Saturday, February 18, 2012

I swear, by Apollo the physician...

 
A modern-day doctor who prostitutes himself and in the process causes suffering on the people he is sworn to protect and keep in the best of health is no different from Hitler's mad doctor researchers who turned their backs on the Hippocratic oath and donned, instead of the white gown, the bloody apron of the butchers of humanity.
NAKAKAHIYA KA!!!
- rer

Friday, February 17, 2012

Disease, Poultry, and Pig Pens in Macatbong, Cabanatuan City

Macatbong is a tiny barangay in Cabanatuan City, Philippines. It has been fighting for the health of its nature-loving villagers since the Cabanatuan City government attempted to establish a dumpsite in this pristine environment several years ago. The people of Macatbong succeeded in stopping this dastardly attempt to violate people's rights. However, until very recently, the Cabanatuan City government's quarrying operations have further damaged the beneficial river that runs though this barangay. This river has long been a source of food, irrigation, and drinking water for the people of Macatbong. Quarrying has destroyed all that. Compounding these problems is the stench and air pollution emanating from pig and chicken manure in the commercial pig pens and poultry houses that have mushroomed in this barangay. Day in and day out, the people of Macatbong continue to inhale this dirty and disease-causing air caused by pig and chicken waste. In addition, swarms of houseflies and gnats and have invaded this once salubrious environment, endangering the health and well-being of the residents as well as the productivity of their vegetable, fruit, and palay farms.
What is the Department of Health doing to stop this travesty?
What is the DENR doing to help the people of Macatbong preserve the Cabu River?
Is profit above the interests of the people?
Does the City Government of Cabanatuan have the right to violate the rights to good health and well-being of a small barangay?
We call on our responsible and God-fearing local and national officials, including President Noynoy Aquino to help correct this injustice.
We, the people of Macatbong, continue to suffer while waiting for your response.

The People of Macatbong

Friday, May 6, 2011

Dendrology Forays

                                                                        
The nut-like structures are actually Heritiera littoralis seeds enclosed in a keeled woody casing. Dungon-late is probably the hardest Malayan timber according to Burkill. The bole was used in ancient times as boat masts and in making dug-out canoes. Buttress roots support the trunk and in mature trees look like wavy boards that curve around the base of the tree. This ironwood thrives in mangrove areas near shorelines but the tree in this picture is thriving well in Aliaga, Nueva Ecija, many kilometers inland where it was brought from Mindoro Island. The owner of this tree fondly recalls a time when a neighbor complained of the twining roots that have invaded his lot. Anxious to appease his neighbor, the owner started hacking away at the exposed roots only to discover later that the blade of his bolo had been dented by the very dense wood...

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Ecce Homo

Detail of the wellspring of fiery idealism... At dawn today I found myself tracing a major artery that has long been a source of inspiration to countless souls who have insisted on living that life. What magic does it possess? What spells does it cast on that seething mass whose collective dreams and toils define the nakedness of the primeval cry that is ecce homo? © reramosmd

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Julia Butterfly Hill, Henry David Thoreau, Jane Goodall, Chico Mendez, Odette Alcantara, Rachel Carson, Jose Rizal, John Muir, Von Hernandez...


In a much-awaited visit last April 5 environmentalist priest Fr. Al Albor  discussed groundwater and watershed protection with our motley group of concerned Cabanatueños. Fr. Chito Beltran who heads the energetic environmental arm of the archdiocese also shared his insights regarding reforestation of our denuded hills and mountains. Acts inimical to the environment, poor planning, the lure of money, ignorance, corruption, etc were likewise scrutinized and discussed in depth, amidst the rollicking laughter and banter of friends with a common cause...

Friday, April 15, 2011

MACATBONG TUTOL SA BASURANG NAKAKUBLI SA LIKOD NG ORGANIC FERTILIZER PROJECT!

Maliit ngunit ganap na nabiyayaan, ang Barangay Macatbong ay maaring ituring na isa sa mga huling hanggahan dito sa lalawigan ng Nueva Ecija. Sa silangan ang mga gulod ng Calanutan at ang bulubundukin ng Sierra Madre ay tanaw at waring nagsisilbing mga piping saksi sa unti-unti at malungkot na  pagkasira ng ating mga yamang bundok. Isang maliit na ilog ang dumadaloy sa payak na barangay na ito at dumidilig sa mga katabing luntiang gulayan na pinag-aanihan ng sitaw, talong, kamatis, okra, ampalaya, petsay, at kung anu-ano pang mga pampalusog na luntian. Sa buhay na ilog naman ay nakakahuli ng karpa, tilapia, hito, bulig, lukaok, gurami, suso, at iba pa. Kung minsan may mga pagong din na matatagpuan dito. Sa pampang malapit sa kawayanan ay namumulaklak ang mga pungapong, isang uri ng halaman na lingid sa kaalaman ng marami ay isa sa mga nanganganib na maipagmamalaking halaman na katutubo dito sa Macatbong.
Sariwang hangin at dalisay na tubig ang dalawa sa pinakamahalagang likas na biyaya na ipinagpapasalamat ng mga taga Macatbong. Bukod dito ay kapansin-pansin ang maraming punongkahoy at mga palayan na nagbibigay ng kaayaayang kulay luntian sa kapaligiran. Ang mga prutas na tulad ng mangga, kaimito, langka, kamatsile, sineguelas, duhat, chico, atis, at iba pa ay ilan lamang sa maraming bungangkahoy na dito.
Higit sa lahat ang pinakamahalagang bahagi ng barangay Macatbong ay ang kaninaani yang mga mamamayan na may pagpapahalaga sa Diyos, sa pamilya, sa Inang Kalikasan, sa paggawa, sa edukasyon, at sa pamayanan. Ang Macatbong ay dumaan na sa maraming pagsubok na dulot ng tao at ng kalikasan at bawat isa sa mga pagsubok na ito ay napagtagumpayan ng mga maka-Diyos na mamamayan ng barangay na ito.
Subalit maraming panganib ang nagbabantang puminsala sa kalusugan at katahimikan dito sa Macatbong. Ang mga suliranin na dala ng makabagong pamumuhay – tulad ng polusyon ng hangin at tubig at ang pagkasira ng mga ilog, mga mahahalagang bahagi ng isang malusog at nakaririwasang pamayanan, ay hindi lingid sa isipan ng mga taga rito at lubos na pinahahalagahan at inihahanap ng kalutasan.
Ayaw naming magkaroon ng lason ang hangin na pumapasok sa aming mga baga at ang tubig naming iniinom. Higit sa lahat kaisa kami sa Alma-Ata Declaration na nagbibigay ng pangunahing kahalagahan sa kalusugan ng mamamayan at sa aktibong pakikilahok at pakikialam ng mga mamamayan sa anumang bagay na maaaring maka-apekto sa kalusugan.
Tutol kami sa anu mang bagay na maaaring makapinsala sa aming malusog na kapaligiran – sa anu mang bagay o gawain na magdudulot ng polusyon sa hangin at sa tubig at sa mga pananim na may maselang pamumulaklak. Higit sa lahat ipagtatanggol namin ang pinakamahalagang karapatang pantao – ang karapatan sa kalusugan.
Kaisa kami sa mga adhikain at gawaing pangkalikasan nila Henry David Thoreau, Odette Alcantara, John Muir, Chico Mendez, Leonard Co, Von Hernandez, Rachel Carson, Jose Rizal, Jane Goodall, Julia Butterfly Hill, at marami pang mga bayani na nagmamahal sa Inang Kalikasan.

© Raul E. Ramos, BS, MD, MEd, RN
   Barangay Macatbong
   Cabanatuan City

Thursday, February 5, 2009

A Rare Visit by a Muse

Dear Child,

Life may be short and uncertain,
The path strewn with rocks and a lot of pain
For all the tears and winter’s rain,
Be brave! Your sufferings don’t disdain.

In my reassuring company,
Life was easy and full of glee
The mighty ocean and the restless sea,
Were no match for you and me!

All good things must come to an end,
My life like yours God did lend
Creatures like us in every bend,
Cry at goodbyes and hearts are rent.

Hang on, have faith and don’t be sad,
A lifetime of learning will be your rod
In all your tasks – don’t fear, be glad,
I will be there, my cherished lad!

Jose Bonifacio
February 5, 2009

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Kamagong Stump in Cabanatuan City

My heart sank when I saw the freshly sawed off tree stump. For so many years I watched this kamagong tree sprout new leaves, blossom and bear reddish fruits, in harmony with nature's unrelenting rhythms. It had become a landmark that I always anticipated seeing during my daily bus trips to my clinic in Aliaga, Nueva Ecija. Tall, massive, and imposing, this giant was probably a century old before chainsaw teeth sank into its last annual ring. Situated along the national highway in Barangay Bitas, Cabanatuan City, it has been there for as long as I can remember, a proud and sturdy monument to life that had its humble beginnings in the seeds of the distinctly sweet and velvety mabolo fruit. Aptly named "iron wood", the word "kamagong" evokes images of strength, durability, and permanence. In my amateurish forays into Dendrology, the numerous old folks I talked to recalled days when this tree used to be very common and was wantonly cut down because of the value of the ebony core that has been claimed by many as capable of bending six-inch nails and snapping chainsaws. The finely grained ebony core is used in making fine furniture and martial arts sticks. Kamagong is mabolo, an evergreen indigenous to the Philippines. It is a close relative of the persimmon, but I find the crimson and somewhat furry mabolo better-tasting despite its cheesy smell. This of course is subject to debate because I know some people who loathe the weird cheesy smell. I used to believe that kamagong was different from mabolo until I was educated on this matter by Mr Ramon Bandung of the UP Herbarium. I related this new knowledge to a friend because of our ongoing debate which had taken on taxonomic proportions! He probably found the legend aspect of the story charming, and refused to believe, insisting that kamagong is an entirely different species. Fortunately I was shown Dendrology and Taxonomy books by the kind herbalist, removing any doubts that kamagong is, indeed, mabolo, or Diospyros philippinensis or Diospyros blancoi for taxonomic hairsplitters.
© 2008 raulespinozaramos, md

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Ang Holy Week Sa Bayan Ko

Etched in the Filipino psyche, Holy Week continues to serve as a constant reminder of betrayal and the redemptive sufferings of Christ...On a similar plane, Filipinos continue to struggle under the heavy cross of iniquity, injustice, poverty, unemployment, and corruption while the web of lies and deceit is continually woven by leaders who have chosen to play the roles of Judas and Christ's tormentors...For how long will this calvary last ?

Monday, March 10, 2008

Childhood Ramblings in Hagonoy, Bulacan

As a young child in Purok Balut, Barrio San Agustin, Hagonoy, Bulacan, I used to frequent my late Nanang Terang's ornamental garden and the adjoining creek where our motley group of sun-baked kids sucked the marrow out of our early childhood years capturing hapless ant lions, ladybugs, dragonflies and damselflies, beetles and crickets, crabs, frogs, and fish. They were our constant companions as we soaked under the sun, exploring and declaring dominion over countless playgrounds. We filched indian mangoes and tasted nature's bounties in the same spirit as Yevtushenko's "Stolen Apples". At night under the pale moonlight my father would regale us with tales of creatures that lived in the vastness of space. Fireflies flickered in the darkness and occasional meteor fragments rained from the sky. We counted the stars and looked for the big dipper, the little dipper and the "tatlong maria", and often asked how far these stars were and how long it would take us to reach them...Can our children boast of the same childhood ramblings or are they so enamored with the stale and lifeless fruits of technology?
©2008 raul e ramos, md

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Fire and Ice

FIRE AND ICE
Some say the world will end in fire,

Some say in ice.
From what I've tasted of desire
I hold with those who favour fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.
Robert Frost (1874-1963)

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Kanser ng Bayan

Those who sneer at the nobility of the past are in for a rude awakening. Our lives cannot rest on laughter and gaiety alone. Those who refuse to look at our present wounds by covering them with layers and layers of frivolity will awaken one fateful day to the reality of a cancer gone mad... Can the lesion heal itself? Can a malevolent spirit send us to heaven? What treatment does a physician prescribe for a pestering lesion? A boil or even a cancerous mass deserves extirpation. Half measures will only prolong the patient's agony and give ample time for the infection or the cancer to spread and destroy the body...Lalagyan lang ba natin ng plaster ang kanser ng bayan? raul espinoza ramos, md

Friday, February 15, 2008

In Defense of Bloodsucking Leeches (mga limatik sa Pilipinas)

Unlike their human counterparts, bloodsucking leeches fall off once they are engorged. As they reach the point of satiation, they disengage and start to digest their meal. Much maligned and often portrayed in movies and literature as capable of bleeding their hosts to death, these poor annelids from subclass Hirudinea are all carnivorous but only a few are truly bloodsucking brutes ! Their value in medical research and in maintaining nature's delicate balance cannot be overemphasized. Along with other "unloved" creatures like barnacles and sharks and crocodiles and snakes and fungi they know what satiation means and they help us survive and live peaceably in the blue marble. Unfortunately, insatiable, scheming, and power-intoxicated politicians can suck the lifeblood of this nation!
reramos, md

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Zankterva

Tatum, Patricia, Bernice, Yurii, Xavier, Nicole and Nadine flash their impish smiles... The magical days of childhood never cease to amaze and to draw a sentimental tear. How can one ever forget days of innocence and pure delight at the things life has to offer? Dusty little feet, eager hands and bruised knees, terrible ant and bee encounters, the pesky neighborhood dog and the sweetest lemonades... all these form a priceless chain of irretrievable and hauntingly poignant events that define childhood...

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Paradise Found

dragonflies coconuts bananas mangoes guavas tilapia mudfish carp bato-bato maya tamarind macopa mahogany narra molave ipil-ipil castanas king mango apple mango star apple cicadas frogs catfish gourami barn-owls turtles crabs shrimps butterflies crabgrass oranges eucalyptus duhat binayuyu giant gabi santol susuhong salagubang kabuting hapon lemon grass palay corn apulid snakes termites praying mantis grasshoppers kamagong guyabano calumpit ilang-ilang breadfruit cashew bamboo buho bayawak catmon kamias jackfruit crane damselflies paramecium algae caterpillars cogon alibangbang earthworm ants bees dragonflies talahib quails mimosa dayap mice saluyot turkey mansanitas men...

The astounding biodiversity of the Philippines is a very rich heritage that many of us Filipinos take for granted. Always looking over the horizon, we fail to realize that what we have always been looking for is right under our feet...
© RaulERamosMD

Saturday, February 2, 2008

The Cabinet of Dr Caligari

What was inside Dr. Caligari's cabinet? Potions? Voodoo dolls? Evil Intentions? Political Schemes? Greed? Lust for Power? Ineffective Drugs? Stupid Laws? Thank God the mad Dr Caligari and his sleepwalking Cesare limited their evil designs to a few victims in the quaint mountain village of Holstenwall, Germany and not the Filipino nation! Unfortunately in these modern times the lives of the great majority of world citizens are caught in the deadly web of greed, lust for power, and malevolent designs masquerading as acts of benevolence. Who decides what for whom? Who directs? Who follows? The deadly mix of widespread poverty on the one hand and scheming and power-hungry politicians on the other creates another Holstenwall in our midst, a macabre setting where the ordinary man is caught in the middle...
RERamos, MD

Monday, January 28, 2008

Profession Under Siege


Medicine and politics are like water and oil - they do not mix! Confronted by pressures from all sides, the modern practice of medicine is like the gallant light brigade amidst cannonfire from the more materialistic and often sinister forces of politics and big business, made worse by snipings from shady characters out to make a fast buck !
reramos, md

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Class of 1975, Nueva Ecija High School

It is hard to forget our barkada's afternoon walks from the Nueva Ecija High School to our watering hole which happens to be our house along Diversion Road in Cabanatuan City where we fought the most hotly contested basketball games and mind boggling chess battles made more piquant by the scent of freshly baked nutribun (a government-subsidized bread for schoolchildren) and inihaw na pusit (roasted squid) and bibingka (rice cake) that we bought by the roadside with our meager allowances. We were a raucous and happy bunch of kids gamboling along life's mileposts, immune to violent upheavals. Little did we know that dark clouds were looming over the horizon and that our lives would soon be engulfed by the growing darkness...Martial law was declared and life was never the same again for most Filipinos... © 2008 rauleramos, md

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Poor Patient, Poor Doctor


The patient has a fast-spreading cellulitis of the face, which stemmed from a pimple near the nasal opening which the patient squeezed a few days before consultation. The area of the nose occupies the central part of the dangerous triangle, so called because any infection in this area can lead to fatal consequences if bacteria or other pathogens are able to penetrate the cavernous sinus and consequently the brain itself. The astute physician makes the correct diagnosis and hurries to write his prescription, backed by long years of medical schooling and thousands of patients later. In a country where the market is cluttered with both efficacious and substandard drugs, the physician, who fears the possibility of a fatal complication, writes the generic name of the drug but sadly enough, stops short of writing the brand that has given him the most number of successfully treated furuncles, boils, and other staphylococcal skin infections, because the law has deprived these faithful disciples of Hippocrates of the right to choose the best drug for their patients. The unwary patient heads for the nearest drugstore and is met by a well-meaning but ignorant saleslady who dutifully helps the patient select from ten available drugs bearing the same generic name. The wrong choice is made, and the patient dies from a fulminating septicemia three days later, all because of one unintelligent law. Physicians, whose noble calling is guided by the dictum primum non nocere (first, do no harm), are powerless in a silly and tragic event such as this. Who suffers most? Who is to blame?
© 2008 Raul E Ramos, MD

Monday, January 14, 2008

Cabanatuan New Year



The bedrock of Philippine society, the family, during emotion-charged moments like Christmas and New Year...Filipinos tenaciously cling to old fashioned values that center on family, education, and religion. Closely knit, highly intelligent, and deeply religious, Filipinos have many things to be proud of and be thankful for.


Saturday, January 5, 2008

Steinbeck's Genius

With the bust of John Steinbeck, the genius who probed deep into the human heart. Like Dostoevsky, he gave us a crisp and magnified view of humanity stripped to its barest essentials, where existence is in a continual flux...

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Monday, September 24, 2007

When Scientists Were Artists


83rd plate from Ernst Haeckel's Kunstformen der Natur (1904).
I sure hate to think about it but modern scientists have become so enamored with science's purported alienation from art, subjectivity, emotions, the abstract, the immeasurable, and similar human inclinations...Of course, who can argue against success? Are the beginnings of scientific inquiry really that obsolete? Have we become more human with our immaculate scientific mindset that abhors the minutest reference to our more subjective wanderings?
And where will this new found tryst with cold science lead us? Just asking...

Friday, September 21, 2007

Macatbong Forest

Literature Friendly

Cicadas are well-known for their vocal talents and their unrelenting soporific hum. Often cited in poetry and literary texts, the familiar drone of their timbals heightens feelings of isolation, a pleasant solitude where one communes with nature, away from the drab and often petty concerns of our daily lives. It seems we have a lot to learn from this humble yet very successful member of the animal world. Man's well-developed brain has certainly put homosapiens way ahead of other creatures in many respects, yet it has miserably failed in maintaining man's balanced relations with the environment...Is too much consciousness really a disease?

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Rowing Upstream

"So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past" - The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald In this immortal work we are reminded of the primeval desire to go eastward, towards the green light that defines our lives, that, inspite of ourselves and our failings, our upstream voyage brings us to a destination far more incomprehensible and distant than all our journeys combined - ourselves...
rauleramos,md

Nurse Medics, Both Sides Now

Hippocrates and Florence Nightingale forged a pact in heaven...Nurse medics of Saint Dominic Savio College enroute to Batangas on this very stormy day - gusty and very chilly winds and torrential rains...

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Explorer of the Human Soul


Feverish frenzy perusing the immortal works of one of the world's greatest writers. His novels plumbed the depths of the human soul - difficult reading but it's really worth it! The concepts of suffering and internal struggle pervaded most of his works. A lot of people disdainfully say 'philosophy is dead and fiction is in its death throes'. I strongly disagree. I believe that when the going gets really tough man will fumble in the dark clutching at straws wondering where in his history the fatal error of arrogance seeped into his evolution, attacking as cancer cells would the human body...

Friday, August 31, 2007

Four Generations

Mother, Impong Tenteng, and three kids and myself - picture taken February 22, 1959 in grandma's house in Cabanatuan City. In this wooden abode the distinctively woodsy scent made a lasting impression on me. Wide wooden floors and walls, antique chairs with inlaid nacar designs, huge glass vases with heart-shaped waterplants and camia blooms plucked from the gardens. From the dirty kitchen below Nana Bina could be seen stoking the fire, cooking the breakfast meal as the strong and homey smell of coffee beans and Darigold milk and garlic wafts to the upper floor... © 2007 rauleramos, md

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Joys of Clerkship


UERMMMC Junior Interns take a two-week "breather" in the community work aspect of the year-long clerkship rotations. It was 1983 and Limay, Bataan was a big challenge to our group as we tried to utilise newly learned skills in lessening our patients' pains... Trekking back to the local health center after a day's immersion in community work.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Cultivating The Mind (1989-1994)

Filipino nursing students at the Makati Medical Center-RTRMS explore the innermost regions of the human body... Heady days teaching Zoology, Anatomy & Physiology, and Microbiology. We pored over anatomical texts, dissected live and anesthetized frogs and cats, mastered the intricacies of microscopy, and even the dynamics of the cardiac cycle ! It was a succession of intelligent students whom I had the opportunity to teach. During our rest periods we dabbled in philosophy and ethics. At least two notable students were regularly borrowing my books including one by Dostoevsky. But it was not all seriousness - we often burst in fits of laughter at the most inane and ancient of jokes. It was not a burden to any of us. It was an unforgettable experience...


Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Nordic Beauty II

The first Miss Universe, Ms Armi Kuusela of Finland, endeared herself to Filipinos when she married debonair Filipino businessman Virgilio Hilario in 1953. Discovered this photo while rummaging mother's old photo files many years ago...

Monday, August 20, 2007

And Then There Were Five

Days of Nadine's playing the Voltes V tune, under the dedicated tutelage of Jenny, the piano teacher. Max was still an infant and had locks of really curly hair, a maternal gene gone transiently expressive...Yurii had not yet experienced that unfortunate episode with the microscope where, in the general excitement over the quaint- looking apparatus, he took a misstep and fell from the table where all five where fighting tooth and nail for the best position to touch the microscope, their first actual encounter a real post-Leeuwenhoek model. Joshua the toddler was asserting himself, fighting for his own niche. Xavier, on the other hand, already had a serious air about him, despite well-spaced mischief... Is there a song written for these unforgettable growing-up days where children grow as fast as mongo seeds?



Monday, August 13, 2007

Grandpa's Friends

Handsome and well-chiseled faces, immaculate clothes...

La Mer II

The sea beckons like a mother to a child lost in the unfamiliarity and confusion of life. A magnetic, primeval attachment, an invinsible umbilical cord that binds us to our humble origins, an inextricable past... la mer as the French would call her, a matriarchal haven for distressed souls...

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Paco Park, 1974

Maynard, Nelson, Roy, myself, and Alfredo. There comes a time in one's life when you feel most invincible - failure or sickness or any ill event is hardly ever imagined. Success is certain and death is unknown or outside the sphere of existence...


Saturday, August 11, 2007

Fish Harvest, Macatbong, Summer of 1977

This photograph, taken with a Kodak 135mm box-type instamatic camera, has rich painting-like tones, making it one of my old favorites. Even the posing gives that 'moment- snatched' effect.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Saccharine Nordic Beauty


Donna S, Finnish-Norwegian friend who encouraged me greatly to continue with the ardous task of unrelenting study and adjustment in first year medical school when she was studying to become a nurse. There were no cellphones then and the texting phenomenon was still a long way off...Letters handwritten in ink and handcrafted gifts were regularly exchanged, low-tech but exuding a sweetly familiar scent, human warmth and tenderness unlike the cold and impersonal liquid crystal 
display...

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Our Time Will Come ! Remembering Tatay...

Gutsy and full of spunk, this fighting pair is ready to claw its way to the top of the heap in life's arena where relations are conveniently forgotten... It is sad but it is real - Darwin was right all the time (survival of the fittest), Steinbeck too when he said that a man can be great and kind but he must get there first ! Grrrrr...
On this sad day we remember with fondness our dear Tatay ( who always said blood is thicker than water) who will surely be proud of us when we finally win our biggest battle !

Sunday, August 5, 2007

La Mer

Pacific Ocean, Dingalan, Aurora Province. Joshua and Max and a playmate reenact man's adventurous inclinations.

Nadine and our 40-year old indian mango tree

Time flies so fast. It really seems just like yesterday when as kids we used to frolic in these very familiar surroundings. Every tree was known to us and the time of fruit-bearing was greatly anticipated. Mangoes, guavas, camachile, duhat, and tamarind were regular fare. We knew like the palms of our hands every nook and cranny, even where the birds wove their nests and regaled us with their birdsongs and multi-colored eggs, which we poached once in awhile. We were one with nature, albeit with the characteristic "amoy-araw" after a day's rambling through thickets and rocks, cogonal patches and rivulets, where the trickling of clear water was a familiar and soothing sound. We collected flowers and leaves, seeds, fruits, mushrooms and marveled at nature's rich diversity. Spiders, snails, cocoons, butterflies, colorful birds, fish, damselflies and dragonflies, crickets and beetles were a regular treat. Occasional encounters with wasps and ants and the inevitable wheals they made were considered a normal part of such pulses of activity. At night when we moved about in gasera-lit rooms, a peek through the windows would reveal steady lights from distant houses and flickering stars and fireflies. Under one mosquito net we dreamt after recounting the day's misadventures amidst the incessant croaking of frogs and soporific hum of cicadas...


Grandfather's College Days

Gregorio Espinoza (back row, fifth from left) and classmates at the University of Manila College of Law. Note the posing characteristic of a bygone era. An air of seriousness, direction, and purpose. Isn't it true that those who sneer at these now rare traits actually do not possess these characteristics and are merely sourgraping and rationalizing their mediocrity?

Mother

It's really sad to see an old ancestral home give way to the inroads of modernization, something which many people mistake for progress. In this magical kingdom I had secret hiding places where everything seemed big and I was small, dwarfed by the walls, cabinets, chairs and tables from which emanated a distinctive woodsy scent complimented by the sweet smell of camia and ilang-ilang flowers picked by trusty and reliable Nana Bina, our man Friday who stayed with us until her death. When I came back to visit before it was remodeled, the walls, cabinets, chairs and tables did not appear big any longer and I kept on wondering how in the world could they have appeared so huge compared to myself?

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Ramos Brood Minus Myself

This picture, which I took using a box-type Kodak instamatic camera, must have been taken in the mid-70's.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Juana Afan, Maternal Grandmother


When I am dead, my dearest,
Sing no sad songs for me:
Plant thou no roses at my head,
Nor shady cypress tree.
Be the green grass above me
With showers and dewdrops wet:
And if thou wilt, remember
And if thou wilt, forget.

I shall not see the shadows,
I shall not feel the rain;
I shall not hear the nightingale
Sing on, as if in pain:
And dreaming through the twilight
That doth not rise nor set,
Haply I may remember,
And haply may forget.
-Christina Rossetti "Song"

Silent Beauty, Macatbong

Silent Beauty, Macatbong
The pond is teeming with freshwater fish. The trees in the background are home to brightly colored avians and occasional migratory birds. Ramos Pond is Eden revisited !