Monday, April 30, 2007

Bold as a Bear

You just can’t forget some people whom you think are extra ordinary. Even though it happened a long time ago, I am still amazed at how this guy picked himself up after initially stumbling at school, and went on to excel in his field.

We were high school freshmen then at UP. During the first week of class, a teacher got fancy in the way she wanted us to introduce ourselves. “Introduce yourselves using your name as an acronym” she said. “Be creative as possible.”

And so we contemplated hard on how to adorn ourselves with a unique and creative acronym. When the teacher asked for volunteers, the lanky, pale skinned, brown haired boy raised his hand, and then stood up without any hesitation. “I am B. I am bold as bear.” The girls giggled. The boys laughed. The teacher was amused.

B was bold indeed. When the time for us to elect our class President came, B presented himself. The others took a dagger look at him. But he just smiled. And there was no one else who challenged him.

But his fame at our school was short lived. Many times a classmate and I went to his house to check on how he was doing. It was only a few meters walk from school. We just wanted to tell him of the coming exams because he was absent for many days. He said that he’s sick and had a nightly asthma attack.

At the end of the school year, the removals could have saved him. I am one of the few who believed in the guy. I’ve known him getting high grades even without studying. Many times he appeared only on exam day, and cram on a classmate’s notes. But he failed to show up on the last and final exam schedule.

He was kicked out of UP and returned as freshman in his former school. I never heard of him again until four years after I saw his name and picture in the newspaper as one of the top ten outstanding high school graduates in the province. Wow! Then another five years, he graduated Magna Cum Laude in engineering. He also placed 3rd in the board exam.

How’s that for a kid kicked out at UP? I did try googling his name a few months ago and found it listed as a fellow in a prestigious UP writing workshop. His name also appeared in some science journal.

Way to go, man! You really are bold as a bear.

Saturday, April 28, 2007


Gisip-on ko. Bunga na siguro ni sa dihang nataligsikan ko didto sa Surigao pagka Miyerkules. Mura ko ug kahilantanon. Sakit akong ulo. Kalami ipamasahe uy!

Dili man masabtan ang panahon. Grabe ning alimuot nga makabuang. Ingon sila, daghan ang irong buang kung tig-init.

Dili lang sa ko magbadminton karong gabii. Lain kaayo kon malagputan ug sip-on ang kontra. Unya sakit pa sad akong kalawasan. Samutan pa gyud kay wala midaug sa miaging torneyo.

Hahay, Sabado na gyud! Uli sa ko aron makapahuway.

Friday, April 27, 2007


When I was still a student, I always think of Fridays as the end of a busy week. Thank God it’s Friday! But when I was already working, I envy those who work in the banks and in other companies because of their 5-day work week. Those in the Manila don’t have work on Saturdays. They can fully enjoy their weekends. They can leave Friday nights, and comeback early Monday morning.

Some would even enjoy Friday nights out. Not for me here. I still have to report for half-day work tomorrow. And that half day often means I’ll be in the office till 3pm. Most companies here have a 6-day work week. Why can’t congress legislate a 5-day work week nationwide? There is no end for office works. And the output would still be the same. We can even save on overheads. We also need some breaks to avoid burn-out.

What will I do on Saturdays, if ever we have no work?
1. Read books.
2. Help my wife in the household chores.
3. Go to the beach!
4. Play badminton
5. Visit families.
6. Vacation
plus a lot more…

There are plenty of others things I would like to do. I might utilize my VL credits next weekend. Ah Friday!

Monday, April 23, 2007

88th Post

Some say that 8 is a lucky number. How much more the double 8? This will be my 88th post and don’t congratulate me for whatever. This is just a lame excuse for not having a sensible post this time.

I don’t believe in luck. We lost fair and square in a ‘bad’ tourney last weekend. We lost 2 games against much better opponents, and split another 2 games. Not bad enough for a new doubles partnership.

Some guys are just lucky to take a bath everyday and have a very comfortable bed to sleep on. The guy on these photos is not one of them. Are we still going to blame the government for the plight of these poor souls?

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Lolo goes to the US…and back to Pinas!

Four decades and a half after the war, Lolo Badoy pledged allegiance to the American flag. He was one of those veterans granted US citizenship. He can’t read and write. His conversational English is quite funny. But he’s good at memorizing the American anthem and the pledge. We’re really surprised coz that's what all it takes for him to get by.

My mother wanted to accompany him to the US, but was denied at the embassy. So Lolo traveled alone. He’s such an adventurer that he was not afraid of the long flight and of the things to do while in the US.

For many months, he lived in a home for the aged and war veterans. He said he got bored, but did not mention missing his family. He said he was tired of seeing old and sickly people. He wanted to play checkers and he boasted that none of the residents can beat him. He wanted to see a cockfight but there was none nearby. So he sneaked out one day with another fellow and visited Las Vegas. That was the start of his new activity. A few dollars on a night per month didn’t do a lot of damage to his pocket. He’s a prudent gambler. (As if there’s such a thing.)

But one night, Lolo got into thinking. Since Lola died a few years earlier, he wanted to remarry. He wanted to come back to the Philippines. With the approval of a new US law, he could already receive his veteran’s pension while in the Philippines, though at a lesser amount.

Who wants to marry septuagenarian? When he arrived in his hometown in Misamis Occidental, he was eyeing his widowed neighbor. Her grandchildren already called him Lolo. Perhaps she was a decade younger. But it does not matter when they already got the wrinkles.

“Oh no! Not her pa!” my mother complained. “Her grandkids will compete with yours. Find a younger one.”

Lolo just grinned. The idea of finding a younger one might have delighted him. My uncle, (the one I mentioned in my previous post), suggested to take Manang V as his wife. She’s the one who took care of Lola for many years and was like an adopted sister to my mother and her siblings. She’s in her mid 30’s then and never had a boyfriend since birth.

So the courting began. It was still the old-fashioned manner. He was told to ask permission from her parents. Ok, fine. Lolo agreed and took both my parents to accompany him to some hinterland in Bohol. The parents of the bride-to-be were shocked. Lolo is very much older than them. But they can’t ask her to find a younger one.

The weakened knees suddenly found a new reason to be alive. Lolo got himself a new wife and he was all smiles in his wedding barong.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Keyless Entry

There are times when you are so excited to do a certain thing but forget something more important. Common sense takes a break and leaves you in trouble.

I was rushing to get my badminton gears last night as I was already an hour late of schedule. I hurriedly parked the car in front of the apartment’s gate. But before I stepped inside our house, something hit me. Pataaay! I forgot the car keys inside the car. I ran back and tried to open any of the four doors. I began circling the vehicle. “What am I going to do now?” I thought. The duplicate key was also inside.

I looked around. Good thing I still have my cellphone but my wallet was inside the vehicle. I was thinking of calling our engineering department to have it opened, but not yet. There was a sense of relief when I saw my father-in-law. I immediately approached him.

“Tay, I left the keys inside the car”

“What about the duplicate?”

“It’s in there too.”

“You should keep one in the house.”

“I’m just using this vehicle temporarily. I have plenty of keys for the car that was originally assigned to me.”

“Wait. I’ll get something.”

I believe Tatay is kind of a MacGyver. He’s a real handyman: A cool handyman for that matter. I kept my composure too, avoiding any of the embarrassment. I drove away my two nieces to steer clear of the attention of neighbors and passersby. Tatay returned bringing a set of keys. But none of them worked. Then he called my bro-in-law. “Bring me a wire”.

With a flashlight and a wire, he made his attempts. “This is how carnappers do their thing” he grinned. I just stood there excited of the actual demonstration. It took him less than three minutes to open the vehicle. No sweat. Tatay just saved my day.

Friday, April 13, 2007


"In this world nothing is certain but death and taxes."
- Benjamin Franklin

Who among you here loves seeing the withholding tax portion of your payslips? You might say, I could have bought something else with this. Or perhaps feel proud that you gave something to the government. Or maybe your mind is freaking out at the thought that a big chunk of it will go to the pocket of the corrupt government officials.

In early 1996, when I was still a newbie in the audit profession, I was assigned to do inventory-taking in the Tacloban branch of a large pharmaceutical company. On that same day, the warehouseman received his withholding tax certificate.

“I can’t believe the amount of the tax I paid!” he exclaimed, watching the piece of paper.

I took a peek but he willingly showed it to me. “The tax you paid is bigger than the amount of my salary for the whole year!” I told him.

He laughed. “You’re still young. You’ll earn more than I do now.” Then we totally forgot about the tax thing.

What is tax? By definition, it is a charge levied upon groups, businesses, persons or things by a government. It could be a direct tax or an indirect tax. The funds generated from taxes are used to run our government, promote stable economic growth, and lessen inequalities in the distribution of income and wealth. Taxes are supposed to be used in a good way. We may have seen road improvements with banners saying, “This is where your taxes go”. But don’t expect the same message to be bannered in a politician’s mansion.

We live taxed. We die taxed. Your vices are costly because of the sin taxes. Imported goods are heavily taxed. The beggars on the streets are taxed (indirectly). They are also supposed to pay tax on the proceeds from begging (how cruel!). Thieves are supposed to be taxed. Income from legal and illegal (who dares declare?) sources is taxable, unless there is a law exempting a specific income source.

If you don’t want to be taxed, go live in caves and in the mountains. Good thing we’re not yet taxed for blogging. By the way, this Monday (April 16) is the deadline for filing returns and paying taxes. I know accountants are very busy right now.

Monday, April 09, 2007


Isaiah 55: 12
“You will go out in joy
and be led forth in peace;
the mountains and hills
will burst into song before you,
and all the trees of the field
will clap their hands.”

After spending a day out there on the hills reflecting on God's wonders, and what He has done for me, it's like I'm breathing a much fresher air. It’s something that recharges my energies.

The feel of the mountain breeze against my face is so amazing. It’s not everyday we experience this. The worries may distract my attention. But it’s nothing compared to what God has done and will do for mankind.

-- -- --

There were three of us who went to enjoy the quiet and serene place. My wife prepared the food, while our friend did the driving. I would have wanted to ride this pony but I am not sure if it wants me. Too heavy perhaps. :)

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Off to Somewhere

Everybody's on a vacation mode. No gloomy faces here in the office. Some had their bags packed already. Excited!

I'd be off to somewhere too: Someplace quiet and serene.