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We find it hard to listen to others because we are imprisoned in our selves.


                I find it awkward to post on Sampaloc Manila when I am currently writing in Davao. These past days have been quite emotionally grueling. I never thought that Clinical Pastoral Education in a hospital could be anything harder than writing some verbatim which is just about three to four pages without footnotes. Verbatim is a recall of what transpired in our conversation with a patient. It’s like writing script. I don’t know how faithful we could get with the conversation but we try with all our might to write all we could remember.   

                What I can say is this program is a learn-as-you-go, very challenging. A nurse in our group confessed that the program is more difficult than she thought, but very fulfilling.

                The program teaches us that there’s a radical difference between “What do you think?” to “How do you feel?” approach to life. My background is philosophy. Slowly I get to see objectification as interpreting the present in terms of the past or the future. We never really see the present or live in the present exactly. Often I get to be reprimanded for being too speculative. I always lay out possibilities whenever I think and talk with the patient. Our supervisor would always remind us, stay with the patient. The most difficult process is to reach this point “More of the patient, less of ourselves.” Nay, more of the other person, less of “me.”   

                In this, I suspect, that our contemporary culture is run by capitalists earning money by feeding our ego. This is not just about social networking sites. Notice, as Calvin did, that advertisements do not actually sell products more than “attitudes.” They try to change the way we look at life, then they sell you their brand. ME generation isn’t just a product of man’s primordial impulse to be the center of attention. It is an applied science of “branding.”  


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You want food?


                Have been excited several days ago, have rushed all school requirements and facilitated meetings to leave all worries behind, for Davao. The trip is not exactly a simple get away from Manila. I will be undergoing a program on Clinical Pastoral Education at San Pedro Hospital in Davao City. My companion and I have just had our interview last Friday. And we will start on April 2.     

                We arrived here in Davao last Thursday, March 27, 2014.

                What I was excited about really was the food. When I first visited Davao around five to six years ago, I remember we were having some rice crisis back in Luzon. In stark contrast Davao city had this grill-kiosks, canteens and restaurants with big servings of food. Before Mang Inasal boomed in Manila with its unlimited-rice promo Davao city restaurants already offer unli-rice. Once taking a stroll near San Pedro Hospital I chanced upon a canteen with 99- peso-eat-all-you-can promo – did not have the chance to try it out though. At that time, where our hosts took us simply baffled us in terms of price and taste: from buffet restaurants to stalls, to ihaw-ihaw (literally grill-grill) eateries serving tuna panga (tuna’s jaw), big servings of chicken, squids and all. These stuffs cost fortune in Manila that even mid-range buffet restos pale in comparison in terms of taste, serving and freshness. When we pointed this out to our host, she said it does matter where and how animals are raised. If you are fond of sea-weeds or sea food in general, man, better go here.

                Most people, including some friends, when they think of going out of town mindful of expenses, would opt for Hong Kong or Singapore. They would buy tickets on promo which is more or less equivalent to the regular air fare for Mindanao. My advice is, resist the temptation; spend your millions here in our country – or on me if you want hehe.         

                As an aside, I remember when I was in Marinduque, my aunt served calamares (it’s fried squid) partnered with miki bihon. I asked in Tagalog, “Why are your calamares cubes, whereas calamares in Manila are served in rings?” She replied in Tagalog, “Because squids here are big.” In fact when Marinduquenos go to Manila they get shocked at bite-size squids being sold at the wet market: “Those are baby squids!”  

                             Davao is in Mindanao. Mindanao is the third biggest island in the Philippines. Forget about what you see in the news and your impression of Mindanao. Davao is relatively peaceful. Military and rebel skirmishes happen elsewhere, you know.

                Just this afternoon I walked from Abreeza mall (an Ayala mall) along J. P. Laurel street to our place. It was quite a good walk and you get to see different restaurants along the streets, and some really nice eateries.

                I could not resist this but a thought comes to mind – food shortage. If our resources are really properly managed I definitely believe, and really really sure we have enough to feed Filipinos. Food shortage never was a problem of resources it has always been a problem of mismanagement.        

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