Sunday, April 24, 2005


Was in Music One yesterday and upon entering the store, two things: 1.) what a nice break from the heat, and 2.) what is that CD currently playing?!

A helpful attendant directed me to the NOW PLAYING stand which showed the IL DIVO CD (is this the 4th already?). Wow, four men belting out classical and pop music in operatic fashion? Amazing. This is one CD I got to have.


April 15 (1452 - 2005 ) Leonardo da Vinci

Happy 553rd birthday to Leonardo da Vinci. Yes, the artist, inventor, thinker. Long dead but continues to haunt the living with his memory, brilliance, and works.

Most of you already know what he has produced as an artist (yes, the La Gioconda among them), as an inventor (even a helicopter protoype, would you believe?)

What astounds me, as someone from the medical field, are his anatomic studies of the human body. I read somewhere that he had corpses dug in the middle of night for him to make close inspection and study of them. Whew!

The Vitruvian Man: marriage of mathematics and medicine

Saturday, April 23, 2005


I'm too grown-up for these things but what the heck. Opening some Johari window once in a while ain't that bad.

Libra - Your Love Profile

Your positive traits:

You are open minded enough to date outside your typical "type" ... successfully!

You are diplomatic - and likely to end a fight instead of dragging things out.

You are easily loyal and faithful, but only for the right person.

Your negative traits:

You're a bit gullible, and partners take advantage of you. You still may not know it.

You find it difficult to decide where to go to dinner, what movie to watch, who to date...

You have to be in a relationship, or else you just don't feel like yourself.

Your ideal partner:

A smooth talker who enjoys socializing as much as you do.

Someone classy and cultured who knows which wine to order with dinner.

Is beautiful to you - although not necessarily attractive in the traditional sense.

Your dating style:

Romantic. If your date comes bearing flowers, wine, and poetry... well, your heart soars.

Your seduction style:

Giving. Your lover's pleasure is as important as your own.

Soft and sensual - you don't like anything to be rough.

Extravagant ... your fantasy involves staying at a five star hotel with your love.

Tips for the future:

Don't be so quick to compromise in relationships - and you'll get taken advantage often.

Try being single for a while. Seems impossible, but you'll learn so much about yourself from doing so.

Make some decisions about your romantic life, right now. You'll be happy that you did.

Best color to attract mate: Green

Best day for a date: Wednesday

Get your free love profile at Blogthings.


Friday, April 22, 2005


We all know that the Papacy started travelling more often starting under Paul VI, which saw him travelling to the East - the first Pope in Asia, but never has air travel been more important than to the late John Paul II, whose aim was to bring the Church closer to its billion members around the globe. But how did the Pope travel? Does the Vatican operate its own a/c? Here's a peek.

Practice and tradition dictates that the Pope fly out of Rome on Italy's national flag carrier, Alitalia, and moves on to his next destination onboard the host country's airline. Here's a list of airlines used by the Pope during his travels.

The Pope is the special passenger of this flight to Rome-Ciampino. Iberia prepared for this trip its newest A321. Note the vatican escutcheon near left hand door. Also vatican & spanish flags in both sides.

Still wearing a sticker saying that Pope John Paul II. used this plane when visiting Mexico!

After no Pope trips in nine months, first travel out Italy has been Madrid. You can see him descending on the ramp of the ambulift. The plane has the Vatican & Spain´s flags on the top (May 3, 2003)

The Pope came twice to Argentina, in 1979 and in 1982. In 1979 he was coming from Chile, so he flew with Lan. In 1982, he came all the way from Rome with Alitalia. Back to Rome, he flew Aerolíneas Argentinas (Here, the Pope is on an AR 742 upper-deck, with the crew in 1982)

CUBANA's A320 was baptized "Mensajero de Esperanza" in his honor

"México Siempre Fiel". This Aircraft took the Pope back to Rome after his 5th visit to Mexico last July 31st. You can see the Vatican & AeroMexico's logos on the front door (August 7, 2002)

"Shepherd I", as this aircraft was dedicated to flying The Pope some years earlier (January 1999, USA Visit)

It should also be noted that F-BTSC, the same Concorde that was lost in France in July 2000, carried the Pope in May 1989, making Pope John Paul II the first (but let us hope not last) supersonic Pope.

On his trip to Israel in 2000, the Pope returned to Rome on board "Jerusalem", El-Al's B744 4X-ELD, as flight LY2000.

When John Paul II flew to the Azores, TP flew him in and out with this bird

AV's B747 that was used to carry the Pope home when he visited Colombia in 1986. The Pope's coat of arms is seen on the right of the passenger door.

On to Guam from Manila onboard PR's A300 (1995)

Thursday, April 21, 2005


Part of the fun in flying include
a.) the total experience in itself
b.) scrutinizing the flight attendants
c.) the food!

As part of my aim to give you variety, here's a site that you might enjoy browsing through AIRLINE MEALS.NET ( Go through hundreds of actual meals served on board over a hundred airlines from around the world. You can even go through vintage ads!

A journey of a thousand miles begins with the welcome drink!

Virgin Atlantic

Vietnam Airlines

Thai Airways

Sri Lankan


Philippine Airlines (but of course!)

Have fun!

Wednesday, April 20, 2005


From DYLAN, local date with timezone (Feb 11, 2004 01:48 AM) for Ramir Alcantara (

Wednesday, February 11, 2004:

I always have this weird feeling that Ramir did a Doctor Faust not too long ago, and sold his soul to the Horned One (whose name is never to be mentioned). He continues to revile all things boring; upset people's feelings with witty remarks (which, incidentally, we all enjoy listening to); pull rugs and chairs from beneath friends by being overly hilarious and gay (double entendere there). The fact that Ramir used this photo with the dirty finger says so much about the man: UP YOURS attitude. No nonesense. What-i-want-i-get (though there have been some disappointments). Ramir Alcantara: Angst personified. His vast knowledge and charming persona, his greatest redeeming value. A treasure trove. A dear friend.

Home in Batanes

From Ramir, local date with Timezone (Feb 11, 2004 02:50 AM) for Dylan Gozum (

Wednesday, February 11, 2004:

According to my projections, Dylan should be a famous writer by now. But, I guess he doesnt want to give the other authors a run for their money... yet. Dylan and I met in a competitive environment. So competitive that everybody was planning murderous plots to kill off everybody else (although of course they were gonna make it look like it was a suicide) or ruin their lives by spreading degrading rumors against them (this didn't work because Erap-mistress rumors were hilarious.) Nonetheless, everybody still has to go, except Dylan (I did try to trip him while we were going down the stairs, but I failed miserably. As I was rolling down the stairs, I thought "F*ck!".) Anyway, Dylan is simply amazing, he is always ready to give a helping hand, sometimes even more. His eternal craving for more knowledge is always apparent, but his patience to share his knowledge seems endless. I have always envied Dylan's charms and sarcasms, but no matter what he say or do, people just seem to love him. (Either they are too dumb to know that Dylan is actually insulting them and NOT complementing them, and/or they are under Dylan's spell.) Well, you might wonder who ended up winning in the "competitive environment" I was babbling about a while ago... well I don't know about Dylan, but I sure WON! (HA!) That's because, in the end, I had Dylan as my good friend.

NOTE: I dont write testimonials well, so dont make fun of me. If you think I did well, you are unbelievable.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005


This is what's currently on my bedside, er, table. Since I have a futon-cum-air cushion for a bed, technically what I have is a bookrest beside me. I read PJP2's Crossing the Threshold of Hope in high school, and this best seller is now what I'm reading. However, the cover of my copy is different (Asian release?). It uses the photo I used in my Farewell, Father blog (see below, April 2). Moving slowly for now because it's back to work and we are expecting guests.

Allow me to quote a review of the book by Jamie Doward of The Guardian (March 13, 2005):

"How much longer can Karol Wojtyla's suffering continue? It is a question asked almost daily as the world awaits the news that Pope John Paul II has died. Just when the frail pontiff seems to have no energy left, he defies the pessimists and rises from his hospital bed to reassert his influence over the Catholic church.

It is timely, then, that as camera crews wait on standby for news of his death that he should choose to publish a modest reflection on his life. Running to just 224 pages, Memory and Identity: Personal Reflections could never do justice to a life that has spanned the Nazis' invasion of the Pope's native Poland to the current situation in Iraq.

But what this short memoir will do is allow John Paul II to establish a dialogue with scholars long after he is dead. Each short chapter covers a key theme that has emerged during his lifetime, from the horrors of totalitarianism to the reunification of eastern and western Europe.

There are discussions devoted to the nature and limit of evil, freedom, patriotism; the nation state; the Enlightenment and Europe. As he attempts to use his memoir to square Christianity with modernity, thinkers as diverse as Descartes, Marx and Sartre are name-checked.

This does not make for an easy read and sometimes the memoir resembles a manifesto, the last act of a king determined to guide his subjects once he is gone. As the Pope observes towards the end of the book: 'Humanity is called to advance beyond death, even beyond time.' On this, we can all agree."

Here's hoping I can finish this soon. I have a 30-book backlog as of this month. Sigh. Now, more than ever, I really wish there were like 8 or 10 of me, each "me" doing something else. Now, wouldn't that be swell!

Monday, April 18, 2005


The Chair of St Peter is currently vacant ("Sede Vacante") until after a new Pontiff is elected. For the meantime, the camerlengo has the authority to issue stamps and monetary instruments using his own seal.

Samples of Vatican stamps issued during the death of Paul VI (1963)

The symbolic Chair of Peter by Gian Lorenzo Bernini

As seen from behind the twisted columns of the baldachin

Date today: April 6, 2005 AD


Testy times for ASEAN...again!

A huge debate rages over ASEAN in the past two weeks regarding Myanmar's assumption of the ASEAN Chairmanship next year. While all the other ASEAN members are supporting Yangon, Thailand wants a "constructive engagement", while Singapore, Malaysia and most especially the Philippines wants a clearer roadmap towards democracy, the release of leader Aung San Suu Kyi (her party won the elections but were not allowed to rule), among other thorny issues that once again puts the ASEAN brotherhood to the test.

This issue is important to the Philippines as it takes upon itself a role more associated with it - the fight for freedom and democracy, being the first republic in the region. Despite its checkered history regarding on-and-off support of this cause (the East Timor case is a bad spot on Philippine foreign policy, if we all recall), it is good to know that it is leading ASEAN again in this cause of fighting for the rights and freedom of the Burmese.

ASEAN, however, has its nuances. Known to be very non-chalant about internal affairs of its neighbors, it is only recently that ministers are starting to be vocal about what they think of each other. Whether this attitude has a future, and whether it will be good for the ASEAN in the long run, is something we have yet to see.

For now, Myanmar is insisting it will still take over the Chairmanship while everyone else is seething at the thought. Hmmmm... interesting times ahead indeed.


The waiting for the election of the new Pope begins 15 days after the death of another. The conclave, as it is called, is the process by which all cardinals of the Church enclose themselves in the Sistine Chapel to vote for the next successor of Peter. The elections that is beginning today will be to choose the 265th Pontiff.

This is the best time to be in Rome, with the thrill of waiting for the smoke signals to come out of the Chapel's smokestack: black for "No Pope Chosen" and white for "A new Pope is Chosen". The conclave is expected to open between April 17 to 22.

As we pray for the soul of Pope John Paul II, we likewise ask God to guide the Church Fathers in choosing a man who is attuned to the times, but warrior-like when it comes to the defense of Christ's teachings.

The waiting begins.

The Sistine Chapel

The astounding artwork of the Sistine: Michealangelo on the main altar and the ceiling, Raphel on the sides.

Thursday, April 14, 2005


Long-time acquaintance Sean Lucero (MD soon?) sent me these stuff that made me smile today. He's been playing around his PC again, I see. His Royal Coolness at work again! Cheers!

Saturday, April 09, 2005


Happy Songkran to Steve and his family, and to my Uncle who is assigned in Thailand at the moment. Sawasdee pee mai khrab khun!

All this water thingy reminds me so much of the Philippines' water fiesta in honor of San Juan Bautista - Dylan


"Habemus Papam!" (We have a Pope!) - the new Pope appears on the window of the Vatican (October 16, 1978)

It is with great sorrow that are informed of Pope John Paul II's demise today, April 4, at a little past 2 in the morning.

26 years of his papacy will be written in so many ways from today. Indeed, never has there been a modern Pope who has done so much in making life more meaningful than John Paul II. Be it in politics, with him playing a major role in the fall of Communism in Europe (not much success in China, however) and in the affairs of the soul, his work, words and his very life provided us reason to hope that yes, man indeed can be good and caring and loving despite the raging issues that beset one's everyday living.

I haven't had the chance to see him personally. I was supposed to attend the World Youth Day in Manila but my Biology thesis had to be attended to as soon as possible. At any rate, we did see his arrival on giant screens located in many areas of the Ateneo, and how we were teary eyed at the moment he appeared on Alitalia's doorway, on the start of his second visit to the Philippines. My Japanese friends are ecstatic because he didn't get to visit Japan as extensively as he did the Philippines. I read his CROSSING THE THRESHOLD OF HOPE in High School and I consider it, along with VATICAN II and The Secret Archives, as among my favorite books related to the Church. Heck, he became Pope on my 4th birthday!

John Paul II became pontiff in 1978 - the "year of the three popes." His predecessor, John Paul I, had been pope only 33 days, succeeding Paul VI, who died after a 15-year reign.

At 58, John Paul II was the youngest pope in 125 years. He brought a new vitality to the Vatican, and quickly became the most accessible modern pope, sitting down for meals with factory workers, skiing and wading into crowds to embrace the faithful.

A Pope of the People, we may call him. Many will grieve over his passing, and many will be nonchalant about it. He has ruled on several sticky issues with finality which has earned him both respect and derision from those affected by it, but such is the workings of the Church. It is up to you to accept it or not, but what is important is that he has made clear how the Church sees it.

It takes faith, really.

As someone who loves doing things in conjunction with great events or Church holidays, he left us on the eve of the Feast of the Divine Mercy. Perhaps it is only fitting that we are reminded of this particular special day: that Christ's infinite divine mercy is always open to us.

Farewell, dear Father. Thank you so much for everything. The world will be so much better because of you. You will be terribly missed.

Arrividerci! Till we meet again!

"I came for you, now it's you who have come to me. I thank you." - PJP2's final message to the youth from his deathbed