Showing posts with label senti. Show all posts
Showing posts with label senti. Show all posts

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Sunsets: Quezon City cityscape

I have not posted on sunsets for quite some time now. It is definitely one of the things I look forward to catching even just a glimpse of. Each sunset is different from the other and there are many factors affecting these sunset views. There is the irony, of course, that pollution figures into making sunsets beautiful as it contributes to create what can be seen as marvelous colors that make sunsets dramatic.

The top floor of our office provides for a splendid, panoramic view of the sunset as the corridor acts like a balcony and faces west. Here are a couple I've taken recently:

Sunset accented by the haze about the developing Quezon City skyline. Many high rise buildings are currently under construction in the north triangle area of the city and soon this view will be full of buildings. There should be an excellent cityscape here complete with the night lights on clear nights.
Does that look like a mushroom cloud? The cloud formations can also add to the dramas of sunsets.

I have lectures scheduled in the late afternoon and my day teaching is concluded by these sunsets. One often takes these for granted but the sentimental person in me thinks we should be thankful at the end of each day for the blessings we received and the things we were able to accomplish. That, I think, is something to reflect on during the next few days of a long break (Undas) and as we get into the month of November and the latter part of this 2018.
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Monday, January 1, 2018

Farewell 2017 and Hello 2018!

With just a few hours until the new year, I looked back at a very blessed 2017. This was a very productive year for me and a momentous one. I turned 45 earlier this year and among the things I wanted to do were to travel to new places. I was able to do these with new places both international and domestic. Among my travels this year were my trips to Australia, Vietnam, and Zamboanga.

The Sydney Opera House
Ho Chi Minh City Hall and statue of the man credited for uniting Vietnam
Zamboanga City airport

I look forward to an even more exciting year ahead with new places to explore and more experiences to live. More importantly, I look forward to spending more time with family, especially our soon to be four-year old daughter who is growing and developing so fast before our eyes. Here's to life and love!

God bless us all this 2018!
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Sunday, December 10, 2017

Seiko Landmaster AGS One Piece Titanium

A valuable piece in my 'modest' collection of watches is this one I got from an Ebay auction. The first time it went on auction, the seller had to cancel all the bids since people seemed to be deliberately bidding low for this piece. I actually didn't know how it could be low since didn't even bother bidding for it because the price was already beyond my limit when I saw this online. Not surprisingly, it was again put up for auction a week later but this time, it seemed that the watch was not in many people's radars. I pounced at the chance and voila! I got a Seiko AGS that was something like a dreamwatch for me when I was a student in Yokohama and Tokyo in the 1990s. I couldn't afford this watch on my scholar's allowance back then and could only look at the watch on Akihabara displays not really hoping to get one some day.

This is my 5M45 or SBCW001
The watch face says it all...
The watch looks bulky but it is actually very light, thanks to its titanium body and bracelet.
Side view showing the  power reserve button at 2 o'clock
I had to get good lighting to have a good photo of the back where you can have some details etched on the titanium
Here's another shot of the back in better (day) light

The original watch had a 7-day power reserve based on the original capacitor. I haven't used the watch for more than a week now and its still running and the indicator goes to the maximum 7 days. My conclusion was that the seller already had the capacitor changed on the watch now has the more advanced 14-day capacitor. Unlike my other Kinetic watch, this one doesn't stop to hibernate so I wanted to continue to observe its charge limit until I checked the specs provided by the seller. It confirmed my suspicion that the capacitor had been changed and the watch now has  6-month power reserve. I am very happy with this watch that keeps good time and something I can wear rain or shine, in storms or in the water (20 bar or 200m water resistance and a screw crown), in hot or cold weather. It kind of reminded me of my marriage as we celebrated our 15 years last week. :)

[Note:  The movement caliber and case code on this watch is 5M45-6A01 with a serial number 760054. Based on the Seiko Production Date Calculator, this watch is likely to have been manufactured in June of 1997, my first summer in Japan. - 7/18/2018]
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Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Titus vintage watch

I have a memory of my father purchasing a watch back in the 1970s. It was an automatic watch as he didn't like the manual winding ones. He also at the time probably didn't fancy the quartz watches that were then becoming popular since these were not as highly regarded as the automatics and manual winds (old school?). Tatay liked this watch and Mama knew this as she even had the watch repaired perhaps more than a couple of times than I remember. That watch was a Titus and was lost somehow. Maybe it got lost when we had our home renovated in the 1990s while I was studying in Japan.

And so I tried to look for a Titus that resembled the one Tatay had. I found several watches at vintage watch pages on Facebook. I fancied some and bid for a couple that I thought resembled the one my father had before, minus the steel bracelet that was quite unique for watches back in the day. Tatay doesn't like the gold stuff so those models were definitely out. It had to have a silver or white face.

I finally found one and it did take a little luck to win it in an auction. I guess others who were usually active in auctions didn't fancy Titus watches so I got this one cheap.

Old Titus automatic watch with day and date features with a leather strap.
A close up of the watch face shows its age and some wear and tear. The day function is consistent with the late 60s to early 70s when 'President' models were popular after the original popularized by Rolex.
Titus' logo on the crown
Back of the watch showing the company name, Solvil et Titus, which was originally a Swiss brand. Titus and many other smaller Swiss watch companies suffered from the rise of quartz watches in the 1970s. The quartz movements were battery-powered and were more accurate than many of the manuals and automatics, and were a lot cheaper and therefore affordable to most people wanting to have a watch. Solvil et Titus is now Hong Kong-based and while retaining the brand and perhaps the quality of watchmaking, is no longer considered a Swiss brand.
Watch on my wrist

I used it a few times before it stopped and I notice something seemed to be amiss with the crown and adjustments. I could adjust the day and the date properly and when I attempted to at least restart the watch, it wasn't 'charging' properly and stopped soon and quite frequently. I took it to a watch repair shop where they opened the watch and discovered a corroded crown that was affecting. This was among my concerns when I bought the watch. It is actually risky in the sense that you really don't know how long these will function well and if they bog down, if you will be able to have them repaired. And will there be spare parts for the watch? It is still with the repair shop and hopefully they can find a replacement or fix the crown soon as I intend to give the watch to my father as a present on his 79th birthday this coming December 1.
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Thursday, April 13, 2017

Maundy Thursday musings

Maundy or Holy Thursdays these days don't really feel like what is was many years ago. For one, people seem to be no longer going to the churches for religious purposes. People appear to go on Visita Iglesia these days more like tourists rather than the faithful on pilgrimage. This is evidenced by the massive amount of selfies and other posts on churches and other religious places visited today and tomorrow. In other words, its more for show than for one to strengthen one's relationship with God. Do you really have to take a photo and post about the church on social media real time? Do you really have to "check-in" wherever you are tonight as you go for your seven churches?

Then of course there are the travelers who take advantage of the long week off to hie away to a resort somewhere in the country or abroad. I'm sure everyone's social media accounts have lots on their newsfeed about friends or acquaintances posts of beaches, resorts, hotel rooms, airports, train stations and others about travel and tourism. It's peak season for tourism facilities in the Philippines and those who can afford to travel do so to escape the heat and other discomforts of Metro Manila never mind how inconvenient the travels would be between their homes and their destinations of choice.

In my case, I have preferred to stay at home during these times of the year. While catching up on work is tempting (I have lots of exam papers to correct.), it seems inappropriate to do that during these holidays. Instead, the Clairvoyant and I have done some housekeeping, clearing various stuff from our cabinets, drawers and other storage. We've also taken the opportunity to spend quality time with our daughter and checking on our parents. That, I believe, is more valuable than going around or somewhere during the Holy Week.

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Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Farewell to another mentor and friend - Prof. Leonardo Q. Liongson

I was a bit in disbelief when I first got a message from a close friend that another mentor, later colleague and friend, passed away. There seemed to be too many deaths the past weeks with a beloved aunt and an uncle passing away only last month. I had to check for myself about the news despite my impeccable source. 

Prof. Leonardo Q. Liongson passed away last April 5. He was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer a few years ago and chose to live his remaining years with his capacity for wonder and discovery as if he was a much younger person. A renowned Academician, he was our teacher in hydrology. That was CE 110 to us, which was the first major course in a series of Water Resources Engineering subjects. He was a good teacher and a very serious one. We didn't get to see his lighter side until after I joined the faculty and I discovered how kind he was as well as his intelligent sense of humor. Before he retired, our institute had already submitted documents for him to recognized as Professor Emeritus. He was very much qualified for this recognition but unfortunately some people at the university did not agree. This, for us, was unusual considering the university had recognized others before whose accomplishments were definitely less.

Here are a few photos of Prof. Leony from a few years ago. Many of us like to remember him as the photographer/documenter of our activities at the institute (and previously department). He was always with his trusty cameras, which were the good model point-and-shoots.

Prof. Leony (in red) with Transportation Engineering faculty of the Institute of Civil Engineering during the ICE 2015 Christmas Party
Prof. Leony (left) with junior faculty of the ICE and Alumni Engineers at the ICE 2014 Christmas Party

I recall I've had a lot of interesting conversations with Prof. Leony. He can talk about anything under the sun. We shared an interest in trains and bridges and he was very happy to share a lot of stories and photos he collected about trains and bridges here and abroad. His wisdom from his many years teaching and researching will be missed. Paalam Prof. Leony. You made the world and the country better with your work on water resources, and we will all miss your company! You will always be a Professor Emeritus for us at ICE and the College of Engineering.
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Saturday, March 4, 2017

A sad start for the month of March

A week and a half ago, we were struck hard with news of a beloved aunt, Nay Nene, the elder sister of my father, being hit by a jeepney in Iloilo. She has since been transferred from the ER to the ICU where she survives, albeit miraculously, and is still in critical condition. As I write this, relatives are trying to figure out how to go about paying the hospital bills and transferring her to the district hospital (she's currently in a hospital in the city) closer to our home there. From the looks of it, her case will be one that will be lingering for a while. Although it is a sensitive matter, the mounting costs will definitely be a major concern as this is the sort of situation that could drain a family's resources. Whether she fully recovers or not, we expect some difficult times ahead, especially emotionally and even perhaps spiritually.

Now comes news of an uncle, Tito Froi, the younger brother of my mother-in-law, having a severe asthma attack and went into coma almost immediately. He only recently flew to New Zealand to visit his son's family. The latter recently had a baby, the first grandchild of our uncle from any of his children. And so it came as a big surprise to a lot of people especially his siblings that this would suddenly happen. As I write this, his son, a nurse in Auckland, would have had the prognosis from the doctors. He would have to make what we think is an extremely painful decision to let go. The asthma attack starved his father's brain and heart of oxygen, and there have been too much damage for him to recover. We await for news from New Zealand but the Clairvoyant is now en route to their home in Novaliches to talk to and comfort her mother and aunts who have congregated there and now stricken with grief about the situation.

We thought February was a sad month because of what happened to Nay Nene. We truly didn't expect it to be sadder with what happened to Tito Froi. Very recently, too, a couple of friends lost their mothers, both mainly due to lingering illnesses. We can only pray for them and ask for our Creator to comfort loved ones they left behind. We can only beg the Lord for mercy on their souls and by His grace that they be with Him in heaven.
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Sunday, November 27, 2016

Sunday comics

I used to look forward to the newspaper delivered on Sundays at our home in Cainta. Tatay subscribed to a daily and still purchases newspapers though not everyday but usually on weekends. Though there are many good articles to read on weekend issues and some probably look forward to the Classified Ads of one newspaper, I always first try to look for the comics section.

The Philippine Star's Sunday Comics section makes my day.
I remember that there used to be a lot of good strips and not just the syndicated ones from abroad (Calvin and Hobbes, Peanuts, Dilbert, BC, The Phantom, Garfield, etc.) but those by local cartoonists including Larry Alcala, Nonoy Marcelo and, of course, Pol Medina, Jr. More recent is the strip by Manix Abrera. I still enjoy these strips a lot though I now go to the internet for my daily diet of humor.
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Sunday, October 2, 2016

Old photos: Cabatuan, Iloilo

My old Pentax camera had a panorama feature that I liked to use even though it cost me more whenever I had these developed and printed. I remember I had a collection of panoramic photos but most of the negatives and prints didn't survive Ketsana's (Ondoy's) floods. One of the early panorama photos I took was of my father's hometown of Iloilo from atop the Balik hill the town uses as Mt. Calvary for its Lenten activities. I recall that my cousins and I just finished climbing the hill together with hundreds of others and marveled at the view of the town. I made sure to get a panoramic shot and it sure seemed the most appropriate to take as a souvenir back then. It still is now.

Cabatuan town as seen from atop Balik hill - the most identifiable landmark is at center left, the centuries old Catholic Church at the town plaza

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Saturday, October 1, 2016

Old photos: Kegon no taki, Nikko National Park

I'm starting a new series of posts featuring photos I've taken quite some time ago. These are photos I took with my old camera, using good old film. My first camera was a Pentax 140mm point and shoot that had many other features. I got it during my first visit to Japan in February 1996. I remember I got it for about 36,000 yen or about 12,000 pesos given the exchange rate at the time. The camera survives today and I plan to use it again to take more photos. I just need to get me some film.

This is a panoramic photo of Kegon Falls I took sometime in 1997 during my only trip to Nikko National Park. I was actually invited to Utsunomiya University by a Dr. Mamoru Nagai, who was a Visiting Professor at the University of the Philippines Diliman when I was a newly hired faculty member there. When he learned that I was in Japan as a post graduate student, he invited me and a good friend to visit his university. His main researches were on transport and tourism and after some research presentations at his laboratory, we headed out to Nikko National Park. We stayed there overnight and enjoyed its onsen (hot spring spa). We also did some pretty serious hiking to see the various waterfalls, springs, lakes and other features of the national park.

Kegon no taki
I have been able to recover negatives from that first 'expedition' in Japan in 1997. I will be posting those soon. I think this trip to Nikko and others like it around Japan were among my most memorable. It's a good thing that I have some left despite the losses due to the Typhoon Ketsana in 2009.
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Thursday, August 11, 2016

Paalam Kuya Andy!

I first met Kuya Andy at his wedding with my first cousin Ate Judy. That was at the St. Vincent De Paul Church in Manila, which was the church of Adamson University where my cousins from my father's side graduated. The Kuya Andy I knew was a cheerful, easygoing fellow who easily made friends and apparently could charm his way through problems or obstacles that came his way. 

He was quick to warm up to his new relatives from his marriage to my cousin and we all enjoyed his company and his humor. I remember them always visiting my parents' home during Christmas Day as we had our annual family gathering in Cainta, usually with my close relatives from my mothers' side and my cousins families from my father's side. We enjoyed good food and drink, exchanged many amusing stories and experiences often with laughter, and played chess. He was a good player and we often joked about us pulling back and often ending up drawing our matches much to the disappointment of our cousins and uncles who couldn't figure who was the better player between us. 

He was also a strong drinker though not as strong as one cousin and another cousin-in-law and my uncle who were seamen. He always knew his limit and Tatay would just give him a bottle of good whiskey as pabaon. Always respectful, he always feigned shyness while accepting the bottle. Though I recall these as happy memories, I cannot but think now that perhaps he had more than enough alcohol to drink and that contributed to his illness.



Kuya Andy was only 46 when he passed away early morning of last Saturday, August 6. It was a relatively long 4-year fight with kidney disease that required him to go on dialysis until finally his body could no longer take the complications from his treatments. He was laid to rest today in his hometown of Arayat, Pampanga beside his relatives who passed before him. 

Paalam Kuya Andy! Salamat sa maliligayang mga pagsasama noon na ngayon ay mga alaalang aming sasariwain. Kung pwede lang sana tayong tumagay ng isa pa bago ang iyong paglisan...Huwag mong alalahanin ang iyong naiwang pamilya. Kami na ang bahala sa kanila. Sumalangit nawa ang iyong kaluluwa at manahan kasama ang Maykapal.
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Thursday, July 7, 2016

Flashback shoes: Haruta

Browsing an Japanese online shopping site, I decided to order a pair of shoes that's a throwback to high school days. Haruta was a popular brand back in the 1980s especially for students required to wear leather shoes for much of the school week (4 out of 5 weekdays). I think I wore 3 or 4 pairs of these shoes including the penny loafers and the one with the tassels. Two of those pairs were brown and one was black. Almost all of these had failure on the sole right that I attributed to the shoes I had being fakes. I don't remember the prices but we usually bought shoes at the Marikina Shoe Exchange shops in Cubao. Mine were cheaper and bore some suspicious marks indicating they were fakes. So of course, I just had to have an authentic pair.

Direct from Japan via the Express Mail Service (EMS), the box is opened to reveal a flashback to the 1980s.
The shoes have to be genuine, real leather and...Made in Japan. There were many fake Harutas back in the day and I think I owned and wore a couple of pairs myself at a time when these were the rave for us required to wear leather shoes 4 days a week.
These shoes are easy to clean, easy to shine. They are relatively heavier than my Cole Haans and Florsheims. Pardon for my being mayabang but I earned the money I paid for these shoes :) 

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Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Missing a dear dog friend

I was waiting for the Clairvoyant's arrival at the airport when I saw a couple of black Labrador Retrievers playing at the the arrival area. These were members of the airport's K-9 unit and the dogs played with their handlers during what seemed to be a few minutes of free time that they had. The airport was not as crowded as the other times I was there so there was some space for the dogs to play catch. A little girl even came up close, obviously curious at what she saw as dogs playing with a ball.

Black Labrador Retrievers and their handlers

Seeing the dogs play and interact with their handlers, I couldn't help but think about Troy, our dark chocolate Labrador Retriever who passed away in 2014. He was such a gentle creature; always playful and seemed to have not outgrown his being a puppy. He could have made a great playmate with our daughter Ally as well as our Golden Retriever Mockey. I've always told the Clairvoyant that I would like to have another Lab later. We agreed to get one once Ally's big enough to have the responsibility, too, of caring for a dog though I suspect she will pick another dog of her choice. At present, she's just too happy to play with our three dogs including our 'ancient' mix Barby who's the dog equivalent of an 80-year old.
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Friday, April 1, 2016

Mourning at the University of the Philippines Diliman Faculty Center

It seemed like an April Fool's Day joke when we got a message that the Faculty Center or FC of the University of the Philippines Diliman was on fire. And then we saw the images on social media and were shocked by the realization of just how much was lost with the destruction of the building. Housed there are documents, art works and personal properties of faculty members, staff and students of the College of Arts and Letters (CAL) and College of Social Science and Philosophy (CSSP). Among those probably lost are the life works of prominent writers, poets and artists, copies of thesis and dissertations of graduate and post-graduate students, many of which you cannot put a price tag to describe their worth.

My memories of the FC includes many registration periods when I had to get an instructor's prerogative to get me enough units so I won't be underloaded for the semester (it was tough to get subjects during our time). I also recall submissions of reports and getting classcards for my grades from faculty members who had their offices there. I also attended some forums there as the FC was a popular venue for relevant discussions at the time including those that took up the issue of the future of US bases in the Philippines back in the early 1990s.

Today and the following days, we mourn the loss of the physical items that were destroyed in the fire that gutted the FC. Despite this, valuable memories of the FC are still with many people including present and retired faculty members, and present and graduated students of UP. I am sure that the FC will eventually rise from the ashes of the building and new memories will be forged by faculty, staff and students who will be occupying the next FC.
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Saturday, March 26, 2016

Black Saturday musings

In my younger days when we spend our Holy Week holidays in my father's hometown of Cabatuan, Iloilo, Maundy Thursdays and Good Fridays were busy days. The Mass commemorating the 'washing of the feet' was Thursday afternoon and usually extended into the evening. I think those were the longest Masses I've participated in and were generally longer than Christmas or Easter Masses that I have also experienced in Cabatuan. The part of the washing of the feet was usually held with much fanfare especially during times when there were alumni homecomings for the town's National Comprehensive High School and when there were elections in May. There was a time when the apostles included the mayor, vice mayor and councilors of the town and the parish priest seemed so deliberate in emphasizing his moral high ground in his homily and the ceremonial washing of the feet. There was a Last Supper reenactment at the town plaza after the Mass.

Good Friday's were even busier with the Stations of the Cross  in the morning that started from the town's centuries old church to their version of Mount Calvary, which is a hill located in one of the barrios not too far from the town proper. The climb up used to be a treacherous one as the steps were narrow and were carved out of the hillside. Later, when I was already in university, the steps were already improved and made of concrete. They were also wider, allowing two-way traffic without having to stop and give way to others. The Stations of the Cross started before 6 AM and usually ended before 8AM for those who followed the main entourage of the priest and participated in the prayers. The rest of the people who joined in don't really seem to be in it except for the 'barkadahan' (fellowship) part, which was all about the merriment aspect of the event rather than the spiritual part.

In the afternoon, people gathered in the town plaza to await, join or watch the Good Friday procession that also started from the church and went around the town passing through the major streets of the bayan. I remember that there used to be less than a dozen carrozas with their santos (religious images depicting scenes from the Passion of Christ) when I was a boy until the time when I was a teenager in high school. Later, there seemed to be more than 20 carrozas that comprised the very long procession. It seemed to me that the organizers of the procession, which included church officials, allowed the additional carrozas and santos from the 'emergent' families of the town who suddenly had the wealth to purchase their own santos and build their carrozas. Having your santo and carroza was a status symbol in old towns like my father's. The old and prominent families of the town owned the old santos but the younger, newer money (mainly from OFW families and those who have established themselves in the US and Europe) were accommodated for one reason or another. 

I used to go with my aunts, cousins and friends on these Maundy Thursday and Good Friday. Tatay used to take advantage of our vacations to reconnect with our relatives and friends including his high school buddies. The last time I was there, I went with my aunt and cousins but my childhood friends were no longer there. Most if not all have moved our to reside elsewhere particularly as many had to find work in other places. Truly times have changed over the years and Tatay's hometown has also evolved along with its people. I just hope that the town does not lose its charm and that when I do visit I could still reminisce happy days whenever I go around.
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Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Sunsets and sunrises in Tagaytay

I still have a memory of passing by the Tagaytay Ridge when I was very young. We passed by the area because it was along the road to Nasugbu, Batangas where my father's company used to have their annual summer outing. Popular then was Matabungkay and at least once a year we went through Tagaytay, stopping for a few moments to stretch our legs (our Volkswagen Beetle was not necessarily a comfortable ride between Cainta and Nasugbu at a time when roads weren't as good as today's). I recall there were not much development in Tagaytay then and you had a good view of Taal Volcano and Lake from along the ridge side of the highway. One time, we stayed longer on an emergency stop as my father noticed one hub cap from our Beetle roll off to a grassy area along the road. We had to stop and Tatay took some time before he found the hub cap.

I still like going to Tagaytay despite it becoming congested and crowded. There are still places where you can stay at where you can have a good view of the lake and volcano while staying away from the crowds of tourists. Here are a couple of sunset and sunrise photos I took from our trip last weekend. The more colourful one is the sunrise photo. I shared the sunset photo on social media with a caption of "more than 50 shades of grey".

Grey sunset
Colorful sunrise
Sunrises and sunsets are just magnificent anywhere I go in our country but especially when you're in Tagaytay or perhaps the beach. You marvel at the serenity and the contemplative aspect of sunrises and sunsets. And you can only be thankful of its symbolisms in terms of life and living.
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Monday, February 29, 2016

Leap year 2016

It is actually a rare day today and literally because it is a day that happens only once every four years - a leap year. I consider leap years as good years and partly because I had been born on a leap year back in 1972. It is my 44th and it has been a wonderful year so far. It is a year for reminiscing, a year to be sentimental. I look forward to the rest of the year and the surprises it has to offer. Never mind the mixture of emotions including sadness (a few dear friends have passed away). These are all part of life and its diversity helps us build character. These are the so-called spices that make life interesting and worth living.
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Sunday, February 28, 2016

Anniversary of first overseas trip

Yesterday was 20 years to the day of the first overseas trip I had. That was back in 1996 when I was given an opportunity to travel to Japan under what was called a Core University Program funded by the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS). I was actually some sort of a last minute fill-in as there was budget remaining and available for a short term Visiting Scientist. Fortunately for me, a former mentor, Prof. Shigeru Morichi, who was himself a Visiting Professor at UP Diliman from 1992-1993 agreed to host me at the Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Kogyo Daigaku, which at the time was also called Tokodai - now it is preferred to be called Tokyo Tech) despite his impending transfer to the University of Tokyo. 

It was a very eventful 35 days from February 26 to March 31 and a stay where I was able to familiarize and acclimatize myself to a new environment. That included going to Yokohama National University to personally submit the final document for my autumn (October 1996) admission to the university to Prof. Tomoya Shibayama, who was the Foreign Student Officer at the time. I was also able to meet with my baptismal godmother (Ninang Mila Takashima who later was also my godmother on my weding) who was residing in Yokosuka-shi in the same Kanagawa Prefecture where Yokohama was located.

Every single day was an exciting one and it seemed to be a different adventure everyday. This was capped by my first sakura or cherry blossoms in late March. Of course, it helped that I already had many close friends in Tokyo at the time, of whom I remain close to this day. I have lost most if not all the photos in my possession from that 35 day trip. Fortunately, there are many photos with my friends and sometime in the future, I hope to get a few copies to scan and preserve electronically. 

More on events in 1996 in succeeding posts...

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Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Farewell to a mentor and friend - Prof. Alfredo B. Juinio, Jr.

We are deeply saddened by the passing of Prof. Alfredo B. Juinio, Jr., Freddie or Freddie Boy as his friends called him. I could never get used to calling him Freddie. By default, he was always a 'sir' to me. He was my teacher in three courses when I was a Civil Engineering student at the University of the Philippines Diliman. These were CE 151, CE 152 and CE 198. He was well-respected by us and we usually waited for him to arrive on his Toyota Corolla, looking on a the Melchor Hall driveway from the third floor. Our fond memories of him when we were students was a caricature of a professor with a cigarette on his hand and a bottle of Coca Cola on the other. The faculty room refrigerator always had a stock of Coke back in the day. And his desk was nearest the window where he had his own exhaust for his cigarette smoke.

Freddie's was the last class to give me a passing grade in my final semester at UP. I still recall approaching him to ask for a last chance to pass CE 152 as I was a borderline case after the final exam. He gave me that chance and I did my part to graduate in April 1993. After we graduated, he got married and later when I joined the faculty in 1995, he was one of the faculty members who warmly welcomed my addition to the then Department of Civil Engineering. I remember getting many tips from him and his batchmates in CE on how to go about in teaching and managing classes.

Freddie was very much part of the National Center for Transportation Studies to which I am affiliated. He was appointed as Officer-in-charge at a time when the NCTS was at a cross-roads. I became the center's Director after a period when he brought administrative stability to the NCTS. He was very instrumental in advising me and other faculty members affiliated with the Center on how to manage the affairs of the center including pointers on fiscal management.

Freddie Juinio (seated, 2nd from right) with CE colleagues at a workshop in 2011
Freddie (first from left) last attended a CE affair in December 2014 during the Christmas Party
We have not seen Freddie since he took a leave in early 2015. He was diagnosed with cancer in January 2015. I thought that he would like to be remembered as we last saw him - healthy, smiling, full of life. Farewell Freddie! Rest in peace with our Creator. You will be missed and you will be remembered as a mentor and as a friend. Thank you for sharing yourself as a teacher and as a friend.
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Friday, January 1, 2016

Sunsets at year's end & greetings for the new year

Definitely not every ending is a sad one but not everyone gets the "happily ever after" that they wish for. Sunsets to me are always beautiful. While they seem to be farewells, the positive thing about them is that they also represent a promise. That is, a promise of a sunrise and a new beginning the following day. I start the year with a greeting - wishing everyone a prosperous and healthy 2016!

A Manila Bay sunset taken from the Sofitel Philippine Plaza hotel grounds last Dec. 29, 2015.
Minutes later, one is rewarded with a view of the evening sky with remnants of the light from the sun
Here's a toast to new beginnings, a fresh start as we welcome the new year!
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