Monday, November 06, 2017

Life Reduced to Arithmetic Calculations, from Start to Finish.


Exactly 9 months after being conceived, a man is ushered into the world, a world of consuming uncertainties and unknowns.

Where the only certainty is that life is finite, but as to how and when exactly that is the riddle.

Still, man plods through life making arithmetic calculations and planning, based on dog-eared standards refined through the ages

From the age of reason, that man learns to use Arithmetic to plan and live his life.  He plans for the years of elementary, secondary, etc. schooling, the monotonous cadence interspersed briefly with some levity and idleness known as vacations, holidays, etc.

Then he plans for his productive working life, including the idea and feasibility of creating a family of his own.  All this, amidst the uncertainty of the length of his life, but guided essentially by the life expectancy table again honed over the ages, taking into account all other elements which may make that life shorter like accidents, sickness, disease, etc.

Past the peak of his mature life, typically human parts start needing attention.  Some start becoming bothersome and maybe life-threatening, and thus requiring professional help.

As he approaches closer to his expected life span, tweaked by the many enhancements and modifications that blazing science and technology can offer, his arithmetic calculations take on more certainty, and shorter duration.

In my instance, the most hardy and robust of human organs, the heart has required special and customized attention. It has the close assistance of a pacemaker, or more technically an ICD, implanted cardioverter defibrillator, and for my particular case, a dual-chamber unit, with two leads, one attached to the upper right atrial chamber, and the other to the lower ventricular chamber.  Each lead provided with an electrode that will provide the spark when necessary to keep the heart beating normal.

The upper lead will provide the electrical spark that is typically provided naturally by the sinus node in the heart.  Absent the spark, the heart may not beat at all and life will be no more. 

In my case, my beating heart now uses the pacer for the spark needed 98% of the time, while the lower lead is being used only 6% of time.  Per last examination/reading the implanted pacemaker I have still has an expected usefulness of 13 years, taking into account its current usage.

All these details put into context, the more or less exact length of my life.  Until and unless a new pacer is installed to replace the depleted one.

This therefore as one can clearly see, puts an arithmetic certainty to the end of one’s life.







Sunday, October 08, 2017

The Prodigal Sibling of RER Drive Subdivision




Once upon a time, say 1974, RER Drive Subdivision was one integral and indivisible development on the western side of the meandering Cagayan River.

Though once a contiguous piece of land  in its over 38 hectares size, it was however splintered on the northern side by the then newly-minted Cagayan-Iligan highway that was bannered by the also spanking-new bridge to the east, the second to span the river after many, many years.

Fast forward to the current century and a myriad of changes has visited not only this area but in the entire city proper and beyond.

RER Drive Subdivision is now composed of two phases.  The bigger southern portion being Phase 1, and the smaller one being Phase 2.

And unlike the biblical narrative of prodigality, the ending to this story is quite different.  Overall, Phase 2 appears to be doing quite well.  A very appealing guardhouse greets visitors and residents alike, very easy on the eyes but looking sufficiently secured.  Streets are clean and not too many parked vehicles on the curbs.  Street signs are well maintained and visibly located.  The park bordered on one side of the main/gateway street does not look too shabby.  And finally, house are well painted and maintained, with attractive fences.

My Sunday jog routine this morning took me out of RER Drive Phase 1 to the gate of Phase 2, and it was so devised for one self-serving reason.

That gateway-main street has obvious personal importance to me, simply because it was named after my late father, the several street signs in intersections confirm that so.  And I therefore wanted to learn of the condition of those street signs, since during my last visit several years back, I had witnessed them in a bad state of disrepair.

A little side story about this, a little anecdote that personally involved me.  In 1975, the subdivision was then one, and there were still no street signs but only block numbers to identify each location.  One late afternoon home after a hectic day in my job with the bank, I was tooling around our place which still had a lot of work to be done, when I heard a rather unique engine sound nearing our location and stopping in front of us.  Unique, BTW, because we were not used to listening to big engine sounds coming from big American muscle cars since only a very few number of families had them.

It was the subdivision owner.  Driving his big and shiny American car.  Smartly dressed and walking with stiff dignity and confidence. And he was my uncle.  He had stopped in the middle of the street directly in front of our driveway, holding what looked like a roll of the subdivision plan.  He had spread the whole piece on top of his hood and beckoned to me whom he had seen moving toward him.

After my timid salutation, he motioned me over and proudly announced to me that he had already decided on all the names of the subdivision streets, that all of them were those of close relatives, and lastly, that all of them were dead. 

By then his first cousins, my father and his younger brother, Graciano, both still young at 57 and 52, had passed on.  In a strange way then, their early passing assured their enduring memory in posterity, granted it is just in street names.  But that was how it was.  And just as quickly, my uncle had gone to attend to his myriad of concerns

So back to my morning visit.  Armed with my GoPro Hero camera, took shots of the gate and main street all the way to the end.  And the images are attached herewith.

Street signs, all artfully lettered and well-scrubbed, and standing tall in corners, ever ready to lead motorists and pedestrians to their exact destinations.

All’s well that ends well.




Tuesday, October 03, 2017

Godlessness Equals Moral Relativism: Fast-Lane Life In Vegas



Barring any desire or wish of being dogmatic and judgmental about this still fresh horrific episode, the following is advanced to offer a possible rationale of what happened in Las Vegas.

As mentioned the city among other things, such as being the entertainment and gambling capital of the world, is also abashedly referred to as Sin City.

We know that among other things the concept of sin may be defined also as the omission of doing certain moral acts.

It is an undeniable indication  that the US, especially because of liberal progressivism and moral relativism of the left, has been forcefully  pushed  toward trying to eliminate as much as it could any signs and semblances of religion in the public square and in public proceedings.  Therefore, actively trying to remove God from everyday lives.  Right or wrong, we concede that religion informs the learned moral values who hold dear in life, and also teaches us to earnestly pursue virtue in the living of our lives.

Thus, it is sad to note that the Las Vegas killer among other things is said to have no religion.  That is what his brother declared.  Therefore, he was not religious, showed no interest in it but was decidedly, a serious and heavy gambler.  And probably that is why he had felt at home maintaining houses in Las Vegas and in Reno, too, another gambler’s paradise in the northern part of the same state of Nevada.  He and his family had lived in Florida, and Texas before.

It should also be noted that just before the mass shooting occurred, the harvest festival concert which is essentially a County Western event, found it appropriate to insert in its loaded repertoire of songs, the singing of God Bless America that had the huge crowd of over 22,000 spiritedly chiming in.  A most inspiring and elating exercise of homage and Christian affirmation of the supremacy of a Creator, which would a little later be terribly punctuated by such a horrific deed.

 But think about it.  It is like even in this ultra-modern age, the followers of God are still being harassed and persecuted.  The Las Vegas massacre a clear sign that the random killing of innocents is still in vogue.
Interpreting part of the “hard sayings” that Christ bequeathed to us his followers, to try to explain the whys and wherefores of Paddock and his horrific deed.
When we do not pursue the path of virtue, we veer to the easy street of vice.
And it is because of vice that we have a life hereafter.  Because vice brought death of body and soul right here on this earth.  A living hell.
When vice reared its ugly head, the Creator had to provide the escape which is the life hereafter.
Paddock tried to infect the people with his dead body and soul by bringing physical death to them, except he did not consider the salvific life hereafter promised all of us.


Saturday, September 23, 2017

The Spectre of Our Reality

A dreary thought for this Sunday:

Our renewed residence in the old homeland has led us to unexpected turns,

Lading us with threatening challenges against our steadfast resolve to stay the course.

Irksome obstructions that partake of impactful results against such resolve made worse by the multi-pronged damages they inflict

Wholesale turn of events that make us rethink and recalibrate how we regard humanity hereabouts in general, from the lowest rung to the highest, from relatives to simply acquaintances.

That humanity has far degraded and with rue, we are egged to say that there is hardly anybody to be trusted or believed in this place.  At least among those that we interact with.

That it has now been darkly transformed to a world of self-aggrandizing actions and motives, each one greedily jockeying up for one’s own narrow self-interests to the detriment of society at large.  A world to be shunned.  Of a humanity weakened further by privation and moral neglect

A sad commentary indeed to be published, but the repetitive incidences are so plentiful and commonplace that only one default conclusion could ensue as a consequence.

But worse than the resultant changed attitudes one harbors on others which are still easier to resolve by simply staying away, are the malevolent transformation they engender in our own selves.  The utter dismay, the debilitating frustration, the nagging sorrow, the negative judgment, the acquired disregard for all others, the consuming ill will, etc.  that now find space to reside in one’s mind and spirit.

That is the greater loss and challenge. For who can run away from oneself?


Saturday, September 16, 2017

A Church In Kawayanon, Manolo Fortich, Bukidnon

The name Mrs. Tugot, even without the first name, will I am sure conjure some unforgettable memories for many of the people and families I interacted with in the mid-60’s.

Mrs. Tugot was almost an iconic figure during those times, speaking about religious fervor and devotion.  A very kindly lady of considerable girth, who always exhibited such amiable disposition and boundless generosity, leaving many of us with no tinge of hesitation about visiting her place without prior notice in Kawayanon, Manolo Fortich, and pleading and praying for spiritual guidance and assistance, while at the same time partaking of the very filling food offerings served us during those visits. 

Why my most easily recalled memory is that a late afternoon drive from Cagayan with some lady schoolmates and finding Mrs. Tugot at her house, where we were immediately ushered in and served the nicest beef sandwiches I had ever tasted wrapped up in those very delectable slices of bread that to this day continue to bring visitors to the Del Monte Clubhouse.

I digress a bit, so meanwhile back to the ranch.  Yes, she was noted as having such personal piety and blessedness that she could intercede for assistance from her two most favorite devotional personalities, Our Lady of Perpetual Help and Sr. Sto. Nino.  And many devotees trooped and flocked to her place for their own special and personal needs.  Others driven simply by the heavy alluring pull exerted by such devotional fervor and needing to be in that enviable presence of spiritual awe.

 As I recall she had always dreamt of having a church built especially for her favorite spiritual patrons.

The ensuing years and their own special cares put all these into the back of my mind.  Until I came back almost 50 years later. 

My regular trips to Dahilayan allow me to pass by Kawayanon in San Miguel and no trip is made without having visual contact of a very impressive church building in an almost unlikely place.  It is almost across the road from the access road leading to the famed Del Monte Clubhouse and its equally noted golf course.   Of course, I had asked about it and was told it was built largely by the efforts of Mrs. Tugot.

BTW, Mrs. Tugot, in another vein, was also famous as the spouse of Celestino “Tinong” Tugot unrivaled golf pro of yesteryears from the Del Monte stable.

Anyway, I had never stopped at the church after countless trips to Dahilayan till this Saturday.   I and the wife felt we had to.  So we did and brought home some pictures.