My life has been pretty hectic since the start of my leave last november until the first week of this year. First, there was the packing frenzy and then the actual move to my hometown. Following my older sister’s suggestion, we took the loooong way home: the Davao-Agusan-Cagayan route.  Along the way, I saw several ‘skylabs’ in Compostela Valley, toured Lake Mainit in Agusan and made friends with some Mamanua weavers.

I finally arrived home (at last!) and found a very panicky younger sister and a rather chaotic house renovation. To make this story short, lets just say I survived  my sister’s wedding and I now have a new bedroom.

After the wedding, came the preparations for  Christmas and my mother’s birthday party, the reunion fever week and then the new year (in between are several bomb threats that almost paralyzed the city). And finally, on my way to Manila, I got stuck in CDO due to flooding and continuous rains.


Now I am in sister’s place in Cavite,  enjoying my hu-hum life, blue-lipped and all bundled up.


yellow dragon fruit

Out of curiosity, I bought 2 yellow dragon fruits at NCCC Mall this morning. It cost me 54pesos – it is sold at 150pesos per kilo.

Though smaller, the yellow dragon fruit is much sweeter than the (almost tasteless) pink dragon fruit I have eaten before.dsc04655


I have this seen this exotic fruit in supermarkets before but it is only quite recently that I have actually tasted it. My verdict: the new fruit of the gods! Sorry durian lovers but dragon fruit is perfect – from its appearance to taste.

Dragon fruit’s hot pink skin is leathery and resembles dragon scales (hence the name). The juicy pulp is refreshing and subtly sweet that it is almost tasteless, and the seemingly gazillion anise-like seeds add interesting crunch to the over-all texture. For a fruit that is almost tasteless, it is surprisingly rich in antioxidants and vitamins.

It is quite expensive – a kilo costs around 200pesos, thats 4x the cost of a kilo of sweet ripe Philippine mangoes. Hmmmm, since I am fast becoming a fan of this fruit, I have to cultivate some clumps of this cactus back home.

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Jean and I added grapes in our dragon fruit shake. Wow, perfect combination! I think dragon fruit will also go well with guava, cucumber and kiwi fruit shakes.

I will be going home to Iligan City next week. Since I will be spending most of the time there these coming months, I have decided to give up my space near the university to save money.

Moving back to my hometown also means moving my THINGS from Davao to Iligan. Yup, things of a packrat. Imagine, I still have those class notes and all the fru-frus from college (more than 10 years ago) somewhere in my room. Add that to these: I went through an Imeldefic stage a couple of years ago, I have this crazy love affair with books and magazines, and my wardrobe has a serious personality disorder. Ahhh, thank God I did not buy furniture sets!

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My father will definitely go ballistic if I ship ALL my things back home. I guess, I really have to go through my things and decide which goes to the garbage can and which to pack. Ugh, I foresee a long, grave battle between sentiment and pragmatism ahead.

I clearly remember KB’s drawing mania in college: him hunched in some corner of our tambayan during his free time, drawing manga-caricatures of our barkada in the org’s logbook using his trademark blue colored pencil. Methinks it was his excuse to make a serious study of Rach’s face (hehehe); they were a-courting then and KB, like any besotted buck who knows how to draw, likes to sketch his loveydovey’s visage. In his attempt to mask his drawing obsession, he went on to draw the caricatures of the rest of the gang; namely irene, net, ge, mitzi (?) and yours truly. (KB, wag kang mag-denial king dyan!)

In fairness, KB is one talented person. He made excellent manga-style caricatures of irene, rach, ge and, oh yes, net who looks like a walking-talking anime anyway then (peace!). I can’t remember mitzi’s caricature though. Anyways as you have noticed, I did not include my name in the list of KB’s drawing achievements. That is because he could not manage to create a decent manga-style caricature of yours truly, the resident bunny a.k.a sailormoon of the tambayan. In fairness again, KB did try. Again and again. But in the end, we just sort of concluded that I’m not a manga material.

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This trip to memory lane was brought about by the latest craze in avatars – the mangatars. Manga plus avatar (ow, a fusion of Sanskrit and Nihonggo terms, how sweet!). Inspired by musified macho’s cute mangatar, I took up the challenge of creating my very own. I made two last night.

liguified's mangatar

I can’t find matching eye and hair features for my mangatar. The options are generally few; there are no options for eyebags, dark eye circles and dental braces (I was sorely tempted to twick my mangatar in adobe photoshop!). Anyways, what do you think? Still not a manga material? Or should I just stick to realism?

Create your own mangatar at Have fun!

I’m taking a break from work and study. I’m going home to wallow in my mother’s TLC. Here are some of the things I plan to do:
1) meet the specialists (to detoxify and gain weight)
2) bake, bake and bake (because it relaxes me)
2) study cake decorating (instead of … welding?)
3) dabble in visual art (because I miss my 10 year old self)
4) bond with my younger sis (we have tons of wedding preps to tackle)
5) visit my orthodontist every 3 weeks (I want my dental braces off by march)
6) start up a small business for my mother (i love the adrenaline rush in business planning)

OF course, the b-a-c-k-l-o-g-s.

My younger sister is getting married (to a wonderful guy) this December. The couple wanted their invites to have those funny/cutesy stick figures.  They prefer personalized contemporary invites rather than those traditional ones. Since I promised her that I will be in charge of their invitation cards (months before they told me what they wanted), I was left with no choice but to summon that illusive creative juice I have. It has been a while since have I drawn stick figures (and their derivatives).

I prepared a ‘cutesy’ booklet type of invitation. Here’s a sample of one of the pages:

My sister and her future-hubby said that they love it. wehehehe.

Remember that you are mortal.

What if you only had a year to live?
What would you do?
How will you spend it?
What would be important?
What would matter?
Where would you rather be?


From time to time it pays to be reminded of ones mortality; in my case, my OWN mortality. It places things in order. Forces you to THINK of things that really matter. To SEIZE things that really matter. A welcome paradigm shift on how you view things, places, people and situations. In the end, it simplify things in your life; helps you remove all the emotional clutter and physical clap-trap; decisions are way easier concluded. It makes you braver to venture out of your comfort zone. It brings you courage to not only seize the day but also the world (Horace, I need to add the “world” to your carpe diem). In a way, it channels your thoughts to things positive; to happily wallow on what is now and to be excited of what will happen in the future.

Some people may find this paradigm a brunt of selfishness, but hey, this is your time, your life and your mortality.

6 letters

starts with r

ends with n

next week on thursday

wrapper not needed

peace of mind

boat ride at sumilao river

floating house

agusan marsh

beautiful manobo children

Drawing Day 2008

the late afternoon shadow cast in our kitchen wall tells me that summer break is almost over. i will be meeting new, fresh-faced students as well as good old ones again. another set of lectures and exams to prepare, plates and papers to check. that daily habal-habal ride and lunch at marichu’s. i will be doing my thesis and many other things. but before all that, i have to spring-clean my carrel, prepare syllabi, check my advisees’ grades and attend the annual teacher’s orientation. and yes, hurdle this i must, the dreaded lecture on test construction (again).

im not an american. i’m miles and miles away from that glittering theater. i can’t vote for him. all i could do is to cheer for him from my humble living room.

for me, david cook is the most innovative singer among the 12 idol contestants. i was so frustrated after the judges’ comments came out last night. i thought those comments would sway many votes for the other david. but thank goodness, the cook won. yeah, david archuleta has a nice cool voice but sorry his voice is not fit for long play.

this morning, i saw my all-time season 7 favorite, micheal johns, perform. too bad he got eliminated early. but geez, i can’ wait to buy his first album.

note to pinoy idol judges: pwede ba kayong mas spontaneous sa comments nyo? masyadong coordinated, parang may script.


holy week adventure at Cabug Island Marine Sanctuary

summer vacation is just around the corner. perhaps this is the reason why i feel happy despite the hellish things that seem to creep up regularly around me these days.

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