February 25 – March 5. When you don’t have time to go to art exhibits, the art exhibits go to you.
I was surprised to find a small open exhibit in the activity area of Robinsons Galleria a few days ago. The paintings were focused on showcasing Filipino women in various contexts. Three artists were featured: Romi MananQuil, Nemi Miranda and August Santiago.
The thematic focus on Filipino women is very timely. We are celebrating International Women’s month, the passage of the extended maternity leave bill, and the progression of the Anti-Discrimination Bill. In the same breath, we are still fighting for equal and rational basic human rights.
Many of the paintings were painted very recently (i.e. signed 2017). What’s great about the pieces of art is that they highlight the unique merits of each artist’s style. I also had a bit of time to review the exhibit itself.
I do regret not being able to properly label my photos with the title of the works. Miranda’s work in the first photo, for example, had a title that alluded to “The First Sin” or something similar. The title and other external elements like framing really do affect one’s interpretation of the work. Maybe you’ll catch this exhibit near you some time and you’ll be able to fully experience the art yourself.
When we get to internal organs next year, I’ll try my hand at inking even the outlines and muscles.
And in other news:
I went on a 1200 calories per day diet last week, with the help of the planned meal deliveries from Gourmet Kusina. I’ll try to blog about the merits and demerits of having meals planned out for you… some day.
My sister’s out watching a premier showing of Doctor Strange right now. I, on the other hand, am preparing for my customary post-whole-day-dissection-shower-back-pain nap.
You know, it’s strange to realize that my life literally has nothing going for it, except for some random chats with still irrelevant people, and friendships, and family, and love. These relationships might all die like my cactus.
(I’m seriously annoyed because when I was drafting this life update in my head, I had more things to say).
Finding the time to write is difficult when life itself outpaces the speed of my thoughts. But this last week’s dermatology submodule gave us all in YL5 some much needed respite, so I think I can try my hands at updating this blog.
Also, we’ll be properly dissecting our cadavers tomorrow, and that means I’ll soon be drowning in MSK and gross anatomy. In fact, I should be studying Moore or Netter right now. I miss the days when I could frequently produce poems and essays and travel posts (–speaking of, I have yet to make any progress in my Australia and Thailand journals).
But here is an update anyway. It’s been in the burner long enough.
Five Things ASMPH Made Me Realize (So Far)
After three modules and some change –Principles and Perspectives, Cell, Hematology and Immunology, and the Integumentary portion of MSK Integ– I feel like I’ve lived and learned a little more (despite my best attempts at ghosting*). And here are the things I learned. In a certain fashion.
#1. Remember your roots.
Firstly, the news of a lifetime. After a shameful X number of years, I finally showed up to a high school reunion/hang out event.
It’s strange to think that these were the people who were with me for days on end, during two of the most formative years of my life. We used to eat, breathe, think and relax together (though we have a bad track record with the relaxation part). And now we’re living different lives, going onto drastically different paths.
But what I did realize was how important my loved ones are. When I first entered med school, people would say how essential having a support system is. It really is true. My friends were a breath of fresh air amidst the confusion of adjusting to med school. They were comfortable, and loving, and warm. They knew me before, and they know me now. And I’m so thankful for their existence.
The same goes with family. Every weekend I go home — even if it’s not always 100% perfect in Paranaque– is a weekend I get to spend comfortably and without burdens. They may not understand med school, but they (mostly) understand me. And that can be enough.
#2. There’s always tomorrow.
At every stage of your life, you think: this is it. Nothing could ever be more fucked up than this. I’ve experienced varying forms of FUBAR throughout high school, only to realize in college how petty those concerns were. And now, in med school, I’m reevaluating every concern I’ve ever had in tertiary education.
envy of the youth: hs students beside me in the coffeeshop are complaining about having to study greek myths
Because now, med school –at least, ASMPH– demands us to prepare for an exam every 1.5 weeks. That’s 2 out of 4 weekends consumed by studying, without the simple pleasure of saying sa Monday ko na lang iisipin. You can’t procrastinate. Or if you do, it’s not going to lead to anything good**.
I had to level up studying***. While I can’t say I’m the most diligent student, I’m definitely more diligent than I’ve ever been. I have to constantly seek inspiration and motivation.
LET NO ONE TELL YOU THAT BALLET IS BORING. I almost cried, I kept sitting in awe, I learned to believe in love again. Philippine Ballet Theatre’s The Great Classics was a good show and a fun time!
As always, we can’t take photos or recordings while the show was ongoing.
Showing in Tanghalang Nicanor Abelardo, The Great Classics features a selection of ballet’s most celebrated dances, including pieces from the Swan Lake, Flames of Paris, Romeo and Juliet, Diana and Actaeon and Paquita.
I loved how the narratives and emotions can be clearly felt from a combination of the dancing and the music (perhaps thanks to the live orchestra, which is unfortunately not a mainstay in the show’s run). The emotional resonance in the first Swan Lake and in the Romeo and Juliet balcony scene were particularly moving.
When the story is lost, when it becomes a succession of technical moves, I find it more difficult to follow or to appreciate. This might be the reason why out of all of the featured dances, I liked the wedding scene from Paquita the least.
That, or I was just beginning to feel that a 2+ hour run-time was too long.
But kudos to everyone! As I said, I didn’t get bored or disinterested at any point during the show. While the performances weren’t flawless (with a few unfortunate costume or set disturbances along the way), it was still an excellent show of what the CCP’s resident ballet company could offer.
Every time someone leapt, I kept wondering how people could transcend the laws of gravity and physics. It looked like they were flying.
Here’s a round of applause for all of the artists who made the show happen!
And another round of applause to C, for coming with me (or for inviting me?), and to my sister, for getting us orchestra center seats (!!!). It’s like appreciating ballet is also about the company you’re with. I feel the need to suddenly brush up on my technical knowledge of ballet, since C is an actual fan! Missed you, M!
The long journey’s at its formal start — five years of MD/MBA (what’s that?why is it relevant?), a couple of years residency, and a million or two moments of crying. I’m so excited. I’m also afraid I’ll forget things (half of my college experience now seems like a haze in my memory), so here’s a new blog series post thing.
Road to Medicine
If you asked me when I decided to go into medicine, I don’t think I’d be able to give you a clear answer. My only actual Career Moment as a child was deciding I’d be a lawyer (Harvard Law, of course), thanks to the inspirational queen that is Elle Woods.
But sometime in the last ten years I just woke up knowing that I’ll work to become a doctor. By third year high school, there was no question.
Sometimes I try to justify this choice by thinking of my dad, who died of cancer 1.5 decades ago. I’d think of the times I play-acted at nursing him back to health. I’d think of revolutionizing the world with medical research.
A photo posted by Jari Monteagudo (@jarimonty) on Nov 26, 2015 at 6:25am PST
In any case, I’d keep getting inspired throughout the years, and I’d keep committing. I’ve immersed with communities in Pampanga, Manila, and more recently in Rizal.
And I realize in debate and discussions, again and again, that any right we enjoy in life are premised first on the right to health, and that there’s no sense fighting for feminism or progressive nationalism or equity in general when only a meager percent of the world can choose to enjoy it.
Education, transportation and right to liberty. But health first.
By the time I was inexorably moving towards medicine as a career, I already fixated on the idea of helping people access quality services. The most beautiful thing in the world is the sight of people who could choose to live their lives well. That’s a kind of art I think more people should appreciate.
Making the Right Choice
I’ve never had a dream school, but if I had one, Ateneo would come pretty close.
Ateneo was the school of my dad, brother, sister and a handful of other relatives. The Ateneo Way –whatever that is– was sold to me heavily that summer of 2011 (?), during the Ateneo Junior Summer Seminar.
I wouldn’t trade what I experienced in UP Manila for the world, but I always wondered “What If?”. Ateneo, after all, was my only other choice for college.
Come med school, I guess I won’t have to wonder. In a way. (Though now I’d keep wondering, what if I got into UPCM instead?).
I am in love with Lucifer. It’s brilliant, engaging, and I devoured the whole run within twelve hours. Perhaps.
Lucifer’s struggles are, unalarmingly, my own, only magnified to cosmic scale. I have a problem with pride, and the asociality that comes with it. I can only bear few people, and they all must be as great as Maz. I have a bone to pick with intelligent design. Of all possible sins to suffer for, I would suffer for freedom. And, like Lucifer, I don’t care for things that don’t touch me.
But aside from its relevance, Lucifer delivers. Its writing and art styles call to mind that of the Sandman series. Fantastical stories —sometimes grotesque, sometimes beautiful— are interspersed with the stories of people up close. And what people they are: fallen cherubim who have it in them to be funny, loyal and useful; a lilim With A Heart Of Gold; a deck of cards who mimic the greed of men; a girl who is not just a girl; centaurs, the holy host, demons and the damned. A pair of brothers and their father.
And all of them have their own stories. Not all angels are nice, and not all demons can be said to be evil. They are, apparently, who they have all chosen to be.
They just don’t own it. The assumption and reality of intelligent design is the crux of the matter. Angels would differ but would also label all of their actions with the holy name. Demons would inflict pain and humans would bear it under the banner of Lucifer’s will. It’s funny, because Lucifer is a story of the making and unmaking of self. But only the Morningstar, bar some exceptions, recognizes it.
What’s even funnier is that there is only one way Lucifer’s issue with will can be resolved. In some ways, the ending of the series was inevitable.
And lastly: the other thing I love about Lucifer, I love too about the Sandman series. It builds its own mythos, and weaves from the pantheons of known and unknown gods. It makes for a very rich thinkpiece (and art feast). Also it makes me geek out.
For example. The flaw of god is in his perfection.
I remembered Gaiman’s other works, American Gods and Neverwhere, when I read this panel — in a very roundabout way. Some things are powered by belief.
And then something about free will, which reminded me my favorite line in Gaiman and Pratchett’s Good Omens. INEFFABLE.