Friday, November 21, 2008

Dive pros need dive vacations too

It's not uncommon for people to believe that dive professionals live the good life. They point out that our office has a view of the ocean, our office clothes consist of tees and a pair of board shorts, we are paid to have fun, etc. Okay, so we have it good, but it's not necessarily a bed of roses all the time. Bear in mind that those tanks are heavy, the sun causes skin cancer, and all that underwater pressure relentlessly pounding on our bodies may manifest itself as aches and pains soon. Not to mention the stress we have to endure with gung-ho or otherwise dive students, keeping them alive while ensuring that they establish a passionate relationship with the underwater world lest we lose our jobs. But all these work hazards aside, surely there will come a time when all dives become routine. And when you find yourself daydreaming while you are underwater, then it's time to take a break.

So what's a sure-fire way to de-stress a dive professional who spends work time underwater? Try vacation time underwater. Deep down, no pun intended, we are still suckers for the sea, and going diving without having to mind students or guests make up for a real dive vacation. Taking along an underwater camera and having somebody else point out critters, however, make up for a real downtime, pun intended.

And so that's how I found myself in the Bunaken National Marine Park in Manado, Indonesia. Established in 1991 and declared a sanctuary, this part of the Indo-Pacific region boasts of the highest marine biodiversity on earth, a fact that was shared by our trusty dive guides Noldy and Melky of the Ecodivers. This spot in the Indo-Pacific is frequented by marine biologists, and apparently by underwater macro fans like myself.

My dives this time were a total deviation from my usual routine. The first lovely thing is I don't have to strain my eyes to look for macro subjects, nor do I have to lead the way. My main task was to just hold on to my underwater camera, keep my eyes in relaxed scan-mode, and sharpen my ears for the dive guides' rapping of their tanks to signal a macro find. I would zoom in using my fins (as opposed to the camera's zoom), focus on the subject and shoot away, trying different angles and different options to get that shot. Meanwhile my dive guide would wander nearby, looking out for more finds and most likely praying that i get it done and over with. Either that or he's just trying to keep himself from falling asleep.

The experience was heaven on earth. It brought me back to the days when I was still an open water diver, nervous and wet behind the ears. This time around, I may well be wet behind the ears as I was (and will always be, literally), but I was more relaxed and raring to go. After all, my tanks were replaced by the crew and they mind my camera as well- dutifully taking it in or out of the designated freshwater tub whenever I need it. All that's left to do on the dive boat was to snack away and doze off during surface interval. As a dive guest I could just let my mind wander off, instead of having to go through the next dive's considerations if I were the one leading the dives.

Our dives were mostly done around the Bunaken Island. Most memorable for me were Bunaken Timor or East Bunaken- a reef so long and lavishly decorated with soft colorful corals and a good scatter of several types of nudibranch, waiting to be shot to death, camera-wise, of course. Notable too are the schools of pyramid butterfly fish which make up for a good contrast on a blue background when taking shots of your dive buddy. They never fail to brighten up a portrait shot.

Another dive site worthy of mentioning is the Black Rock. At first I was skeptical when we did our giant stride with a view of Batu Hitam (which means Black Rock), a part of the rocky island strewn with nothing but, er, black rocks. But lo and behold, my guide was banging his tank like crazy, pointing out cuttlefish, black coral crabs, and all sorts of shrimps. I was reeling with excitement from investigating one spot after the other. Indeed it was macro heaven.

Just when I thought the exhilaration was over, our shallow dive at the Tasik Ria House Reef provided that proverbial fitting end to our day's dive. A gentle sloping sandy reef with patches of corals and seagrass, this mix of habitat promises a wide variety of sea critters from flounders, seahorses, shrimps, pipefish, crabs, leaf fish and even snake eels. It was a welcome change from the drop-offs of Bunaken, plus the shallow depth meant a longer bottom time. My memory card was bursting at the seams by the end of the day.

By sunset I was enjoying my Indonesian brewskie, pondering on how captivating the dives were during the day while taking in the view of the vastness of the sea. Suddenly I spotted a group of divers on the jetty, being briefed by my dive guides whose work is still not done. I could just imagine how exhausted they must be, yet still willing to go the extra mile for the love of the underwater world. It all boils down to that passion that burns within a dive professional's heart, a passion easily fueled by a beginner diver's onslaught of curious questions, or an advanced diver's boundless fascination for a world he never tires to be familiar with. We should know better. After all, we started out as open water divers too.

(photos may be viewed through this link:

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Wakeboarding in Singapore

"Stoked." In its informal form the Dictionary defines it as "excited or thrilled." This pretty much sums up the feeling I'm in, never mind that I, too, am pain personified. My arms may still be sore from being pulled out of their sockets, and bolts of pain may still shoot up from my thighs, but after having my face planted in the water countless times, I finally did it. I finally managed to get up on my wakeboard. I am stoked.

It all started when I, emboldened by my nth beer for the night, took on the challenge of going wakeboarding with my friends, much as I tried to convince them to get into something much easier like playing the yoyo. Just my luck that the only two people I know here in Singapore are into this kind of watersport. So there I was inside a van the following day, seated beside a couple of wakeboards, nursing a hangover and dreading what's sure to be a bone-crushing experience ahead.

We arrived at the Marina Country Club in Punggol, located in the northeastern part of Singapore. I brightened up when I saw the adjacent Marina Walk. It was beautiful. Shielded by the southern tip of Malaysia, the placid coastline functions as the perfect wet berth for boats of varying shapes and sizes. This too, serves as the view for the generous stretch of wooded walkway riddled with tables and chairs. All in all, these make up for a chill-out ambience to end the day over a cold drink with friends, either swapping stories about the day's dive adventure, about the fish that got away, or the new tricks learned while wakeboarding.

On the other side of the stretch is a commanding view of a massive dry berth. My jaw dropped at the sight of hundreds of boats stacked neatly like books on a shelf, and as an added bonus I was able to catch a bit of boat-retrieval action when a forklift plucked a boat neatly out of its slot. Right beside the dry dock is the Sea Sports Centre, a stretch of about 7 establishments catering to adrenaline-inducing watersports such as wakeboarding, water-skiing and powerboating. Everything about this place screams of water-related action.

Finally we were loading a 20-foot Mastercraft X-7 with our wakeboard gear. This 350 horsepower boat, inspite of its length of 20 feet, is roomy enough for 7 persons, loaded with amenities such as storage lockers, a tower for the rope, rotating board racks to keep the boards out of the way, and a ballast system to create the perfect wake. Did I mention that it comes with a set of booming speakers? Call me cheesy but the combination of the wind dancing in my hair, the huge wake left behind by the boat travelling at bullet-speed, and the crisp sound coming from the speakers is enough to make me think that I'm in a wakeboard video. Ah, to be away from the urban jungle!

My daydream of being in that boat scene in the Miami Vice movie was cut short when Suter, Launch 2002 Wakeboard School Instructor slash boat driver told me that my turn is up. After donning the Coast Guard approved life vest, my beginner wakeboard was placed before me. Beginner wakeboards usually have longer fins in the center, aside from the built-in set of fins on each end, for better control and tracking. Bound on the wakeboard is a pair of open-toed boots (I am to learn later that they also come in closed-toe versions for better control of the board). Usually called bindings, this is where you slide your feet in with the aid of soapy water, and secure them on with laces. The feeling could be restrictive, with your feet being strapped on these things. But it gets even more challenging when you're already in the water, floating with the wakeboard on, holding the handle, and waiting for that 40 feet rope to tug you and bring you skipping merrily on the surface. This is called the deep water start.

The deep water start is accomplished with the body facing the boat. Arms are extended and placed on each side of the front knees while holding the rope. Just imagine yourself squatting horizontally but with your knees closer to your chest. After giving an audible signal that you are ready (e.g. "Let 'er rip!" or "Show mercy!"), the boat will pick up speed and pull you out of the water and on your feet. The board should be gliding across the water as you slowly stand up and shift your weight back while keeping the handle low to gain control. Sounds easy, right? Wrong.

If it's any consolation, the thought of having experienced wakeboarders laugh at you while you look like an idiot in the water is unthinkable. You'll only remind them of what an idiot they must have looked like when they started out. So cliche as it may sound, the true enemy here is yourself. Which was why I wasn't in speaking terms with myself for quite some time.

A good sense of balance and weight distribution is the key here, and it takes plenty of falls before you can figure it out so go easy on yourself and your expectations. Be assured though that you will eventually get on your wakeboard. All the wakeboard instructors in the Sea Sports Centre will see to that. Once you are able to do that, the real addiction to the sport begins. You'll realize that the learning curve is progressive, as you can only get better in learning new tricks as you become more comfortable riding on a speeding wakeboard travelling at 19 to 23 miles per hour.

Wakeboarding in Singapore, or learning it, is very convenient and accessible considering that everything here is 20 minutes away. You don't even have to purchase your own equipment since the rentals are free, be it a behind-the-boat session in Marina Walk Sea Sports Centre, or in a cable-ski park like Ski360 in the East Coast Parkway where one is pulled by an overhead cable mechanism. I was told however that learning to wakeboard behind a boat is highly recommended before trying the cable-ski park, and this must be because the instructions are more personal, the water more calm, and the speed may be manipulated.

So, now that I've impressed my friends by living up to their challenge, I am now headed for the cable-ski park, a cheaper option since there's no need for a gasoline-powered boat. Afterall, even though I may be broke, it cannot keep me from wanting to be stoked.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Catching my Breath

Land Ho! Day 2 in my new home: Singapore. I'm writing this in our room at the Grand Copthorne Waterfront Hotel, a three minute walk from our Condo unit. While we're setting up our new place of abode we'll be staying here for 2 more nights before we finally start habitating the place. For now, let me catch my breath as I unload the recent events of note.

How we finally got here could only be described as "photo-finish." It has been a crazy week before we boarded that one-way flight to where I am right now. I have to keep reminding myself that it's not over yet. Just yesterday we underwent the back-breaking task of moving a total of 10 items consisting of boxes and lugggage from our condo unit in Manila, to the airport, then to our condo unit here. In a few more days our cargo shipment will be released by the Customs Department, then the movers will finally finish their job off by unloading them to our place. Think of this moment as an eye in the storm. You bet it's going to be crazy again. Amidst the quiet, I am going through a list of arming myself with the tools required to get into the system: Credit Cards, Bank Accounts, EZ Link Cards and whatnot. We've already hooked up our cable, and our telephone line and internet connection should be ready within the week. There are still a number of items we need to purchase, from little knickknacks such as Power Adapters, to an assortment of furniture. With the way things are going, I guess we should be settled in a week and a half.

The flurry of events last week wasn't as bad as we thought it would be. We managed to tick off everything in our daily list, and even rejoiced on a bit of good news. Flashback to last Monday, where I went through the painful process of handing Pearl's ignition keys to an accountant by the name of Jocel. I got my wish that Pearl would end up in good hands. That guy has a good vibe in him, unlike those car dealers that I had to brush off. It turned out really well.

Let's talk about last Tuesday as it deserves a good narrative, since it really gave me and my family the scare of our lives. Remember my microlaryngeal surgery? I went to see the doctor after 5 days so he may assess how the wound was. He assured me that by then the wound would have healed nicely, and proceeded to inspect it using an endoscope. Bad news. Another lump seems to have formed around the wound, and this alarmed him so, prompting him to make calls to the diagnostics lab where I brought my polyp sample and demand that they be swift with the results. Alas, we were told to sit and wait for another week before they could identify that polyp. On top of my antibiotics, he prescribed me with steroids, and gave me a more potent drug to address my acid reflux. I was so distressed I slept sleepless nights. I'm a voice-over by profession, this can't happen to me! I talked to my sister and my Davao-based Mom, asking for prayers. I even bent my fraternity brothers' ears, they too were quick to give words of encouragement and offered their prayers. My mom, a devout Catholic, lit candles everyday, while my sister offered to accompany me to my next doctor's appointment.

Only my sister's warm presence cheered me up during that cold, typhoon-riddled Tuesday. In spite of the uncomfortable weather, her pregnancy, and how hard it is to get to that hospital, she took the day off and rode a cab to be with me in one of my most trying times. I will never forget how supportive she was, sharing her thoughts on how it couldn't be that bad based on her inquiries with her fellow doctors in the field of ENT. I will never forget how we heaved a sigh of relief when the doctor gasped in wonder and announced how the wound on my vocal folds have suddenly healed perfectly. I will never forget how the doctor was genuinely relieved he wanted to take the day off, suggesting that his day has already been made. I will never forget how my sister and I celebrated in a local restaurant called Razon's, feasting on their authentic Pampanga Sisig and their Halo-halo with ice shavings crushed to powdery perfection. No other ceremony seems fit to gratify such piece of good news, considering that one's appetite returns in full force.

By Wednesday the biopsy results came out. This time my younger brother was my pillar of strength. He personally got that piece of paper, and we read it together in the car along with my wife. That polyp turned out to be benign and not something to be worried about. My mom and my sister rejoiced and offered prayers of thanks. My batchmates were ecstatic as well. There's just so much love in the air.

With this new lease in life, the rest of the week came rushing like a blur. Last minute shopping lists, items being packed, items sold, items thrown out, payables paid, collectibles collected, authorization letters, termination of certain utilities, not to mention evening socials in the form of going-away parties. Having very thoughtful friends is a decent price to pay for the terrible hangover I got last Saturday morning as I drove my wife's Ford Escape to her new owner. By lunchtime we were loading up the assortment of boxes and luggage, and heading out to the airport. The hardest part was finally over.

So now I have finally come to the opening of a new chapter in my life. My senses are in discovery mode, absorbing every bit of detail in this strange land so I may rightfully call it my home. A mixture of electrifying excitement and a certain degree of sadness lingers in me though. I am sorely missing my sister and my brother in Manila, and moreso my Mom in Davao. If only I can take them with me wherever I go. But fate has manifested time and again that this particular litter stray far far away from the pack. The same fate that tells us that everything will be all right. The world beckons. I say we shake a leg.

12Aug07/ Singapore

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Suffering in Silence

Yup, you just had to see that photo. I know it's gross, but it's necessary in telling the story. A close-up of the polyp that was surgically removed from my right vocal fold. That 8millimeter bugger right there is responsible for my hoarseness and vocal fatigue. Heaven knows how many voice projects I've been denied because of this pea-sized lesion. Now, I'm rendered speechless, one less talker in the world. Post-operative instructions suggest that I observe a week of absolute vocal rest to give the tissue in the larynx a good time to heal. It also suggested that it might take as long as 10 weeks for my voice to regain its original power and quality. The household is going to be awfully quiet for a long time.

I'm just glad I got it out of the way. I could recall the jitters I got days before the operation last Saturday, July 28, 2007. I was told that if I'm to contract a cold and a fever then the surgery will have to be moved to a later time- a luxury I cannot afford. It doesn't help that my wife had a cold and a fever as the date of the surgery was fast approaching. She was so sick that she can't accompany me to the hospital last Friday when I checked in. It was of no consolation too that my sister, a radiologist doctor, had a full-blown flu as well. I found myself alone in my hospital room the night before my operation, save for my assistant whose talents are limited to menial tasks such as buying me a snack or watching over my valuables when I'm whisked away for pre-op evaluation. You can't blame me for sounding ungrateful. He screwed up my social health insurance validity when he pocketed the money I gave him to pay for my monthly contributions. But that's a different story for another day.

So there I was, wondering why I was in a decrepit government hospital. Then I remembered that my doctor was the Chairman of the ENT (Eyes, Nose and Throat) Department of this medical center, the Jose Reyes Memorial Hospital. He assured me that although the environment leaves much to be desired, I may take comfort in the fact that they have new and up-to-date equipment for my kind of surgery. This trivia he relayed to me while warning me against wearing my watch when checking in the hospital lest it be stolen. How assuring.

And up-to-date indeed. I was summoned from my room for a pre-operative laryngoscopy, and after going through the agony of having that rod rammed down my throat (bringing me to tears and a comical episode of gagging fits) I was told to go back and do the whole ordeal all over again because the damn DVD recorder refused to live up to its name the first time. Sheesh.

By 11pm I was instructed not to eat or drink anything. This was pretty pointless as the effects of an earlier imbibed half a tablet of Midozalam was starting to manifest itself, beckoning me an audience with the Sandman. I then drifted to sleep.

I woke up to the big day, and somehow it didn't start right. But, considering the luck I've had while in the hospital premises, I didn't find this much of a surprise anymore. Rookie of a resident ENT entered my room and announced that he had been tasked to insert a Butterfly IV needle into a vein in my hand. This he did... about three times. For someone who works in a government hospital that never runs out of patients, I'd have expected him to have had lots of experience in sticking them things. Just when I fall under that category of people who have an irrational fear of needles, this had to happen to me.

Later I was wheeled towards the operating room. I think half of the Midozalam was administered through my IV and I felt it physically coursing through my veins. The pain was undeniably excruciating, as if some sci-fi creature on a joyride got under my skin. All of a sudden, I was enveloped in darkness.

After coming to in the Post-operative Recovery Ward with an oxygen mask on my face, I was wheeled back to my room where my wife was waiting for me. A little later, my sister arrived, a face mask on her mouth to keep her viruses to herself. Seeing these familiar faces made me so happy I wanted to scream, but we know that's impossible. I was told that I was out for three hours. As the aenesthesia wore off, the soreness in my tongue established itself. Upon checking in the mirror I saw the visible traces of the pressure the metal laryngoscope exerted on my tongue during the procedure. It resembled the sharp end of a primitive spear, its edges unglamorously serrated.

After hours of not doing anything and wishing to be discharged immediately, my doctor showed up and described what happened during the procedure. He described the polyp to be angiomatous- blood vessels were feeding it hence its growth (angio meaning blood vessels). My body must have thought it was part of my physiology, it being there for so long, and directed a few capillaries to sustain it. Bizarre, but this is pretty much normal. It only posed a problem during the surgery when the bleeding didn't show signs of letting up. He had to cauterize it and left a burn mark. A laser would have been the more appropriate, state-of-the-art approach, but if you've been following the events in this story, well....

By the time he told me that I may pack and head home, the hospital's cashier have already closed shop an hour ago. So I didn't have a choice but to suffer in silence as I stayed for another night by myself as my wife had to head home and watch over my son.

By 8AM the next day my wife was in the cashier's office to settle the bills, and her jaw dropped when she was told that their system is not computerized, which is why she had to come back after 3 hours as they manually put the invoices together and summed it all up. She was so mad she told me that if she only knew, she wouldn't have mind paying triple the amount for a more efficient hospital. I finally got home by lunchtime.

In spite of all the tragedies and inconveniences I've been through I still couldn't help feeling good about everything. It was a trying time, but the prayers from my Mom and Dad and my Father-in-law suffused me with strength and courage. I'm just glad that this chapter in my life is over. I was welcomed at the door with a "day-dee" from my 1 year and 5 month old son who's just beginning to learn how to talk. He'll have to do all the talking in the house for now.

30July07/ Manila, Philippines

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Farewell, Pearl....

I just took snapshots of my Honda CRV from the 4th floor parking area. Quite a sad affair as I waxed nostalgia on the 13,476 kilometers that we have shared together. I ran my fingers across its lush leather interior, toyed with its knobs and dials, and caressed its smooth, flawless finish, hoping to retain that feeling in my memory for as long as I can before I finally let her go. It will only be a matter of days before someone will agree on the price I've set. Let's just hope she goes to someone who'll take good care of her.

This whole business of relocating to Singapore, you see, came up a year after I bought Pearl (yes, cars have to be named too). I've always thought that I would have a long lasting relationship with this one, versus the second-hand car I had before (a white 1996 Toyota Corolla GLi. Whitey is her name). The idea of getting a brand new car is to keep one from having to deal with frequent repairs and cumbersome maintenance expenses, and get to know all of the car's history first-hand for future reference. But, as with all things being unpredictable, fate dealt her cards differently. If anything, I'm sure it was all for a good reason. After all, Coelho mentioned that the universe has this uncanny way of conspiring with us when we want something so as we may achieve our wishes. True enough. And not a bad trade-off by the way.

But it's just not easy to deny the attachment a guy has on his car. Most especially if it's a sweet ride. Well, according to my standards. It's just the right size to drive around the city. It's decent enough to withstand floods in Manila, long drives out of town, and trunk space big enough to lug dive equipment and more. Of course, the acoustics are noteworthy as well. Nothing beats cruising through long wide open roads, clear skies, the thrill of a far far away destination, great company, and memory-provoking background music. These are the stuff that one live for.

I shall then keep the memory of Pearl alive through the photos I've taken of her, and the first music I played in her player: July for King's New Black Car. (There goes the drama. Can't help it. I know my car's white. The tune is just so catchy.)

25July07 Manila, Philippines

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Technological Marvels and wearing Underpants

As I mentioned in my earlier post (Virgin Blogger pops Cherry), I have taken advantage of what technology has to offer in my line of work. Before I ramble on about my toys, I'd like you to know that I work as a Continuity Announcer for a TV station in the Philippines called the Hero Channel. It shows Japanese Anime and Sentai shows dubbed in Filipino. My voice, this time in English, comes in during the breaks, announcing promos, preview plugs, or what have you. In short, I'm the TV Station Voice. This has been going on since January of 2006.

To get to work, I drive all the way to the nearest MRT station (Ayala), park my car and take the train to the nearest station to ABSCBN (Quezon Ave). Then, in a futile attempt to burn calories (which I regain later during the day when snacking), I do an 8 minute walk to the TV station. On the 10th floor of the ELJCC building that's where the offices and the recording studio are. I say hello to the writers, get their scripts and their audio tapes, knock on the sound engineer's quarters to summon them for work, then off we go inside the recording studio. Once I'm done I give them back their audio tapes, then walk back to the station, ride the train, get to my car, drive home. If I'm to sum it up, the whole trip (to and back) takes about 3 hours. The recording process takes about 20 minutes. Crazy, isn't it? Don't forget that I subject myself to the stressful ordeal of driving through traffic, riding the public transport packed with people who haven't been introduced to a deodorant, and spending for parking, gas, and MRT tickets. Really crazy. So, I figured, there must be a way to make my life easier. After asking around with my friends in the recording industry, mostly sound engineers, I finally saw the light. Or in this case, maybe even heard it.

May I present to you the Samson Co3u. Go ahead and google it. It's a professional microphone, but this time it attaches itself to my Macbook via USB. No need for converter boxes, or pre-amps. Once I have downloaded the scripts sent to me by my writers via email, I just plug this baby right in, use iLife's Garage Band software to record and edit my voice, export it to iTunes to convert it to AIFF format, then upload it through Sendspace sends me a link where I may download or delete the file, then I forward this link to my writers. I do this without leaving the house. All I do is surround my table with pillows, put a pillow over my head (yes, I know, it looks so silly, but it keeps my voice from bouncing from the ceiling), hit the record button, and voice away. No need to drive or ride the train.

Best of all, I can do this wearing only my underwear. But that would paint a really nasty image so forget I said that.

Point is: I've set up my own portable studio. I can even work while travelling. However, this could only work for that particular job I mentioned above. I don't think this could work with Radio and TV advertisement recordings since the producers still prefer directing the voice talents in real time and in the flesh. But one has got to admit, technology has made my life easier.

I'm not keeping my hopes up, however. I know how much space I've dedicated harping over this form of convenience, but the truth is, I have yet to hear from the TV management if they are willing to allow this relatively new method. Honestly, I've been doing this for a couple of weeks already, and earlier today, I personally went there to get some feedback from our writers. Writers are okay with it, so I went to ask the channel producer. Channel producer said they are aware of: 1. my relocation to Singapore and 2. if they decide to keep me they will allow the emailing of my voice. Channel producer said they have yet to decide on it.

My take? They're going to let me go and get another talent.

For sure they're going to come up with some reason as to why it would be an inconvenience if I can't work in the usual fashion. They might even say that I'm pushing my luck. I myself wouldn't retain myself. I'd fire my pompous ass. It's not like there's a massive clamor for my oh-so-the-usual announcer voice. They could easily conduct auditions and get a replacement.

And so the adventure continues: will I still retain my TV station Voice-Over status? Or will they tell me to quit or else they'll ram my co3u USB microphone up my ass?

Stick around. I'll enlighten you.

12July07/ Manila, Philippines

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Disturbance in the Vocal Force

Cripes. What a day. Before I relay the day's events, may I first establish the fact that about 7 months ago I underwent a videostroboscopy, a procedure where an ENT (Ear Nose Throat Specialist) rammed (gently of course) a more than a foot long silver instrument with a video camera and a teeny light bulb at the tip to examine my vocal folds. Turned out there was a polyp the size of a pimple. This explains why I have been hoarse for 3 months prior to that diagnosis. A microlaryngoscopic surgery was in the horizon.

However, my running contract as a continuity announcer in a TV channel, along with my ongoing stint as a character product endorser, plus my other radio and TV voice-over projects, kept me from coming up with a date for the operation. Until today.

I figured that since my contract with the TV station will be over by the end of July, and we'll be relocating to Singapore by mid-August, today was the right time to see my surgeon and set that surgery date. So off I went to his clinic for my consultation and he proceeded to do a laryngoscopy on me to assess that polyp. What I saw shocked the bejeesus off me: the polyp has grown into the size of a pea.

He sounded casual about it though. I find this surprising as he rattled off on how there is a one to a hundred thousand chance of not waking up after a procedure of general aenesthesia. I should have struck out the question "what's the worst thing that could happen?" from my list. I know the odds aren't against me, but somehow it just failed to suffuse me with any bit of comfort at all.

This series of disturbing events gave way to a series of blank spells during the day. Fortunately, the information one may come across in the internet has the capacity to provide relief. I googled my case, read more about it, and somehow it eased me of my fears. Check it out on

I guess I'll be able to sleep better tonight. Looking forward to July 28, 2007.

11July07/Manila, Philippines