Monday, February 27, 2006

PdLR's Thought for the Day

When you're angsting about love, for some reason, all love songs seem to be about you.

Kala niyo tungkol sa kaguluhan sa Pilipinas, no? Hindi ako ganun ka-profound!

Saturday, February 18, 2006

PdLR's Thought for the Day

More often than not, when the future shows us what it most possibly will be, we start looking back and wondering "What if?"

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Fwd: The Philosophy of Faith

I received this from one of my classmates in History. I think it's very nice and worth the read.

An atheist professor of philosophy speaks to his class on the problem science has with God, The Almighty. He asks one of his new Christian students to stand and...

Professor: You are a Christian, aren't you, son?

Student: Yes, sir.

Professor: So you believe in God?

Student: Absolutely, sir.

Professor: Is God good?

Student: Sure.

Professor: Is God all-powerful?

Student: Yes.

Professor: My brother died of cancer even though he prayed to God to heal him. Most of us would attempt to help others who are ill. But God didn't. How is this God good then? Hmm?

(Student is silent.)

Professor: You can't answer, can you? Let's start again, young fella. Is God good?

Student: Yes.

Professor: Is Satan good?

Student: No.

Professor: Where does Satan come from?

Student: From...God...

Professor: That's right. Tell me son, is there evil in this world?

Student: Yes.

Professor: Evil is everywhere, isn't it? And God did make everything. Correct?

Student: Yes.

Professor: So who created evil?

(Student does not answer.)

Professor: Is there sickness? Immorality? Hatred? Ugliness? All these terrible things exist in the world, don't they?

Student: Yes, sir.

Professor: So, who created them?

(Student has no answer.)

Professor: Science says you have 5 senses you use to identify and observe the world around you. Tell me, son... Have you ever seen God?

Student: No, sir.

Professor: Tell us if you have ever heard your God?

Student: No, sir.

Professor: Have you ever felt your God, tasted your God, smelt your God? Have you ever had any sensory perception of God for that matter?

Student: No, sir. I'm afraid I haven't.

Professor: Yet you still believe in Him?

Student: Yes.

Professor: According to empirical, testable, demonstrable protocol, science says your GOD doesn't exist. What do you say to that, son?

Student: Nothing. I only have my faith.

Professor: Yes. Faith. And that is the problem science has.

Student: Professor, is there such a thing as heat?

Professor: Yes.

Student: And is there such a thing as cold?

Professor: Yes.

Student: No sir. There isn't.

(The lecture theatre becomes very quiet with this turn of events.)

Student: Sir, you can have lots of heat, even more heat, superheat, mega heat, white heat, a little heat or no heat. But we don't have anything called cold. We can hit 458 degrees below zero which is no heat, but we can't go any further after that. There is no such thing as cold. Cold is only a word we use to describe the absence of heat. We cannot measure cold. Heat is energy. Cold is not the opposite of heat, sir, just the absence of it.

(There is pin-drop silence in the lecture theatre.)

Student: What about darkness, Professor? Is there such a thing as darkness?

Professor: Yes. What is night if there isn't darkness?

Student: You're wrong again, sir. Darkness is the absence of something. You can have low light, normal lig ht, bright light, flashing light... But if you have no light constantly, you have nothing and it's called darkness, isn't it? In reality, darkness isn't. If it were you would be able to make darkness darker, wouldn't you?

Professor: So what is the point you are making, young man?

Student: Sir, my point is your philosophical premise is flawed.

Professor: Flawed? Can you explain how?

Student: Sir, you are working on the premise of duality. You argue there is life and then there is death, a good God and a bad God. You are viewing the concept of God as something finite, something we can measure. Sir, science can't even explain a thought. It uses electricity and magnetism, but has never seen, much less fully understood either one. To view death as the opposite of life is to be ignorant of the fact that death cannot exist as a substantive thing. Death is not the opposite of life: just the absence of it. Now tell me, Professor. Do you teach your students that they evolved from a monkey?

Professor: If you are referring to the natural evolutionary process, yes, of course, I do.

Student: Have you ever observed evolution with your own eyes, sir?

(The Professor shakes his head with a smile, beginning to realize where the argument is going.)

Student: Since no one has ever observed the process of evolution at work and cannot even prove that this process is an on-going endeavor, are you not teaching your opinion, sir? Are you not a scientist but a preacher?

(The class is in uproar.)

Student: Is there anyone in the class who has ever seen the Professor's brain?

(The class breaks out into laughter.)

Student: Is there anyone here who has ever heard the Professor's brain, felt it, touched or smelt it?... No one appears to have done so. So, according to the established rules of empirical, stable, demonstrable protocol, science says that you have no brain, sir. With all due respect, sir, how do we then trust your lectures, sir?

(The room is silent. The professor stares at the student, his face unfathomable.)

Professor: I guess you'll have to take them on faith, son.

Student: That is it sir... The link between man & God is FAITH. That is all that keeps things moving and alive.

We, especially us scientists, often are guilty of trying to see matters of faith in the scientific perspective. We try to use what we know and what we experience as bases for an explanation of things we do not understand. If we cannot explain it, we tend to eliminate it from the equation or view it as a fluke or a flaw. However, how much have we experiences compared to God? We were born less than a century ago, how can we compare in experience to a being who has existed for all time? Can we really match our knowledge with God's? He is omniscient while we, to quote the every so often used excuse of men, "are only human". The problem with us is we try to fathom the unfathomable. We cannot possibly understand the workings of the mind of God.

Where were we when God created the universe?

Monday, February 13, 2006

PdLR's Thought for the Day

Humans are the most impractical creatures in the world.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

PdLR's Thought for the Day

It's not true that you're worth only as much as you can give.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Dancing with the Saints

I went with my mom and my brother to the feast of San Guillermo Parish in Buting, Pasig, where my mom grew up. I've not been there in a while and I've never been there during the feast day of San Guillermo. Our trip to Buting was not a planned one. Mom just sent me a text message early this morning, while I was in school, telling me we were going there to see Tito Vic's wife, Tita Tess who was visiting from the States. Quite frankly, I was reluctant to go. I was never, or at least never perceived myself to be, loud nor vulgar and environments that were like that made me uncomfortable. There's just a certain roughness to the place that didn't sit well with me.

I felt so oddly out of place in a world I sometimes call home.

As we drove through the streets of San Guillermo parish, I noticed how packed the place was. I know that "packed" is such a strange word to use in this case because I *am* talking about a section of a town and not some closed room or car, but I can't think of a better word. Left and right, there were people, random stray animals, parked motorbikes and tricycles, and boxes made of odds and ends that are lovingly called home by its residents. The moment we entered this world, I found myself losing my normal concept of space, because in this world, there is so little of it.

Everyone was outside celebrating and waiting for the procession to arrive.

When we got to my aunt and uncle's home, at the house my aunt used to share with my grandfather, mother, and the rest of her siblings, we were immediately welcomed by my uncle and cousin. My mom and I went into the house while my brother parked our car. We were both anxious to get inside, my mom to see her sister and myself to get away from the general environment of the outside that was suffocating me. The inside of the house was little different from the outside. It was cluttered and every corner seemed to be brimming with odds and ends (I wonder if it's some kind of Filipino thing to be afraid of empty space), but at least the people there were familiar to me.

I kissed my aunt, uncle, Tita Tess, Tita Tess' sister, and nodded hello to my cousin. With the greetings done, we were immediately led to the table, which was, like the rest of the place, completely void of empty space. My uncle went all out on account of his birthday coming up. It was a luxurious spread with crispy pata, inihaw na pusit, kare kare, and lumpiang sariwa. There were a few other dishes I didn't recognize, but everything tasted great. My uncle is a great cook, after all.

Crispy Pata and Kare kare! Yummy! Strangely enough, I don't like the skin of the Crispy Pata and I don't use bagoong on my Kare kare.
Pictures are from and

Now, I remember my mom telling me at one time or another about how she and her sisters used to dance in the procession of San Guillermo. My memory of the stories, until earlier tonight, was rather vague. When dinner ended, we talked for a while, catching up on family news. It didn't take long before we were called out to see the procession. I was in the restroom when the procession first passed the house. When I got out, the San Guillermo image was rather far away. My mom said the image would be brought back.

"Isasayaw nila si San Guillermo." I was told.

When I was called out the second time, I noticed that the streets were lined with people. Actually, the people on the street formed two lines. They were swaying at some beat that a leader was chanting.

"Left, right, left, right..."

A few moments later, I heard the band playing music. A loud whistle was sounded every fourteen or thirteen lines of the song that was being played. My mom's aunt, Lola Ason, told us that the image of San Guillermo that was being paraded is not the original San Guillermo. The original San Guillermo was taken to Talisay, Batangas by two elders during the Japanese occupation. This was done to protect the San Guillermo from the invading troops. When the time came to return the saint to its home in Buting, the elder in Talisay would not give it back.

Just then, it got too noisy to talk. Well, it got too noisy for me to talk, Lola Ason and her daughter, Tita Ethel kept talking. My mom told me that Tita Ethel took care of me when I was two or three years old. Anyway, the band was getting closer and the music was getting louder. I noticed that the people lined up were lined up in groups: children (elementary school children who were given the day off to participate in the procession), teenagers, young women, and older women were the first to come up. The saint was being carried by young men who, like everyone else, were swaying to the beat of the band's song. The saint itself, because of the movement of those carrying his platform, was swaying. Sinasayaw nila si San Guillermo.

The pace of the procession was slow because of the dance. The rest of the procession followed: old women, gay men, older men, the band, gangs of boys... they all stepped to the beat of the dance. Every now and then, they would have to take a few steps back to give the people ahead a little more space. Every now and then, a person would break into the line to join in the fun. Every now and then, I would find myself moving to the beat of the marching band's drum. It took about a good ten minutes for the saint to move five meters away from where I was standing. In front of me, a man tried to pluck flowers from the decorations that surrounded the base of the saint's platform. The entire pot holding the flowers almost fell on the people carrying the platform.I noticed how heavy the saint was at that point.

Almost half an hour later, the Madonna and Child image came into view. It was a lighter image and was more easily made to "dance".

"Kalahating kalsada ang indayog nung Birhen o," my cousin pointed out.

The music near the Madonna and Child was different from the music near San Guillermo. My mom recognized the song as the one she and her sisters danced to when they were much younger. The song was Paruparong Bukid. When the Virgin passed us, I noticed that the men bearing the Virgin were much younger than the men bearing the saint. One of them handed me a flower from the decorations of the Madonna. My cousins and nieces teased me about it for a few moments. I kept the flower and it is currently being pressed between the pages of my World History book.

Brianna mums, this was the type of flower given to me.
Picture from

Once the Virgin had passed, the procession ended and my mom, brother and I readied ourselves for the trip home. I realized as I reentered the house that I wasn't suffocated anymore. As my body moved to the beat of the music, my spirit was moved by the people and the enthusiasm of the place.

I learned later on, after much research, that San Guillermo is Saint William of Maleval. I only recognized him because of the cross staff he was holding. There were no pictures of represenations of San Guillermo. San Guillermo is the patron of armorers. This is a picture of a cross staff, the saint's image was holding one of these.

picture is from

Several times during the entire affair, my heart overflow with a strange joy that in some small corner of the universe, some people still follow old traditions and believe in its meaning. I didn't expect that small corner to be in a place where the loud and the vulgar lived. Perhaps, God does dwell with the most unsavory of company.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

PdLR's Thought for the Day

All this hate in the world scares me, but there's nothing I can do.
I am insignificant, not even significant to you.

Monday, February 06, 2006

PdLR's Thought for the Day

I do not speak enchanting words, it is what I speak of that is enchanting.
I do not take beautiful pictures, I take pictures of that which is beautiful.
My hands and my lips do not create the imagery of a wonderful world, they only capture the wonderful image of the world God created.
Naks naman sa kakaibang philosophy. Parang totoo.

Ramblings: A Dose of Insensitivity

Monument of Jose Rizal at Lagawe

"Do I believe so? As I believe in the Gospel! The Indio is so indolent!"

Words of Padre Damaso in the first chapter of Noli Me Tangere. I bet Rizal would be turning in his grave if he heard news of what happened at the Wowowee First Anniversary special. There were so many potential great men and women lost in the pursuit of easy money. Unfortunately, we are just proving the image that Rizal and his fellow Propagandists have long tried to change. We are living in a culture of quick, but myopic solutions and easy but conditional escapes. We are a society that lives on the hope of a hand out and a "gift from God". We are a people who has forgotten the saying we, ourselves, popularized.

Do we still remember, "Nasa Diyos ang awa nasa tao ang gawa"?

Though I also believe in the words of Mohandas Gandhi:
"There are people in the world so hungry, that God cannot appear to them except in the form of bread."
and I, somehow, understand why people cling to the small hope of winning money they could only earn by sweating blood and tears for months, years, or even their entire lifetime (How else would a poor man react when a gold nugget is dangled in front of him?), I do not see God looking favorably upon a man who is able to work well, lining up for several work days, for a chance to make easy money. When God sentenced man to have to toil for food upon banishment from Eden, I seriously doubt that He had lining up for a gameshow in mind. Games of chance like these should only be taken as a last resort.

We have always been like this. Instead of working hard to better the community we are not satisfied with, we take to the streets and blame the government for not doling out enough money. Instead of standing by a candidate with gradual, but suitable reforms, we choose the guy who can pay for that day's meals.

These things are easy for me to say. I was not one of the people lined up for the games. I was never the man who sold cigarettes and newspapers all day and all night for meager earnings. The amount of effort I put in my studies and in my workday, though a smidgen of the labor other people go through, earns more than some people do in a month.

I am not a person who believes in adding insult to injury. I was very much saddened by the news of people dying in the stampede. I was unfortunate enough to witness the suffering of the people first hand. I found it very difficult to stem the flow of tears as I saw the injured lined up in their gurneys and wheel chairs along the walls of Medical City. I, too, mourn for the meaningless loss of so many lives.

This is why I do not blame them. I do not blame anyone, to be honest. I do not see any point in trying to put the blame on anyone. We are at a point in history where trying to pinpoint the source of the problem is more than arguing about who did not draft proper security and safety measures. We are at a point in history where we have to review the patterns our society follows.

And if someone told me that I had to pick someone to blame, I would blame Rizal and his contemporaries. I mean, really, our forefathers could have done better in changing the consciousness of their countrymen.

Picture of victims of the stampede.

Let us pray for them.

Taken from

Sunday, February 05, 2006

PdLR's Thought for the Day

The Mind is a wonderful place to visit, but I wouldn't want to live there.

Visit Insanity's Library if you have the time.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Friendster Horoscopes

Tsk. Sometimes, I get the impression that the guy who writes these horoscopes knows me.
  1. The powers that be have tossed quite the dilemma your way. The good news is it involves someone you miss -- someone you've been missing dreadfully for a good, long time. Once you bump into them or hear their voice on the phone, force yourself to calm down. Content yourself with just working like crazy around your home. You know how you are when you're mulling things over, and keeping busy with mindless tasks is the best way to make your decision.
  2. Okay, so they've called. Again. And you really, really want to see them. In the long run, what you want right now really doesn't matter. When it comes to one-to-one relationships -- which just so happen to be your specialty -- you really shouldn't spend even an hour of your time with someone you know you won't be able to trust in the future. There's one very special person out there looking for you, and if you're smart, you'll wait to go forward, and leave the past where it belongs.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

PdLR's Thought for the Day

The difference between angels and devils is conscience. The difference between the forgiven and the unforgiven is the capacity to repent. The difference between man and woman is a dangly little thing between the legs.
The mothership...she is calling me... Ooooweeeeoooo

Friendster Horoscopes

I don't know why, but these made me laugh. I think it's the irony that I found funny.

  1. You're so ready to relax that it's not funny. What is funny is that you're actually feeling torn between whom to relax with -- usually not a problem for you. Should you spend another evening with a friend you've started flirting with, or take that new admirer up on an exciting offer? Regardless of which you choose, taking the night off to simply get some sleep shouldn't be an option. Make some coffee, grab a shower, and rally.
  2. For days, it's been all about them -- everyone but you, that is. Enough. Enough with the care-taking, the sympathizing and the listening to sob stories. It's time for you to indulge in some much-needed playtime -- and there will be absolutely no reason for you to feel guilty. If necessary, sleep in tomorrow. If you're smart, you'll make sure tonight is so much fun that you'll need to.
  3. This will be a day to remember -- for all the right reasons. The heavens will put you in the mood for romance -- of the fiery, impulsive type -- just as soon as you wake up. Just don't expect to see much of your friends -- except for that one particularly close friend, of course. You two may be pretty darned inseparable, in fact.
Tsk. If horoscopes were true...

Looking back...(Part I)

It was purely by chance that I started going through the pictures from our cameras that are stored in our computer. I've always known that I'm camera shy, but I never realized just how much. There are so few pictures of me, and most of them were stolen. I know for a fact that those which were not stolen, were not easy to pose for.

I've never imagined myself to be a person worth taking pictures of.

But, more importantly, the pictures reminded me of so many things. Most of the pictures I saw were from the latter part of last year. As I looked through them, a lot of memories, both fond and bittersweet, resurfaced and now I realize that a lot of memories are easy to get over.

I suppose there will be no complaints if I post some of the pictures here, seeing as this is my blog.


*Ahem* As I was saying... here are some of the pictures I found. View at your own risk, of course! I'll be posting pictures by batches over the next few days. Uploading pictures isn't my favorite thing in the world.

Sunset at Guimaras. This was taken from Raymen(?) Resort.

Now, let's start with the October trip to Iloilo. I went to Iloilo for the 23rd Samahang Pisika ng Pilipinas Congress. It was my first trip out of town without my parents. I know how pathetic that sounds considering I *was* 20 years old at the time, but I'm very attached to my family, thank you!

I was so terrified. I couldn't sleep for days. Ivan spent a good amount of time comforting me and telling me he was just a text away and that our friends and labmates would always be nearby. I would've been a lot less freaked out had he been coming, but he had a job and couldn't leave Metro Manila.

Thank heavens that my parents, always supportive in the oddest of ways, decided that the family needed an out of town vacation. They and my brother packed their bags and flew with me to Iloilo. The four of us spent the night at Guimaras, at Raymens (not sure if I remembered the name correctly) Resort. It was a nice place. It was peaceful and helped relax me somewhat. The picture says it was October 24.

Here's me with my dad. We look a lot alike, don't we? It's the eyes, I think.

This is still in Guimaras. Mom took this picture.

See the celphone on the table? I spent my time in Guimaras trying to calm my nerves by staring at the sunset and playing TextTwist on my cel. I was upset cause there was no signal in the resort and I couldn't get in touch with Ivan. But, spending quality time with my family was well worth the aggravation of separation anxiety from Ivan.

This is me with my mom and my brother.
Do I look like my brother?

Aaah... whatever.

Some people say I look more like my mom than my dad. So, what do you think?

I remember saying that I didn't want to go to the beach. I liked the serenity of the place, but I hated the feeling of sand in my pants or all over my feet. There were men coming in from the waters while this picture was being taken. You can't see it, so you'll have to take me oh-so-honorable word for it. There were boats all around the area. I'm not sure if they were fishing boats, I think they were ferries.

I remember someone from my family saying "Dinadala lang ng hangin yung signal." I know how strange that sounds, but after spending time in that part of Guimaras, I was inclined to agree. I'm not sure if it's coincidental, but the signal did come with the blowing of the wind. Maybe one of my Physicist friends could explain that to me!

October 25, the day we were supposed to return to Iloilo, I received a text message from Rene. He had just arrived in Iloilo. I also received a few text messages from Ivan and I stayed outside our room all morning trying to find the few precious spots where I could send text messages. It was frustrating that the signal was not strong enough to make calls.

Rene met up with me and my brother that afternoon. We went to Robinsons Iloilo. My brother, who was technology-starved in Guimaras, went straight to Netopia. Rene and I headed for the food court to talk. We tried contacting Ralph, but he was busy. Ralph told us to see him, instead, but I the school he was staying in had a dress code and I wasn't dressed for it! When my brother finished with his Internet stuff, he joined us. We went to Smallville, this small strip of bars, coffee houses, and restaurants his friend Lee told him about. We stayed at one of the bars and waited for our parents to arrive so we could all have dinner together.

This is a picture the waiter took of us in the restaurant we decided to eat in.

The food was Ok, I suppose. Not my type of cuisine. Poor Rene not only turned out to be allergic to half of the food we ordered, but also ordered a strangely flavored drink he had a hard time finishing.

I think the restaurant is pretty popular. There were a lot of people there. The restrooms were clean and well-stocked. I think it was a bit cold, though.

After eating, all five of us squeezed into a taxi and went to Residence hotel. Rene's hotel, Fine Rock, which was also SanD's hotel, was just two HUGE blocks away from Residence. We bid Rene goodbye and my mom asked Rene to take care of me since my family was leaving the next day. Well, her well-meaning words weren't exactly phrased correctly since she did imply-- not-too-subtly, if I may add--that I could sometimes be lacking common sense.

I spent that night panicking about my SPP presentation. Ivan was there for me, sending me messages for as long as he could. I didn't get much sleep.

In retrospect, I shouldn't have worried too much. It was my first SPP presentation and people were understanding of my inadequacy. I should have gotten much-needed sleep instead! The rest of the congress was fast-paced and both emotionally and physically taxing. The rest of the story I will tell at some later time, when I collect SanD's pictures from the lab.