Thursday, December 30, 2010

It Rained Cats & Dogs!

This morning, I was awakened by the sound of thunder and the of rain's constant beating on my air conditioner outside. When I opened the window, it was heavily raining. I then hurried up to go outside the apartment to see what's going on out there, knowing that our street can easily be flooded with a mere drizzle. Rain is not that rare in Saudi Arabia, it happened many times before and much worse than this, but still it excites me to actually see rain falls down from the sky here in the desert, basically. Anyway, this is what I saw when I went outside - a filthy pond.

The street was flooded. I was afraid that the water might enter the muffler of my car, so I transferred it to an elevated place somewhere near the wall of our apartment. Now I'm just worried about the brakes. I hope they still work.

Rain, typhoon, hurricane, cyclone, whatever you want to call it, they don't bother me at all. They can never bother me - I'm from The Philippines - I'm used to it. This is nothing compared to what I've seen and experienced. It's just that I'm not in the Philippines. God, I wish the government of Saudi Arabia would construct a sewage system in the city, so that every time it rains, the water could flow freely and go somewhere else, instead of just waiting for it to slowly dry out.

I wish early morning tomorrow when we go to the hospital, the water would dissipate completely, (which I think is impossible). Ohh! I wish it would just literally rain cats and dogs in Jeddah.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Mi Nochebuena

Last December 24 was a tiring day for me, even though there's no patient to take care of in the hospital, I still have to finish the 8 hours OJT for that day, that was from 2 to 10 o'clock in the evening. It was the last 2 remaining OJT's in the hospital, the next one will be next week, December 31, New Year's Eve.

Now, if you are wondering what are those strange white things we are clasping as though they were a trophy on the photo above, well those are plastic plates; we were invited for a Christmas Eve dinner at a friend's house, we were holding them because the place was small, there were lots of people and the table was quite small too.  That's where we went right after we left the hospital around 10 PM.

The food was delicious! My favorite was the Calamares and the one with quail's eggs, I think it's called '7 Seasons'?, (Yummy!) We really enjoyed it.  There were lots of new faces and some old friends too, but unfortunately we had to leave early because I was not feeling well, I was coughing severely, and could not even sing at the karaoke even if I'd stayed, (damn!,) and besides, one of my friends will have to report for work the next day (yes, on Christmas day,) and I still have to drop him to his apartment. Thanks Ben and Joel for that wonderful dinner!

So, that was how I spent my Nochebuena. That was better than last year, where I just spent it infront of my computer. Hopefully next year will be much better. Eventhough the (Filipino) Christmas season is not yet over, (not until the 'Epiphany' on January 6,)  I'm now looking forward to the New Year. I just hope that 2011 will be a good year for all of us. MERRY CHRISTMAS & A HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL!

Trivia: Nochebuena means Christmas Eve. It's just one word, not Noche Buena, otherwise you're talking about a Mexican beer, a brand of cheese or a theatrical production.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

5th Place On PEBA Int'l Photo Contest

This photo won 5th place in the recently concluded PEBA (Pinoy Expat/OFW Blog Awards) last December 16, 2010 which was held at the Teatrino Promenade in Manila. I have 5 entries in the competition, 4 of which made it to the Top 50. This year's photo contest's themes were about LOVE, FAMILY, LABOR, HEROISM, COURAGE, OFW ABROAD. Thanks PEBA!

Click HERE to see the rest of the Top 10 Winners!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

A Glimpse Of My OJT

I really enjoyed our OJT in the hospital. We've seen first hand how things really work inside the hospital by assisting and observing the proper nursing procedures. Each one of us was assigned to different patients in the hospital with different medical conditions ranging from simple fever, to severe heart conditions and a coma patient due to cerebral hemorrhage.

We also get to use what we've learned in school, especially the clinical skills, like getting the vital signs (e.g. blood pressure, pulse rate, respiration rate and temperature) of the patient, bed bath, bed making, using  body mechanics, transferring of the patient, ROM (Range Of Motion) and a lot more. We were also taught the admission and discharge procedures.

I was first assigned to a patient suspected of having a dengue fever, but after some test, it turned out negative and was discharged after a few days. My second patient have a condition called a bilateral central peribronchial pneumonia, he is still in the hospital as I'm writing this post.

Aside from our own assigned patients, we're also allowed to assist and observe our fellow students with their patient, especially when their patient needs a bed bath, NGT feeding (to a coma patient), toileting i.e.. We have a check list of things that we have to accomplish by the end of our OJT, and should be signed by our clinical instructors and the nurse on duty.

To Ms. Silna Faniega (who's always been with us for the first 2 days of our OJT),  we just learned so much from you Ma'am, you just don't know how excellent of a teacher you are. Thank you, you are so amazing!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Another Orphaned Kitten Rescued!

When I was driving to Hera'a street searching for a photo subject, around 5:00 PM, I saw an orphaned lame kitten under the Hera'a - Madinah road flyover, infront of CityMax Department Store. That poor kitten would not survive there for long. If he's not going to get run over by a car, he will definitely die of hunger and thirst. I then asked my friend to get him so that we could feed and bathe him before setting him free at a safer place.

After giving much thought, I decided to let the kitten stay in our place for a few weeks, so that he could have a little more time to recover from his condition before letting him go. Since I found him on Novemver 1st, I called him 'Undas'.  Since we did not have cat food for kittens, Undas had to be content with tuna for his inaugural meal. In fact I just snatched the plate away after his belly threatens to burst. Oh and he loves Almarai milk too. One drawback though, he annoys all his seniors with his piercing cry that he had a first taste of karate from Miss Ken Lee. He is definitely an addition to my already big feline family. Some of them had only memories to stay, in fact I still miss them. I don't know if they were able to survive outside. You know, I could not keep all of them together.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Vote For My Photos On the National Geographic Channel Asia Photo Contest 2010!

Please vote for my photos on the National Geographic Channel Asia's Great Migrations photo contest on Facebook. You just have to 'LIKE' each photos, but before you can like them, you have to 'LIKE' the National Geographic Channel Asia page on Facebook first. As simple as that. Here are my entries, and please vote on all of them.

Title: The Cleaners
Category: Race To Survive
Location: Jeddah Saudi Arabia
Caption:  Photo taken at the paking of Andalus Mall, Jeddah, K.S.A. February 20, 2010.

Title: Stray Cat On A Trash Bin
Category: Feast Or Famine
Location: Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
Caption: A Stray cat on a trash bin infront of my apartment.

Title: Wanderlust
Category: Born To Move
Location: Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
Caption: Photo taken inside the detention cell in Jeddah, K.S.A. Nov. 7, 2009.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Thumbs Up: Juana Change - "Children Of God" (Video)

Juana Change is back! This time, her video deals with one of the most controversial topics in the Philippines right now, The Reproductive Health Bill. The title of her new video is, "Mga Anak Ng Dios" ( Children Of God ). Watch it!

Sign The Petition HERE!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Vote For Me On 'Who Are You With Nikon?'

Guys, please vote for my photo entry, "I am A Tall Fountain" on 'Who are you with Nikon?' photo contest. Follow the link below, allow apps. to your Facebook, (you got to have a Facebook account), wait a moment and when the photo appears, just click the yellow 'LIKE' button (once) at the top. Some say that the 'LIKE' button don't work when they click on it. You need to click it just 1 time or else the second click will un-click the the first one. Thank you and God bless!

This photo has been previously posted in my photoblog, 'CAMERA NI CABRERA' last July 9, 2010 with the title, 'Kiosk By The Jeddah Fountain'. You can view it HERE.

Click HERE to vote!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Thumbs Up: Carlos Celdran - ¡DAMASO!

This photo taken around 7PM shows Carlos Celdran still behind bars at the MPD station in Ermita, Manila.

Carlos Celdran, an artist/performer, is famous for his walking tour of Manila. Although I haven't tried his tour yet, and haven't really experienced any walking  tours in general in some of the historic parts of Manila, but I always make sure that I regularly read his blog - 'Walk This Way! I've never seen anyone who is so passionate about a place, a place he loves and cares so much about - Manila. His description of Manila from his blog goes:

"I believe that Manila can be a reflection of your state of mind. Being a city of extreme contrasts it’s easy to see how it can become an intense personal experience. Manila can be chaotic and spiritual, dirty and divine, gritty and gorgeous all at once. If you don’t find beauty and poetry here, you will never find it anywhere."

In his blog, you will not only see his itineraries, the tour dates and rates, but you can also read about some of the most pressing issues that he feels strongly about,  like the Reproductive Health Bill. It is because of this issue, that he became one of the enemies of the Catholic church. He constantly maintains his position against the church's meddling of the affairs of the state, especially on the issue of reproductive health.

Early today, he was apprehended for interrupting a mass at the Manila Cathedral. He was wearing a 19th century costume, (almost the same that of Jose Rizal's), and used a placard containing the name "DAMASO" and held it up in the middle of the mass while shouting, “bakit mahihirap lang pinagbabawalan sa family planning?” (Why is it only the poor are prohibited in family planning?) and "Stop getting involved in politics!". While handcuffed, he apologizes for the method he used, but not for the message.

Damaso is a character in Jose Rizal’s Noli Me Tangere. He is described as a powerful friar who wields his power to get what he wants. He is one of the most notorious characters in the novel, which touches on the abuses of the Spanish friars (belonging to the Roman Catholic Church) during the 19th century.

I'm happy! I'm happy not because Carlos Celdran is in jail, but because someone has finally found the courage to speak up against these modern Sadducees. This will certainly be the topic of every group conversation for years to come. I support you Carlos. I support the Reproductive Health Bill. Thumbs up. And damn those Damasos!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Paquito Is Back From The Veterinary Clinic

Paquito is now home since Saturday from a 2-day sleepover in the veterinary clinic. The doctor made a minor operation on his back because he has infected wounds. It turns out that a huge parts of his skin was already dead, so the doctor had to drain the pus from the wound and cut the dead part of the skin off. The wound was caused by an attack of a very jealous cat more than a month ago. I initially thought that it will heal by itself, but intead, it went from bad to worse.

Searching for a vet here in Jeddah is not easy, and if ever you find one, it will definitely cost a lot because most of their clients are rich people who can afford to spend thousands for their pets, and I'm not one of them. So, after asking a lot of people if they know any veterinary clinic in Jeddah, I've found one that's just near my apartment in Faisaliah district, the Jeddah Veterinary Clinic.

The name of Paquito's doctor is Khumbulani T. Nyathi, he's South African. He obviously knows that I'm not one of those wealthy pet owners who frequent their clinic, and I think he gave us discount for Paquito's minor surgery. He initially said that I'll just pay SR. 345, I guess that was for the surgery and the consultation fee of SR.120, excluding the medicines. All in all I just paid SR.365.

Right now, Paquito is rerecuperating in our apartment. The doctor said that it's not necessary anymore to put an elizabethan collar on his neck, but I still put it to prevent him from scratching and licking his freshly stitched wound. I'm also giving him antibiotic 2 times a day for 7 days to prevent infections. I think he'll fully recover soon enough.

Monday, September 13, 2010

At A Wedding In Abhur!

Last Thursday, September 9, 2010 was the wedding of my classmate Rischel and her groom Jason. The wedding was held at a rented villa in Abhur, north of Jeddah. At first I was a little hesitant to attend the event because I thought the venue was too far and I didn't know how to get there, but then again I thought why not. I called my other classmate who wanted to come with us to the wedding reception. (at this time the wedding itself was already over).

Even though I didn't know the way, we just followed the street signs going to North Abhur, and called some of my classmates who were already there to guide us on our way to the venue. When we arrived, the place was full of people and I was amazed at how big the place was. There's a huge lawn and it has a swimming pool at the side of the 2 floor villa. When we went inside, I heard a loud music,  I saw a huge living room that was converted into a dance floor and there were lots of people dancing.

We went straight to a room which was reserved especially for TCI students, it has 3 single beds and 2 medium-sized cabinets. The other room opposite to our's was reserved for the staff of Cinnabon, where the karaoke was located, which we would later invade. After a while, we thought that it was time for us to eat, so we went to the buffet. Boy, the food was delicious, especially the one with the tofu in it. I love tofu! There were a lot more food on the buffet but I'm on a diet, so as much as I really wanted to eat, I just have to put a portion on my plate. Damn!

After a few hours, some of my classmates went to the dance floor and they 'tripped the light fantastic'. I did not know that they have such talent in the art of dancing. I was just there to take videos of  my classmates and the other guests while they were doing their thing, (which you will see in the video below). You see, I also wanted to dance, but my two left feet won't allow me to. LOL!

As  hours passed and the night slowly turned to dawn, we invaded the other room where the karaoke was, and we sang our heart out. I kept on telling my classmates that it would have been perfect if only we had booze, but of course we didn't have. Too bad, I was on a party mode. Nevertheless it didn't stop us from enjoying. I sang 'Bluer Than Blue' (as usual), but it was when we sang 'Living La Vida Loca' that it made us go crazy. We didn't need booze after all!

And when morning came, it was around 8 AM, and when most of the guests are gone, we decided to take a dip in the pool. It was fun, although it was morning, the water was not cold at all. I can't even remember how many somersaults I did, (joke). It didn't take long for my fingers to crinkle, I had enough of the water, my colleagues soon followed. After we had fun at the pool, we had breakfast. The people in charge of the reception really thought everything out. They brought out one after the other, different menus like papaitan, putong puti, boiled eggs, and sopas. It was great!

Just like Janet Jackson's song goes, funny how time flies when your're having fun..., Yup, It's time to leave! Unfortunately, my car can only occupy 5 including me, so 2 of my classmates had to ride a private bus  with the rest of the guests. It was a great experience, It was my first time to attend such an occasion and my first time also to go to Abhur. Thanks Jason and Rischel for a wonderful time, and congratulations!

Friday, August 27, 2010

I Passed The BLS Examination, I'm CPR Certified!

It was a tiring day for me and I guess for my 5 other classmates as well after that bone-breaking CPR training, and not to mention that nerve-wracking BLS examination at the King Fahad Armed Forces Hospital last Wednesday. But it was all worth it. After more than a week of studying and training at our training center in TCI, the effort has paid off. All 6 of us, which is only the first batch from our class to take the examination, are now BLS (Basic Life Support) certified.

Before we had our examination, we were formally trained for about 4 hours on how to perform CPR on an adult, child and infant using dummies, and how to use the AED correctly. They also trained us on how to rescue an adult and an  infant victim when choking occurs. Using the dummies was the fun part although I never realized that giving 5 cycles of CPR  (which is 5 times 30 compressions with 2 breaths) is so tiring, what more in a real life situation?

After the training, we took the examination at the other room. It was a multiple choice test and we just have to encircle the letter that corresponds to the correct answer. I can't say it was easy, but it was not that hard also, probably the only thing that scared me that time was the thought that I might fail and I have to do it all over again. Failing the test was not an option, and thank God I made it! It took me about 20 minutes to answer all the questions.

They told us right away the result of the examination almost instantly after we submitted our test papers. I've got a 100% score! A few more minutes we received our certificates, but we have to give it back to the TCI management, they said that we will get it back on our graduation after 6 months. Passing BCLS was an amazing experience for me, as I remember it right, I haven't finished anything in my life prior to this and now I'm CPR certified. WOW!

I was also given a Saudi Heart Association BLS provider's ID which is good for 2 years and it says,  This certifies that the above named has successfully completed the national cognitive and skills performance examination in accordance with the standards and guidelines of the Saudi / American Heart Association for the basic Cardiac Life Support Program.

My sincerest thanks to our mentor Ms. Glenda Musico for helping us out get over our fears with her precious time shared with us by conducting online review and immersed us with the knowledge of CPR techniques that obviously came out in the exams. And  likewise, with Mr.Tom Lim who painstakingly challenged us with his encouraging words to hurdle any obstacles that may come our way, and also for his dilligence in teaching us so that we would be able to achieve  our goals.

A Tour With Mr. Tom Lim

After the hype was over, we went to the canteen for lunch, and while eating,  Mr. Tom Lim, our instructor/ founder of TCI, who works as a head nurse in the hospital, told us if we would like to see the place where he works, so we said yes. We went to the Cathertisation laboratory and Angiogram room. I was so amazed with the apparatus there, I don't even know what they are for. I saw a lot of monitors and a huge apparatus that resembles a machine from the movie 'Stargate'. No matter how Mr. Lim explained to us how things work in there and what those apparatuses are for, his explanations seemed to just enter to my ear and exit on the other. All in all, the experience was a total fun, Thank you Mr. Tom Lim!

My classmate's story about our BCLS examination, ¡SOY NEGRENSE! -  'Now We Are CPR Certified!'

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Classmates At The Corniche

Yesterday, I and 6 of my classmates in TCI went to the Corniche just after our class around 5:00 PM. The sun was still up and it was terribly hot. 3 of them rode in my car and 2 others rode with Chris in his pick-up truck. We first went to a park where we took a lot of pictures with some of the locals there together with their ponies and their 4 wheeled motorcycles.

It was so hot and humid that afternoon and we can't even drink water out in the open, because it's Ramadan, we have to show respect to some of the Muslims there; they were fasting, and they can't either eat or drink until a specific time, so we have to discreetly drink water inside the car.

After the photo session at the mini park, we went to meet the Red Sea. We went to the different sections of the corniche and took photos of ourselves. One of our destinations was at the observation deck. While walking there, I thought that I was being one with the sun, It was almost 6:00 PM and it was hot and humid still, but like those sun worshipers, heat was not a deterrent to get those perfect photos, nope!. But seeing that sparkling, clear water of the Red Sea made me want to dive in it, but of course I can't, I think it's prohibited to swim or wade in the water on that part of the corniche, I don't know, we're in Saudi Arabia, isn't everything supposed to be prohibited here?

Anyways, we had fun and we obviously had our bonding moments there and not to mention those great photos and videos that will remind us of those memorable moments. What else could we ask for?

Sunday, August 8, 2010

By The Way, I'm Back In School

Mr.Jeremy Thomas Lim BSN, RN, Founder/ Executive Director/ Instructor

I forgot to write a post about myself being in school again. So, yes I'm back in school, it's an intensive Caregiving program which is a 6-month program that caters for OFW's who are high school graduates and for those who didn't finish college like myself, although there are students that are professionals like engineer, pharmacists, etc. The program is on its 4th batch now of which I am lucky to be part of. The training center is only open every Fridays because most of the students and instructors are working during weekdays.The class starts from 8AM to 5 PM but can extend up to 7PM (although we haven't experienced that yet, thank God), so it's kind of hard for some students especially for those who still have work the night before. This week will be the start of  Ramadan, so for some students that will be an added problem because of the time constraint, most businesses during this time are all busy.

I enjoy going to school every Friday, because it breaks the routine that I used to have, and it's fun. It excites me so much that I can't even sleep the night before, just like what happened 2 weeks ago, I was awake 24 hours, I felt like a zombie sitting inside that classroom, and I don't want that to ever happen again, so I sleep very early every Thursday night, around 9 PM. Another thing that I really enjoy is that I get to exercise my brain again with those hard to remember, tongue twister medical words like gluteus maximus, vestibulocochlear, sternocleidomastoid etc.  And by the way, it sure is nice to try my hand in writing long lectures and assignments again just like when I was in high school.

Total Care International is now open for the 5th batch of students, so if you are from Jeddah and interested in the program, you can go to Total Care International website that you will see below, and there you will see phone numbers to contact and you can also fill up a form for you to reserve a slot.

The training center was located inside IPSJ (International Philippine School of Jeddah) on Gornatha street but just last Friday we transfered to a different location near Hail street. The name of the training center is Total Care International, and was founded by a  Filipino couple in 2008.

Related: 'Im Back In School Again' at ¡SOY NEGRENSE! (My Classmate's Blog)

Monday, July 26, 2010

Who Am I?

Contrary to what I've been telling other people and on this blog, in some of my previous posts, I knew that the person who I knew as my mother is actually not my biological mother. I learned about this when I was 26 years old, and it was just unbelievable to me at that time. In my mind, things like that only happens on television and in movies, although, that revelation answered some of the why's and the how's in my mind but still I was on denial.

When I was a child, I'd been hearing a lot of stories from other people that I was adopted, but of course I didn't believe them. My parents told me that if people said something about it again, that I should show them my birth certificate, it's an A2-size paper with a Nestlé company logo on top with my name, name of the hospital  where I was supposedly born, date of birth and with the signature of the doctor which obviously turned out to be bogus. I can't blame those people who said that I was adopted, they didn't see my mother got pregnant for 9 months, instead, they just saw this baby in front of their bulging eyes one fine day.

I said earlier that that revelation answered some of my questions. Most of them are about my relationship with my mom and how she treated me as her son. I remember one instance where I was in my room and she was calling me from downstairs, my tv was loud and I couldn't hear her shouting, she then went up to my room and scolded me, after a short exchange of words, she then slapped me on my nape with a closed fist, (don't get me wrong, I never speak bad word to may parents,) I remember I was crying after that. My father came up after my mom had left and he was angry because of the commotions. While I was crying, I told my father, "Why is mother not like a mother?", then he put his arm around me and said, "Don't cry and don't think about it, she's just experiencing menopause, that's all", ridiculous it may sound, but I believed him. There were many more instances like that and some other small things, and collectively they all served as clue to the truth.

I'm 38 now and after more than 10 years since I've learned about my mom, I kind of accepted the fact that she's not my biological mom and that nothing should change. In my mind, I still have my father and he's my real father, we are both a Cabrera and that is all that matters. Although, ever since I've learned about it, new questions popped up in my mind, like who's my real mother?, where is she now? or is she rich or poor?  or is she still alive? and a lot more. My parents and I, we neither talked about it nor I asked my father who he had an illicit relationship with, but everytime I had a chance to speak with my relatives, I would often ask them about it, but their answers would often disappoint me.

Just last Friday, (I didn't have a sleep that evening, probably I was too excited to go to school,) I decided to call one of my relatives in the States. I wanted to just say hello and update myself about what's happening with them there. But then I decided to ask about my real mother or if they know my real mother, at first he said he didn't know her and I was kind of expecting that, but then he said, "I don't know your mother but what I know is that you were given to your parents by a certain Doctora Virata of Imus", and then he added, "and a certain Rementilla, so if you want to find out who you really are, and who your real parents are, look for those people". Then I quickly said thank you, terminated the call and ran to my computer and googled Dra.Virata, but then it crossed my mind, if I was given to my parents.....then? I quickly called back and asked, Are you saying that my father is not my real father? Then he said, "to my knowledge, yes, he's not your father, they are not your parents". I couldn't believe it, not another one! After all those years, all those people who've been telling me that I am adopted was right all along. Everything about me was a lie.

I found 3 Dr.Viratas in Imus, Dr. Mabini Virata, Dr. Cora Virata and Dr. Enriqueta Virata. I don't want to play Sherlock Holmes, but I want to know who I am. I feel so empty, like something's missing, and I wish my Nanay Tita is here, (my aunt who died last year). I don't even know if I have the courage to ask those people about my parents, and if I do, will they answer me or will  they just tell me to go away because they are busy?

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

I'm Optimistic With P-Noy

I didn't sleep until 9:00 this morning (Saudi Time) just to watch on TV the inauguration of our new president Benigno Simeon Aquino lll live in Manila on TFC. I feel like it's imperative for me to witness this part of Philippine history. Obviously, I can't be there personally in Luneta infront of the Quirino Grandstand to cheer and to give my support, as I am here in Saudi Arabia, so TV is the only way I could witness this special occasion.

I haven't felt this optimism about the Philippines since the presidency of Fidel V. Ramos (president 1992-1998). During this time, whenever I go to Manila (from where I live in Cavite), I remember noticing the skyline of Manila and seeing a lot of buildings being constructed with all those long cranes on top of each building, I thought then that the construction boom in Manila was probably one of the signs that things were improving, and I was not wrong.

I remember my father had a subscription of Asiaweek Magazine and I was always the first one to read it. I was excited to look at some of the pages at the back where one can see the different economic growth charts of some Asian countries. I remember the Philippines was paired with Thailand in one of the charts with the title, "Tiger's Cub".

Things were going well economically, then Joseph Ejercito Estrada entered the scene and everything just crumbled down. I remember my friends and I were talking about this inside a karaoke bar, of all places, and I remember telling them that if Joseph Estrada wins the presidency I will leave the country. He did win. And true enough, I did leave. I was forced to work abroad.

Even though I like the Ramos' administration, the funny thing about it is that I didn't even vote for him during the election of 1992, I voted for Miriam Defensor Santiago, who obviously lost the presidential race. Some would probably disagree with what I said about the Ramos' administration, but this is what I honestly feel about it.

And going back to the inauguration of Noynoy, I must admit that his inaugural speech was full of sincerity, humility and it mirrors his objectives for the Philippines and the Filipino people. One of my favorite parts of his inaugural speech was when he said that he can forgive those who did him wrong, but he has no right to forgive those who abused the people. And he went on to say;

"To those who talk about reconciliation, if they mean that they would like us to simply forget about the wrongs that they have committed in the past, we have this to say: there can be no reconciliation without justice. When we allow crimes to go unpunished, we give consent to their occurring over and over again. Secretary de Lima, you have your marching orders. Begin the process of providing true and complete justice for all."

I know P-Noy will be a great leader and will do all the things he promised to the people. I'm confident not only in him but also to those people surrounding him, most especially his sisters, specifically Ballsy Aquino Cruz, the eldest of the siblings. She to me is like Olivia de Havilland's character Melanie Hamilton Wilkes in the movie "Gone With The Wind", so if Ballsy say it is alright, then it is alright! 

Eventhough I'm optimistic about the new administration, we should not put all our hopes and the responsibility on P-Noy's shoulders, we must also have to do our part, if not, it'll be just like watching a magic show and we are the audience. We also have to be realistic that 6 years is not enough to solve most of our problems. P-Noy needs our help.

"Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we've been waiting for. We are the change that we seek."

 ~Barack Obama, 2008 Feb 05, Chicago, Illinois

To watch Part 2 to 4 of 'Palasyong P-Noy' , go to Probe TV

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Paquito Is His Name!

The other day my housemate found a stray cat in the street just outside our apartment. I think the cat had an owner before because my friend said that it was not afraid of him, in fact the cat was the one who came towards him and seemingly asking for food. My friend called me so that I would   see the condition of the cat personally. The cat was not in good shape, he was having a hard time walking, a huge part of his back has a bald patch and it seems that there's something wrong with his skin, it almost looks like a big open wound when I saw it.

We already have 4 cats inside our small apartment and I know it'll be crowded, but still we decided to take the cat in. I can't imagine how that poor cat could possibly survive outside without food and water under the burning heat of the sun in that condition. I then bathe and fed the cat. I can tell that he was very hungry and thirsty, but may be because of what he was feeling, he just can't eat the way a starving cat usually does. I also noticed that he moves very slowly, another sign that the cat is sick.

This was not the first time I took in a cat inside my apartment, in fact there were 3 of them (in 3 different occasions), but I released the two back to the street when they got well, I really didn't want to do it, but I had to, I couldn't possibly keep them all. The one that was left now has 2 offsprings and a grandkitten, that is Brüno.

Anyway, the other day I tried to find the breed of the cat in the internet, for me to know more about him and yes I did find out his breed, he is a Himalayan, a cross between Siamese and Persian, meaning they have the color of the Siamese and the long fur of the Persian cat. Himalayans have light colored bodies and dark extremities which are called Color Points, the colors could be lilac, blue, chocolate, flame and cream. I'm just not sure about the color points of my cat.

And about the name of the cat, we used to call the cat 'Sweety', but after I discovered that the cat is a male,  it's appropriate to give him a name that would suit the gender. We wanted to give him a name that has a 'growl' in it, that would sound mean to offset his pitiable condition and so we decided to call him Paquito, after Paquito Diaz, a Filipino mestizo actor who always played the role of  'contra vida' or villain in most of his movies.  I think his new name suits him.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Today Is My Birthday - Happy Birthday To Me!

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Today I'm celebrating my 38th birthday. Another year has been added to my age. I don't know whether I should be happy, or cry my heart out about it (sigh). Thirty eight, it means 3 decades and 8 years and that's my age, I mean, I might as well be 40 or 50 years old. Just a few more years and I'll be a senior citizen and I'll be needing a rocking chair and a cane to go with it.

Every year whenever my birthday nears I can't help but  be a little nostalgic and a bit sad. I kept on thinking about those years when I was younger and how carefree and happy I was as a kid. I remember during those years, I always held my birthdays at the beach (Villamar Beach Resort in Noveleta, Cavite). My parents would invite some of our relatives and their close friends and I would also invite my friends and some of my classmates. I also remember the food because they were always the same every year, and most are my favorites. They were mostly seafoods like crabs, prawns, grilled fish and stews like menudo and adobo, and we always had pancit guisado to symbolize long life. Getting hungry!

The biggest birthday that I had in terms of guests was on my 7th birthday, that was (are you ready for this?) in 1979. It was not held in the beach, but instead at the house of my grand parents (in Ligtong, Rosario, Cavite), where we used to live during those times when we didn't have our own house yet. I remember having my picture taken at a place we called "Camalig" where they were grilling the huge lechon on the ground. It was also on my 7th birthday where I received the most gifts. It was one of the happiest times in my life.

In 2006,  I was to celebrate my 33rd birthday for the very first time in 7 years in the Philippines because I was in Saudi Arabia  since 1999. And although I had my vacations before, It didn't coincide with my birthday. It was midnight of May 21-22, 2006, two days before my birthday, when I was stabbed on my face by a customer at a  Karaoke bar, just 5 minutes away from my house in Noveleta. One of my friends with me was also wounded on his right ear when he tried to pursue the guy, but unfortunately he got away. I was rushed to the hospital that night.  The parents of the guy talked to my parents and settled the case with a pay-off and so my parents dropped the case, in other words nothing happened, the guy was free to roam the town again. My parents was wrong on that one. Anyway, it's history and I thank God that I came out of it alive. I don't want to spend my birthday ever again inside a hospital.

From 2007 to 2009, I spent my birthdays here in Saudi Arabia and obviously again this year. It's doubly sad because I haven't seen most of the people that were usually present in my past birthdays because of the obvious reason that they're just not here in Saudi Arabia and it also makes me sad because some of them passed away,  like my auntie (my Nanay Tita who died in the states in 2008), my grandmother who passed away much earlier and my dear friend Nazareno, he died in 2006. I have a lot of good memories with them, though  my birthday wouldn't be the same without them, but I know that they're with me in spirit.

Today, there's no celebration, I'll just spend my birthday watching TV,  with my computer, or may be I'll just listen to my favorite music and  go back down memory lane.  About my birthday wish, I'll just keep it to myself and I hope it'll come true. I would like to say thank you to all those who remember and greeted me on my birthday.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

I Have Already Voted!

Yesterday I cast my vote for the national elections in the Philippines via OAV, or Overseas Absentee Voting here at the new building of the Jeddah consulate. The voting process was very easy, there's not a lot of people who voted that day, so there's no queue.

Before I proceeded to the polling precinct, I searched first for my name in the list of voters, this is to make sure that I am really a registered voter in Jeddah. While searching for my name, a man came up to me and tried to help find my name, which I thought a gesture of kindness, but then after I found my name and my sequence number, he secretly showed me a piece of paper with a name of a candidate from his hand, perhaps a senate candidate or a party list candidate which I didn't quite read.

After searching for my name and sequence number, I went straight to a small room where the actual voting takes place. The 2 members of the BEI (Board of Election Inspectors) who take charge of the precinct asked my name, sequence number and my ID. After checking, they gave me an empty folded ballot. It only took me less than 10 minutes to vote for president, vice president, 12 senators and a party list group. After I completed writing my candidates on the ballot, I dropped it inside a small brown paper box (and posing for the camera while doing it. lol!).

It was a great experience. That was my first time to vote outside the Philippines and only my second to vote in any elections. I've done my part. I really feel that I've fulfilled one of my duties to my country, I just hope that everything turns out the way it should be.

I Voted And Insist It To Be Counted!
(A Friend's Blog Post) 

Saturday, April 10, 2010

I'm Reading: The Wonderful Wizard Of Oz

The 1939 film "The Wizard of Oz" starring Judy Garland and was directed by Victor Fleming is one of my favorite films of all time. I can't remember how many times I've watched the film. One of my favorite scenes was when Dorothy and the Scare Crow purposely angered the apple trees so that they may throw apples on them because they were hungry, that's the part before they discovered the motionless Tin Woodman.

The film as we all know it, was adapted from the children's classic "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz" by L.Frank Baum, which was first published in 1900. The other day, I just finished reading the book which I bought from a local bookstore here in Jeddah. I know it sounds funny, but it was my first time to read it, and I was so amazed on how different it was from the 1939 film.

While I was reading the book, I was shocked to learn that there were no Ruby shoes, instead, a pair of Silver shoes, then I told myself that maybe I was reading the wrong book or maybe they'd made mistakes with the printing of the book or something. I felt so stupid, I mean the book was over a century old and it's only now I found out about the shoes.

There's a lot of chapters on the book that was not included in the film, like chapter 9, entitled 'The Queen of the Field Mice', which I was shocked to learn that even if the Tin man believes that it's wrong to kill  pretty, harmless creatures, (like the field mice),  he didn't think twice to chop off the head of the wildcat. In chapter 12, entitled 'The Search for the Wicked Witch', the Tin man again demonstrated his murderous instinct, by chopping off the head of the wolves, but of course he did that to save his friends. Hhmm...maybe the Tin man was hiding some dark secrets?

Another chapter in the book that didn't make it in the film was chapter 20, 'The Dainty China Country', where Dorothy and her friends passed while going to the country of the Quadlings in the south. In the 'Dainty China Country', everything is made of china from animals, to houses, trees and even the people there. They (Dainty China people) have to be very careful in moving because they may easily break.

Chapter 22, 'The Country of the Quadlings' is another chapter that didn't quite make it in the film. This is the place where Glinda, the good witch of the south lives, where the bridges, fences and all houses were painted  bright red.

Aside from those chapters, there are also a lot of characters that was not in the film, like the Kalidahs, monstrous beasts with bodies like bears, and heads like tigers, living in the big dark forest that they passed while on the road to the Emerald City. Scary creatures! Another characters  in the book that are not in the film are the Hammer Heads, they are short and stout and have big heads, which were flat at the top and supported by a thick neck full of wrinkles and they do not have arms. And the queen of the field mice, a very important character that was not on the  film. Without the field mice, the cowardly lion would have surely died in the deadly poppy field.

So far, those are the 'discrepancies' that I've noticed between the book and the famous 1939 film. Although while reading the book, I didn't read about the horse of different colors and the funny apple throwing apple trees. In the film, I've noticed that they mixed everything up, like the good witch Glinda, who's supposed to be in the south, and the flying monkeys that follow the every command by whoever possesses the Golden Cap. I recommend that you read the book, so that you'll understand fully some of the scenes and the history of the characters in the film. Both the book and the film are just amazing!

The Wicked Witch Of The East (And Of The Far East)

While reading the book especially on chapter 2, 'The Council With The Munchkins', I can't help but compare the Munchkin  land to the Philippines. When Dorothy arrived in the Munchkin Land via the tornado inside the house, it was the happiest moment in the lives of the munchkins, because they were liberated. The Munchkins thought that Dorothy deliberately killed the Wicked Witch of the East by letting the house fall on her.

I honestly believe that something similar to this will soon happen in the Philippines, but not as a house falling on the wicked president but of different kind. Gloria, or I must say, the wicked witch of the  Far East, has done a lot of bad things against the Filipino people, and her life will  not be enough to compensate them. I shouldn't be speaking of such bad things, but I can't help it. Her time will surely come, and maybe when that time comes, we can all sing joyously, "ding dong, the witch is dead, the wicked witch is dead!"