Sunday, October 16, 2016

CFC and Beyond

For a month,  I enrolled myself to a certification program called Certified Financial Consultant,  from September 10 through October 15, 2016, every Saturday.

During thr last week of my course,  something bad happened to Dupong,  my college classmate and one of the bestfriends,  and he was confined at the Perpetual Succor in Cebu City.  I decided to fly to Cebu with another friend, Magelle Labrador-Resullar,  to check the real score of Dupong's health.

I gathered that when Dupong returned to work on October 2 from a month-long festivity in our home province,  he complained of headaches.  It was said that he used to request head massage and fell asleep on his desk after, for 3 consecutive days. It was Wednesday when he did not report to work that everyone wondered, texted him,  and called his phones. He didn't answer them except for his mother, who called that day to inform him of the fire incident in their hometown. His mother wondered about his indifferent reaction, hearing only "uhm, uhm" as answers. mama then called her cousins in Surigao to check on Dupong. When some of them arrived,  they found him lying on his bed almost naked, emaciated and unrecognizable. Dupong even did not recognize them,  staring blankly. They relayed that he was muted and wasted. They immediately called an ambulance and rushed him to the nearest hospital.

Mama and Fr. Ronan, Dupong's brother, arrived early on Thursday and upon seeing his condition decided to fly him to Cebu. At the local's Miranda Hospital, he was diagnosed of meningitis. At Perpetual Succor, he was subjected to CT Scan and brain MRI. It was later found that some nodules have grown in his brain; around 4 nodes.

He was disoriented when we arrived but teary-eyed seeing me. That time he was able to move the digits of his fingers and count them imperfectly. His conversation was left at midsentence. I pitied him,  having all these tubes connecting him and the machines. It was never an attractive sight, hospital is not a good place to be in, much less an ICU patient. I felt strange, as if I am not a nurse.

Anyway,  I inquired that the physician incharged of infectious disease was ruling out the meningitis diagnosis; the neuro-surgeon was advising a brain surgery; the oncologist was demanding a biopsy and all.

Everyone who knew Dupong was praying for his fast recovery and indeed he was recovering remarkably. Within days he was conscious,  able to converse although limited,  and ambulatory. I observed this progress within the weekend I was there.

Mama and Fr. Ronan were reluctant about the brain surgery insisted by the assigned neuro-surgeon. Then the Bishop of Surigao Diocese recommended transferring Dupong to Cardinal Santos Medical Center in Manila. I heard from my friend and mentor,  Ma'am Stella Salas that this hospital specializes in neuro-surgery. She relayed to me the successful operation of her husband who also have brain tumor,  with gamma knife.

Dupong stayed at Cardinal Santos Medical Center from October to November end. I visited him along with more collegemates and friends. We found him recuperating faster than expected. He underwent the known gamma knife operation after having finally diagnosed of multiple abscesses in the brain, but not due to meningitis. He has negative results in all tests and procedures,  no cancerous cells,  and that the pus was shrinking with the medications, up to oral meds.

We strolled with him around SM Mall of Asia before he went home to Surigao to spend Christmas with more families and friends who were so excited to see him back and well.

I hope that he would totally recover from his illness,  which is a unique case, kind of weird,  scary, and of course, expensive.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

May Bakasyon, May Big Celebration

As scheduled, our family readied for the summer vacation.

En and I followed Mama Dulcing, Jun my brother-in-law, and Baby WanWan on May 14. They went on May 8 ahead of us for Mama to vote the May 9 National Election and for Jun to celebrate their home-barangay fiesta with his family. Following the same route, we flew to Butuan airport and was picked up by our nephew Entoy, accompanied by Jun and WanWan. We drove to straight to Surigao  finalized all preparations with Ate Emily for May 15 celebrations, from spices to desserts, before proceeding home to Anao-aon Surigao del Norte.

May 15 marked a day of many celebrations, plenty to be grateful for. Our whole family commemorated the First Death Anniversary of Papa Tantong. His younger sister, Auntie Tina and Velarde family came to join us. That day also was a Thanksgiving Blowout of Atty. Entoy, our oldest nephew from our oldest brother Daniel and Ate Mely who passed the Bar Exam held in November 2015 which results had just been released in April 2016. It was also the Feast day of San Isidro Labrador, the patron saint of farmers like Papa Tantong. And on that day, our Auntie Sidra, our father's youngest sister, celebrated her 56th birthday.

All my friends I invited came. It was very memorable to accept back to our fold one of my long lost friend, Victor Ortiz whom I cut communications with after some business issues. Refer to previous articles. That was also the very first day for a very long time that I joined with friends to go to Parang, Gigaquit that celebrated the fiesta during nighttime amidst heavy rains and thunderstorms in order to visit my ever dearest Madam Rebecca Febrero, our dean during my Accountancy years in St Paul University Surigao.

Our family vacation lasted until May 20 and in between I attended more parties like the birthday of my friend and a MBA professor, Windrow Bugas on May 18 and my cousin Manang Neneng Candia's on May 19.

We also enjoyed going to the beach, like on May 16, we talked to the nearest Punong Beach to witness the marvelous sunset and on May 19, we spent the whole day sunbathing at Looc Pebble  Beach.

Other than visiting Papa Tantong's tomb, I also offered flowers and lit candles to the sisters, Tweet and Caca Lozada's tombstones. They were both my dear friends in Surigao, who both died of Lupus Erythematosus (?).

And on May 20, while Mama and En went to Butuan ahead of me to process their passports with DFA Butuan, I met with more lady-friends, Juris, Annabel and Manang Lolong (Liza and Nanan were absent but we three were together during the trip to Parang) and treated them to a coffee and pastries at Figura in Gaisano Surigao. I joined Mama and En at  Dotties Hotel in Butuan where we passed the night before flying back to Manila early the following morning.

Monday, April 11, 2016


To account for my week's facebook updates while in Taiwan, here we Go:

April 3 - My 2016 adventures started with Taiwan, in the cities of Taoyuan and Taipei, to accompany the Go Family, headed by my dearest classmate and friend, Ruth Arienza-Go. It was indeed a family affair staying at Manang Rhona's residence in Taoyuan City (Manang Rhona is Ruth older sister who married a Taiwanese), with Nanay Glori (Ruth's mother), Auntie Myrna as our cook (Aunt Myrna is Ruth's aunt-in-law), and the day tours were exclusive, chaperoned by Rose (Ruth's younger sister).

Landed safe and sound... and on schedule

Chasing the time to still catch some Cherry Blossoms

April 4 - Some English translations help... But the Citizen's inability or difficulty of speaking English definitely a tourist trapper. Thanks to Manang Rhona's husband and son for the company. Kuya leads, his son translates.. Awesome tandem! 

See the world in one place at Window on China Theme Park.



Roaming around with Auntie Myrna and Rose plus the Wild Water Plunge
April 5 - Another kiddie trip in a foggy noon, feeling some nip in the air outside, traversing the almost empty superhighways. Strange feeling... Indeed, we are somewhere away from home!

Wrong timing! The zoolandians are having siesta... at Taipei Zoo. 

Catch me I'm falling... at the ravine fronting the Wulai Falls right after the waterbiking at Bitan Bridge.  

Water pedaling around the river

Viewing the Wulai Falls from a distance

April 6 - Rocks are formed by the slapping of waves plus the movement of tides, just as fate triumphed over life's challenges, through good and bad times - At Yehliu Geological Park.

Having fun with Auntie Myrna, Manang Rhona and Rose with all the formed and deformed rocks

The higher you climb, the wider your perspectives become. See the world in such light... at Taipei Tower 101. 

A view from the 89th floor of Taipei 101 Tower

Chiang Kai-Shek Monument is One place that reminds of Taiwan plus some taste of cherry blossoms. 

Caught some cherry blossoms in the area

April 7 - At Tiger Mountain, Sharing nature with a friend can be a wonderfully relaxing and invigorating experience. When you get back to your daily routines, you may find yourself daydreaming about that lovely day you spent with your friend and making mental notes about where to go next! Reference: If I Really Wanted to Be a Great Friend, I would…

Help me read the sign...

April 8 - On to unplanned tour... Hope it pays the long distance at Xinwu District...And it was an expensive disappointment! We got lost and the driver couldn't locate the Green Tunnel.

Lost and Found: We were lost but then we found this view and the beautiful bridge

Blueberry waffle with ice cream: the rewarding dinner shared merrily by friendship, sponsored by Auntie Myrna.

April 9 - Another place and another time to unleash the child in each of us at Lavender Carnival, Formosan Aboriginal Cultural Village.

A ride with an adorned train of flowers

A ride with a cable car on our way to Sun Moon Lake

Should we care about environment, preserving its natural beauty, harnessing its nature to boost fun and adventure, then everything else are green and gay. At Sun Moon Lake!

April 10 - An eat-all-you-can farewell dinner at Shian Yeou, a Shabu-shabu.

Had a very wanderful experience of Taiwan!
Room: Li's Residence - Special thanks to Manang Rhona for the place to stay for free!
Food: Li's Residence - A round of applause to Auntie Myrna for the delicious, hunger-quenching recipes!
Tours: A million miles of gratitude to Ruth Arienza and Sam Go Jr for the unlimited day tours!

UFO Drop

Gold Mine
Mayan Roller Coaster

Carribean Splash

April 11 - What you see in Taiwan is different and you can see it in me... That's the good thing about travel!

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Retired @ 40

I dreamed it to be this way, not working by the age of 40. I think it's cool to be working at my own pace, my own time, no longer under the command and control of somebody in a corporate world --- just consulting.

But I never thought this could be boring, to have nothing to work on routinely. I never thought this could be that scary, to think of many ways to raise income pr funds to defray recurring obligations. I am grateful nevertheless to be that way so that I could attend to my ailing and aging mother and my little but growing very fast niece, because we don't have househelp.

I've been jobless for more than 3 months now. Although, my last quarter of 2015 was still busy conducting series of training for the proponent groups of Philippine Rural Development Project or PRDP, a project of the Department of Agriculture, funded by The World Bank. The I-REAP component was building the capacities of the people's organizations which will benefit the project. I got a total of 4 contracts with them: Regions 1 and 3; Mindanao and Visayas.

I was confident I have saved much to pay for my car loan amortization. I was also expecting collections from the training fee I earned. But waiting is indeed painful, and uncertain. I needed to adopt this sort of earning for a living as I will be dealing with the same when practicing fully the consultancy.

So I decided to give teaching profession a second shot. I was able to obtain 18-unit load with the nearest St. Dominic Savio College in North Caloocan City. Despite the meager pay, I considered it as a way of keeping myself busy professionally. I was being paid P150.00 an hour here, versus my current rate of P1,000.00 when conducting a training.

With it came a drab and dragging month of January. In fact I celebrated my 40th birthday in a simple house party with immediate family. This was one challenging time because all of us were ill and went to the doctor for checkup and then medication followed. Another chunk off my savings.

And I was still waiting for consultancy engagements. I recently drafted a project proposal with the Provincial Government of Palawan, through its Provincial Economic Enterprise Development Office about the conduct of financial management system training for waterworks systems constructed by the province and turned over to the municipalities. That proposed 6-day training is expected to happen sometime in March or April of 2016. Then I accidentally stumbled into contracting a technical assistance program for DSWD Region 8, related to my former project with the Department of Social Welfare and Development, the Kalahi-CIDSS Project. This was about the Organizational Development and Management of completed Income-Generating Projects in select municipalities in the region. This was quite the challenging contract so far because I have prepared the project proposal indicating therein a team of experts with myself as the Team Leader.

Yet again, I was still waiting... There were more prospects. I collaborated with my former mentor, Ma'am Stella, on more water service providers which need assistance in the preparation of their Business Plans. Small jobs were also availed in collaboration with another mentor, Ms Nene.

While waiting, I preoccupied myself with preparing lessons and test question for my college classes.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Reborn @ 40

Fortieth year...
How did I fare?
Midlife I crossed,
How do I look?

At 20, got a degree;
At 25, built a decent home for mammy and pappy;
At 30, been to countries other than Phi;
At 35, bought an SUV;
At 40, am a retiree.

Crisanto, my registered name;
At home, Loloy or Junjun is my nickname;
Sant in HS, Cris in College, were my cognomen;
At work, Crissy or Cring-cring rings supreme;
Nazareno is my sacred name.

Thank you, Lord!
40 years, a grace beyond good!
Everything went dandy,
And it kept dreamy.

Thank you, God!
40 years more would be astounding,
Pray, I would live it as you willed, in your love,
And keep me counting your blessing.