Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Then it happened...the taxi in front of me applies the brakes. I hit mine. But not as abrupt as the taxi as I always keep a good distance behind in case of sudden stops. I hear a thud. No, it was more like a crunch. I look behind, and lo and behold, a motorcycle rider trying to scratch his head through his helmet. I put on the hazard lights and alight from the car. It wasn't going to be one of those days. Today was different. I was on the receiving end of an accident.
I won't talk about the expression on the face of the motorcyclist as he realized how much the damage would cost him. I won't talk about how he didn't want to show me his license and the registration of his motorcycle. I won't even talk about the impromptu lecture I had to give this morning about safe driving and its social and financial aspects. What's done is done and I'm sort of a forgiving person, knowing where I can't get anything. Perhaps it's just a wake up call. I just hope the other guy took notice.
Being in the transportation field, we call these things road traffic accidents. I just joined the hundreds or even thousands of people who get involved in accidents. What's sad is that my case is classified among the unknowns. Yes, Mr. MMDA Chair, your accident stats aren't at all accurate! What frustrated me and ultimately pissed me off this morning was the fact that several MMDA enforcers on motorcycles passed us by without even checking what happened and inquiring on the reason for the instant congestion our incident caused. Talk about training, talk about the drivers' faults, but don't take responsibility for this because its other people's fault that our streets aren't safe. In our accident reporting system, you have to be critically injured or dead to be a statistic. Maybe that's how a statistic is defined in MMDA terms. Perhaps that's how it's defined by our government or at least by some people who make the government look bad. But who am I to talk about these things? I'm not even a statistic!
Disclaimer: I am a government employee and I do serve the people.
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
I would like to believe that many of us, even those who preach the gospel of change in one way or another, actually fear change and hide behind the rhetoric, the words, in an attempt to shield ourselves from the very change we so advocate.
People change. It is indeed one thing that is constant in this world. We change as our environment changes. So much around us influence our lives. It may be our families, our loved ones, the people we choose to live with. It can be our co-workers, the people we mingle with, acquaintances, or even those we encounter for fleeting moments in our daily journeys.
We are often uncomfortable with the fact that those around us are changing, or have changed. We like to look and analyze and criticize how others have changed when all we are doing is denying ourselves of accepting that process, and realizing that we ourselves are changing, albeit at a pace that we choose and set in our minds. We have the tendency to observe and critique what's happening to those around us when we have failed to see our own transformations. And therein lies the problem - a dilemma that poses a challenge to how we engage the realities of life.
The real issue might not really be about change but of control. We might really be fearing the loss of control and not change itself. I would like to believe that we all want to have control, to take control, but in varying degrees and maybe under different circumstances. The frustration over loss of control in one area is manifested in our attempt to control those that we perceive we can. Often the problem here is the struggle for control overlaps or coincides with the attempts of others to have similar control.
At this point I will choose not to offer any solutions. I, too, am trying to understand, to comprehend how those around me, including myself, are coping with change. I, too, am looking inwards and seeking how I have, am and will assert what I perceive as the control that I would need to bring order to my environment while pondering on the influence I will have to those around me. I can only hope everyday that everything will eventually come out right and that I can achieve peace of mind and heart.
Saturday, October 4, 2008
Jodec, as we fondly called him, was the Department Chair of Civil Engineering by the time I was a senior. He was always among the earliest to arrive at the C.E. Department offices during registration period. He advised us to take electives under two visiting professors at that time, explaining that these electives would provide us with a different perspective. Little did I know then that one of these electives will steer me towards a career in Transportation Engineering, especially drawing me towards teaching and research.
At a critical point in my life, it was Jodec who influenced my direction towards transportation engineering. I would like to believe that it was on the strength of his recommendation that I was later admitted to graduate school, which eventually opened many doors for me.
I will forever be grateful to what Prof. De Castro imparted – knowledge, wisdom, and a dedication to the University – but I am especially thankful to him for giving me a chance to become what I am now. I am sure that many of us are grateful for his invaluable contributions to Civil Engineering. On top of his obvious achievements, we will remember that he taught our generation, and taught us well. It is his faith in students like me that makes his contributions personal to us. And for those of us who followed in his footsteps within the academe, a legacy to aspire for.
Friday, September 19, 2008
Tuesday, September 9, 2008
Friday, September 5, 2008
Below is one the first photos I had with the laboratory. I remember this to be taken during one of the parties, "meetings" or kais, as we called it. This was a graduation party we had for the laboratory and toasting our grads taken in March 26, 1997 infront of the Hokkaido Restaurant in the Kannai district of Yokohama. The photo was taken before we broke up to return to our respective homes. I always thought this was the core of the lab at the time since most students were loyal to the Professor. Our Professor, our sensei was Izumi Okura. I'll write about him in another post. He deserves a separate post. He was a kind man and he will be missed.
Seated (L-R): Sagawa (M1), Tozawa (M2), Okura-sensei
Second Row: Kato (B4), Suzuki (B4), Yokoyama (B4)
Standing (L-R): Hijikata (M2), Uchida (B4), Matsumaru (M1), Kawano (M1), Iwakami (B4), Hibino (B4), Me (D1), Oshiro (M1), Horie (M2)
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
Whatever happened to "making the truth prevail?" This shows commitment. This exemplifies active participation in the scheme of things rather than be a fence sitter. So...shouldn't the sticker be saying instead "Make the truth prevail!" Act and as the shoe commercial says..."Just Do It!"
Friday, August 8, 2008
Katipunan Avenue was again clogged and it took me an hour and a half to cover 2 kilometers. What can be more frustrating than burning liters of fuel while sitting in a traffic jam when there should be none at all? The culprit? We can all blame (yes, there is no other word more appropriate) it on the MMDA. I'm not even sure if orders came from the Chair himself, knowing that most of his people are actually spineless beings unable to make their own decisions. Wait, maybe they've evolved into creatures with little spines and a little brains (I trust the dinosaurs had larger ones.) because they just f*$#ed up Katipunan traffic.
Traffic along Katipunan has alwasy been predictable, before and after the U-turn scheme was implemented. The peak periods are easily associated with the school schedules. Katipunan after all, is shared by three major institutions in University of the Philippines Diliman, Ateneo de Manila University, and Miriam College. Elementary trip generation will tell you (and most people using Katipunan know this), for example, that the critical hour in the morning is 6:30 - 7:30 AM. Before that and after that, Katipunan is manageable if not free flowing. But even during that period, traffic is and has always been tolerable, unless of course you happen to be one who doesn't plan your trips and blame everyone else for the traffic but yourself. But that's another story.
Experimenting with the U-turns in Katipunan the way its been done by the MMDA will always cause undeserved inconvenience, stress and fuel consumption to users of that road. There is actually nothing wrong with the traffic and congestion is a normal thing. Any attempts to fix something that isn't broken will only make matters worse. Another lesson learned from the awful experience today but only for us who actually care or give a damn in learning and improving. Unfortunately, this doesn't apply to the folks at the MMDA.
Monday, July 14, 2008
What triggered today's post was a sticker I saw while riding a jeepney to work. The Clairvoyant dropped me off on the way to her office as I didn't have my car and I had to take two jeepneys to my office. In the second jeepney, I happened to sit behind the driver and couldn't help but see the back of an LTFRB sticker where, as usual, one person's name indicated what could have been his most prized accomplishment - Gen (ret). Thus, he probably couldn't really resist including his title to his name. The other two persons' names were printed quite simply - without even a Mr or a Ms to them. Yet I know them to be an Engr and an Atty.
It suddenly reminded me of what my calculus teacher told us back in college. We were sophomores then and we called our instructor's attention to the fact that he had a PhD and yet didn't bother putting Dr before his Romeo Manlapaz. He quickly joked that he wasn't insecure like those other people who revelled in appending those titles like they really mattered if the person is mediocre in reality.
What's in a title? I remember an uncle telling us that in the time of our grandparents the only titles that mattered were Fr. and Dr. The exception was the military and police who had various ranks and it was relevant to state the rank with the person. My uncle, a Korean War vet was quick to add that it was acceptable for professionals to add titles and rattled off a few the more commonly used titles - Atty, Arch and Engr.
Well, I guess this was okay as long as there is some consistency in the statement of names and if the names are indicated in signs, letters, or whatever material or instrument that made it a necessary thing. I would appreciate the specialty indicated after a medical doctor's name like the FACC, FPCC (indicating affiliation in cardiology) or FPOGS (indicating affiliation in OB-Gynecology). I also would understand that in the academe, people indicate PhD or MA or DrEng. In the corporate world, acceptable would be an MBA or CPA. In legal circles, Atty or Esq would be the norm. But appending all of BS, MS and PhD to your name would really be OA. After all, wouldn't this be mistaken for "Bull Shit," "More Shit," and "Piled higher and Deeper"?
Saturday, June 28, 2008
And that topic is...parking! Not parking in the general sense or maybe the art of parking. I'll be focusing on parking facilities at the shopping malls. Quite an original idea? Well, in Metro Manila, a metropolis that is transforming itself into a Megalopolis (if it hasn't yet done so), parking has always been an issue especially at the shopping malls.
The Clairvoyant raised the topic about which malls had the best parking including the design of the ramps while I was managing a curve up a hospital's parking area. I was in the process of complementing the well-designed ramp that was spacious enough to accommodate my old car and made the observation that there where no paint marks along the walls of the ramp. This was unlike the multi-level parking facilities of typical residential, office or commercial buildings where it seemed the designers (architects?) did their best satisfying the minimum requirements of the building code. Ah yes, the building code that manual of minimums that's often used by engineers and architects alike to take advantage of the uninformed public. But that's another story...
For this series on parking, I'll start with the malls and then maybe move on to other places of interest. But what right have I to compare parking facilities if I don't have a decent list of malls I and the Clairvoyant haven't gone to ourselves. So to conclude this first of a series of n articles on parking, let me list my specimens in no particular order:
SM (North EDSA, Megamall, Fairview, Centerpoint, Manila, Podium, Mall of Asia)
Robinsons (Galleria, Metro East, Novaliches)
Ayala (Glorietta, Greenbelt, Market!Market!, TriNoMa, Bonifacio High Street)
Notice again that all of the above are well within the National Capital Region, the more technical term for Metro Manila. I do have a list of malls outside the Metro but I chose not to include them so as to be level in the assessment. For what it's worth, these include SM malls (San Fernando, Clark, Baguio, Bacoor, Lucena, Cebu, Iloilo, Bacolod, Cagayan De Oro and Davao); Robinsons malls (San Fernando, Bacolod, Iloilo, Cainta), Gaisano malls (Davao and Cebu), Ayala (Cebu), and the others. I also, purposely, did not include branches that have shared parking or didn't have a significant facility like SM Cubao or SM Makati. Obviously, the majority of people park elsewhere or take public transport to these malls.
Now on to Part 2...
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
To the day, today marks the 100th year of the establishment of the University of the Philippines. Already there are a lot of events leading to this occasion and it culminates in the Grand Alumni Homecoming on June 21 (Saturday) at the Araneta Coliseum. Incidentally, the UP Alumni Engineers held its homecoming last Friday the 13th at the Melchor Hall grounds.
The first 100 years of the University of the Philippines is rich with history, symbolism and excellence. People might like to add activism and idealism to that and I would agree. But I too would like to think, to believe that UP being a microcosm of the Philippines also represents hope - hope that someday the great ideas, the inventions and innovations, the creations of this truly national university would eventually lead this country from the misery and helplessness. It is but appropriate that in this Centennial Year of UP, its alumni reflect on the real meaning of the Oblation. For aren't we supposed to offer ourselves in service to our country and our countrymen?
Mabuhay ang pag-asa ng bayan! Mabuhay ang Pamantasan ng Pilipinas! Mabuhay ang Pamantasan ng Pilipino!
For more information on the University of the Philippines System and the Centennial events, click on the link: www.up.edu.ph
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
The last trip we had together was in Japan. We went around some of my favorite sites near Tokyo including the ancient city of Kamakura in Kanagawa Prefecture. Required stops included the Hachimangu Shrine and Hasedera. Here are a few photos from the trip:
Kamakura and Tokyo was fun and we're looking forward to Kyoto in the near future. Actually, we've never been to the U.S. together and that's coming up soon... Now, I hope I can take time off from work to be able to join her in New York this Fall.
Monday, June 16, 2008
After weeks of establishing the fair price for both new and 2nd hand models, we finally settled on a 2nd hand but never opened box. I won't mention the price but we were very satisfied with our acquisition upon returning to the Philippines. We're putting off the display until we get good shelves or a cabinet.
Here's a few photos of Voltes V from the box to the "volted in" stage. And, oh, you can see our dogzilla looking on in one of the photos:
The box containing the goodies;
Components: Cruiser is at top left, Panzer at middle left, Bomber at middle right, Frigate at lower center, and Lander at lower left.
(L) Voltes V brandishing the laser sword; (R) Dogzilla looks while the enemy volts-in
Future acquisitions are now being planned for Mazinger Z, UFO Grendaizer and the Getta robots. Here's looking forward to the next trip to Tokyo.
Sunday, June 8, 2008
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
clutched the pillows so hard
on nights colder than others,
laughed so much, or
sang as my heart sang
unmindful of my feet.
you are my first waking thought at daybreak
the sunbeam dancing in my head
the secret source of my smile
protagonist of my daydreams
sweet soft breeze on my cheek
my unceasing fount of inspiration
usher of my peaceful evenings
my soothing lullaby
my dreams sit in rapt awe,
as the sun slowly weaves
into a waking sky
and I remain swathed
with faint memories
of the night before.
beginnings and endings
at that precious second
when the scents of dawn
descend on my pillow
and I sift through yesterday
with a shy smile.
today awaits, hope soars
than my hands can ever grasp,
where my soul finds odd comfort