Sunday, April 27, 2008


You know, I just saw the video where a canister of cologne spray was found imbedded in a 39-year-old patient's rectum and I think it was very educational, to say the least. Medical people do this kind of thing almost all the time (the filming & taking photos, not the embedding) especially in training hospitals like Vicente Sotto. I did most of my duties there when I was a medical student in Cebu and we encountered a lot of really good (and rare) cases. In fact, if I had a camera then I probably would have amassed photos of cases by now.

The only mistake of whoever took the video was posting it on the internet. I am not quite sure if they supplied the name of the patient as well (I watched the video from Liveleak, not from Youtube) because THAT would definitly score a suspension for the physician or nurse. What if a student took the video and posted it? How will the law apply in this case?

Anyway, I admit I did smile when the surgeon, upon taking hold of the canister, opened it and attempted to spray the people around him. I don't know though if I would have done the same. It was made in jest, of course, given the, uh, weirdness of the situation before them. This isn't a rare case, of course. A similar incident happened last year in the Philippine General Hospital wherein a bottle of catsup (the story went nasty and said the brand was PAPA) was found lodged in a similar fashion.

A word of advise for those who love to experiment: DON'T DO IT. Seriously.

Thursday, April 24, 2008


Here's my horoscope reading for April 24, 2008:

"You have been so very good at seeing to the group's needs and putting them above your own, lately. But are you going too far? You must make sure that you keep the proper balance between time spent pursuing your own interests and time spent pursuing the interests of everyone else. If you are always at the beck and call of other people, you could be sending a message that you are more of a doormat than you actually are. Giving up what you want should never be your automatic reaction."


Tuesday, April 22, 2008


It's finally that time of the month. Harvest time has come and the first day produced 40 kaings (traditional fruits baskets) of green mangoes. This will then be treated so the sap is removed from the skin (para flawless!) and extend shelf life. The fruits will ripen six to seven days from now and will then be ready for the markets. Antipolo mangoes with Antipolo suman, yum!

The mangoes are sorted by size in separate baskets (i.e. small, medium, and large).
The leaves on top of the baskets are tags that mean that the mangoes inside are small. Each basket weighs 22 kilos.

Lunch - sinigang na isda - is cooking for the boys.

Summer greetings from the farm! My dog, Turnip, is in the background. :-)

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Here’s my reading list these days:

The Labor Code of the Philippines and the Philippine Social Security Act.

I am now a fan of DOLE’s website, particularly that of the Bureau of Working Conditions and that of SSS Benefits Section. That of Philhealth’s is totally moronic.

I have downloaded recently, not movies, but the Handbook on Worker's Statutory Monetary Benefits and the Safety and Occupational Safety and Health Standards.

This is going to be fun.

Thursday, April 17, 2008


April 18, 2008

Dear friends,

If you haven't been on a tour of the National Museum, well, here's your chance. You'll be pleasantly surprised at how beautiful the museums are (the former Finance Building and the former Legislative Building) with its extensive renovation inside yet keeping with its neo-Federal Style architecture outside.

There's fifteen galleries in the Museum of the Filipino people (formerly Finance) to explore our archaeological past and our anthropological present. The highlight of is of course four galleries devoted to the 1994 recovery of the Spanish galleon San Diego. It's treasures give insights to the incredible 300 year trade that linked us to the Americas. We’ll also see the current temporary exhibits in the museum.

The former Legislative Building, now the National Gallery of Art, will be another formidable encounter as we journey through 200 years of Filipino arts and sculpture in seven galleries. The most spectacular sight is the gigantic and original rendering The Spoliarium by Juan Luna. We pause here to appreciate and learn how this masterpiece inspired our brave band of Filipino students in Madrid, including Jose Rizal, to alter their lives and helped in the formation of our nation.

John L. Silva has been Senior Consultant of the National Museum for close to ten years and has the most incredible stories and insights about the collection. He teaches arts education in an interesting and humorous manner and delights and inspires his audience to be proud of their culture and history.

Proceeds from the fees (700 pesos for adults, and 500 pesos for children up to 18 years) will go to John's I LOVE MUSEUM PROGRAM, which brings public school teachers to the National Museum and to their local museums, taught the importance of arts appreciation and transmit that information to their students. Studies show that an arts educated child raises their academic achievements, promotes love of reading, and makes them better citizens.

The tours are three hours in duration, and begins at 10:00 am sharp (ending at 1:00 pm) at the rear entrance of the Museum of the Filipino People, (former Finance Building) Agrifina Circle, Rizal Park. Attendees are requested to wear walking shoes and reservations are strongly encouraged by texting or calling John Silva at 0926 729 9029. The tours will be held April 5, 19th, 26th and May 2, 2008. (Note: Additional tour dates on May 10 & 17)

See you at the National Museum.

John L. Silva

Wednesday, April 16, 2008


This is what happens when you have too much time in your hands. You go home at 5PM and stay up until 2AM to watch five movies on DVD. Sigh. Anyway, I totally enjoyed the selections last night. Starting the series was TICKETS, a singular work by three directors: Ken Loach, Ermanno, and Abbas Kiarostami. Of the three, I am most familiar with the works of the latter since I also have his A Taste of Cherry, The Wind Will Carry Us, and Ten. Anyway, TICKETS tells the story of three groups of people all of whom are on the same train to Rome. The first is about an old Italian pharmacologist who day dreams about a writing a love letter to a young woman he's met in the office; totally heartbreaking. The second is about Filippo, a ex-soldier doing community service by assisting a bossy widow on her way to her husband's memorial service (he ends up leaving her), and finally about three supermarket workers from Glasgow who are on their way to watch a match in the Eternal City. Weaved into these three stories are a family of Albanian refugees who switch trains and steal a ticket. It's a roller coaster of heavy drama and comedy, but the former on most parts. It's a seamless weave of storytelling that's worth really watching.

I don't know why I saw this again but maybe I liked it the first time and it's always a pleasure to recall how fantastic Ryan Gosling was in this drama, The Believer. Daniel Balint (Ryan Gosling) has always been known to have his own ideas. He was expelled (or shall we say, he left) from school because he believed that God was being bossy and was ego tripping when he ordered Abraham to sacrifice his favorite son, Isaac. Daniel opines that because of this singular act, the Jewish people (of which he is a member) is scarred forever. Fast forward, Daniel joins a fascist group who wants to resurrect Neo-Nazism in New York and spread hate against the Jewish community. Daniel became the groups spokesperson and fund raiser, but he is tormented by his past and sense of belonging. His Jewish friends continue to invite him to their gatherings. The film is terribly existential and requires an intelligent audience, and by this I mean those who are able to separate their faith from simple story telling without the former being tossed to the wind. The Believer won the Grand Jury Prize at the 2001 Sundance.

After FUR and after watching KISS KISS BANG BANG, I realized that I like Robert Downey, Jr. I totally love the lines in this film - witty and sharp. Released in 2005, it also starred Val Kilmer as Gay Perry (there's too much "gay" references but it was a delight to watch). Kiss Kiss Bang Bang reveals the scenes behind the camera in this tinsel town of Los Angeles. The title pretty much says it all. Pauline Kael, whose book's title was used as a reference for the film's own, describes it as "perhaps the briefest statement imaginable of the basic appeal of the movies." Harry Lockhart (Robert Downey, Jr) uses the self-aware style in his narration. In short, he speaks directly to the audience. He is a small-time crook who finds himself in a movie audition by accident and was brought to Hollywood to study how a detective works for a role. This he does under the tutelage of undercover Gay Perry (Val Kilmer). He met his childhood crush, Harmony Lane (Michelle Monagham) in one of LA's many parties and both relish their past. If you think it all ends there, you're wrong. The three characters found themselves involved in a real murder similar to the stories Harry and Harmony read when they were kids. It's a nightmare come true. Data showed that this was one of America's most overlooked films and it's a pity because it's so much fun to watch! Rogert Ebert, of course, has something else to say about it.

Seriously, nothing could beat the English in wit and Gosford Park is required watching for those whose lives have been deadened flat by life's boring routines. This is a film best enjoyed with friends over red wine and cheese.
Of course, one must end with the evening with a bang and how! 2008 is the 9th year anniversary of The Pang Brothers and they are marking it with a Hollywood remake of their first film, Bangkok Dangerous. I think this was shown in Manila during an edition of the Cinemanila International Film Festival but I didn't have the chance to catch it. I am not keen on watching the new version since I am not a fan of what's-his-name, ah, wait... Nicolas Cage and also because his character is reportedly NOT deaf, which I think is the essence of the original. The original film tells the story of Kong (Pawalit Mongkolpisit) who grew up to be an angry young man since he was always taunted by the other children as being deaf-mute. By some smart design of the universe, Kong ended up being a gun for hire because he showed excellent skills in shooting (he grew up watching target practices as his mother worked as a janitor in one such shop). Together with his friends, Joe and Aom, they all exist on a rather daily basis and with almost no bright future in sight that's why it's no surprise that all of them would eventually go down in the end. Very sad. Of the Pang Brothers' other works, so far I have seen only The Tesseract (by Oxide Pang; filmed in Bangkok). Too bad that it wasn't shot in Manila which was its original setting. Anyway, I am not sure if the Brothers' The Eye was the same The Eye I've seen back in med school, but it was also in Thai. Well, what do you know? It is. Shoot.

Sunday, April 13, 2008


No, I'm not having a fit or orgasm or anything. I'm just excited that summer is about to end. How do I know this? Because there's ants all over the place. Leave food on your table and come back a few minutes later and ants would have swarmed all over it. They're preparing for the rainy season already, this year being La NiƱa year. Let us learn from the ants.

Anyway, here's what the farm staff had for lunch yesterday which was an event day. I got home at 2AM Sunday because the couple decided to bottoms up all the wine with the rest of the gang, which included two actors. Now I leave it to you to process that useless piece of information.

Early Saturday morning, I went to the Masinag wet market to look for these beauties locally known as lumot. Weird, because lumot means seaweed. Anyway, these sell for Php 280 - 300 / kilo. I personally picked them because maraming gimik ang mga tindera when it comes to squids, eh. First, you have to make sure there's no fish inserted inside. Seriously! Some tinderas do this so the squids weigh more. Either this or they pick the squids for you but do not drain them first before putting them on the scale. Anyway, when preparing them for grilling, take out the "skeleton" which looks like a plastic kinife, pull the head off, remove the pincers from the mouth area, and take out the ink sac. Wash, wash. You might want to save the ink to make squid-ink rice. I do not like squid-ink rice.
For the stuffing, dice tomatoes and onions. Stuff them inside the cavity and put the head back on and secure with a barbecue stick (see first photo). Now they're ready for grilling. By the way, did you know that squids have three hearts? Yes, you read that right. And two kidneys. Cool, ano? Everyone in the cephalophod family (i.e. octopus) have the same features. This might be of interest to the kidney market, hmmmm.... Squid kidneys anyone?
You might want to keep the fire low because cooking squid is tricky. One mistake and they become like rubber. For the sauce, it's usually soy sauce with diced onions, tomatoes, and chili and a little vinegar. Slice the squids into rings before serving.
For dessert, I prepared minatamis na saging. You just slice saba bananas and boil it in water with brown sugar (I used muscovado) and flavor with vanilla and cinammon. If you have cinammon sticks, the better. Cool for a bit before quick chilling in the freezer. Enjoy. :-)

Saturday, April 12, 2008


Talaga naman. Congrats, Rick! Read the rest of the feature here.


If I have the chance to have something printed on a shirt, I will want to have the above photo silk-screened onto it. 'Di ko alam why naisip ko si Laika lately (must be the recent movies i've seen - see below) but it seems quite timely as well that my own dog, Turnip, disappeared for an entire day yesterday and showed up only at night crying and jumping a lot to be hugged and carried. Imagine na lang how Laika might have felt as she swirled around in dark space as her food supply slowly ran out. Let's ignore the fact that she was a stray dog when they found her; she's still a dog who probably used to have someone who took care of her. So heart breaking. Hay, dogs. What to do, what to do, what to do.

Thursday, April 10, 2008


When I saw this film, I vowed never to have kids even if they are as cute and lovable as Anton Ganzelius. I probably would have chucked him out the window before he could say Super Trooper. Anyway, My Life As A Dog started a series of depressing films which pretty much occupied me during my recent days off. At the end of the day, I was sobbing like hell. Filmed in Sweden in 1985, it won the Golden Globe for Best Foreign Film in 1987. I like it for its sensitivity, its succint capturing of life in rural Sweden and of the pained existence of its characters. I like the way how Ingemar, the main character, philosophizes things by comparing his own existence with that of several others' - it's almost like schadenfreude but without the happiness (which in that case isn't schadenfreude, nitwit!) but he does it to alleviate his own condition, to affirm that his life is better than others'. At the very least, better than Laika, the poor dog sent by the Soviets into space aboard Sputnik 2. My Life As A Dog has a very simple plot but had enough drama to send you howling to the moon.

Roger Ebert describes this film as one of 1993's best. I agree. Map of the Human Heart is a heavy drama with lost of soft spots (I call them "Awww... moments" for the lack of a better term). I think that the characters were so much better as children than they were adults during which they seemed to have lost the magic altogether. Jason Scot Lee, who played the adult Avik, doesn't register well on camera. At the very least, his face doesn't lend itself to many expressions. He looks like a seal taken out of water. Robert Joamie, as the young Avik, was more likable, more expressive. John Cusack, who was unusually handome here, is wasted as he did practically nothing in the film. Besides, what is is about people who wouldn't fight for their love when they're still able and then later lead lives of misery and regret? Life shouldn't be this complicated. Anyway, the film is still very romantic, however, and is suggested viewing fare for those whose relationships need things like war or famine for affirmation.
From Australia comes this powerful drama of a woman (Cate Blanchett) who wants to change her life and get away from her checkered past. The problem, however, is that circumstances just won't let her. Her bank loan just wouldn't get approved, her former boyfriend returned home to work supposedly as a stockbroker (but later turned out to be a drug dealer instead and has involved her brother), and her father - a former soccer star - is experiencing terrible withdrawal symptoms from years of drug use. It's terribly depressing. It's not helping that there's a general sense of - what else? - helplessness. This film pretty much stresses that every one should be given a second chance.
Based on the book by Philippa Gregory, The Other Boleyn Girl is a look into the depressing world of Henry VIII's court where the aim to produce a male heir was as desperate as families' dreams of hitting the jackpot by whoring their daughters to the king. Of course this is a coarse way of putting it, but if I had a gun I would have shot the stupid Duke of Norfolk to death. Anyway, just like other movies on royalty, this film also serves to show the precariousness of one's position in court, how one may be favored today and disgraced the next. The seeming contest to get appointed is something that still exists in our current settings most especially in our own little democratic space. Despite the fact that the film actually deviated from actual historical events, it's a good movie to show to people jockeying for positions in government. Oh, we might as well show them the ax afterwards. Natalie Portman shines as Anne Boleyn while Scarlett Johansson is perfect for the role of the hapless Mary Boleyn. Watch out for winning one-liners from Mrs. Boleyn and of course, Reina Catalina (Queen Catherine; Katharine) herself. I was told this flopped in the States but who gives a fig. I hope they film all the rest of Philippa's books. And as a side note, please work on the accents this time.


Sa lunes na po, April 14, ang booklaunch ng Ang Mga Kuwento ng Batang Kaning Lamig - 3PM sa Fully Booked, The Fort. Balita ko ay may ihahandang pagkain ang publisher ko kaya magpagutom kayo.

Kita kita na lang tayo roon, kabayan. Pagkakataon na ninyo para makita ang kutis betlog na amoy lupang matanda pero kyut pa rin na ex-macho dancer.

- Kuya Batjay

Wednesday, April 02, 2008


You know it's summer when birds fly about freely enjoying the warm sun, the sweet fruits, gathering dried grass for the nests.
Summer also means death for some who fly blindly onto glass panes. There's nothing as sad as seeing a beautiful creature lose its life during this most beautiful of seasons.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008


Thanks for all those who sent get-well messages. I can start to move my left arm again. The swelling has reduced quite considerably, but the movement is still limited and slow but I can touch my face and head again, yipee!

I had my BUA done STAT yesterday at St. Camillus Polymedic Clinic in Pasig and what I've known for many years was finally confirmed: my uric acid has skyrocketed. I think the same thing is happening to The Fish Out of Water.

I am currently on Allopurinol and Cataflam and will return to see the doctor on the 16th of April. I have suffered from gout since my med school days and have kept on postponing the lab test because the drug I was taking was working anyway. Lesson learned.

Anyway, all is well. Cheers!


I am slowly recovering from my pained existence and today being my day off, I decided to stay in bed the whole morning and after having lunch, decided to watch a DVD movie. For today, I chose FUR: The Imaginary Life of Diane Arbus.

Nicole Kidman floats like a feather in this beautifully produced take on the life of acclaimed American photographer Diane Arbus. Although Nicole hardly resembles Diane (that huge Rolleiflex camera dangling from her neck looks too heavy for her fragile frame), she gives the project its much needed sensuality and coquettishness that suffuses the film with the required mystery, darkness, and loneliness that may have produced the kind of photographs that shook the world - the everyday man and the hard life that is New York.

Robert Downey, Jr. plays the role of Lionel well. A fur-covered neighbor who lives upstairs, he is responsible for opening Diane's world into the bizzare: giants, prostitutes, siamese twins, nudists and the retarded - people whom the world have chosen to ignore.

I was hoping this new life for Diane - that of taking her own pictures - would be a liberating experience for her, but she decided to end it all at 48 with barbiturates and, for better measure, by slitting her wrists (not featured in the film). This was in 1971.

I don't know what artists like Diane really want with their lives. Apparently, self-expression is never enough. There seems to be something with slitting one's wrists, shoving one's head in an oven, or filling one's pocket with rocks and sinking into a river that makes these acts so attractive. These days, in order to achieve immortality, one must be willing to give up one's life. How ironic.