The Surgeon's Logbook

surgery + medicine + photography + food + travel


Trips & Travels

Road Trip to Palaui (January 2010)

A crosspost from my old repository of memories of the past, a.k.a. my Multiply site. For those who are unfamiliar, Multiply was THE thing during our med school years — everyone was on multiply, posting albums and albums of pictures, notes/blogs. This was our home, our network away from our books and transes. Of course these all happened before everyone jumped-ship to FB, and before multiply became the E-STORE that it is now.

But even now that multiply’s hayday is over, I still maintain my multiply site from time to time. I uploaded almost all of the pictures I took from years 2004-2009, making my site my virtual hard drive, a back-up system.

Hence this post. A glimpse of a memory made last January 2010, when my high school friends and I made a tireless journey up north (all 600 KM of it!) and returned in just 2 1/2 days!


January 1-3, 2010

Palaui Island & Anguib Beach in Sta Ana, Cagayan
Callao Caves in Penablanca, Cagayan
Magat Dam in Isabela

Moviefriends’ Roadtrip to the North! This is actually our second long-haul drive to the north, the first one was our Ilocos adventure last 2005 (grabe, 5 years ago?). But since Meiling, who now secretly does research for a super secret IT company in Japan, came home, of course we needed to travel! By hook or by crook, kahit san man, kailangan matuloy!

Pero sa totoo lang, muntik nang di matuloy. Just 2 days before our departure date of JANUARY 1 (of all days, kailangan New Year talaga, haha) we still didn’t have a place to go to. On the top of our list was Baler, Aurora to do surfing and whatnot. But I soon found out that we needed a 4×4 to go there dahil nasira daw yung daan dahil sa Ondoy. Ok, so Aurora was crossed-out from our list. I suggested we drive to Banaue Rice Terraces instead and do spelunking in Sagada after. Well, gusto pa rin ata nilang magbeach so kailangan may beach.

We still did not have any destination until 1 day before leaving, I browsed my handy Travel Map of the Philippines (thanks Maan! <3) and saw that in the Northeastern most tip of Luzon is where Palaui island is located, the game fishing capital of the Philippines, and it also has a lot of tourist activities like snorkeling and a nearby whitesand-like-Bora beach. I researched the place in the net and saw this:

We’re definitely going there!

We left QC around 10PM on the first day of 2010, armed with a CD of 17 of JA’s latest mixes (including Party in the USA of Miley Cyrus, haha) and of course the Glee soundtrack (unending “Just a small town girl…”), and much of Eheads and other 90’s music, we traversed the NLEX-SCTEX-Tarlac-Nueva Ecija-Nueva Viscaya-Isabela-Cagayan route eventually arriving at San Vicente, Cagayan (the jump off point to our destination – Palaui Island) at around 11AM of January 2! Not bad. 642km in 12 hours = ~50kph, ang bagal pala namin, hahaha.

Continue reading “Road Trip to Palaui (January 2010)”


Early Morning

White Beach

I’d gladly wake up early every morning if only I’d see this every day. 🙂

Island Doctoring

Island Doctoring

Being an island doctor in boracay has its ups and downs. Yeah, you work close to the one of the best beaches in the world, but the myriad of cases that you see can leave you dumbfounded at times. I’ve seen AGE and otitis media left and right, as well as the usual SVI and URTI, but its them trauma and difficult IM cases that really gets you. Lack of the usually taken-for-granted imaging and labs in PGH makes you think: what else can I do to manage these patients?

A great learning experience especially in the symptomatic treatment, and a very humbling experience too.

All In a Month

Exactly 1 month ago, I learned about one of the happiest, most thrilling, and most fulfilling news in my life: I passed the medical board exams! I’ve been writing in this blog some of my ups and downs while reviewing for the boards in hopes of laughing all about it once I learned that I eventually passed. After nearly banging your head on the wall, and crying your heart out while hearing mass EVERY SUNDAY, or even hearing mass on NON-SUNDAYS, you then hear yourself say, “It’s not so bad after all.” Seems to me that all the hard work in (trying) studying every single second from June to August, and near-crazy moments then have all been reduced now to small absurd memories.

It’s funny, and sad at the same time, how badly I wanted to treasure those feelings of self doubt and trepidation while reviewing so that I’d be able to appreciate my dream of passing better, and then, as soon as I learned about the results, to totally forget all the hardwork I’ve put myself through.

Well, maybe its just me and my forever trouble with memory (the reason why I take lots of pictures and write in this blog). Or perhaps its just a phase. I’m still in cloud nine, even after a months time. Still too ecstatic to look back and remember the nullest of the null times, and too delirious to accept the future. I feel like I’ve been in a whirlwind of events, and trying my hardest to grow and mature. And sooner than I think, I’ll be yet again earth-rocketing myself back to ground and start anew. Passing the boards was never the end. As cliche as it may sound, it was just the beginning of a new chapter.

But before I delve unto THIS NEXT CHAPTER, let me first rundown on what I’ve been up to (no good, surely, haha) for the past month.


As soon as the boards ended, the partying started. Five straight days of partying with friends, classmates, brods and sisses! Siympre palaging kaladkarin, or, taga-kaladkad, kaya laging nakakainom. Haha.

Day 1 (Sunday) – Koi Bar (wherelse!!) with Bigaten Substance Abuse Group (BSAG)
Day 2 (Monday) – Koi Bar (no kidding?!) with BSAG (again!)
Day 3 (Tuesday) – Central (wow, change of venue!) drank the BadTrip pitcher, kasi badtrip kami nito, after hearing about the EFFIN’ FALSE ALARM. Hay nako.
Day 4 (Wednesday) – Guess where? Koi Bar! This was the night the results came out! with brods and sisses on the 2nd floor and BSAG sa labas
Day 5 (Thursday) – I forget. Hehe. But I think this is at Koi with brods. haha
Day 6 – And on the 6th Day, I rested, went home at QC and slept. The party animal needs some shut eye afterall.
Day 7 (Saturday) – another party, this time birthday & celebration party by Miya @ Limbo Bar, Fort

Miya's Party @ Limbo


So what was I doing just before the results came out? I spent the whole afternoon with the Disc Doctors, our class’ Ultimate Frisbee Team, who gets to play only by the command of our punong matres Sonny. Haha. 🙂 We knew that the results would come out anytime that evening, so we hurriedly ate dinner together at Shakey’s Katipunan for us to get home in time for THE RESULTS. Well, we didn’t expect that the results would come out THAT EARLY!!! Binky called Myx at around 6:50 PM telling him that the results were out and that he passed! Myx then asked Binky to check our names too as everyone were all frantically screaming-crying-texting anyone we knew who could also check. I, on the other hand, had my Macbook ready, connected it to the net…and *tried* to check. Myx called out each of us in alphabetical order…then I heard it: “Ge! PASOK KA!!!” as if I won in a noon-time game show. I felt numbness…then hot flushes…then PURE ECSTASY. I never felt that kind of happiness and relief ever in my life! All I can muster to tell myself was: Thank you Lord.  Myx then proceeded the “roll call” and as they say…the rest was history.

Sonny & Alric battling it out on the field!

Never have I imagined that I’d be spending that evening with the rest of my classmates. Since the board review started, everyone were already thinking where would they spend THE NIGHT. Some would opt to just be by themselves, turn off their phones, and just wait the next morning for the barrage of Congratulations! and You made it! Some saw their night as spending it with family. The most excited ones would like to do a vigil and wait for the list to come out on the net. Well, I initially saw that night to be spent at my home in QC, asking my sister to check it for me…if I got in, then we’ll all be happy at home! If I didn’t then at least I’d be safe from all the judgement, since I’m with my family. Who knew that Shakey’s Katipunan would be forever etched in the hearts of the 13 of us who found out that we passed the single most important exam in our medical career! Thank you to the Mojos & Dip, and the Chicken and Pizza. And also, thank you to the Top 5  JP Esteban for the gracious treat!!! It was a major major celebration for you! 😀

The 13 Disc Doctors who wrote history at Shakeys Katipunan


Celebratory Cake from Chocolate Kiss! Yum!

Earlier that afternoon, Ate Mimi asked me to buy her Dayap Cake from Chocolate Kiss. Little did I know that she wanted me to buy the cake so that when I came home, they’d be the one to surprise me with the news. It was sort of anti-climactic since my mom apparently already knew that I passed earlier that afternoon and she already told everyone at the house. Well, since it was time for a big big celebration, I still went to Chocolate Kiss to buy us some cake! Dayap was not available, but hey, my favorite Devil’s Food Cake was, so…I was extremely happy!


We partied our hearts out that night at Koi. It was really time for celebration! All the hard work paid off, and now we really get to call ourselves doctors in the truest sense. The lawyers must have it worse, the waiting takes 6 months before the results come out. At least sa amin 3 days lang. Hehe.

The next morning, Jae and the rest of Medchoir 2010 went to Tagaytay to devour the lunch buffet at Sonya’s Garden. It was Jae’s birthday treat for us, and also our reunion with one of our most missed medchoir ate, Ate Joy! It was a great afternoon filled with fun, pictures, and food. A great way to spend the first day after the board results!

Oh Hey You. - Dada & Ate Joy enjoying posing for my camera.
The birthday celebrant Jae and the girls of Medchoir 2010
Ate Joy missed posing for the camera, bawal kasi sa kanila!
Trinia: One of my favorite models/talents/guinea pigs!

Trinia, my forever blockmate since 1st year med, is always ready for the camera. Kahit anong pose ipagawa ko, she’ll gladly do it. Haha. I am actually her talent manager, so if you want to book her for your weddings/photoshoots, just give me a call and we’ll talk. Hahaha.


Sorry, this is just about it for now. I had to make this two-part since I have to sleep early because pre-residency will start at 8AM today, September 19. Probably wouldn’t get to update until pre-residency is over next month. Hehe. So again, good bye for now!

Phi 2010 goes to Tagaytay!

June 15, 2010

Pink Sisters

It all started when Gera eagerly wanted to have a small holiday – a break from board review. Sa Tagaytay daw, para maiba naman. Tutal nandun naman ang Pink Sisters, we could go on a PILGRIMAGE to pray for our intentions, primarily for our passing the boards! Turns out, the image of Our Lady of Manaoag was also there! Plus, a side trip to Calaruega would be a nice opportunity for muni-muni a.k.a. “reflection”. Hence, the small holiday became a HUMONGOUS holiday, and an EARLY MORNING holiday at that. Hahaha!

Met up at around 5am sa Pagkalma, waited for Alvin Chu (never fails…haha) until 6am, breezed through SLEX and finally arriving at Tagaytay around 8am. No traffic! The BEST! Hehe.

We went through our itinerary, prayed hard, wrote our intentions, photo-ops here and there, tsimis time all the time (haha!), climbed the steps towards the Caleruega Church, felt real ANGINA while doing so haha (paging Alvin Chu!), stopped over at Mushroom Burger for Maan’s mushrooms, just in time for LUNCH at Carlos Pizza @ 1045AM! Haha, ang bilis namin. We’re not used to going out of town in the MORNING, haha. Went back to Manila at 1pm arrived a little past 3, in time for our “short-time” with our beds and afternoon nap. Hehehe!

Carlos Pizza, Tagaytay
Lunch @ 1045AM!

Even if we lost around 12 hours of “precious” studying time just to travel to Tagaytay, forgetting everything about the board review even just for a little while; spending time with and talking to REAL people (especially your batchmates!) and not with people whose names end with Katzung, Robbins or Snell; laughing or crying (with tears!) at REAL jokes and hirits, and not because you don’t understand how amino acids are broken down, made the trip all worth it!

Mel, Kathy, Reci, Nikki & Bjay, we all missed you! Hehe. Next time, complete uli! Hahaha.

So, san na tayo gigimik on August 15? Araw-araw na inuman na yan!

Let’s go for 100%! We can do this!

Welcome Back!

After such a long hiatus I think I’m never ever going to find a way to maintain a blog again. My last post here was more than a year ago, and that was when I PROMISED myself that I’d be updating constantly during internship. I even had my blog transferred here at WordPress from blogger in the hopes that a change in atmosphere would inspire me to write more. Boooo to me and my toxicity — or lack thereof? I mean PGH Internship was really hard, doing things you don’t really have to do but you need to do it since there’s no one else but you. BUT it wasn’t as hard as I expected it to be. In fact, I even enjoyed most parts of it! I think it was the best year out of my 7 years in med school! I had free time to do whatever I wanted, like travel, go to the beach, photography, watch movies and TV series, and blogging was not at the top of my list.

A little fast-forward to June 12, 2010. Aside from being the Philippines’ Independence Day, today is my 12th day of reviewing for the boards! In my nearly two weeks of easy-reading review, I covered much of Biochemistry, Microbiology and currently finishing up Physiology! I need to start on the HARD subjects like Patho and Pharma and Anatomy next week so I can finish my first reading by the end of June! I hope I do keep my schedule intact!

My usual day starts at around 8 or 9AM when Maan starts to wake me up y calling me constantly on my CP. Hehe. I eventually (and finally!) get out of bed and start to study (read, hilight and write notes on my review books) until lunch. I sometimes eat a heavy BRUNCH first, then skip lunch all together (my usual routine is going to Jollibee Faura to eat my favorite Tapa meal!). Maan and I then study together after lunch until we go to their place before dinner where her mom prepares a sumptuous meal for all of us! (Thank you!) After dinner we study at home or at our secret coffee shop somewhere in Malate (hehe, maingay kasi sa iba, dun sa secret place namin tahimik) or go to Starbucks UN or Coffee Bean Rob. Sometimes, pag kaya pa, I extend my studying hours until 2-3AM pero pag masakit na ulo ko from information overload, I stop and sleep.


One word: PATAY!

I hope retention does really kick in ASAP! Some say you can’t really test that you’ve retained much until the boards! Hay…good luck talaga.

I started blogging again so I can vent feelings, frustrations and share experiences during my board review. Promise, nakakabaliw talagang mag-aral 16 hours a day! I need a break from all the books, pens and hilighters. I hope this does good. 🙂


Later I’ll be witnessing Tina Tan & Doc Dom Cariaga’s wedding! Tina is a great friend of mine since our Intarmed days. Grabe, ikakasal na siya! Advanced congratulations Tina! =)


Gusto ko din ibalik ang tradition ko of POP (a.k.a. Photo of the Post) where I get to post a picture everytime I post something here. Hehe. =) Pero kaya kasing magpost ng GALLERY dito sa WordPress, so gallery na lang! Here it is:

This was our very recent, ONCE IN A LIFETIME, experience at Amanpulo Resort, Pamalican Island, Palawan! As I stated on the description of my facebook album:

The greatest way to celebrate two things: 1) finishing 7 years of med school, and 2) 6 years of love!

Maan and I were very fortunate to “hitch” with the Andres Soriano Foundation in their annual medical mission at the Quiniluban group of islands near Cuyo, Palawan. In return of our free consultations and service, we were pampered, treated and got to stay for 5 days at the very exclusive Amanpulo Resort in Pamalican Island! To maintain its exclusivity, you need a private jet to get there! Sosyal kung sosyal, hehe, and we got there for free! =)

Probably the best beach I’ve ever been to, the sand is even whiter and finer than in Boracay! Service is more than excellent! And the views? Mapapa-nganga ka na lang sa ganda. Truly breathtaking!

Rald, signing out!

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