Thursday, October 12, 2006


Talented and creative persons are not boring.

Trust them to organize a party for you and you will have one hell of a good time. For me, tWS Christmas Party in December 1996 was one of the parties I could never forget. I was with a group of talented, funny, crazy and creative people and boy! did we have a good time! To quote Ian, we stopped Dumaguete's traffic. Why? These pictures will tell you why.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting The News Staff, (l-r) Me, Erma, Jade, Elgie, Tulalang, Jen-jen

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting The bunch of crazy, funny, talented and creative people

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting Me and Dinah hosting the "show"

Of course, the picture alone won't tell how much fun we had that night. Let the people who are there tell you the story. HEHEHEHEHEHE!

Thursday, October 05, 2006


Back in college I was already quite known to most of the Students in Silliman. I mean, being a writer of the Weekly Sillimanian and an active Student Leader (among many others), most of the students and teachers alike have already known me.

But this picture and the story behind it made me an instant celebrity of Silliman University during my time.
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I wasn't really expecting the kind of reaction of the Silliman community when the lampoon issue came out. When I agreed about the story I was only there for the fun of it. You know, being part of the big joke. Then, I never thought that it could make me "famous".

Phines Patalinghug was insisting that it was part of my scheme to be able to win the Vice Presidency of the SU Student Government. Of course, the story made an instant name recall, but that wasn't the purpose, it wasn't even on my mind when Dinah suggested my story of killing someone would be the banner story of the lampoon issue.

The story started one day when Ritchie (the Business Manager, forgot his family name) was taking pictures of the people in the tWS office. I was so tired from editing the news stories when he took a picture of me. So when the photo was develop (these were the days when digital photos were not yet staple), with a haggard face I look like I was on a big trouble. Dinah was laughing when she saw the picture and a bright idea came into her mind (as always!). She suggested that the said picture would be published with a story that I am a murder suspect. Excited about the idea, I agreed.

Unfortunately, a week before the the publication of the lampoon issue, the said picture could not be found. But the story was already there. So instead of still looking for the said picture. I suggested that Sheila Campomanes will take a picture of me that would look like a mug shot for crime suspects. And thus the picture above.

That wasn't an easy picture to take. Sheila might have wasted 3-4 negatives and countless "takes" to capture that image. I was laughing when she was taking picture. The idea that I have to act and look like a goon for the photo shot was very funny for me. But eventually the actor in me came out. And from an innocent looking (ehem! walang kokontra), I was transformed into a hoodlum-looking-killer.

Well, that was behind the story of how I killed Michael Cornito with a metal hair brush in Boltz Hall and how the Piapi National Police (PNP)discovered that I was the prime suspect.

Thursday, September 21, 2006


Today, in commemoration of the declaration of Martial Law by then President Ferdinand Marcos, the Weekly Sillimanian (tWS), Silliman University's Student Publication and one of the country's longest running weekly campus publication, will launch its online version - the

You may ask, what is the relation with martial law and tWS? When Marcos declared Martial Law, tWS was one of the first campus publication that Marcos ordered to close down allegedly becuase of its subersive arrticles (read: Anti-Marcos). Launching tWS at this date is a better way of saying that camous journalism is well and alive in this part of the country.

tWS is also celebrating its 103 anniversary and they will be having an exhibit today featuring testimonials of former member of the staff. I was asked to made a one paragraph testimonial. But really1 how can you contain in one paragraph the wonderful memories I have with tWS that helped define who I am now. I am sure the organizers would understand. This is what I wrote:
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It is quite difficult to sum up into one paragraph my experience as member of the editorial staff of the Weekly Sillimanian. For one, being a member of tWS was one of the defining moments for me as a student of Silliman University. So my apologies if I go beyond the one paragraph requirement.

I joined tWS in June 1995 as a Junior Reporter, then move as a Senior Reporter by the second semester of that school year. In school year 1996-1997, I was appointed News Editor of tWS. Together with Dinah Baseleres (Editor-in-Chief), Ian Fermin Casocot (Associate Editor), Joanna Ruth Utzurrum (Features Editor), and a bunch of crazy yet talented staff, we publish one of best issues of tWS. And this I say with no apologies!

Since two years prior to us tWS failed to come up weekly, it was then a challenge for us to be a real a “Weekly Sillimanian”. And that we did. We set up a strict schedules and deadlines for everyone to follow (that includes the EiC, the editors and even our adviser). Failure to meet the deadline would mean a deduction from your honorarium and receiving a “verbal lashing” from Dinah (and believe me, that is the last thing you want to hear from her). Writing good stuff and meeting your deadline, however, would entitle you to become one of “staff of the month” where your name will be announced at tWS and you will receive an additional amount for your honorarium. We don’t condone mediocrity, but we were not also short with praises for those who did their job well. At tWS, we were good friends, but when it comes to work and doing our responsibility, we were able to separate personal from official things.

We had good stories during that time. We entered the school year with the news that then SU President Mervyn Misajon just resigned. That was also the year that the registrar tried the computerized enrolment system. Founders day we received news that the Board of Trustees has just appointed Dr. Agustin Pulido as the new SU President which caught everyone in a surprise. During semestral break, Silliman hosted a summit for all the Student Government heads all over the country. It was also during our time that the SU Faculty Association (SUFA) staged a strike against the administration. The heads of the SUSG at that time were also quite a personality that our reporters have literally camped out outside of the house of the SUSG President (She is nowhere to be found in campus), just to get her side on the stories that we run about the SUSG. At that time also, I did a three-part in-depth story of the state of our dormitories and was also able to come out with an interview of an HIV/AIDS victim.

At tWS we took our responsibility seriously. We observed the basic tenets of the Journalist Code of Ethics. This we do because we know that tWS is not just a Campus Publication, tWS can practically be considered a community newspaper for Dumaguete. Thus, the paper is read not just inside the campus, but also by those within in the larger community. To ensure issues are thresh out well, every Wednesday we meet as a whole staff where we critique the issue that was just released and discuss the stories (news, features and opinion) that would come out in our next issue. Everybody participates in this discussion including our non-editorial staff.

That year also, we revive the lampoon issue where I became an instant celebrity of Silliman University (check the Sillimaniana section to find out why).

But we were not also all work. Boy! We had fun. During our Christmas party we decided to have a costume party with the theme, “Philippines 3000” where we don all the craziest futuristic costume we could think (Dinah won the best in costume with her metallic ballerina get up). We held the party at the residence of our adviser Irma Pal in Amigo Subdivision. All of us put on our costume at tWS office in Guy Hall and with our costumes we hailed a pedicab to bring us to Amigo Subdivision. Of course, several pedicabs did not even bother to stop and for those who did, I could just imagine the things that were in the mind of the driver who took us.

There are a lot of stories I could share with my tWS experience, but space is always our constraint. All I could say, what I am now, part of this I owe it to tWS and the people I encountered because of the Weekly Sillimanian.

Damn! I miss those days!

Monday, September 11, 2006


You Are 50% Boyish and 50% Girlish

You are pretty evenly split down the middle - a total eunuch.
Okay, kidding about the eunuch part. But you do get along with both sexes.
You reject traditional gender roles. However, you don't actively fight them.
You're just you. You don't try to be what people expect you to be.

Your Brain is 73% Female, 27% Male

Your brain leans female
You think with your heart, not your head
Sweet and considerate, you are a giver
But you're tough enough not to let anyone take advantage of you!

Thursday, August 31, 2006


Ma'am Rose Baseleres sent me a text message yesterday.

The Silliman University School of Communication is now officially the Silliman University College of Mass Communication. The SU Board of Trustees has just upgraded our school in their meeting last August 27, 2006. Kudos to the people who made this possible.

What a nice gift for our Ruby Year!

Thursday, August 24, 2006


For his ignorance, bigotry and by being plainly an asshole, former Supreme Court Justice Isagani Cruz got what he deserves from writers who had the wits and the logic to say how stupid he was.

Here's a column by Manuel L. Quezon III (grand son of the late President Manuel Quezon)and a letter by Jonathan Best, all published at the Philippine Daily Inquirer.
The grand inquisitor
By Manuel L. Quezon III,

(Published on page A15 of the August 14, 2006 issue of the Philippine Daily Inquirer

KURT VONNEGUT ONCE OBSERVED, “FOR SOME reason, the most vocal Christians among us never mention the Beatitudes. But, often with Tears in their eyes, they demand that the Ten Commandments be posted in public buildings. And of course that’s Moses, not Jesus. I haven’t heard one of them demand that the Sermon on the Mount, the Beatitudes, be posted anywhere.” Vonnegut was pointing out the basic immorality of society’s self-proclaimed moral custodians. Hate the sin but love the sinner? But that opens to a possible debate on what is sin.

How much easier, more certain and eminently satisfying to decree, Kill them all. God will know His own.” The result is the perversion of the finer instincts of religion into a false trinity—faith, hope and bigotry, setting aside charity which represents an inconvenient truth: Christ was friend to prostitutes and tax collectors, and He debated even with the devil. Must Christianity end with Christ?

Retired Supreme Court Justice Isagani Cruz says that his vigorous and vicious condemnation of gays,lesbians and transgendered people is not supposed to incite hatred and intolerance—or to be precise, that he is not invoking a blanket condemnation of all gay people. He only objects to some, not all. For example, he has nothing but the most generous and respectful thoughts for those who conform to what he finds tasteful and tolerable behavior. And what is tasteful and tolerable as far as his wounded sensibilities are concerned? A minority meekly and absolutely surrendering to the tyranny of the majority, a sub-culture reduced to the subhuman, in which the individual is instructed to live out, every day, a total repudiation of the self. Cruz demands the elimination of a diverse and rich culture—one that is as much a mirror of society’s larger complexities as it is an alternative to some of the worst instincts and features of the broader culture for which he has stepped forward as spokesman—because the minority displeases and disgusts him.

He would have me, and everyone else like me be a slave, a fugitive, a hypocrite and, most of all, a coward. And I find that disgusting. I find it neither reasonable nor acceptable. I do not even find it understandable. Cruz does not understand us, does not want to, would be unwilling to. Yet he says he hates only some, not all, of us, and expects “some of us” to embrace and thank him?

For what? That he reserves his scorn only for hairdressers and fashion designers? That he respects me, the writer, but heaps abuse on someone else because that someone uses slang I don’t use, speaks louder than I do, wears what I don’t wear—and those superficial differences are the things that guarantee me (and those who behave otherwise) Cruz’s respect?

I will not embrace him, not for that, much less shake his hand or offer him the opportunity for civilized disagreement. For he is blind to the civilization to which I belong, and to the fundamental identity I share with those he despises. Whether we have a little learning or not, whether we speak in the same manner or not, regardless of what we wear and what mannerisms we choose to exhibit, we are the same, for in the fundamental things—those we choose to love, to have relationships with and with whom we aspire to share a life marked by a measure of domestic bliss and emotional contentment—there is no difference. To permit Cruz to make such distinctions is to grant him and all those like him an intolerable—because it is fundamentally unjust—power to define myself and those like me.

When he casts the law as an instrument for prosecution, persecution and discrimination, he must be fought. That he discredits polite behavior by portraying civilized discourse as a fancy disguise for his uncritical obedience and intolerant enforcement of uniformity; that he defames religion by turning it into an ideology of hate; that he makes a mockery of filial piety by insisting that tyrannical instincts should be cultivated among the elderly and enforced upon their direction—these should inspire not pity for his moral dementia; these must provoke anger. And condemnation.

To be different is to be held in suspicion. The nonconformist is a subversive. Subversion and rebellion make societies become more generous, more diverse, more compassionate—and an individual more free. For the inability—or unwillingness—to see rebellion as a virtue and not a flaw is what provokes the uncomprehending hostility that makes the anxious herd stifle dissent and stamp out anything different. But humanity is not a herd, and being human demands a vigilance against the kind of provocations that start stampedes.

I will respect anyone’s convictions, but only to the extent you will respect mine. Goodwill inspires the same; tolerance results in cooperation. But I will not be told whom to love, whom to be friends with, what culture to represent, what mannerisms and interests to adopt and, much less, discard. I will not modify my behavior or limit my pleasures merely to please Cruz or bigots like him. The respect gays, lesbians and transgendered people experience is a brittle kind, but hard-won. Far more has to be won, in terms of actual legislation or in every sphere of our lives where discrimination virtually takes place every day.

The behavior Cruz finds so obnoxious is the price he and everyone else must pay for the pink triangles of the German concentration camps, the labor camps and prison cells of Soviet Russia and Communist China and Cuba, the merciless beatings and taunts endured by so many over so long a time. It is his punishment for representing a society whose instincts remain fundamentally murderous toward anyone different. If he weren’t such a hate-monger, he might realize it’s no punishment at all, and that society is all the better for the increased prominence of gays.

Hate-speech as journalism

(Published on Page A14 of the August 17, 2006 issue of the Philippine Daily Inquirer

IN his Aug. 12 column, Isagani A. Cruz ranted about the terrible vulgarity of gay hairdressers and effeminate schoolboys and he warned the Philippine nation lest it loses its masculine virility. (In 2003, he targeted gays on TV shows in a somewhat less hysterical article.) Cruz waxed nostalgic of the simpler days of his youth when hardly a gay could be spotted on the streets of Manila. Was he born during the Spanish Inquisition?

Cruz offered apologies to the "decorously discreet" homosexuals he respects -- among them the "less than manly" dress designers (who are acceptable as long as they manage to repress their "condition"). If he had the guts he would also have apologized to the distinguished heads of several major Philippine corporations, Catholic and Protestant priests, movie stars, famous athletes, military men and millions of Average Filipino men and women who are active homosexuals and lesbians enjoying their "condition" just fine.

Cruz launched himself into plain, old-fashioned bullying and gay-bashing, while trying to pass off hate-speech as respectable journalism. Social commentators are welcome to criticize gay culture all they want, we criticize ourselves mercilessly at times and accept criticisms from straight friends and honest critics when appropriate.

But Cruz is not a friend or thoughtful critic. He is a bigot and a hate-monger. He singled out the most vulnerable members of the gay community -- the youth and transgendered and the marginalized workers among them -- who have few options when dealing with their sexuality. He growled about the "homos" in religious processions and asked if the Philippines would be converted into a nation of "sexless persons." He fumed that some people are advocating that homosexuals be given equal rights as "male and female persons."

He menacingly boasted how gays were "mauled" in the 1970s when his five "macho" sons were in school. Despite being a former lawyer, he conveniently ignored the fact that violent gay-bashing is considered a serious hate-crime in most civilized nations.

Sadly, Cruz's self-righteous tirade is pointed to a direction where so many Demagogues and hate groups have gone before. The Church in the dark days of the Spanish Inquisition proclaimed homosexuals an abomination in the eyes of God and sent hundreds of thousands of gays to be tortured and burned alive. Offending men were tied together and burned like faggots of wood, hence, our modern-day nickname "faggots."

The Nazis used gas chambers and the Red Guards in Shanghai used baseball bats because they felt bullets were too expensive to waste on "bourgeois degenerates." The American Klu Klux Klan castrated and lynched gays. And now Islamic fundamentalist death squads in Iraq and Iran are beheading gay men and lesbians in the name of their "all-merciful" God.

JONATHAN BEST, Tambo, ParaƱaque City

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Flawed Logic of a Senile Homophobic

As a legal luminary, I have high respects for former Supreme Court Justice Isagani Cruz. I mean, his textbook is what we used for our Political Law class.

I never realized that for a someone whom we expect logic, open-mindedness and intelligence, he could write something illogical, poorly research (or nothing at all!) opinion.

The guy must be turning senile!
'Don we now our gay apparel’
By Isagani Cruz

Published on Page A10 of the August 12, 2006 issue of the Philippine Daily Inquirer

HOMOSEXUALS before were mocked and derided, but now they are regarded with new-found respect and, in many cases, even treated as celebrities. Only recently, the more impressionable among our people wildly welcomed a group of entertainers whose main proud advertisement was that they were “queer.” It seems that the present society has developed a new sense of values that have rejected our religious people’s traditional ideas of propriety and morality on the pretext of being “modern” and “broad-minded.”

The observations I will here make against homosexuals in general do not include the members of their group who have conducted themselves decorously, with proper regard not only for their own persons but also for the gay population in general. A number of our local couturiers, to take but one example, are less than manly but they have behaved in a reserved and discreet manner unlike the vulgar members of the gay community who have degraded and scandalized it. I offer abject apologies to those blameless people I may unintentionally include in my not inclusive criticisms. They have my admiration and respect.

The change in the popular attitude toward homosexuals is not particular to the Philippines. It has become an international trend even in the so-called sophisticated regions with more liberal concepts than in our comparatively conservative society. Gay marriages have been legally recognized in a number of European countries and in some parts of the United States. Queer people -- that’s the sarcastic term for them -- have come out of the closet where before they carefully concealed their condition. The permissive belief now is that homosexuals belong to a separate third sex with equal rights as male and female persons instead of just an illicit in-between gender that is neither here nor there.

When I was studying in the Legarda Elementary School in Manila during the last 1930s, the big student population had only one, just one, homosexual. His name was Jose but we all called him Josefa. He was a quiet and friendly boy whom everybody liked to josh but not offensively. In the whole district of Sampaloc where I lived, there was only one homosexual who roamed the streets peddling “kalamay” and “puto” and other treats for snacks. He provided diversion to his genial customers and did not mind their familiar amiable teasing. I think he actually enjoyed being a “binabae” [effeminate].

The change came, I think, when an association of homos dirtied the beautiful tradition of the Santa Cruz de Mayo by parading their kind as the “sagalas” instead of the comely young maidens who should have been chosen to grace the procession. Instead of being outraged by the blasphemy, the watchers were amused and, I suppose, indirectly encouraged the fairies to project themselves. It must have been then that they realized that they were what they were, whether they liked it or not, and that the time for hiding their condition was over.

Now homosexuals are everywhere, coming at first in timorous and eventually alarming and audacious number. Beauty salons now are served mostly by gay attendants including effeminate bearded hairdressers to whom male barbers have lost many of their macho customers. Local shows have their share of “siyoke” [gay men], including actors like the one rejected by a beautiful wife in favor of a more masculine if less handsome partner. And, of course, there are lady-like directors who are probably the reason why every movie and TV drama must have the off-color “bading” [gay] or two to cheapen the proceedings.

And the schools are now fertile ground for the gay invasion. Walking along the University belt one day, I passed by a group of boys chattering among themselves, with one of them exclaiming seriously, “Aalis na ako. Magpapasuso pa ako!” [“I’m leaving. I still have to breastfeed!”] That pansy would have been mauled in the school where my five sons (all machos) studied during the ’70s when all the students were certifiably masculine. Now many of its pupils are gay, and I don’t mean happy. I suppose they have been influenced by such shows as “Brokeback Mountain,” our own “Ang Pagdadalaga ni Maximo Oliveros” (both of which won awards), “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy,” and that talk program of Ellen Degeneres, an admitted lesbian.

Is our population getting to be predominantly pansy? Must we allow homosexuality to march unobstructed until we are converted into a nation of sexless persons without the virility of males and the grace of females but only an insipid mix of these diluted virtues? Let us be warned against the gay population, which is per se a compromise between the strong and the weak and therefore only somewhat and not the absolute of either of the two qualities. Be alert lest the Philippine flag be made of delicate lace and adorned with embroidered frills.

The guy is completely a jerk!

What is he suggesting, that we stop gays from expressing themselves? That we forever put every gay into the closet so as just to conform with what they want in the society? That gays would be to careless as to dishonor our flag? That by being a gay is a sign of weakness? That gay could actually control their preference?

This jerk treats gay as if we are a social disease!

I got so irritated reading his work and really, I would want to throw him at the rising magma of Mayon Valcano!

Monday, January 23, 2006


If there is one thing that Manny Pacquiao did (other than winning of course!) was to unite a deeply divided Filipino Nation even for just a moment. The A, B, C, D, E crowd all gathered in front of the TV set to cheer their boxing idol. Even members of the National People's Army, the Moro Islamic liberation Front and the Magdalo group of the Armed Forces were either glued to their TV or listening to the radio and hear what happened to Pacquiao. Every one, from President Arroyo to Ka Roger of the CPP/NPA sent their congratulatory message to Pacquiao for winning the rematch (check the story here).

It was such a sweet moment for every Filipinos (boxing loving and those who are not really a boxing fan) seeing their fellow Filipino avenge his lost ten months ago. Pacquiao was relentless in his assualt againt the Mexican legend Erik Morales, so relentless was he that Morales knelt down before him (literally!) on the 10th round of what was supposedly a 12 round fight. It was Morales first ever knockout.

For country that is in dire need of glory, Pacquiao's victory was truly a great one. You can see that on how the people at Rockwell joined the crowd at Plaza Miranda cheered and jump in jubilation after Pacquiao was declared the winner. It was really a sweet moment to watch that it made me teary-eyed - - and so were many others.


At the expense of being labeled as a "kapuso", hvaing no choice but to watched the fight at ABS-CBN channel, I couldn't also help but give this observation.

ABS-CBN must be in dire need of money. Since ABS-CBN and Solar Sports have the exclusive right to air the fight yesterday. The fight was delayed telecast at ABS-CBN and knowing th captive audience, it was laden with too many commercial. What could have been an at most four hours TV show was was stretched to almost 8 hours! (Reminds me of the Oscars as aired by RPN-9)

At 1:30 p.m. I already received a text message that Pacquiao won on the 10th round by knockout. At 1:30 p.m., ABS just started first round of the Morales-Pacquiao fight. ABS started airing shots from Las Vegas as early as 9 a.m.

But what really caused my eyebrows to raise was the placement of ad of "Pegasus" (yes that girlie bar frequented by corrupt politicians and government officials and ulta-rich guys in Quezon Avenue!) in between the rounds of the fight. On a primetime, ABS placed an ad of Pegasus! Yes, the viewers were pre-dominantly male, but do you really have to place an ad of a girlie bar where quite a number of those who also watched are kids, wives and women!

Shameless isn't it.

Thursday, January 12, 2006


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This is a little bit late but still worth the read.

After a traumatic flight to Cagayan de Oro (CDO), the nine days that I stayed in the Bukid over the holidays turned out to be was great! I came back to Manila, five pounds bigger but well rested and happy.

I left for Bukidnon on December 23. As usual, my 9:30 Cebu Pacific flight was delayed. The plane took off at around 10:20 a.m. We left Manila with a very good weather. But 30 minutes before we are about to land in CDO, it was already cloudy. I started to worry. Back in December 31, 2001, our plane was forced to land in Mactan because it was impossible to land in CDO due to poor weather condition. At that time, I ended up celebrating my New Year's Eve on board Cebu Ferries.

Located 187 meters above sea level, a slight change in the weather would cause the visibility of the CDO's airport to become poor. Our plane attempted to land twice but only to end up drastically “climbing” since the pilot could not see the runway. We were forced to land in Mactan.

While in Mactan, we were just told to remain in our seats to wait for some update regarding the weather in CDO. Reporting an improvement of the weather (visibility is already at 5 km from 2 km), we took off at Mactan at around 2 p.m. Once again the plane attempted to land only to “climb” again. The pilot told us that we will stay on air for 20-30 minutes on air. On its fourth attempt, the plane finally was able to land. As soon as the tires touch the runway, every passenger burst into an applause and was cheering everybody. I cried and so was my seatmate. It was such a relief! (back in the 90s, a classmate in grade school was one of the casualties when Cebu Pacific flight to CDO crashed in somewhere Claveria, so you can just imagine my fear).

We arrived CDO almost 4 p.m. already (from an 11:30 a.m. expected time of arrival). I headed straight to Agora Terminal to take an aircon bus to Valencia, Bukidnon where my mother's driver was waiting for me.

Christmas eve I spent in house in Don Carlos with my mom and my two younger sister. Earlier, I sent a text message to Dyames telling him how I feel weird while buying some ingredients for a salad in the Public Market (there is no supermarket in Don Carlos). People were staring at me. I was a new face to them and in the sea of brown and dark complexion people, I with a very fair complexion would probably be an oddity. I asked Dyames, “should I wave at this people like a celebrity?” But sanity caught up with me and instead of making a scene I was just smiling and told my sister to hurry so that I can go home.

After going to Church on Christmas Day, we went straight to Malaybalay to meet my sister and her Kids. My mom is also meeting her brothers and sisters for some family business (they need to discuss where to place my Tito who is currently admitted to a mental facility in one of the towns in Bukidnon).

My mother and Joanne (our youngest) left for Don Carlos the following day, I and Beulah (my other younger sister) stayed in Malaybalay until the 27th. We stayed at my Ate's place. Dec. 26 and 27 I spent playing with my niece and nephew, watching TV and in the afternoon tried to lift some weights in a small gym which is attached to a coffee shop selling all the sweets and pastries you need to avoid (what a nice way to work out!). My mom picked us up on the 27th.

December 28, I joined my mother and some of her office staff to do some Charity work in Sinuda, Quezon, Bukidnon. This is a place near the Bukidnon-Davao boundary. We distributed gifts to kids of the members of the Matigsalud tribe. These are the kids who would stand beside the road and would extend their hand at some passing vehicles hoping the passengers would hand over some food stuff or money to them (they live just beside by the now well-paved Bukidnon-Davao road).

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My Mom (in lavender) handing out the packed goodies to the Matigsalud kids

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I took time, of course, to pose with the kids, my mom beside me.

I was at first hesitant to go since all I really want to do was to sleep and catch up with things I missed on TV. But since going with my mom would make her happy, I went. I did not regret it. Just seeing the happy smiles of these kids is enough to make my day.

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And as an added bunos, I've got to enjoy the sceneries and the fresh mountain air.

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Saw the fog at my back? its 12 noon already with the Sun up, but the fog is still there

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With my Mom's staff and officemates, taking a pose after having lunch

December 29 I went back to Malaybalay to meet my high school classmates. Over two bottles of tequila, red horse and sinugbang baboy (pork) and tuna, lechon manok and kinilaw na tuna, we reminisced the good ole days (as usual), laugh at the crazy things we did before, update each other about what we are doing now and had a good time.

Since the girls didn't make it this year(two of them are pregnant with their nth kid), it was an all boys party. It was really nice seeing my classmates once again. I was happy to see them matured and show concern for each other. Yes, the banters (I love the word kantyaw than its English counterpart) are still there, but you could actually see that they have grown (most of us are turning 30 this year).

Russel, the naughtiest of our classmates even surprised me. Since by 11 p.m. ( we started at around 7 p.m.) I was a bit sleepy already, they lit me lie down in hammock (we were having bonfire at the backyard of my classmate Paul). It was really cold at night in Malaybalay (high altitude and pine trees), I was waken up from my short nap feeling somebody was put some sheets on me. I was surprised to find Russel actually removed his sweater and used it to cover me from the cold. I actually saw his face few inches from my face and smiling at me. For the record, he is straight but that was really sweet of him to do such thing.

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Me and Earl, no that smoke is not an effect, Paul was smoking when he took the picture.

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The 4-Faith boys, Edward, Me, Earl, Russel, Rico, (seated) Paul and Ronnie.

December 30, we were in Don Carlos again for my Grandfather's death anniversary.

December 31 we went back to Malaybalay for my nephew's dedication. Joseph Edgar is my Ate's second child. I was one of the Ninongs. The Edgar in his name was a tribute to my late father Edgardo.

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My cute nephew Joseph Edgar.

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Joseph's 8 year old ate Roxanne. This girl is smart.

After many years, we celebrated New Year with our family complete. My sisters, my niece and nephew, my mom and Rodolfo (father of my Ate's kids) celebrated new year together in my Ate's house. I was so happy and I so was my Mom whose joy really is seeing her kids and grandkids complete. We did not prepare anything for new year, there were already plenty of food left from my nephew's dedication. With some cakes and wine, we welcomed the year inside the house and just watching the neighbors lit those firecrackers.

I was really enjoying my vacation, but then some good thing has to end. And so by January 2, I left for CDO. The following day, I took the 7 a.m. Cebu Pacific to manila. At this time, the weather was good.