Friday, December 31, 2010

Countdown to the New Year

As I write, only a little over an hour remains till the crossing at midnight. The family has been to Mass, we've had our dinners, and now we're just settling in for the night. Sans fire crackers, the city is quiet, just the way I like it.

This is the last entry for 2010, a year which saw fewer blog posts but which I shall remember with much fondness. Next year, I hope to be back to my regular blogging groove. That's one of my resolutions anyhow.

Thanks for the friendship, thanks for following the blog, and thanks for your feedback.

Happy New Year all!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Images of 2010

Georgia seal

Seal of the State of Georgia, located at McKinley Memorial in Manila. For my blog buddy Bob.

Blue's Clues Cake

Cake made by Emily for Jerry's third birthday.

Mana Christmas Lights

Mana's antique shop puts up an eye-blinding light show every Christmas. It's a magnet for Davao strollers and joyriders.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

2010: A Retrospective

A benefit of keeping a blog is that it lets you look back on significant events that have happened. I did a retrospective for 2009, so I thought I'd do the same again for 2010.

In comparison, this year was nowhere nearly as eventful as the last. For one thing, I didn't get into any serious accidents (for which I should be thankful).

At the tail end of last year, I met someone special. Looking back on this year, I see that she's really what's kept me occupied all this time. You won't see it in the list below, but this year, I think I lived more.

And, of course, I proposed. And got engaged. Two things I never really expected to happen.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

On the eve of forty-one

In a few hours time, I'll turn forty-one.

It's nowhere near as scary as rounding the bend to forty, I can tell you that, but it's scary all the same. Perhaps the feeling of dread will go away when I hit the mid-forties (and by then -- shudder! -- I'll be looking at fifty). Who knows?

But tomorrow, I'll be forty-one. There's no escaping that.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

You know it's love...

Emily and I dropped by the site of our future home today. There's not much there yet, just patches of wild grass and trees. Over on the fence, we saw painted arrows that marked the boundaries of the lot.

"Over there will be the kitchen, and over there, living room and the stairs."

"That's where we'll have the family room."

"Shelves, we'll need plenty of shelves."

It's hard to believe that it's moving this fast. Just a year ago, I don't think I could have imagined myself in a scene like this: two people mapping out a home.

But here I am. It feels right.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas, folks! Thanks for following my blog.

A Gift to the World

For the first time in so many years I missed completing the nine mornings of the Misa de Gallo. I fell sick last Tuesday, and by Wednesday evening I was down in the dumps through the weekend.

Tuesday this week, though, I felt well enough. I woke up at a quarter before four and got to our parish church just as Mass was about to begin. I am happy to report that nothing much has changed. On the sixth day of the novena Mass, Sacred Heart was still packed with the devoted, and that's counting both the main church on the second floor as well as the first floor chapel and the church grounds. Likewise for Wednesday.

When I say packed, I really do mean packed. Sacred Heart is by no means a small church. Flanking the main altar are six sets of pews (three on each side), each with 20 to 24 pews. Each pew seats ten people. Add to that the people on the ground floor, and all told, that's close to 1,500 parishioners attending Mass. At 4:30 in the morning.

I like to think that I don't need numbers to affirm my Faith, but in the midst of these my brothers and sisters, I feel a little awed. It's wonderful to be a Filipino and it's wonderful to be Catholic.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Wikileaks on the Philippines

Not much mention of the Philippines in the Wikileaks documents, except for one, dated 2007.

Curiously, it's placed within the broader context of China. Apparently, the concerns of Washington and Beijing center on stability, transparency, and good governance.

I wonder what they mean, though, about the US and China "working from different directions."

Sigh. It feels like my country is a pawn in this superpower game.

Progress in the Philippines, but More Needed
¶19. (S) Seeing poverty as the key challenge facing the Philippines, China invested in its agricultural development and transportation infrastructure, DG Hu underlined. Beijing recognizes corruption as the second significant problem facing the Philippines, but believes it "cannot do much about that," DG Hu said. Beijing sees President Gloria Arroyo as a good leader because she has shown that "she is in control." DAS John agreed President Arroyo has stabilized Philippine leadership and enacted strong fiscal and economic policy, but stressed that Beijing and Washington must encourage Manila to continue working hard to promote transparency and good governance. John also outlined the extremely successful approach to counterterrorism the GRP has taken in Mindanao, with the support of the United States. DG Hu assessed that, while "working from different directions," United States and Chinese efforts in the Philippines are complementary.

The Church in the World

Still down with a virus, and out of boredom and curiosity I decided to look into Wikileaks. For the most part, quite boring, but I did stumble into a few items of interest. One of them is a Confidential communique to the President of the United States (Barack Obama, at the time of writing) from the Charge D'Affaires.

Frankly, I don't see why such a communique should be confidential. It doesn't really reveal anything new about the Church's stand. I read it more as an outsider's view of the Church in the world, and it's quite consistent with the Church as I know it.

And something I didn't know: the Vatican now relies on solar power for 20% of its needs. Hmmm.

Thursday, December 16, 2010


It's the middle of December, and I'm only on my second blog post for the month. What happened?

For one thing, I've gotten busier of late, what with my teaching duties, my masteral classes, a big literary conference next year, and my, er, upcoming wedding. Yup, that's right. In case you missed the past few blog posts, I'm getting hitched.

Ironically, it's when I have the most to blog about that I have less time to blog. But that's how it rolls.

And some other things:

Friday, December 10, 2010

Pakinggan Pilipinas: My short story dramatized

Yes, I'm still here. A third of December has gone by. Only now have I managed to find the time to post.

As you can probably guess, I'm pretty busy these days. Harassed is probably the better word. Hence, the lack of updates on this blog. Miss me? Ha. Ha.

Several things have happened -- nothing major, but a succession of small, memorable, and yes, enjoyable events -- all of which I wish I was able to put down to pixels. Perhaps I will, someday, if they remain fresh enough in memory.

Anyhow, I thought I'd get this one out first: my PGS short story Twilight of the Magi is now a radio podcast. Thanks to Elyss Punsalan and her Pakinggan Pilipinas project for making this possible.

I am honored.