Thursday, 24 December 2009

and then it hit me

Stockholm, SWEDEN-- “i think i really gained weight on this trip,” i tell my tita as we get our coats after a fine dinner at grodan. suddenly the coat attendant cheerfully goes, “that’s good! it means you’re alive!”

5 days later, i tell myself the same thing on a road trip to ystad in southern sweden. the plan is to drive from stockholm to skäne to get my tita’s things from her old flat, visit a wine cellar, and possibly go to nearby copenhagen afterwards. one hour on the road and we’re all happy campers after getting some coffee and goodies from a gas station. fika on the go. tita’s funky playlist blares from her vel satis. we all comment on how much snow the day is getting. she then points to neat stacks of ice on the right, which look like big marshmallow pieces. unfortunately, she also swerves to a particularly slippery part of the road. her vel satis then slides to the right and then to the left. i realize something is not right when tita keeps saying, “no, please, no.” the car spins thrice on the icy highway and i think to myself in a strangely calm way, “is this it? there are still a lot of things i want to do.” i brace myself for impact as we hit the railing on our right. the car stops. i look around. it's a miracle there are no cars behind us. tita and l are okay. i’m okay. just a little bump and some spilled coffee (some might say renault makes ugly cars but the vel satis seems fine in the more important respects).

so yes, i have holiday pounds to shed (damn swedish smörgåsbord). i also had an unsettling car accident. but i’m writing this, and it means i’m alive. if the universe could flash one word at me in bold letters it would be perspective.

god jul/merry christmas all. let's do fika soon!

Thursday, 17 December 2009

frosty 30

combinação das florzinhas

Uppsala, SWEDEN -- got a bright and happy bouquet one sub-zero, snowy afternoon. i love my girls (and boys). happy birthday to us, joy! have you gotten inked yet? :)

Sunday, 4 October 2009


Manila, PH -- LomoAid is our campaign to get aid and relief for the victims of typhoon Ketsana (Ondoy) in the Philippines. Using our analog photos, we choose to inspire and send a message of hope. One can join in just by adding the image above and endorsing trusted relief organizations such as The Philippine National Red Cross ( ) and Unicef ( ).

LomoAid is being organized by members of Lomomanila ( which some of us belong to ), a local community of Lomography enthusiast and photographers. We hope others can join in with their photos and their donations.

Here is our ChipIn Page for contributions. Paypal proceeds go directly to the Philippine Red Cross.

We also have a flickr community at Check out some of the LomoAid images that are being uploaded. The photo above is one of them it's called Open Your Heart. Click here to read the message.

I know you can do better than reading and admiring the photo though ( hint hint... nah just donate now! ).


Manila, PH --

Tropical storm 'Ondoy' has made life uncertain for a lot of Filipino children. Thousands wait in desperation for aid to come to them. Ease their helplessness. Please give what you can.

Donations may be made to the Philippine Red Cross at or Lomomanila's chipin account

give. volunteer. help.

(more photos at lomomanila's flickr page)

Tuesday, 8 September 2009

What's up with me

Harbor City,CA-- I told Risa that I have apprehensions on putting entries in our blog. The main reason is that the places we go to and the things that keep me busy are so wholesome. But then she said that not everyone has the same experiences as I do so I might as well share them.

I recently went to Universal Studios and had the studio tour for the nth time. The shark is still there but I was disappointed because for some reason King Kong is not part of the tour anymore and I thought that if there’s one thing that Lucas might appreciate from the tour, it’ll be the gorilla. He was amazed with dinosaurs, cars, water and fire, though. I also couldn’t help but feel sad because E.T. was gone for good and George McFly(from Back to the Future) is out of the scene. =(

When I am off, we sometimes go to the beach or stay for an hour or two on Barnes and Noble. We rarely buy books but I bought Ziggy Marley’s album. If some mom makes their children listen to classical music, I make mine listen to reggae music, blues, jazz. Ok ba? There’s this show from Noggin Channel called Jack and Music show and they have different these variety of genre on their show.

Bikram Yoga does wonders for me although I thought I was going to faint the first time I tried it. I had my first trial on Pilates and I am going to continue it because one, my instructor said I did well ( I chose to believe him!). Two, he looks more graceful than I am when he stretches. Seriously, he was like a ballerina. Three, he reminded me of a shopping partner from one of the 90’s movie and if cheverlu is part of a Pilates get-up, I am sure he would want me to wear one.

I will be off to NYC with my family in October so hopefully, I’ll be able to see Ditas. This will be my second time there but it will be the first for my boys so I will appreciate suggestions on where to go to considering that we will have a toddler with us on this trip. Risa,can you research for me? Hahaha=)

Tuesday, 4 August 2009


Manila, PH --  the philippines' first woman president has, as doronila wrote, crossed over into history. i guess we're all grieving but thankful because she made us all want to be better filipinos. even little things about her show her patriotism - the ringing tones on her mobile were 'bayan ko' and the national anthem.

she who fought the good fight will be missed.

* read jordan's tribute here 

Thursday, 23 July 2009

Oops, i did it again...

Heathrow Airport, London --- J, remember our ordeal last year before we reached Brazil? You know -- when the airline cancelled our flight 2 hours before the departure and we had to find another flight then find a very nice friend of mine to drive us all the way to JFK airport (about 2 hours away from Neptune without traffic), and then we missed our connecting flight in Miami so we had to stay in a sleazy hotel in very hot Miami then you used your lawyer skills to get as an earlier flight then we had to walk along the very hot Miami highway (while I was carrying a Playstation 3) then we got a cab to the almost deserted airport (it was 1am) then we finally reached Brazil but then they lost our backpacks so we had to go to the cramped hostel with nothing so we took a shower using borrowed stuff and we dried ourselves with toilet paper? Yup, THAT ordeal. Well, it kinda happened again. Ako na nga 'ata ang may balat sa puwet. I have to check...

MY ORDEAL PART II (2009 version)
Okay, just to rationalize a bit, I have been really stressed these past weeks leading to my vacay because I am going through my fellowship interviews. So I had just gotten back from Boston because I had my interview at Massachusetts General. The following day, I had to leave for Spain. I was stressed because I had to pack in a rush and finish all my chief res responsibilities and other fellowship requirements before I leave. Anyway, en route to JFK airport (after 2 hours of weeding through the traffic), I realized that I left my passport. (nightmare!). So I had to call my very nice friend (same friend last year - Anitha) to bring me my passport. She wasn´t too happy about this because 1) I already asked her last year and 2) the drive to JFK was terrible. But because she´s really nice so she did it anyway. I had to change to a later flight because my passport would not make it in time. So I got the last flight available but the stop over is in London. So here I am now in Heathrow Airport. I have to wait for 9 hours (my butt´s hurtin´) because there are no available earlier flights to Spain. I guess everyone wanted to go to the land of the Spanish papas too.

I love lists. So here is my list of things I am going to do while I wait:
1. people-watch
2. watch out for any Beckham sightings
3. listen to my iPod
4. look out for Becks
5. look at the clock 1,000,000 times
6. read my book (House of God)
7. watch out for Becks
8. read my pediatric journals ( yup, I´m a nerd)
9. listen to podcasts about pediatric critical care (yup, i´m a dork)
10. people-watch
11. ogle at European men in skinny jeans
12. watch out for Beckham

Wednesday, 22 July 2009

how to travel together and stay friends

this made me laugh. i can relate especially since a few years and several countries later, you can’t expect traveling with your best buddies to be perfect. yes, we love each other. but each one of us has a different travel style. minor hassles can get amplified on the road, and proximity 24 hours a day can breed contempt. examples: waking up an hour late and making the rest of the group wait , being cranky while getting lost, and having enough drink to require assistance to get to the nearest tuk-tuk the next day. and we’ve had serious heart-to-hearts/bull sessions while backpacking, too (last one in recent memory: at a rio de janeiro club, while politely explaining to an african guy to mind his own business).

but the little arguments/misunderstandings also make for interesting stories. the good times definitely outweigh the bad. once apologies and time-outs have had their run, we can just laugh at the pettiness while planning the next big trip ü right, girls?

Thursday, 2 July 2009

the philanthropist

what do you get when you cross a british rock star with an american billionaire?

sting was at a brazilian bar a few years ago when he met a fellow traveler. the man had a distinctive boston accent and a great story to tell. he wanted danger & excitement in his life. he wasn’t happy just wallowing in wealth and he wanted to give it away. tons of it.

it’s easy to throw around the phrase “life-changing” but it describes the path the man chose when he decided to give his dollars some mileage on a full-time basis. no mere check-signing and photo ops though. he practiced his “eyeball-to-eyeball” philanthropy, making his way to poor countries and getting in the thick of things. he has even lived in a tent in pakistan and has shared a toilet with 40 monks in the himalayas.

sting hit it off with the flamboyant american and they ended up as good friends and travel buddies. the englishman was so inspired by his friend that he worked to have a show based on his adventures. flash forward to this month and sting and his wife’s pitch has become “the philanthropist” on nbc.

of course, the tv version is glamorized. he's a suave briton living the CEO life in the big apple (“englishman in new york" is cheekily played in the background in one scene). a lady’s man who thinks nothing of tipping a pretty bartender with $1,000. he works his charm in africa and seduces the skeptical doctor who needs his help getting vaccines. and unlike the real philanthropist, he doesn’t bring along his entire family on his altruistic expeditions.

more on bobby sager (the real deal) and his traveling foundation and roadshow here.

Thursday, 4 June 2009

park life

Manila, PH -- there’s a fantasy of mine where i’m at work and during lunch break I go out of the office. outside, I don’t see a sidewalk painted in a dizzying mix of red, blue and yellow. the pavement isn’t tiled like jigsaw puzzles. pedestrians don’t need to bump each other while walking through the narrow street filled with vendors and beggars competing for their attention. puddles don’t make portions of the sidewalk impassable. instead, there’s an expanse of trees before me, and a park in the middle of it. i pick a bench to sit on and watch kids running by while eating my sandwich. the grass in the field is so inviting that people take off their footwear and just wander about barefoot.

i’m sharing this because I chanced upon this local TV show last night and they were talking about urban planning. the guest was my friend’s dad, a well-known architect and urban planning advocate. he talked about new york, paris, london, and other places where people value open spaces. parks aren’t considered a cost penalty but an asset to the community as these serve as the lungs of the city. they also talked about public transport, which is really not one of our country’s strengths. the average person spends 300 hours in traffic annually. i, on the other hand, spend at least 180 more than that here in manila. in places like singapore, mass transit systems are thoughtfully built next to high-density residential buildings so more people can get to work in just a few minutes. wasted time and carbon footprints (plus incidents of road rage) are reduced.

getting to work in 15 minutes. leisurely lunches at the park.

one can still dream.

photo from here