Monday, December 05, 2011

Philamlife Christmas Concerts

The Philippine American Life and General Insurance Company (Philamlife) maintains the Christmas tradition of conducting, at its Head Office in U.N. Avenue, Ermita, Manila, a series of nightly concerts featuring some of the country’s best chorale groups.

Here is the schedule for this year:

December 5 (Monday) – Philippine Madrigal Singers
December 6 (Tuesday) – UE Chorale
December 7 (Wednesday) – UST Singers
December 8 (Thursday) – University of the Visayas Chorale
December 9 (Friday) – Kilyawan Boys Choir & Voces Aurorae

Admission is free. Programs start at 6:00 PM.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Filtering What's Important

Youngblood : Forgetting

By Raoul Felipe, M.D.
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Posted date: May 03, 2011

“How do you measure a year in the life?... Measure in love.”—“Rent”

IT WAS your usual Monday morning: the hustle and bustle of patients, papers and clinical abstracts that needed to be written, spilled coffee—you know, that kind of Monday. In fact, you would have missed it if you were too busy texting or going about your business. (And indeed, most people did.) There was no fanfare after all, no parade or entourage or flower girls or sweet music, and yet there we were in the middle of Ward 1, a huddle of doctors slowly gathering for the culmination of a most captivating love story. You could feel the charm flitting about the place, a contagious energy infecting a group eager with anticipation yet hushed by the sacredness of what was happening.

Lola had been diagnosed with stage 4 nasopharyngeal cancer (a brutal disease), and doctors had given her only weeks to live. The mass had grown beyond normal proportions (it was the size of a football) and it didn’t take long to know that her prognosis was beyond awful. She was unable to stand anymore, crippled and bedridden by a sickness that not only drains you physically but mentally and emotionally as well. She had become dependent and needy, relying on Lolo for pretty much everything, including going to the bathroom.

Throughout all this, I never heard Lolo complain. Not one bit. And he never left her side. In the months that I had been rotating in Internal Medicine, I never saw a more committed bantay—running around like a headless chicken, trying to cope with whatever orders we gave: “Lolo, paki lakad po itong dugo sa laboratoryo. Lolo, kailangan po natin bumili ng gamot. Lolo, dalhin niyo na po siya sa X-ray.”

It didn’t matter how demanding the task or how intimidating the Philippine General Hospital can get (I actually still get lost here) or how expensive the medicines were, Lolo never failed to deliver. I didn’t know how he managed to make ends meet but every time we needed something, it was Lolo who supplied it.

So there we were in Ward 1, underdressed in our scrub suits, trying to contain our kilig. The other patients paid no attention—they had, after all, their own sicknesses to worry about. And the other doctors didn’t mind us too, being too busy doing what was important for them. The nurses were apathetic as well: a celebration like this didn’t need attending when you are too busy doing your job and what-not. But those of us who came, those of us who thought that we couldn’t let the event go unwitnessed, we all learned a lesson we will never forget.

And so on Sept. 13, 2010 at 10 o’clock in the morning, Lola and Lolo got married after spending nearly 50 years together. They had spent every waking hour together—literally in sickness and in health—and now it was time to end it together, too. It was Lola’s last request, her dying wish.

In a world that values resumés and bank accounts and positions and accomplishments, Lola had nothing to offer. She was beyond poor, had no resumé to brag about, and certainly had no position except what she was by choice: a humble mother and wife who spent her afternoons doing laundry and frying kamote-cue on the street. She had done nothing out of the ordinary, either. She never played in a band or reigned as prom queen or appeared on TV. But when she smiled, she smiled like she meant it. The edge of her eyes were creased with the lines of age and wisdom and her laugh penetrated through you, making you wish that you could smile like she did and laugh like she did—with sincerity and substance. Her bald head, long battered by bouts of chemotherapy, was always covered with a bonnet (the ones you find along Minesview Park, with “Baguio” embroidered along the edge, which never failed to make me smile because like hers some of my best memories were of Baguio).

Lolo was as unassuming and normal as Lola. He was a fisherman. His dark skin had been baked by the sun, his hands callused by hauling nets all day, his thin body no longer framed by taut muscles because they could barely afford one meal a day now. When I looked at Lolo I was always reminded that what I was doing was nothing compared to what he did.

In spite of all they had done—or rather all they had not done—they taught me what I had known all along but chose to disregard: that life is not about remembering or even re-learning what is important, but about forgetting what is not.

I believe that deep in our hearts we already know what is important. We were created with that truth and beauty in us. Yet along the way, distracted by a world that places value on what is seen and measured, we have replaced what is important with what is not.

We need to develop the habit, we need to develop the skill of forgetting. We need to because every waking day is a constant battle between what is valuable and what is not. We already know what matters, but we need to forget what doesn’t.

In the twilight of her life, as the sun set and the end of her journey neared, Lola had already forgotten what was unimportant. After 80 years worth of living and working and smiling and laughing, she knew love is all there is to it. That money lasts weeks, positions last years, careers last decades—but relationships are forever.

(Raoul Felipe, M.D., 25, is a graduating medical student at UP-PGH.)

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Can you Dig’ Bus Disasters?

The "Can You Dig’ It?" series is this blogger’s attempt in hitting the ratio decidendi of a particular case decided by the Supreme Court of the Philippines. This series of self-authored compendiums is this blogger’s way of suppressing the rigorous life in law school.

G.R. No. L-10126 October 22, 1957
Montemayor, J.

"In case of death of or injuries to passengers, common carriers are presumed to have been at fault or to have acted negligently, unless they prove that they observed extraordinary diligence."

A bus operated by its owner defendant Mariano Medina was on its way to Pasay City. Among the passengers was Juan Bataclan. While the bus was running, one of the front tires burst and the vehicle began to zig-zag until it fell into a canal or ditch on the right side of the road and turned turtle. Bataclan and three others could not get out of the overturned bus.

After half an hour, came about ten men, one of them carrying a lighted torch made of bamboo, evidently fueled with petroleum. These men presumably approach the overturned bus, and almost immediately, a fierce fire started, burning and all but consuming the bus, including the four passengers trapped inside it. The lighted torch brought by one of the men who answered the call for help set it on fire.

"Come to think of it, my tenure is filled with bus disasters eh?..."

By reason of his Bataclan’s death, his widow brought the present suit to recover from Mariano Medina compensatory, moral, and exemplary damages and attorney's fees in the total amount of P87,150. After trial, the Court of First Instance of Cavite awarded P1,000 to the plaintiffs plus P600 as attorney's fee, plus P100, the value of the merchandise being carried by Bataclan to Pasay City for sale and which was lost in the fire. The trial court was of the opinion that the proximate cause of the death of Bataclan was not the overturning of the bus, but rather, the fire that burned the bus; that at the time the fire started, Bataclan was still alive, and so damages are awarded, not for his death, but for the physical injuries suffered by him.

The plaintiffs and the defendants appealed the decision to the Court of Appeals. The latter endorsed the appeal to the SC because of the value involved in the claim.

Whether or not defendant is liable for the death of the victim

Yes. Pursuant to the provisions of the civil code, in case of death of or injuries to passengers, common carriers are presumed to have been at fault or to have acted negligently, unless they prove that they observed extraordinary diligence.

The SC disagrees with the trial court’s ruling. Proximate cause is defined that cause, which, in natural and continuous sequence, unbroken by any efficient intervening cause, produces the injury, and without which the result would not have occurred.

In the present, the proximate cause was the overturning of the bus, this for the reason that when the vehicle turned not only on its side but completely on its back, the leaking of the gasoline from the tank was not unnatural or unexpected and that because it was dark, the rescuers had to carry a light with them. In other words, the coming of the men with a torch was to be expected and was a natural sequence of the overturning of the bus, the trapping of some of its passengers and the call for outside help.

Moreover, the burning of the bus can also in part be attributed to the negligence of the carrier, through is driver and its conductor. According to the witness, the driver and the conductor were on the road walking back and forth. They, or at least, the driver should and must have known that in the position in which the overturned bus was, gasoline could and must have leaked from the gasoline tank and soaked the area in and around the bus, this aside from the fact that gasoline when spilled can be smelt and directed even from a distance, and yet neither the driver nor the conductor would appear to have cautioned or taken steps to warn the rescuers not to bring the lighted torch too near the bus.

Sunday, January 16, 2011