Thursday, January 29, 2009

What a mess!

The headlines in the local papers are having a heyday on the various scandals rocking the GMA government.

The Alabang Boys and the drug peddling scandal of three young men from prominent families. The public outrage is to hang these boys to dry! It's actually a showdown on how the government can handle this type of corruption scandal through alleged bribes accepted by the prosecutors office or the PDEA. The barbs they're throwing at each other is like a movie that has us all glued to see who wins this round. It's a reflection of what money can do in this country. It's the kind of story that viewers watch closely as it's riddled with whodunnit theories.

Of course, this scandal eclipsed the scandal of the Generals. Who can forget the Euro Generals that led the PNP on an excursion to Moscow bringing millions of pesos in taxpayers money? While they call it legit, some say otherwise. It's ironic at how these senators and congressmen despise the "junkets" pharmaceutical companies endow the doctors, but hey, it's okay if they go on a junket using taxpayers money. I cringe at the thought of their justifying their actions. I puke at their proclamation of service to the people.

Finally, we have a new scandal on the Department of Public Works and Highways. Large construction companies which have been banned by the World Bank because of graft and corruption charges have been allowed to participate in bids for local projects not funded by the World Bank! Damn these idiots. This does not only smell of fish, but these people involved have the temerity to stand their ground in spite of the overwhelmingly voluminous proof of lies!

Only in the Philippines!

And then Ate Glue issues a statement before leaving for Davos through her mouthpiece Ermita that she will not make those people involved in the mess resign because they have her confidence.


In another country, these lackies would have been hung in public. But this is the Philippines.

The administration officials are more brazen with graft and corruption now. Just do it! We'll explain later. The election is just around the year and they have just a year and a half to steal from the coffers. Time is running out.

Since justice in this country can take forever, let the stealing begin!


Monday, January 19, 2009

A piece of heaven...on earth

I received an email from Winnie.

It's been a long time that I've heard from her. I've worked with her at Otsuka for two years before her family migrated to the United States. The proverbial search for greener pastures. And it goes without saying, that among the friends I've made in the company, I miss her a lot.

The last year was a decisive year. I was offered to join the company full time. Which meant more perks and a hefty salary increase. Then came the offer to join a regional company, which meant relocating. Another tempting offer. I would be an expat. Then there were emails from various head hunters. It took me a few months to mull on these offers, which came left and right. It came at a good time - when the global economic crisis was just starting. For many, this would be the best time to secure ones future.

But I had come from the academe and private practice and I had just retired from the academe. And I was pondering - at 50, what would I do? I was at the peak of everything. From career to practice, from speaking engagements to the perks that came with free-lancing. What was I looking for?

It took me quite some time to decide. And I've never regretted any decision I had made. Whether it was made 10 years ago or 10 days ago. I knew that all I wanted is a piece of heaven, on earth. I needed the freedom to do what I did best. And be happy at doing it. Coming home, seeing my family, being with Bubba, being with my friends, eating out, imparting knowledge, seeing patients, curing them...they may not be the freedom that we search for. Bubba once told me that financial security is tantamount to freedom. I agree. But I had started from scratch. Dirt poor. And I had my own stories of failures and successes in life. Each failure etched a deep wound on my spirit, leaving me with scars to remember the road less traveled. Each success was a crowning glory, but the scars also left me remembering that humility was a virtue and that life was like a wheel. One day you're up, one day you're down.

These little stories in my life kept me at bay with my decisions on moving on as I work harder to achieve my piece of heaven on earth.

In all honesty, I am on that road towards my goal. I believe that there will be a stumbling block along that thorny path. But if I stay focused, and learn to accept that the only thing permanent in this world is change, I will reach that dream.

We only have one life. And when I leave this world, I will always remember that I took the path to finding a piece of heaven...on earth...

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Transformer - Pinoy version?

Rustom Padilla.

Who hasn't heard of this actor in the Philippines? Brother of action star Robin Padilla, Rustom was a former Philippine Airlines flight steward who later became ramp model then heart throb movie actor. In the late 1990s he married actress Carmina Villaroel. They had no children. Three years later, they separated and Carmina married Zoren Legaspi, from whom they have beautiful twin children.

Rustom had gone his own way and in the 2007 edition of Pinoy Big Brother he became the come back kid. In the show, he admitted he is gay. A revelation that sent the airwaves shush with what those in showbiz already suspected. According to Rustom, it was a Mariposa butterfly that flew to his lap then eventually to his lips while on the set of PBB that made him reckon with revealing his sexuality on the air!

From then on, it has been a hayride for Rustom.

It was a lazy afternoon yesterday when I chanced upon my mom watching some afternoon showbiz talk show. And lo and behold...Rustom drag.

No judgment here. I'm just glad that some people needed to break free in order to find happiness. Accepting one self, no matter who and what he/she is is the first step to finding peace in the midst of a turbulent mind. As to how he takes it from here responsibly will be his most heavy task. There can be a dark side to reality. Not just because one is gay, one needs to flaunt it.

In fairness...this once a upon a time hunk has transformed to a beauty quee(r)n...

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Ang tuyo...bow!

Some nuns filed a lawsuit against a Filipino couple in New York City over the lowly tuyo (dried fish).

For the information of those that don't know, tuyo is a staple food for the Filipino. It is fish (of any kind) that has been sun-dried over a few days and boy, does it smell bad. Despite the stench, the taste is delectable. The usual tuyo is called anchovies by the American people. Except that the Americans don't fry it the way we do.

Fast forward. Some nuns living in the same apartment building as the Filipino couple filed a lawsuit (to the tune of $75,000) against the latter because they had smelled the stench and thought there was a dead body in the building. As to why the nuns were living in a high-rise apartment, your guess was as good as mine. Anyway, let's get back to the story. The nuns had called up the fire department and the firemen had searched the building. They noticed the stench coming from the apartment of the Lim couple that resided on the 16th floor. They knocked on the door and when no one came answering, they blazooned themselves into the room by knocking the door down. No dead body. Just the stench (to us, it is called aroma). And it was all because of frying tuyo!

Back in time. I remember when I was still living in Boston. I had come from a trip in Chicago where I spent a few days with friends. Raul's mom had brought me to the Filipino store there where she had bought me a few packs of tuyo and frozen longganiza and duck eggs. My mouth was watering for my taste for Filipino delicacies. OMG I was craving for it. After dropping me off at the train station, the 12 hour trip back to Boston seemed like forever. When I got back to my apartment, I took out the tuyo, prepared sinangag (fried rice) and duck eggs, onions and tomatoes and fried the tuyo. Then that was it. There was banging on my ceiling as the tenant on the upper floor begain to complain of "what was that horrible stench"? I opened all the windows, doused the frying pan with water and settled for a miserable American meal.

There are many ways we can look at this picture. It can be called a racist attitude on behalf of the nuns, or it can be selfishness on the side of the Pinoy couple (ahem, mea culpa). But the lowly tuyo, a staple food on the table of every Filipino, does not deserve the treatment it got from the nuns who lived near the Pinoy couple. It was an overboard reaction and I don't think the church is in this position to create an enemy among its followers. These nuns are supposed to be people who show more empathy towards fellow men, regardless of race, religion, or dietary preference.

I guess this just goes to show that Mother Teresa they are not! As for the lowly tuyo, the Filipinos will just need to contend with the fact that they need to give breathing space to their neighbors.

What strikes me is that many (I hate saying it, but I will because I will call a spade a spade) caucasians and other nationalities have body odor. Really a bad stench which strikes my nostrils and gives me migraine. I tell you, their body odor is worst than the smell of frying tuyo. It just so happens that they are so used to the smell that they don't consider it as stench. To them, it is a musky sexy smell. To me, it is body odor. Can we sue them for the stench they emanate on the street or being with them in the elevator or in the same room?

Argumentatively, let's just say that "one man's medicine is another man's poison". In short, what may be stench to me is aroma to you. Ironically, these nuns who preach the faith, should learn to practice it - love thy neighbor.

Tamaan sana ng kidlat yung mga madre. Mukha naman silang penguins pag naka-costume sila. Eh di ba mahilig naman sa isda yung mga penguin? Magtigil nga ang mga iyan.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

And justice for all

Shame on the Philippine judicial system!

The drug case against the Alabang Boys have opened a can of worms in the judicial and government system. The headlines are splattered with the prosecutors from the Department of Justice and the people from the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency trading barbs at each other. PDEA hurled accusations at the DOJ prosecutors for taking bribes from the families of the Alabang Boys. The DOJ prosecutors have vehemently denied it. With the help of media, these two government agencies have washed and flaunted their dirty linen in public.

Here's the take:
1. While the DOJ has repeatedly claimed they have never taken bribes (for this case), they have never explained why the case has been dismissed for "lack of merit" much sooner than all the other drug-related cases filed by PDEA.
2. When PDEA hurled charges that the DOJ prosecutors have been dismissing many big time drug-related cases left and right, the DOJ has not answered these charges. According to the head of PDEA, Tito Sotto, over 70% of the charges have actually been dropped by the DOJ. This statistics does not speak well of two government agencies that should be working together in the war against drugs. It is not surprising that the Philippines is the drug capital of Asia.
3. In a show for support for its beleaguered colleagues, all prosecutors of the DOJ wanted to go on mass leave. They question the President for making those involved in the Alabang Boys case to go on leave. They question the President for not making the PDEA officials involved go on leave. Why only them, they ask? The answer is simple. Their head, Secretary Raul Gonzalez has no credibility. Sec. Gonzalez is simply a GMA puppet who parries the President against the tirades of the opposition. There must be a catch to why his loyalty to the President is unwavering, in spite of the flagrant acts of misconduct of the President. And when your head is corruptible, the morals of everyone who works for you and under you will always be an issue. And while it may not be fair blame, one cannot be faulted for generalizing the game. The reaction of the prosecutors of the DOJ is simply hysterical drama. These people should see a psychiatrist. Or perhaps write a telenovela about their lives. They have too much hurt and blame on themselves. They need to get a life!

Lately, the Supreme Court Chief Justice Reynato Puno has also been embattled. The allegations that the Supreme Court justices have a price on their head for releasing (or withholding for that matter) court rulings have rocked the very core of the justice system in this country.

The symbol of the judiciary is a blind lady that holds a balance scale in one hand and a sword in the other hand reminds everyone that passing judgment on those that violate the law deserves due process. Fair game, whether rich or poor, will always be the test of true democracy in any country. If doctors like me swear to the Hippocratic oath to "first do no harm", people expect no less with the judicial system to listen to both sides fairly so that justice is delivered fairly. They say that justice delayed is justice denied. But the time interval is not only a factor here. At the end of the day, what will matter is whether justice was served justly to all.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

The road less traveled

Prediction has it that this year, the worldwide economic meltdown is going to take a toll on the developing countries.

The pinch has not seemed to hit the Filipino in the Philippines - yet.

The government is banking on the OFWs as we brace for the effect of the global financial crisis in the Philippines.

The last Christmas holidays saw a lot of Balikbayans. Many were not only here for the cheaper holiday escapade, but many balikbayans were actually scouring for opportunities in the Philippines.

They say that a crisis brings out the humility in human beings.

When the Filipino decides to become an OFW, or decides to migrate to a land of opportunity, he must leave pride behind. I have seen a lot of friends leave stable well paying jobs in Manila, only to start with less paying odd jobs in the US or Canada or the Middle East. The reason is - for family.

Now that the global financial crisis has hit the industrialized countries first, these are the same people that have looked to coming home. Time to swallow and leave pride behind once more.

Life indeed comes full circle. One day you're way up there. The next day it's all gone. Life's choices are made by us. While many follow the Exodus, some of us take the road less traveled. The latter is more difficult and filled with challenges. Many of the success stories of great men are those that have taken the road less traveled.

Whichever road we take, whatever decisions we make, right or wrong, the challenges and consequences should not make us regret the decisions we started off with.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009


There's the fairy tale story of Cosmetologist Dr. Vicky Belo and General Practitioner Hayden Kho on their on and off love affair. Both doctors and both television personalities, theirs is a story of love and deceit.

Ricky Lo, Philippine Star columnist had this to write about the saga of the love duo:

Yes, Dr. Hayden Kho developed cold feet at the last minute and begged off from appearing “live” in last Saturday’s edition of Startalk where he was supposed to dedicate a “meaningful” song to his estranged girlfriend Dr. Vicki Belo, with himself at the piano, as added feature to his exclusive taped interview. Hayden’s alibi was that he was in Marinduque (his mom Irene’s home province) for a vacation, although those close to him insisted that he never left Manila.

Anyway, for whatever it’s worth, here’s the song titled Too Young (by Jack Wagner) which, I guess, could help melt Dr. Vicki’s “hardened” heart and look at her “Sad Sack” boyfriend with compassionate eyes.


By Jack Wagner

Hello love it’s been way too long

Since I realized that you’re

The most important thing in my life.

I’ve gotta the need to tell you

I know that I was wrong,

Show you how I feel and what’s goin’ on.

I don’t know what to say.

Except I love that girl so much

But I didn’t show it,

Started spreading myself too thin

Fool around, thought she didn’t know it.

Such childish games I played,

I fooled her with my touch.

Time has taught me so much,

I’m grown enough to say.

I was too young but that’s no excuse,

I had too much too soon

I wanted more room

To please my restless youth.

Now all this peace

I can’t feel your bliss.

You treated me so kind, you were all mine

But I just walk away.

That sweet smile and face

Hang heavy on my mind.

Is there a way that

You can turn back the hands?

The more love that precious time I let slip by

I can’t take much more of this.

So I gotta try

To get you back and say.

I was too young but that’s no excuse.

I had too much too soon,

I wanted more room

To please my restless youth.

Now all this peace

I can’t feel your bliss.

You treated me so kind,

You were all mine

And I just walk away.

True love comes once in a lifetime

And if it’s true then

You’ll be back in mine.

* * *

(E-mail reactions at or at - FUNFARE By Ricardo F. Lo (Philstar News Service,

Parang bugaw naman si Lo. (Mr. Lo is like a pimp) Stoop so low Mr. Lo....please...get a life.

Add to the fact that ABS-CBN had this to report:

"The camp of famous cosmetic surgeon Dr. Vicky Belo sent a statement to disprove reports that Belo's former boyfriend and fellow cosmetic surgeon, Dr. Hayden Kho Jr., was rushed to a hospital due to drug overdose in attempt, purportedly, to commit suicide.

In a text message to “The Buzz,” Belo Medical Group’s Leah Salterio clarified that Kho did pass out but said it was because of fatigue and not due to drug overdose.

In the same message, Salterio also said that Belo declined to be interviewed by members of media amid reports that Kho allegedly attempted to end his life after the two parted ways.

Reports said Belo initiated the break up after she found out that Kho, who is at least 20 years her junior, had an alleged affair with sexy actress Katrina Halili.

Halili is an endorser of Belo Medical Group. In May of this year, reports of an alleged Kho and Halili relationship surfaced but the two have denied it.

The starlet had once undergone a liposuction procedure performed by Kho.

Citing its sources, The Buzz also reported that Belo and Halili had a closed-door meeting where the starlet allegedly admitted the affair. According to the same sources, Kho allegedly even brought Halili to a condo unit given by Belo.

Reports said Belo finally decided to end the relationship after she discovered Kho and Halili’s alleged sex video. Halili’s camp, reports said, claimed that the sex video was doctored.

After the break-up, reports said Kho was rushed to Makati Medical Center and written all over his body was “I love you Vicki.”

The Buzz reported that Kho was already discharged from the hospital and is now in Tagaytay.

In a text message to The Buzz, meanwhile, Halili’s camp denied the reports.

Her camp said: “Nag-usap na po sila ni [doktora]. OK po sila. Humarap na siya para hindi na humaba ang usapan and ma-drag ang pangalan niya sa issue.”

What is revulsive here is the fact that both of these doctors are NOT even Cosmetic Surgeons! They are not accredited by any specialty or subspecialty in the Philippines or in the WORLD! Dr. Kho just graduated and took his board exam. FYI, to be a Cosmetic Surgeon, you need 3 years of general surgery and 2-3 years of cosmetic surgery before you are qualified to take the specialty and subspecialty board. And Hayden is no boy wonder, even in medical school. Belo on the other hand never finished her residency in Dermatology at Makati Medical Center where she started. However, her training did take her places and the snipets of training she did makes her at the very least accredited in some dermatological procedures. But she is NO COSMETIC SURGEON! And you can quote me on that. Please, somebody please shoot these reporters and columnists. Never mind giving so much fuzz about the sleazy sex lives and the May-December love trysts, but to malign the specialty and credentials of respectable professionals!

Shows you how much knowledge (or lack of it) these people in Showbiz have. But I've always said, no greater fool than the fool that was fooled by a fool. Eh ano pa nga ba - ganyan talaga ang tangang Pinoy. Showbiz!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Alabang Boys...

Who's not heard of this story of three young men from the Alabang area who were caught peddling more than 60 tablets of Ecstasy pills, and other prohibited drug paraphernalia last September 2008?

Their story just gets better and better everyday with allegations of bribery in the highest government authorities on the demand to release these boys. The bribe charges range from P3M to P50M.

What strikes me and irks me is the fact that we treat the rich differently from the poor. Had the press not got wind of the release order from the Department of Justice, the three boys would have gone scot free. Someone from the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) had probably spilled the beans in order to abort the release of these boys. Much to the dismay of the parents, it was ironic that the lawyer of the three boys had "drafted" a release letter/order to be signed by the DOJ secretary! I mean, really now. Can Justice Gonzales not write or is he so ignorant that he needed the lawyer of the accused to write for you? And the lawyer of the three boys had the temerity to say "what will they charge me with, stealing one piece of paper"? Come on...give us a break.

And how stupid can one of the fathers get when on TV he admitted that his son is a drug user but not a pusher. What kind of father is that?

Drug us and abuse have destroyed not only the lives of those who use them, but those whom it is sold to. The greater sin is peddling them.

The stories of drug use and abuse are not confined to the poor. Once in a millenium comes a high profile case like this which should leave the public wanting to draw blood. The question is, with the Arroyo administration, that has so much graft and corruption up its sleeves, this will be a test case on whether justice will actually be served or will it remain blind?

Friday, January 2, 2009

The faith, the follower and the Father...

Many Catholics go to Sunday or holy days of obligation mass. The flock follow their faith. The followers are us.

During these Sunday masses, I cannot help but observe the "followers" of the faith. In spite of the fact that the Church has provided guidelines on "appropriate dress codes", there are those that refuse to follow. What is ironic is that, the Church where I attend Sunday mass is in an upscale neighborhood. It's not like the people that go to Church there are poor. They come in Volvos, BMWs, Pajeros, Audis, that would make my Innova look like a poor man's vehicle. Yet some of them refuse to heed the guideline on the dress code. Sure they wear Havaianas or Crocs or Banana Peel, but they're still slippers. And it's like they just got off the gym because some of the younger crowd still wear their basketball shorts, sandos (with of course Shaq, Jordan, or some NBA players name emblazoooned).

What strikes most at the core are the texters. They're the ones who can't keep the mobile phones off even during mass. In spite of the requests by the lector to please turn it off, the distraction of various ringing tones is palpably irritating.

It leaves me with one final denouement. The Father. At the very center of the mass is the sermon. Some of the priests like Fr. John Lucas, are excellent in putting together the meaning of the Gospel and the readings for the day. But those like him are far and few. What abound are the priests who come unprepared. They babble and babble and some are lost in translation with the sermon. The crowd beside me are usually asleep. I, am left with a bad headache.

There is a need for the religious to take the sacrifice of the Mass more seriously. While we call it "sacrifice", the followers need not be crucified to boredom and to obscurity. There is a need to redeem the faith that is slowly eroding and the priests are obligated to lead its flock. There must be more meaning to mass than just our obligation as followers. It should lead us to the road less traveled...heaven...

How do you want to die?

The title says it all. And now I've gotten your attention.

Let's make this blog a little interesting.

If one were given a chance to choose how to exit this world, of course, the sane ones would always want to go painlessly. But that's not the fair game of this universe. How and when to die...have you ever thought about it?

1. While you're fast asleep, you suddenly wake up in the middle of the night trapped in your room watching flames ablaze right outside your door. Your windows are locked and you have no way out. Your drapes have been caught in flames and the ceiling is about to collapse. You're suffocating and you're pissing and farting right in the middle of the flames. A wooden beam that's ablaze falls on you. You touch the window pane but it's scalding. Then you're suffocating. You can't breath. There's smoke around you and in your lungs and it feels like someone is squeezing your neck. Your body is hot and you can see your skin burning and you can feel the scalding fire on your body and you're losing consciousness but you can feel you're being will be over drift away...tomorrow, you will be just another statistic...charred, unrecognized, dead.

2. There's the slow painful way of exiting. Coming down with cancer. Treatment modalities and choices are expensive. Depending on the cancer type, there is chemotherapy, surgery or radiotherapy. Depending on the stage of the disease, there is a time frame. But one thing for sure, you get to prepare the way to go.

3. Or would you want to get trapped in a war zone? Enjoying your vacation, suddenly your group gets kidnapped and you're made to undergo torture, humiliation, rape, sleep in the open air, get dragged from outhouse to camps to are constantly blindfolded and all you hear are the voices of your captors who are demanding ransom money from your family. You hear the kidnapper screaming because your family doesn't want to part with the cash you've saved then BANG. first it was a painful dull you don't feel anything...just slumping to the ground...what would you feel now that all your brains are splattered all over the dirty grass in the forest?

4. It was meant to be a business trip. But the pilot had informed everyone on the flight that the air traffic controllers are late and that since no one was in to take the call, the plane you're in has been circling the airport for the last 30 minutes. After almost 10 minutes more, the pilot announces that the plane is now ready to land. On your comfortable first class window seat you see another plane head right towards yours and in 5...4...3...2...1...there's a swerve and then BLAM...

5. Family vacation and you're cruising along SLEX in your hot new Volvo S60 which you plan to show off to your in-laws. The kids are jumping up and down at the back, your wife is talking about getting a cup of coffee at Starbucks in gas station and you join her suggestion. You're in the middle lane and the gas station is just on the right side, you swerve, salivating for that hot cup of coffee, when suddenly a bus is gunning right towards your car. At the blind spot of your eye you see it coming, but it's too late, you swerve, it slams, in 5 seconds you see your children fly out of the car, you run over the youngest and your wife is hurled 30 feet into the hood of the bus and all is a blur...all for a cup of coffee...the car skids and because of the impact it drags your car a few more feet right into a parked ten wheeler and SLAM...there is simply darkness...

6. It was a good month. You hit the sales quota and you just got a 6 digit bonus! You were going to celebrate with your friends. You needed to just pass the ATM machine to get a little cash and while withdrawing someone points a rusty knife at your back. The guy is scrawny and dirty and has wide eyes and red shot! The ATM hurls the money out, P5,000 - the scrawny thief grabs it, you flinch, he doesn't like it and stabs you 40 times right on the spot...was it worth it?

7. You like playing golf. It's a great game and you're on the 13th hole in the posh golf club. Suddenly the sky is dark and lightning just hits you right there sending over 1 million volts of electricity, targeting the golf club you're holding.

8. Health buff and you're on the treadmill. You see the other people around you full of flab, huffing and puffing away and you're proud of your body. You look at yourself on the mirror while jogging and appreciate the work in progress. Suddenly there is chest pain and you cringe and grab the handle of the treadmill but the pain seems to worsen and while you attempt to press the button stop, you lose consciousness, you lose your balance, slip hit your head against the running tread. You had an MI (heart attack), and a massive one. Someone is pressing your chest and you can feel the pressure, but you can only see darkness...then silence...

There are many ways we can go.

I specifically wrote this blog, not for the gory details of death, but to reinforce the fact that the only thing predictable in our future is the certainty of death. No tarot card, no feng shui, and no wizardry called horoscope will change that fact. Only God knows when it is time.

Are you ready anytime?

Thursday, January 1, 2009

The year that was!

So 2008 has officially ended. It was a challenging, but good year. I turned 50, had my house renovated and interior decorated, and retired from the University where I had spent the last 33 years of my life (23 years teaching and 10 years studying), and who would think that I would see the day when Medicine Class '83 would be silver jubilarians? The traditional homecoming was the event that capped off 2008!

In retrospect, 2008 has passed and will simply be - memories. So I'm posting some pics of the year that was for me.

Encore to the people who were there for me - my mom, my sister, nephew and niece, and of course, last but not the least Bubba who helped make the 50 milestone easy to hurdle.

Here's to new beginnings for 2009! Happy new year to all.