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Saturday, January 28, 2012

A Whole Year Of Blogging And Counting

I can't believe that it's already been a year since I started my Trunk Locker. It feels like it was just yesterday.  Maybe you just tend to forget time when you enjoy doing something.  Now I can't  make up my mind what to do to celebrate my blog's anniversary.  I thought of giving away my picture with autograph but it's just too precious, just kidding (hahaha).  Or maybe post something spectacular and out of this world.  But since I can't decide what to do, I just rewarded myself a break and rest the whole day.  What could be better than that?

I'm proud of what Trunk Locker had accomplished and achieved so far:
  • This is the 138th post of my blog.  Never thought I could write that much, but then again, there's just a lot of topics to write about.  Thanks to my wife, for her contributions and help to my blog. Love you.
  • I have 447 and 593 friends in Google Friend Connect and Networkedblogs, respectively.  Thank you so much for following my blog guys, I'm truly honored and humbled at the same time.  Just want you guys to know that I truly appreciate it.
  • Currently have a Google page rank of 2 and an Alexa rank of 567,447.  I really don't know how they come up with the ranking and how it works but for me, what really matters is being recognized and this feeling of fulfillment that there are actually people who are visiting my blog and reading my posts.
  • Trunk Locker has 3 blogging awards. Wooh, not from a recognized award giving body, but heartily given by fellow bloggers and it is as well deeply appreciated.  Formal awards are for those who worked full time and dedicated in building their blog's name and reputation... but I'm not closing the doors for Trunk Locker, maybe someday (LOL)... there's nothing wrong to dream, right?
  • And speaking of recognition, what an honor it is to be quoted on a foreign site:
  • Ralph at Trunk Locker joins the chorus of bloggers appealing to everyone not to simply forward messages via SMS without taking time to check on the facts or veracity of the information:”- on Trunk Locker's post on Japan's 2011 earthquake.
  • It was approved for Adsense and has earnings of $30.60, I don't expect to earn 4 digits in dollars in just one year. hahaha.  I just enjoyed seeing the advertisement in my blog, it felt more like it's worth something.
  • Received a couple of paid posts offers from various review sites.
  • I have a total pageviews of 24,387, as to this post.  It's not much but every single one of it mean much to me.
  • Try searching "trunk locker" or "trunklocker" in google... I'm proud to say, my blog's first in the list.
I guess, that's just few of the many accomplishments I'm proud of my blog.  I started my blog to serve as a platform in giving valuable information to others, to give credit to Yahweh for all the blessings I received  in my life and to share my thoughts and insights about things happening around and my faith.  The money, fame, and achievements are just consolations, for me what really matters the most is the relationship you established with other people, on how you touch their lives as they touch yours.  I hope I had accomplished the latter the most in my blog.  To my wife, being my personal editor, with my children which serve as my inspiration... love you all.  To those who have read and visited my blog, my heartfelt gratitude.  And to our Lord, for nothing would be possible without Him.   Happy very 1st anniversary to my Trunk Locker.  Yahweh bless.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

G-Mall's Top Overhaul

Ever been to Davao City's Gaisano Mall lately?  Just been there when my mom invited us to join her to check out the place.  It is one of the pioneering malls in our city and due to the rising competition, it's about time to find a good gimmick to attract the public to continue visiting them.  

The newly renovated top floor is quite an attraction especially at night time.  My family enjoyed roaming around the place, with their landscapes composed of plants, pools and lights... and the open area gave us a 360 degrees perfect view of the city.  Also, there's a couple of restaurant around the place and just near the food court, so we had no problem finding a place to eat.  We definitely enjoyed the added treat.

Though I'm the type who loves to try new places, it's still nice to go somewhere you're familiar with, brings back memories I guess.  I remember back then, when we speak of the city's center of business or the downtown area, it was still along Bolton and the nearby streets.  After going to mass in San Pedro church, we usually ate merienda and roamed around the nearby pioneering superstores namely Gaisano, Felcris, Datu Complex and NCCC (in Uyanguren, just a few kilometers away).  But that was long ago (LOL), when the cinemas had still a location of their own, apart from the malls. 

Oh well,  as we all know, the only thing constant in this world is change.  With the recently opened Abreeza (Ayala Mall) and the continuing expansions of SM, all malls must stay competitive, as to goods' prices, ambiance, accessibility, proximity and attractions that would likely affect customers preference over others.  Yahweh bless.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Holiday For 2012 Chinese New Year

It's official, January 23, 2012 is declared  a special nonworking holiday under the Malacañang Palace proclamation 295.  A good entry for the year of the Black Water Dragon.  Honestly, I haven't known it since yesterday when an office mate told me that our meeting was moved to Tuesday.  Maybe I was not just expecting it since it wasn't a holiday in the past years.  Now, we will be celebrating another new year for 2012, this time based on the calendar used by our Filipino Chinese brethren.  More, it falls on a Monday giving us a longer weekend... Yes!!!

Water Dragon by Conejo Blanco
Just a short information why it is called a Black Water Dragon year.  In a Chinese five element astrology calendar (fire, earth, metal, water and wood),  2012 is the year of the water dragon.  And for them, water is related to the color black.  And just for the trivia, the other elements corresponding colors are the following: fire-red, earth/soil-brown, metal-white/golden, and wood-green.

The Chinese astronomers believed that this year will have a lot of  unexpected things happening as that of the characteristics of a dragon to be unpredictable and untouchable.  So, they say that you might be lucky or you may not depending on the type of element you belonged to and what your lucky element is from the astrology birth chart for this year.  There's nothing wrong in believing to things that could serve as guide to your life, but we must not fully rely on these since  no one really sees what the future holds for us.  We make our own destiny and everything that happens to our life is due to the decisions we choose. The future is in the hands of our Heavenly Father. It is a part of His great plan for each of us even before we were born.  We must have faith in Him that in everything that happens in our lives , there is a reason behind and He does not abandon us even for a second. 

To our Chinese brothers and sisters, we celebrate with you in this special occasion, Kiong Hee Huat Tsai!!! Yahweh bless.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

To Write Or Not To Write

It's almost a year now since I started blogging.  I'm actually thinking of what to write for my blog's very first anniversary.  Meanwhile, let me just share to you my thoughts about this newly found passion.  Blogging is somewhat similar to being an essay writer.  The only difference that I can think of is that a blogger can be informal in his writings and can write freestyle while an essay writer follows a specific format and rules in writing which makes it quite formal.  There can be a lot more differences, technically speaking, but one thing can't be denied, both love to write.

Though writing is easy once you've learned it but writing with thought and essence is far different and more difficult to others.  There are countless of reasons why but here are some common problems that even a writer encounters:

Just can't think of what to write.  Though others might be gifted to immediately put their ideas to writing, some people just have trouble starting to write.  Maybe because of  stress, mental block, distractions, personal problems, lack of focus, or they are just not into what they are doing.

Just so many things to do.  There are good writers but just too busy with their work or task and there are those who just prefer to do other things than writing.  Whether they want or need to write, either way, writing isn't their priority.

Just don't have the talent and skill to write.  Writing, especially formal, requires more than the ability to do it.  There are just people who write like Shakespeare and there are those who just know how to write their names.

And if everything fails, just copy something from the net.  A very big mistake commonly  made by a student without the exception of some writers is plagiarism.  Easily done, easily caught, both using the internet.  If you're having a problem making a term paper or an essay, why not ask a friend to do it for you or find someone in the essay writing service business.  It saves you the hassle of being caught from plagiarizing and more, you have yourself an original work.  But do yourself a favor, at least read the term paper or essay and familiarize yourself with it, so when someone asks you a question about it, you'll have an idea for an answer.

Makes me think, maybe someday I'll join an essay writing service, it's a good sideline and earn a few bucks.  But for now I'm contented with writing posts to my blog,  it does not only help me express my thoughts and share my experiences but also serves as a tool to spread my faith and the words of Yahweh to the whole world.  To those who love writing, just keep on writing great things... and for those who don't, just keep on doing things you do best. Yahweh bless.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Viva Senior Santo Niño!

That's what the dancer's shouted in the mass we attended last Sunday in a presentation for the Feast for the child Jesus.  The Philippines, as mostly composed of Roman Catholics, annually celebrates the feast every third Sunday of the month, with this year falling on the 15th of January.  Like the feast of the Black Nazarene, it is also a very colorful event attended by a lot of faithful devotees and characterized by dances, singing and parades, most especially to places where it is known to be celebrated like Cebu City and barangays or parish churches named after the Sto. Niño (which is very common nationwide).

The Gospel Reading was related to the celebration with emphasis on children, it was taken from Mark 10:13-16 "The Little Children and Jesus" :
13 People were bringing little children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them, but the disciples rebuked them. 14 When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. 15 Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” 16 And he took the children in his arms, placed his hands on them and blessed them. 

The story is very familiar to me, since my children has that Bible story in their book which we often read to them before they go to sleep.  In the priest's homily, he emphasized that faith to the Lord must be that of a child.  Innocent children don't have any biases, they don't choose whom to play with, they don't look at their playmates' status in life... they just play together.  He said, it is from the adults influence that they learned to be cruel, oppressive, doubtful, greedy, rebellious, and a lot more unpleasant behavior.  And I guess, he's right, these behaviors are not innate to a child, he must have learned it from someone.  That's why Jesus reminds us that God's kingdom are for those whose faith is like of a child, always open, willing to accept and unbiased.  

As human beings, it is normal for us to seek knowledge and ask questions, but why must we include questioning God for our faith... to what extent do we question Him for this?  Is it not enough that He gave His only Son as a sign of His eternal love for us, more of His existence?  Still we seek physical truth of Him, isn't that the exact opposite of faith?  The more we seek for answers, the more we find meaningless in life.  Frustration then takes place and leads to rebellion... and rebellion makes us do the opposite of what He wants us to do.  And before we know it, we are no longer with Him... 

In faith, we must all be like a child that believes without any apprehensions... without any doubts.  For believing in something we don't see and beyond the physical aspect is the very definition of faith, and only an uncorrupted and pure mind can accept that without any reservations.  Yahweh bless.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

My PMA Cadet Years (Fourth Class) - Duties and Privileges

After our Recognition Day, we came back to reality... academics, duties and more responsibilities.  We had a series of unit exams (UE) and the last week of September was spent for sleepless nights of studying for our first final examinations.  Rotting and hard, in the sense that, most of us were making up for our deficiencies (doing double-time and 60-60 in studying just to cope up).  Our subjects were just the same as that of the other universities except for the additional military subjects for our training, but due to the pressures of being a plebe, we sometimes dozed during our lesson exams and woke up with only our name written in our answer sheets and most of the time find it hard to squeeze in our lessons since our minds were preoccupied with compliance and duties as a plebe (not to mention, the being psychologically and emotionally confused part).  But hey, no one's to blame but ourselves, it's part of the training... stability under pressure.  Good thing we had activities in between, we watched the Orator's Night... the following day, the Chorale Group Competition... then the day after, the Cadet Christian Fellowship (CCF) Anniversary... which calmed and relaxed our minds a little bit from the pressures of academics.

October of 1995 came in a flash, one thing I remembered was when our class (Masikhay) went to Poro Point, La Union during the first week of the month, funny that I seemed not  to recall what we were there for... but we surely had fun with the beach... after almost a year of not seeing one, you can't blame us (hehe).  I guess the real idea was to have bonding moments with our classmates, our mistahs... so we could also be familiar with those in the other companies.

Upon our return, we had a new responsibility... a lot of guard duties.  After being trained by our yearlings to familiarize us with  guarding duties and responsibilities, we're already tasked to post as "Cadet In-charge of Quarters" (CCQs), ACCQs (Assistant CCQ) and Sentinels.  Well, it's part of our progress, preparation as successors to their place.

October 31 and it was November, we were again "Kings of Barracks".  The term is used when a class dominates and left in-charge of the academy since almost all upperclassmen are all on leave... which normally happens during long holidays or semestral breaks.  It was a short break but cadets usually go home to their provinces just to spend time with their families, privilege which we rarely had.  Some upperclassmen already returned on November 2, to avoid being "slugged" (punished) for returning late from leave.  Being late is sluggable (grave) offense in PMA, which means demerits and "touring hours".  Touring by the way is a punishment given to cadets having grave offenses where they were obliged and bound to serve certain number of hours (depending on the offense committed) of walking with their rifle simultaneously, along the quadrangle or a designated location during their vacant periods.  More, they were not allowed to go on vacation or enjoy certain privileges other cadets have.

On the contrary, PMA wasn't always serious stuff, we also had lots of fun activities and acquaintances.  Nearing mid November, it was my first time to see a musical play.  Saint Louis University invited us to watch their rendition of "The Sound of Music", which after we had the opportunity to meet the stars of the show.  Also, as part of our sociology class, we had a couple of film showing from foreign to local movies.  It was big deal to us, since we were deprived of having such privileges as plebes.  Then came a "hop" on the later part of the month.  It was our first cadet hop.
A cadet's hop is sort of an invitational dance usually held inside the PMA.  It may be casual as a dance party or may also be formal as a ball, really depends on the occasion.  Cadets are usually given time to invite their friends or on-the-spot acquaintances (LOL) from Baguio City a day before the hop.  On the day of the hop, cadets are then given the opportunity to escort their drag (date) from their house to the academy.  And at the end of the hop (usually after midnight), cadets are given privilege to escort their drags back to their houses... just like a perfect gentlemen (haha).  Haven't thought in the case of women cadets though, maybe its just the same.
Oh well, after that night, I posted as a sentinel 3a.m. the following day.  Roughly, I had an hour of sleep... I guess that's hows life back then.  The month ended well, with another holiday and we were all busy preparing for the "Barrio Fiesta", another colorful PMA tradition... And I'll tackle it among others in my next PMA memoirs' post.  Yahweh bless.

Previous Related Post: Recognition Day

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Dangerous Dengue Awareness

Twice had my family been threatened by the deadly dengue virus.  And both had never been easy for us.  I remember my youngest brother was already vomiting blood when we rushed him to the hospital.  Back in the early 90's, dengue wasn't that known so we really didn't know the symptoms and procedures that we must have taken.  As I recall, our parents had a hard time looking for blood to be transfused to him since he had a unique blood type.  It was truly by the Lord's grace that they  found a donor and my brother survived.

The second person was my dear daughter.  You just can't imagine how I wanted to take her place.  I always begged her to eat and drink and not to vomit them.  I even remembered crying while asking her to help herself to get well.  We  immediately brought her to the hospital but still we couldn't help ourselves  from worrying... she is our only daughter. We were really scared of the possibilities especially when she was already transfused with plasma and at the same time a medicine was already needed to help keep her blood pressure to normal level.  Never would I want that experience to happen again.

Just recently, a family member of an office mate just died recently because of dengue, so I'm making this post to at least provide information and hope that it would help.

Be informed of what you're dealing with.  Dengue fever also referred to as breakbone fever, is a virus infection brought about by an Aedes aegypti mosquito bite to people who have weak immune system.  Classic signs may include high grade fever without any focus for infection (i.e. respiratory track infection, urinary track infection, etc.), headache, poor appetite, muscle and joint pains, and a characteristic skin rash that is similar to measles which usually appear at day 3-4. If not treated early, the disease can progress into a life threatening Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever characterized by bleeding, low levels of platelet and blood plasma leakage. Or it can further progress to the most dreaded stage, Dengue Shock Syndrome where a dangerously low blood pressure occurs.

Prevention is better than cure.  We already know that the culprits are the mosquitoes (Aedes aegypti) which carries the deadly dengue virus.  One way of preventing them from propagating is cleaning our surroundings to avoid stagnant water where these mosquitoes could lay their eggs.

We can also put safety measures for us and our children by applying insect repellents and/or installing devices that attracts and kills mosquitoes.

Time Caution.  Still under prevention, you should be extra careful in doing outdoor activities especially during daytime for this is when dengue mosquitoes usually bite, but they also seldom bite at night when their breeding place is disturbed.

Fever Alarm.  If you are not that familiar with the underline symptoms, a mere high grade fever (38  ̊C and above) lasting for 3 days warrants a medical consult to rule out dengue fever and other life threatening diseases.

Just to be sure.  There's nothing wrong if you want to feel at ease with your child or family member's condition because you can always request for a test specifically to determine dengue fever which is usually offered at tertiary hospitals in your city.

Knowing the cure. Treatment of dengue fever is oral or intravenous rehydration for mild or moderate cases. Blood transfusion becomes necessary when there is already bleeding episodes and the platelet gets too low.  Some suggests that "tawa-tawa", durian and other locally found natural plants and fruits may help boost immune system and help treatment, but these are not yet medically proven.  So you're using it at your own risk.

When talking about the health, safety and for the good of our loved one's there is no compromise.  We cannot take any risk that may put their life at stake.   Well, money is just money, and we can always look for it... so don't try to be thrifty especially in seeking treatment, for you might spend more when the illness worsens or worst, you lose your loved one, God forbid.  But if you  have done everything, and still it failed, don't lose hope... there is still the most powerful tool... and that is PRAYER.  Don't ever forget that the Lord has everything in His hands and He always listens. Have a healthful and faithful life everyone.  Yahweh bless.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

New Year With A Bang

We really thought we will be spending our new year in the hospital.  My son was confined a day right after Christmas and just been discharged a day before the New Year.  It doesn't really matter where we celebrate  it as long as we are together but we were just glad that he was already fine and lively celebrating and enjoying the New Year festivities and fireworks with us.

Fireworks??? thought it's banned in Davao.  Yes, it is... that's why we are celebrating it here in Gensan... hahaha... My wife and I decided to let our children experience to see a different kind of new year celebration.  Something that is loud and have lots and lots of exploding lights.  With a promise to ourselves that we will do everything to keep them safe... we won't be handling any firecrackers or fireworks and we will just watch inside the safety of our house.

We comfortably watched the fireworks display at the second level
of our house facing the city.  Here are some captured pics.
 And so it happened, the kids (and kids at heart) pretty much enjoyed the beautiful and colorful fireworks that lit up the darkness of the night sky but quite  uncomfortable and scared of the loud explosions made by a couple of firecrackers in the surrounding neighborhood.  After almost an hour of being mesmerized by the floating lanterns and spectacular fireworks, and at the same time being deafened by the banging... we decided to take the kids inside.  The air was also already filled with smoke and beginning to smell more of a black powder... We know that it wasn't good for them considering their compromised condition (just got well from sickness).

Oh well, it was still pretty much good inside, since we opened our Christmas presents with our family here in Gensan.  And as expected, the kids had a lot of fun opening their presents... and so were we (lol).  It was a year full of challenges but more it was truly a blessed year... I'm looking forward for a more positive year and a year blessed by our Lord... Happy 2012 everyone... Yahweh bless.