Friday, December 31, 2004

Several nights after Christmas

What I like about Christmas is that it seems to be unending. This is especially true in the Philippines where the Yuletide season starts as soon as the "ber" months arrive and ends on January 6 to celebrate the visit of the Three Magis. Now that is one long season, isn't it?

This Christmas season is very memorable for me as a blogger because it was at this same month when I first opened my first blog Soft Grumbles. So, in a way, I am celebrating my first anniversary in this line of interest. One year of blogging and I am now friends with some of the most prolific writers in blogosphere, owners of the most sought after blogs in the county today. Who wouldn't know about the sites of The Sassy Lawyer or the famous medical journal of Doc Emer and of course, the very scientific explanations of Batjay on what would seem to be the most mundane of things to mortals like us?

But what really makes this Christmas season a very important one is that I got to meet with some of the bloggers in person! It started out at Batjay's house on the 22nd of this month where I first met with Belle and Sassy and got to experience Jet's fantastic tiramisu, pancit bihon and her mom's awesome "lengua" on white sauce.

And then it happened!

Last night, the party of all parties, the bloggers' Christmas party where each one of us finally became flesh and bones rather than mere obscure individuals on the internet came to fruition. Hosted by, the party was spearheaded by the animated plughost owner Yuga and Sassy who was joined by her hubby and children, at the Cabalen restaurant at Mega mall. It was a get together of some twentyish very interesting people, who are the who's who in blogdom. I first met up with master storyteller Bong K who graciously picked me up from the house. At Mega mall, we joined forces with Batjay and Jet at Tia Maria. We proceeded to Cabalen at exactly 7:00 pm. The bloggers arrived one at a time after that. Last to arrive was the good doctor and his special soulmate who seemed to be updated with everyone's blogs as she can relate to any topic that only the bloggers would have known. Obviously, she's been reading our blogs.

Although the food was not that spectacular, the company was. Since Toni who was supposed to provide the name tags for the event cancelled at the last moment, we were left to our own ingenuity by first using table napkins which later on developed to post-it stickers for name tags. Need I mention we looked pathetic which made me think the owners of Cabalen must be wondering if we had the ability to pay for dinner. Dinner was had with hearty laughter recalling who said what in his/her own blog and the like. Soon after, we exchanged gifts and thought that the night was still young at ten and decided to proceed to Starbucks at the Podium. There, we agreed to come up with several gimmicks for pinoyblog like giving awards for the best something. Unfortunately, as the cliche goes, good things also have to last. We called it quits at 1:00 am. It was truly a night to remember.

Let me see if I can stretch my failing recall and mention each one of the attendees. I'm leaving the posting of pictures with the others. I'm sure Batjay will have one.

There's that dashing lawyer, Marvin Aceron, the tall and as good looking as Giordano models Mari and Ajay, proud father Apol the great, Edu Manzano look alike, Watson, owner of pinayexpat,amiable AnP who just flew in from Germany with hubby and yes, her son, regular commenter Enya, sexy Mec who came in with a former student of mine (i started teaching very very young you see), the always elegant Joyce Jimenez, fresh graduate from La Salle, rocker Karla, soft spoken doctor and well-mannered Julsitos, enticing conversationalist Lorna Dahl and the mysterious Vixen lady.

So there, I hope I have remembered everyone. If I have missed out on anybody, please holler. Matanda na po ako e.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

whoever said the computer cannot have a personal touch?

A good cyber friend of mine from Malaysia, Bayi, emailed me about the Asian Blog awards where two of the leading pinoy bloggers, Sassy and Doc Emer are competing for Best Philippine blog and Best Asian Newcomer Blog respectively. You can vote for them at While Sassy is leading comfortably, Doc Emer is neck a neck with Hong Kong blog "Spirit Fngers". You know how Filipina expat, Jasmine Trias, bested a very strong contender, La Toya, at the American Idol competition by a huge Hawaiian vote. Astound our Asian neighbors by sending our support to our fellow countrymen bloggers.

Of course, most Filipino bloggers, especially those in already know about this. but what really caught my interest was the fact that Bayi, again, a Malaysian, would request me to rally Pinoy bloggers to vote each day for our friends and countrymen. I will never forget Bayi. He was the first person to put a comment in my comment box. I was excited because being new to blogging, I never thought somebody else was reading my entries other than Batjay, who I came to know when I commented in his blog.

Here's the content of Bayi's letter.


Dr Emer's blog is in the running neck and neck with another Hong Kong blog Spirit Fingers for the first placing in the Best Newcomer Blog 2004 category.

Can we rally all our friends via your blog to vote for Dr Emer and Sassy's blogs?

I think both Sassy and Dr Emer are too modest to sound a clarion call for support. Would you be interested to blog a short but eye-catching post to call on all the visitors to vote for their blogs? This can be done by providing the link in the post for them to click and vote immediately. The link is

Let's win the titles for both of them. Are you game for it?


I salute you Bayi for being such a sweet and loyal friend. One of these days, I would like to meet you personally and shake your hand. There is no question in my mind that you are a Filipino by heart and soul.

Now, whoever said what the computer lacks is a personal touch?

Monday, December 20, 2004

I said I wouldn't miss blogging about it, and did!

A very good cyber friend, and in flesh, celebrated his birthday yesterday. Husband to the petite and amiable Jet, the very famous, blogger of the year is now forty-nine years old (hehe mas tumanda pa sakin. No actually di ko alam).

As my mentor in bloggosphere, he was the one who urged me to create this blog, taught me about sites like technorati which I swear I wouldn't have guessed existed, answered my endless emails, patiently reorganized my template designed by none other than Ate Siena, saved my site from corruption, and most of all, makes me laugh every morning as I read his entry(ies) for the day.

Who wouldn't know about the caped crusader aka spiderman in Philippine blogs? Yes, it's Batjay's birthday yesterday. And he's in Manila right now to attend the first PinoyBlog Christmas party on the 30th at the Cabalen restaurant, Mega mall. Can't wait to see him dance on the table as he promised.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Prior knowledge

Since I got you involved with my kidney stones and what I had done to it, i think I oughtt to give you an update. Well, I'm doing fine. As a matter of fact, its like as if nothing happened at all. Well, of course I am taking medication like antibiotics, and for whatever reason it serves other than give me a lot of gas, sodium bicarbonate. Other than that, I am doing fine. The good thing about the whole deal is that the stone was discovered early and that it did not have time to act up. If it did, I tell you, it would have been an awful experience. I should know. I had been hospitalized for this condition twice,

Now, on to business. I am not a real writer. For one thing, I am not sure if what I write has substance at all for I don't think I have the analytical mind of Sassy or Jardine Davis who see the issues in all its flavors, Furthermore, neither do I have the semantic snobbery of XP whose blog's title expectoRANTS alone is sufficient to catch one's attention for the pun it conjures is very effective, nor do I have the enthusiasm and wit of Batjay and the Ca t

When I started this blog, I intended it to be about education and everything related to it. However, I think it is not as focussed as Doc Emer's Parallel Universe which tackles issues on medicine and health. As far as i am concerned, I try to write about life and how I view it and relate it to education. Anyway, this got me thinking, what would be a good topic to write about? This got me thinking, why don't I talk about educational philosophy?

Before I delve into that, allow me first to discuss human nature as far as I remember it. There are three different views in how a person is brought out into the world. The first one is that a baby is born in a tabula rasa state. That a baby comes to the world like a blank sheet of white paper. Neither is a baby born with a smudge nor a speck of dust . The second one is from St. Augustine who gave us the concept that man is born with original sin, something we inherited from Adam and Eve. Now, that is not to be taken as it is. There is something more significant to that apple, I tell you. For how can an innocent fruit be so forbidden? Remember, the Bible is not a science book. Lastly, there is Freud's theory, the id which, according to him, is all what a baby at birth has in mind, a state of want want want. Hence, it is a primitive mind and contains all the basic needs and feelings. Later on, the individual will develop further into two more states, the ego and the superego.

In a similar manner, if we are to consider what is the best way to educate an individual, we should have a concept of what a learner is. Hence, the question, in what state do students come to the classroom? Should we view him/her as an empty bowl who will just be a recipient of every information we feed him/her? Or will he/she be critical of whatever information we offer? Whatever answer you come up with, that will be your educational philosophy. I am a staunch believer of the recent view that a student brings with him/her his/her own concept of the world when entering the classroom. This is what we call prior knowledge. Gone are the days when the teacher is viewed as the sole source of information - a star on stage, so to speak. Rather, a teacher is someone who is sensitive to the needs of a student, working on the premise that the student is a thinking being, etc. HE/She is more of a facilitator. A good teacher must know that when he/she presents a lesson, the student sort of incorporates his/her own concept and it is incumbent upon the teacher to know how to elicit the students' prior knowledge and working from there either redirects this knowledge to a desired path or declares a totally new information altogether debunking the prior knowledge.

You have been educated in school. Now, wear your thinking caps and bring your prior knowledge. What do you think?

Kudos Doc Emer

Our friendly doctor, Doc Emer is hosting the 12th edition of medical Grand Rounds, a weekly compendium of the choicest medical posts from the whole world. It gets posted Tuesday of every week at exactly 7am EST. That would be tonight for us pinoys.

Considering that the last 11 weeks were all hosted by American doctors from East to the West coast, Doc Emer has reason to be proud for he is its first ever international host.

You can view it here Visit it and read. The information you get is assuredly good for your health.

Congratulations in advance, Doc.

Thursday, December 09, 2004

Gotta jam with the Rolling Stones tomorrow

I shall not report for work tomorrow. I am scheduled for a lithotripsy procedure tomorrow. For those who are not in the know, this is a painless, bloodless procedure for stone removal. A very welcome change in stone removal as I don't have to undergo an operation anymore. This is going to be my third time. It seems like I am a stone former. For a diabetic, that does not sound well. I don't know what's causing these stones to form. I don't even know what their composition is. I suspect salt as I am fond of salty food.

I should have had this procedure last Friday. I even thought the no class day was a blessing because then I wouldn't have to be absent from work anymore. And that means less trouble for me because I don't have to think about my children going to school and back. The problem was it turned out that the stone unit of the Medical Doctors is also closed!

LAstly, the real bummer is that I have to go on fasting again and drink that awful castor oil! I wonder if you've tried that before. Well, if you haven't, how about imagining drinking three tablespoons of your mother's sewing machine oil. Just a whip is sufficient to make you puke, right?

oh well, I have to do what has to be done rather than wait for this stone to act up and send me writhing in pain to the hospital again.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

And I thought the world was sleeping quietly

Our trip to Subic with friends was, as usual, very happy. It would have
been a perfect getaway from a world of constant work, a respite from the
daily hustle and bustle if not for the horrendous trip back home last Monday night.

Anyway, allow me to recount my happy memories first. We started our trip to Subic by meeting everyone at the Petron gasoline station at Tabang at 3:00 am. We left the place at 4 am and since I was not driving my own car, (I wouldn't trust my old lite ace with my family on board on a long trip like that) we had to go slow. Fortunately,
my friends understand my predicament and the guy at the helm, Dante, with Grace, Ricky and Tetay, drove at a fastest speed of around 60 kph. (These guys normally drive at an average of 120 kph). No one complained except that we were all falling asleep. I almost did at one time. So we had to stop again to take a breather.

When we arrived at Subic at around 6, we had to go on a tour first as our scheduled check in time was at 12:00 pm. We went to the beach but since it was to open at 8 we decided to roll again. We saw some monkeys on the way and much to the enjoyment of my youngest son, Coby who was seated beside me, the alpha male would constantly prove his dominance over the brood by, what else, making love to his concubines.

After that, we went to Zoobic but decided it was too expensive so we had to settle communing with the butterflies. We ate our breakfast outside the butterfly exhibit. Then we went to an adventure ride where everybody tried out the fantastic slide at Jest camp. This is where you are placed in a harness and get to ride the cables all the way down from a hundred foot drop till the bottom at three stages. The slide was fantastic but what I didn't like was the fact that I had to cross a monkey bridge twice. MAybe I should explain that I have fear of heights. So, you see, crossing a monkey bridge swaying all the way from left to right is not my idea of fun! Not to mention that my kids plus my friends and theirs are all laughing at me while I am moments away from fainting and throwing my guts out crossing the damn bridge.

Next stop was the hotel! We stayed at the Palm wing of the Legenda Suites. Excellent room size for the group. We rented out two suites. A suite is composed of a living room with a sofa bed and a couch, dining table, a kitchen, two huge rooms with a two kingsize beds and two single ones, bathroom and toilet. As I have stopped smoking, I decided to sleep as soon as I can while the women prepared food and the guys drank booze. Woke up at around 6 and together with the wife and Joven, took the kids to the go kart so they can try it out. (Actually this is one of the few things my boys were looking forward to) Slept again and woke up at around 11. Most of the women were already sleepy, Grace was already tipsy, Jenny was asleep on the couch, while the guys were still at it... and the kids? Oh they're all bunched up at the other room, probably playing cards. Gave them enough cash. HAHAHA

The following day was just bumming around some more, tour and yes, shopping. At this time, we knew it was raining hard in Manila but who could've known the extent of that downpour? We had fine weather at Subic the whole time.

The way home would have been a breeze had it not been raining. Then it happened! We were caught up in a terrible traffic jam from San Fernando exit all the way to San Simoun...TWO LONG FREAKING HOURS!!! We managed to stop at Petron (again!) for dinner and it was pouring!!! We left the place at around 10 pm. And guess what? At VAlenzuela, we were met again by traffic. Another two long hours until we could get through. All this time, I was thinking of my bed, thinking I should be sleeping by now, with the steady patter of the rain on the roof, the chilly air, my wife beside me, my children with their own peaceful dream. I suppose that was what was happening in every household.

Then I realized, we were lucky! Hundreds lost their lives in a flash flood in Real, Infanta, and most of the eastern part of Luzon. Typhoon Winnie had lashed out her anger and we were lucky we did not get stranded on the road like the bus that did in Gapan road. Just thinking about it makes me shiver!