I’m Fine Thank You

As I did not grow-up here and I came from a different culture, there is one question that I still don’t know how to answer truthfully even after two decades of being in the US.  I am being asked this question several times a day too. I don’t think many people answer this question right as well. And it is a question that we may be asking people to lie.

You might be thinking it must be some kind of a difficult question or a complicated one. What is the question?

The question is the run-of-the-mill, perfunctory “How are you?”

Yes, we are being asked “How are you” several times a day. When we walk down the street, or down the hallway, or as we enter our workplace, or just about anywhere, people greet us with “How are you?”

I know most of the times we ask this question just to be polite. I know as well that there’s some variances in the question in some parts of the country, like “how ‘s it going” or “what’s up” or “howdy” or “hey’all.”

When I was still living in New York City, I don’t think people ask “how are you” that often, or greet that much for that matter. Or perhaps they just mind their own business. I would admit though that since I moved to the Midwest, I am being asked this question more everyday, even by people who I don’t know.

So how do you answer this question?

Do you answer also with the perfunctory “good” or “fine?” Or maybe you are really doing well so you can answer “great!” Or do you give a more honest answer, like “not good” if you’re really not feeling fine. But I don’t think people are expecting an answer different from “I’m good.” Besides we don’t want to burden other people of our own problems, right?

What would happen if a person whom you barely know, would answer you “I feel awful,” or “I feel bad.” You may think they are whiny or a grouch. But you asked them “how are you,” and they just gave you a truthful answer. Perhaps if you really don’t want to know, then don’t ask.

This is the reason, I really don’t ask this perfunctory question that much. If I want to greet someone, or be polite, or exchange pleasantries, I greet them with “good morning,” or “good afternoon,” or “good evening.” Though I may be lying with that greeting too, as it may not be really a “good” morning or evening. But at least I’m not forcing anybody to say “I’m good” when they may not be feeling good.

However due to my work, I still ask this question every day. But when I ask this question to my patients, especially in the hospital, I expect them to give me an honest answer. In fact I would be surprise if they say “I’m fine.” For if they are fine, they would not be seeing a doctor in the hospital in the first place.

So I can truthfully say that when I asked this question, I really meant to know how you are doing.

Or perhaps I am just so cynical, thinking people ask “how are you” or “how do you do” without really meaning it. Maybe they really do care to know how you feel.

In the song “What a Wonderful World” by Louis Armstrong, it says:

The colors of the rainbow so pretty in the sky,
Are also on the faces of people going by,
I see friends shaking hands saying, “How do you do?”
But they’re really saying, “I love you.”…….

And I think to myself, what a wonderful world.

Maybe I got it all wrong. And maybe this is really a wonderful world.

Intern Blues

The other day, I let our medical intern in the ICU place a dialysis catheter on one of our very sick patients. It is a minor surgical procedure of placing a thick catheter in the patient’s jugular vein using ultrasound for guidance. Of course she had lots of supervision, as one of our senior resident was assisting her, and I was around as well for support.

The intern was not able to place the catheter that quick being inexperienced, so it took a little longer doing the procedure. Though that is nothing out of the ordinary. This is normal for a teaching hospital, as interns and doctors-in-training has to start somewhere.

While we were doing the procedure, the patient became unstable, and then went into cardiac arrest. We called a Code Blue (a call for help on a patient having cardiac arrest). Moments later the whole room was teeming with hospital personnel responding to the code.

The patient survived and was stabilized after several minutes of furious cardiopulmonary resuscitation.

The intern was visibly shaken to what just happened. I saw her later in the workroom crying. One of the senior resident told me that the intern felt that it was her fault that led to the cardiac arrest.

However after extensive work-up, we found that patient has a weak heart to start with, and in fact was in congestive heart failure and kidney failure, and that was why he was in the ICU. Then he suffered a heart attack, that caused the cardiac arrest. It was just coincidental that it happened while we were placing the catheter. It was not a direct complication of the procedure.

I reassured the intern that it was not her fault, and gave her some words of encouragement, that this is all part of our work. Besides, this intern is good, intelligent, comes prepared on rounds, and has initiative to learn. I see a great potential in this young doctor. Her only fault is that she is new and inexperienced. But we all have been there.

I have been an attending physician in a teaching institution for a long time now. In fact five of my partners in our practice, who are now full pledged Pulmonary and Critical Care doctors are once my medical interns in the hospital. So at some point in time, I showed them the ropes. And now they are probably better than me, and once in a while I asked for their opinion in difficult cases.

I remember when I started my medical internship in a Columbia University-affiliated-hospital, I was not a “good” intern. At that time, I was a new arrival to the US from the Philippines, was new to the American system of medicine, and definitely not the sharpest among our batch. Compared to our star intern, a graduate of Johns Hopkins University, I was like a kindergarten. I was really lost and I struggled in the beginning. But I am thankful for my seniors and attending physicians who saw the rough potential in me. Though I would be lying if I tell you I was not lectured on at times, or even chewed and spewed.

At the graduation ceremony of my Internal Medicine Training, they gave me the “Tabula Rasa” award. It took me a while to figure out what it meant. But I guess I was really like a “blank slate” when I started, which what the Latin “Tabula Rasa” means. I must also had that blank stare like a deer in the headlights, that goes with my blank mind.

But as I said, we all have to start somewhere.


hospital teaching rounds, circa 1940’s

In some academic centers they have a very defined hierarchy. Even one year of seniority feel like a world of difference. The attending physicians act like demigods as they would climb up their high horses when they do their rounds. The attendings treat the medical residents as dirt. In turn, the senior residents treat the junior residents as dirt. The junior residents treat the interns as dirt. The interns treat the medical students as dirt.

It may be hard to admit, but I witnessed this hierarchical state of thinking when I was in my medical school in the Philippines. And being the medical student, I was at the bottom of the totem pole.

But I don’t buy into this old-school hierarchical philosophy and system that treats our inferiors like dirt. I adopted a philosophy of providing a more collegial environment which I believe is more conducive to learning even for the least of us. A resident, or an intern or even a medical student can approach me freely without fearing of being chewed on.

Back to my intern, I hope she’ll learn something from that difficult day. I know someday she will become a good, experienced and a well-rounded doctor too. And if someday she becomes the chief of the medical staff in this hospital, as she has a great potential, or becomes the head of a big-shot medical corporation, or even becomes the US Surgeon General, I hope she remembers me and the words of encouragement I gave her during one difficult day.

(*photo taken from reddit.com)


Humanap Ka Ng Panget

Siguro naman medyo humupa na ang “Miss Universe fever” sa ating bansa ngayon. Sa mga nakaraang araw ay tumutok ang buong mundo sa Pilipinas, kung saan ginanap ang Miss Universe pageant. Ipinasa na ni Pia ang korona kay Miss France bilang Miss Universe 2016.


Sangayon ba kayo kung sino ang nanalo?

Siguro may listahan din kayo kung sino sa inyong tingin ang dapat nanalo sa Miss Universe. Tayong mga Pilipino ay mga numero unong kritiko at pulaero. Alam nating kung sinong maganda. Alam din natin kung sinong hindi. Siguro dahil marunong lang tayong kumilatis ng maganda.

Hindi rin naman siguro sa pagyayabang, ngunit nang magsabog ng kagandahan at kaguwapuhan sa mundo, ay marami sa ating mga kababayan ang nasa unahan kaya’t marami sa atin ang nabiyayayaan nito. Nakahabol din naman ako sa harapan. Walang kokontra!

Hindi rin makakaila na kadalasan ang ating kandidata sa mga beauty pageant, maging sa Miss Universe, Miss World, o Miss International, ay laging nasa top 10 o top 5. Alam na rin naman nating lahat na isa tayo sa mga bansang may ilang naging Miss Universe: Gloria Diaz (1969), Margarita Moran (1973), at Pia Wurtzbach (2015). Ang Amerika ay nagkaroon ng 8, pero siguro medyo luto, dahil sila ang nag-imbento ng Miss Universe.

Sabi nga nila, tayong mga Pilipino ay may mga paboritong pampalipas oras: basketball, karaoke, kainan, at siyempre pa, beauty pageant. Sa mga bayan-bayan kapag may piyesta, o kahit sa mga bara-baranggay lang, ay mayroon lagi tayong mga patimpalak ng pagandahan.

Kahit sa ating mga reliyosong selebrasyon, tulad ng Santacruzan o Flores de Mayo, ay pinuprusisyon ang mga reyna-reyna na magagandang dilag ng bayan. Kahit sa ating mga noontime TV show ay palasak ang beauty contest, tulad ng Miss Little Philippines, Super Sireyna, at Mr. Pogi.

Ngunit kadalasan kagandahan lang ang nagiging mahalaga para sa atin sa pagkilatis ng isang tao.

Pare #1: Dre, may bago akong girlfriend.

Pare #2: Maganda ba?

Pare #1: Mabait.

Pare #2: Pero maganda ba?

Pare #1: Matalino.

Pare #2: Pero maganda nga ba?

Pare #1: Magaling magluto.

Pare #2: Ang kulit mo naman, maganda ba?

Aamin ko, ang kagandahan ay isang tunay na yaman. Kung ikaw ay nabiyayaan nito, ay may lamang ka na sa buhay. Maraming pagsisiyasat ang nagsasabi na ang magagandang tao ay kadalasan mas madaling umangat o umasenso sa buhay.

Sa isang pag-aaral mula sa University of Wisconsin, ito’y nagsasaad na ang paghirang ng mga empleyadong magangandang lalaki o babae ay nakakatulong sa kalakalan ng negosyo. Siyempre, mas mataas din ang nagiging sweldo ng magaganda kumpara sa ibang katrabaho na may parehong kwalipikasyon. Kahit nga mga sanggol, sa isang pagsasaliksik, ay pinipiling tumingin sa magandang mukha.

Oo, ang mundo ay hindi patas. Ang buhay ay hindi patas.

Hindi ba meron pang mga payo o pamahiin ang mga matatanda, na kapag ikaw raw ay buntis o ikaw ay naglilihi, ay laging tumingin sa magaganda’t guwapo. Iwasan din daw tumingin sa mga panget at baka mapaglihian mo sila’t maging panget ang iyong anak.

Dahil ating kinikilingan ang magaganda, kaya ba ating tinutuya at inaapi ang mga panget? Sila ay laging tampulan ng ating mga biro.

Sa isang tindahan, may istambay na lasing:

Babae: Pabili nga po ng shampoo.

Tindera: Anong klase?

Babae: Iyong nagpapaganda.

Istambay: Ale, bili ka na rin ng bagong mukha, ang panget mo eh!

Babae: Eh ikaw, lasing!

Istambay: Bukas hindi na ako lasing, pero ikaw panget ka pa rin!

Hanggang katatawanan na lang ba ang mga panget? Kahit sa mga artista, hanggang komedyante at kontrabida na lang ba ang papel ng hindi mga guwapo at magaganda? Kung hindi magaling magpatawa sina Babalu, Rene Requiestas, Pooh, at Pokwang, sa tingin ninyo kaya ay sisikat sila?

Ako’y nasa kolehiyo nang sumikat si Adrew E. Una siyang nakilala dahil sa kanyang kantang “Humanap Ka Ng Panget.” Sabi ng kanyang kanta:

Kaya’t para lumigaya ang iyong buhay
Humanap ka ng panget at ibigin mong tunay
At kung hindi, sige ka puso mo’y mabibiyak
Mahiwalay man ang panget hindi ka iiyak ‘di ba?

Tila salungat ito sa likas nating mga Pilipino o kahit sa anumang lahi. Tayo’y namulat sa umiiral na kagawian na dapat tayong humanap ng maganda at guwapo para makasama natin sa buhay. Para sa atin, mga talunan lang ang humahanap ng panget. Hindi ko itatanggi, hindi ko sinunod ang payong ito ni Andrew E. Dahil ako’y nakapag-asawa ng mabait, matalino, magaling magluto, at siyempre maganda. Wala ulit kokontra!

Ngunit kung ating tutuusin ang panglabas na kagandahan ay hanggang sa balat lang ang lalim nito. Hanggang sa paningin lang nasusukat ito. Pagtinalupan mo ang tao, masasabi mo bang ang ganda ng apdo o ng baga, o kaya’y ng laman loob at buto-buto?

Isa pa ang panglabas na kagandahan ay pansamantala lang at madaling lumipas. Ang magaganda ngayon kapag sila’y tumanda ay magiging kulubot din ang kanilang mukha, maliban na lang kung ipaunat nila ito sa kanilang plastic surgeon. Ika nga ni Bob Ong, “sa paglipas ng panahon, maging ang mga crush ng bayan nagmumukha ding pandesal.”

Ang totoong kagandahan ay wala sa panlabas na itsura lang. Ang tunay na kagandahan ay nangagaling sa loob ng tao. Hindi ko sinasabing mula ito sa atay. O sa bituka. Ang ibig kong sabihin ay galing sa puso o sa karakter ng isang tao. Ang kagandahang ito ay hindi kukupas. At ito rin sa mata ng langit ang tunay na kagandahan na dapat nating hanapin.

1 Samuel 16:7 “Sapagka’t hindi tumitingin ang Panginoon na gaya ng pagtingin ng tao: sapagka’t ang tao ay tumitingin sa mukha, nguni’t ang Panginoon ay tumitingin sa puso.”

Hindi ko sinasabing humanap ka ng panget. Ang sa akin lang ay kung maghahanap ka ng maganda, huwag lang mata ang iyong gamitin. Maghanap ka ng may tunay na kagandahan.

(*photo from web news)



Who is Tiagong Tigas?

I was watching an NBA game on TV the other night, when a flash of insanity (or genius) hit me. And it’s not even a full moon.

I wondered if NBA basketball players would play for the Philippines, would they take on a more local-sounding name?

Back in my childhood days, during Toyota vs. Crispa rivalry, and during Robert Jaworski’s heyday, an American import played for Toyota. His name was Andrew Fields. However we joked around that his adopted Filipino (Tagalized) name was Andres Bukid. As you know, San Andres Bukid is a district in Manila.

So here’s my list of Filipinized names of current NBA players:

1. Tiagong Tigas – James Harden (Houston Rockets)

2. Juaning Pader – John Wall (Washington Wizards)

3. Dong Tampisaw – Dwayne Wade (Chicago Bulls)

4. Esteban Sabaw – Stephen Curry (Golden State Warriors)

5. Gurang Kaladkarin – Goran Dragic (Miami Heat)

6. Atincupung, Ging-ging – Antetokounmpo, Giannis (Milwaukee Bucks)

7. Kebong Pag-ibig – Kevin Love (Cleveland Cavaliers)

8. Jimeno Mayordomo – Jimmy Butler (Chicago Bulls)

9. Damong Luntian – Draymond Green (Golden State Warriors)

10. Tonying Pumarada – Tony Parker (San Antonio Spurs)

11. Kembot Lumakad – Kemba Walker (Charlotte Hornets)

12. Dekdek Bulaklak – Derrick Rose (NY Knicks)

13. Tiagong Biyak – Tiago Splitter (Atlanta Hawks)

14. Rodeng Bakla – Rudy Gay (Sacramento Kings)

15. Pablong Saksak – Paul Pierce (LA CLippers)

Can you think of anybody else? I like to hear from you.

NBA: Indiana Pacers at Houston Rockets

(*photo from the web)

Exhausting Research

Not too long ago, my son needed to do some assignment about plants in his Biology class. He asked me for some input, knowing that I majored in Biology when I was in college. But my stock knowledge and what I remember was not enough, so I told him to look it up.

If that was me doing research in high school, 30 years ago, it would entail going to the library to search for the answers. Since our school’s library may not be complete, so that means I need to make a trip to the National Library in Kalaw near Luneta. It would take me some walking and two jeepney rides from our house in Sampaloc. But with Manila’s traffic, who knows how long would that trip be?

Once I am inside the National Library, I could ask the librarian at the help desk to assist me on the subject matter that I am researching, and she could search the card catalog and give me the list of books I needed to look for. If I feel that I could do it on my own, then I would head to the area where the cabinets of the card catalogs are, and search for the numbers of the books that may contain the subject matter. Usually I would like to list at least 3 books or more.


card catalog

Once I scribble in a small paper all the catalog numbers of the books I would like to get, which usually reads like this: SW 596 .C34 2016, then I would go to the area of the library where these books are located. I would be going up and down rows upon rows of books while looking for the specific numbered books. That may mean one book is located at one end of the library, while the other is on the opposite end, and one in a different floor.

After spending several minutes going aisle after aisle of books, only to find out that the book I am looking for is not available as somebody might be reading it, or have been checked out by another student looking for the same subject. Or worse, the book is available, but some naughty student tore up the pages that I needed to read. What a bummer!

However, if I am lucky and if all the stars align, all the books that I am looking for may all be available. Then I can take all the books, and find a table and read on the subject that I needed to research on. Or if I needed to go home and do the reading later, and if the books are allowed to be borrowed, I can go to the front desk and check out the books for a day or so.


typical library

Then maybe as I am heading out to the font desk to borrow the books, I would realize that I forgot my library card at home. Darn!

But wait, maybe I still can photocopy the pages I needed. So I would head out to the photocopying machine. Lucky enough I have some loose change in my pocket to pay for the xerox copies, though that means no more money for a soft drink and hopia. The photocopier is running out of ink, so the copies are so faint, but still I can read them, so that’s good enough.

All in all, to look for the particular subject in Biology that I needed to research on, it would take me at least half a day to accomplish this. That was my experience back in those days. Of course I could have just copied the assignment of my good classmate, but that’s not being a diligent student.

Back to my son, he went on to do his home work. He sat in front of our home computer and hopped into the internet. After querying  Dr. Google and after a few mouse clicks……voila! He got what he needed. It took him 15 minutes tops.

And they say doing research is hard.

(*photos taken from the web)

Seven Years

Seven years ago:

1. The original iPad was introduced by Apple. This revolutionized our use of tablet computers.

2. The tallest man-made structure, Burj Khalifa in Dubai was officially opened. It remains the tallest building to this day.

3. The XXI winter Olympics was held in Vancouver, Canada. One of the highlights was Canada beat USA for the gold medal, in an overtime game, in men’s ice hockey.

4. A 7.0-magnitude earthquake occured in Haiti, devastating the nation’s capital, Port-au-Prince. With a confirmed death toll of over 316,000, it is the seventh deadliest on record.

5. Toy Story 3 was the top grossing movie of the year. It earned more than $1 Billion worldwide.

6. The commercial space flight project SpaceX successfully launched its Dragon capsule. This became the first privately created spacecraft to successfully return from low-Earth orbit.

7. The blog Pinoy Transplant In Iowa was launched. Though it is not as earth-shaking as the events I mentioned above, yet it is significant for me. This blog is still going strong.

I read in an article some time ago that the average life span of even a top blogsite is only 33.8 months. That is less than 3 years! It is also reported that the average life span of a blog is short, as 60-80% of bloggers abandon their blog within a month. I must be doing something right then.

I know we humans have a short attention span. We lose interest quite quickly. We may be engrossed in one thing today, but tomorrow we will be off to chase some other fancies.

Even in television shows, a TV series reports that most of the show even if they are a hit, last 4-5 seasons. After season 6 it is on a decline. And 7th year is like the zombie years. I hope that will not be the fate of this blog.

Last year, this blog site was visited more than 50,000 times, just like the year before. Though Philippines has most of the hits, with America a far second, this blog has been read in more than 130 countries. I am really humbled and grateful to all of you my readers (majority are not bloggers) who continue to visit this site.

I hope I can stay relevant, as I continue to blog away. I know I have not earned a single dollar from maintaining this site, and I intend to keep it that way, as your visits, likes and comments are enough to keep me going.

Again to all of you, thank you very much.



Kurot, Pingot, at Tsinelas

Kung ikaw ay nakaranas na makurot, mapingot, at ma-tsinelas noong bata ka, ay sigurado akong alam mo na kung ano ang tatalakayin ng sulating ito. Hindi ko ikinakaila, ngunit hindi ko rin naman ipinagyayabang na naranasan ko ang kurot, pingot, at tsinelas. Siguro nga ay makulit talaga ako noong bata.

Iba’t iba ang pamamaraan ng pagpapalaki at pagdidisiplina ng mga bata. Mayroong mga naniniwala sa palo. Sabi nga ng isang salawikain, “spare the rod, and spoil the child.” Sangayon din sa banal an kasulatan: Siyang naguurong ng kaniyang pamalo ay napopoot sa kaniyang anak: nguni’t siyang umiibig ay nagpaparusang maminsan-minsan (Prov. 13:24).

Mayroon din namang hindi sangayon na paluin ang mga bata. Sa katunayan ay may malaking debate ngayon kung dapat ba o hindi dapat paluin ang bata. Maraming mga pag-aaral at pagsasaliksik sa ngayon ang nagsasabing hindi raw epektibo ang pamamalo sa bata, at marahil ito lamang ay nakakasama sa kanilang pag-unlad.

Kamakailan lamang ay may panukalang batas sa Pilipinas na isinampa at pumasa sa Kamara, ang House Bill 4907, o ang tinaguriang ‘Positive Discipine Act’. Ito ay nagbabawal sa mga marahas na pamamaraan ng pagdidisiplina sa mga bata, kasama na rito ang pamamalo sa tahanan man o eskwelahan. Sa aking pagkakaalam ay hindi pa ito pumapasa ng Senado.

Dito sa Amerika, ay may karapatan pa rin naman ang mga magulang na paluin ang kanilang mga anak. Ngunit may mga limitasyon na iba’t iba sa bawat Estado. Maraming mga magulang dito ang nagdadalawang isip na paluin ang kanilang mga anak dahil maari silang isumbong sa pulisya at sampahan ng pang-aabuso.

Totoo naman talaga na ang pagpalo bilang pagdidisiplina at pagpalo bilang pag-aabuso sa mga bata ay makitid na linya lamang ang pagitan. Marami akong mga naririnig sa balita na may mga batang sadya namang naabuso at sinaktan sa ngalan ng “disiplina.” Ngunit akin pa ring pinapaniwalaan na walang magulang na nasa tamang pag-iisip ang gustong saktan o bugbugin ang kanilang sariling anak.


Balik tayo sa aking mga naranasan noong ako’y bata pa.

Ang kurot at pingot ay kalimitan mga “spur of the moment” na parusa na aking napala. Pero paminsan -minsan ay winawarningan naman ako ng aking nanay – “Pag-hindi ka umayos ay kurot ang aabutin mo.” Malimit ang kurot ay sa tagiliran o sa singit. Ang pingot, sa aking pagkakaalam ay sa tenga lang. Pinipingot din ba ang ilong? Kung ganoon, sana naging matangos na ako ngayon.

Ang palo naman ay kadalasan planado na sentensiya. Pinapahupa muna ng aking nanay at tatay ang kanilang galit, bago kami padapain at paluin. Karaniwan sang-ayon sa bigat ng kasalanan kung gaano karami ang hampas. Sa puwet o sa hita madalas ang palo. Maari rin naman sa kamay.

Tsinelas ang madalas na pamalo ng mga magulang. Ang gamit ng nanay ko ay pambahay na tsinelas, kaya medyo malambot lang ang hagupit. Kahit pa ba mumurahing tsinelas, o deklaseng  yari sa Marikina, o imported pa na tsinelas, ay wala sigurong tunay na pagkakaiba. Buti na lang at hindi nagsusuot ng bakya ang aking nanay! Masakit kayang mapalo ng bakya?

Kung tatay naman ang mamamalo, ay maaaring sinturon ang gagamitin. Malimit ay leather belt, gaya ng balat ng kalabaw o baka, kaya medyo mataginting ang sakit. Natikman ko rin na masinturon ng aking tatay. Hindi ko na matandaan ang aking kasalanan, pero alam ko lagi kong pinapaiyak ang aking nakababatang kapatid noon, kaya siguro ako nasinturon. Mapalad ka kung hindi nagsusuot ng sinturon ang tatay mo. Pero kung walang sinturon, ay baka naman dos por dos ang ipanghambalos. Lalong mas masakit yata iyon.

Hindi lamang sa bahay, ngunit kahit sa paaralan, ay may mga guro na namamalo bilang pagdidisiplina sa kanilang estudyante. Hindi naman ako napalo noong ako’y nasa paaralan  na, dahil medyo matino na ako noon. Pero napagalitan at naparusahan lang ako ng kaunti nang makipag-away ako noong Grade 2. Nakipagsapakan ako dahil lang sa jolens!

May naging titser din kami na madalas mamalo. Kahoy na ruler ang gamit nitong pamalo. Isang araw, isang makulit kong kaklase ang naglagay ng cardboard sa loob ng kanyang shorts, dahil alam niyang papaluin siya. Lumagutok ang cardboard ng paluin na siya! Lalong nagalit ang aming guro, at sa hita na lang siya hinagupit at naparami pa yata ang palong inabot niya.

Noong Grade 4 naman kami, ang titser namin ay isang matandang dalaga na talaga namang “old school.” Mayroon pa nga siyang maliit na sandbox sa sulok ng aming classroom, na butil ng munggo ang laman. Dito pinapaluhod niya ang mga estudyanteng pasaway. Sa aking pagkakatanda, ay isa lang naman na kaeswela ko ang pinaluhod sa munggo. Kung si Sharon Cuneta ay may pelikula na “Bukas, Luluhod ang mga Tala,” ang aking kaeswela ay starring sa “Bukas, Luluhod ang mga Munggo.”

May mga narinig din akong mga guro na nambabatok. Pero wala naman akong guro na gumagawa nito. Kasi sabi nila nakakabobo raw kapag binabatukan ka, dahil maaring maalog ang utak. Iyon ang sabi-sabi noong bata pa ako. Alam na kaya nila noon ang tungkol sa concussion protocol?

Bilang isang magulang ay namalo rin naman kaming mag-asawa sa aming mga anak. Ngunit napakadalang lang nito at parang tapik lamang, dahil nadadaan naman ang pagdidisiplina sa ibang pamamaraan. Katunayan, mas namamalo ang aking misis kaysa sa akin. Gamit namin ay maliit na tangkay ng halaman (twig). Malambot ito, at tama lang na umigting sa balat kapag pinalo.

Noong maliit pa ang aming mga anak, minsan ay nawala at hindi namin makita kung saan napunta ang aming “pamalo.” Nakita namin ito ilang araw ang lumipas na nakasuksok sa si likod ng pantry. Isang beses din ay nakita namin ang “pamalo” na bali-bali at nasa basurahan. Umamin din naman ‘yung aming bunso na siya ang may kagagawan noon. Katwiran niya, para hindi raw siya mapalo. Matalinong bata!

Para sa akin hindi mahalaga kung ano man ang gamit mong pamalo: maging kamay, tsinelas, sinturon, o tangkay ng puno. Ang mahalaga ay ang kasamang pagmamahal na kaakibat ng iyong pagdidisiplina sa kanila. Sa mga magulang na tulad ko, namamalo man kayo o hindi, ang mas importante pa rin ay ang mapagmahal na relasyon ninyo sa inyong mga anak.

Oo nga’t natsinelas ako ng aking nanay, at nasinturon ng aking tatay. Ngunit hindi ko na matandaan ang sakit ng mga iyon. Dahil ang akin lamang natatandaan ay ang kanilang pagmamalasakit at pagmamahal sa akin at sa aming magkakapatid.

Kung hindi nila ako dinisiplina noon, anong landas kaya ang aking tinahak? At saan kaya ako pupulutin ngayon?

Pinapasalatan ko pa rin ang mga kurot, pingot, at tsinelas.