2016: A Review

DISCLAIMER: Photos of celebrities are not mine. Credits to the owners.

Waking up on the last day of 2016, at least in this part of the world, at noon, gives me but 12 hours (or less at time that this post is… well… posted) to reflect on the highs and lows of the year. This may be enough time for most people to just give a one sentence summary of their 2016, but not me; this year has been good to me, and I will take you by the hand and take you back to the best parts of the year, some bad parts that are far and in between, and you will know why this has been my year.

Let’s start off with the obvious bad parts of the year, though it may not have affected my life directly, these personalities were a big part of my childhood that I can’t go unaffected by their deaths. I am, of course, talking about the celebrity deaths. Now deaths are never nice, no matter the person, no matter the time, and I felt that it was such a bad coincidence that their time came up in 2016 giving 2016 such a bad rap. The deaths that hit me hard were that of John Glenn, Mercury 7 astronaut; I am an avid fan of anything to do with space and the early 60s space race that led up to the Apollo missions and landing on the moon were of my favorite in science history. John Glenn and the rest of the Mercury astronauts paved the way for NASA and all other space agencies we know today and the science of space travel we know today. And like his flight before launch, God Speed… John Glenn.


Next on my list is David Bowie; being a fan of the rock scene from 50s-90s, it is no surprise that I am gutted by his death. I in particular love his songs Life on Mars, Rebel Rebel, Starman, Heroes, and The Man Who Sold the World. You may ask me why Space Oddity is not in the list, if you know well enough, I tend to not like songs that become too mainstream. His style of music and fashion for his time was definitely ahead of his time. So influential that he influenced my all time favorite band, The Cure, to come into fruition. You are now one with the stars, Mr. Ziggy Stardust.


Alan Rickman makes the list not for his contributions in the Harry Potter movies, but for my personal favorite movie, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves as the Sheriff. He definitely cut our hearts out with a spoon.


Florence Henderson, now of course I wasn’t born yet in the original run of the Brady Bunch, I did catch a lot of the reruns and I remember watching them almost daily with my mom in the afternoons when I was younger. We honestly need more shows like the Brady Bunch again that shows family values, and having Florence Henderson as Mrs. Brady is perfect as she portrayed a mother to us all giving us wisdom.


Erik Bauersfeld, the voice actor for Admiral Ackbar and Bib Fortun, as well as Kenny Baker, who portrayed R2-D2, both are, of course, from Star Wars movie lore, and being a Star Wars fan, this definitely gutted me. My love for science fiction truly began with Star Wars and losing them is like saying goodbye to my childhood and my humble beginnings for my love of science fiction. It reminds me I am no longer that kid anymore and I am an adult now, yet still loving science fiction and Star Wars.



Speaking of Star Wars, we can’t cap off this topic without talking about my original princess, Carrie Fisher, who portrayed Princess Leia. All geeks like me would remember her in her Golden Bikini in Return of the Jedi, but I will always remember her for her smile in the outtakes; they were magical and perfect. This was the death that got me the most. And then sadly, her mother, Debbie Reynolds, also passed just a day after her.


Now honestly, that is the only bad I can say that happened this year. Even if it doesn’t affect my life directly, like I said earlier, they were a big part of me growing up, and it is just a confirmation that I am no longer a kid anymore with their deaths. With that out of the way, let us talk about the good! This may take awhile, but don’t worry, I still have a firm grip on your hand on this one.

Let us begin with the good stuff with… what is the greatest thing that happened to me in my life thus far, and that is, of course, me becoming an officially licensed physician.

Now let us go back a bit to 2014, where I had my knee operation and forced me to delay finishing my medical internship by at least 2 months and thus also forcing me to miss out on the August 2015 Physician Licensure Examination with my classmates.

I will admit, I was envious when my classmates took the exam and all passed the exam, whereas I, still had to finish my internship and waiting for March 2016 for my exam.

Needless to say, March 2016 came by, 12 difficult exams across 4 days in 2 weekends, and 2 days later, on March 16, 2016, they announced the successful passers of the physician licensure exam and there was my name.


I still can’t forget that day: I was out for lunch and coffee with my close friend Amanda, who was visiting the country as she moved to China for work and studies. She was here for a few weeks and we decided to meet up and hang out and just to help me calm down after the exam. The funny thing was I wasn’t able to eat a lot and she knows me well enough that I eat a lot despite my size, but I guess I was really feeling the effects of the exam at this point. After Japanese lunch (our favorite) and coffee we decided to go around the mall and we ran into my sister, Debbie, who happens to be a licensed physician too and is already a consultant at this point. The importance of running into my sister is apparent once me and Amanda decided to go home: I got a call from my sister, and since I just saw her in the mall, I thought she was calling me if I needed a ride going home, but it goes like this:

Debbie: Hey doc! (take note, we usually call eachother doc as a sign of professionalism and respect, so this was nothing new)

Me: Hey doc… sup?


Me:…………………………………….YOU LIE!

It turns out her bestfriend since their medical school days and co fellow in AUFMC Section of Cardiology, Dr Cheng, called her up after Doc Cheng’s boyfriend, Dr. Lloyd, found out I passed when he was checking the website.

I didn’t really believe it myself since I was at the website and was like refreshing it every 15 minutes. So when I went back and saw my name, I was on cloud 9. Truth be told, my right knee still hurts but I jumped for joy and the pain of jumping on my bad knee was worth it.

The best part was when I stormed out of my room and shouted from the door to my mom just across the living room laying down on the couch watching TV. As soon as I said it, I just blinked once, and she was right at my face giving me a tight hug! Then my dad got home from his afternoon jogging and when he found out he ordered pizza for us and the neighbors. It was nuts!

I got a barrage of messages/calls and what not from friends and mentors and it was one of the best feelings of my life. But of course, I still have a long way to go so I couldn’t just settle with this. I still have residency training, hopefully midyear next year.

I will also mention that I lived in Manila for almost 4 months while I was reviewing for the exam and having to pack up the place and move back home it was a very unforgettable experience.

Then came the day I dreamed of forever, Oath Taking for the New Physicians where I got to see my friends from the review center and recite the Hippocratic Oath together while my family looks on is something that is embedded on my mind.

As soon as I became licensed, the very next day, it was back to the real world. By that I mean that I didn’t rub it in that I am licensed; I was never one to show off all the time anyways, so after the high of passing, I made sure I got my feet planting back down to earth the very next day. For new licensed physicians, they can immediately go training, look for a job as a general physician, or go on vacation. I for one wasn’t really looking for a job at this point, nor did I wan’t to go on vacation so to speak, but thankfully for me, I made enough of a name for myself as a medical student that I was given a lot of job offers the coming days and months. Heck, even up to this day, since I am not training yet, I am given so much job opportunities it is ridiculous.

My first few jobs were lecturing in my Alma Mater and my former review center, as well as a general physician in several institutions and mass blood donations. I knew I didn’t want to train yet, but I also didn’t wanna stay idle. So I took these simple tasks.

I was then giving a clinic schedule in a nearby diagnostic center and has now become a staple of my earnings. I was happy… I was working just 2 days a week in the center, then I got my other rackets as a general physician and professor elsewhere. I was earning enough to get the things I wanted and still able to save.

Then I was given another opportunity in school other than being a guest lecturer, I was given the position of University Physician. Now I wasn’t going to accept this but I thought that this may be a simple yet effective way to give back to my former university, AUF. So I took it and 6 months later, I feel my colleagues in the clinic is more of my family now than anything. I certainly did not regret accepting the job.


I am well received there even if I am still a rookie so to speak that I was asked to become the Director of the University Health Services at the gentle age of 27! I had to control myself… As much as I wanted the prestige, this would mean I would have to commit more than just a year in serving as their director and it will hinder my plans of training for Neurology as my specialty. So I humbly declined.

Next opportunity was to be a part time faculty in the Department of Biochemistry in AUF School of Medicine. I was also very psyched about this as I love teaching and teaching in the school of medicine is one of my goals. to think, I am a 27 year old physician and a faculty in school of medicine. Awesome. It helps that I also love Biochemistry. But sadly, my sched in my various jobs at this point took its toll and I need to sacrifice this one.

Six months since I officially started working, meeting new people/colleagues, adding friends and memories, and of course, having earned and saved up enough money and reach my quota in saving, makes me feel really accomplished. And makes me look forward to next year, my year, the year of the dragon, for even more accomplishments.

Now as we wrap up 2016 in a few hours, I got my DSLR ready for my annual fireworks photography, got my family cooking up for dinner, and got my favorite games loaded up in my PC… Cap it off with a high!



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Mom’s Birthday Treat

Being the youngest, I have the luxury of being always treated when we go out to family outings and what not. Being the youngest, I never have to think about really paying for anything for anyone unless it is an emergency; I would usually just save my allowance and buy something for myself or so.

Sure, I would treat the family out to dinner sometimes (I treat my friends more often) but technically, the money I saved up is still from my parents; this is the first time since I became a licensed physician and earning my own money with hard work that I can say that I treated my family with my own money.

It just so happens that it is my mom’s birthday so all the more special.

Now my dad didn’t come along (again); he isn’t much of a guy that likes going out, plus he feels that someone needs to watch the house, so he really decided to stay at home. He just made sure we brought him loads of take out.

So there we were: me, my mom, my sister (Doc Deb), and Doc Jap, having dinner in this placed called Ichiban (Stylized as 1chiban, seeing as it stands for 1 in Japanese), but don’t let the Japanese name fool you, there is a multitude of different meals here and not limited to Japanese. However, if you know will so well, you know I love Japanese food, albeit, still having a world of difficulty using chopsticks.

It felt great having to treat this bunch of people after getting treated by them almost all my life. It is my way of giving back although I know a dinner is not nearly enough to pay them back for all the gifts, support, and whatnot, they have given to me being the youngest in the family.

I can’t wait til the next time we all go out like this, hopefully my eldest sister, Maggie, would now be here, at least for vacation, and my dad will be confident enough to leave the house, so we can all be complete, and hopefully, by then, whether or not I treat again, or simply get treated, the mere fact we are complete, I would be just as happy.

Here are a few shots of the evening. These were shot using my phone and my sister’s iPhone.

Mom's Birthday Treat!
Happy Birthday, mom!!


Happy faces, happier tummies!

With that, I end this post.

Til next time! PEACE!


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Surprise! Got some Swag from my Sis

Tearing away through my notes, nearly crying because I am already tired. Suddenly, someone knocked at my door; usually, it would be for dinner, but this time it was my sister with a paper bag saying “Happy Valentine’s, lil’ bro!”; as much as I am hating Valentine’s (Okay, the past 2 years, I wasn’t as bitter about it, but I am NOW), so I reciprocated with a greeting (I am prepping for an exam, I don’t have money nor do I go out to buy gifts), and was sincerely happy that I got a gift. Gives me something to look forward to after I read my quota of chapters.

That being said, I finished the quota of chapters and then proceeded to opening the gift.


Looking at the paper bag, we can already deduce that this is a watch; I am not totally a watch kind of guy – what I mean is that, I do have a lot of watches since it helps at work to get vital signs and what not, but I don’t usually shop for watches. So always getting a new watch from anyone is perfect as it is never in my top of my list of shopping. My top of the list will always be PC, gaming, photography, guitar-related things… before any apparel.

We then dig out a simple box, that is labeled Lacoste, so we can now say it is a Lacoste watch. Opening it you can see the actual watch, I usually have the usual black colored watches, or chrome with brown straps, simply… the boring colors, so getting this deep dark blue with light green (hey, I am a guy; I can only name simple colors! Correct me if I am wrong!) adds variety to my set of watches.

Also inside is the standard instruction manual and the watch is enveloped around this white pillow. Which I like since I can use it on my PC desk for something. Not sure what yet, but I will use it for something.

The build quality is rubbery, kind of like a soft touch feel, may attract dust easily but we will find out soon if it really does. I love the tiny little details like the Lacoste logo etched subtly on the strap lock and knob (I don’t know the technical terms… this post is showing my idiocy lol).

Nowadays, the seconds hand is taken for granted but for people like me, we still need them; to get the vital signs of our patients is one of the important data we can get for diagnosing our patients right. Vital signs is not the be all end all, but it does aid in the diagnoses.

So far, I might find it strange to find clothes to match with this, but then again, I used to wear blue colored frames, plus this is dark blue enough to pretty much match with everything anyway.

With that said, I am thankful to have a family like this. I may not be the best brother at times especially when I want to study or focus on my work, to think that they will still gift me in spite of all that. Perks of being the youngest!!

Til next time!



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A Bit of Coffee and Ice Cream

Four more days until I make my move to Manila for the review classes and eventual examination, so I am doing my best to meet up with my close friends just to catch up and have a better feeling as I enter another phase of my life with well wishes.

For today, I wanted to catch up with one of my closest friends in medical school; she already took the medical licensure exam and she passed the exam to become a full fledged doctor. Apart from catching up, since she already passed the exam, she can also give me encouragement as I enter the review classes this weekend and give off great tips on keeping my head up high and such.

Before meeting up with my good friend, I had another rehab session for my right knee. Good news came today as my atrophied right thigh has gain some bulk again and nearly the same size as my left thigh. I will have my last session for the mean time on Friday and will continue on while I am in Manila with home exercises.

While having rehab, I was greeted by one of my mentor’s secretary, because I repaired his iPad and was slightly busy to come see me in person, and I was also tied down in rehab to meet him in his clinic. So, his secretary came to pick it up, but without leaving a lovely surprise by my mentor!

A wild gift and a pikachu appeared!

Dr. Edwin gave me, as well as my sister, lovely apparel from UNIQLO and it was a big surprise; I normally do not charge or ask for anything in return when repairing gadgets. I just enjoy fixing them. And when he decided to gift me, it was really something I wasn’t expecting today. So, my big thanks to Dr. Edwin. This will serve me well during my studies in Manila.

Gonna get me nice and warm

Now, I went to the local mall where, like what I mentioned above, would want to meet a close friend of mine…

She, Dr. Vyel, has been my groupmate since first year of medical school, so that is nearly 5-6 years of friendship. I appreciate her as a very reliable groupmate and a great friend; she is my confidante in medical school; I may tell her my problems, no matter what they can be, and she can do the same to me; we can give eachother good advice, and in the point of view of the opposite sex (although I never do listen to her advice at times… about girls I like). She can be very frank, especially when it comes to the girls I crush over or go out with and the girl is not up to her expectations for me – just like my sister. Makes sense why they get along. Overall, like any other friend who really cares, she just wants the best for me, and I too, want the best for her. She is a true friend of mine and I am glad we shared the difficulties of medical school together.

We simply had coffee at the local mall’s Starbucks, and out of topic, the famous red cups that brought about a lot of controversy was there in all it’s glory. A smart marketing ploy indeed; yes, I believe this is a marketing strategy to have Starbucks be more visible again on media sites, like how they intentionally misspell your name on the cup — whoa, wait, I have veered off there a bit.

Anyways, we had coffee and caught up with eachother’s life and she gave me a great pep talk for my review and the upcoming exam. We get to talk about our future plans on our respective medical specialty training and also talked about our friends and what specialty they are pursuing. We were also reminiscing our days in medical school and how we missed our classmates and our antics; the days when we were clerks and how those hardships we had really helped us in preparation of being a doctor; our internship and how we just had a blast with our mentors and our clerks where we enjoyed teaching the clerks; to now… her being a licensed physician and me, thanks to my injury and subsequent surgery, be taking the exam this March 2016 for my license.

After coffee we decided to have some ice cream from Cold Stone since we couldn’t find any good place to get a snack or two. Man, that was my first time eating there since I am not really a fan of ice cream, but I was surprised when they mentioned that one of our orders was ready and he was mumbling something I couldn’t really decipher at first, next thing I knew he threw the ice cream cup at me to catch it. It was a surprise and good thing I had fast reflexes to catch such a thing in a very short time frame. Vyel was happy that I was the one that stood up to get our orders because she was certain she would drop the cup when thrown at her. I am unsure if this is really how they serve it or if it is a guy that is receiving the order, either way I found it a nice twist to what would be just any other ice cream parlor.

It was nice just catching up with a great friend; a friend where I need not restrain myself with silly honorifics or the like. Someone where I can simply be me and just talk hours on end about anything about ourselves.

Me and Dr. Vyel!

Again, another friend that I can tell stories of my sour relationships with and she, like I said, was brutally frank about some girls I went out with since they never live up to to her expectations, would just tell me “See, I told you so!”, and I won’t really mind it if it was that frank and pointing out that she warned me that I’d just get hurt. Sometimes, I need someone to slap the truth at me lest I will always see the lies.

Finally, we went our separate ways ans suddenly I am missing all my classmates; the ones that I shared the struggle with at medical school; the ones that know what it really means to give off sweat, blood, and tears for a cause; the ones that have seen the worst and best of me.

I miss hanging out with them and just making crazy jokes that most are not understood and they just forced themselves laughing. I miss the dry Tagalog humor that may or may not involve me. I miss just… being with my friends for life.

After my exams I will find time for all my close friends in medicine. I want to hang out before long, or else we may lose sight of eachother. I also want to thank them for putting up with a guy like me as their classmate and accepted me as one of their good friends.

I should take back what I said… we aren’t friends… we all are more than that. More than family if that even makes sense. Our bond is different from any simply family or friends bond. We will surely have eachother for the rest of our lives, and as we may be going to different hospitals for training, different specialties, we will definitely support eachother. I love them.

A few more days, until I move… I will take it as easy as possible, read a few chapters here and there, and definitely have fun meeting up with my close friends, as many as I humanly can, to have a better feeling about the move, the review, and the exam.

Til next time!


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One of Those Days…

Yesterday, once again, I had little to no sleep, but had to had to battle on through the day because me, my mom, and my sister, were to visit my grandmother (mother’s side), visit my late grandfather’s grave (still, from mother’s side), and visit the Minor Basilica of Our Lady of the Rosary of Manaoag, where I have always gone to before ever school year when I was a medical student, and now I visited for my upcoming review and eventual board examination this March 2016.

I have often said, I practice my religion in my own personal way; a lot of my friends would often be surprised that I have a small prayer book or a rosary with me when we were still students and up to the days when we were all having duties as senior medical interns.

I may not show it as much as others, but I do believe in God and all the miracles I can surely equate it to His doing and I am thankful.

Like I said, I worship/practice my belief in my religion in my own personal way. I often feel that I need not let anyone else know that I believe in God, that I pray, or anything of the like; I feel it is as if I am trying to show off that I am a good person. I like keeping a lot of things in my life as private as possible… er… some aspects of my life private… because, hey, I am blogging, I do have social media site accounts, so my private life can be so much. I will only show what I want to show.

But saying that I like keeping things in my life private including how I worship, then why am I blabbering about it here now?

Of course, even if there are things you like to keep to yourself, sometimes you do have that rare spurt of the moment where you feel like talking about it. So there…

I always go to Our Lady of Manaoag every start of the four years in med school to always ask for guidance during my studies, and of course, for family. And it always brought me security. It made me feel more relaxed tackling what would be daunting tasks for a mere human being to tackle on his own.

Everyone know I like collecting, be it guitars, Gundam kits, miscellaneous action figures, and anything that is basically geeky and collectible. Well, every time I visit Manaoag, or any religious sites, I always love looking at their rosaries and the like. And through the years, I have gotten a lot of rosaries; I get at least one rosary with me when I go out. It keeps me safe.

Some of the stuff I got in my recent visit to Manaog. Also pictured, though not to clear in the background, are my go to wooden rosaries gifted to me by my professor in medical school

I also like getting mini/pocket prayer books, because I will admit, there are times where I forget a prayer, and if I am on the go, I can’t always be assured that I have internet to browse through the web and find said prayer.

Each item I get for myself, I love. Of course, there is always one or two items that you are most excited about.

My favorite rosaries are wooden rosaries given to me by one of my professors in medicine. They are my go to rosaries when I go out or when I pray and will continue to be my go to rosaries. During my visit yesterday, there was one rosary that you can say “spoke to me”. It was beautiful in my eyes… partly due to the fact I love the color blue. This new rosary will be added to my go to line of rosaries.

My new rosary that will be added to my line of “go-to” rosaries

And the other item I was so happy having is this mini figurine. Along with the pouch it comes with, I can place a rosary in it and can have it with me in my travels.

This is a beautiful find! A mini figurine… wonderful carved.
Now my updated religious paraphernalia is complete! I can bring these anywhere I go for guidance and protection!

After saying all my prayers and asking for all guidance for my upcoming review and exam, it was time for us to visit my grandmother. She lives in Pangasinan, so it was no question to visit her after we visited Manaoag.

Upon arriving in her house, since I was banking on 30 minutes of sleep before leaving our house in Pampanga, it was no surprise that after having lunch, I sat in the couch, and was knocked out; I slept a good hour and a half.

My grandmother understood, and decided not to wake me up. I promise when all these exams end this March 2016, I will be more attentive to her and not just sleep.

After having that hour or so sleep, it was almost time for us to return to Pampanga, but not until we visit my late grandfather’s grave.

It is tradition here to visit the graves of your loved ones during November 1-2, but we were too busy to visit his grave then, so we were making it up yesterday. And for good measure. I told him about my upcoming exams and how, when he passed, that I was just in second year in medicine, and now I am but an exam away from being a full fledged doctor.

After all that is said and done, it was time to get knocked out in the car, going back home. Do not worry, I wasn’t driving.

It has been quite awhile since I said “today was a good day”, and yesterday certainly was one of those days.

Til next time!


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Blog on the Go: A Geek Lost in Ortigas. Not Really.

Me and my sis decided to have a little R&R and ended up in Origas and checked in at Marco Polo Hotel… And yes, I was shouting “Marco”, hoping someone will appropriately shout back “Polo”, but alas, no one ever did. Hey, worth trying, right?

Making good on a challenge I set for myself: shoot good photos with only my ASUS Zenfone 2

This is one of the most beautiful hotels I have ever set foot in. And I have been in a lot. It is so nice that I began regretting not bringing my DSLR, but sets up for a great challenge; I will challenge myself to shoot DSLR-esque shots with nothing but my ASUS Zenfone 2. I may use apps for postprocessing, apart from that, everything is taken with the stock camera app in Cyanogenmod.

The above photos, are my officially entries for the challenge, the following, however, are not. They are just to show the place in general…

Big queen size bed!
I want to copy this desk for my own room...
Nice hallway and incorporation of the closets...
The customary bathroom shot...
Zhe bathtub...
Too exposed... But yeah.
Pretty nice toiletries...

As you can see, it certainly such a lovely place. Truly one of the best hotels I have been to. And again, I have been in a lot.

Another entry to the challenge I called Zenfone-ography

As the night ensues, after a nice dinner, it was time for me and my sis to get some coffee. Thankfully, there was a Starbucks right in front… Or behind, depends on your perspective, of the hotel.

With the sis!
Drool some more
Proof of how close Starbucks was!

We will be going back to Pampanga tomorrow morning as my sis has hospital duty tomorrow and I, well, I have no hospital duties for now, will just study at home.

For what’s it, it was worth the time to bond with my sister, before I move here in Manila to study for my exam for 3 months.

It is fun, and we still have the rest of the night and morning.

So that is all for now! PEACE!