Wanted: mass commentator

Oct. 14, 2006, Saturday

It’s been long since I aspired being a commentator in Greenbelt Chapel. Way back, I was able to serve in Stop and Shop parish as a lector, together with my cousin. I think it is about time to return the favors again.

T’is then that I asked for a job – He granted.
T’is then that I asked comfort – He extended His arms.
T’is then that I just like to waste away time – He was just there. ;-).
T’is then that I cast worries – He never complained.

Days before that day, I was uneasy coz I had work. Blessing that our machine underwent maintenance so Saturday was made our rest day! Then I was able to attend the audition for mass commentator. Blessing again, I think I passed!…

Thanks my dear God. I am happy to serve you again! This dream has related dreams… If He’d allow, I’d to like serve even more people. The needy on the top… These are my big dreams… In my own little way now, I do… Till this “little” gets big…

During and after the audition, my hand played the camera. Here are those:


I arrived late! They were already grading other applicants. Each one has to read a passage on the spot.


The price of unconditional love


“How much do you love me?”
“Take my cup and carry my cross.”










Flowers for Her




Offers for the big Boy

Medical Mysteries: Conditions and cases that have baffled doctors

I borrowed from MSN. Call center agents, check on Fatal Familial Insomnia below. It says, just a single night of missed sleep, you can expect a day of blurred vision, difficulty concentrating and gastrointestinal distress. Just read on.

I will continue posting health related articles and success tips. Note that health and success go hand in hand. Succes is nothing if a person is sickly. We can do it!


By Rich Maloof for MSN Health & Fitness


The human body is a fantastically intricate system. Even with some of the finest minds on the planet exploring the depths of its complexity, our anatomy still holds many secrets. We are reminded of how little we really understand when strange abnormalities arise. Here is a brief look at nine remarkable—and tragic—mysteries that have stymied modern medicine.

Phineas Gage

A View Into the Brain

© Courtesy of Harvard medical School/AP

In September 1848, railroad foreman Phineas Gage was packing sticks of dynamite into a rock with a heavy tamping rod. The dynamite exploded, sending the 3-foot 7-inch iron rod through his left cheekbone—and out the top of his head. Incredibly, his crewmen found him fully conscious and coherent, eager to get on his feet. He was rushed to Dr. John Marlow, who inserted fingers through Gage’s head and face, touching them together, before patching up the scalp and cheek flesh of his miracle patient. Gage recovered completely.

Doctors marveled that he survived at all. But the great contribution to science came with the realization that Gage later became a more violent and angry man after the front part of his brain had been traumatized. Never before had personality been identified with a specific part of the brain. The discovery paved the way for future understanding of brain functions.

Gage ran through our minds again in 2005 when construction worker Patrick Lawler fell down a staircase carrying a nail gun. Talk show audiences were amazed to see a fully recovered Lawler describing X-ray images of a 4-inch nail standing upright above his jaw. Lawler had used Advil to put off a “toothache” for six days before he realized there was a nail in his face.

Fibrodysplasia Ossificans Progressiva

The Second Skeleton

© Najlah Feanny/Corbis

Though FOP is extremely rare, cases have been documented as far back as the 17th century. More than 300 years later, physicians are still at a loss to explain what causes soft tissue in FOP patients to turn to bone.

The earliest sign of FOP is malformed toes, such as the toes of a little girl shown here. But the real damage is done in the coming years as muscles, tendons and ligaments in the neck, back and shoulder ossify. Connective tissue in the knees, hip and elbow can also turn to bone, locking limbs permanently in position. Attempts to surgically remove the new bones results in even more bone formation.

Unfortunately, it gets worse. Although people with FOP can live into their 70s, the disease is progressive, as the “progressiva” part of the name indicates. More FOP bones grow over time, often in response to injury. With an “extra skeleton” growing in the body, the FOP patient finds it ever more difficult to move.


Sensorial Crossroads

To be expressive with language, we often use metaphors that borrow from the senses: Earth tones are “warm,” and a brass section sounds “bright.” For people with synesthesia, the crossing of senses is not metaphorical but literal. Synesthetics may hear colors, see sound or smell numbers. Dr. Richard Cytowic, author of The Man Who Tasted Shapes, undertook his study after a friend cooking dinner exclaimed that “there aren’t enough points on the chicken.”

Synesthesia is not considered to be a disease (though it has not been well studied, either) and tends to affect people who are bright and colorful—er, that is, people who are intelligent and creative.

Congenital Erythropoietic Porphyria

Hypersensitivity to Light

© Jim Bryant/AP

Fewer than 200 cases of congenital erythropoietic porphyria have ever been documented, and not just because physicians can’t pronounce the name. Due to a gene mutation, the skin becomes extremely sensitive to sunlight. Areas of exposed skin can become blistered and infected. Sunlight exposure can also lead to scarring, changes in skin pigmentation and increased hair growth. Such symptoms have unfairly linked people suffering from the condition with the lore of vampires and werewolves. On overcast or very cold winter days, the symptoms of congenital erythropoietic porphyria (also called erythropoietic protoporphyria) are sometimes attenuated, allowing some safe exposure to indirect sunlight.


The Stone Baby

© Simon Kwong/Reuters

It sounds horribly tragic, but the rare medical phenomenon of the stone baby results from a process that protects a woman after a failed pregnancy.

When a fertilized egg attaches anywhere outside the uterus (an abdominal or ectopic pregnancy), the fetus may begin to grow but cannot survive. Under very rare conditions the miscarried fetus is neither expelled nor reabsorbed. Instead, it calcifies—effectively turning to “stone”—which protects the mother from infection.

Lithopedions have been mistaken for benign tumors or ignored by mothers who may not even have known they’d been pregnant. In one case, surgeons found a stone baby in a 76-year-old woman who had apparently been carrying it for 50 years.

Fish Odor Syndrome (a.k.a. Stale Fish Syndrome or TMAU)

If you think the odor of rotting fish is offensive down on the docks, imagine it on your breath. The same chemical that causes stale fish to smell bad, trimethylamine, is naturally derived from our diet, and the body’s normal metabolism is supposed to break the chemical down. When it does not, as is the case with TMAU sufferers, the buildup is eventually excreted through urine, saliva and perspiration. Cruelly, the chronic condition tends to worsen around puberty. While there are no inherent physical dangers associated with TMAU, there’s no cure and the social and psychological toll on adolescents and adults can be devastating.


A Real Case of Creepy Crawlies?

© Rich Pedroncelli/AP

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have yet to recognize Morgellons as a legitimate disease, but there is no doubt for the 7,500 people nationwide who are plagued by a crawling sensation on their skin and intensely itchy lesions. The description of Morgellons is not entirely unlike scabies or lice, both of which are parasitic conditions. But the real head-scratcher is the appearance of mysterious fibers that seem to grow under the skin. Skeptics, noting that most Morgellons sufferers also experience cognitive or behavioral problems, have suggested the condition is psychological. But they’re at a loss to explain the documented finding of these strange fibers (shown here at the tip of a pen) that apparently bear no relation to cotton, wool or synthetic fibers. The Morgellons Research Foundation continues to urge the CDC to assign an investigative task force.

Fatal Familial Insomnia

When Can’t Sleep Kills

Lose just a single night’s sleep and you can expect a day of blurred vision, difficulty concentrating and gastrointestinal distress. In 1959, disc jockey Peter Tripp deprived himself of sleep for more than eight days as part of a publicity stunt, and he became paranoid, incoherent and believed he saw kittens and bunnies at his feet.

For the world’s handful of families with this type of insomnia, the symptoms are progressively and exponentially worse. Their continued lack of sleep leads first to panic attacks, then to hallucinations, then to full-on dementia. Eventually, they die from lack of sleep.

In the 28 families identified, a dominant gene leaves offspring with a 50 percent chance of acquiring the disease. FFI was first diagnosed by an Italian doctor in 1979, and it was nearly 20 years before scientists understood that it was caused by a mutated protein. The mutation leads to a buildup of plaque in the part of the brain that regulates sleep.

5-Alpha Reductase Deficiency

Nature’s Sex Change

The Intersex Society of America estimates that one of every 2,000 American children are born with an intersex disorder, so defined when one’s sexual anatomy does not fall neatly into the male or female category. 5-ARD is one such condition, and is due to an in utero complication with how a male fetus’ system uses testosterone. As a result, the newborn baby has male chromosomes but tends either to have “ambiguous genitalia” (male pseudohermaphroditism) or the genitalia appear to be that of a baby girl. During puberty, however, testosterone rages through the body and the male characteristics emerge: The voice drops, shoulders broaden and an Adam’s apple may start to develop. What appeared to be labia turn out be testicles, and what appeared to be a clitoris turns out to be a penis.

proud to be… ex-seminarians

October 14, 2006

i missed the photo shoot with workmates at “the fort,” by 4:00PM. i was having a second thought joining them cuz the day was gloomy. besides, i also thought of accepting the invitation of eric, my classmate, for a post birthday celebration of his daughter.

eric, was it really your treat? eh, why did we contribute for the bill?! be specific next time so that i can decide whether to come or not… hehe… i can’t take to attend a blind invitation. 😉

luckily, i was able to have a shoot at FJ’s grille in timog, where eric hosted the little party. i was glad, the management never forbid me when i said i’d post the pix on this site.


resto bar along timog ave






tony suggested that i shoot one of the lamps. he portrayed a lamp in a prison cell.


fortunately, there were no other customers yet. but the crews were eyeing on me. i was just like crazy, posing at every angle to have a good shot. imagine my legs apart, back arched, and head twisted ;-)… worth the bad posture!


chili sauce: obvious ba



fr. melchor & boro tony 


parang lake ng problema ah…  


eric, decs, non, tony, extra 




what were you discussing about? if the girl on the bar was chinese or korean? or who would approach her? me? dyahe!


aldin (the one in white shirt at the back-right) texted non, inviting us at his house in cubao. it was his b-day pala! so we proceeded there. seminarians as always, makukulet pa ren!… hehe… thanks tol for inviting us. it was a good gathering!


nothing changes. still funny and humorous ex-sems. kulang na lang ang venue eh sa seminary!… hehe 

how manly a man is…

Way, way back, Fr. Noli Alparce (a co-seminarian by then) invited my friends and me for a 3-day summer vacation in their dwelling at Tabaco, Albay. The most interesting part is when his parents, Judge and Mrs. Orlando Alparce, shared us about the story of their family. From their courtship, to their marriage, and down to their family… How they maintained the flame of affection, values and morals in the family. For me it was too ideal, but they did it as a couple!… A living ideal family, I consider.
Before and after meal, one of us would pick a prayer from a wooden box and recite it. After the prayer, the couple shared their love story. We were so “kilig!”…
Whew!…. everything is good in that family! They do not just have beautiful house, but good family members as well! A real home! No wonder, the couple passed their values to the children.
The highlight — before we went home they shared with us the speech of Vidal Tan. Judge Orlando Alparce read the speech to us with passion. He dedicated the speech to his wife. The couple kept the speech for decades. And they shared it with us.
It depicts about love of children and family. Being good husband and wife, and good parents. Being good children.
In honor of the great values Alparce family shared with us, me too, I kept the speech. For the record, twice had I just shared it. I only share to those who can appreciate values in the family.
I bestow this speech to my parents. Who reared us with discipline and values. I also offer this to all good women, and good moms, who continuously strengthen family values. To all the good dads, and all would-be good dads.

To those who may have contrary beliefs, I pray, that they too, would appreciate and honor family values.
Read on…you could pick some secret in choosing a good partner. And how to be a good one as well. We all dream for a good family. And it all starts from us. Not when we get there, but now.
My gratitude to the Alparce family, especially to Judge and Mrs. Orlando Alparce. It is my honor to imitate what you have taken.
(Speech delivered by President Vidal Tan before the U.P. Women’s Club on June 28, 1952.)
I would like to thank the U.P. Women’s Club for giving me the opportunity to speak before the female student body of the University of the Philippines. On this occasion, I will speak to you about a subject dear to my heart. You all know that I have not been blessed with children, much more a daughter. So I will tell you what I would do if only I had a daughter. 
If I had a daughter, I am sure I would love her dearly. I would take good care of her health, of her education, and of her morals. I would try very hard to train her so that the things she would ask for are not frivolous and foolish. I would try very hard so that she develops a sound appreciation of relative values, a desire to work with her hands, a non-too-materialistic attitude towards life, and a sincere friendship for those below her.
I would encourage her to be seriously religious because I know that religion is the safest protection that I could imagine for her. It will tell her in a clear-cut and decisive fashion the things that she should do and the things that she should not do. It will be to her a guide in her norm of conduct, a rule which if she follows would insure her the greatest amount of peace of mind.  I know that if she takes her religion seriously she will find in it a great source of comfort and strength, and will offer her the greatest feeling of security. I would be sure that if she is in trouble she would know what to do; that if she is in grief she would be strong to stand it. 
However, I would not want her to be fanatically religious. I want her to take up her religions with sanity and with reason…. Religion would be her most priceless possession, her strongest tool, her greatest guarantee to happiness.
I expect my daughter to be charming, not beautiful. Indeed I would be afraid if she is beautiful; because more often than not, physical beauty is a hindrance rather than a help to her happiness. There is a danger that her beauty would make her selfish, vain, proud and lazy.
I would tell her that not all women can be beautiful, but all can be charming. I would tell her that while beauty fades with the years, charm grows, mellows and acquires a rich bouquet as her hair turns from black to grey.
I would tell her that the main ingredients of charm are sincerity, interest in people, a genuine friendliness for them, neatness, and physical cleanliness. Of these qualities, the most important is sincerity. There must be genuineness in her feelings, in her words, and her attitudes.
I would send her to college in order that she may get a basic background of the fundamental experiences, that she may view life with greater appreciation and confidence, and the world with greater understanding and sympathy. I would want her to have education so that she learns to love books, because they are her best friends and because they would keep her growing, instead of falling into a rut or stagnation. I like to see her go to college, so that in case that she has to live through life alone, she can make a living and take care of herself.
Before she falls in love with a boy – and I suppose someday she would and should – I would caution her about falling in love with a handsome boy just because he is handsome. Boys gifted by nature in this manner are generally spoiled and self-conceited. I would advise my daughter to look instead for a manly man who has energy, enthusiasm and ambition. He does not have to be rich, but he must be a man of promise and a man willing to work.
She would not allow him any liberties, which in the eyes of other boys would cheapen her…. Girls who are popular among boys because of these freedoms are generally left standing by the aisle when the wedding march is played.
How can you tell whether a boy means well or not? How can you tell whether he would make a good husband? Unfortunately, so far no chemical reaction or mathematical formula has yet been discovered that would answer this question. But these chances can be minimized by carefully observing the behavior of the man she likes to marry – whether he is honest, whether he is clean, whether he is ambitious, whether he is neat, how he treats the poor, how he acts towards his superiors, how he behaves under fire, in victory and in defeatBut one of the safest guides is whether he takes his religion seriously or not. While this is not an absolute guarantee that would make a good husband, it is the best one I know.
I would tell when she gets married that she should learn to love her work at home, that being a mother is the most important role that any woman can ever expect to do. This is the most valuable contribution that any woman can make to society. The rearing of good children is her main task.
I know that many a so-called modern woman rebels against the drudgery of cooling and dishwashing, against those periodic incarcerations when the beginnings of motherhood change her physical appearance and confine her to her home… If there are women who are successful in their professions and successful mothers at the same time, I feel that they are too few to prove a rule, sufficient to prove an exception. As far as I know, there has never been known a good substitute for a good mother to growing children.
The crying need of the world has always been, is, and will be for good and wise men. Men without these Christ-like qualities have been responsible for most of the sorrows and for all the wars that have scourged the world. Who is going to produce these men with goodness in their hearts? Will it be the housewife who is making a vain attempt to be a mediocre doctor? Will it be the woman politician who goes home after the children have already gone to bed? Will it be the society matron who entrusts the rearing of children to “amahs”?
If we want to make this world a better place for our children than it has been for us, then the women of every nation must be willing to do a certain amount of this disagreeable work as a price that they have to pay for that peace, just as men spend days and nights in the bowels of the earth, digging coal to keep the hearth warm, just as men spend hours in the hot sun tilling the soil to produce cereals that were once the concern of the women, just as men are willing to go through the hell of wars to win peace for their wives and children and themselves.
This then is the picture of my imaginary daughter — one I will never have. Perhaps, God in His infinite wisdom saw it fit not to give me a daughter so that all of you — the women of this great University — will all be my daughters. 

maskarra festival

Once Maskarra  Festival was also celebrated in Intramuros, Manila – Juune 18, 2005. Here are some of my shots:







tubao (native handkie)




porcelas (bracelets)



Drugs: A comfort Zone?

Novemeber 4, 2005. After lunch I went to the next street to look for my cousin. There I saw, let’s call him, “Bugoy.” Bugoy is a friend of my cousin. He is kind, diligent, and active in school. I asked the whereabouts of my cousin, but he didn’t know. He was holding some stuff, not of  my knowledge. So I asked what it was. To my surprise, it was illegal drugs! I queried, why he had it?! He said just for some “trip.” I realized, it is now rampant among the youth and in fact he said it is the cheapest drug that he is into. I continued, “isn’t it prohibited?” He said as long as no one would see, it was ok… ahh…last questions… “why do you take that? Do you take often?” … “Well, just to ease some problems. I don’t take this often though. Just now.”

Whew!… They can just carry those stuff publicly?! I took my cam and asked his permission to shoot it, promising not to show his face. I was curious!


We had an hour conversation. I had learned that his mom has been abroad and she sends him and his sis with allowance. His sis receives the money and gives him too little share. Bugoy, I know is a member of an academic organization in a university. He has high grades, I suppose.


We too have our own problems. Distinct for every individual. Some are tough, some are just mild. And to alleviate those, we resort to a “comfort zone.” Different comfort zones according to each want. Not need. What is saddening, is, when drugs come into the scene. I am just thinking, who does not have a problem anyway? Is drugs a solution to those?


The generation of today dictates us that to be able to solve a problem, we need to have a comfort zone. But in reality, the first step in solving it, is facing it, squarely. Bugoy could contact his mom! Instead of taking drugs. I told him of course! The youth of today has a very poor self-esteem. They could hardly handle too little problem. I just cannot imagine, how much more if they reach their adulthood? Having family? They would again route to drugs? What lies ahead of this generation? Is the youth still the hope of the future? Or, does it remain a famous line by our national hero, Dr. Jose Rizal?

If we would have comfort zones, we have families to go to…good friends… a priest… a pastor… or anybody who is willing to listen to us. Solutions are just on our finger tips!… They may not give us best solutions though, but they are there to just listen to us. And who knows, they can even give us best suggestions! The most important thing is that, we are able to release that burden from our minds and hearts. Not to resort to drugs which pound the problems even deeper. And the last, but the most… don’t we have a God? An Allah? Or at least Someone we consider beyond our human power?!

So what are we waiting for?

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