AIHO Post-Immersion Processing 🌏

📍 Torrijos, Marinduque, a pleasant surprise 💖 –  AIHO Immersion Cohort 4 Batch 5

It’s so hard to decide where to start. Do I talk about how far Torrijos actually is from every mode of transport into and out of Marinduque? Do I mention that we encountered two G2P1 women who gave birth in the same room: one who had live twins, and another who cried while give birth to her own dead baby following a personal accident? Do I say that our countrymen definitely deserve much better than what they are currently being given?

To me, the immersion served its purpose well. I had been wanting to see how things really were in our communities which cannot all be tackled in our conventional med curriculum. I silently pondered on the things I observed all week: people being recommended for NS1 testing due to a combination of dengue-like symptoms and recent recorded dengue cases, doctors prescribing antibiotics available instead of the more expensive first-line agents that the RHU cannot provide and the residents cannot afford, and the extremely long travel time to and from the farthest barangays which can prove to be detrimental in emergency situations.

Moreover, I think community exposure is the best setting to see just how much social determinants of health affect the way our fellow Filipinos live. Torrijos has problems with water supply that even the RHU is not spared of; instruments used were washed altogether at the end of the deliveries to conserve what little water they had. There was also occasional power loss, leading to a halt in ClinicSys encoding for consultations. In the barangay health stations, people flocked when they knew the doctor was in because he only came there once a week. Still, everyone working as part of the healthcare team did their best to provide the highest level of service that they were capable of giving. People were kind and helpful, and patiently taught us and answered our questions.

It was also such an opportune time that Dr. Joel Buenaventura from the DOH Central Office came to visit on the Saturday following our weeklong immersion. Having worked in the public health system since he became a physician, he talked to us about how the AIHO immersion program hopes to inspire in the young doctors of tomorrow the passion to serve the least, last, and underserved Filipinos. He wanted us to develop and sharpen our ‘public health mindset’ as much as our ‘ideal setup’. He hoped that we were frustrated by what we saw in our countrymen’s lives so that we can carry these frustrations with us on our journey, and that we will be fueled by them to aspire for change by deciding to work in public health ourselves. While I am yet to come to that decision, this experience will certainly stay in my mind and heart as I move further on with my studies.

Lastly, I pray that we all continue to push for better healthcare in the Philippines in our own ways. 🍃


A fork represents a diversion from a set path; once you go down one path, you can never experience the other path in the same way that you would have if you took it at that moment. Life is complicated by many things, but most of them arise from the need to choose just one path or make one decision. I hate forks.


A response to the Daily Prompt

Daily Prompt: Secret

I keep secrets from everyone. My parents and relatives don’t know everything. My friends think they know much, but they’ve only barely scratched the surface. At this point, I still surprise people- even myself. Sometimes I feel like I don’t know myself. I guess it’s still pretty acceptable since I am only beginning to see my life about to become a reality. One day, I hope I find that person who will take me in completely, secrets, flaws and all. I will find him, and he will know me. #

A response to this daily prompt.


A Comeback Attempt

This is an attempt to go back to writing. It has been way too long. I have had too many excuses: schoolwork, internship, and relationships among others. Lately, I discovered that I can’t write with as much passion as I used to and write about the things I care about as fast as I once could. I found myself stumbling over forgotten words and phrases, and looking up words that were once familiar. I fear that if I don’t start writing again, one day I might wake up and find myself unable to. So I’m starting now. Maybe the next few posts will be rubbish, maybe they won’t make sense to anyone but at least they’ll make sense to me. I don’t want to make excuses anymore; I’m tired of hearing myself complain. Cheers to this new beginning!

What Happened at the Mill? [Weekly Writing Challenge: The Setting’s the Thing]

Today, we challenge you to create a compelling setting for your story.


There were many theories as to what happened to Erik inside the rundown mill in the outskirts of the quaint little town on the island in the middle of Lake Isu, but the theories seemed to contrast with everything I saw when I came down there to investigate. The town was small, and when I say that I mean it’s really small. The houses are painted in dull colors like brown and gray; they are huddled so close together like sardines in a can, and a couple can barely argue about anything before the next door neighbors decide to come over and see what’s wrong. It seemed odd that such kinds of people living in a town so archaic-they still had working primitive hand pumps for drawing water from like, the past centuries-would miss the presence of an archaeologist roaming around the narrow dirt roads with his tool belt, eating in the lone diner with the red and white tiles, and talking to local folk of the town’s history.

I decided to head to the abandoned water mill where Erik was found lying in a pool of dried blood. I paused at the doorway, expecting it to be full of cobwebs and such, but it was fairly okay. Traces of the blood were still left on the creaky hardwood floor, and the scent hung in the air like none of it was ever wiped away. I looked up and saw that half the roof had already given way, and I saw the rising moon look down at me. I continued to observe the surroundings. The wheel on one side of the mill was already in pitiful condition, and the mayor said it has been abandoned for almost twenty years. The lake had shrunk for the water no longer flowed in and out, and mosquitoes breed in the green, moss-filled water. Some of the beams inside the structure are no longer stable. Erik would never have come out here for any reason. The floorboards creaked, though I was not moving.



I had fun with this week’s challenge. It’s been so long since I worked on one. It’s not as elaborate as I want it, but I can still work on that.

Weekly Photo Challenge: On the Move

I have always been in love with traveling. Even at my current age, I have accumulated many pictures of me and my family going around everywhere, especially in domestic destinations here in the Philippines. Here are some photos showing “on the move”.




This is the boat we rode going to Guimaras in 2012.



That’s my mom driving us to Subic also in 2012.



This is a large truck carrying sugarcane which we encountered in Bukidnon last year.

And this is the kalesa ride we took in Vigan just last April.

Any photos “on the move”?

Check out this week’s photo challenge here.

Four notes was all it took [Weekly Writing Challenge: Moved by Music]

Music is powerful: it conjures memories, emotions, and people and things of the past. It’s not only a trigger, but an outlet to express who we are. For this challenge, pick one song and write about it — or use it as inspiration for a post. The track may be personally meaningful, or remind you of something, someone, or some event you can look back on.

Remember that girl Katniss Everdeen teamed up with in the 74th Hunger Games? Well, this post is about her four-note song (and its full orchestra version below). I suggest you listen to the music first before you proceed.

 The song has no words; it need not have words. The music alone evokes so much sadness, so much grief that most Tributes (Hunger Games fans, that is) like myself would shed tears or stop whatever they’re doing when they hear the whistle. The development of this full version of a short whistle song, for me, served as a moment of glory for RUE. She died in such a disturbing way; whenever I hear the song, it’s almost as though I relive the moment again and again.

Despite this, it also relaxes me and soothes my nerves. I don’t know why, but maybe because it is a reminder that some things are worth..not dying for, that’s too grave and serious, but rather some things are worth making an effort for. It is a reminder that even the best plans have loopholes, that we can lose even the best people in the blink of an eye. It is a reminder that we should make the most out of life while we still have it. Or maybe it just reminds me of that innocent little girl. I can never tell.

Daily Prompt : Placebo Effect

If you could create a painless, inexpensive cure for a single ailment, what would you cure and why?

I’d just finsihed reading The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. I assume you know where I’m going with this. I want to develop a cure for cancer.

There are too many people in the world who are like Augustus and Hazel. Their situation is often complicated and scary, their final chapter dependent on the diagnosis. Their lives are never peaceful, and rarely enjoyable. If I could only take away cancer, I would have done it early on. And I would if ever I will be given the chance. Who knows for sure?

So, yes, I would cure cancer, but I won’t stop there. There are too many ailments in the world that need solutions, like AIDS. That will probably be my second best choice. We all know we need it. Until then, all we can do is hope and pray.