Saturday, December 31, 2011

The Wedding Photo

I like taking photographs of photographers in action. Them, of all the possible subjects, are so engrossed in what they're doing they're oblivious to me. So much the better for candid shots.

This shot was from a wedding yesterday. Weddings seem to be more plentiful in December than in May or June, contrary to conventional wisdom; there are plenty of reasons why. I wish I had more time to compose, but all I had on me was my prime lens, so I had to head back all the way to catch the entire group. Still, it was a fun to take.

Because resolutions are so blah

As I imagine like almost everyone else, I used to make New Year Resolutions. And, as I imagine like almost everyone else, I didn't live up to them. But I still kept making them anyway, up until a a few years ago. Resolutions by themselves just aren't effective. So instead I now draw up projects I want to complete and habits I want to gain or drop.

Projects are time-limited goals with specific and measurable steps. They work so much better than resolutions because: 1) you know where you're headed; 2) you map out how to get there; 3) you know where you are based on your map; and 4) you'll know when you've arrived. Planning projects for the year also gives you perspective on the things you want to accomplish. Some will be short-term, i.e., doable in a few months, and some will be long-term, i.e., may take the better part of a year, or even extend into the following year. You'll know beforehand what your year will look like. A good way of tracking projects is through the Getting Things Done system by David Allen.

Habits are actions you repeat so often that they become second nature to you. Of course, there are good habits and there are bad habits. Good habits you want to develop; bad habits you want to drop. They sound more like the traditional resolutions, but the difference is they are measurable. I've read somewhere that it takes 21 repetitions to establish a habit. To measure how far along you are, you can use chains of repetition. Consecutive days of doing something constitutes a chain. This is an idea I picked up from the Habit Streak app for Android.

Between habits and projects, I actually think that habits are harder. It's more challenging to do something small and almost trivial every day than it is to spend a few hours at one time on a major task. For myself, I've broken down the habits into five major categories: physical, spiritual, creative, financial, and professional.

And one last thing. Whether you think in terms of resolutions, projects, or habits, it's important to remember that these are things to aim for through the coming year, not some instantaneous change that must occur when January 1st comes around. Write them down and refer to them often and regularly throughout the year. Have major checkpoints, perhaps quarterly, to see where you are. Remember: your real project is you.

Davao Lights

Nighttime Davao as seen from the top floor of the Apo View Hotel. Directly below is of the People's Park area, where they're currently having a bazaar. Most prominent is Casa Leticia on the left, all lit up with Christmas lights.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Why I must blog (and what I must blog about)

Today I received a comment on an old blog post. It reads:

Sir, this is Earnest Hope Tinambacan (the one who played Don Quixote) reading again your review while remembering Prof. Evelyn Aldecoa. I wasn't able to stop my tears from falling reading this and reminiscing those days with Ma'am Evelyn. She passed away yesterday, and I still can't believe it.

Thank you very much sir for having saved the memories for us, the cast and crew.

It blew my mind that the article, a review of a Silliman production of Man of La Mancha, which I wrote six -- six! -- years ago should still touch someone deeply. I am likewise touched.

Truth be told, I've been thinking about ending this blog. I started it in October of 2004. It's over seven years old now (and 2,419 blog posts). It's had a long run, but I'm not quite sure where the readers are anymore. Off arguing politics, or regurgitating inane memes, or scheming SEO tactics, I suppose. Plus there's my workload and shifting interests: I think you can see the trend based on the posts this year (and the absence thereof).

But this message from the past...well, it gives me a bit of hope and a reason for going on. It's a record of the community that I live and move in. It may not matter much now, but in the long run, who knows? I'm writing history.

Thank you for the nice review. This is Sheila Pabalate-Omaguing who played the role of Aldonza/Dulcinea. I memory of Ma'm Evelyn Aldecoa, I really thank her for giving us the chance to play and believing in our talents. Man of La Mancha was my first and last musical play. That was my dream come true that at least I can play once in my life and thru her it became a reality. Thanks Ma'm Evelyn! Godspeed and we will surely miss you.

Thursday, December 29, 2011


Well before we got married, I was helping Emily with her cake deliveries. It's opened a whole new world for me, one that slipped my notice before. Emily does mostly children's parties, anniversaries, and, of course, weddings. Me? Involved with weddings? Who would have thought?

As husband, my primary duty is to drive my wife to and from engagements -- if I'm available. It's a far cry from the things I used to do before, but I relish it because I find it, well, relaxing. I don't have to think too much, and that leaves my mind free to wander. I also get to meet people who aren't my customers or students. And most of all, it's fascinating to peek at what goes on behind the scenes, how coordinators and decorators transform pasteboard and glitter to something that, for the span of an hour, looks something like out of a fairy tale.

And that leads me to this lantern ball I took a shot of earlier. This is one of the many decorations adorning the nuptial tableau. I liked how strange it looked, especially in black and white. It's really just paper and wire, but in the right hands, it looks something magical.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011


Here's a shot of the man who brought me up, and who passes his gadgets on to me (mostly brand new), including this camera I'm using to take his picture: my Dad.


Some facts about the number forty-two:

Forty-two is a pronic number, meaning that it is a number that is a product of two consecutive integers. In this case, 6 and 7.

Forty-two is an abundant number, meaning that the sum of its divisors -- 1, 2, 3, 6, 7, 14, 21, and 42, totalling 96 -- is more than the sum of twice the number.

Forty-two is also a sphenic number, a positive integer which is the product of three primes, in this case, 2, 3, and 7.

On top of all that, forty-two is also a primary pseudoperfect number, a Catalan number, a pentedecagonal number, a Stormer number and a meandric number.

Monday, December 26, 2011

On the Last Day of 41

Today is my last day of being 41 years old. Just when I was getting comfortable with this age, it's coming to a close! But time trickles on, regardless of what our wishes may be.

For all its ups and downs, the past year has, on the balance, been a most memorable one. On top of my list, of course, was the wedding last May 7. Seven months in, and married life has been most agreeable. I'm beginning to wonder why I didn't do this sooner (but if I did, it might not have been with Emily, and that would be another story.) I'm glad I found the partner who was right for me, and whom I was right for.

Work has also been quite engaging. I'm really enjoying teaching. There's the occasional annoyance, but on the whole, it's enjoyable, challenging, and largely stress-free, at least compared to my past jobs. Three years seems to have gone by, just like that. I'm still on probationary status -- academia has its own strange rules -- but I don't really care. However, I'm in a strange position where I'm sitting on a university council despite my status. Go figure.


A pigeon at the Davao People's Park.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

The Gift Tree

Gift tree, the Christmas centerpiece at Davao's People Park.

Christmas Lights at Mana's

Every year, the proprietor of Mana's, an antique shop along Bajada, transforms his building into a Christmas light show. The display has become something of a local attraction, drawing crowds night after night. There's the attendant jams, of course, but we don't mind so much. It's Christmas, after all, and this year's show looks better than the last. (Photo by Emily as I was driving the car that time.)

Saturday, December 24, 2011

The Blessings of Christmas to you

In spite of the recent tragedies that have struck my country, this Advent has been a meaningful one for me. In fact, the suffering has heightened my sense of meaning, and I've resolved to become more patient, more thoughtful, and more reflective. Out of respect, though, I won't bellow "Merry Christmas!", so I'll say instead, "The Blessings of Christmas to you."

Monday, December 19, 2011

Mochi Girl

Jen, the pink-haired girl selling Mochi balls at the local mall.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Saturday, December 17, 2011


No, I didn't mean that. I'm not the dummy. It's what I'm holding: the dummy of my book.

It hasn't quite sunk in yet, though. Right now it feels like just another job I have to complete.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Belen at Misa de Gallo

Nativity tableau at St. Joseph the Worker Parish. Note the silhouettes in the extreme foreground. Mindy, this was at 430 in the morning.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Monday, December 12, 2011

Land of the Lost Redux

Now playing at the office. Incidentally, the Silberschatz operating systems book shown in the background is also known as the dinosaur book.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Land of the Lost

Toy dinosaurs I bought as a budget pack. They're only two to four inches long, but oh what fun! This is why plastic was invented. Now to bring them to This Land...

Friday, December 09, 2011

Claveria News Vendors

These are the folks who gather at the front of our store every morning. They parcel out the day's papers among them, prior to going on their delivery routes. It amazes me how many of them could be doing this for so long.

Thursday, December 01, 2011