Balamban Sunset 5/30/2007 10:53:00 AM

I'm posting here some awesome pictures taken by friends of the sunset of Balamban town (located northwest of Cebu Island in the Philippines) during last month's rural service project. It's truly nature at its best!

Dealing with Deadlines 5/29/2007 01:27:00 PM

I'm currently editing the official newsletter of Banilad Study Center, FOCUS. I set the deadlines for myself and the rest of the staff. Sometimes, I admit I give myself a bit of a leeway. The next issue is supposed to come out by the middle of June in time for the next school year, yet there are several things to take care of, including the finances! So, how do I deal with the pressure?
  • First of all, I try to talk things out with our Lord in my prayer regarding this important project entrusted to my care. It may be something small (a 4-page issue with a circulation of 500),yet it is something that can be done well and sanctified.
  • Second, I do not do it all alone. I always discuss things with the other staff members, making decisions based on the ideas that come in. For this issue, we decided that we would pass on the writing of articles to the contributors. Knowing that others are sharing the burden with you lightens it up.
  • Thirdly, if things don't go as planned, to smile and make the necessary adjustments. After all, nothing is guaranteed foolproof in this imperfect world of ours.

Thus I carry on with order and optimism, despite the looming deadlines.

Casaroro (28th of October, 2001) 5/27/2007 08:49:00 AM

Cascading straight down,
Almost to the speed of sound.
Surrounded by moss-covered boulders,
A haven for the weary heart,
Rest for the unspoken tribulations.
Over the passage of time,
Rivulets will flow forth
On to the valleys beneath the mist.
-jara-
= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =
Rummaging through my scrapbook, I found this poem, also written in a style like a poem in my name in a previous post.
I was on a rural service project in Dumaguete City that semestral break from medical school. We decided to go to this almost out-of-the way waterfalls in Valencia town. The trek was pretty steep but the beauty of the Casaroro Falls was worth the effort.

Beginning to Write, Again 5/26/2007 12:03:00 PM

There must be Some purpose To a talent Something far beyond For after awhile When I have stopped trying to write I take up my pen and go on A rediscovery Paradoxically Different and the same Ad the last time I took paper and pen Putting my thoughts into concrete words Conveying my dreams to the world So I write Once again Not anymore For myself My own sake But to lead all to the Source From which all these came from -jara- (c. 2002)

l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l
When I rediscovered this poem from one of my scrapbooks, I knew that it should have its rightful place in this blog. It serves as a fitting inspiration to get out of this writer's block, a hope that my future posts will contain new material.
It is also a reminder that writing can be sanctified, offered up to our Lord, the Source of all our talents.

The Waiting Game 5/25/2007 01:32:00 PM

I have passed all my requirements last week and I’m hoping I can get in to the mid-year residency program. That’s all I’m up to for now, aside from building up this blog. A part of me though wishes that I may not start in the next two months but only at the end of this year. I should be thinking of all possible Plan B’s for now. Then again, who knows what God has planned for me… Patience really is a path to virtue.

The Mother's Eyes (April 22, 2000) 5/25/2007 01:12:00 PM

I resumed my rummage
Through the bag of clothes,
Squealing with delight
As I found the plausible pair of socks
My excitement doubling
When I discovered
They were a perfect fit indeed
For the little babe's feet
Then, I saw the mother's eyes
As she tried to return my wide smile
And it was only then when I know
I felt less than half of what she did
At that very moment
-jara-
(re-edited c.2007)
It was my first rural service project. We mostly had medical-dental missions, and had an overnight stay in a remote barangay (village), Brgy. Sampaguita, Kibawe, Bukidnon, Philippines. It was probably our last day when we were giving out second-hand clothing to the people. This is the moment captured by the poem: Kindness is rewarded by even more gratitude seen in the other person's eyes.

Gisagul Nga Huna-huna 5/23/2007 11:11:00 PM

Taw'n 'sab sa tanom
Dili na maitsura
Nalaya na man
Siya mao ang
Tunok sa rosas na di
G'yud magpa-ila
Katapusan na
Kay karon nabot na
Ang amo-ang Ma'm
Nahibulong ko
Nganong na-ibog man ka
Gayud kanako
-jara-
(c. 1999)
This haiku collection in the local dialect are probably the first of my few forays writing in Cebuano.
For the sake of the inquisitive mind, I will state that the last one is not autobiographical at all. For the reader who doesn't speak my dialect, please e-mail me to request a translation, though I can't guarantee that it will strictly fit the haiku form.

A Poem in My Name 5/23/2007 10:04:00 PM

Just another song yet Underneath its melody lie Vibrant stories of love Yet to be fulfilled. Answers hide within these Notes yet to be heard. Now is the time indeed for Everything to be revealed. Revelation though is An uncertain matter… Various haunting melodies On untrodden paths may Yearn to be heard, too. A word of caution then Goes to the weary traveler: Realms of music may seem At the least bit confusing. Very often, you'll feel lost, Astray or just plain puzzled. Not to worry though: Tunes shall lead you to right; Ends will be a loving flourish.
-jara-
c. 2000
This is part of a collection of poems I wrote entitled "BS Biology and BS Marine Biology Students,University of San Carlos, Technological Center AY's 1997-2001: A Poetry Collection (c.1998-2000)". The collection's title explains itself. I used the names of everyone in our class to make a unique poem for each of them, using their full given name, middle name (mother's maiden name), and surame as parameter for the 1st letter of each line, the number of lines per stanza and the number of stanzas. Otherwise, anything goes. I am only featuring here my poem, with respect to anyone in my class who may not want his/her name featured thus in my blog, but a copyof the file is in our batch's yahoogroup. I am not so sure of the poem's date, so I decided to place it in the final year I wrote the poems.

Introducing...My Poetry! 5/23/2007 09:22:00 PM

Finally, I have decided against keeping another blog to feature all my own favorite poems in and will therefore post them all here instead. After each poem, I may also include a short explanation, specifically of some of them which have an autobiographical context.
I have always had an inclination for creative writing since early childhood. I loved to make up stories and spent many summers writing on my desk for days at an end instead of playing outside. I think my best work always came up when I was experiencing strong emotions. Excluding the school paper and a few websites, I have never been published though. Landing the staff position of literary editor in my senior year in high school was a dream come true! However, it was never my intention to make a career out of writing.
The last time I seriously wrote as my main hobby was probably my last year in the University of San Carlos as a Biology major or my first year of medical school at the Cebu Institute of Medicine. Medical school gave me writer's block. I hope the exercise of blogging can shrug it off. I plan to write more poetry and essays in the future, maybe even some short stories. Keep in mind the years the poems were written as several things regarding my circumstances have changed since they may have been written.
Anyone can copy my works as long as my authorship is acknowledged by my initials "jara" with which I sign all my poetry.
It doesn't matter if my works seem incomparably insignificant compared to Shakespeare or even Jose Garcia Villa...
It doesn't matter at all, for I am certain that all my works will live on far beyond my years if I dare to choose them to...

Saintly Doctors 5/21/2007 03:14:00 PM

Having personal knowledge of many practitioners in my field (even some of my classmates in medical school!) encroached by a contraceptive mentality and pro-choice stance, it gives me a lot of hope to know Catholic doctors the younger generation of doctors can emmulate. http://www.mercatornet.com/articles/saintly_scientists_hate_the_disease_love_the_diseased/?view http://www.mercatornet.com/articles/saintly_scientists_love_always_wins/

The Doctor in the Kitchen 5/21/2007 02:26:00 PM

I wasn't officially part of the recent Rural Service Project in Sitio Ibo, Brgy. Pondol, Balamban , Cebu until the penultimate minute.... When I was asked to make room in my schedule to be part of the Rurals, my first reaction was "Ok......" When I was asked to take care of the kitchen, my reaction was "Hey wait a minute!..." Then I was also asked to take charge of the finances so I said "This is the job I really hate!!!!" Yet, I still went to the rurals....Now what was I thinking? My first rural service project was in the summer of '98 in Kibawe, Bukidnon. I enjoyed the experienced immensely, never mind the inconveniences. It's not only work but there was also a lot of "laag" galore! Friendships were formed too! Since then, I have been helping out in the rurals as my schedule would permit. April 2007 in Balamban also marked my first as a licensed physician....and my first as being totally in-charge of the kitchen...Incidentally, this also happened to have the most number of shall we say...."incidences"... The van got bumped into, the faucet had to be replaced, allergy attacks, toad invasion of the sleeping quarters, visits from the "tuko"(gecko) ..... ....And here's generalized view of my kitchen woes: perennially changed schedules, stored smelly garbage, dogs on the prowl, lack of time management, spoiled meat, leaking water dispenser, no refrigerator!, late food deliveries, "delivery multicab" a no show, "delivery tricycle" going around in circles, surpluses and unexpected expenditures, undercooked rice, overpriced fruits..... ...But nothing, absolutely nothing can top the fire from the leaking rubber hose connecting the gas tank to the stove.... and getting 1st degree flash burns while I was supervising 3 high schoolers! Will I ever volunteer to take part of the rurals again? Of course! My catering service is BOOMING!!!! These are my realizations:

  • Guardian angels exist! The damage to property and person from the fire could have been worse... We would have made headlines burning down the whole school!
  • My profession is still much needed in so many out of the way places.
  • The work of the home is something imbued with dignity...and inspite of all the difficulties that came my way during this rural service project, I have fallen in love with this work.... and perhaps in the not so far off future, i can dedicate my time and effort to it.

"Omnia in bonum" -> "All for the good", as St. Josemaria would say. This eventful 6 days of work and fun, difficulties and successes surely proves this point!

The Spiral of Complaining 5/21/2007 02:13:00 PM

I would like to share with you this piece written by a quadreplegic Spanish priest who teaches college level students at a university in Spain. After reading this, I decided to start counting the blessings and disregarding the complaints. Do read on! The Spiral of Complaining (Translator’s note: spiral – the path of a point in a plane moving around a central point while continuously receding from or approaching it [Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary]) Alfonso Aguil√≥ Often perhaps, we discover ourselves complaining about little feelings of rejection, lacks of consideration or carelessness of others. We observe in our interior that half-suppressed complaint, that groan, that lament that grows and grows although we may not want it. And we see that the more we find refuge in it, we find more reasons to keep on complaining; the more we enter deeply in those reasons, the more complicated they become. It is the complaint of a heart that feels that it never receives what it deserves. A complaint expressed in a thousand ways, but which always ends up creating a rock bottom of bitterness and deception. There is an enormous and dark power in that vehement interior complaint. Every time a person allows himself to be seduced by those ideas, he gets tangled up a little bit more in a spiral of endless feelings of rejection. The condemnation of others and the condemnation of oneself grow more and more. One goes deeper into the labyrinth of his own discontent until finally he can feel that he is the most misunderstood, rejected and looked down upon. Besides, to complain is many times counterproductive. When we lament about something with the hope of inspiring pity and thus receiving a satisfaction, the result is frequently the contrary. Habitual complaining leads to feeling more rejected because it is exhausting to live with someone who tends to think she is the victim or sees snub and contempt in everything, or expects from others-or from life in general-what ordinarily cannot be demanded. The root of that frustration is, more often than not, the person’s disappointment in herself and it is difficult to give an answer to her complaints because in the end, the person she rejects is her own self. Once the complaint becomes strong in someone-in her interior or in her exterior attitude-, that person loses spontaneity to the point that the joy she observes in others tends to evoke in her a feeling of sadness, even malice. In the face of others’ joys, right away she begins to be suspicious. Joy and resentment cannot coexist; when there is resentment, joy, instead of inviting joy, leads to greater rejection. That attitude of complaining is even greater when it is associated with a constant reference to one’s own virtue, to an assumed self-righteousness: “I do this and that and I’m working here, thinking about that, trying those other things… while he or she doesn’t bother, moves lazily, goes about her own things, that’s the way they are…” As Henri J. M. Nouwen has written, complaints and touchiness appear to be mysteriously linked to praiseworthy attitudes in oneself. It’s all a pathological style of thinking which enormously enrages the one who suffers it. Just at the moment of wanting to talk or act from the most altruistic and dignified attitude, she finds herself caught by sentiments of rage or bitterness. The more unselfish she tries to be, the more obsessed she is in valuing what she does. The more she conscientiously tries to do everything possible, the more she asks herself why the others do not do the same. The more generous she wants to show herself to be, the more she envies those who give in to egoism. When one falls into that spiral of criticism and disapproval, everything loses its spontaneity. Annoyance blocks perception, one becomes the envious, constantly gets angry because she is not given what, according to her, she deserves. She suspects everything, thinks everything is calculated and filled with second intentions. The least movement requires a counter movement. The least commentary should be analyzed, the most insignificant gesture should be evaluated. Life becomes a strategy of insults and demands. At the bottom of everything, a resentful and complaining I appears constantly. What is the solution to this? Perhaps the best is to exert effort in having more faith and gratitude. We know that gratitude and resentment cannot co-exist. The discipline of gratitude is an explicit effort to receive everything that happens to us, with joy and serenity. Gratitude implies a constant choice. I can choose to be grateful even though my first emotions and feelings may be filled with sorrow. We will be surprised by the number of times we can opt for gratitude instead of complaining. There is an Estonian saying which goes: “He who is not grateful in little things will neither be in much.” Little acts of gratitude make one grateful. Most of all because little by little, they make us see that if we look at things with perspective, in the end we will realize that everything turns out for the good.