"a caterpillar doesn't just grow into a butterfly. a caterpillar must undergo metamorphosis, and a cocoon is where a caterpillar risks it all: enters total chaos, undergoes total rebuilding, and is born to a new way of living. only in taking the risk of entering that inert cocoon can the caterpillar go from dormancy to potency, from ugliness to beauty."

Thursday, October 19, 2006

huling hirit!

two good friends slash travel buddies. one destination. thirty-six hours of adventure. two digital cameras. three camera phones. output? 600+ photos (only!!!) and fun, fun, fun!!! the story? uhmm... maybe later. for now, 24 pics should load.

corregidor: island of valor, peace, and international understanding

my travel buddy, yoni, and i hied off to corregidor island last sunday. this trip was supposed to be last september, two weeks after our white water rafting adventure in cagayan de oro city. however, circumstances beyond our control got in the way and we just had to cancel our plans.

last week, yoni brought up the idea of going to corregidor again. i jumped right in!!!

from laguna to baguio to cagayan de oro to corregidor to wherever

to be honest, we didn't know how to get to corregidor. we did know, however, that we really wanted to see that historic island fondly referred to as "the rock". as they say, if there's a will, there's a way. we surely had the will... and we found the way!

on board m/v suncruiser ii

open-sided bus for the corregidor tour

where's our next destination?

guns, guns, and more guns... big guns

fort mills headquarters, flagpole from a spanish warship,
gen. douglas macarthur park, lorcha dock, "gone with the wind" cine corregidor,
and filipino heroes memorial

pacific war memorial

exploring an old spanish lighthouse

in 1945, there was a japanese military cemetery in this area...
then, people conveniently forgot. it was rediscovered 40 years after
and was developed into a memorial park

the aftermath of a great war

"if we follow the sunset, will it ever end?"

malinta tunnel at night: a ghost-hunting adventure?

the malinta tunnel of corregidor served as the underground headquarters of the united states armed forces - far east (USAFFE) during the second world war. dug through solid rock and reinforced with bethlehem steel and japanese cement (japanese cement, mind you!), it took 10 years to build. many men (and women) of war stayed in this bombproof shelter, storage and hospital area.

the malinta tunnel light and sound show is a 30-minute walk back in time written and directed by lamberto avellana, a national artist, and narrated by frankie evangelista. it makes use of special lighting and sound effects (hence the name) to tell the the story of malinta tunnel and corregidor. life-like sculptures by another national artist, napoleon abueva, are installed in the tunnel's laterals alongside war relics. salvaged war footages are part of the show, too.

this day-tour experience will allow visitors to tread on the main tunnel only. to go into the laterals and explore the sub-laterals, one has to do the night tour.

many world war 2 soldiers and workers died in this tunnel...

our guide, kuya edward, told us that psychics who've visited the place have seen "their" presence in the tunnel. although kuya edward has not seen any of "them" yet, he had experienced being spooked after a tourist took his picture in front of the tunnel's still intact air vent. in the picture, a "nurse" of the world war appeared directly in front of kuya edward.

can you see the human bone?

had yoni and i not opted for the overnight package, we would have missed seeing the relics inside the tunnel so up close. we would have missed going through the tunnel's laterals and sub-laterals, too. this tunnel alone has got so much history and it's quite a work of good engineering.

so early in the morning...

the japanese tunnel
a smaller tunnel than the american-commissioned malinta tunnel

the mile-long barracks of corregidor once housed world war 2 american soldiers

there are many bomb shells all over the island...
these are just some of those that we've seen

where we were housed overnight | look, there's an eagle! it's real!

no, we didn't come prepared

postcard perfect: hug a tree... take pictures... be happy!!!

a collage of our favorite photos

need i say more?

want this adventure to be yours, too? hie off to corregidor and take the (sunday-monday) overnight package. it's gonna be worth your money! this adventure exceeded my expectations. i could say that i got more than what i really paid for.

huling hirit? the title of this post is the special request of my travel buddy. since i'm gonna be moving on, we might not be travel buddies anymore. hmmm... who knows?

ako, laagan? taka lang.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

weekend update

"Friendship isn't a big thing - it's a million little things."
--Author Unknown

early yesterday, one of the p6peeps informed me of another get-together in makati. since i'm not the type who would let my friends down and i'm on to my last few days here in metro manila, i was obliged to join. at about 8pm, i made my way to philcoa to meet up with my friend, randz. together, we made our way to guadalupe to meet up with jerk, tiff, and edson.

last night, the p6peeps had a sleepover at edson's place. edson bought food, softdrinks, cans and cans of beer, and bottles of iced tea. i passed up on the beer (hehe...) and settled for iced tea. i think only edson and randz drank the beer. it was another fun night with great friends... this time, minus the alcohol for me.

miss na mi nimo, mic?

our time last night was well spent on updates and stories (chismis!), two laptops, a cable TV, and a playstation. the two laptops and the playstation were around for the guys' gaming, and the cable TV was for me and tiff (because i said so! hehe). over the noise of the computers and the TV, all five of us kept fun conversations going on. talk about being noisy!

despite our respective busy schedules and the time we have to spend apart, we p6peeps have still remained in close contact with each other, and it never ceases to amaze me how we pull things off for a get-together even when done within very short notice. last night was no exception... and what fun! 'twas great!!!

today, randz and i begged off from the group's supposed to be imax activity in the mall of asia. randz cited valid academic reasons. i invoked my right against self-incrimination (hehe, just kidding!). i told my friends that i have a business to attend to -- a little adventure, actually.

a little adventure, i had, indeed. from makati, i went to shaw boulevard. from shaw boulevard, i went to edsa-taft. from edsa-taft, i went to vito cruz. from vito cruz, i went to the CCP bay area. now, some details of this story...

my makati-shaw-edsa-taft trip did not pose a challenge for me -- i only had to ride the mrt. my edsa-taft-vito cruz trip also did not pose a challenge -- i only had to ride the lrt. after 3.5 years spent here in metro manila, i've gotten used to riding the mrt and the lrt. squeezing myself in between bodies and/or keeping my balance while inside the transit is not anymore a challenge. heck, i've developed (and perfected?) a special talent of surviving mrt/lrt rides -- standing all throughout the journey without holding on to safety rails. the trick? that combo of wearing comfy footwear and some appreciation for the subtleties of physics.

it was my vito cruz-CCP trip that posed a challenge for me. while i knew my business in the bay area, i did not know where i was exactly supposed to go... and, well, i'm not that familiar with the CCP complex eventhough i've been there more than once.

in vito cruz, i looked for the orange shuttles (which were not difficult to look for because they were orange, after all) and rode in one. i was aware when the shuttle crossed roxas boulevard. i saw the cultural center of the philippines (CCP). i saw the harbor square. i saw the CCP bay terminal. i saw the bike rental stations. i saw tanghalang balagtas (folk arts theater). i saw the coconut palace. i saw the hotel philippine plaza (known to you and me as the westin philippine plaza). eeeeeeeeeeeeek! my folly, too late for me to realize!! boy, i was supposed to step down the shuttle in front of the CCP bay terminal!!!

so, fine! i told the driver to stop right after we passed by the hotel philippine plaza (i still would like to call it westin, by the way). from there, instead of opting for another shuttle ride, i decided to walk the entire distance back to the CCP bay terminal. i crossed 5 pedestrian lanes, walked past the coconut palace then the folk arts theater, heard dogs barking and got scared as i passed by the bike rental stations, and, finally, went inside the CCP bay terminal -- to check on my newly acquired yachts. haha, i'm just kidding about the yachts.

i went inside the CCP bay terminal to finalize the reservations which yoni and i made for our corregidor trip. tomorrow, we will be in corregidor. yeah, it's another biyahe tayo adventure for us travel buddies. we will be back on monday.

hopefully, by then, i'll be able to write better.

oh, wait. actually, i started this article with the thought of sharing my "kicking tendencies" today. i almost kicked two men. i was really tempted!!

on my way to where the orange shuttles were, i experienced the misfortune of having to follow this @#$% slow-walking 30-ish man on the sidewalk. i tried to overtake him to no avail -- there just wasn't enough space. his walking speed would have not been too much of a problem for me had he not been puffing out smoke and had the wind's direction been only different. i was tempted to kick his butt good, if only to propel him far, far from me and get him out of my way faster than his boring walking speed. bad, bad me. good thing, i did not carry out my short-lived evil plot.

on my way back to vito cruz from CCP bay terminal, i decided to walk some more. two guys on bike pretended to attempt to run me over with their sorry-looking bike. mga papansin, hmf! swangit! i gave them dagger looks which effectively erased the grins on their faces. had they been walking and not on bike, i would have kicked one of them where i know it would really hurt. again, good thing, i thought better and did not carry out my evil plot. i doubt if i could have gotten away with it, anyway.

today, i'm feeling maldita. tomorrow, i will be good. promise.

uh, i'm not sure about that promise. so here goes the edited version: i will try to be good.

Monday, October 09, 2006

unsa'y nahitabo?

"They say love makes the world go 'round...
well... so does ten shots of tequila. What's their point?"

-- forwarded text message

hmmm... what's the story here?

i had a celebration with the manila-based ids99ers last saturday. yoni, rose, ilian, and i started the night with dinner along the baywalk in roxas boulevard. we had sisig (again!), crispy pata, and calamares with our glasses of iced tea and mango shake.

it was my first time to be in baywalk with my friends since all my prior walks and dinners there had been with my papang and kuyang. it was my first time to pay for my own food there, too, since it had always been my papang who took care of the tab. hay, baywalk food and beverage prices are sooo not right. expensive!

...but just as well. i was with great friends whom i haven't spent time with for quite awhile already. it was our reunion of sorts after our last get-together in july. we spent some time in baywalk and got entertained by a live band in kafalua. in terms of stage presence and instrumental performance, it was quite a band!

first stop of the night

then, from baywalk, we went to rose's apartment in makati for the planned overnight drinking session with the rest of the manila-based ids99ers who expressed their commitment to be around for the celebration. rose and ilian brought in our food from a nearby grocery while eldani, jezer, mishay, and kenny took care of purchasing our drinks: jose cuervo especial tequila, red horse beer, and gsm blue.

10.07-08.06 drinking buddies

following doctor's orders, yoni did not drink. the rest of us did. we started with the tequila and then the beer. kenny, a classmate back in grade school whom i haven't seen for more than 11 years, was our gunner for the night. it was a very fun night with tequila, beer, good food and great company.

since we were supposed to be celebrating because of me, kenny made me do the duty of drinking the first tequila shot. i lost track of how many rounds we had but i was sure that there were times when the glass did not really go around the circle. by the time we were about to go down to the last shot, i was already dizzy. i remember seeing double while slicing more calamansi. yeah, tequila did that to me!

what's your pick?

though it was not yet my turn, they gave me the duty of drinking the last shot despite my half-hearted protests. hehe. after saying our cheers, (except for yoni who had to make do with tropicana twister, my friends had glasses of beer on their hands) i indulged them and drank the last tequila. then, i drank a full glass of beer... because they said i should. at this point, i felt like i wanted to puke... but i did not really want to, so i decided to sleep while sitting on the couch for five minutes.

just imagine my shock when i woke up in a different place and with different clothes. the big t-shirt was clearly not mine! the couch was gone, the table full of drinks and food was nowhere in sight and i was lying on a sleeping bag. it was really an OMG moment for me.

unsa'y nahitabo?

it was yoni who was forced to wake up when i asked that question. she said, "nagsuka ka." eeeeeek. something like that happened and i had no recollection that it really did happen!!! worse, i thought i only lost a few minutes (five?), but, in fact, the world that i knew did not exist for me for about 6 hours! i fell asleep at about 3am and woke up at 9am.

it turned out, that when i went to sleep while sitting on the couch, my conscious mind shutdown and my subconscious mind took control over my body. they did not expect that i would be puking since i was still so good in interacting with them... BUT i don't remember interacting with them at all after i closed my eyes. i don't remember that i went back to taking part in the conversations! BUT i did talk to them! i did... and i cannot remember!!!

they said that i was so hyper, i had something hostile to say to everything that they had to say. at some points, the exchanges became so funny... here are some of those that they could recall:

ilian said something about me working on q dust...
me: no, it's dots! not dust! D. O. T. S! not D. O. S. T! (letch! i misspelled dust???)

a neighbor came over and asked us to tone down our noise levels...
friend 1: o, val---, quiet daw ta.
friend 2: sige, val, spell quiet.
me: Q. W. I. E. T! (bwa ha ha ha! sobrang bangag!)
my friends laughed...
me: no, no, noooo... it's Q. U. I. E. T! (hay, thank goodness for redemption!)

i puked all over my shirt and my pants... gross!! they had to bring me to the comfort room. there, i "worshipped" the bowl as i puked some more. mwa ha ha ha but ewwww... and then, i fell totally asleep... under the bowl. ha ha ha ha... ewww to the nth level.

yoni said that while i was in the comfort room, i hurled these lines in straight english: "i hate you! i hate you all! what kind of friends are you?! why did you allow this to happen to me?!"

i was so noisy, rose had to cover my mouth... ewwww... then, she calmly mentioned something about us being in a foreign place.
me: foreign place?!
me: what foreign place?! (tsk, how hostile can i get, huh? i wasn’t even being deliberately provoked or what! )

good thing they are really friends i can trust my life with. despite the grossness of it all (add to that my hostility towards them that time), they took care of me. the gals changed my shirt and the guys cleaned up the mess i left on the couch and the toilet. i was brought to the bedroom upstairs where i could sleep more comfortably. oh, the gals also changed my pants.

the guys all got drunk and did their share of puking, too. ha ha. they did not outdo me in that though.

it was the worst drunken state i've ever been in and, well, too bad that only my friends have a recollection of it -- i do not have my own independent recollection! i missed out on such a nice and very funny story... and all because my conscious mind got totally knocked out. i already tried my best to recall at least one of those instances in my "totally bangag" story... i regret that i just can't remember anything!

something learned? watch out when i'm way beyond drunk... i forget my own dialect -- i speak straight english and yet i spell oh so horribly! as in Q W I E T. goodness! my subsconcious mind definitely needs to be equipped with spell check or something. i have to thank it though for not betraying my emotional hang-ups. hehehe.

...and yes, i should keep in mind that i should go easy on alcohol. maybe i should not drink anymore...

hmmmm... that reminds me of that classic bisaya line: "di na jud ko mousab... ka-usa na lang!"

10.07-08.06 souvenir

by the way, next weekend, we will be in corregidor island. la la la...

(1) photos used in this article are courtesy of val, ilian, kenny, and yoni.

(2) thank you to my cool 10.07-08.06 drinking buddies for taking good care of me... for being such great friends. i don't hate you.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

giving credit to whom credit is due

allow me to share what i've written for my thesis manuscript's acknowledgment page. the version posted here has undergone heavy editing for obvious reasons. some names have been replaced with codes. specific names such as that of the laboratory group that i belong to and those of our funding agencies have also been changed.

see if you can find your name!

Had I been entirely on my own, my research would not have been possible. I owe a lot of gratitude to the ones who, in big and small ways, helped me:

Dr. A.S., my adviser, for taking me into the Lab, for granting me the grand privilege of working under his supervision and for gambling on the belief that I could do well with the topic he entrusted me with. His dedication is admirable and his drive to get things done right is inspiring and contagious.

Dr. P.A. and Dr. J.B., my thesis examiners, and Dr. W.G., my thesis reader, for the meticulous attention that they gave to my work, the fruitful discussions, and the sound suggestions.

Dr. A.S., the current Lab coordinator and from whose knowledge I benefit from, for the samples that I was privileged to work on.

Dr. R.S., the Boss of the Lab Family, for asking the necessary questions and giving valuable suggestions that led to the further improvement of my work.

Dr. E.E., the Kuya T of our group and my immediate superior when I joined the group in 2004, for overseeing my initial ventures into optoelectronics & spectroscopy and for imparting the so-called tricks of the trade.

...(17 names here)..., my Lab-groupmates for their support and for their being my wonderful labmates.

...(15 names here)..., all of the Lab's other group, for their being my brothers and sisters in the great Lab Family.

...(12 names here)..., the people I got to know and made friends with in the Lab, for the friendship and for the shared learning experience.

Naoms, Bensky, Randz, Jerk, Tiff, Miez, Edson, Mickoy, Ivan, Anwar, Ducs, and Benj, the p6peeps, for their concern and words of encouragement.

The p6bams, most especially to Kuya Eli for constantly checking on me, and Dr. A.A. for generously providing me softcopies of the journals that I needed for my research.

The IDS99 beautiful gal pals: Sealdi, Yoni, Haniko, Janina, Rowcey, Mishay, Ai-ai and Hazel, the IDS99 guys: Ilian, Jezer, Eldani, Manman, Tricky, and Kurt, the BisDaks: Jory, Gail, Bhevs, Kars, Kuya Zimm, Kuya Toto, Kuya Miki, Father Cuying, and Alan, Agimat, AYLA, TOSP-AC, best friend Shella, him, and all my great friends, for the esteem boosts, the needed distraction, the happy doses, and the prayers.

Weng, Ann, and Kristy, the ones I shared 116 with and who’re so great at keeping me sane, for being nice and definitely not-boring roommates.

Papang, Mamang, Kuyang, Ate Bingbing, Kaye, VL, and Nikki, my family, for the love, support, and inspiration.

God, for all the big and small things... including the virtual overpass connecting Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao, PHD Comics and Procrastinex, Box o Rice, Sefali, P.I.G. dynamics, and the funding agencies.

Thank you all.

--vkpm, october 2006

p.s. i owe the idea of posting the acknowledgment script to yoni.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

so this is how it feels

"A man is insensible to the relish of prosperity
'til he has tasted adversity."

--Sa'di (Musharrif-uddin)

i learned of my lolo's death. i had to make up my mind whether to go home to my mindanao for the wake and the burial or to stay put here in metro manila and just bear my sadness alone.

i considered my father's wisdom and followed his advice; i had to forego traveling.

i experienced a storm and saw the chaos it brought.

i had to endure 5 days and 5 nights of stone age living in the dorm because it took until yesterday before we got our power connection back.

last night, i did not leave the lab until past midnight. i was able to sleep at about 1 o'clock.

today, i woke up early. today, i defended my thesis. i did well. i think i'll be going to sleep with a contented heart and big smile on my face.

thesis my quest... thesis done... thesis it! :)
one of my intro slides

thank you, everyone, for seeing me through!

Sunday, October 01, 2006

here i go again

"Absence diminishes small loves and increases great ones,
as the wind blows out the candle and fans the bonfire."

--François Duc de La Rochefoucauld

of all guys in the world, why does it have to be always him?

i love him i love him i love him i love him i love him i love him i love him i love him i love him i love him...

...and he's taking that for granted.

ayoko naaaaaaaaaaaaaaa... but... but...

i'm convinced he's worth this confusion-induced (and probably madness-driven) pain i'm feeling and this emotional rollercoaster ride i'm in. just a good thought about him is enough to warm up my heart and make it smile.

yes, he still inspires me.

i love him i love him i love him i love him i love him i love him i love him i love him i love him i love him...

go ahead, hammer some sense back into me... or tolerate me. :D
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