What’s up, doc?

Finally Bacolod at past 11noontime!
From Roxas, my brother Jake and I left at 7am, taking an L300 van that would take us to Iloilo City. After nearly three hours, we transferred to a jeepney that took us about 15mins to Muelle Loney St., where the pier is. After the usual hassle of getting tickets and bag inspections, we boarded the Supercat, a fast-jet that would take us to Bacolod City in less than an hour. Years ago, when I was still in university, it took 2 hours via slow boat to get to Bacolod. So now it’s fast eh? Great. At this day and age, people are rushing to do things, to reach their destinations, even young people rushing to grow up. What’s the rush?

Trip was good, pretty uneventful. The sun’s out, perfect for this boat ride. For some reason, Jake and I were a little motion-sick after the fast-jet docked in Bacolod in just under an hour. We sat down at the terminal for a while before calling Doc Sharon who was expecting us. While resting, I was happy to see that the Banago port improved a lot. Cleaner and more organized. No more of the obnoxious porters around.

Sharon was still taking a shower when we arrived at the hospital. She is doing her residency and had just finished her shift. While waiting for her, I had the chance to look around the pediatric section of the hospital. Pretty much a typical government hospital. Lots of patients at the free ward, with patients seemingly sharing beds. At least the ward is clean. There were old, dilapidated buildings. Some abandoned, others still used. A few were also under construction. Lindy, the Pedia section secretary, told me that the constructions were started last year, before the elections, but apparently the candidate associated with the hospital lost. Hence, the unfinished buildings. A little later, Sharon emerged! You’ll never recognize her as doctor at a quick glance, especially when she’s not in her doctor uniform. But she’s every inch a doctor when you see her attend to her patients.

Over a hearty lunch of inasal na manok (grilled chicken)and garlic rice at one of Bacolod’s manukan houses (chicken-houses which Bacolod is so well-known for), we talked about university life and beyond. Who got married, and who married who, who’s dating who, who worked where, what happened to our crushes, teachers, enemies, etc. In between bites of chicken leg, we laughed and giggled. She’s the same Sharon I know: determined, funny, and full of optimism that someday her prince shall come. The last time I saw her was in 1997 (7 long years!) when she was still in medical school in Cebu City. I, on the other hand, was working for ABS-CBN Naga City.

Bestfriends, then and now
Sharon and I in our boarding house in Cebu City, early 90s.
Bestfriends, then and now
Sharon and I, in 2004, more than 10 years after the other picture was taken.

Anyway, Sharon was my roommate for almost 4 years, aside from being classmates in most GE (general education) subjects in UP for the first two years of our university life. We lived, ate, shopped together, borrowed money from each other, exchanged notes, gossiped, shared secrets, heartaches, as well as successes big and small. Doc Shao has been my confidante for quite some time now, and I thank her for that. Religion did not come in between us, she, a Baptist, and me, a Catholic. We respect what the other was and could not. But what drew us together was the desire to achieve something. This stemmed from the fact that her two older sisters were already degree holders (one a law student, now taking the bar exams as of this writing, and the other a CPA)when we were studying; and I, being the eldest in the family and trying to set an example for my younger siblings. Our parents became friends as well even after our university days.

Despite not seeing each other for 7 years, thanks to modern ICT, we have maintained contact through email and text. But both have the same sentiments for snail mail so we send mails from time to time. Actually we’re perfect for each other, perfect 10! Right, Shao? She promised she’ll be my future children’s doctor. So what’s the point of this seemingly senseless blog? Wala lang. Just that, real friendships last. You can make new friends, and keep the old. Someday they might be useful to you. Bwahahahaha. Seriously, madamo guid nga salamat, Sha, sa pila ka tuig naton na pag-amigahay. Life in UP would never be the same without you.

Getting Ready for the Holidays!

Okay, at this hour the room is a mess and I am still packing. It’s about 6 hours before my flight. hah. In state of panic now. In two hours or so, I need to finish packing, tidy up the house and catch some sleep. Seems like a tornado hit the room and everywhere is messy :D.

Getting ready for my homeleave
Less than an hour to go before 5am and still packing.
Getting ready for my homeleave
Finally, bags are packed and ready to snooze.
Getting ready for my homeleave
Holy water from Lourdes, France sent by R.

I need to put R’s package (for Momsie)in the luggage. But before I do that, look,R, postmarks still intact, as per your instruction. 😀 . Momsie would be pleased, that means a thousand pogi points in your favor.

What else?? Passport… check. Tickets… check. Wait, asan ang ID ko? Ngapala, it’s in my waistbag, together with some spare cash. Whew, buti na lang! thought I was going to go through my stuff again, one by one. After a few more rounds of combing through the stuff, I decided everything’s ready and the day is done for me. Tomorrow, I mean, in a few hours, holiday starts. Sleep is now calling me… in a few hours, I will be in Manila… lie haoy, Cambodia… mabuhay, Philippines, here I come!!

Samut-saring kwento

The clock is now ticking loudly to the day that I will be … well, home!
Exactly 2 days from now. So let me see… I really need to check my to-do list before I go home. Here goes:
1. Finance situation for 2005 (chart) (done)
2. Set up meeting with Canada Fund (done)
3. CFI proposal letter (revision of budget) (done, with positive result)
4. Canada Fund concept paper (all projects in one)
5. Fundraising activity outline
6. Make sure the Annual Report is sent to everyone in the list (partially done)
7. TMA2 Media survey (maybe finish at home)
8. Buy silk cloths for Momsie, polo for Bigboy, Cambodian tshirts for Lab
9. Pay house rent and electricity and phone bills
10. See Kunthea, my Khmer language teacher, before she leaves for India (one-year study)
11. Pick up the software CDs from Ate Susan (to send to Davao City thru LBC)
12. Call up Badette (about her padala for her parents)

***

Mao Vy and me, on a cyclo.
Mao Vy and me, on a cyclo.

I saw Mao Vy today. She’s gained weight, and she looks happy. I didn’t get to talk to her that much because I was riding the cyclo (see picture) and she was on her moto probably on her way home. Just enough to say soksapbay (how are you) and lie haoy (goodbye).

Mao Vy used to be the finance officer in the office (Mlup Baitong). She was efficient and rather good at keeping Mlup Baitong’s finances in order, but her bad attitude overshadowed her good work performance. She’s younger than me but looks older because she’s masungit and definitely has no person-to-person skills, which is a must if you are an NGO worker.

Every single staff, from the cleaner to the Project Officers and to the Coordinator, is at odds with her. That’s why she has no friends at the office. Nobody asked her to go out and eat or hang out on Friday nights. No one invites her to any lunch outs during weekends. Poor girl. Anyway, I think she’s happier now that she’s not working with us anymore. Months after leaving MB, she got married to an American (huh!) and I heard she’s only waiting for her visa to arrive so she could join her husbie in USA. Good for her. By the way, the girl in pink in the picture is Mao Vy. Amanda took this while we were on our way to a wedding. All prettily made up and riding a cyclo to a wedding. Hah.

***
Borrowed from MizBelle’s blog:

“Don’t go for looks; they can deceive. Don’t go for wealth; even that fades away. Go for someone who makes you smile because it takes only a smile to make a dark day seem bright. Hope everyone finds the one that makes them smile.”

Remote date

I found this blog entry stashed in my junk stuffs. Somehow I have forgotten to post this, so here it is now.
**
11 July 04

R is now in France. And true to his words, he is taking me along with him, virtually, that is. Somehow I am amazed at how Internet and text messaging is allowing me to go wherever he goes, to see what he sees, to hear what he hears and to feel what he feels.

After crossing Channel Islands in Guernsey (England) to St. Malo then to Dinan (France), he is now in a town called Britanny. Finding a campsite is not that difficult as there are thousands of campsites in France! Before settling down, he decided to go further to explore Foret de Paimpont, also known as Broceliande, or Camelot. Images of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table and the Quest for the Holy Grail came to my mind when I heard Camelot! Yes indeed. Foret de Paimpont is about 20 miles southwest of Rennes, is all the remains of the once extensive Forest of Brocelainde, the heart of Breton Arthurian Country. Here can be found the L’ Etang de Comper (Lake of Comper), which adjoins a castle of the same name.

We sort of had a “remote date” tonight in L’ Etang de Comper (was it?). It wasn’t like any other lake, nor was it any other kind of date. It was the lake mentioned in the Tales of King Arthur found in the ancient foret de Paimpont, and I was there with R. Virtually. We didn’t dress up for the occasion. There was no romantic dinner and no schmaltzy tunes as well. Just the sound of nature. We were thousand miles apart- me in my Phnom Penh apartment, and him in Foret de Paimpont- but connected by this technology called texting and Internet. I looked the place up in the Internet (thank you, Google) while he described how it was, by text messaging. The rustling trees in the forest, hovering birds, chirping cicadas, the placid lake with occasional rippling waves, the lone man fishing in the lake, the sound of children’s laughter at a distance, the smell of onions and barbecue. I could almost see and hear and smell and feel everything he saw and heard and smelled and felt too.

The place is really beautiful, judging from the pictures in the Internet. I never knew that France has such a lovely countryside. Like sceneries from fairy tales. Romantically medieval. Medievally romantic. Whatever 🙂 That’s what comes to mind and I am certainly sure that men who bring their ladies there are guaranteed to win their ladies’ hearts! All the essential ingredients for a romantic rendezvous are there. Hope I can go there someday. It’s too beautiful place not to be visited. Will add France to my list of dream destinations.

R said he was sitting on the east side of the lake watching the sun go down, while I looked at this picture of the sunset on the net. Nice. No other words said but the effect was profound. Thanks R. Will look forward to my France adventure. Someday. \:D/ 😡

R and R

Ranting and raving. That’s what it is. And is that what I am doing now?

After almost five days of editing the 1st semester report for a donor from Scotland (SCIAF), I can now sleep well and early tonight. It’s DONE. wohoo!! Cause for celebration, I am going to treat myself to Chinese food and a tall glass of milk-and-tea flavored bubble tea at ChitChat. Great. Tomorrow I will start doing my Dev Com 202 assignment, which is a media survey. Note: deadline Aug 7. Darn. One task done, and here comes another. When will I ever have a normal life? As if, hello! This is my normal life.

I called home again and was RELIEVED to hear that Popsie’s fine. By the time I was told of his condition, Popsie was already at home and fighting over the remote control with my pregnant sister. Doctors prescribed him medicine (tons) which I hope he’ll take religiously. Knowing my father… the moment he feels fine, he’d stop taking the pills. Wait till I come home. I haven’t booked my tickets yet, because the Finance people asked me to get 3 quotations from travel agencies. Just following office policy, of course I obliged since the office is paying for my travel expenses. Salamat sa donors: Oxfam Great Britain, Community Forestry International and SCIAF for their support to my homeleave expenses… hehehe. I’ll be leaving on the 14th or 15th. I’ll be arriving in Manila at around 7pm and my sister Lab, who’s working in Angeles City, and her boyfriend, will pick me up at the international airport in Manila and we will all go to the PAL airport for our early morning flight the following day to Roxas City- home sweet home!! But it’s still two weeks away…so back to work.

Surprise! Surprise! R’s postcards from Lourdes, France came in today. Thank you, thank you. They’re all beautiful. I put them all in one nice album so I won’t lose all that he sent to me. Will scan some and post here later 😀 Hey, wherever you are… Momsie says thanks a lot. Apart from the postcards, fafa R also sent me a bottle of holy water plus dozens of postcards from England and France and other souvenirs for my Momsie. Aba, siling ni Bigg, wala pa man gani nagapalapad na siya sang papel. I forgot to mention, he even offered to send me a bottle of duck pate, a French delicacy. Eew. Thanks R, but I don’t eat members of Donald duck’s family. 😀

lancesmlIn other news, well… stale news that is… Lance Armstrong won his 6th Tour de France title, a new record set by this charming American. I was surprised to learn that he is dating Sheryl Crow 😮 😮 Well, Sheryl will sing Lance some cheering or inspirational songs while he’s chasing his 7th TDF race :D, that is, if they are still together by that time. Anyways, he has new book “Every Second Counts)coming out sometime this year. Now that’s a biker… like fafa R. Enough of the R and R. Waiting for R’s R and R too.

New Year

It’s been a while since I last wrote, and now it’s 2004! So many things have happened, as usual. Last week of December, or December itself, has been very hectic. The usual radio staff production meetings and out of town interviews, the annual program assessment and planning and the highlight so far, the trip to Malaysia!!

kl twin towers
A visit to the KL Twin Towers and KLCC Mall highlighted my trip to Malaysia.

Can you believe it? Well, I have to.
If I look back at my past 29 years, those were full of uphill battle for finding my place in this corner of the world. Despite this, I feel truly blessed for God has given me a second lease in my professional life. Mlup Baitong has hired me as a full time Coordinator for the Environment and Radio Advocacy Program (ERAP). Isn’t this a reason to be thankful for?

This is Krom Muthieta enjoying the cruise along Koh Kong's mangrove forest.
This is Krom Muthieta enjoying the cruise along Koh Kong’s mangrove forest.

Note: For some weird reason, my earlier entries before this mysteriously disappeared.