“Meeting Tracer Tong”; My Trip to Hong Kong

My sister invited me to attend a medical convention with her as to keep her company and support her as she had a poster case presentation from November 24-27.

At first, I wasn’t really into the idea of going, but after her persuasion, along with my parents coercion, and the fact I get to meet 2 of my friends who live there, made me decide to go with her.

Day One



“Meeting Tracer Tong”

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Meeting Tracer Tong is a reference to one of my all time favorite PC games ever, Deus Ex. In there, there is a level in Hong Kong, specifically in Wan Chai streets, where one of the most iconic background music (in my opinion) plays as you find a character named Tracer Tong.

It so happened that the medical convention, the 11th Echo Hong Kong, was being held in Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, which is in Wan Chai, I couldn’t help but play “The Synapse” (the Hong Kong level background music in Deus Ex) on repeat while I was there.

Like my trip to Singapore alone last September (I also went to Singapore last March with company) I have always been ignored when it comes to “timing”; by this I mean, I was always told to leave the house for the airport way to early. I know that counters usually open 2-3 hours before the scheduled flight, and I do take into account the possible traffic and such, so I could usually calculate the best possible time including all the hindrances that can come from the travel to the airport. Alas, nope, we left the house at 7AM from Pampanga to the airport in Manila.

Now our flight is 2:20PM, take into the regular time it takes to make it to the airport which 2 hours, with a possible hour of traffic, we will be arriving at the airport at 10AM, for which we did, and had at least another hour of waiting before the counter to be opened for our flight… for which we did.

After all is said and done, I have always had something bad to say about Ninoy Aquino International Airport and the lack of efficiency and such, but that was in Terminal 3 that I was already complaining about, yet boy oh boy, Terminal 2 is a different beast altogether.

Lack of seats while waiting for a flight, only ONE opened public restroom at the time, lack of proper dissemination of information regarding changes in flights or gates (I know, I know, I traveled quite a lot when I was younger and more recently, so I know flights and gates are subject to change, but the lack of announcement thru PA or a sign showing there is a change, heck even a change in the monitor, can confuse those first timers who are traveling alone – doubt my sister would have noticed this if she traveled alone), and I can go on and on, but hey, let us save that for another post.

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Needless to say, we got on our flight, but didn’t take off until an hour and thirty minutes after stepping on board… another thing that ticked me off.

Anyways, overall, the flight in Philippine Airlines was fun, could have been better, but we got to Hong Kong safely, and that is all that matters.

Sixteen Degrees Celsius

My friend who lives and works in Shenzen tagged me in a post in Facebook showing the weather is quite cold; as low as 16 degrees Celsius she mentions. At first, I was like, darn it, time to pack in some thick jackets to keep me warm and stuff. Upon arrival and exit from the Hong Kong International Airport, I will admit, it was cold and had to put my jacket on, but after awhile, it reminded me of a regular day in America. It didn’t take me long to adapt to the weather and remove my jacket altogether.

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Finally got to play this officially!

The taxi fare from the airport to our hotel near the convention center in Wan Chai cost us like 50 bucks; it was nearly an hour’s travel from the airport to the hotel, so it wasn’t really that surprising, but nonetheless, still surprising.

Upon checking in, I got to meet up with my good friend, Roberto, whom I first met last September in Singapore during the Formula One race there… he decided to show us  around a bit and take us out to dinner.

Turning Chinese

After a brief tour around our block in Wan Chai and pointing us towards the convention center, he took us out to a nearby restaurant to try the local cuisine; not Chinese food is worldwide, you will always find a restaurant serving such dishes, but to try the AUTHENTIC food is really quite the feast.

We got to catch up, talk about Formula One, and get to talk about our personal lives more. Sadly, since me and my sister had a convention to attend to and Roberto had a flight to catch the next morning, we didn’t really spend the whole night hanging out.

But that is alright, as this proves that Formula One brings different people together, surely, in the future, be it in the States or here in the Philippines, dinner will be on me, Roberto! And we will hang out much longer then.

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Percolate the Mind

After having a delicious dinner courtesy of Roberto, my sister wanted coffee and thankfully, there is a nearby Starbucks right in front of our hotel and we got there for a couple of nice warm coffee; I was already editing some pictures we took with Roberto, and my sister was studying for her poster presentation on Sunday, which is 2 days from that point.

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It is known that there is a delay in my posting of photos since I started my hobby in photography in 2010, so my sister usually reminds me to post, and thank goodness, otherwise no one will see these pics for another week.

Thus, Day 1 ended, and onward to Day 2…

Day Two



Convention Day

This is considered the convention day for me and my sister; we got to the convention center early to prepare her poster and listen to a number of lectures.

The lectures reminded me that I still have a soft spot for my first love in medicine: Cardiology.

My sister took up Cardiology which was her second choice for subspecialization, where Neurology was her first love; my first love was Cardiology and my second is Neurology. As fate would have it, since she is like 7 years older than me, she got to study and train in medicine earlier than me, so she gets to choose her subspecialization first, naturally. She chose Cardiology.

I then targeted Neurology thinking I will still be ultimately training and practicing here in the Philippines, and it would be a nice tandem to have different fields of expertise than being both Cardiologists.

However, I decided to move back to the States, hoping to pass the USMLE for my license there. Now, knowing that, I can go back to Cardiology as my subspecialization, but I already love the thought of being a Neurologist. That still doesn’t stop me from enjoying the lectures as Cardiology was my first love.

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Exploration

After listening to a few lectures, we decided to head back to the hotel to take a nap and such, then explore once again, the nearby areas. This was also a good opportunity to take shots of ourselves using my new Sigma 50-150mm f/2.8 lens that I recently got with the thought of using it for future photo projects and future Formula One races.

The Calm Before the Storm

Back in the hotel, my sister is hard at work studying for her presentation, whereas I was hard at work editing the photos earlier in the day and making sure our hotel room doesn’t end up too messy; my sister does not have obsessive compulsive personality disorder (there is a big difference between Obsessive Compulsive Disorder vs Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder… look it up), thus I like keeping things neat and orderly.

Knowing full well we need not wake up early the next day as her presentation is in the afternoon, I slept like a log. This was important as I was meeting one of my great college friends and a friend whom I consider very close, Amanda, right after the presentation. So I need to save up energy for that evening’s exploration and hang out.

Right Here, Waiting Smile, Sister
Smoke Gets in Your Eyes

Day Three


Meeting Amanda

Day Three, which is Day Two of the convention for us, went by without a hitch; my sister successfully presented her case and poster, and all the stress she had going in is finally gone, and all she can think about is shopping.

Thankfully, Amanda took that into account, so as we met up, she took us to an area where my sister can shop.

After a few strolling around together as a group, my sister wanted to shop more than have dinner, so she went shopping on her own, and Amanda and I had dinner and subsequently strolled the area some more.

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Falling in Love with Photography All Over Again

Amanda and I then strolled around the city and occasionally entered shops to, well what else? Shop. Along the way, laughing and enjoying every bit just like the times where she was still living here in the Philippines where without fail, we would hang out at school or anywhere after school. I missed those days and more importantly, I missed her, and it showed.

I would take pictures of her without knowing as that is usually my style in street photography or any event for that matter; I like taking pictures of people in their natural state… no faking smiles or whatnot. Of course, there are times I asked her to smile for me and I must say, she makes a great model! And I will admit, I have taken a lot of photos of people since 2010, both in regular events or in modeling, but when I saw the photos I took while I was editing, I can’t help but have my breath get taken away.

Maybe it is the fact I haven’t shot in the streets or people for a long time, apart from my trips to Singapore; maybe it is because I missed Amanda, and it was a pure pleasure taking her photos; maybe it was the nice city I was exploring; or maybe it was simply her smile in that one particular photo… but in the end, I am in love with photography again to the point I made a decision to finally upgrade my DSLR after 7 years.

It shows that even if I have a new lens, the Sigma 50-150mm f/2.8, my previous lens that I bought 5 years ago is still just as good, the Sigma 30mm f/1.4. After getting an upgrade to my DSLR body, I hope to get a Sigma 17-50mm f/2.8 to complete MY version of the Holy Trinity of Lenses.

Enough of that, enjoy these photos:

When You Shine Brighter Looking Forward...
Take Me Somewhere I Belong

Day Four:


Last Minute Shopping

It is the day we will finally head back home to the Philippines, but my sister still wanted to explore a bit more and shop a bit more, so after making sure we packed everything we needed and checked out from the hotel, leaving our bags at the counter, we made our way to Causeway Bay nearby and shopped.

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In the end, I wasn’t able to get anything I really wanted, but I did stumble upon this cool plushie!

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And finally, after my sister got the stuff she wanted, it was time to head back to the hotel, pick our luggage, and head to the airport.

Til Next Time, Hong Kong!

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On the flight back home, me and my sister had separate seats as she got her plane tickets from a travel agency, whereas I ordered mine online; the flight to Hong Kong, we were lucky to be able to sit together, but alas, on the trip home, we are separated.

I sat next to a nice elderly lady, who was also Filipino, so we chat our way back to the Philippines.

I was also, apparently, labeled by two elderly Chinese couple as the “Go-To-Guy” for asking help when it came to using the inflight entertainment system. I found that very nice that even if they were sitting in the behind me in the aisle, they would reach out to my shoulder and ask me for help. Take note that they both seem to speak much English, but with enough simple sign language, I was able to understand what they wanted, and so I helped them get their inflight entertainment system play the music or the movies they wanted.

Then touch down in the Philippines, I said goodbye to my new found friends during the flight, and eventually, after an hour or two, me and my sister are back home.

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Overall, the trip to Hong Kong was awesome, but I would have loved to explore more of the area; seeing that we were really there for the convention, it was tough to have a vacation state of mind, however, during Day Three and Day Four right before we left, we were able to really appreciate Hong Kong and longed to stay a bit more to see everything else. Of course, there is always next time. And next time, I will go there without any other reason but to see everything else Hong Kong has to offer. So ’til next time, Hong Kong!

Those Hong Kong Lights


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Another Day, Another Job Done

Now it is no surprise that I am juggling 3 jobs and other rackets that I have every now and then. My stable jobs are clinic duties in a diagnostic center and in a university as well as a guest lecturer in the same university. My other rackets would be a guest lecturer in different institutions, ER duties in hospitals, or the more usual, being a general physician for blood letting events.

Today, I am the latter, a general physician for blood letting. It is yet another day of the usual history and physical examination, prescribing medications if ever so needed, and just having fun.

However, today, I was joined by some clerks, who happened to be some of my good friends, and it made the experience even better. Now, when I have clerks, I usually give funny names for our team. Back then, I had the “Lizard Squad”, then I had “The Seawolves”, and now, we have “Team Packers”. Long story for all the origins of those names.

Needless to say, today, my clerks are all boys, so being all boys, we were slightly rowdy and talked about games, movies, comics; you name it, anything geeky or nerdy, we talked about it.

It was a very relaxing day honestly; no huge lines of patients, no emergency cases, and whatnot. Just 4 male doctors chilling out.

This blood letting event is a charity event by a family that lost their child to cancer 5 years ago and have been doing this annually for the past 4 years. A very noble cause and we were all happy to be a part of it.

Overall a fun and benign day for all of us.

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Let’s go TEAM PACKERS! I’m the short guy 4th from the left with a black 3/4ths long sleeves

Til next time! PEACE!

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Somewhere I Belong

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Entering my 3rd week as the new University Physician at my Alma Mater and so far I am having an absolute blast; I am having fun because of my co-workers there, seeing my old professors and how happy to see me and how far I have come, and to see patients with different, albeit, non-toxic cases, also helps me grow as a physician. Add the fact that I am also working in a diagnostic center where I see much older patients than the students in the university, I do get to see a multitude of cases, albeit again, non-toxic cases.

Now, do note, I am not the only university physician, there is still another who is also part time like me, who happened to have been longer than I have; long enough to have remembered me during my B.S. Biology and Medicine years in the same university.

She is far more experienced than me, but I strive to be as confident and experienced as her as time goes on. I mentioned confidence… this is because since I am practically a very young and brand new physician, even if I do know the case and the treatment, sometimes I just can’t help but question myself and over think if I did the right thing or not.

This becomes more apparent when it is time for me to refer to specialists, since at this point I am a general physician, and start to wonder if my referrals are right. Since most of these specialists I know are my professors in medicine, they might think I didn’t learn anything at all.

But apart from my self doubts, overall the patients that do come back for follow mention my treatment plan will always have an improvement. I really need to build that confidence.

Thus far, as mentioned above, I am enjoying every minute of my time there in AUF as their physician, always looking forward to going there in the morning, so much so that in some days where my call time is 7am, I am usually the first one there, and thankfully, I am given a copy of the clinic’s key that I am able to enter even no one else is around.

Add the fact that I am also enjoying my time at the diagnostic center where I am also the general physician, I have the weekdays to look forward to, even more so than the weekends.

Let us also throw in that I will be teaching some subjects in School of Medicine in AUF and teach my favorite subject which is Biochemistry, everything seems to be falling in place for me this year. Perfect practice until my Neurology training next year.

I am indeed looking forward for the coming days and so on in all my current ventures and I am looking forward to learning as much as I can before I become a specialist in a field in medicine.

I feel that I am happy at how things are panning out for me after what I considered a trying time since I had reinjured my right knee and had to have surgery. Seeing my old professors both in medicine and in premed all happy to see where I am, for this year at least, makes me feel humbled as without them, I wouldn’t even be here at this point. And hearing that I have most of my life planned out, for the coming 5 years or so (which includes the training), they are even more happy and relieved to see their former student come so far and has planned his future enough.

Doing What I love.

I am happy that I feel like I belong now.

So here’s to a good time and for a brighter future, not only me, but for everyone.

-o-

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Lost in PHA Convention

Well, not really lost in the Philippine Heart Association (Hereafter, PHA) Convention, just can’t think of anything better as a title; forgive me, for I am battling a total of 6 hours sleep in the past 4 days, so I guess my so called creativity is on hibernation – something I should actually be doing, too.

Anyways, the actual convention concluded yesterday, where it spanned from May 25-27, and I was there since the 24th; usually, these conventions, I am just another delegate, choosing which topics I would love to listen to, but this time around, since my sister, who is a cardiology fellow, was tasked to give a case on the second day of the event, I was there for moral support, and probably more importantly, there for technical support and such, just to make sure her case report would not be a failure.

I can’t take all the credit for her successful case report, of course not! It was her own work, and her own power that made her report a success, I was there just in case she needs me to research, clarify some topics, or even fix her laptop if need be. I am the insurance for anything that can go wrong,; thankfully nothing did go wrong, and of course, even if something did, again, in the end, it would still be her doing the actual report, the actual work, so it is really her glory. I am emphasizing this because a lot of people also credited me for her successful report, for which I am honored that they think so, but in reality, it was all on my sister.

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Proud little bro here!

Apart from that case report of my sister, her co cardio fellows of the AUFMC also had their own respective parts in the event, and each, like my sister, had successful presentations.

 

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Dr. Canono, considered my other sister, proudly representing AUFMC in the poster presentation of her study

 

 

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From left to right, Dr. Debbie (my real sis), Dr. Cheng (my other sis), and Dr. Richard, representing AUFMC for the PHA Quiz Show!

The overall event was successful, and I love the location as I can easily go to the mall after the day’s lectures – you get to learn, feed your mind if you will, and then you can relax at the mall/plaza that is next to the hotel, Shangri-La  Hotel at EDSA, and then feed the tummy and the soul with whatever you please there.

This time around, however, I didn’t see my classmates, but I did see a lot of my mentors, which is great; I can give my thanks to them for guiding me throughout medical school and for their prayers when I was preparing for my board exams. So that was more than enough to make up for me not being able to catch up with my classmates from medschool there.

Away from the conventions and the realm of medicine, I got to explore places in Manila I usually do not go in a regular basis, one of which is a Bonifacio Global City, which I have gone to a few times, but like previously mentioned, I don’t visit this place a lot, but it is in my bucket list to live in during my residency training as I target either The Medical City or St. Luke’s; I am targeting those 2 institutions for Neurology training because I heard great feedback from my mentors and fellow physician friends, then seeing Global City as a whole back then, made me all the more want to live in, then seeing it again during my stay in Manila for the PHA Convention, made me long for it even more.

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Pig Out!!

BGC reminds me of the States so much; it goes to show that proper city planning can even make places in the Philippines look great. It has wide sidewalks, strict traffic rules, lots of trash cans to avoid loitering just anywhere, friendly people, and lots of cops just to make it all the more safe. Add in the towering skyscrapers of corporations, hotels, etc., it really reminds me of back home in the States.

While there in BGC, we sampled a lot of the well known eateries like IHOP and a lot more; this whole trip was basically eating away anything  to the point on the last day, which was yesterday, I wasn’t as hungry as the first few days. All I wanted to do was drink or immediately head back to the hotel room so I can sleep – the latter of which curtails to the fact that I had 6 hours of sleep in the past 4 days.

Having spent 4 and a half days there for the convention, even with the lack of sleep, it was great hanging out with my sister and her colleagues who happen to be my mentors, and practically, my second siblings. I was able to unwind from all the stress reality can give and feel refreshed as I returned home and facing whatever my professional life will now throw at me.

 

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Last day of the convention, sister decided to treat me cake; I honestly look more tired than the other people that actually have a part in the PHA Convention program

 

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Another pig out session before returning home to Pampanga the next day and face reality

And the coup de grace, if you will, is that since my sister presented a case, she was given a token that happens to be a USB 3.0 32Gb Flashdrive from Samsung, and notorious for not being geeky and notorious for losing a number of her Flashdrives, as well as my Flashdrives, she decided to give it to me since she knows I won’t lose it and can use it to a greater extent than her, plus it is her way of thanking me for being there and helping her with anything she needed during the convention. I failed to mention that my right knee was killing me the entire convention, but the simple thank you would have easily made me feel better even without the Flashdrive, I wouldn’t have said that anyway… I mean, come on, I do want that Flashdrive…

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My prize for helping out!

So with that, I end this post…

Til next time! PEACE!

 

-0-

 

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Blood Letting and A Talk

Now it has been quite the couple of days for me. For most physicians being busy nearly everyday is no surprise, but for a fresh board passer like me who hasn’t committed himself to working just yet (I mean come on, I want a vacation first), it is a bit of a strange thing to be busy with medical related things that be busy planning out a vacation.

Okay, I said I wasn’t committed to working, by that, I mean that I don’t want to sign contract for training/moonlighting/whatever just yet. I can accept simple jobs for now like performing the physical examinations or give pep talks to incoming Physician Licensure Examination (hereafter, PLE) takers this September 2016.

They are simple tasks that doesn’t break my rule of not wanting to work, yet.

First let us talk about what happened April 21st, 2016, I joined a blood letting, that is my 3rd overall since I became officially licensed and this is probably my 10th or more overall since I entered medical studies. So I know the routine, plus it is simple physical examination only. However they do ask certain questions about their health in general, so there will be a few people that don’t want to donate blood, but instead ask for medical advice. I was pretty happy with that since, technically, for now at least, I am considered a General Practitioner until I start training in my chosen field later on. Now I don’t remember every pathophysiology of every disease even if I am fresh off from the exams, but I know enough to answer most questions they have.

This particular blood letting was fun because it was the farthest me or any of the blood bank staff of AUFMC ever had. AUFMC is in Angeles City, Pampanga and we have to go deep in Tarlac to have this blood letting. It was a fun road trip. Got to bond with the medtechs whom I haven’t spoken to in a long time since I was preparing for my own PLE that concluded last March 2016.

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I wished they used my real name and not my nickname LOL

As you can see from the photo, we were at the International Broadcasting Bureau (IBB) under the U.S. Embassy, thus the U.S. Government. Thus, I made the joke that I am back home in the States as that piece of land is technically U.S. soil.

When the staff in IBB found out that I am in fact Fil-Am, I was able to speak in English without being ridiculed – I always have the feeling that if someone hears me speak in English, my primary language, that I am just a wannabe trying hard to speak in English. Because that did happen… Someone claimed that I was just pretending that my primary language us English and I was pretending not to know Tagalog. Thus why I sometimes try not to speak at all because I am not fluent in Tagalog, and I fear someone will make fun of me. I am 27 years old  and I am still afraid of being completely ridiculed.

Anyways, the day was a typical day for blood donations, we were a bit saddened that we couldn’t get more than we did, but the experience and the camaraderie during the whole event is worth it.

While I was at the blood letting, I was already aware that I have to give a pep talk, so to speak, to my former clerks who are now interns and about to take the same exam I just did last March. The PLE… this time they are scheduled later on this year at September. I asked the office when it would be held and wasn’t told when until near the end of my blood letting event that I was told it would be the very next day.

So I was toiling away making a PowerPoint presentation about my own experiences as I was preparing the PLE and give tips. I was afraid that I may miss a lot of points during the actual talk, but thankfully, I feel I was able to tackle the important points for preparing for the exams; I may have forgotten other pieces of advice, but I still felt I gave enough. I hope.

Unless the AUFSOM staff were just being nice and the interns were just being nice that I was told that I did a good job and they enjoyed my talk. Who knows… But I will believe them so I can feel good.

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Hope they enjoyed my presentation! Yes there is an error in the date on my certificate… Should have been Sept 2016.

And to cap off my busy 2 days, I was greeted with this in the mail today. A Logitech G13 Advanced Gameboard. I am not into these gimmicky peripherals, but get this… What is normally priced at 80-100 bucks, I got this for 30 bucks. I can’t resist the deal. I had to get it. I will tell you my rationalization of the purchase in another post when I review the device.

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The left side of my Tecware Haste deskmat is no longer lonely. Look out for a review real soon!

Overall, it was a productive 2 days. I can’t be happier. Doing the thing I love the most, seeing patients/donors, giving them advice, bonding with my friends in the blood bank I haven’t hung out with in months, it was all great fun. Having to see my former clerks that are now interns and about to take the PLE, hearing their gratitude (even if I think my talk was not that good), melts my heart. I wish nothing but THE very best for all of them.

With that, I will end it here.

Til next time! PEACE!

“…Now, go see how good you can get.”

The day that I will move to Manila is now fast approaching. I know, I mentioned that I would move by the end of October, but since the Board Exams is now moved from February 2016 to March 2016, thus moving the start of our review sessions in Topnotch from November 2 to November 15.

I plan to move on November 14, Saturday, and just take it easy their in Fairview as the very next day is the start of me being a monk of studies for the next 4-5 months.

Sure, I have already started reading, but to my dismay, nothing seems to be entering my brain. I guess, that is a natural thing for students without the pressure. So, I am banking on the fear, the pressure, of the review and impending exam to get my head accepting these subjects.

I will be with my mother because for many reasons: A) She was there when my sister was preparing for the same exam 5 years ago, so it would be unfair if she supported my sister and left me alone there B) I need not worry about preparing my food or getting my clothes washed and prepared (HEY! That amount of time can be used for studying!), and C) she is my shock-absorber; I need someone that can keep me sane when the stress of the studies and impending exams will get the better of me.

As the day of the move is getting ever closer, I don’t know what to feel. I am suddenly numb. I used to be excited, and most of the time, scared and nervous. Nowadays, I am numb, I am apathetic… I have flat affect. This then bring into mind that One Punch Man (I don’t read the manga, I just see it everywhere) when he just says “OK”.

This is me lately.

There is no denying that I am nervous about the exam, but I guess as I am spending a few more days here in Pampanga before I move to Manila and study for the next coming months, I decided to not give so much of a damn for now, because if I do stress about it now, then I will look back on these days when the review has finally begun and think to myself, “Why didn’t I take it easy while I still can?”. I don’t want to completely drain out before I even start my review in Topnotch.

There is still a load of things I need to accomplish: fix most of my friends’ gadgets; get my sister’s laptop and iPhone up and running; get all the necessary paper work ready; get pens, notepads, etc… The list can go on forever.

But I will do these in my own pace for the next coming days before the 14th.

All these years of hurt in medicine; all those sleepless nights for exams/quizzes; all those literal blood sweat and tears in clerkship… I once said after my graduation, “Thank goodness that is over”. Looking back, I shouldn’t have said that. Those experiences are training me for my future. Yes, it was hard, but it wasn’t hard for no reason. The program… the professors… the people… during those times were training you for your chosen career.

It is like how Steve Young once said “You’re getting trained to be GREAT. Now, go see how GOOD you can get”.

And I will see how good… and great I can get.

PEACE!

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Oh, how the years go by

As I went to AUFMC just to get my papers signed prior to me registering for both the physician licensure review and examination slated for February 2016; I am unable to take the examinations this month of this year because I finished my internship 2 months later than my batch due to me missing one rotation thanks to my injury and subsequent surgery of my right knee… an injury that has plagued me since I was still in high school.
After getting some of the papers signed, and still having tons not yet signed, I decided to kick back and visit my Alma Mater, AUF, that is literally just next door to the hospital.
It was a strange and warm feeling visiting the school I have studied in for 8 years… 4 years taking up B.S. Biology and another 4 years taking Doctor of Medicine.
Sitting down in the stone benches where I waste a lot of hour after school with my friends for life during premed; we may have taken different paths since we graduated, some took jobs, some started a family, and some, like me, went to medicine, yet, we still, up to this day, stay in touch thanks to the advent of these social media sites. Though I loathe Facebook in general and love Twitter more, it is thanks to the former that I can still chat with friends that I would have lost touch with.
Nostalgia started creeping up to me, and for the first time in years, I felt a slight relief. I felt that the weight of the world was taken off my back even just for a few moments. I didn’t have to think about the papers to be signed, I didn’t have to think about registering and beating whatever deadline there is, I didn’t have to think about reading my review books. I felt that I was taken back to my days when I was a B.S. Biology student… 
I am not saying I was a lazy student that time. Far from it, I was at the top of my game without having to work too hard. I was literally the top of my class, graduated Cum Laude, 0.15 GWA away from Magna Cum Laude, and I bagged The Outstanding Student in Science and Technology award. What I was trying to say when I mentioned that it felt like I was taken back to the days of my premed, was that I was relaxed even in the face of difficult challenges. I was relaxed, and I conquered it all.
Nowadays, I think I am less confident than I used to and that’s why I get stressed out.
Visiting the school and sitting down on those stone benches reminded me to stay cool, stay relaxed, for I have already conquered a lot, and I can do a lot more.
How the years go by, indeed. From that scrawny teenager, just wanting to be noticed academically in his department, to a scrawny adult, who just wants to make a difference in the medical world. I have come a long way.
Many good and bad memories in the school, but they all forged me today. And I am thankful for all those.