Thursday, April 29, 2010

Thesis it!

I was really, really happy upon learning that two of the sophomore Biology students (incoming Junior this first semester) had chosen Dr. Ruth U. Gamboa aka "Inang Dagat" as their thesis adviser. I'm so glad that they'll be joining our grandHolothuria project. So I sent one of Inang Dagat's thesis advisee a wall message on Facebook. It goes something like this:

Me: And so I've heard the news. Gamby na pala adviser mo? Welcome to the cluuuuuuub!
Jel: Wahahahah! Yes!! :)) Guess we'll see more of each other. Woohoo! Hindi na siya nagiisa uyyyy :))
Me: YEHEY MAY KASAMA NA AKO! Kayo ni Frece diba?
Jel: Yeah! Hahaha :)) Talking 'bout being in the oddest bunch.
Me: Yeaaaaah! So ano, may topic ka na?
Jel: Ohhh.. Determination of Genetic Variation of Holothuria scabra in Different Regions of Region XI.
Me: Ahhhh! Nice! Sinuggest ko iyan last year kay ma'am but apparently she didn't want me to do that study since the grow-out of sandfish in an earthpond has not yet been finished. Galing naman! Gagamit ka pa ng mga kagamitan sa Molecular Biology lab!
Jel: Yes! I'm sooo excited na talaga! :)) Sayang I was thinking about doing my own study: Regeneration gene into sea cucumber DNA! hahaha! That way, propagation wouldn't be a problem :))
Me: Nice! Pero naku, aabutan ka niyan ng more than two years sa thesis mo! :D

I'm so glad that they chose Inang Dagat as their thesis adviser. Inang Dagat hasn't handled a thesis adviser for more than five years until I came last year. Now that I'm halfway through with my experiment (statistical analysis isn't included in this part) I would always wonder why I'm actually enjoying my thesis despite hearing some terrifying stories from the upperclassmen regarding my thesis adviser. I thought Inang Dagat was a terror adviser, but I was wrong. She would always ask me whether if I've already monitored my sea cukes or not. She would constantly remind me about the things that I should accomplish within this month. Everything is already planned.

Well, I think great minds think alike. Haha! =)

Can't wait to be with my future Holothurian mates!

Go Holothuria!

Hurray for funded thesis!

The author would like to thank DOST, BFAR and ACIAR (Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research) for sponsoring my thesis. :)

Monday, April 26, 2010

Pilot Academy (PSP)

This flight simulator game was released for PlayStation Portable (PSP) in 2006. The game allows you to fly aircrafts from different eras, starting from World War I up to the present day. Before playing the missions, it is advisable to undergo some training. There are two types of training: civilian and military. In the civilian training, you will be taught mainly about the basics of flying (take-off, final approach and landing). In the military training, however, it focuses mainly on weapon control.

As the game progresses, it would be a little bit exciting for newbies but this game isn't guaranteed for gamers who are not fond of doing the same thing over and over again.

The graphics are tolerable enough. There are some 3D buildings present in the landscape and some insignificant 2D buildings. Topographic features like the mountains, hills, seas, and rivers are also present too. The movement of rudder, elevators and wings can also be seen except for the visible damage.

The game has the free flight mode which allows users to explore some islands and land their planes safely. However there are limitations on the game.

(a) No ILS (Instument Landing System) approach.
(b) No contact or exchange of valuable information from the control tower (although there are control towers present in the airport).
(c) Approach is only through visual, meaning, if you are not familiar with the place, the chance of crashing the plane is high while attempting for a final approach.
(d) All planes do not have voice warnings such as overspeed, low altitude, stall and etc.
(e) No autopilot. You have to control the plane manually from the time it takes off until it finally lands to the designated airport.
(f) The scenes are always in daylight - no night landing.

Despite the limitations of the game, I still enjoy playing this. I'm pretty sure aviation enthusiasts (like me) will enjoy this game.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Davao City is the Place to be

I was born and raised in this premier city of the south. Located at the southeastern part of Mindanao, Davao is the largest and the most progressive city of the country with a land area of 2,444 sq. km.. Here are some facts that you have to know about my beautiful hometown.

1) Davao is very accessible. Davao is an hour and forty minutes away from Manila and almost an hour from Cebu. You can opt to take the ferry or the PhilTranco bus.

2) Roman Catholic is the dominant religion of the city.

3) You can drink water directly from the tap. Don't worry, our water system is the third cleanest drinking water in the whole world.

4) The city's lifestyle is relatively cheap. Local vendors sell fruits at rock bottom prices. Average water bill for every household ranges from Php 150 to Php 400. Also, we don't have to worry about the expensive toll fee because we don't have it here.

5) Speaking of toll fee, traffic is not really a big problem. Usually we experience traffic every rush hour period, but generally, travel time will not be compromised due to traffic.

6) If an accident occurs, call 911.

7) Davaoeños sleep. As early as 11 pm, streets in the downtown area looks almost deserted, as if people have evacuated due to an incoming calamity. I've been to Cagayan de Oro and Iligan City and even if it's 2am, the streets are still busy, partying as if there's no tomorrow.

8) It is safe to use your cellphones on public places. Crime rate is relatively low compared to other major cities of the country.

9) Davao Death Squad. Sad to say this exists. For more details, use Google.
10) Due to its location, it's rarely visited by typhoons. We really do not know what it feels like to be battered by a super typhoon. Though during wet season we always experience heavy rain.

11) The climate throughout the city isn't really consistent. Downtown Davao's altitude is approximately 10-20 feet above sea level. Other areas can be as high as 4,600 feet above sea level. In these places, temperature would range from 10-19 degrees Celsius. Also people and travelers always experience heavy fog during early morning, dusk and night time.

12) With regards to no. 11, we also grow and sell strawberries. Buda is the Baguio City of the south.

13) We do not need to spend thousands just to travel to Boracay. We have our very own Samal Island. It's just 5 minutes away from the city proper.

14) Generally, the city is not that polluted.

15) Davaoeños speak Tagalog and Bisaya fluently, which led to the development of the new dialect called "Davao Tagalog". For example, instead of saying "Hoy, ang tagal talaga ni Tricia. Nasaan na ba siya?" we say, "Ay uy! Katagal talaga ni Tricia! Nasaan naman iyan siya uy!". Sounds awkward or funny? Well it is clearly evident that Davao is a melting pot of all cultures. Moreover, this is a product of collaborative efforts coming from different dialects which eventually influence the people over time. Davao City is just... diverse.

16) Because the city is very big, establishments aren't clustered on a certain area. Establishments are strategically distributed to each major points of the city just to serve their clients. It's a pain in the pwet when one decides to go for bar hopping.

17) Since 2001, we haven't experienced firecrackers exploding on the night sky. Every Christmas and New Year's Eve, the sky is illuminated by stars, not the flying 5-stars (if there is really a flying five-star firecracker). The local government had implemented the city ordinance which deals with the complete ban of firecrackers. Sparklers are also prohibited. It may be a sad thing for others but let's look on the brighter side! We breathe cold and fresh air during these festivities and we won't have to worry for stray bullets.

18) Smoking is prohibited in almost all areas. One stick of cigarette costs only Php 2.00. Once you violate the rule, you have to pay the fine starting at Php 1,500.

19) We are creative. There are lots of local artists here. Kublai Milan is one. Once you arrive at the airport, you'll be greeted by this giant Durian sculpture. You can also see his works at People's Park.

20) Marco Polo Hotel is the tallest structure in the city. Skyscrapers isn't necessary since the city has still LOTS of spaces available despite its 1.5 million inhabitants.

There are lots of things to say about Davao but it will take me more than a day to finish this article.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Take the road less traveled

(I always receive questions from my Formspring account regarding of why I opted to take Biology as my course in College. Hope this will answer the queries.)

I always regard myself as adventurous and a risk taker. I am not afraid of failure because through failure, it will mold and shape me to a better person.

When I was young, I am always fascinated to flying insects. Actually I find it cool whenever I see flying cockroaches! I will never forget the day when I caught two grasshoppers and placed them on a cage. But eventually, those poor critters died due to starvation. I am always curious about the things around me. You know, one time, I tried to feed my two pet goldfish but instead of fish flakes, I gave them loaf bread. They ate it but unfortunately, they died due to suffocation. Back then, I always watch Discovery Channel/National Geographic instead of cartoons.

I used to be a straight A student since 1st grade. Honestly, it was really boring. I always search for different kinds of challenges. High school came and I wasn't given a chance to speak my mind, to share my opinion and to voice out my concerns. I have a low self-esteem hence my classmates won't trust my leadership skills. I didn't experience any difficulties on high school Physics, high school Chemistry, History, Algebra, Trigonometry and Calculus. At that moment, I thought I was going to the easiest route. I really tried to focus and divert to the route that I really wanted.

Good thing there was UPCAT.

My parents really wanted me to pursue my college life to this famous university. I only took UPCAT. No more, no less. The entrance exam was not a joke. I really find it difficult. But, I still loved it because I really now that I'm on the right track. Fortunately, I passed UPCAT.

I chose Biology because I really love science and I know it's not going to be easy.

Then three years ago, I entered college life.

It wasn't easy though. All of my classmates were more brilliant than me, but I take that as a challenge. My life in UP is full of ups and downs.

I was publicly humiliated by my professor because I slept during her class.
I arrived an hour late during my NatSci II long exam.
I cried when my Chem professor did not accept my assignment which I worked hard for it. Gah, long story but one thing for sure, I was right and he was wrong.
I scored more than a hundred in Chem. It was really amazing.
Organic Chem. Second long exam result: 19/60.
I was given the chance to speak in front of the people, to share my insights about the current administration.
I chose the most challenging thesis topic. My adviser didn't have an advisee for 5 years because her former advisees left her and find another topic. But yeah, miraculously, we speak the same language.
I got my first 5.00 - Biochemistry.
I may not be a consistent dean's lister, the way I used to be when I was still in grade school and high school. I may not graduate with honors but deep inside I have accomplished a lot of things. I know there are still lots of challenges ahead of me but I now I have self confidence. I believe that I could accomplish those things.

If I were you, take the road less traveled. It may not be an easy route but once you get through with it, you'll find it very rewarding.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Dear Future Girlfriend,

I know we love each other but I just want to tell you a few things about me. Through this, you won’t complain about my treatment or worse, make fictitious stories about me.

  1. Do not expect me to buy material things for you, especially if it’s very expensive. I don’t see love when I give you a thousand pesos worth of teddy bear with an I ♥ YOU sign on its chest. I prefer giving you real mwahs and hugs.
  2. I don’t know how to cook. So please bear with me. Do not laugh at my burnt pancakes. I still find it sweet if we eat together, no matter if it’s only Lucky Me Pancit Canton and coke.
  3. On a dinner date, you can choose any fancy restaurants or fast food chains, whichever you like. However, do not pick a restaurant which only serves seafoods. You don’t want me to die early, do you?
  4. When you caught me watching porn, do not say “yuck” or “kadireeeeeee”. I will do the same thing if I caught you watching those SuJu (dvd) live concert. I’m just a man carrying an excess amount of testosterone. Don’t tell me you’re jealous?
  5. When I say I love you, I really mean it. Do not laugh as if it’s a joke.
  6. When I’m not in mood, please cuddle or at least talk to me. I may not in mood but I have two ears, ready to listen.
  7. I don’t like it when you spill our secrets to your echuserang friends.
  8. If you’re suspecting me that I have ‘another’ one, go ahead check my inbox. You’ll only find messages from you (of course), my thesis adviser, research assistants, mom and dad.
  9. Whenever I bully you, don’t cry or don’t get mad at me. It’s just, I find it cute.
  10. I’m not a big fan of window shopping.
  11. I love it when you pinch my cheeks… even if it hurts.
  12. I love traveling.
  13. Let’s settle this, once and for all - I hate terms of endearment. I am not a big fan of calling you honey, babe, sugar, sweetiepie, applepie, honeybunch… acckk… and vice-versa. First name basis is already fine.
  14. Whenever I cry in front of you, I am really, really hurt. I am not imitating John Lloyd Cruz for Christ’s sake.

Well, I think this is enough.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Climb Every Mountain

Grade school days.

I always dream to be the number one in our class. Apparently, it would be impossible since the brilliant ones (the class valedictorian, salutatorian, etc.) belong to the same class. If not, the difference of my average to the number one student would only be 0.1 or worse, lesser. So I ended up being the second, third, fourth but never the first. Good thing is, my parents did not pressure me to beat those nerdos. But being an adventurous lad, I still wanted to beat them.

I did not succeed with my evil plans. I wasn't that über studious when I was younger. As a child I had lots of distractions - novels, Lego, airplanes, cartoons, Discovery Channel, Captain Planet, National Geographic, and the list goes on and on. I remembered that I only study the day before an exam. It was really frustrating to my part because I can do better than that.

I was in fourth grade when I made a promise (to myself) that I'll graduate as the class Salutatorian. So by fifth grade, I tried to focus and to change my study habits. It didn't work... it JUST DID NOT WORK. Moreover, I wasn't the teacher's pet because I always come to school late and I was brutally honest which came to a point that my classmates and teachers are already hurt with my statements. I was tactless and careless. Extra-curricular activities weren't a problem though. When I graduated in elementary, I ranked 15th out of 210 students. Not enough. My conduct pulled me down. But at the end of the day, I told myself that I am not a failure.

In high school, it was still the same. Tactless, careless, and not focused. High school was just a roller coaster ride. I ranked 17th out of 203 students when I graduated last March 2007. Well, at least I got minor awards like Most Outstanding in Music (Performer) and Loyalty Award.

When I entered UP, things have changed - new environment, diverse culture and new people to interact with. I tried to be consistent on the list, but once again, I failed due to lack of perseverance, focus and determination. Sometimes I get frustrated because my classmates would get high grades even if they studied hours before exam. I on the other hand would get a so-so result despite studying one week prior the exam.

But then again, I am not happy if I'm always in front of those wrist-thick books and lab reports. Sometimes, I need a break, like designing my own blog through CSS and Photoshop, interact to other people or take photographs. You can't acquire ALL things that you really want. Somehow there are things that are not meant for you.

To cut this long drama short, do not expect that all things will come to you in just a snap.

Friday, April 02, 2010

Jungle Crash

I had a dream. It was weird.

I was on a plane bound to Bangkok, Thailand when the plane suddenly went to a nose dive and crashed somewhere in the dense jungle of Borneo. It was a swampy area and somehow I managed to survive.

Then I ran.

Out of nowhere, I entered an abandoned laboratory. It was like a giant capsule with vines and branches starting to invade the outer facade of the laboratory. So I went inside the abandoned lab. Apparently, it was not abandoned.

Suddenly, the lights went on. Searing brightness. It came to a point that the brightness is already painful. Uggghhh my eyeeeees! But anyway, I didn’t feel any pain. I was just overreacting. So I ran, again. The corridors were long and not narrow. The sound coming from the metallic floor caused by my frantic foot steps reverberates inside the corridor. The air was cold and dry.

And then I discovered something.

There were people inside a room, probably subjected to an inhumane and morbid experiment. I opened the door and they ran towards me. Actually they weren’t after me, they just want to escape the building.

The next thing I knew, I ran again together with the people trapped inside the room. Then, the alarm sounded. The large gates are starting to close and I ran as fast as I could to get out of this building. Behind me were mechanical robots trying to catch the prisoners.

Luckily I was one of the few people who managed to escape the near-death experience. Those who were unfortunate were eaten by those mechanical robots. Others were subjected to torture. After that incident, I went to a mall and there, I was interviewed by National Geographic regarding the plane crash. I was about to tell the incident when suddenly, the mechanical robots started to invade the mall.

There was panic.

I ran again.

Ran as fast as I could.

Run, baby, run!

Run, Forrest, run!

And the next thing I knew, it was already 2:10 pm. Time to saddle up lazy John. It’s already late!