Tuesday, January 26, 2016

"Cockroach Staring on the Highway"

"Hey Buddy!"

"Cockroach Staring on the Highway"
Virgilio F. De leon Jr. MD

So there I was minding my own business. Speeding through the NLEX on my way to Manila when on the corner of my right eye I spied something horrible.

And there perched on the car window was a cockroach the size of my thumb.Normally I am not afraid of these bugs and at home I am the designated Cockroach hitman( more like designated squasher because my method of murder is usually a swift slipper strike). In this particular situation however I was in the middle of a highway that had cars passing me left and right at 120 kph. I wasn't going on the slow lane either and this particular cockroach was eyeing me as if it was about to launch itself into flight. Instead of waiting for that inevitable cockroach kiss to the face I took some action to rid myself of this menace. I slowly opened the power window.

It was a mere arm length away from me and it seemed to look at the open window and then at me. "I know what you are trying to pull buddy." it seemed to say and then it held on fast to the window. So much for the hopes that it would just fly off. If I were a cockroach I wouldn't fly out of a speeding car in the middle of a highway too.

So I had no choice. I had to stop , pressed the hazard lights button and looked for something to smash the critter with so that I could deal with it permanently. The only thing I found was a pile of receipts on the car floor. After rolling it into something resembling a small , hard bat , I decided to make my move. One quick strike and it would be dead. A truck behind me blew its horn. I missed. The Cockroach skittered down to the passenger seat , to disappear inside the car. I couldn't stay long because I was still in the highway system.

The cockroach escaped and remains at large. Hopefully it doesn't decide to make an appearance when my wife and daughter are with me or it would be a car full of hysterical screams.

I decided to put the bug out of my mind but every time I brush my leg into something in the car I get a little paranoid that I might see those insectoid eyes looking at me as if to say. "Gotcha!"

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

"Pauper Kings: Not The Drones You Are Looking For"

"Pauper Kings: Not The Drones You Are Looking For"
Virgilio F. De leon Jr.

During the Battle For Zendikar hysteria that seemed to grip everyone I was in the middle of a very bad case of Writers block and could not come up with anything even if my life depended on it.

It is however a new year and I have accepted my friend St's challenge to write at least 600 words every day.And so here I am again with another Standard Pauper deck that in my opinion was not really going to fly without the other pieces coming in from Oath of the Gatewatch. There was simply not enough Drones to make a mono-colored deck that will be fitting of the name "Not The Drones You Are Looking For" or NTDYALF.

So to start off with my first standard pauper deck of the year what we have is a tool box of certain abilities that have made black the color of choice for a lot of us. If you would notice all the creatures on this deck are Drones from both lineages of Ulamog and Kozilek with the exception of Kozileks Pathfinder who is certified Big Brother Eldrazi to these little ones. He serves a different purpose here.

4 x Evolving Wilds
10 x Swamps
8  x Wastes
22 Lands

2 x Kozileks Pathfinder
4 x Sky Scourer
4 x Sludge Crawler
4 x Slaughter Drone
4 x Kozilek's Shrieker
4 x Dominator Drone
22 Creatures

4 x Altar's Reap
4 x Untamed Hunger
4 x Tar snare
4 x Bone Splinters
16 spells

So to start with I wanted to have a land filter in the form of Evolving wilds. Always handy when you want to thin out your deck to get more Eldrazi critters in your hand. And believe me you would want a lot of colorless creatures in your hand as the game progresses with this deck.

I decided to build around Sky Scourer. I mean look at him sucky kissing that rock into oblivion. Isn't he adorable? So not only is his worthy of those Urutsokidoji nightmares from your childhood he is also great when his other fellow eldrazi come along to make him stronger. A +1/0 is not something to sneeze at when that creature has flying and could sucky kiss you to death unmolested.All the creature spells in this deck would trigger Sky Scourer. So how do you get more creatures?

Altars Reap! The old Innistrad trick of attacking and then sacrificing a creature that would die any way because of a massive blocker also works well here or on any aggro deck with a lot of attacking creatures. Use it to replenish you hand to trigger the Sky Scourer or simply to have more Eldrazi Drones on the floor for your Sucky Tentacle parties.

If you feel that the power levels are a bit low you could always use Untamed Hunger to make sure that your creatures would hit their targets because of Menace. And that added +2/+1 would help too.

Bone Splinters and Tar snare are both excellent spot removal. At instant Speed too! For the little creatures use the Tar Snare if it grows into unmanageable proportions then Bone Splinters is always there to make an unfair exchange on your behalf. I am disappointed a bit that they reprinted Grasp of Darkness as an uncommon. It would have been awesome here.

Dominator Drone is your direct damage specialist here. He comes in really handy when you can no longer attack due to multiple blockers already clogging your attack lanes.

And if all else fails. Call Kozilek's Pathfinder. I always include some big Monster finisher in my Standard Pauper decks and who could resist not adding this guy. I mean for 6 colorless mana you basically have a 5/5 finisher on your side. His ability also means that without a reliable removal spell your opponent will be taking damage again and again. Simply put you will always have mana to make this smasher unblockable. 6 mana in fact! 6 blockers that would not matter as the Kozileks Pathfinder finds its path to your opponents face.

So there you have it! Will "Not The Drones You Are Looking For" find a way to your hearts and sucky kiss you dry? Have that removal ready. They will menace their way to you.

"Clinical...err....Third Eye. "

"Clinical...err....Third Eye. "
Virgilio F. De leon Jr. MD

In every hospital there is always that one person who can see things that no one else can. It usually the more experienced or what I believe is more in tuned with their surroundings who makes this observations.

One Elder Nurse in the ICU of a certain hospital in San Juan has the uncanny ability to know when someone is about to go into arrest. "Handa na tayo ng kit" she would usually be heard saying minutes before the actual code. Was she using her clinical eye in assessing patients? She was not. She was more likely using her third eye because she would say that before a patient does go to Arrest she sees a lot of other being hovering around a patient or peering through windows or curtains.

Rumor has it that she has a 100% accuracy in predicting a code. It might be one of those interesting nights if you were spending your duties with her.

"Don't answer the Knock"

"Don't answer the Knock"
Virgilio F. De leon Jr. MD

A New Year. A new Ghost story.

This is one I got from my Nurse at Sykes Shaw 500 Beverly Platon. First day and we ended up chatting about Ghosts.It was that kind of duty.

Among the ICU staff of San Juan Medical Center there is a famous warning: "If someone knocks and does not use the buzzer , do not open the door."

There was one particular incident where a fresh nurse on rotation did not heed this particular advise and the result was a Code Blue. It was not even the first time that this has happened. 

Apparently Death actually knocks at the door but cannot use the doorbell. So if you ever rotate there. Consider yourself warned. 

"The ICU Visitor"

"The ICU Visitor"
Virgilio F. De leon Jr. MD

This story happened in a hospital ICU in San Juan. There were two Intubated patients who lay side by side to each other. Nurses in the ICU had just done their routine inspections when the patient on the right began waving his arms frantically. He was pointing at the patient on the left who promptly went into arrest and a Code Blue was sounded.

The patient on the left was eventually revived and stabilized but the patient on the right was still concerned and asked for something to write on. 

"Hinihila kasi yung tubo niya" the patient wrote

"Sino po ang humihila tatay?" the nurses asked.

"Yung mama na nakatayo  kanina diyan."

The Doctors and Nurses looked at each other.

"Tapos na ang visiting hours. Puwede na po kayong umalis." One of the doctors joked.

A curtain fell for no possible reason.

The Nurses stayed in pairs that night.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

"All Good Things 2016"

"This is my last goodbye..."
"All Good Things 2016"
Virgilio F. De leon Jr. MD

Last Dec 2015 I said goodbye to some of the clinics that I loved. Mainly those in Convergys SM North and MDC Eastwood. These clinics have been part of my early medical career and I was hoping that they would have been a part of me for just a little bit more.

There have been persistent rumors for years that another HMO would take over the clinic but that only came into reality last year and so being informed finally that we will be packing our collective bags and facing unemployment at the beginning of 2016. 

Nurses and Doctors who were affected by this were relocated to other sites but there is still a great number who have not had matches within the available schedules and sites. Many are still waiting for that important text or email or phone call for an offer that they would be able to take. 

It saddens me that every year I lose a clinic slot just like that and now I lose a lot more than just 2 but 5. Basically my whole evening line evaporating into nothingness.

"Biglaang bagsakan....mamimiss ko mga kasection ko..." 
At the end of January 2016 UHG another company that I enjoy working for will be ending its affiliation with my provider due to the US managements decision to make their HMO to be the same as their clinic provider.This would affect another set of doctors for my provider and due to the fact that they have lost all of the Convergys sites in the country the Doctors and Nurses who will be affected by this particular change will need to wait their turn before getting any other clinic slot.

Due to this persistent battle of HMO's and clinic providers to be on top of each other  , lives and fortunes will always change. It makes you want to consider another path or something more permanent. I would also like to think that my path is being cleared for something. I am not sure what it is at this point but there is no way to go but up from here. And I do hope it comes very soon. 

"Why I do not share cake..."

"Why I do not share cake..."
Virgilio F. De leon Jr. MD

Last January 6 one of my favorite med reps brought a cake to the clinic. It was a Conti's Chocolate Cake and by the looks of it was sinfully delicious(It was!). And every time I am given something sweet an internal struggle stats to brew within me.

To share or not to share this moist , sweet cake. Most normal people would because it is in their nature but I go against this particular way because I have an overly active imagination.

So let us say that I give a piece to one of my closest friends or family members. This person would say that they loved it. They would in turn buy their own cake and in time even share it. They would continue to consume cake until they become overweight and then obese. They might develop diabetes and all the other diseases that come with it like Hypertension. They will eventually deteriorate and on their death bed as I visit them they would curse at me. "Why did you give me that piece of cake?"

So my answer to this internal struggle is always the same. I do not share. I simply cannot be responsible for the death of those that I like. I would rather take this chronic poison for myself than give its toxicity to others. I am willing to sacrifice my own body so that others could continue eating their bland foods  , devoid of sweets.I will save them.

Or maybe I just want to hoard it all to myself. I prefer the previous paragraph.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

"One Step Further"

"One Step Further"
Virgilio F. De leon Jr. MD

It has been Day 4 since my wife and I started walking. Not jogging. Not Sprinting. Walking. we started off just walking. We start by waking at 3:30am. Dress up in what I would like to call our Walking Bank robber outfits. Rubber Shoes and Black Hoodies.We would walk to a chosen spot and start our walk for the day.A good 60 minutes non-stop.No holds barred walk. 

Day 1  - For our initial walk we went to the BBB Market where wanted to buy vegetables for a possible salad breakfast. It wasn't in the cards though since the market was still closed at 4:00am. We then walked to the other Market place in Gen. T. De leon.The One in Tanada. The market there was closed as well. This coincided with our one hour mark. We were burning our calves and I had to stop for awhile. I almost ended up with a really bad case of the cramps but I was determined to keep at it.I was hopeful that tomorrow would be better.

Day 2 -  We decided to walk a continuous circuit at the Our Lady of Fatima Church which had an incline going up. A very steep incline! We walked slow going up and did very brisk walking in the part that went down. Straight from the back of the church past the dormitories that I played Magic before while I was in med school and to the 7-11 that was in the end of that corner. It took us 10 minutes to finish a single circuit. 10 minutes! One day at a time I told myself. One day at a time!

Day 3 - I was feeling a lot better because I was finally getting a sense of the pace that I wanted. The cold air was helping me but I found that it was still hard to break into a sweat except for the last 10 minutes of our 1 hour walk. I found that my dad was the same way. The most significant part improvement was that we cut our circuit time by half! 5 minutes to finish the loop! Yoohooo. There was a time that I wanted to jog or sprint but I stopped myself since I wanted to just keep the pace for awhile. Maybe I could on Day 4 but we will see. No cramps for today so today was a great day!

Day 4 - I woke up an hour later from my normal time but we went to Fatima Church again. An hour makes a lot of difference. There were a lot more people. A lot more vehicles ranging from Tricycles to a full Bus that was passing down our walking lanes. It was a lot hotter and a lot more polluted. My wife also began feeling cramps in her legs for the first time. It was a little set back along the road. We decided to walk back to our house but my wife felt that we would have been wasting our time if we did not continue the walk. So we did a circuit in the area around our house. The incline in that place was much gentler but it was far longer which helped ease the cramps a little. We finished the hour

We have goals by the end of the year but that is still too far off in the distance. What I see is the steps every day. I realize that by day 4 we are one step further away from what we were (our unhealthier selves) and closer to what we want to be(people who are more fit and actually get into clothes like normal people). Just another step further.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

"The 3 things I learned before 7:30am"

"The 3 things I learned before 7:30am"
Virgilio F. De leon Jr. MD

So after reading an article from a fellow Magic player , Fredric Lipio , where he was asked what he learned at the beginning of a class.( You could check out the original blog. I provided a link at the bottom. ) I asked myself what have I learned by 7:30am each day? Here are three.  

1) The Wheels will keep on turning and it will not wait.

From the time you open your eyes till you arrive at your destination each morning may that be work or school or simply just the adjacent room to eat your breakfast you may find that time will not stop. It will keep on going. Alarms will eventually sound and you will find yourself rushing or relaxing depending on the state of your preparations each day. You could hear the seconds ticking by in the next minute. The minute screaming to the next hour. It will not stop based on how you feel. Unless you are Scarlet Witch. For the Rest of us it is in perpetual motion and you are either drowned in it or you swim with or against the currents.

2) Pace , Pace and More Pace.

If you have ever driven anything before from a simple Bicycle to an 18 wheeler truck you would notice that nobody drives at the pace that you want them to.This also relates to time and how people value it. The guy who only has 5 minutes before he is late and receives another earful of bludgeoning words from his boss will be that guy honking his horn at everyone else in front. Like he was some ambulance that would be magically allowed to pass the more persistent his honking becomes. I guess he is driving like a cast member from Fast and Furious most often than not he retains his place in traffic. The guy who woke up early , prepared for the inevitable slow flowing traffic will be smiling as he listens to his music or his car mates. No sweat when you are 1 and a half hours earlier than any body else.

3) You are alone but never alone. 

Driving in my car , going to various clinics all over Manila and Quezon City I get a sense of isolation from everybody else. Like I am in some sort of cocoon. A shell where only me, my music and my belongings exist.

All that is shattered of course when you see that the 6 car pile in front of you is affecting you in more ways than one. You get bogged down in traffic but you have all these feelings like the strong urge to lower your window and see if there are appendages and blood on the streets where the accidents happened. Two things happen afterwards, if you see gore , you are horrified but secretly want to see more and if you don't see anything bloody at all you drive away disappointed. Sick , I know but then again this also happens to other people. There is always a connection even though at first you never see it. 

3 things before 7:30am. I feel like Arya reporting back to the House of White and Black. So what have you learned before 7:30am today?


Thanks for the Spark Lippy!

Friday, January 1, 2016

"The Tree"

"The Tree"
Virgilio F. De leon Jr. 

There was a dead body in the middle of the road. Half rotting as the sun baked it away. Still he thought that that unmoving corpse had a better fate than those that shambled all around it. The owner of that body was really dead but what could be said of the undead things that seemed alive and craving for flesh he was not really sure.All he knew was that he didn't want to end up like them.

He was watching all this from a tree. The same tree that he had clambered on to a few hours ago after running away from a group of these unholy creatures. The tree grew off to an odd angle from a wall that was erected several feet from a river bank.Below him was a curved portion of the river that disappeared amongst other structures. A stones throw away was the road which bent along with the water. He remembered speeding through here to bring his daughter to school in the early mornings. He always thought that if this tree grow any longer it would be a hazard on the road and have written the local Baranggay to have it cut. Oddly he was happy that none of the people gave a damn about his letter. He was safe here for now. The undead were looking at him hungrily from the road and several had went over the railings because they were reaching out for him.

He thought that food be a problem but there were leaves here for awhile and he could chew on that till he figured something out. He certainly could not climb down since there was also a mass of ghouls that were moaning from him. Ghouls below and around. No other trees in sight. No other walls , in fact no other thing but the road and the river. This was bad but he remembered someone saying that there were a hundred ways out of something  , if you had a loaded gun to your head then  , you could fight your way out or talk your way out. None seem like much of an option. The dead don't talk and fighting them one on one was suicide. Not only did they outnumber him a hundred to one , he had no other weapon but the swiss knife in his pocket. The Knife part being dull when he checked it. So No talking and no fighting.

Once or twice he thought of plunging to the river and taking his chances there. Until he saw the outreached arms and knew that there were a few of those things already in there before he even got here.

So the next best thing to do was wait. but wait for what he asked himself almost a dozen times in the last hour. A chance. Something. He was getting used to the smells and the never ending noise that the undead made. A Chance , he said to himself as he fell asleep in the highest branches of the tree. 

"House of Elder Dragons: The Simic Experience"

"House of Elder Dragons: The Simic Experience"
Virgilio F. De leon Jr. 

It has been awhile since I have been able to come back to SM North to play my favorite game. So when I came back I wanted to play like there was no tomorrow and I wanted to play all of the Simic pieces that I had. It is one thing to test play with an imaginary opponent , quite another when you really are in the battlefield. So many things come into play no matter how familiar things may seem.

I was pleasantly surprised that my Simic EDH deck with Vorel of the Hull Clade as Commander actually held its own among the regular EDH players of SM North , namely Rod , Kira , Portia  , Simeon , Joey , Cryst , Austin and Aya.There were really some great moments and not so fun moments but all that did was heightened my enjoyment. There were some things that I found out in my deck that I wanted to improve on. 

One of the things that I always wanted to was win with a Biovisionary. I haven't done it yet but there were really close times. To this end my deck is full of "Cloning" creatures. Rites of Replication for one assures me that I have one win condition at hand. Then you have Progenitor Mimic who can copy the Biovisionary if it is in play or an opponents best creature if it isn't. Since I only rely on card draw to get the Biovisionary often times I have the Progenitor Mimic do the latter. It seems to sneer at me every time it copies a lowly creature but hey we can't always choose which creatures an opponent plays now can we? I have the Fated Infatuation and Cackling counter part. Yup,I plan on stealing every ones face just in case my Biovisionary doesn't appear. It is a sad thing that Legends don't blow up when they see a copy of themselves anymore. It is so satisfying to kill off a hexproof or other big costing creatures for the measly price of 4 mana.Phyrexian Metamorph and Clone was a bit saddened but then again they can still go on Rampages as something else so there is still an upside.

Like I said before I really hated the Simic because it was a lot of work keeping track of counters and knowing when to put a counter on this creature or removing a counter on that creature. Somehow I managed to overcome that. Maybe that and my foil Vorel of the Hull Clade taunting me that I can't make a decent Simic deck. So I made one. Vorel became my commander because I wanted to pile on tons and tons of counters on things. My favorite of course centers around the Fathom Mage , I managed to put 16 counters on it at one time with a Reliquary tower already in play.Sweet. I drew 8 cards that time. Talk about Card advantage! The Gyre Sage is another favorite , I initially make it evolve on turn 3 when Vorel comes in. Not only do I have access to a ridiculous amount of Green mana in the succeeding turns I also have a creature that could provide an unhealthy serving of damage when I deem that I have enough mana and could use his aggressive side more. Renegade Krasis is one of those 3/2 3 to cast creatures that seem very harmless at first but make things a bit more uncomfortable as the game progresses. Last Saturday I played in a game that had Cloudfin Raptor , Renegade Krasis and Fathom Mage in play. When Vorel came in with his 1/4 frame , he Evolved everyone. All 3 got +1/+1 counters and due to the Renegade Krasis the other 2 got another +1/+1. So I ended up with a 2/3 Cloudfin Raptor , a 4/3 Renegade Krasis and a 3/3 Fathom mage plus I got to draw 2 cards because 2 counters were put on Fathom Mage. Not bad for the 3 mana that I used to cast Vorel. 

Another creature that I have rediscovered (I have 6 copies of her) is the Champion of Lambholt. She fits the Simic theme because she also piles on the counters. There is no limit on her though like the Evolve creatures. She gets bigger and meaner everytime another creature comes into play. Yup , even those little tokens makes her a very happy customer. What she does is truly amazing , opponents creatures whose power are less or equal to the number +1/+1 counters on her are unable to block your creatures. So if she is now a 14/14 creature( thanks again Vorel!). Not even a Krosan Cloudscraper could block your creatures and that's a 13/13 gigantic beast right there. Cold Eye Selkie, Vedalken Heretic and Ohran Viper now all attack and whenever they deal damage to a player you get to draw a card. Your hand is always full of cards at any point in the latter parts of the game. So much so that is not impossible to have a Huge Overbeing of Myth that can end an opponent all by its lonesome. 

So imagine my joy when I played an Omen Speaker and got it to Soulbond with a Deadeye Navigator with the Champion already where she needs to be.So for 2 mana , I could Scry for 2 and make my Champion bigger because every time I bounce the Omen Speaker she comes back to trigger her Scry and the Champion I never got to finish the game due to time constraints but it was great to just be able to do it. Ideally it should be an end of turn thing but hey I got it excited.I know that there are a lot of infinite loops for the Deadeye navigator like infinite mana for one. I am not going to go for that. I guess I am just going to be happy with making creatures Evolve or Grow. Infinite combos have a way of making the game less fun. People like it when there is a hope of winning Rather than just sitting around and waiting for the finishing combo to come. 

Since this Simic deck is already brimming with counters , I decided to make use of all those Hydras from Theros. X creatures that come with X counters on them. They could Evolve the smaller Simic creatures while at the same time become a target for good old Vorel himself. I still don't have a Kalonian Hydra here(because the price and I just aren't on the same page). I imagine that Vorel and that Hydra would get a long well , it attacking and doubling and then Vorel triggering it to double again. I imagine a 6/6 hydra , doubling to 12/12 on the attack and then becoming 24/24 because of Vorel. More than half the life in a Multiplayer EDH game and a mere 6 points shy of killing someone outright in One on One EDH. For those match ups against other Blue mages or who who run dual and tricolored decks that have blue, I added the Mistcutter Hydra that my little brother gave to me as a gift. He knew I wanted one so her got one from one of his binder and gave it to me. In EDH you always expect a lot of blue because it does have its advantages. People playing Blue against my Simic deck soon find out that I have the Mistcutter and hope that they get a removal from their other colors. 

Being a creature based deck , I always need to have a say when it comes to board sweeps. There are really great counters in the Simic Arsenal like the Plasm Capture and Mystic Genesis. One gives you mana depending on the casting cost of the spell you countered and another gives you an X/X also based on a countered spells mana cost. Add a Draining Whelk to this mix and you have 3 solid counters that give you something else in return.

I guess this went on long enough but I do hope that you got some Simic ideas for your existing decks.Keep on playing!

"UP College Baguio: Possessed in the 10's"

"UP College Baguio: Possessed in the 10's"
Virgilio F. De leon Jr. MD

My days in UP College Baguio were filled with such great memories , memories that I still carry today but one particular memory still puzzles me until today. 

When you enter the campus in UP Baguio and you happen to be passing by the first row of classrooms on your right , you are now in the place called the 10's (1-OWS). Normally a place where BS Biology students spend their days dissecting cats or looking at plant Biology through a microscope or making circles that represent Xylems and Phloems. Not the kind of place where you think a demonic possession would occur (But I must admit that skinning a cat must look gruesome for non-Bio students). 

So on that day where the sky was downcast and a couple of our block mates were on our way home , we were nearing the end of the 10's when our female block mate suddenly fell on the floor and started convulsing. Initially we thought she was having a seizure. Even then we knew that seizures are self-limiting and since we had no training all we could do was make sure she didn't hurt herself. The astonishing thing about this seizure was that it took about 6 of us to hold her in place and even then she was able to throw us off on a constant basis. There was some growling involved and I swear that there were different voices. Then again this might be the point of view of a panicked teenager who has only seen his first live seizure.

We were able to get her into a cab  and to the nearest hospital where the bored nurses seemed to be happy just to stay where they are and not see a patient. Amazingly she was able to regain her composure while she was in the taxi , though in a daze she opted to just go home and was escorted home by her boyfriend at the time.

I guess no one remembers this incident as much as I did. Maybe its the November chill that made me remember or maybe something else. I am not really sure.

"Yuua's Christmas Eve"

"Yuua's Christmas Eve"
Virgilio F. De leon Jr.

It was the 4th appearance for the day and there was 3 more before the night was over. Exhausted is probably not the word people would throw at them but they had been in and around Seoul for the past 24 hours. 

All she wanted was to get out of these clothes. These costumes that they have designed for the holidays. She knew that they had to come out strong after their recent unflattering news coverage. People have actually talked less about that incident in the airport but their rivals for Rookie group of the year  have stepped up their appearances in all forms of media. With the development of their comeback put on hold because of the holidays they had nothing to do but to go out and be among their fans and other holiday events. 

It was to be expected since their rival entertainment company has been angling for all the spots. Yuua's own company responded by ramping up their personal appearances as well. By now fans taking HD videos of their first appearances of the day would have posted it on youtube and if not then one of their staff surely would after editing and getting approval from the boss.

Yuua slumped on her designated seat behind the van driver. She put the varsity jacket that she left neatly folded there. She was careful not to rip the black stockings since the manager got so mad that he had to rush and buy new ones for Binmi when she ripped hers earlier that day.Another worry in a long string of worries that have plagued their manager since the airport incident. He was close to shouting at them at times but there was always something that held him back from doing so.

With the road and the approaching darkness all around her she only felt cold even with the jacket embracing her.She remembered the warm bed in his room. The wonderful scents of the house when he cooked. He listened to her as she complained of aches and fights. Her concerns about the present and the future. How she hurt and how tired she was at times. All with that smile on his face and his eyes. A well timed joke to bring her back to the present. He never complained if she was away and never communicated with him though she admits that was rare because nowadays all she could think of was him. She remembered his assuring arms when she was crying and aching all over from the schedules.She just wanted to be there now.

The members were falling asleep one by one. They were like that , trained to conserve strength when they were not onstage or in front of fans. Even the manager was snoring at the back of the van. She remained awake waiting for a text message from him.

"Have you eaten yet?" The driver upfront asked.

"Not a single bite since earlier."she said politely to the man who had part of his jacket covering his face. It was not unusual in this kind of cold. 

She clutched on to the jacket that he gave her. A varsity jacket that had a big Y embroidered on the left breast. Just where was he right now? She hoped he was ok somewhere. Having dinner with friends or his family.Not stuck in what seemed to be an endless amount of work like she was.

"Here take this." The driver without taking his eye from the road handed her a roast beef sandwich. It was still hot when she touched it.

"I'm sorry. I cant take that. That's probably your dinner. You'd be the one hungry."

"But I made it for you Yuua." the driver said and he lowered his jacket from his face. It was him.

She gave him a quick kiss and held his hand for a second.She felt like crying but she knew she could not do that because it would ruin her make up and they had to perform the moment they arrived at the next venue.

"What are you doing here?" 

"I gave a friend the day off. I was here the whole day."

"You were? You idiot why didn't you tell me?" She slapped him on the back of his head repeatedly but without any force. Just to show  that  she was annoyed at him for being so secretive.

"You can be mad at me later. I estimate another 15 minutes before we get to the next appearance. Eat up the sandwich before it gets cold. You hate it when it gets cold."

She hurriedly grabbed the warm sandwich and ate it as fast as she could. Thankful that he was there. Happy that he was with her this Christmas eve.And for a moment she didn't feel all that tired.

"The Forgotten"

"The Forgotten"
Virgilio F. De leon Jr. 

"Uy Pre kamusta ka na?" was the greeting she heard.

She watched as the two men hugged each other briefly. Two men who were previous team mates in what seemed like another lifetime. His man ran a successful online business now and the other was a doctor who was fulfilling his destiny. 

"Looking good tol ah! The doctor said."

She could not help but feel uneasy around the doctor. His boyfriend didn't know that they had something going on for awhile. The doctor shook his boyfriends hand one time before going. He was meeting his wife and daughter somewhere in the mall. Then again she knew about them. Having affairs didn't mean your partner stopped talking about his amazing daughter. And she was.

The doctor went without even saying anything to her. Not even a slight glance. As if she was not there and her boyfriend didn't even have the courtesy to introduce her (as if she needed the intro but still...)

"You knew who doc was right?" he asked her after the other man left.

"Only by his reputation" she answered.

"And what reputation is that?" his voice insinuating a little something.

"That he goes out of his way to help others."

"That seems about right."

She felt something but she could not understand what it was.A pang of pain in the pit of her stomach. Was she easily forgotten? Was the doctor too preoccupied to pay any attention? Did he forget who she was? She felt herself getting mad.And it was showing on her face.

"Are you ok?" her boyfriend asked.

"I'm just hungry. Lets have dinner."

"I Returned"

"I Returned"
Virgilio F. De leon Jr. MD

When I was a young boy of 5 , I died. Yes I literally died. I was clinically dead for 5 minutes but the good doctors at Manila Medical Center in UN Avenue brought me back and into this life that I now lead.

Now that I am a grown man , I was a strong believer in Miracles. I have seen so many but the miracles stopped last April 23 , 2015. As I looked at the medical staff that was trying to revive my mom I wished that I did not understand the things that were happening. I wished that she did not push me to be who I am.They looked calm but I knew how frantic this staff was. Until the doctor came to me and said what I dreaded.My mom was gone. I just stood there. I was waiting for her to come back.

When I died there was a brief instant that I did not know who was around me. I was scared. I remembered not knowing who was talking to me. This woman kept on assuring me. She said that if I wanted to come home I could come home with her. She told me that she loved me. She patiently went to me when I ran from her and sat on the stairs of the hospital. I was back from the dead and I was looking at an unfamiliar face. Half of her face was distorted and her nose was long and her hair was waving. I had visual disturbances and as a 5 year old I was scared out of my wits. Who are you? why do you want to take me home? Are you going to eat me?(yes during that time I thought I was looking at a witch and I had a strong recollection of Hansel and Gretel , a book my mom bought for me). 

When the woman with the distorted face told me that she was my mom I told her that my mom didn't look anything like her. I told her that my mom was pretty but deep inside I was thinking that she did have my mom's voice. I believe that I was sedated for awhile and I woke up to my moms relieved face.

Last April 23 2015 I was hoping that like that time this medical team could return her to me. That when she opened her eyes I would be the one waiting for her to remember who I was. Her eyes remained closed and her breathing ceased. I felt my world crumbling as I realized that she was gone and though no pain could reach her now I found myself wishing that she could come back to resume our arguments or that she would ask me to email my dad or that she would ask me to write more prescriptions for her or that she would suddenly text or call for medical advise.

My mom didn't return like I did and I found it unfair. She did not come back from the dead like I did. Mom , I was wishing that in my life my chapter with you did not end this way. I wish that things went differently but there are irreversible things in this world. I thought death wasn't one of them but my moms death showed that the world  really does not give you any promises.

Thank you for waiting for me then Mommy. I know you are waiting for me there as well.In due time , I will see you again. There would be a lot of catching up to do.

"Clearing Out"

"Clearing Out"
Virgilio F. De leon Jr.

Today was the day. We had so much to do but with only 4 squads assigned to me that was easier said than done. The plan was to claim this particular area. Clear any undead lurking here and establish an outpost in between the main camp in preparation for expansion. 

Most of those under my wings was a mixture of young people who were eager to see how they could make a difference. Another kind of survivor was also added , the group that seemed to have lost all faith in what humans could do. The Leader wanted me to lead because I used to be both and wanted me to temper both groups. 

Normally team building exercises would be in order but the leader said that surviving against these ghouls together was enough of a bonding experience in itself.

The site was a small town that used to supply the nearby mines. One main street that lead in and out of it.The main encampment was getting more crowded every day and the leader believed that the time has come to claim nearby territories that could be supported from the camp. Security leading to the main camp was great but the living spaces were short on supply. Due to the mistrust that has been bred for years they did not expect any more humans who would brave the Blood Roads to reach them. Yet there were still those arrived either alone or in pairs. Scarred inside and out.

(The Blood Roads were a series of paths that was still swarming with Uncleared areas.This formed a natural defense which made the main encampment ideal)

First order of business was to make sure that they could make this town habitable again. Judging from the dwindling number of zombies that they have found impaled on their palisades it is either they have managed to eliminate most of them in this area and their numbers might have lessened enough so that setting up defensible positions might be easier.

"Kevin , up that water tower please. We need eyes. We don't want any of those things on us before we could control this place."

Kevin showed a lot of potential with his marksmanship but he was not much of a fighter on the ground. He was calm and focused but that same calm and focus dwindled very fast when he was surrounded on all sides. The Leader thought as much so we always assign him to be eyes.

Ardin and Yuua looked cute on the outside.Wiry in frame and quick on their feet we were happy that they joined us. They were our main assaulters. Both were comfortable wielding swords but it was Yuua who moved with such precision and grace. Ardin looked clumsy in comparison but she wasn't so far in the kill department. Yuua had an infectious smile regardless if she was tearing a zombie from limb to limb or talking to you about the weather. I was grateful that they came with me. They were the first pair to reach their assigned houses. Clearing was going to be a house to house affair.

The protocol was to make noise at your assigned unit and attract anything that was inside to go toward the door or any exit. There was always 4 people attached to this squad. Yuua and Ardin were tapping the windows and doors when the last of their squad arrived. One was Alfonso , a squat man with a receding hairline who was turning red from the effort of sprinting. Truth be told he looked like the Spawn character Violator without the clown make up. Along side him was a man twice the size of my lethal girls. He was called Rank. The name was more descriptive. He smelled worse than any zombie. A day with Rank sharpened your sense to smell the undead. First timers like Alfonso over there were more unbalanced by his scent more than anything.

"Can we rest for a minute or two before we open that damn door?" Alfonso wheezed.

"We can rest when we cleared all of the houses in this block" Ardin replied. Her blue eyes seemed colder than normal. Good old Cold eyes. "Here we go." was all she said as she opened the front door.

A family of zombies emerged. A male , a female and an infant that was still hanging from its mothers makeshift cradle. The infant was giving off a shrilly moan as it reached for Yuua who was the nearest person to the now opened door. Ardin dispatched the male easily and lopped off the mothers head. Yuua hesitated from hurting the infant zombie. Rank stepped on its head with one massive boot.

Yuua looked at the giant man and nodded her thanks.

Ardin helped her up and made no mention of her hesitation but she did look at me. I gave her the signal that now was not the time to talk about such things. Cold eyes moved on to the next house. I could hear more zombies in that next one. People who barricaded themselves and died in fear. Sometimes dying was the certain thing. Living , that was uncertainty that you had to deal with day by day. Something just snaps for some people and all they want is that sure thing , that certain thing. Death happens when you don't try to do anything else.

He was hoping that those in this party was looking forward to living.Another couple of hours and it would be too dark. They had to finish before leaving. 


Virgilio F. De leon Jr. MD

I hear you screaming in my head
you keep on saying its the end
and then I look past beyond the flames
It just seems like another day

I hurry and keep score
of all the wonderful things before
and I lay here burning
by the things that I tore

Like you mind
and you heart
All consumed
All emptied

Nothing remains
Not even your memories

"The woman in the mirror"

"The woman in the mirror"
Virgilio F. De leon Jr. MD

Ah Summer. The Heat reminds me of that one summer I spent in Red Cross Caloocans Summer Safety Seminar Series where I learned a lot of cool things while having fun at the same time. Something that my daughter would be experiencing in a couple of years.

However , this piece is entitled Woman in the Mirror so I am sure that this is not about my great experiences Red Cross Caloocan. There is one story that I learned during my stay there of a woman who does appear in a bathroom mirror.

Like all Red Cross Chapters there is a room where relief goods are stored so that they could be ready to be moved in time of disasters. This area in the Caloocan Chapter was the room on the main houses left side. Once you enter it you would be met by neatly stacked boxes from Floor to Ceiling. I have never seen this room empty but there was always a little space where you could walk going to the end of the room leading to a door and I asked one of my friends what was in the room. They told me that it was a bathroom where some of the instructors could change clothes or even take baths. I thought that it was a nice spot because it was pretty isolated there.

One of my friends told me that it wasn't really such a good idea because of the ghost that lives in that bathroom.One of the instructors had a close encounter with it one time while he was taking a bath. He was rinsing the shampoo from his head when he felt a bit odd. The room went cold and though he could not see felt that something was inside the bathroom with him. At first he thought it was one of his friends who silently crept in . Still not able to see he swung his hand to where he thought the lock on the door would be and as he touched it he was satisfied that the door was closed. He opened his eyes to stare at the window right in front of him. The place was a bit misty because of his body heat but he clearly saw the woman's face emerging from behind him going toward the mirror. He turned around but no one was there. Just him and the sound of the running water that overflowed from the pail at his feet. 

He finished his bath without incident but he never took his eyes from the mirror all the time.He never took another shower there. I couldn't really blame him. I never even tried peeing in the place. "Mamaya may tumulong pa sa akin. Wag na lang di ba?"

"It Rose from the Gurney!"

"It Rose from the Gurney!"
Virgilio F. De leon Jr.

Back when Fatima Hospital was still small my Tita Bing and I saw something there that has been in our memory for decades. This was back in the 80's when the Hospital only had a couple of floors or so. We went to visit my Lolo Romy in the hospital who just had Ear surgery done. Being new to the place my Tita Bing and I asked around to find my Lolo's room. We got lost.

Before we knew it we were climbing some stairs that lead to a double door. It was a bit dark but we found ourselves getting more curious about this stairs and the room just above it.we tried the door and was surprised when the door opened when we pushed it. We didn't know where we were and I didn't have a word for it back then but I believe that this was the Hospital Morgue or at least a Dissecting Room,I still am not sure . There were Several rows of bodies in gurneys there. Some still  tightly covered by white blankets. Some were covered by a heavy green tarpaulin like material. At the end of the room was  a raised stage where 3 more gurneys were placed. The 3 were lined in a neat row and all 3 cadavers that were on top of them was covered. 

I was holding on to my Tita Bing because the place didn't seem to be the place that you would want to hang out in . I was also feeling something very strange about the cadaver in the middle of the stage. I did not know for sure but the corpse rose up. Sitting up rigid and throwing the covers that was on it. Fear set in very fast and I was not able to see what the thing looked like , did not hear it moan or say anything,did not see it move down from the gurney it was on. All I know was that it rose up to a sitting position. I was not sure who grabbed who but we backed out of that room and we were running back down to look for more people. We did not look back. We were not as curious a couple of seconds before. We just ran. All I knew was that my heart was racing and it did not stop until we saw more people around us. 


Virgilio F. De leon Jr. MD

The blossoming flower wilts
and passion dies down
The things you like no longer matter
and sooner or later you as well

So why do you bother?
when death is final
and the renewal that you seek
will be forever denied

Why go on living
when you are already dead?
Change is constant yes
but even that does not matter in the end

We listen to the sweet songs 
but the those who make them are gone
We eat our feasts and we decay
much like everything else in life.

So why continue?
Why move on at all
when all we see will be gone
and all the we hear will no longer be

"Arianna's Scent"

"Arianna's Scent"
Virgilio F. De leon Jr.

So recently I was talking to a friend(Sir Ron from that big company in QC) and he told me that Arianna Grande recently launched her new fragrance and that it was named Ari for Arianna Grande's stage nickname. Many foreigners might not have a problem with that name but here in the Philippines it would cause quite a bit of trouble or at least a few giggles when you mention it. You see Ari is actually tagalog slang for the male penis and someone actually wearing the scent of a penis is hilarious if not downright disgusting.

So like the previous thing with Audi TT I got to talking with my buddy Marco and began to wonder why we talk about these things but it was hilarious.

1) "Alam ko yang amoy na yan! Ari!" (Paano mo nalaman?)

2) "Sa akin na lang yung Ari mo." (Ayoko nga)

3) "Hmmm Bango. Ari!"

4) "Tol gusto daw ni Arin yung Ari mo...(bigay mo na!)"

5) "Bakit amoy Ari ka?" 

Sure this might not be as funny as some people would think.It is all about the imagery after all but believe me the image of male genitalia entering peoples minds will rank high above any cute image of Arianna when they begin to read this(thanks to those 10 people who keep reading my stuff). All I can say is good luck marketing Ari here. Every male already has one.

"Pasakay daw sa Audi mo..."

"Pasakay daw sa Audi mo..."
Virgilio F. De leon jr.

A couple of months back my friend Marco and I were driving on the way to Eastwood when we saw this one particular car while we were stopped near Camp Crame.

Yup it was a black Audi TT or Audi Tourist Trophy as I would later read on. TT as you pronounce it is awfully familiar to the word Titi which is a childish way of referring to your penis in the Philippines. Believe me no grown man would ever call his thing a Titi. So like a couple of Highschool boys Marco and I started talking about different scenarios where the word for Audi TT could be mistaken for the thing you called your thing. It was hilarious.

1) "Pre , Itim pala yung TT ng tatay mo.

2) "Tol , sabi ni Sandra pasakay daw sa TT mo."

3) "Shit! nawawala yung TT ko! Nawawala!"

4) "Shit papatayin ako ng tatay ko , nawala ko yung TT niya!"

5) "Tol , patingin naman ng TT mo..."

6) "We could go to the back and I could show you my TT"

7) "Bakit ba ang hilig mo sa TT? Dami namang ibang kotse"

8) "Alam mo may TT ako." (someone shouts at the back) "Ako din , mayrun din ako niyan!"

Needless to say the whole drive was shortened by all the jokes. I think this is the reason why they have a hard time marketing Audi's here. 

"Hope 2016"

"If there is death then there is life.
If there is loss then there is gain.
One cannot stay down when one wills to be up.
One cannot help but hope.
And hope is a powerful thing.
So powerful that it changes perspectives and sustains."

"Hope 2016"
Virgilio F. De leon Jr. MD

It is no secret that 2015 has been a really tough time for my family. My Moms death and all that it changed could still be felt in our everyday lives and though I want to wallow in my sadness I find that there are people who rely on me to carry on. To smile and be strong.

There is Steph who needs a husband who will provide better.There are many things that she wants and all those things point to us leveling up in every aspect of our lives.She who looks at me and sees so much more than I see in myself. She who believes in me the most.  So this 2016 I will be and hopefully a better one than I was last year.

There is my dad who is the real king of our House. He needs my support as Hand of the King!(My wife is Master of Coin). There is a household to run. There is my brother and sister. All that concerns the house and related to it falls upon my shoulders. So I will be Hand and I will be brother. Hopefully a better one that last year.

There is my One and Only Daughter Aven. Who waits for me and misses me when I am away. She misses me when I am asleep right beside her and can't wait for me to crack the first joke of the day. She who simply cannot wait to tell me how her day went and her thoughts about life and her questions about things that she does not understand. She who listens intently as I explain everything from the common cold to the combustible gases of the gas giants in our solar system.

There are all the clinics that I work for , people who rely on me to be on time and be there every single time. To deliver excellent work. So I will be and hopefully better in 2016.

There are those who wait for me to come back to playing Magic again and those who wait for me to write again. There are those who I have shared advise and those that I have given laughter. There are those whose friendship that I cherished and nurtured all these years. There are my family members who text me and PM and even email me their questions. I will have an answer. I will be me in 2016 and the years after that. Hopefully better than what I was last year.

So goodbye to 2015 and the memories that were made there. Today is about the hope for the present and the future. So no to a new me. Probably just a whole lot better me.