Archive for August, 2010



Looking at photographs of annual events makes me more reflective on how time flies so fast.  On my son’s photos taken from their preschool’s celebration of Linggo Ng Wika every August, it’s so apparent how he has grown from a cute and chubby boy to a charming little man now.

On August 2008, Gabby who was then a Nursery pupil, was a little Katipunero in their parade.

A year later in his Kindergarten, he appeared like a very young statesman, so dapper in his Barong Tagalog; charming, isn’t he?

And just last week, Tina emailed me the photo that showed how she became resourceful and creatively made used of our old table runners from Baguio City and bought some rooster feathers just to transform Gabby to look like someone from the Northern Philippines. :)

Our son was assigned by his preschool teacher to be the “apo” or looked like a “mumbaki” to me, as the entire Preparatory level was dressed to represent the northern tribes…  Gabby led his group in dancing the lullaby chant of the natives, Salidumay.

For 3 years since he started schooling, this was my very first time to be absent in his activities.  :(

There goes the  little sacrifice of an OFW dad.




My dearest Tina and Gabby,

It was roughly 4 hours since we got home from Kuala Lumpur as I post this.  We’re all dead tired from going there from our place in Penang via our service bus but everything was worth it; it was such a fruitful day for all of us.

I was immensely mesmerized by the incredible beauty of the Petronas Twin Towers. Standing below those iconic buildings for the very first time was so surreal that I just wished both of you were with me.

Despite the long day, I was silently jumping for joy upon seeing  Malaysia’s pride as world’s tallest buildings before 2004 and what has remained to present the tallest twin buildings.

Suria KLCC 6-level-shopping complex located immediately at the foot of those magnificence houses almost all famous brands. I even saw Harrod’s which was notably high-end English brand with several labels that I only see from broadsheets and magazines.

Good thing was that they’re on clearance sale.  My eyes popped out when I saw G2000 formal jackets were discounted for only RM 99 (PhP 1386) from its original price at RM 600+. But my excitement diminished when I found out that their biggest size was only 52 while I wear 54. :( My fellows got some pairs and I just settled for a purple silk tie.

And so I decided to stroll alone and luckily found myself inside Zara Men at Suria KLCC’s Ampang Mall .  There I found my size; bought 2 formal jackets (they’re new ones, not overruns) for work and got a nett discount of RM 500 (PhP 7000) from their original prices plus I rewarded myself a Zara Men black mailman’s bag which I bought on its regular reasonable price (I’ll tell you my expenses over Skype, ‘ney).

When I was about to pay at the cashier, your voice saying, “Ang mahal nyan ‘ney, kaunting tipid!” rang over my ears or was it my conscience? LOL! :D  In my defense, those items I bought were really work essentials, honey.

My female colleagues went loco over shoes. One even bought eight pairs!  I can’t blame them for such great discounts. I  told myself I’m fortunate blessed because my wife isn’t fond of shopping for bags and shoes like usual females do.

Here are some shots before we entered Suria KLCC…

Dusk falls over Malaysia at around 8 in the evening. Succeeding photos were taken at around half hour past 6PM.

There are a lot of fascinating sights behind Suria KLCC and below Petronas Twin Towers.  We saw an establishment that seemed like a mosque to me…

KLCC Park  has jogging and walking paths, a children’s playground and a dancing fountain similar to that of Bellagio in Las Vegas less the music.

While the senior medical-educators went on their way inside the mall, the younger ones took time to kid around…

Apparently, we’re really happy with the experience.

After doing some shopping, all of us met up at around 10PM and headed for our bus back to Penang. We got home in Butterworth at 4:30AM, Saturday.

God willing, I can bring the 2 of you here one day.  We’ll see.

I’d like to doze off for few hours more before I start my weekend so bye for now;

Take care and I love you both! -tatay-doc.



25 August 2010, Wednesday –My fellow Filipino medical educators and I were honored to attend our very first event in Penang, Malaysia.

As you may know,  they refrain from eating, drinking and sexual relations from dawn to dusk during these times. They practice this for patience, humility and spirituality.

Gathering for the breaking of the fast after sunset is Majlis Berbuka Puasa.

On crossed legs, we sat on the floor in front of each other; there were separate areas for men (lelaki) and women (perempuan).

The event which was in Bahasa focused beyond religion but concern. Videos about inundated Pakistan were shown to raise not only awareness but to plea for help. Donation box was passed on for voluntary contribution.

After they prayed, we feasted on what the’ve served…

Most of us, Pinoy meducationists graced the event wearing our national pride.

with Dr. Ermel, Ronnie and ACMS staff; photo taken by Dr. Lito

With my limited knowledge about their religion and beliefs and our gradual exposure to their culture, I welcome new learnings and experiences with arms wide open.



Ms. Mexico may have won the title for this year and our very own Ms. Philippines, Maria Venus Raj’s 4th runner up feat and her “major, major” mistake problem has become a trending topic on most social networking sites, nonetheless, she’s still a pinay to be proud of, but for me, my Miss Universe forever is of course my one and only lovely wife, TINA! :)

i love and miss you ‘ney+Gabby! :)

See you+Gabby here in Penang in late October.

*photo by Ariel Javelosa


What’s your take on our bet, Venus?



21 August 2010, Saturday – Finally, we moved in to our new home in Penang. :) From our temporary abode somewhere in Kepala Batas for more than 3 weeks, 4 of my male colleagues and I have began rocking a 2-storey-5-bedroom-penthouse at the 4th level of a condominium in Butterworth.

Look at the handsome lobby…

The first floor of this condo boasts of an inviting swimming pool, a gym and a sauna and a quaint Japanese kois pond.  I can’t wait till I bring Tina and Gabby here in late October for a short break, I bet Gabby will enjoy frolicking in the kiddie pool…

The 4 male-medical educators whom I am sharing the place with are my batchmates back in Med school.  Getting along with them isn’t new and far from being difficult. We all have experiences of living in dormitories and appartments during those days that we’re all cramming for exams, medical duties and other school stuffs ergo, living in a condo now in a foreign land is just a step higher from what we’re used to.

It was almost high noon when we transferred our luggages and essentials to our spacious new home.

Here’s a peek at day-1 of our penthouse-living…

The first floor has the dining and living areas, a kitchen and a laundry room. The unit is somewhat fully furnished except for 2 rooms without beds and wardrobes. But we’re not complaining because the fixtures and electric appliances seemed all new and what’s more amazing is the presence of split-type air conditioning  units even in dining and living rooms.

I am grateful to my fellows that they allowed me to occupy the master’s bedroom for I have a kid and wife who’ll be visiting every now and then and who knows, might consider living with me here next year (our contract to this beautiful unit is only for a year but renewable to another one, hence options are open!). The monthly rate is affordable specially when shared at RM 1500 (PhP 21,0000).  I say it’s hard to chance upon a place like this in Manila or possibly else where.

Take a peek at my room…

It’s equipped with Elba split-type a/c, a bath tub, wardrobe, a dresser and a king size chiropractic bed that’s so comfy I had a restful sleep on my first night.

I know you’ll agree to the fact that having a daily good night’s sleep or even a cat nap on a lazy weekend is priceless. So I prioritized to include in my first and few purchases in Penang a set of bedsheets, pair of pillows and a bolster.

My sleeping heaven is still a work in progress; I’ll try to save to buy few more sets of linens. I also want a firmer pillow; I prefer it than those softy ones.

I bought a wooden laptop mini desk with cooling pad in a furniture shop where my friends bought their other fixtures. I haggled it from the friendly Chinese owner from RM 99 to RM 88.  *best when Skyping with Tina+Gabby*

My room opens to its own veranda that’s too perfect for a coffee or reading nook.  Take note that the gorgeous sight of lush greens before the bay across George Town in Penang Island can also be appreciated morning after mornings from my windows.

The view from my veranda…

Almost all houses within the vicinity are outrageously huge and expensive; most are with luxury cars and whatnot.  We were told that the community is mostly of rich Chinese families and Malaysian aviators who report for duty at a nearby air base.

Despite the fact that we’re all boys in the unit, we managed to pull our resources, headed to the grocery and bought foods and stuffs needed for the next days until payday comes.

The boys got so excited in seeing non-Halal section in Jusco Supermarket in Prai City that they hoarded few pieces of raw meat; chicken (possibly for tinola for we got enough of curried and spicy chix at work place), and yes finally, PORK and BEEF!

One of us volunteered to cook (sarap ng luto mo Doc Dante!), another fixed things in place, while I washed the dishes.

FYI, after almost 3 weeks of being OFWs in Penang,  it was only last night that we get to cook our own meal. And guess what we had for our very first dinner after that long and tiring Saturday?

One of Pinoy favorites, PORK ADOBO spruced up with mushrooms and pineapple juice… Sarap! :)

Being in a country that does not patronize eating pork except in few Chinese eateries where grilled liempo is served, eating lean pork meat in soy sauce and vinegar (that’s also hard to find!) is such a big deal for us!

To Drs. Alvin, Carlo, Dante and Ronnie, here’s to more adobo-sessions in our little sanctuary!



Matamis, kasing-lasa ng pan de coco at coco jam ngunit iba pa rin kung nasa atin ka.

Kahit pala simpleng pan de coco mula sa paniderya sa Pinas ay nakaka-miss kung OFW ka na.

It has been exactly 22 days since my fellow  Pinoy doctor-educators and I left our families, our country and our lives in Manila for work in a medical university in Penang, Malaysia.

Despite the frequent use of Skype, SMS, e-mails and phone calls, we’ve been seriously missing our loved ones and a whole lot of things back home.  We’ve started experiencing the discomfort of being away from places we’re so familiar with, to our daily routine and even simple things like enjoying our common meals.

Being away from our usual lives and getting out of our comfort zones make us more sensitive and sentimental.  I just want to perceive all these as challenges in exchange of a better life for my wife, our son and myself.

Inspite of a more lucrative career and a promising professional and personal growth,  nothing can ever replace the warmth of smiles, kisses and embraces from people who matter to us the most.

Note to self :  Welcome to buhay OFW, docgelo!  Isipin mo na lang, mas malungkot kung hindi ka nabigyan ng ganitong pagkakataon at higit na mahirap ang mawalan ng pera para sa pamilya. Cheer up, you’ve got so many friends & relatives backing you up and a lot of blessings pouring from Lord. :)

Enjoy your weekend, everyone!



15 August 2010, Sunday –After we attended the 8AM Catholic Mass in St. Anne for the second time and indulged in grilled liempo once more in a Chinese restaurant in Bukit Mertajam, my colleagues went home to our temporary villas via our shuttle service bus while I decided to create my own Sunday adventure by exploring some fascinating spots in Penang Island.

I hopped on the Rapid Transit bus line from Kailan to Jetty in Butterworth and enjoyed the joyride for an hour; I also took a 15-minute ferry ride to Penang Island and another bus ride to George Town that brought me to Lorong Burma or Burma Road.

One of the reasons why I visited Penang Island alone was to be inspired by the diversity of cultures and religions.  As my first take, I was so fascinated by the 2 Buddhist temples from 2 different Asian countries located in 1 street.

First stop : Thai Buddhist temple called Wat Chayamangkalaram temple.

Elaborately structured like the other temples I’ve seen, this was built in 1845 by a monk who came from Thailand.

Stunning entrance to the temple…

Lotus candles illuminate the sacred ground…

One of my favorite quotes by Buddha :

“Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared.”

I like the lotus flower detailed even on the temple’s floor.

Wat Chayamangkalaram temple houses a 33-meter-gold plated image of reclining Buddha.

I’ve read that this image depicts the tranquil state of Buddha as he perceived his death. The serenity that beams on his face reminded me of his enlightenment.

Even his feet reflects humility.

At the back of the statue of reclining Buddha are several other images of him in various positions. On its background are niches with urns of departed devotees.

Second stop : Dhammikarama, a Burmese Buddhist temple  located just across the Wat Chayamangkalaram temple.

Sima Shrine Hall inside this Burmese Buddhist temple has one of the world’s tallest standing Buddha.

My reflection on its enormous size is the thought that regardless of religious beliefs, there is always a higher being who looks upon us.

More statues of the Enlightend One…

After visiting those 2 temples, I got in the public bus again, went to Prangin Mall in Komtar; inquired about some travel tour packages and compared rates.  Since I thought of bringing my wife and kid to Penang for a brief vacation in perhaps 2 months from now, I began to plan and scout for itineraries to maximize their visit. Thankfully, I was not disappointed.

Because I marveled too much at those temples, I only felt I needed to load my tummy when I saw my kid’s favorite fastfood; what else but McDonald’s. :)

Big Mac meal + Strawberry Cornetto McFlurry are such a joy! :)

I just miss enjoying McDo meals with Gabby.

After that hearty late lunch, I hit the roads again and made a quick stop at one of George Town’s famous landmarks.

Queen Victoria’s Clock Tower

It was already 4PM when I got in the ferry again back to Jetty, Butterworth.  I was almost breathless when I ran a few meters just to make it to the 15-minute sea ride; my shoe laces got untied.

Experiencing Penang is such a blessing; I look forward to more wonderful and meaningful days despite the sacrifice of being distant from my family.

“Endurance is one of the most difficult disciplines, but it is to the one who endures that the final victory comes.” ~Buddha.


PS : There are no entrance fees to these temples and they allow visitors to take photos. Just remember to remove foot wears before entering. While public bus rides via Rapid in Penang cost around RM 1.40 to RM 2.70 (PhP 19.60 to 37.80); roundtrip ferry transfers in Jetty, Butterworth is priced at RM 1.20 (PhP 16.80). There are also FREE bus rides around George Town; be sure to catch those from Jetty when you visit Penang. :)


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TOKYO 2010



"Health is the greatest gift, contentment the greatest wealth, faithfulness the best relationship." (Buddha)



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