Wednesday, April 28, 2010


When I was diagnosed with the big C, I told a lot of my friends [but not all] about it so that I can get inputs on alternative foods and ways to fight it. One of the top answers was lemon grass... tanglad or salay for some in tagalog. Even if I was cleared after the CT scan and the CA 125 tests, I am still trying very hard to avoid those foods that are to be avoided and eat those that are good for me. And I tell you, it is so effin' hard, especially for people like me who loves to eat.

It was hard to look for this plant. Well, at least not as easy as it is to look for malunggay leaves which we have right in front of our house.

It was an opportunity when Anilag Festival came. We bought it for Php 20.00 and planted it in front of our house and across - a vacant lot. This is the one on the vacant lot.

We harvested our first set of leaves and made tea the other day. I swear the taste is exactly the same as the palamig/gulaman that my Lola used to make for us for merienda. For those interested, preparation is rather easy. Just take about 10 pieces of the leaves, wash it and cut the topmost and the bottom part then boil it for about five minutes. You can add sugar if it suits you. It really tastes great!

As for the medical benefits, I leave it up to you to google it, because posting it here might bore some who are not really up to it. Just type lemon grass.

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Monday, April 26, 2010

Three Questions

I am sad.

I received a message today that a dear friend of mine passed away last night. She has been fighting cancer for quite some time now, and I could say that it was a good fight.

We never really met, although we've been talking to each other for years now. If I am not mistaken, we met around year 2000 online and I think the communication was unintentionally broken somewhere around 2004 or 2005 when I kinda went offline most of the time. Then, I think we rekindled our communication when our friend succumbed to cancer I think in 2006. She was the one who broke the news to me. But the communication stopped there again.

We found each other again on Facebook last year. At that time, I have been seeing her updates and I thought I always saw something more than what she said. But I didn't ask. I learned to respect other people's different ways of dealing with whatever they are going through, so I figured it best to just let it be.


Until that time that she heard that I was on the same boat with her. I, too was diagnosed of the big C but was cleared after my December CT Scan. I got a message from her inquiring about my condition, replied that I am 'off the hook' and asked her how was it to be in this roller coaster ride. We called it 'our roller coaster ride' because we find it awkward to call it cancer. I asked how it was like to be in the ride longer than I have just been. She never really answered the question directly, but we started to talk about a lot of things. After a while, for some reason, we moved to e-mailing. Chatting was never our choice anymore. We found it more convenient to e-mail. And since it's not like we know each other personally and that we have yet to know more, we eventually wrote on our e-mails' subject: Three Questions. This is a move I initiated. On each e-mail, I could ask three questions about anything about her.

The only thing I feel like saying is the answer to this question: What is the newest thing you own? She said: pants and pullovers and a blue Samsonite shoulder bag. I colored it red because that's how she answers my e-mails. She inserts it in my letter and colors it red to signify that it's her reply.

My last question to her was: How was your summer when you were young? (I'm sure this would be worth more than three questions.)

She never got to answer this. But I got one last group e-mail from her for April. She wasn't pretending she was fine, nor was she pretending she was sick. It was just an update.

On her March update (a group e-mail again), she ended it with hoping for better days.

Now, she's gone.

And I still hope for better days.

My friend, here's to our happy, sad, roller coaster ride.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

From those who promised, they were the only ones who made it.

They are two of the quite few friends I made in Dubai. Months ago, we talked about their vacation and their plans to come over our place. I noted it, but didn't expect. I got a message from them the day before yesterday that this day is the only day they have for the visit. I wasn't really so much prepared for this, but I was and is glad that they made it. We all wished they had more time. We had a great lunch and they had to go by three o'clock. Of all those people that told me they'll come, only these two made it. Awesome!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Rattled Snake

We were having a normal night. I was online tweeting and all and my sister was half-watching the tv, half-dozing. Suddenly, our dog Pepe cried an unusual bark. So, since it's not the playful cry, my sister peeped at the screen door to check.

It was a snake!

I admit it I got a little tense because back in my call center days, I , too, saw a snake just outside the room I was staying in Manila (yeah, in Manila... right beside the South Mall in Alabang). I really didn't know what to do. It's a good thing my sister was kinda used to it. She took a long bamboo stick they used for something else and took out a chair where she could stand and started hitting the snake.

She kept on striking and striking and striking until the head was crashed. Our cat, Dinky, and our dog, Pepe, kept on the sides until my sister stopped striking. Both pictures were actually taken after she stopped striking. But while this shot was being taken, the snake was still moving, trying to fight for its life. I think I asked my dad three or maybe four times if it's already dead because it was still moving even if its head was totally crashed. Dad said that it's really like that and will continue moving for a while. So, we watched while our pets Pepe and Dinky was kinda playing with the poor snake.

When it finally laid still, my sister and I took it outside and while we were trying to catch our breath inside the house, we were trying to figure out if our cat Dinky brought it here to play for it. But, when we saw the snake first time, it didn't have any clues that Dinky tried to strike the poor snake. Well, another snake got here a long time ago but it was already wounded. A sign that Dinky just brought it in to play with it. We know that cats don't eat snakes. They just capture it and play with it till it's dead. So, we concluded that by the looks of the snake, it wasn't like Dinky brought it in as her playmate but some rattled snake that happened to drop by our house. Unfortunately, not for something else, but to perish. Another example of being at the wrong place at the wrong time.

I think we were left without any choice. Either we kill or get killed.

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Thursday, April 15, 2010

A for Attitude

Dad had cataract extraction this morning. It was a simple process. It took him only fifteen minutes inside the room. The wait was even longer because there were a lot of patients that are also waiting.

This program is open to all, but we see mostly senior citizens. The major requirement is that you must have a PhilHealth card to avail of the services. We prepared the documents required and just sent a message to the medical assistant telling her that the requirements are ready and she'll give us a schedule. No need to go there again for that. It saves a lot of time and money for our part. Good service.

I want to commend the people who organized this program. We see how it benefits these people who are getting blind, nearly blind, almost blind and totally blind from cataract. [I didn't take pictures since this is one of the things that I jut don't feel like doing.] It has helped a lot of people ever since I think September last year.

The second thing I want to commend is the way the medical assistant, Danica, has been very patient with the patients who are mostly senior citizens. We have been through a lot of business, organizations, government institutions, private and public hospitals. Most of the service really sucks. But I don't want to talk about it because I know it's obvious for most of us, if not all. Danica is very patient with the patients' questions which I believe had been asked to her a hundred (or more) times. She patiently assists patients who do not have companions and patiently guides them through the medical process. This also holds true with the rest of the team. They, too, have been very patient in dealing with all of us there.

The team is composed of very young people. One thing that is most admirable. I believe we have a stereotype (and this is true) with young people nowadays being hot-and-short-tempered when it comes to old people. But this team, age range is probably 25-30, handles the patients very gently, nicely and pleasantly. I never heard them raised their voices or smirk or frown not even once during the whole time that we were there, which was from 9:00 am - 12:00 nn. When we left, there were still several patients waiting for their turn.

I have been talking about this on my twitter account since yesterday and I got responses that this is quite rare, and I agree! If all young people have this kind of attitude, we the older generations could expect that we will be treated pleasantly during our later years. I want to know how parents raise these kind of kids. I want to know how to teach a child one of the important values, if not the most, which is RESPECT. They deserve an A for bringing up their kids in a very good way. As for this children, they also deserve an A for learning how to obey their parents and accept the values.

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Wednesday, April 14, 2010

E. R.

This happened about a few weeks ago.

I visited a friend who is sick. Her husband was sick, too. We were having a good, afternoon conversation, until the time came that the husband asked to be brought to the hospital for severe stomach pain. We went straight to the E.R. of the provincial hospital with a couple of her relatives and house helps. It turned out that one of her relatives met a friend who was at the E.R. at that time. The chit-chat with her co-teacher took a while that we thought of asking her what was that all about.

Later on, here is the story. Co-teacher passed by a mother and her barely-a-month-old daughter hailing for a ride somewhere along an isolated road. Co-teacher took them to the hospital, but while on the way, of course, a short chat took place. We learned that the husband left them for good and that the infant was having difficulty breathing that's why she's taking her to the hospital.

At the hospital, the co-teacher couldn't just leave them. She stayed there; that's the reason why my friend's relative saw her. Co-teacher bought food for the mother, left some money because the infant needs some tests and medicines. But what co-teacher gave wasn't enough. So relative told us the story. She said the infant was such a beautiful girl. She said that she gave Php 100 to the mother. She was teary-eyed while telling the story because her heart goes for the mother and her child. She said that she wanted to give some more, but she has to think of her child, too.

I couldn't get this story out of my mind. Having gone through a medical condition myself, I feel for people like her. It's a good thing though, that there are still good souls out there who are willing to do something for people they don't know no matter how small this may be.

I told this story to a friend because she's been looking for ways on how to give a hand. But I understand that she's being too cautious on who to extend her helping hand. She doesn't want her hard-earned money to go to the wrong hands.

So, I told her, and now I am telling you, that maybe, the best place to go to if you really want to give a hand is the E.R. of a government hospital. There, you will be sure that people really need money. This is the place where people need to go when they do not want to, when they are not prepared to. This is the place where you can be rest-assured that the hand that you're willing to extend will truly make a difference - a difference as much as between life and death.

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Monday, April 12, 2010

Monday Musings

I haven't walked even a day last week. The week was kinda loaded that I feared that it would rob me of the strength to last me through the long days. Today, I am supposed to but didn't. I must admit I got a little lazy again.

I went to the courier service to get a quote for those three books that I am hoping to sell before this week ends. But I am not very hopeful on that since I discovered that they do not have a branch at the town where these books are supposed to go. The nearest would be either Antipolo or Angono; and my buyer is just supposed to pick it up. I really wonder how it would be if there is a very efficient courier system here in our country. Now that online shopping is on its way to the top, these guys should get their acts together to think about a more efficient service. We currently enjoy the pleasant service of their very nice crews, not to mention that theirs is the lowest rate of those available here in our town. JRS should reinvent itself, now that the business seems to be gaining a lot of market.

I found this website on Twitter where you can search for your precinct in preparation for the upcoming May elections. I immediately looked for my dad's and sister's and quickly found them. Unfortunately, I couldn't find mine. So, this answers my doubts that I was struck out of the list. I was disenfranchised during the last presidential elections. The irony of it all is that I was a PPCRV volunteer at that time. What happened was there was a list that came out a day before the elections where I couldn't find my name. I wondered but, like any other ordinary citizen, what could I do? So, I let it be and did my duty. At about one o'clock that afternoon, there was another list from the Comelec wherein I found my name. But since I was a volunteer, things were already busy at that time so I didn't vote. For this 2010 elections, I was able to register as an overseas voter, but a medical condition made me go home and prevented me from getting myself registered. You might be wondering who I will vote for if I can vote but I'd rather keep it to myself.

Still on these 2010 elections, we (since I am helping my Dad and sis decide on whom to vote) are now contemplating on the senators. But we are still somewhat clueless as to who are running. My sister is now very eager to make her list, but we cannot get the names. I said there will be. But when? Well, they normally come out a day or two before the day. But is there anyway for ordinary people like us to get hold of the names and their parties at this point in time?

My beloved dog, Pepe
The night before last night, I dreamed of a blue snake. I was riding a bike and it was getting in my way. I couldn't remember anymore what I did, but after I got over it, the next scene was my old video store. Inside, there is a fridge full of M&M's. Last night, it wasn't such a good dream. I dreamed that their preparing to cook my dog for pulutan and I was crying like hell. I wonder what makes me remember my dreams right now. Ever since I got home from Dubai and had the operation, I don't even remember remembering my dreams. I don't even remember if I was having dreams at all. Now, I wonder if this is a good sign or if it is a good thing at all. The snake dream is rather a good thing to remember since they say dreaming of snakes is a lucky thing. But dreaming about your dog getting cooked is something you'd rather not remember, right?

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Monday, April 5, 2010

This Special Week

I wanted to start with what we call the Palm Sunday. But everything else was really uneventful. But then, I wasn't expecting anything eventful for this week. I just wanted to rant about a few things that happened. So I might as well just rant away.

~ On Holy Tuesday, we went to our Dad's home, in his hometown in Paete, Laguna. It was good to see my cousins, nephews and my only uncle by my dad. This is the biggest family we have, since on Mom's side, we only have two cousins, their dad, and a spinster aunt (oh, then what do you call an unmarried uncle? Or is spinster is what you call an old-maid aunt?) Anyway, I had a good time there but since it's a little far from where we stay, we got to get started going home early.

~ On Good Friday, I joined the yearly Prusisyon ng Bayan. I wasn't prepared to finish it giving my condition. We are all a little apprehensive but I was surprised, too, realizing that I was able to go through it. In my mind while I was walking, I was always thinking, "You have to finish as strong as you have started." I did, but I realized that I was dead tired by the time I lied down my bed. I tried to compare the body ache with the pain I used to have after our Holy Week climb at Mount Banahaw and it's somewhat the same to me.

~ My cousin from the States arrived on Black Saturday. I wanted to go to the airport to pick her up but decided against it because I might tire myself too much and that might not be good for me yet. So, we just decided to wait for her till she gets home to Paete, Laguna. It was a surprised that they got back earlier than expected. I was like having regrets because I didn't go, but then again, you know how the traffic situation is here in our country. So, almost all of us had dinner together and before we know it, it was time to go. This time, we have a transpo so going home late is not much of the problem.

~ Sunday brought a little surprise for me. Most of you know that I am supposed to get this job that I turned down the last minute for some issues. Yesterday, I saw one of my supposedly co-worker from that job. She is doing field work and she's not supposed to, given the nature of our job description. So, I asked her how things are and she said she transferred to field work since the database that we were supposed to work on isn't complete yet. Out of the ten agents as starters (which went down to nine after I backed out), only three were left and they all transferred to field work. So, this answered my long-time (since I backed out) question of what-if I joined? I think I made the right decision of backing out, since I can't do field works yet.

~ I am going out after this rant. I have like three inquiries for the books that I listed on my eBay account, and that's only for this week (well, it IS a record for me lol). This is also a surprise to me. It was really a tough decision to sell my books. But then again, I really think I should because I just don't want them to rot here like what happened to a lot more of my books years before. Also, we don't have much space for a shelf to keep it. That goes without saying that I could use the sales to buy more books to read. Oh well, on a positive note, it pays to see that someone else is interested in the books that I have so wanted for a long time and took a while to get. There's one buyer who bought my Hannibal trilogy saying that she's a book collector and was looking for this series. I wanted to say, "Oh gurl, I hear you. I've so wanted to get all these three books altogether." The fact is, I had a hard time getting all these three from second hand book shops. And when I finally got it, I googled and asked around which book am I supposed to read first.

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Saturday, April 3, 2010

A Special Kind of Friday

This one of the reasons why it still feels to be home at this time of the year. This is the time to really look inside us and think about those things that happened to us - good and not-so-good. The past two years that I was away, I looked back during those times that I was part of this event. True, there were parts of our life that we spent this time up north, meaning the beaches. But we got over it.

There were also times that we went to the mountains to reflect on everything, too. Lying on the ground up on the mountain, the sea on one side and mountains on another, the stars upon you, you feel small, but overwhelmed in so many ways. I did it for five consecutive years. I had the fear of heights and nothing felt so bad as the first time. And then it was almost gone. After a bad fall at the place they call the Kalbaryo (Calvary), I didn't go the years after. I don't know if it was a bad decision to stop. But even if I want to, Mount Banahaw was closed for about ten years for restoration. I think I will have to find out if it is open again. I feel like I'm missing the mountains, and the feeling of awe in being there, without most of the conveniences.

This year is a very significant year. Having gone through an operation, the sad news of the biopsy, and then the gift of the CT scan result, there is no other reason for going except to thank HIM that I am: Admiring the little things around me, the joy of reading books, the laughter of a sit-com, to feel for other people's sorrows, and much more.

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