Duyan ng Aking Kabataan

Ako ay muling nagbalikbayan. Mga paa ko’y muling tumapak sa lupang hinirang. Tahanan ng mga mauusok na bus at jeepney. Muli akong nakipagsiksikan sa mga humahangos na pasahero ng Maynila.

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Muling tumahak sa masalimuot at magulong lugar ng Metro Manila at muli akong sumuot sa masisikip na kalye at mga eskinita.

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Muli akong natulog sa maalinsangang sinapupunan ng siyudad ng Maynila. Muling naranasang dumungaw sa bintana na may mga palamuting pinatutuyong sinampay, at tumanaw sa ibabaw ng mga yerong dikit-dikit.

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Ngunit sa kabila ng maikling panahon ng aking pagbisita, ay nagkaroon din naman ng pagkakataong makapagpalamig sa marangya’t mamahaling lugar ng Maynila. Hindi sa ospital ang tinutukoy ko, kahit apat na araw din ang ginugol ko so loob nito.

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Sa maikling pagkakataon, ay akin muling natuklasan ang alindog ng siyudad na aking kinagisnan. Siyudad na sa akin ay umaruga mula ng ako’y musmos na bata.

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Nagkaroon din ako ng pagkakataong masilayan muli ang naglalarong alon ng Manila Bay habang nananaog ang araw sa kanyang kinaluluklukan.

Tunay na ang lugar na ito ay duyan ng aking kabataan.

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(*all photos taken with an iPhone)

Alapaap

Alapaap.

Iyan ang aking nakita, sa pagdungaw ko sa bintana. Muli akong nasa himpapawid. Lumilipad. Naglalakbay. Pabalik sa aking lupang sinilangan.

Isip ko ay lumilipad at naglalakbay din. Ngunit hindi tulad ng eroplanong aking sinasakyan na mapayapang tumatahak sa mga alapaap, ang biyahe ng aking isip ay maligalig at matagtag.

Mula nang ako’y lumisan ng ating bansa, dalampung taon na ang nakalilipas, ay maraming beses na rin naman akong nakapagbalik-bayan. At lagi sa aking pagbabalik ay may bitbit itong galak at pananabik. Galak na muli akong tatapak sa lupang tinubuan. At pananabik na makita muli ang iniwang pamilya’t mga kaibigan.

Kahit nang ako’y umuwi noong nakaraang Nobyembre bilang isang medical volunteer para tumulong sa mga nasalanta ni Yolanda, ang naramdaman ko’y hamon na may kahalo pa ring pananabik. Pananabik na makapagbigay ng lunas at ginhawa sa mga kababayang nasakuna ng bagyo.

Ngunit kaka-iba ang pagkakataong ito ng aking pagbabalik. Walang galak. Walang panananabik. Kundi pagkabahala sa kakaibang bagyo na aming sasagupain.

May katiyakan naman ang aking patutunguhan. May katiyakan rin ang oras ng aking pagdating at paglapag sa Maynila. Ngunit hindi ko tiyak kung ano ang aking daratnan. Hindi ko rin tiyak kung gaanong kaikling panahon pa ang sa amin ay inilaan.

Pero ganyan daw talaga ang buhay. Walang katiyakan.

Hindi ko sasabihing hindi ko batid na darating din ang pagkakataong kagaya nito. Ngunit katulad ninyo, ako’y nagnanais at umaasa na sana ay malayo pa ang takipsilim. Sana ay magtagal pa ang tag-araw. Sana ay hindi pa matapos ang awit. Sana ay mahaba pa ang sayaw. Sana……..

Subalit tanggapin man natin o hindi, ang lahat ay may hangganan at may katapusan.

Maraming bagyo na rin naman ang aming pinagdaanan. At kahit gaano kalupit ang hagupit ng unos, ito ay nakakaya ring bunuin. At kahit dumadapa sa dumadaang delubyo ay muli rin namang nakakabangon.

Hindi lang bagyong kagaya ni Ondoy o Yolanda ang aking tinutukoy.

Ngunit kahit gaano pa kaitim ang mga ulap na kumumubli sa liwanag, at kahit gaano kalakas ang sigwa na yumayanig sa pagod na nating katauhan, at kahit gaano pa kahaba ang gabi, ay ating tatandaan na lagi pa ring may bukang-liwayway sa kabila ng mga alapaap.

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Atin na lang ding isipin na sa ibabaw ng mga alapaap ay palaging nakangiti ang araw. Sa ibabaw ng mga alapaap ay laging mapayapa. Sa ibabaw ng mga alapaap ay walang nang bagyo. Walang nang pagkakasakit. Walang nang paghihinagpis. Walang na ring pagtangis.

Malapit nang lumapag ang aking eroplanong linululanan. Malapit na rin akong humalik muli sa inang-lupa na aking sinilangan. Muli rin akong hahalik sa mukha ng aking ina na sa akin ay nagsilang.

Sana ay magkita pa kami. Sana ay abutan ko pa siya………..bago siya maglakbay sa ibabaw ng mga alapaap.

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(*photo taken at 30,000 feet)

Post Note 1: nagpang-abot pa kami.

Post Note 2: delayed at on-hold ang kanyang “byahe.”

 

Fair and Flair

Recently we had guests again from out-of-state who came to visit us here in Iowa. And where did we take them? Bridges of Madison County? Iowa State Capitol? Wind turbines of Iowa? Lots and lots of Iowa cornfields? Seen that. Done that.

This time we brought them to the biggest Iowa attraction. No, not the Iowa Caucuses. But something similar with that flair of craziness. We brought them to the Iowa State Fair.

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25-foot sculpture depicting Grant Wood’s famous “American Gothic.”

The Iowa State Fair is an 11-day event every August that attracts millions of visitors each year. There is something for all your fancies and interest in the fair.

Of course, since we are an agricultural state, it is hard to miss the sights and sounds of farming.

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Farming equipment and tractors

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More tractors

There’s also livestocks and produce that are showcased in the fair, like the heaviest pig or the biggest pumpkin. Below is the 1st price pumpkin.

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How much pumpkin pie can you make out of this?

If you want to experience to milk a cow, you can do it at the milking parlor. And speaking of cow, one of the most iconic piece of the Iowa State Fair is the sculpted butter cow.

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butter cow inside the refrigerated showroom

That cow is 600 pounds of butter. That can butter 19,200 slices of toast!

Do you know that the first sculpted fair’s cow was done in 1911? Since then every year a new butter cow is sculpted and graces the fair.

But do you know that since 1911, only 5 persons so far have done the sculpting? The latest butter cow sculptor apprenticed for 15 years to the previous sculptor, before she became the official sculptor starting in 2006. What a tradition!

There are also different shows and contests. From hog calling contest, to yodeling contest, to rooster crowing contest, to beard growing contest. You name it, it’s here.

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There’s even a contest trying to get your votes,  as you can see political candidates – from presidential aspirants to local government candidates, especially if it is an election year – mingling with the crowds, among other clowns that can be seen in the fair. Did I just call them clowns?

There’s also concerts that are more “mainstream” if you will. The Goo Goo Dolls, Daughtry, Lady Antebellum, Foreigner, and Styx are some of the big names that are performing this year at the state fair.

If it is the thrill of rides that you’re looking for, we have it as well.

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riding the sky glider

From sky glider which is like a riding a ski lift, to ziplines, to giant slides, to roller coasters, to several storey-high slingshot. We have it here.

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Lastly, the food at the fair is a different class of its own. They have everything on a stick. Corn-on-the-cob on a stick or hotdog on a stick? That’s too common. How about pork chop on a stick? Or funnel cake on a stick? Yes, they do have it.

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And everything deep-fried. Like deep-fried Twinkies, or deep-fried Milky Way, or even deep-fried butter! You read it right. Deep-fried stick of butter on a stick! They might as well call it heart attack on a stick!

For me though, the most interesting show in the fair, are the people themselves.  With their different strangeness and idiosyncrasies, just watching the people is entertaining enough for me. I may be one of those bizarre ones. It’s way more than fun.

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Come for a visit and see it for yourself. And bring your weirdness with you. It’s accepted here.

(*all photos taken with my iPhone)

 

Conquering the Arches

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The above photo was not taken by Mars Rover. It was taken by me here on Earth. In Utah to be exact.

The Arches National Park near Moab, Utah is an interesting place. It has landscapes that has this out-of-this-world feel, like an alien terrain.

In fact many Sci-fi movies – like Galaxy Quest, Star Trek, John Carter of Mars, and After Earth, to name a few – were filmed around this place. Of course it is also a popular location for Western movies.

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We have visited Moab and the Arches National Park not once but twice, not because we are from Mars. The first time was eight years ago, when we joined a group tour after I attended a doctor’s convention in Salt Lake City. The second time was two weeks ago when we passed by this place on our way to Grand Canyon, Arizona.

There are many baffling stone formations that can be seen in this place. Below is the “Balanced Rock.”

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How long would that rock stay balanced is a fair question. It looks like it would only take a small nudge from Wile E. Coyote, and down the rock would fall.

Then there are these building-like structures. Believe it or not the formation below is called “Park Avenue.” It may be similar to Park Avenue in New York City, without the crowd and traffic.

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Even the clouds in this place can be out-of-this-world! The photo below is not photoshopped.

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But the most unusual structures in this National Park, are the “arches” of course. Below is a photo of one of them.

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Most of these structures can be viewed by just driving around the park.

Yet the most recognizable structure and maybe the best known in the park is the Delicate Arch. However to see this beauty, requires a 3-mile hike round trip from the paved road. The hike is not so easy as well, as it is mostly uphill, and there’s even parts that the path is narrow and close to a cliff.

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Delicate Arch

During our first visit to this park, my son was only 3 years old at that time, but he was able to climbed up and see this arch. My fear then was not so much that he would get tired and I would have to carry him the rest of the way, but more so that he would wander off the path and fell off the cliff. But he made it through, and I was so proud of him.

As for my daughter, she was 8 years old during our first visit. Unfortunately she got sick, with gastroenteritis, and was vomiting that day, and so she was unable to do the hike and was not able to see the Delicate Arch, for which she was deeply disappointed.

To appease her, we just bought her a jigsaw puzzle of a picture of the Delicate Arch from the Park’s gift shop.

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However, on our second visit, my daughter was determined to make the hike and see the Delicate Arch. It did not matter if it was not really part of our plan to do the hike, as our plan was just to drive through the park, for our final destination of that day was the Grand Canyon, which was still about 6 hours drive from Moab, Utah.

It did not matter as well if the weather was hot as it was almost 100 degrees F and it was in the middle of the day. My daughter was so determined to see what she failed to see eight years ago.

This time she would not be denied. So we did the hike.

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Above is my daughter on her way to the arduous and long hike to the Delicate Arch.

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Stopping to enjoy the “breathtaking” view. Or the hike was “breathtaking” so we have to stop to catch our breath.

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Continuing the uphill trek.

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My daughter and my wife in the relatively narrow path, trying to stay away off the edge, which were hundreds of feet drop.

After some period of time of hiking, and several stops of rest; and after a lot of panting and buckets of sweat, here is my daughter taking a photo of the arch. She made it!

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Joan of Arch?

With that kind of determination, I think she’s ready to explore and conquer the world. Or Mars, if that’s what she wants to do.

 

Ebolusyon ng Wika

Pilipino ang wika na aking kinamulatan. Ito rin ang wika na malugod kong tinanggap. Sa pamamagitan ng pagsasalita ay aking napahiwatig ang aking pangangailangan.

Mama. Kain. Tubig. Tulog. Kumot.

Sa wika ring ito, ako’y natutong makipag-kapwa at ipahayag ang aking saloobin.

Laro tayo. Sali ako. Taguan tayo. Sige, ikaw taya. Ayoko na. Madaya ka.

Nang pumasok na sa eskwela, ako’y natuto ring bumaybay at bumasa sa Pilipino.

ABaKaDa. Ako ay may lobo. Lumipad sa langit. Si Juan ay may aso. Kumain ng lobo. Si Pepe ay may pusa. Hinabol ng aso. ABNKKBSNPLAko!

Sa pamamagitan ng wikang kinamulatan ay aking natuklasan na kaya kong mapagalaw at mapaikot ang aking munting mundo.

Mama, bayad ko ho. Isang Quiapo, galing Balik-Balik. Para na po sa tabi. Ale, pabili nga po ng isang hopia at isang malamig na Sarsi. Manong, gupit-binata po. 

Maliban sa tahanan at sa paaralan ay natuto rin ng mga bagong salita na nagpakulay ng aking wika. Maging ito ay salitang kalye: Pards, dehins ako makakasama sa tipar mo, dehins ako payagan ng ermat ko.

O sa pakikinig sa radyo: Laki sa layaw, laki sa layaw jeproks. Bonga ka day, bonga ka day, sige lang, sige lang, itaas ang kilay!

Nakapulot din ng iba pang bokabularyo sa panonood ng TV: Pare, bagets na bagets ang porma mo. Nakakapraning kang tignan.

Ngunit nang makadaupang-palad ko ang panitikang Pilipino, ito ay aking naibigan. Ito ay gumising sa nananalaytay na dugong Balagtas sa aking katauhan. Sa katunayan, Bulakan ang pinagmulan ng aking lahi.

O pagsintang labis ang kapangyarihan,
Sampung mag-aama’y iyong nasasaklaw
Pag ikaw ang nasok sa puso ninuman
Hahamakin ang lahat masunod ka lamang.

Aking napagtanto na hindi lamang ang wika ay upang ipahayag ang ating hangarin, ito rin ay maaring gamitin bilang isang sining upang pumukaw sa mga natutulog na damdamin.

Datapwat mahirap maging dalisay sa isang wika. Maraming pagkakataon, ay pinagsasama-sama natin ang mga iba’t-ibang wika. Ito ay upang mas lalong maging effective sa pag-lalahad nang ating objectives. Kaya’t natuto rin akong magsalita ng Tag-lish.

Aminin man natin o hindi, ay may mga salita, lalo na sa siyensa na walang katumbas sa ating wika. Tulad ng: Ano ang kayariang henetika ng langaw ng prutas? Hindi ba’t mas madaling intindihin kung sabihin na lang na: Ano ang genetic make-up ng fruitfly?

OK lang naman sigurong haluan natin ng ibang salita ang ating lengguahe. Hindi naman siguro titikwas sa kaniyang libingan si Manuel Quezon, ang tinaguriang ama ng pambansang wika, kung makakarinig siya ng salitang Tag-lish.

Para sa akin ay tanggap naman nating lahat ito, dahil nagkakaintindihan pa rin naman tayo. Pero meron din namang iba, lalo na ng mga kolehiyala, na medyo mahirap ko pa ring tanggapin. Ito rin ang tinaguriang salitang Coño.

Let’s make tusok-tusok the fishballs. It’s so maputik the road, it make dumi my shoes. Why is it so mainit here? I make paypay the whole day, and I get so pagod!

Sa totoo lang, dumudugo pa rin ang tenga ko kapag nakakarinig nito.

Lumipas pa ang mga taon at matapos akong manirahan sa ibayong dagat nang matagal na panahon, hindi ko kinalimutan ang salitang aking kinagisnan. Hindi ko ito tinalikuran, at gamit gamit ko pa rin kahit ako ay nasa dayuhang bansa na.

Dahil Pilipino ang aking lahi. Ito ang aking pagkakakilanlan. Ito ang aking wikang kinamulatan. Ito ang wikang aking minamahal.

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photo taken at Tagaytay during our last home trip

Hindi katagalan ay muling nagbalik at tumapak muli ako sa lupang tinubaan. Ako’y napatulala. Pilipino pa rin ba ang wikang aking narinig?

Matapos magkitakits ng mga kaibigan. Hindi ko ma gets ang salita ng iba. Parang nganga ang aking peg. Tunay na naguluhan akech. Sa bayan ng mga epal at jologs, kinarir na rin ba nilang palitan ang ating wika? Anyare?

Pero, tangapin ko man o hindi ang mga pagbabago sa salitang aking kinagisnan, aaminin ko, astig pa rin ang dating ng ating wika.

Mabuhay ang wikang Pilipino! Mabuhay ang mga nagsasalita nito! Mabuhay ang mga nagmamahal ng ating pambansang wika!

(*Ang kathang ito ay sinulat sa pagdiriwang ng buwan ng pambansang wika.)

More Than A Bunch of Rocks

Grand Canyon. One of Earth’s most powerful and awe-inspiring landscapes. Considered among the seven natural wonders of the world. Expanding 277 miles long and 18 miles wide and with a depth of about 5000 feet, it was said that it was carved by the Colorado River, and formed by time. For me, it was a handiwork of the Creator.

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There are many ways to see the canyon. You can view it from the bottom, when you hike down to the floor of the canyon, which I consider a serious hike, or even do rafting through the rapids of the Colorado River. That we didn’t do.

Or you can also view it from the top by hiking or just driving around the park – whether by jeep tours, or the official park bus, or by your own car (what we did most). There’s even a train ride from the nearby town to the Great Canyon.

For me though, seeing this creation wonder, has a more personal meaning.

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Back in my youth, when I was still in Manila, Philippines, I had a poster in my bedroom’s wall of the Grand Canyon. In that picture was a man – gliding and soaring, in the middle of the canyon. On the poster was these words: “You are only limited by the boundaries of your mind.” That became my life’s challenge.

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Though it took me only 15 minutes to climb to that rock, it took me a lifetime to have the chance to sit on that ledge.

So it was fitting that when I see the Grand Canyon, I need to soar above it. Which by the way, is another way to see it – by flying over it.

No, I did not do hang gliding. Hang gliding is restricted in the Grand Canyon. Though in 1976, the US National Park Service permitted a hang gliding feasibility test, and that maybe where the picture in my poster came from. Plus, my wife would not allow me to do it anyway, as she rather have me than collect my Life Insurance.

So I settled for a helicopter ride instead. My whole family flew above the Grand Canyon, and got a bird’s-eye view of this wonderful landscape.

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I have heard people who have visited the Grand Canyon and all they said was, they were just a “bunch of rocks.” That maybe true. But I think they did not see it with awful wonder. Or maybe because they just saw it in the middle of the day.

We were told that the best way to appreciate these “bunch of rocks” is during sunrise and sunset where the interplay of light and shadows will transform them into different colors. And so we did.

Below are some photos we took at sunset time. From hues of blue…..

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To fiery red.

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Here’s another shot of the sunset.

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The sunset was easy to see. The sunrise was a different story.

Since the sunrise is around 5:30 AM, we have to wake up at 4 o’clock to witness it. Even though we stayed at a hotel a few minutes away at the National Park entrance, the drive was still 30-40 minutes to where we wanted to witness the sunrise. I heard my wife, who is not a morning person, blurted again, “I hate fishing” (see previous post).

But seeing the sunrise on these glorious place was well worth it.

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Above is my family waiting for the sunrise. It didn’t matter if we have bed hair, or if my son was still in pajamas. It was really beautiful.

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Me and the sunrise

Even though we mostly drove around to the view points, my son and I took some minor hikes, where we went down beyond the paved pathways and climbed some rocks.

Below is my son and I with our Kung-Fu pose, celebrating our success, after a 15-minutes climb to the top of this ledge.

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Below is another one of that Kung-Fu pose.

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The photos may look grand, but they do not really give justice to the majesty of this place. As all people who visit this place were lugging cameras – from the professionals to the amateur photographers, with thousands-of-dollar cameras to simple camera phones – they were all busy clicking away pictures. And it may included me.

But perhaps the best way to see this grandiose place is to put down the camera, be still, and just take it all in.

As I silently stood (or sat) in awe, I finally came to the place that gave me so much inspiration all these years. Truly, there was no limits. Where boundaries exist only in our minds.

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(*most photos taken by my wife)

 

Look Up, Down, and Beyond

During our recent summer road trip, we did lots of looking up and looking down. Here’s a sample of them.

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Look up. What are you looking at? (Vail, Colorado)

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Look up. Don’t look down! (Copper Mountain, Colorado)

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Look up Road Runner, Wile E. Coyote is going to push down that rock! (Arches National Park, Utah)

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Look down. I also need to pee, can I do it here? (Grand Canyon, Arizona)

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Look beyond. (Grand Canyon, Arizona)

 

Ang Paglipad ng Butiking Walang Dingding

Paano nga ba nakakagapang ang butiki sa dingding? Bakit kaya nitong maglakad ng patiwarik, kahit na sa kisame? Siguro hindi nila kilala si Isaac Newton at ang kanyang “Law of Gravity.” Hangga’t merong dingding, kaya nilang akyatin.

Ngunit paano kung wala nang dingding? Kaya ba nilang lumipad?

Naalala mo pa ba noong musmos ka pa? Tinanong mo ang mga tanong na ito. Marami ka pang ibang tanong, na hindi mo alam ang sagot, at hindi ka rin nila mabigyan ng sagot. Nagsawa na nga sila sa pagsagot sa makukulit mong tanong.

Naalala mo rin ba noong bata ka pa? May gusto kang maging, ngunit sabi ng iba ay imposibleng mangyari. May mga bagay na pinangarap mong gawin, ngunit sabi ng iba ay mahirap tuparin. May mga lugar na nais mong marating ngunit mahirap daw abutin.

Sa aking munting silid noon sa aming bahay sa Sampaloc Manila, ay maraming butiking bumibisita sa aking pag-iisa. Madalas ko silang pinapanood. Naaaliw at namamangha ako sa kanilang paglalakad sa dingding at kisame.

Doon din sa loob ng apat na dingding ng silid na iyon ay marami akong mga pangarap na hinabi. Ilan sa mga ito ay tunay na matayog. Hindi ko pinangarap na umakyat sa dingding. O sa kisame. Higit pa doon ang aking nais. Marami sa aking mga panaginip ay lagpas-lagpas sa hangganan ng aking maliit na kuwarto.

Isa sa mga poster na nakapaskil sa dingding ng aking silid noon ay ang larawan ng Grand Canyon ng Amerika. Sa larawan ay may isang tao na lumilipad (hang gliding) sa gitna ng kalawakan ng malalalim na bangin. Nakasulat sa poster na ito ay: You are only limited by the bounderies of your mind.

Ito ang naging hamon ng aking buhay. Walang kisame. Walang dingding.

Pagkaraan ng panahon, ay pinaglayag ko ang aking mga pangarap. Tunay nga na walang dingding ang hindi natin kayang buwagin. Walang kisameng hindi natin kayang abutin. Walang hangganan ang kaya nating marating.

Kaninang umaga, makalipas ang mahabang panahon ng paghahabol at pagsasakatuparan ng mga pangarap, at pagkalipas ng dalawampung taon kong paninirahan dito sa Amerika, ay narating ko rin sa wakas ang lugar na nagdulot sa akin ng malalim na inspirasyon.

Ako ay tumanaw sa kalawakan. Pumailanglang sa himpapawid. Walang kisame. Walang dingding.

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photo taken while soaring at 6000 feet above the canyon

(* More photos and stories of my visit to the Grand Canyon will be on a separate post.)

 

Pac-Man Invades the World of Medicine

“There’s nothing good that will come from playing video games.”

That’s what I heard some older folks say when I was still young. Well, I beg to disagree. If you’re a parent who don’t like your kids to play video games, please don’t hate me for this.

My first exposure to video games was in the early 1980’s when Game and Watch, a handheld electronic game, was introduced by Nintendo. I played games like, Octopus, Chef, and Donkey Kong. I did not own a Game and Watch as my parents would not splurge on these. But near our school was a store where one can rent Game and Watch. They were chained to a wall, and for 25 centavos, I can play for 10 minutes.

Later on I occasionally played video games in the mall arcades, like the classic Space Invaders and Pac-Man.

classic Pac-Man (photo from the web)

classic Pac-Man (photo from the web)

For home video console back in those days, there was Atari. Again we don’t own one, I just played in my friend’s house. I remember one instance when I was still in College, my friends and I spent one night playing video game till the wee hours of the morning.

The next generation handheld video games had more advanced graphics. Game Boy launched a handheld version of Tetris which was a huge success in the early 90’s.

One time after I finished Medical School, I joined a Medical Mission trip to Batangas. I sat beside a girl whom I recently met at that time, and she played Tetris the entire trip that she barely talked to me. But at least she let me borrow it for a few minutes.

Nowadays, I still play Wii, once in a while, with my kids, and I have a few games in my iPhone as well, that I play when I am bored. Though I don’t consider myself a serious gamer, nor do I wish to play some of the newer games today, as they are far too violent than Super Mario beating up fungus and turtles.

Last week I attended a seminar in Minneapolis to learn a new way of doing bronchoscopy (scope to look inside the lungs). This method borrowed technology from video games and thus it turns bronchoscopy into something like playing one. It is called Electromagnetic Navigational Bronchoscopy (ENB).

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By the way, I have known the term “electromagnetic” since I was in grade school. Yes, you read it right, since grade school. I learned it from watching super robot anime, Voltes V. One of its weapons was the “Ultra-electromagnetic Top.”

Back to Navigational Bronchoscopy, the procedure involves placing an electromagnetic locator board underneath the patient. With a special software it transforms the patient’s CT scan images into a virtual map that can lead you to any specific point you want. With this modality, it improves the yield and accuracy of biopsy results.

Let’s say there’s an 8 mm nodule in the patient’s lungs seen on CT scan. I can program this as my “target,” on the software. Then using the specialized scope, I will follow the virtual image on the screen, that will help me navigate turn by turn into the different bronchial passageways until I reach the target for biopsy. It is like doing bronchoscopy with a GPS.

This technology evolved less than 10 years ago and is becoming mainstream in the past few years. Even though I have performed more than a thousand conventional bronchoscopies since I finished my Pulmonary Fellowship training in 1999, I want to stay current with the changing times. So I went to train for this new technique.

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our training facility

Meet Jackson, my trainer. He is not an expert bronchoscopist. He is a pig. No, I’m not calling people names. He is really a pig! Sacrificed for the sake of science. Here is Jackson’s lungs where I practiced and tried to sharpen my skills in Navigational Bronchoscopy.

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Jackson

Who said you cannot teach an old dog a new trick?

This morning, with the assistance of one of my junior partners, I performed a Navigational Bronchoscopy on a real patient. Even though the location of the target was quite difficult to reach, the ability that required hand-eye coordination came out naturally for me – honed from years of playing video games.  And guess what? It was fun too. Just like a video game.

Who said nothing good will come from playing a video game?

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PS. The girl whom I sat with who played Tetris for hours, years ago? She’s now my wife.

 

 

Sa Dating Tagpuan

Nasaan ka na aking mahal,

Ako ba’y iyo nang nalimutan?

Ako sa iyo’y naghihintay,

Dito sa dati nating tagpuan.

 

Kamusta ka na aking sinta,

Ikaw ba ay mayroon nang iba?

Hindi sa ako ay nagdadamot,

Ayaw kitang maging malungkot.

 

Sumasagi pa ba sa ‘yong isipan,

Ating makukulay na nakaraan?

Hanap-hanap tunog ng ‘yong mga yapak,

Matamis mong tinig, pati na halakhak.

 

Nasasabik sa iyong halimuyak,

At sa dala-dala mong bulaklak,

Matagal-tagal na silang nalanta,

Ang samyo nila ay nawala na.

 

Dito sa taas ng tahimik na burol,

Sa lilim ng malalaking punong kahoy,

Dito sana’y muli mo akong dalawin,

Huling hantungan ko’y muling dungawin.

IMG_3674(*photo taken at a nearby small cemetery)