will never be a miss, more so is his pair of boots. Likewise, the impression I got is that he is one of the guys who you would stereotypically cast as a chick boy socialite…. Eighteen years after graduation, when I started organizing small batch get-togethers, I came across his name at friendster under Dr. Froilan Francisco’s friends list. In the lead picture posted, he is with his wife and his daughter. At first I find it difficult to recognize him because it looked as if his head is shaved. Hence, that is the latest image that is impressed into my graymatter. From there, I invited him to join my list of friends… in response my friendster account recorded that he only viewed my profile but did not accept my invitation. So I wrote him saying that I am a batchmate back in Medical Technology and hope that he will accept my invitation. Days later he did, but that is the only picture posted in that account so I still have a very scant update of how he looked now. The next incident of a closer encounter with him is a text message of his number from whose source I can no longer remember. From time to time then, I would announce the small MT90 get-together that I would organize. The first instance of an established SMS communication link with him was when he responded over the announcement of a get-together in Pampangga saying that he will be near the location and if opportunity allows he will be in the event. Unfortunately, he did not make it. After, the event, I made another SMS announcement of the write up of the outcome of the Pampangga and Subic Get-together entitled “Titanic Fidelity.” A day after that I received a message from him asking for Rick’s Pascual’s number. After that, I heard nothing from him again until this dog bite chapter in my life…


2:55PM, my cellphone beeped a message. There I read Rylan saying that he is already in the emergency department.


Part 4: Dr. Rylan Flores in Person


I went out of the lobby and slowly walked along the descending driveway. Upon entering the emergency department I asked some people seated at the bench where I can find the doctors… they pointed at a dark tinted glass door. So I put my hands to frame my face at the side and stick them too close to the glass. As I peered through I saw a tall long haired man speaking over the mobile phone giving a wave of acknowledgement to me. Hence, I opened the door and entered the airconditioned emergency room. Soon I am finally face to face with Dr. Rylan Flores.


Upon putting down his phone, I immediately took the chance to greet him. Then my vivaciousness immediately spring out a remark “Are you realy a doctor?” Such was my reaction because am totally flabbergast at the sight of a long haired doctor wearing a sport cotton shirt, a military green knee length pair of pants with pull strings at the hem and a pair of rubber shoes… an outfit you would see worn by hip-hop dancers. Apparently, Dr. Rylan Flores is not officially on duty that Sunday, but since he received calls from the hospitals for some patients he decided to go after dropping off his wife and daughter for some school activity. Lucky for me, had it not been for those patients, I will be left crying on the bench, under a tree of the East Ave. Hospital. After cordial “hello and how are you’, he immediately looked into the wounds. It was only then that I realized that the teeth despite the cellphone barrier had punctured a wound and started to bleed slightly. With this sight, Dr. Rylan confirmed the advices given me by Dr. Deang and Dr. Carmona that I have to be injected an anti-tetenus vaccine and take anti-biotics… but for the mean time a skin test must be performed. Soon, the attending nurse did a skin test on me while Rylan attended to some other patients. After several minutes, Rylan went back to me and started updating each other.


Rylan as he relayed attended his first medical course in UST, but on the third year he went to the United States. Upon coming back, the road along Aurora Blvd. is under construction for the Purple train and it takes two hours to get to UST from his place, hence he opted to attend the rest of his medical course in UERM. He then continued that he hardly opens his friendster accounts but more of his facebook account, that he get to read write ups of the get-together through his major e-mail account and not through the yahoo group site hence, he has was not able to view pictures posted in yahoo group… but yes, he was able to view pictures posted through links. Then he continued that he really wanted to join us in Pampanga but something prevented him and he was so happy to see Ric at the pictures I posted which incited him to asked for Ric’s number. From there, he was able to talk to Rick Pascual. After which it is time to update him of whereabouts of classmates and batch-mates am in touch with, until it is time for me to be given the anti-tetanus vaccine.


After the vaccine was injected, Rylan set out to the station to write the prescription, while the nurse handed out the bill to me. I noticed that Rylan did not charge me for his professional service. After I payed the cashier, I requested the nurse to have our picture taken so that the rest of MT90 will know how Rylan looks now. A shot was taken but am not happy with the picture outcome.


Nevertheless, I will have another chance of capturing his image when I get back to him for the filling out of form for my insurance accident claim. When all were settled, I thanked Rylan and bid my goodbye. Rylan in turn gave a fraternal comment of concern due to the fact that I am injured yet by myself on a public transportation going home. After a jeepney ride and two train rides, I made it home.

Part 5: Another Accident


After receiving a Physician Statement Form for my Accident Insurance Claim from PRu LIFE UK, I immediately texted Rylan for another appointment. Knowing that Dr. Sonny Guevarra is also holding his clinic in DLSH, I tried to bring them together for a get-together. Unluckily however, the schedule of Dr. Rylan starts three hours after Dr. Sonny’s clinic ended. So, I dropped the plan and opted for a more convenient follow-up meeting with Rylan which is at Borough Diagnostic Clinic in Eastwood.  It is only a walking distance from my client’s house.

So in that Clinic, I went up to see Dr. Flores. He went in the room this time in a white doctor’s long blazer and unshaved beard. He elicited the usual lively fun loving guy while I attempted to take another photo. Another accident occurred… luckily by mistake, my cellphone was set to video mode so, I captured a brief video of Rylan in action.

Rylan diligently filled up the form I handed out to him and insinuated his hope that a get-together in Manila be organized. I however, responded that it is going to be a tough job for me because it will be a bigger group… yet, I might give the St. Luke and the DLSH group a try. After a few more updates, Rylan handed out the form to me and we said our good byes.


Part 6: Opening the Window


Meeting Rylan in person is quite disorienting. I was expecting a bald tall dark snooty doctor. On the contrary, I met long haired, flawless and fair skinned towering doctor in a hip-hop aura. I would say he does not only look younger he also emits a very youthful energy. Someone you will associate with Gary Valenciano (well I don’t know if he sings and dance) or shall I say the Billy Crowford get-up with Arnel Pineda hair. Wine indeed become sweeter in time… eighteen years ago he is a guy whom I have stereotyped as an elite who will never associate with me…yet, at the most unexpected moment when all the two public servants had shut the doors on me, surprisingly private Rylan opened the window.

 dr.rylan flores

AMT90 UST Christmas Party Reunion 2008

December 25, 2008

Puno’t Dulo: AMT90 Octeber Get-together

October 23, 2008


Part 1: Cost Cutting



Cost cutting is economic trend that linger nowadays, be it in the manufacturing, corporate world or home economics.  Consequently, this brought about the creation of multi-tasking, 3-in one, value meals, event-coordinator, wedding coordinator, Call-text unlimited free cell phone plan, and Real Estate Open House-Holy Mass-entertainment event…etc.etc.etc.   The effect is a cost and time effective system.  So after a wonderful experience with Hacienda Escudero – Landco Open House-Harana event, Donyalamat  immediately thought of incorporating MT90 batch get-together into the next open house.  Hence, when my broker informed me about the tentative date for the next Open House- Puno’t Dulo event, donyalamat immediately send SMS messages and posted the announcement of the tentative get-together to  MT90 and 4amtust90 yahoo group.   The reactions were quite varied:


·        Jong thought that the whole thing is an original production of mine.  donyalamat however would not want to take credit for something that is not mine so donyalamat have to reveal that it is a promotional activity of Landco.


·        Joy Ramos-Igarta thought it was Villa Escudero.  Good thing  have already posted my write up of the wonderful Harana Experience and pictures that gives clarity to the confusions.


·        Mon Carmona begged off sadly because he is committed to a convention.


·        Nixon Cabochanpongco informed me that he can’t be present because he is out of town.


·        Aldrin Nadres also replied that he can’t make it because it is his cousin’s birthday.


·        Ricky Deang only responded with thanks.


·        Dennis Bascon gave a negative reply due to distance.


·        Judith Mendoza gave a positive reply.


·        The rest remained in silence, perhaps undecided.  Nonetheless, the last listing will still be on the 15th and they have enough time to think about it.


So, donyalamat let go of my cellphone from my hand to freely hang around my neck, logged off the computer, paid my internet usage dues and left the café.  That ends the announcement date.


Part 2:  Follow-up



            Follow-up is one of the necessary steps taken by any organization in the field of hospitality.  They follow-up their suppliers/sponsors so as to be updated of the latest promotions, sale or freebees and follow-up their clients/members so that they commit or they keep on coming back.  Hence, during the seminar, Donyalamat asked my broker for the confirmation and the details of the program and gladly she handed me the invitations.  So while am taking my snacks during the seminar, in haste did Donyalamat send SMS messages of the details and the final date for listings of guests.  Soon enough Judith confirmed her coming and informed me that she will be bringing her two kids along.  This was then followed by Joy Ramos-Igarta saying that she is bringing along her husband, her sister and nephew. With two sure coming, Donyalamat knew that the get-together is set to come.  Donyalamat immediately have them listed and so was handed down two beautiful invitations of Puno’t Dulo.  After the seminar, Donyalamat took advantage of free WiFi at the café where the seminar was held to post the details in MT90 and 4amtust90 e-group.  Afterwards, Donyalamat put off my computer, check my cell phone for replies, texted in the calendar for dates of follow-up, paid my coffee bill, left the café, and hailed a jeep in order to go home.  The following days prior to the last day of listings were merely checking cell phones and e-mails for late replies and inquiries.  The 15th of October came, the final date for the listings, another SMS message was sent and Donyalamat received the following replies:


·        Judith Mendoza-Torda would like to add her two other kids and a yaya in the list.

·        Willy Alba texted the dates that he will not be around and requested not to text him on those dates (ang taray!!!!)

·        Jong expressed once more his regrets.

·        Emily Carbonel texted she is not coming.

·        Ellani apologized she couldn’t make it.

·        Rylan Flores declined.

·        Joy Esguera expressed her thanks for the invitation but could not make it as well.

·        Sonny Boy Guevarra also declined but asked for Judith’s number.

·        Ricky Deang, my faithful text mate, inquired only for who is coming.

·        The rest— dead ma


Part 3:  Sunshine


            One of the best marks of hospitality is versatility, which is always to have something to accommodate changes.  Hence, despite the RSVP’s, catering industries has always been resourceful on late notices.  True enough, when Donyalamat texted Joy Ramos-Igarta, she replied that her sister and nephew could no longer make it and added that Karl Zafra would like to come but he has some important matters to attend to.  Such late notice does not call for much resourcefulness, for two guests dropping would only mean there will be extra food for two.  However, the day before the event, I received a text message from Karl Zafra requesting me to buzz him once Donyalamat get on line.  Such gave me a bit of an alarm, wondering what type of message cannot be texted that needed a chat for it to be relayed.  Nonethess, Donyalamat kept my cool and replied positively.  Minutes later, Joy Ramos-Igarta texted me, asking for Dennis Bascon’s number for she will try to convince him to come since Karl Zafra is coming along.  This made me jumped off my bed for their names were not listed.  Yet to be a good host, Donyalamat gave the number as requested and kept my concern to myself.  Then like any other event coordinator, immediately set to action in order to iron things out as soon as possible.  So, in no time did Donyalamat make it to the nearest computer café, buzz Karl Zafra and soon we are into a voice chat.  So indeed he is coming.  Teasings of estates and villas cross the wires as well as inquiry of time travel.  Then finally the remedy is to be revealed to him, he will take on the slot of Joy’s sibling who withdrew but whose name was already listed.   And when Karl inquired for the name Donyalamat answered SUNSHINE.


Part 4:   Global Positioning System (GPS)


Donyalamat is awake quite earlier than the usual for there is such a great thing ahead of me.  Donyalamat kept awatch of her cellphone for any calls incase Joy Ramos-Igarta and Judith phoned in for any directions or announcement of their arrival.  At seven o’clock Donyalamat texted Joy and Karl which part of the road they have reached and Karl replied the end of SLEX.  So Donyalamat figured out that they are expected to arrive an hour and a half later.  At quarter past eight, Donyalamat received a phone call from Karl asking for directions.  DONYALAMAT tried to be clear as regards their exact location; along the conversation Karl quipped “Joy said a ‘bifurcations’ whatever that means.”  Laughingly DONYALAMAT answered “always take left turn in any bifurcations.”  Then he uttered going to San Pablo, DONYALAMAT corected  herself saying take right road of the bifurcation if you are already in San Pablo. The he uttered motels along the way and laughs, DONYALAMAT laughed along.  DONYALAMAT said you will run pass of Rock Point to your left, then the arc, then Hacienda Escudero to your left, then Mc Donalds to your left then gasoline stations and bridge… when you see Sioland, turn left to the road before it, then run pass two intersections and watch out for the third house to your right with Taekwando streamer and after which is Gaudete Study Center.  Soon DONYALAMAT heard from the other end of the line Gaudete Study Center.  So DONYALAMAT said, “stop right there and am coming out of the house.”  DONYALAMAT went down and there DONYALAMAT found the KIA of Joy Ramos-Igarta parked in front of the school.  DONYALAMAT opened the green gate and soon they got in the compound.  They all alighted, gave each other a welcome hugs and kisses.  Thanks to Sun Cellular unlimited call and text, that we get a cheaper means of global positioning system.


Part 5:  IPV


It was a bright sunny morning when Joy, Hector and Karl arrived.  After such a long distance travel the trio must have been so tired, so DONYALAMAT had them seat at a mono-block set table while DONYALAMAT wonder about how Judith with four kids and a yaya will fit in Joy’s KIA.  It did not dawned on DONYALAMAT, for she was expecting that Karl will be bringing his car.  Unfortunately however, Karl’s car stalled and so he was left with no choice but to join the Ramos-Igarta couple.  Donyalamat’s mother immediately came in sight to welcome the group.  Joy and Hector immediately showed their courtesy and got engaged in a conversation with her.  Karl who was short of sleep remained beside the kubo, seemingly finding it quite beckoning.  Few, minutes later, donyalamat’s SUN Cellular line gave an incoming message signal from Judith, so DONYALAMAT gave her a call.  She then announced that she has reached the jeep terminal and are positioned right in front of the Waterproof water station.  In a jiff DONYALAMAT turned her gaze to her mother to asked if we  she can allow the use of a car and she obligingly offered the IPV.  “What ddoes IPV stands for?” Karl asked.  “I did not bother to know” DONYALAMAT answered.  Then they started a guessing game.  Karl quipped, “the V stands for Vehicle.”  Then Joy, Hector and Karl wondered if IP stands for Inter-provicial, DONYALAMAT turned a deaf ear for she is never interested with cars, rather she asked Karl if He can drive for the group.  Despite the sleepiness, the Saint of the new era agreed to drive.  Everone then happily hopped in the long L300 and Karl jokingly asked Joy and Hector for jeepney fare.  Set to drive, Karl verified with my brother in-law as regards the manual gear and Joy immediately gave a taunting (wala pong English sa word alaska kahit duon sa cool link na posted ko, so it is not cool after-all).  Karl on the other hand immediately explained that the metal markings on the gear have been totally erased.  DONYALAMAT looked into it and WOW it looked like a bright shining armor; mark of a vehicle that has served the family well and so are the several school children of Tiaong, IPV after all do not deserve my disinterestedness.  Soon, Karl managed to back up from the garage and rolled away to the water station.  When the group reached the intersection, at the right side stood, Judith, her four kids and the yaya.  It was quite a wonderful sight, for such a petite girl can manage to ride up a jeep with her four bouncy kids and a Sun Cellular line phone addict nanny (no offense to you Judith… that is the bleak side of Sun Cellular).  Judith, who only two months short to take a year of trying to look for a classmates on the net is finally beaming to see the group face to face in IPV.  Together with the kids and yaya they  immediately boarded the van whose full name is Isuzu Passenger Van (Karl there goes the answer to the query).

Part 6:  My Favorite Things-Song in the Sound of Music, St. K Version


After five minutes, we enter the grandiose gate of the 500 hectares estate.  The guard came to meet us and so we showed our twin invitations.  Passing through, we had a view of the wide coconut plantation of Tiaong and after a few turn about of the concrete street and within the untilled portion of land the resort clubhouse came to sight—Plaza de Palmeral.  In the site were already group of people wearing green planting Palmera trees at the ground of the Plaza.  Karl made a few more turns and so we get into the parking lot.  Under such a burning heat of the sun, the warm bonding of AMT family alight the vehicle and headed off to the entrance for registration.  At Plaza de Palmeral, DONYALAMAT immediately shifted from MT90 get-together organizer to a real estate agent mindset.  DONYALAMAT set out to the registration table and was given a blue sticker of Hacienda Escudero and food stub.  Joy, Hector, Judith, her kids, and the yaya followed and they were given the food stub and the green Hacienda Escudero sticker.  After a few minutes, Karl came registered under the name of Sunshine was also furnish food stub and a green sticker.  In no time afterwards, DONYALAMAT lead them to the function hall and picked out a table near the buffet.  At the right side DONYALAMAT saw a hotdog stand, so DONYALAMAT inquired and was informed that it is included in the food stub.  Delighted, DONYALAMAT instantly announced the group for such a wonderful treat ahead of us.  Then another delicacy came in sight, DONYALAMAT saw a sales agent licking an ice-cream, who upon my inquiry willingly pointed at the position of the cart.  Like any other hotel trained staff, DONYALAMAT informed the group right away.  Quickly, like any mother, Judith gathered up her kids to line up for such a superb sweet frozen delicacy.  Not before long, within the searing heat of El Niño, everybody got refreshed, rejuvenated and energized.  The Mendoza-Torda kids are up to their toes again, bouncing and lively.  Karl in his shades and still quite sleepy, sat back and relax at one of the tea tables along the hallway looking at the view of coconut plantation with Mount Cristobal and Mount Banahaw backdrop.  Later, we joined Karl, while Hector started taking photo shots.  In a while, Karl finds himself beside Gwen and Bernadette so he started entertaining them with guessing of favorite things.  DONYALAMAT can see how the girls were having fun with the game and it seems like watching the male and Filipino version of the Sound of Music.  Then DONYALAMAT heard Karl started guessing their pet names uttering “Cleng-cleng, Pling-Pling, Beng-beng…,” then the tactless and loud mouthed Nova made a better of me that DONYALAMAT cracked “Karl, are you reminiscing your past?.”  That phrase seemingly reverberated all over the hall that mortified the poor St. K.  Regretful of my mistakes, DONYALAMAT simply went silently back to simply listening and observing. 


Part 7:  A Tip for Girls on Long Time Waiting


Then came the man who got me involve in Real Estate as well as the broker, so DONYALAMAT introduced the group to them and exchange of hand shakes.  Moments later, the Holy Mass started and all the guests gathered up in the function hall.  The gospel was about taxation (yes, it is implied in the Gospel).  Then the Holy Communion came and it was enchating to see Hector, devout fully followed his wife to make a snapshot as she partakes the Blessed Eucharist.  When the Holy Mass ended, we begin showing the plans of Hacienda.  As we progress along, we were cut when the buffet line set to motion.  People lined up like string of pearls, as me and Joy became like owl twisting our heads looking for Karl.  When finally Karl appeared, He opted to line up for the hotdog.  So we proceed with the procession.  From the buffet, we scooped out fish fillet, barbeque and fried rice.  Upon getting back to the table, DONYALAMAT heard there is a salad counter, so Joy and DONYALAMAT hurried towards it and found ourselves along with middle ages to senior scampering to the bowls.  Then the very opinionated Nova uttered, you can really tell the age range by what people eat.  Finally, DONYALAMAT have my turn and caught myself shaking the French dressing squeeze bottle.  None was left, and DONYALAMAT will have to bear with undressed lettuce salad.  For Karl however, the hotdog sandwich is not yet served.  Joy on the other hand set out to the water station while DONYALAMAT swiftly went into the iced tea counter.  Karl’s hotdog sandwich however is not yet done.  Then DONYALAMAT saw Joy back into the Salad counter, a hint that salad was replenished, so in haste did DONYALAMAT approached the table to get my salad plate again to finally get my bare salad dressed.  Yet to my delight, DONYALAMAT did not only find the French dressing filled up but there were also corn kernels and pineapple tidbits. Happily DONYALAMAT spooned out the fruits from the bowl and enhance my lettuce salad.  Hector then joined Karl’s face begins to light up for his hotdog sandwich is soon to arrive.   Joy eventually took the camera from her hubby, Hector joined Karl at the hotdog counter and finally the hotdog sandwich is served for Karl.  Judith, on the other side, after settling her kids food, finally left them with the Sun Cellular nanny and joined the seniors and ladies with the salad.  When all has gone back to the table, Karl stood up once more and went to the ice tea counter.  Armful, Karl got four pieces of drinking glass, bent down the cooler and scooped out ice.  When all were filled, he lined up for the gallon full of tepid tea.  Hector remained waiting at the hotdog counter.  For my part DONYALAMAT was only left wondering at the potion of such a sandwich that guys despite the long time waiting could still maintain an interest (so girls, that is a tip).


Part 8:  Toying Around with the Camera


After our meals, we started to scour through the multi-paged photocopy of Landco projects.  My broker, quickly handed out her green clearbook in which are the original colorful version of Landco plans.  Then Judith started to asked some questions.  DONYALAMAT being quite new to the business, called on my recruiter for help.  He, responded obligingly while DONYALAMAT carefully listen, trying to learn the trade.  Karl on the other finds himself beside Gwyneth once more and started to play tick tack toe with her (hmmm… magaling na yayo Judith, pwede ng pampalit kay Sun Cellular yaya).  When familiarization of the place ended, we all set out for a souvenir photos.  That was the fun part of the entire event: for Hector had a grand time with his camera, for Joy to see her husband enjoying his hobby, for the Mendoza-Torda kids to play around the pool area, for yaya to have more time with the cell phone, for Judith to see all her kids having a wonderful time, for Karl’s eye on the lady in black and finally for my chance a Ruffa Gutierez pose which turned out a flop for the pictures showed that DONYALAMAT needed a lot of trimming, but good thing Judith covered me in one of the snaps.  The best is when the four AMT bask on the lounging chairs lined along a trellis covered boardwalk beside the pool.  It is an image of AMT90 enjoying an excursion.  But when it comes well directed photo shoot, the best is a snapshot of  three Mendoza-Torda daughters and the unica hijo gathered around a basket of three dark balls and a white large shell—fantastic parallelism.  Toying around with camera ended with Joy and Karl starting another guessing game of what the three round balls could be.


Part 9:  Puno


Tired and drained after much toying around and guessing the unknown, we finally reached the end part of Puno’t Dulo event, but not the AMT90 get-together.  Hence, the entire gang decided to wheel back to Donyalamat abode.  Yet prior leaving Hacienda Escudero, Filipino custom of buying pasalubong liven up the spirits.  The AMT gang swarm around the espasol booth and started to haggle.  There our bargaining skills were put to practice.  From 40Php, the gang was able to buy it only for 25 Php (if DONYALAMAT remember right) with the reason that we will buy in numbers, so that seller need not have to bring their goods back to their home anymore.  After such a successful deal, the gang rode the IPV and off we go.  While on the road, being in the front seat Donyalamat brief St. K with a cheap fruit but low maintenance and high yield per anum of coconut plantation per anum as compared to expensive fruit but high maintenance and lesser yield per anum of mango plantation and the financial security that coconut gave the macro-economic units like the haciendas prior to land reform.  It was realy the Puno ng Buhay during the Commonwealth time. Then the coconut tree conversation was cut in order to show Karl the lanzones tree within the Hacienda Escudero.  Donyalamat cleared out to him that Lanzones bears fruit only once a year and particularly on the month of September.  That only means his craving for such a fruit will have to wait for a year to pass.  Then Donyalamat added that lanzones grows well together with coconut tree.  Thus it served as an inter-crop for coconut plantation in order to maximize the spaces in between coconuts.  Lanzones farming is one of those that called for armed farmers.  Such, is due to harvesting culture.  Since the tree bear fruit only once a year, the produce is consequently highly valued by its grower.  Unfortunately however, it became a custom that any fruit that touches the ground can freely be picked up by anyone.  A trick of sneaking and shaking the tree by night were then developed by astute hired harvest men.  The following day, these hired men could freely pick up the fallen fruits from the ground and sell it by grams to domestic consumers.  With such a trick, it resulted to great amount of loss of income for the grower, so they growers resorted to firearms to protect their yield.  Sad to say that such a system lead to some events of relatives killing each other (by the way farm owner, grower and harvest man are not one in the same person, but are individual human beings).


The Puno conversation ended when the gang reached Sioland- the fast growing grocery chain in Quezon. 


Part 10:  Lolo St. K


Karl parked IPV in front of Sioland and went down to buy some stuffs, while the rest waits inside the van.  In that period, the Mendoza-Torda kids started to become rowdy and pleaded to eat the espasol.  We tried to reason out with kids that we are near the home base and they could freely eat the native sweets with ease.  However, the kids demand seems un-negotiable that Judith gave in.  Still waiting, the kids started to move around again, talking with such great energy, with thick accent and a volume that echoes inside the van.  The very intuitive Donyalamat started to speak out her observations again uttering “Judith, your kids are true blue Batanguenas.”  Then came in St. K with plastic bag full of chips and two bottles of soda.  Karl once again get hold of the wheels and drive us to Donyalamat’s dwelling place. 


Upon reaching the homebase, Donyalamat immediately head straight to the school playground to check if the place can be used by the Mendoza-Torda kids.  Then she proceeded to the porch to receive the rest of the gangs.  Everyone took the monoblock seat and started to open goodies.  There, it was revealed that true blue Medical Technologist Mother she regulates the habit of eating of junk foods due to UTI incidence.  The kid spoiler lolo instinct of Karl then was set to motion.  He told the kids that now is the time to indulge in the enormous junk food and sodas because back home it is forbidden.  Then bantering followed of how nice it is to swim in the pool under such a hot weather.  But it only made the kids resentful for the smart mommy did not bring any swim wear or changing clothes to prevent the kids for insisting-an excellent device of disciplining.  After having nibbled through a bunch of various spicy and crunchy chips, as well as after having been refreshed by the cold sparkling sweet soda, the kids went off to the playground, AMT girls moved on with the conversations, while the sleepy, tired, kid spoiler lolo Karl went to the Kubo and sleep.


Part 11:  Puno’t Dulo


When the kids were already tired of playing, they went back to their mother and went back nibbling the lolo Karl’s treat.  Karl, invigorated after a catnap got up and join the chit chats.  The topic was the Puno’t dulo of everyone present:


·        Puno’t Dulo of 4AMT90 Yahoo Group


Making a year ending cleaning up of phone directory, Donyalamat started texting her friends verifying if the numbers still exist.  St. K gave an affirmative reply.  With that we started to YM conversation and St. K mentioned the positive  experience regarding his high-school get-together.  From there Donyalamat cooperated in giving out contact numbers and e-mail accounts of classmates in touch with her.  After which 4amtust90 yahoo group was formed.


·        Puno’t Dulo of  Finding Joy Ramos-Igarta


Joy is not difficult to find at all because after graduation Donyalamat frequently visits her in Heart Center after she gave her catechism classes to Philippine Science High School.  Then as time passes, careers and profession changes which brings along change of residences.  It is a good thing that cellular phones came into existence and became very affordable.  So Joy and Donyalamat although less frequently, kept in touch.  The coming of the get-together in Viajero, all the more helped us coped with changing numbers.  Next personal meeting came when they met at the wake of Mrs. Arce where Joy is now Leilani Joy Ramos-Igarta.  Once again an update of new numbers.  After a few years, we met again through 4amtust90yahoo group.


·        Finding Judith


When Cecille Tracker had finally exhausted all the means of tracking through the net.  Donyalamat continued the search.  On August 7, 2008 Donyalamat opened her less active e-mail account in lycos, and there  she found an announcement from Eskwela regarding messages in inbox.  When she opened the account, she was startled to see the name of Judith Mendoza-Torda appeared.  There she read “hi! do u stil remember me? judith mendoza now judith mendoza-torda. just registered a minute ago kaya la p ko pics.hope 2 hear from u soon…” dated September 22, 2007.   A current of excitement was wired through my nerves that DONYALAMAT immediately reply was made telling her of the AMT90 e-group, of the get-together that had passed and my contact numbers.  Then when Donyalamat checked the Judith’s profile it marked that the last time she logged in that account was October of 2007.  Regretful yet hopeful, I decided to announce Judith’s close to discovery to St. K and through the e-group, yet we are only left to pray that Judith will open the mail soon.  Since then my lycos mail becomes active hoping to receive a reply from Judith.  Months passed and James’ get-together was conceived.  On my way to Pampangga, DONYALAMAT have a stop over in Manila for business matters.  As a side trip, DONYALAMAT stopped by PGH hoping to find Judith, but DONYALAMAT was told that she had resigned and moved to Lipa, Batanggas.  The update signal a close to finding her because it only means that she is based here in the Philippines and is 45 minutes away from my home town.  Then, to gain more value for my trip there, DONYALAMAT asked where DONYALAMAT can possibly get her contact number and DONYALAMAT was told to go to the gas station—hehehe DONYALAMAT mean blood gas department (did DONYALAMAT get it right Judith).  There DONYALAMAT waited for thirty minutes until the lady medtech arrives from rotation.  The lady asked for the reason of my inquiry so DONYALAMAT introduced myself and after establishing my credibility she gave out a smart number and Sun Cellular number.  Right after DONYALAMAT gave a call, but all DONYALAMAT heard is the voice recorder saying the number is not attended while the other number gives me a disconnected tone.  DONYALAMAT got partly upset yet remained optimistic that someday Judith will be found.  So Donyalamat proceeded to Pampanga. After the Pampanga and Subic Event,  Donyalamat once again tried her luck with Eskwela and wrote Judith for an invitation to the e-group and sent her the link to the album.   After some time, Donyalamat received an YM alert via mobile phone announcing an invitation from Judith Mendoza-Torda.  In no time did I accepted the invitation and immediately switched to my WAP to catch her on line.  There we had exchange of phone number and soon we are wired through Sun Cellular unlimited call.  The whereabouts of Judith is now known, and soon she is in the e-group.

After such conversations, time has finally declared it is time to go.  The gang entire gang stood up and tidy up the place.


Part 12:  Cherry on top of the Ice Cream

Departure is another simple organization.  How much Donyalamat wants the entire gang would want to drop the Mendoza-Torda family directly to their home but is conscious that it would be tiring for the driver to go forth and back Lipa-Tiaong.  So the plan of having Joyfully give them a lift through her KIA to the jeep terminal was arranged while the two boys stayed behind to be picked up this time when Joyfully comes back.  The trip went smoothly and the Mendoza-Torda family most probably had filled up the remaining empty seats of the jeepney that is cued to roll.  Coming back, the gang bid each others adieu.  Donyalamat, walked back the patio and found all things back in places uttering “very well mannered guests.”  Thank you SMS were sent and the Mendoza-Torda kids put the “cherry on top the ice-cream” reply:

“ We had so much fun and so much food.  Thank you for the wonderful day J Gwyneth madette angelica and jb”

Once again, Donyalamat is left with a lot to ponder about.


Part 13:  VAT

With the birth of burdensome Value Added Tax is the proliferation of Value Added Products in order to augment the ever depleting buying power of Philippine peso.  Foods can now be ordered on line with free deliveries, insurance is now tailored into savings with variables, real estate is now packaged with resort facilities and services, mobile phones now come in with radio, camera and internet access and so on and so forth.  So are humans who conceptualized it all ended up multi-talented, multi-tasked, multi-hired, multi-role played, multi-aliases…etc…etc…etc:


Karl Zafra whose aliases evolved from VP to St.K and now lolo K; whose job shifted from Medical Technologist, to Farm Administrator, School Manager, Restauranteur and now School Superintendent-Farm Administrator in one; whose role changed from eldest son to bread winner (since his father died) to house care taker (hehehe…wala na akong ma-isip e); whose relationship with AMT90 evolved from Vice President to 4amtust90 yahoo group creator-owner-get-together event organizer-PRO-Section A hotline; whose personality metamorphosed from silent introvert to an outspoken-taunt promoter extrovert; whose speech changed from American twang to very deep Filipino vocabulary…etc…etc…etc…


Joy Ramos-Igarta who is known to us as simply Joy R, now is fondly called Joyfully; whose profession shifted from Utra Sound Technician (tama ba yun) to Ultra Sound Technical Sales Representative-Customer Service and Consultant (did I promote you?); whose work place changed from a laboratory to the streets and airways of Philippines; whose role evolved from friend to girlfriend and now wife-friend-girlfriend to Hector; and lastly who was once our poetic cheerful AMT classmate to poetic-joyfull-taunt promoter-coordinator-driver of AMT90.


Judith Mendoza, known to us as little angel is now Judith-Mendoza-Torda the little angel with four cherubims; whose employer changed from Kidney Center to PGH and now San Antonio Hospital; whose hair evolved from emulsified black hair to rebounded-tinted hair; and whose role changed from a sweet single to a smart friendly disciplinarian-barkada-medical technologist mother.


Amidst the fast changing and rapidly increasing cost of living such are the kind we made ourselves to be – Value Added Thomasians






Titanic Fidelity—“A-E” MT90 Get-together

October 20, 2008

Below is unedited write up of the get-together that happened last Sept 14 at Subic=D>….  this is another leisure writing ( no rules, no structures, simply playing with your mediums., and in this case words) -B

Guys, I love what came out of this work so I hope you will read until the end even if it is very long….


Titanic Fidelity



After those sweet confection treats, we were left rejuvenated and energized. James family and I am now ready for a Titanic Adventure.  But before everything else, together with the entire Punzalan clan, we paid due respect to the Great Holy Provider.  Although my phone is in a silent mode in respect to the Holy Banquets my attention were interrupted with 8 consecutive attempted calls from one batch mate.  Alarmed by such odd calling behavior, I attempted to catch the 15th call, but nothing came out from the other end.  Puzzled as I was, I tried texting back with queries of concern and even attempted to call, but nothing was answered and I was left in oblivion.  Nonetheless the show must go on and so after the Holy Mass, we went back to the house for a good breakfast.  James, situated himself beside the kalan and made the batirol de tsokolate espresso (tama nga bay un?), it is a whip of thick chocolate drink.  After having taken the wonderful Filipino breakfast, I sip in the superb heavenly taste of a nutty hot cocoa beverage, concluding the journey of chocolate adventure.  Perked up with such a delightful liquid we were all the more invigorated for a trip ahead of us.  So when all got organized we hop in the car and James steered the wheel.  The trip was a pleasant travel through a verdant carpet of grass and hilly terrain.  Along the long stretch of a pass through, our journey was never a bore, for James spiced it up with a few a repartees, teasing his cute lovely bunso and from time to time his three dalaguitas, while Liza laughs along demurely.  I on my part took the pleasure of remaining as a spectator.  We arrived early, so we texted JC, however, she replied that their kids has just arrived from biking and still pending to attend the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.  Hence, we hang around the Board Walk, and later took a road tour of the forest hoping to see little monkeys that Jaime’s youngest hoped to see.  Along the way, James took on a tourist guide role.  He told us that when he was still a medical representative to the place the skies would be darkened by flying bats that crosses the sky.  Now however, no bats can be found for they have been terrified by the sprouting raucous constructions.  Shortly afterwards half passed a branching road, James spotted the signage of the jungle forest where monkeys would likely be found, so he took the abrupt turn and traffic enforcers apprehended us.  With a few begging and appealing for understanding, the police then gave us a release.  So we headed off through the Jungle and Environmental Survival Training Camp (JEST CAMP) and what came in sight is a wooden veranda structure perched atop the overhang affront towering forest trees.  Assuming that it is a café, James parked the car and we all climbed up balcony.  Upon setting our feet up the balcony we were welcomed by staff fully geared up for rappelling.  In no time, we were shown the map and shown myriads of adrenaline rush adventure.  Apparently there were group of foreign men hanging and rappelling down the 60-foot tree, head down or what they call the Australian style.  Then a scream reverberates from the woods where we saw a woman soar from tree to tree suspended on dorsal position from a cable 450 feet long and 100 feet high.  This they call Ultimate Adventure or simply Superman.  Thrilled with the sight, James offered the girls to give it a try.  The two older ones chose the Ultimate Adventure.  The third in the order of birth would have wanted superman but she is still too small for the gear belts.  Good thing she could fit in the cable chair so she took the Cable Car Tree Top Adventure.  Short of cash yet silent about it I opted to stay at the café simply to relish such a great family bonding sight.  James youngest on the other hand was clamoring to also be given the opportunity of an adventure but she is too young and too small for it so James and Liza pacified her with picture taking activity and sweet caressing.  A little later James asked me to pose for a snap shot and the image came out with a man behind rappelling down the tree upside down, all smiles and waving.  After a quarter of an hour, we saw the eldest already bounded to the cable and wheeze!!! she plummeted across!!! Then the second to the eldest followed.  The two girls took each other pictures while I scamper with my N90 hoping to catch a picture of this wild explore.  In vain did I make it?  Nonetheless, there is so much ahead and more to savor, that is too much for technology to capture.  Then, we hang around waiting for the third born to come back the home base.  After approximately 216,000 seconds have clicked away and no third born daughter has yet returned so everybody became squirmy bored of waiting.  Another thirty 360 degrees turn of the second hand and everybody started to look into the map board and only then did we get to realize that the Tree Top Adventure is a 220 meters long of slow cable ride trail. “No wonder it is taking that much time,”  became a common hum.  A few more minutes’ lapse and the third born child soon emerged.  Everybody sighed in relief, all smiles and the doting father starts taking more pictures of his most adventurous daughter.  Just in time, JC then texted that they are on their way to Vasco, the restaurant where we will dine.  All stepped into the car and rolled all the way to Vasco.  The soon we reached the place and alighted, we saw the Huang-Pascual Family at the entrance of the restaurant.  Seeing us, they all went back to welcome us and exchange handshakes.  It is clear from Ricky’s face that he is delighted to see his former classmate Liza. Then we all went in the restaurant and sat beside a long table.   I would have wanted to take pictures of all the wonderful articles of the restaurant but neither do I want to miss the conversations of the Huang-Pascual and Punzalan-Lugue Family, so I chose to stay and simply listen.  As the kids are already hungry and so are we, we called in the waiter to hand us the menu.  Someone insinuated a T-bone steak but shied away, yet the well mannered Ricky gave a positive response and commented that he would also like to have a T-bone stake.  So the hesitations faded in the sunlight that James and I ordered for such a grand steak.  The rest of the girls pick their choice.  While waiting for the food, the conversation started with the Tree Top Adventure of the girls.  James, while talking, his hands unconsciously toy around with the table bell— a customer device to call the waiter.  As expected, the food server came, and James blushingly apologized.  Then the conversation shifted to the Luxury Liner, to batch rumors, to get-togethers that had passed, to showing pictures of the James Birthday… etc, etc, etc… but my eyes carefully watch the tender paternal affectionate kisses that Ricky showered over his daughter.  I couldn’t grasped such a sight of a man whose image far back then was devoid of any fatherly inkling but rather quite known for being a ladies’ man.  Then came in the scanned yearbook topic, which became one of the most amusing one for James had JC’s son read the write up of his father.  Then we chuckled at the query of JC’s son asking her why is it that at the end they said of Ricky “so ladies beware”?  Ricky smiled with a reply; “I don’t know who wrote that.”  Well, the JC-Ricky combination is indeed a surprising one and so is the James-Liza as well as the RJ-Cielo.  Of these three couples the common denominator is the “chick boy” marrying the silent demure girls.  Of course that makes me an odd girl out.  In this kind of conversation, what is the place of a single unmarried girl— well, again is an spectator.  Who else have the time to record, document and publish these event but someone whose hands are not tied… so voluntarily I remain.  But unluckily the Hung-Pascual Romance never surfaced the tête-à-têtes rather the chat moved to the neuroblastoma common to the two MT90 Section E.  Liza Punzalan one time noticed unevenness of her jaw, when she had it checked she was diagnosed to have ameloblastoma— it is a benign tumor of the mandible, with unknown etiology.  Her seatmate Ricky Pascual on the other hand was diagnosed to have olfactory neuroblastoma.  What is common to this EMT90 seat mate, as I try to follow the conversation, is this type of tumor eats the bones away. Liza, her jaw while Ricky his upper nasal bones (tama ba yun?) So both necessitated medical surgery and bone implants.  JC, due to the rarity of Ricky’s case of only around 600 occurrences around the world and no clinical trials for it, had opted to take him to US for the cranial operation.  James on the other hand, he being in a prestigious pharmaceutical company during that time, chose to bring Liza to Makati, Medical. 


Dramatic, but still amusing, James narrated the line of big time and expensive consultants that attended to Liza.  He recounted how the medical staff wondered at the long digits that James would have kept in the bank account to be able to afford such a big time line up.  But none has charged him for any professional fee; because apparently they are the doctors that James had covered as a medical representative.  Not even the anesthesiologist who is only an acquaintance, for the non-charging line up is indeed intimidating.  Then there is this ETNA that tries to escape from its obligation, good thing there is a doctor friend who with a letter make the company comply.  The travail of such an operation was never a miss in the very sales trained speaking prowess of James.  The story came out quite vivid that I almost come to tears.  Liza has been implanted with titanium to replace the bone that had eroded and that made it difficult to eat.  James, making sure that Liza gets the necessary nourishment tried to spoon feed her.  But Liza with the painful mandible had not wanted to take any.  This has became such an emotional feat for James and the daughters. 


Then the conversation shifted to Ricky.  For whatever reason, that time, Ricky had already left the table, so JC related the trials that went their ways.  She described quite vividly how she had no other way but to really seek moral support from few people she knew in such a foreign land.  Fortunately indeed, Filipino nurses are everywhere in the world that she gets a warm acceptance in the hospital and with such, she got to stay beside Ricky. After the operation, she was immediately told by the doctor that the operation went less bloody that what happened in Manila, yet when she relayed it to Ricky, he commented that he saw four units of blood (if I remember it right) having transfused into him. Ricky had a titanium implant to protect separate the brain from the nasal cavity and bone mimix implant (or bone graft bay yun JC?) to replace the eroded cheekbones.


Then the kids start becoming jumpy that we decided to continue the get-together in Huang-Pascual residence.  But before getting into the car, we pleaded one of the standers by to take a photo of the entire group.  The image came out with cheers except the mischievous faced of little Pascual boy.  The sky started to drizzle but unalarmed we move on our journey.  We reached the house after passing through a long serpentine road along the hills.  The house is a duplex structure used to be a domicile of an American military officer.  We went in that simple architectural structure and we are immediately got dazed with the wide screen television, in front of which a neighbor playmate of JC is’s son playing the Wii.  Ricky immediately offered the Lugue’s girls to give the Wii a try and one who is very much a third born without vacillation gave it a hand.  The Pascual kids were so kind enough to patiently teach the neophyte how the virtual game goes.  As the air is cooling we were offered coffee.  I took a sip and my senses perked up with the charming taste of vanilla coffee.  Then leche flan is served, its cream saccharine taste mirrors the sweet warm welcome given to us by the Huang-Pascual family.  Soon the kids has grown tired and the sky started to dim.  Once again we take a few more snap shots, and then we bid each other adieu.  Outside the house is a downpour, so one buy one we scamper under an umbrella and jumped into the car.  With age however, comes along is the failing memory.  The intricacy of the road to the Huang-Pascual Residence fail to give an impact into our brain cells that no one could remember the way out.  Ricky and JC all willingly lead the us out.  Amidst the downpour we cut through a zero visibility pathway.  Soon enough we reached a gasoline station that James is already acquainted with, the point where we can take off independently.  JC rolled down the window and said goodbye with a requested me for an SMS mobile number of Liza.  After we separate ways, I immediately heed to JC’s request while Liza asked me to dictate JC’s number.  Off we go back to Pampangga.  Hardly had we gotten out of the gate of Subic, James little girl dozed off like a log.  The adults on the other hand carried on a conversation.  I could not utter anything but marvel into the thought of the fact that both couples are an A-E pair.  Liza immediately quipped that RJ-Cleo is likewise an A-E duo.  Then my mind immediately flashed a query of FF-Rachel combo and Liza replied with 90% possibility.  Moments later my mind wonder into the curiosity provoking, juicy rumored pair which I naughtily asked Liza who in turn responded with a giggle giving 100% affirmation to the “A-E ness” of such an odd yet proliferating kind of partnership.  Shortly afterwards the car reached Dau.  To the terminal, I stepped out of the car and boarded a bus back to Manila.  The way trip back home is another moment of pondering.


Cell, we were taught in Biology is the basic building block of human body.  Yet some has mutated and multiplied, becoming one of the most internally destructive tissue, corroding the very skeletal system of a human body, medically known as blastoma and simply known as cancer.  This internal monster has find its way inside some of us, threatening the life of its bearer and an earthquake to the ones that surrounds them.  Thanks to Titanium, an unassuming metal that was never a celebrity in Periodic Table nor did it exist in our Balancing Equation exams, is unknowing to us then of its high strength, low weight, outstanding corrosion resistance and that twenty years later later, it will bring remedy to what blastoma will destroy and give back life to the hope that was fading.


Blastoma, proliferating in an  era of a fast corroding family bonds, could had bullied the the Huang-Pascual and Punzalan-Lugue family, but  the stronger and mightier Titanic fidelity to the promise of “in sickness and in health”  has successfully outwitted it.    





Sept. 13, 2008 MT90 Get-together

October 12, 2008

Part 4:Dark Confections

Tall dark and handsome remains to be the yummy factor that definitely makes ladies drool over.Chocolate, a handsome dark confection; giant of sweet creamy tastes would definitely water the mouth of even the most arid ones.So who would not want to wake up early on the day of myriad treats?

James, the birthday celebrant, thankful of the blessed years that had passed and the great possibilities that await him, attended the Holy Mass at 6:00 in the morning.I on the other hand despite my excitement, stayed in the room to replenish the energy lost due to yesterday’s lengthy travel and to catch up with the shortened sleep due to the roarings of giant nocturnal metal birds as they cross the sky.Yet an hour after, I got up and took a hefty breakfast, while James, takes pleasure playing with his cute little niece.After the morning meal, I tried my luck to amuse the lovely girl, but am no charm to this tiny tot for in haste did she turned her face away from me.Frustrated, I decided to wash up and get ready for the occasion.Momentarily, Dr. Ricky Deang texts me from time to time, asking for landline number of Liza, how many batch-mates coming and how many have already arrived.Then, after all has been set on my part, I went out to scan the function venue and started taking picture of the place.

The place is the Resident house of the Punzalan family.For security reasons, Liza’s siblings decided to live together within the compound of their parent’s property which gives the place a very homey atmosphere.Due to a very spacious yard, the neighboring catering business establishments have been using their lot for functions.With the growing demands, the Punzalan siblings decided to build a covered function facilities to accommodate events.Aside from the wide Function Hall, the Punzalan Reception Facilities are beautifully accessorized with a small circular pool that is framed within a beautifully landscaped garden and enchanted with a small lashing water fall. This area is perfect for picture taking.At the other end of the hall are two sets of restrooms that are spacious and clean in its interior (actually di ko naman nakita ang boys room—hehehe). Catering services may also be arranged for the brother of Liza is such a wonderful chef.

While waiting for the rest to come, James set up the mini-laptops on the table for a web-cast get-together.I on the other hand put my fingers to work again, inviting batch mates to be on line.A little later Dr. Ricky Deang once again texted that he cannot be around for lunch because he was called to the hospital for a CS case.Karl however send an SMS to James saying that he is already on the road.Then James decided to take a snap shot of the two of us in order toupload it in our e-group, so that the rest of the classmates will have an immediate view of what is going on despite the fact that they cannot be in Pampangga.Shortly afterwards, lunch is served and none of the batch mates has yet arrived.  But I could no longer pacify my grumbling stomach , startsng to threat in eating me inside out, so I said goodbye to my heroism and hello to all the food laid before me.There were five chafing dishes in a raw filled with great food that I did not bother to ask their names for the python inside me is already positioned for an attack, ready to gulp in whole its pray.Nonetheless there is a dish that needs no introduction for its superb taste is indeed recognizable and left a lasting impression in the cerebrum (diba duon ang memory cells?).After the python has had her fill, St. K arrived with a crescent lips and a pair of slit eyes.James and St. K had a wonderful hand shake and then St. K was immediately lead to the buffet table.I on the other hand remains on a look out for any batch mates who will get on line or at least who will send an SMS.While St. K is taking his meal, I got connected through unlimited call of SUN with Jacqueline Mariano. With James, Karl and me had a wonderful time teasing and kidding around.Sad thing my phone for SUN network does not have a loud speaker feature that would enable mobile conferencing.After Jack hanged up, James started to tell stories of his Luxury cruise ship work experiences.James story is quite entertaining that I don’t mind hearing it the second time.Had I been given the same chance as James, I would have created a book of such a wonederful work exposure.His work, despite a blue collar in its classification, is a type that enables him from time to time to get to the places where the rich and famous hover; use the first class hotel facilities; and get to eat the finest gastronomic meals…mind you all for free.But of course, this is only made possible by working 24/7 in the middle of the sea, far away from his family.Yet, it shouldn’t be missed that the Filipino Father  ingrained in his very fiber, from time to time, would render computer repair paid service to his colleagues (who buys high end computers of great features but only knows how to use it for games) in order to raise more funds for the family.Soon darkness starts to creep in the sky, so before the pool becomes engulfed with darkness, James had us pose beside the pool, sets the time of  camera shutter, and joined the group for a picture of Karl, James Liza and Me.Before evening came, Dr. Ricky Deang arrived.Karl motioned that he doesn’t know him so I briefed him that Dr. Ricky Deang is from section H, in family medicine, and has been making the MT90 e-group active with his forwarded messages (take no offense Ricky, with your forwarded messages it makes us know that you are still alive and kicking).Ricky exchanges handshake with us, joined the conversation and soon spiced it up with a few anecdotes of nurse trainees passing out…There is one who pulled out all the drapes along with her falling and another one who broke a surgeon’s/OB’s finger.Then St. K inserted some stories of ailments that comes with age, the education or college course trends,matriculation and tuition fees… etc. etc. etc… I opted to remain silent trying to savor everything.A little later JC Huang texted that she could no longer make it because her husband, Rick Pascual’s work ended late, but her Subic invitation remained open.Then early supper was served and all stood up to get to the buffet table…. James started taking photos again and so Karl, Ricky and I came out of the picture beside the buffet counter.As we move on with our chit chat over dinner, Ricky’s cellular phone beeped announcing that her youngest daughter is already asking to be picked up from a party in order to bring her home.So Ricky must bid his farewell.An hour later, Karl also has made his adieu and handed out his wine gift.While I stayed for another night, determined for a Subic appointment with the Huang-Pascual.Then when all of James’ guests have left we call it a day and went to bed looking forward to meeting JC the next day.

September 13, 2008 MT90 get-together is a chocolate box of true confections; Karl is indeed a chocolate coffee mint praline, a classic preparation ever so cool yet always provoking; Dr. Ricky Deang is a no additive dark chocolate candy rich in flavanols—a medically proven factor that is good for the health, a safe candy indulgence for kids, a nd a very accessible medication; James and Liza is a chocolate praline of coconut cream filling.James, like the coconut fruit can cross through the Pacific Ocean afloat without getting unscathed while Liza is like a cream that gives a delightful soft velvety feel.With this coconut cream filling your taste buds will be at home with its distinct tropical yet adventurous flavor.As for me, I leave the analogy to those who knew me and who read my work, because one cannot be a true judge of self.While the rest, yet remains as dark secrets.

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