LEVI McPHERSON, a graduate student of analytical chemistry at the University of North Central Florida, is approached by agents of the Homeland Security’s Counter-terrorism Unit. The agency is recruiting Lee to study and expose the loopholes of screening instruments in airports. Struggling financially, he accepted the offer, making him a paid, benevolent hacker of the nation’s gateway. Yet Levi is horrified when an Airbus from Los Angeles disintegrated in mid-air.

At 40, when everybody’s career trajectory is going up, Levi’s still a poor graduate student, struggling financially. His research projects however, are worth million dollars. Researching the highly classified and heavily guarded secrets of detecting traces of explosives, what Lee know was a goldmine. The agency's offer is his financial break . So Levi tackles the problem like a scientist, detailing the loopholes of the aviation security and turning what he knew into a big time money machine.

JIM and JONATHAN of the counter-terrorism unit, where nowhere to be found after Charlotte International Airport, a hub of Delta Airlines closed abruptly because of instrument malfunctions in their security lines. And in a post-Osama Bin Laden’s era, the biggest blow to the United Stated after the 9/11 disaster comes unexpectedly when a passenger plane blew up in the skies of Washington D.C., in the heart of the nation.

Levi knew it was only the start of more troubles, so he recruits his fellow graduate students to counter the future attacks. They have to think like criminals—and scientists too. With the help of FBI counter-terrorism experts, Homeland Security and Transportation Security Agency, the team races to close and plug the loopholes Lee identified.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

White men can't jump?

Recently, I been playing basketball with friends every saturday (check out this site, I may be playing :^}). Basketball is not my sports, soccer is my game (and occasional running). Since soccer is an outdoor game, and summer is right around the corner, I decided to play basketball.
Between you and me, I'm not good in playing basketball. I can dribble, pass and shoot, that's about it. Making the shots is a different story.
Week by week, I realized that I love to defend than to dribble the ball. In soccer, I love to defend more than weave into defenders. I love to take the ball from the person (or take the person from the ball, which is a foul and a last resort). That's me.
Observe the evolution of the game anyway, you will realize that basketball is a game for blacks . It's not about who defends best or scores how many points. If you are a basketball fan, the last great white professional basketball player was Larry Bird, circa 1980s. Nobody came close to him. What followed was a domination of great black players: Jordan, LeBron James, Grant Hill, Shaq etc. Although there are whites here and there (Steve Nash), their credentials were not comparable to Bird. Are whites incapable of jumping? If you agree, you will also conclude that blacks are not suppose to round the ice hockey. Almost all of the hockey players are white (except for Jerome Iginla, a mixed black-white).

Friday, March 28, 2008

"For all the things I lost, I missed my mind the most"

I watched the movie "Hackers" again. Surfing for scheduled programs to record in my HD TV., I came along with the old movie Hackers (starring Angelina Jolie).

The saying "For all the things I lost, I missed my mind the most" came from Ozzy Osbourne, the typical rebel-rocker of the 70's from the band "Black Sabbath". I'm not a Sabbath fan, I'm just amused by his saying, implying "sex, drugs and rock n roll" kind of lifestyle.

Hackers are viewed by people as rebel too. But in this case, they are the aloft and genius rebels that are anti-social. They are the ghost of the Internet, literally. They don't sleep. The walking zombies of our society, powered up by caffeine.

As life goes on, we as a society evolved to battle bad hackers: those kind of geniuses for the money, stealing identities. On the other side of the coin, there are good hackers. These are the kind of people who are curious.

Eventually though, hackers of the planet will grow-up, just like Ozzy Osbourne. They will settle and have families, and think about what have they done to the society.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

"Smack my ass and call me Sally"

Believe it, "Smack my ass and call me Sally" is a label for a hot sauce. My research groupmates decided to eat at Tijuana Flats today. Tijuana Flats is a Mexican restaurant that solely distribute the "Smack my ass.." hot sauce. Some of my friends jokingly refer to it as Tijuana Shits. But in all honesty, I like the food.

Anyway, every time I'm here, I order Chimichangas and the "Smack my ass.." hot sauce. As I was eating the food, I read the history of the establishment posted in the table napkin holder. It said that the founders were from UCF (University of Central Florida, my Alma mater, in Orlando Florida ). I finished my masters degree at that place, the only school who accepted me in the U.S. with financial support (currently though I'm finishing my PhD at the University of Florida).

After reading the history of the restaurant, I read the signs printed in the walls. It said "Mexican is a culture, not a theme" and "Hot is the new cool" ( I learned later it was part of their manifesto). Then I turned to my friend sitting next to me. I asked him what chimichangas are, since he was born in Mexico. He didn't know. I didn't care, I just savored the hotness of the food.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

The SEARCH : History of the search engine

I'm an MS-DOS baby. If you don't know what MS-DOS operating system is, it's the predecessor of Windows. It's old school.

I realized MS-DOS is an ancient technology, after reading the book. Computer technology grow so fast. Although the book is not about the operating system, reading the history and battles of the search engines is like reading how operating systems evolved (and made money). I can't tell you much about the war between Microsoft and Apple; I'm too young to remember. Reading the evolution of the search engine in contrast is nostalgic, I was using the technology, during the growing years of the Internet.
It's a new world economy, but I never thought of the search engine as a business model. It's hard to conceptualize. It's not like the gold rush: gold is synonymous to money. And companies who didn't understand how search engines could be made as a source of income, those companies were doomed.
Who were the casualties of war? If you were old enough to witness the growth of the internet, in one time or another you heard about,, (I'm not familiar with this, but it was acquired by yahoo),, and Yahoo is still alive (and struggling). These companies were mentioned in the book, and I was using these search engines before.
Nostalgic. You know why? I just visited those sites a while ago, and the designs of the sites are reminiscing of the late 1990s. Those were the days.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Blue Ray vs. HD DVD

The war is over. I mean the war between High Definition (HD) format for DVD players (remember Betamax and VHS formats? If those name don't ring a bell, you're too young).
Sony (and many others) were waging the blue ray banner while Toshiba was fighting for HD DVD. If I was a stock broker and gambled between the two formats, I could have lost a lot of money because I own a Toshiba Laptop and I have the natural inclination to bet for HD DVD, I could have bet for HD DVD. Thank God I'm a consumer, I can wait and see ( I was following the battle since I have an HD TV).
I'm so fascinated by people who makes money through the stock market. Essentially, trading in Wall Street is betting. And betting, as I was told when I was a child, is bad. I was told there's no money in gambling. But how about stock brokers?
By the way, you know why Blu-Ray won the battle? It's because Sony incorporated Blu-Ray players in their Playstations. This is the same reason Microsoft (MS) crashed Netscape, Microsoft packaged the Internet Browser in the same product MS distributes, the Microsoft Windows. Unfair? Some people consider it a genius plan. Some call it an evil approach.

Thursday, March 20, 2008


Although people from the snowy region welcome spring with very open arms (and why not, February's bitter cold is nasty), spring time for me is a torture: running nose, red eyes and sneezing, makes my life miserable.

I assumed before that allergies are for the weak (weak immune system, that is), and when I came here in the U.S. five years ago, I never had allergies from pollen. I told myself, pollution from the streets of Manila made my immune system strong. No need for anti-histamines, such as Claritin.

My immune system grew weak or the pollen counts in Florida increased, because about 2 years ago, I developed symptoms of allergies. It's either my system became weaker or pollen increased, I really don't know. It's probably not the two reasons I stated, much more a combination of both.

As long as it doesn't interfere with my work, I stay away from Claritin. So far, my strategy works. I just increase my tissue paper consumption and my travel to the restrooms.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Blink part II

I finished reading the book titled Blink. If I summarize the book, and it's content, the theme lies in our unconscious level of decision making. Very scientific in it's discussion? It's just our bias in judgement, even though you say consciously that you are not bias.
In other words, it's what Larry Bird calls "he's in the zone" (not mentioned in the book) because he have good "basketball court sense", or why we have bias towards a black person. I never knew about the New Coke product until I read it from a Reader's Digest, and I never knew why the product failed until now, when the book discussed the fateful market research.

Blink showed me that little information is the same as more information: you just reach for the most important piece of information. On the other hand, armed with limited pieces of information can also be disastrous. You look at the whole story before judging. Although in some cases (such as when a police encounters a life and death situation, where milliseconds count), you don't have the luxury of time, snap judgements can be useful, but with caution.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Reality TV

Reality TV is probably dying. People are frustrated watching "reality" on TV anymore.

As I was scanning the channels, I came upon a show called "Keeping up with the Kardashios" (or something). As I was watching, I concluded, the show was clearly under the supervision of a director. It wasn't smooth flowing just like any other real life.

Better watch March Madness even without Florida.

Monday, March 17, 2008


The thing about research is that most of the time, you are frustrated with the outcome. Scientific method is not an algorithm or flow-chart everybody follows. Research is not just a map to follow, because most of the time, you are frustrated. It's part of research, you're expecting the road, but in reality, it's not there. You formulate your hypothesis again.

My frustration started early morning when I was expecting good results but never came. Afternoon passed by and nothing good happened. So, I just shake the day off, work again probably wednesday.

Patience. Infinite patience. It's a virtue you should have if you embark on a career in science.


Friday, March 14, 2008


Don't quote me here, but an average person reads 3-4 books a year. I always try to beat the average, so I started looking for a book to read this year. As I was waiting in a mall, I was scanning and reading "Tipping Point" in a bookstore. The book caught my attention. Since I don't want to buy the book, I went to the public library the next day to look for "Tipping Point". Unfortunately, the book is still in loan, so I ended up with "Blink". If there's a consolation, the books had the same author.

What's "Blink"? It's a premise that people think without really thinking. Call it gut feelings or instincts. I haven't finished the book yet, but the story line goes that experts can tell something before testing things in the laboratory.

I remembered asking my adviser if my data was real or not, and by looking at the figure, he concluded it's not real and only a noise. He was right. That's blink in action.

Love moves in mysterious ways

Few days before February 14 this year, I received an emails from my friends from the Philippines. They were organizing a date for dateless individuals, or planning to. It was sort of consoling themselves for being loveless in the day of love. Sound pathetic, but the situation resembles that of a senior high school girl frantically looking for a date at a senior prom. Re-imagine Pretty in pink the movie --but not the teen age girls but ladies looking for a mid-life romance.

May, a long time acquaintance, emailed me an article, asking me if I still remember what I wrote. If blogging existed 7 years ago, the article will be in my blog. The unpolished article was about love and trying to explain love through science (and that explains why I'm in graduate school, I like science but I'm not geeky). After reading and examining my long lost article (thanks May), I realized how 7 years made a difference in how I write and how I presented my ideas.

Anyway, in the span of 7 years, I still wonder why May is still loveless. She's cute, hot, easy to get along with and some other superlatives you can think of. If I was betting money on among my friends, gambling on who will tie the knot in 7 years, May is one of my friends I'll put money into. If I did, I lost.

At the rate life is going, I think she's not frustrated and will soon find one. Love moves in a mysterious ways, just read on the link (this one's for you May, Divine or Mayang, whichever you want me to call you). I got it from the Reader's Digest Feb Edition.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Temporary inconvenience

I went to my mechanic to do some oil and filter change, so with the car's over-all check up. Everytime I go to this guy, we discuss things not related to cars (but most of the time, about cars). It was last October when I paid him a visit, and as far as I can remember, he was to contemplating to divorce his wife.

He still remembered my advice ever since, that "there are no problems in this world, only temporary inconvenience". I told him to stick around and work the relationship out. The moment he saw me, he remembered the temporary inconvenience thing, what he cannot remember is his counter argument to my advice.

I can't remember also his counter argument, however; he stuck around with her wife with some conditions. Now, that's not love anymore if there are conditions. My car was ok though.

To Denver

Actually, I'm not going because my wife is expected to deliver our baby this June, the same time the conference in Denver.

The conference is about Mass Spectrometry, the tool I used to detect and analyze chemicals. I wish I could be there and visit Denver, but I'm just tired of travel. I've been to the Philippines for a vacation and the travel beat me down bad.

I'm looking forward though for the next conference or conferences. For now, I'll gather more data and collaborate with other researchers. Who knows, I'll be going to Netherlands for special research at the FELIX (free electron laser for infrared experiments) institute (cross fingers), one of the few institutes with free electron laser.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Can we extend life past 100 yrs.?

Healthy aging is an oxymoron, period. You don't want to get old and then your body starts to disintegrate with high blood pressure, arthritis, cancers, diabetes and heart diseases. Getting old is not fun. After suffering and battling the diseases, we glamorize death as if it's a wedding. The truth is, we don't have any options but face death. Do we have other options?

What if technology offers you a quality life past 100 yrs, will you be willing to accept it? Imagine, you were born 100 years ago, you can proudly say "Yap, I experienced World War I, World War II, the Cold War, the Iraq War, the Beatles, Michael Jordan, Cell Phones and the Internet".

What technologies are coming next? "Jumper's" teleportation? I don't know. Most likely, the breakthrough in genetic engineering. We may live past 100 years . If you are under 40 years old today, computational models are spitting out data that you may. Technology is becoming more and more sophisticated. Whether you are prepared or not, it will still continue to grow. Were you prepared of technologies like cell phones and the internet before? Many more are coming.

Down to 167 lbs

Numbers don't lie, and I'm down to 167 lbs from 170. How about that? The good thing about achieving goals early is that it is a good motivational factor: If I did it this week, I can do it next week.

Losing 3 lbs. is within the range of your hydration. You can increase your weight by a glass of water. I know somebody, a professional triathlete, loses 10 lbs. in a hard training of running and biking. I'm not a professional triathlete, I only lose 3 lbs the most in a hard run.

Nevertheless, 3 lbs is 3 lbs.

It's the hormone, damn it!

One time, I was riding my bike to my work and passed by teenage girls waiting for the yellow school bus. The bus if I'm not mistaken, is nicknamed the "cheese box". Anyway, I'm not blogging about the "cheese box", I'm blogging what I've heard from the teens. They were discussing birth control pills.

As I was closing in near the waiting shed, I heard a hush from one student, to signal the group somebody is approaching. They didn't realized that I heard the conversation loud and clear even before they spotted me. The calm winds have ears.

I'm blogging this because CNN reported 1 out of 4 teenage girls has STD. How can the government counter these problems? Education and awareness? probably. Or is it high time now to revamp the educational system? Middle school was separated from elementary school and high school, because middle school students experience rapid sex hormone increase.

What can we do? Good parenting, education and awareness. The most important: administrator in education should do something revolutionary and clever ways to decrease the statistic.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Water contamination (but what's in your milk?)

(Thanks to Dr. Cooks of Purdue University)
CNN reported yesterday that water supplies of around 40 million Americans are contaminated by low levels of pharmaceutical drugs. When I was reading the news, I remembered my friend who vowed to drink only spring water (bottled Evian) and eat only organic food.

Because the high price of eating only organic food made me snob the idea of healthy living by drinking only spring water and organic food. But it dawned to me why my friend (who was a personal trainer) acted that way. My question is, what's the effect of these chemicals in our body in the long run? Will the data become clear only after I'm old and the damages are irreversible?

I can't afford the organic lifestyle, but I stopped eating burgers after watching "Fast Food Nation". I been trying to eat organic food such as carrots (taste sweet), squash and coffee:), but I'm not totally organic.

I'm an analytical chemist, and I saw data of milk contaminated with artificial growth hormones. Did the water contamination hoopla scared me? A bit, that's why I'm more vigilant on what food I put in my mouth. In addition, I wash my hands frequently after working with chemicals in my laboratory.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Increasing caloric expenditure

Our bodies are product of billion years of evolution. If you think back how our ancestors lived a long time ago, they were very active. They have to hunt in order to eat or escape from predators hunting them. It's an active lifestyle no doubt.

Our lifestyle, and not our body, evolved so fast to computers, cars, grocery stores and the internet. We are not running away anymore from predators and hunt in order to live, instead, we work to pay the bills. Unfortunately, our body is still in the active, primitive mode, that's why we need to exercise.

There are a lot of things to do in order to increase your caloriec expenditure: use the stairs instead of the elevator, park your car away from your office in order to walk and all of those good things you've heard before. Mine is simple, I use the bike going to my laboratory and if i use the bus, I walk two blocks to the next bus stop.

My preciuos bike in the middle
of high tech research instruments

Thursday, March 6, 2008

You only see what the headlight can reach

(Note: That's me at the right warming up at my apartment complex' fitness room. I'm warming up by reading a science magazine with my navy cap.)
This day is part of the single step Confucius refers to his "thousand mile journey". The variation is that you can only see what the light of your car can reach, however; by small steps, you will arrive at your destination. I push myself to workout, wake up early in the morning and sleep early the night before.
This single step is crucial because you want your body to adapt the active lifestyle that you want. You can't get up of bed early in the morning if your body is not use to it. So what I usually do in the first few weeks is adjust. Adjust your waking habits and sleeping patterns. Science said that the optimal hours of an adult is 7.5 hours. I target 8 hours: sleep at 10 PM and wake-up at 6 AM, coffee and then workout.
How do I wake up early? Motivation. You should have a burning desire to workout.
How do I wake up early? Sleep early. Turn off all distractions around 10 PM. Pain of Discipline, or pain of regrets? You take your pick.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

So, you want to lose weight?

Weight loss is tricky. Even so, follow my journey as I plan to lose weight this year, 20-lbs to be exact. That will be my goal. Currently, the weighing scale measures 170 lbs. In the end of this year, it will be 148-150 lbs. If my calculations are correct, that's 10% body fat. (Compare that to Lance Armstrong of only 5%).

I'm not an elite athlete, I'm a regular mortal like you. My weight has always been my concern.

To achieve my goals, I'm using my tools and gizmos; motivation, technology, science, calorie counting and dealing with frustrations. I'll be losing weight in my busiest year ever, because of a baby coming in June and an oral examination, a requirement to become a Ph.D. candidate. Top that with frustrating (but exciting) research.

At this stage of the battle, my knees are not yet ready for the pounding of running so I'll be using the fitness first elliptical machine at my apartment complex's fitness room (pix on above left). It is a small room but it serves the purpose of burning calories. Don't get me wrong, I like big gyms, but the fitness room in my complex is a little bit convenient.

It's just the start. I lost weight before, I will be doing it again. Next year, I'll be running the Disney Marathon then.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

My Navy Cap

I'm not a U.S. Navy nor served the Navy. I got the cap at a recruiting station when the Iraqi War broke out 3-4 years ago . It's not that I want to be a poser, it's just the cap fit so good in my head that I use it for workout or during early mornings to cover my out- of-bed-look hair.

But using the cap doesn't free you from strangers asking "Are you still in the Navy?"or "Were you in the Navy?". I just say no to those questions. One time, in a public library, one person asked me the question, and he said he served in the Navy and very proud of his services.

Sometimes though, just for fun, those questions teased me to respond, "yeah, I served in the Navy". But what if there were follow-up questions, such as what ship were you stationed to and what rank. USS Wisconsin and just a cook will be my answers (USS stands for United States Ship).

To tell you the truth, I won't do that. If I want to serve the army, I'll go for the Air Force, and not in the field of battle, but probably a researcher.

Nowadays, you can't wear a Chicago Bulls cap without being asked if you are a Bulls fan.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Don't pound your knees

If you are considering loosing weight and jump straight to running and dieting, it's a sure way of ruining your knees,specially if you are 10 to 20 lbs overweight than your ideal weight.
What I suggest, if you have a gym membership, is to use an elliptical machine instead. I know it's an intimidating piece of equipment and the movement is so unnatural, but the exercise removes the pounding from your knees. You can workout longer, compared to running, and in the end, you can do more.
I've seen substantially overweight people trying to run in the treadmill, and honestly felt bad for their knees. The idea is, loose some weight from the elliptical machine then graduate to running. I've been there.
Our knees, through evolution, wasn't designed to support heavy work loads (such as extra pounds in a long run). Take care of your knees, it's not fun when you get old.

Saturday, March 1, 2008


(Blogger's note: This is not my piece but this well written journal captured my sentiments about Los Banos, that's why I grabbed this one from an e-mail. I worked in Calamba before, a 40-60 minutes commute from LB, but I opted to stay in Los Banos, for same reasons below. If this happens to be yours or you know who wrote this, e-mail me to acknowledge you)

But it's always you I run home to, take me back, take me home away from here back to where I am free" -"LosBanos" by Sugarfree

Dalawang oras mula sa usok-infested streets of Metro Manila matatagpuan ang aking personal heaven dito sa mundo. Matanaw ko pa lang ang Mt. Makiling mula sa South Superhighway, kinikilig na ako. Wala naman akong girlfriend sa LB. Lalo nang wala ding boyfriend. Kahit ka-fling na pwedeng balikan, wala naman akong pupuntahan. Pero yung feeling pwede mong itulad sa pagpunta mo sa bahay ng mahal mo matapos ang isang buwang walang pag-uusap o pagkikita.

Nasa LB ang org ko, pero hindi naman kami close ng mga orgmates, actually parang iwas pa nga sila sa kin e. Nandito sa Metro Manila ang mga kaibigan ko. Nasa Pasig ang pamilya ko. Wala naman akong ancestral roots sa Los Banos. Mayroon lang talagang hindi maintindihang connection sa pagitan ko at ng napakagandang lugar na to.

Bakit kaya ako napaibig sa Los Banos?

Suspect: Yung environment.

Kasi sa umaga, ang sarap langhapin ng hangin. Ang sarap panligo nung mainit na tubig na lumalabas sagripo. Lalo na pag may matinding hangover, ang sarap pantanggal ng sakit ng ulo. Lalabas ka ng bahay,maririnig mo yung iba't-ibang huni ng mga ibon. Dadampi sa mukha mo yung lamig ng simoy ng hangin, at didikit sa sapatos mo yung damo na nabasa sa hamog.

Hindi ko kayang lakarin ang Ayala Avenue from EDSA to Buendia, pero pag sa LB, kahit doblehin pa yung same distance, wala akong reklamo. Kahit ilang milyong bumbilya pa ang ilagay mo sa mga building ng Makati ,walang tatalo sa napakagandang backdrop ng LB, ang Mt.Makiling . Minsan magtataka ka, sa isang araw na walakang makikitang ulap, makikita mong nakatambay ang mga clouds sa tuktok ng bundok na ito.

Suspect: Yung pagkain.

Wala namang pinagkaiba yung pagkain sa LB kumpara sa Manila e. Sa totoo lang, hindi din ako madalas kumainn g buko pie. Madaming kainan sa LB, pero ginawa kong suspect yung pagkain kasi napamahal talaga ako sananay ko dahil siya yung araw-araw na nagluluto ng laman-tiyan ko. Kung gagawa ako ng list ng "The BestLB Food", nasa menu ko ang mantika-licious Ellen's Fried Chicken, yung Pinoy-style siomai sa Papu's, yung, Doner Durum (LB version ng shawarma), yung dinuguan na binebenta sa Lapitan's Meat Shop, yung chocolate cake ng Mer-Nel's, yung tokwa sa IC's bar, at syempre ang aking all-time favorite na Bug-Ong Roasted Chicken. May natikman pa akong bagong panalong chibog, yung sa Ihaw Express na malapit sa WhiteHouse.

Kahit sinong taga-LB ang tanungin ninyo, sasabihin nya na mas masarap ang Lucky Me Pancit Canton na niluto sa LB kesa sa niluto sa kung saang lugar.
Suspect: Yung inuman.
Kung magtatayo ka ng business sa LB na ayaw mong malugi, magtayo ka ng liquor shop o kaya ng affordable na bar. Dahil may kasabihan nga na "hindi ka taga-LB kung hindi ka marunong uminom". Madaming resto- bar sa LB, pero nothing beats the house parties. Bago pasumikat yung gin-pomelo sa Manila , yun na yung iniinom namin. Madami pa kaming nagawang kakaibang cocktail. Yung Kamehame Wave (vodka ice tea), yung POGi (pineapple orange gin), yung FuKiKo (fundador,hershey's kisses, tsaka kape), yung Boracay (Tanduay 3-in-1 coffee mix evap), at ang walang kamatayang PinaColaTa (pineapple coke tanduay).
Sa LB, mas maganda ang tagayan kaysa kanya-kanyangkuha ng inom. At shempre kulang ang inom pag walang home-made pulutan tulad ng Kilawing Cornick at ang sikat na sikat na Tuna-Skyflakes.

Suspect: Yung mga tao.
Ewan ko lang ngayon pero nung nandoon pa ako sa LB, walang social climber. Walang pa- sosyal dun. Yung mgagaling sa mga mayayayamang pamilya (conio in layman's terms), kailangang mag-fit in sa masa. Hindi importante ang porma. Kahit naka-pambahay na damit at tsinelas ka pag papasok, tanggap ka na ng lipunan. Kaya yung mga kilala ko na taga-UP Diliman dati, hindi ma-gets yung mga kwento ko kung gaano kami ka-barok sa UPLB. "How baboy naman the pig", ikanga nila.

Walang mapagkunwari sa LB. Siguro dahil nga small town lang to, lahat magkakakilala. Kung may pino-protektahan kang image, eventually, lahat ng baho mo lalabas din. Kaya mas magandang ilabas mo na yung totoong ikaw kasi mas mapapasama kung mabubuko kalang.

Suspect: Yung memories.

Ahhh. The memories. Siguro sa lahat ng suspect ko, etoang parang "Mastermind" . Pag nakasakay ako ng jeep sa LB, o kaya kahit naglalakad lang, hindi ko naiiwas ang tumingin sa isang bahay, sa isang bar, o sa isang kainan, at sabihin sa sarili ang mga bagay na tulad ng "uy, diyan yung first kiss ko sa 3rd girlfriend ko", o kaya "diyan sa bangketang yan natulog yung brod ko nung nalasing", o kaya "diyankami pinakitaan ng multo". Halos lahat ng lugar sa LB,may naiwan akong memory doon. May mga napalitang mga establishments, pero may itatayong bago na maaring pag-iwanan ulit ng alaala. Kung tutuusin, ang LB ay isang buhay na diary para sa kin. Bawat lugar, isangp pahina. Bawat araw, isang linya.

Madaming hindi nakakaintindi sa akin kung bakit pabalik-balik ako sa Los Banos, lalo na yung mga batchmates ko noong college. Lagi ko nang naririnigyung mga phrases na "Grow up", "Move on with yourlife", "Leave the past behind", "Wala ka na sa stageng buhay mo na college ka pa din". Masakit marinig, pero may point nga sila.

Kaya minsan, tinanong ko yung housemate ko na umuuwi sa LB every weekend. Sabi ko "bakit kaya ako bumabalik sa LB eh isinusuka na ako ng mga tao doon, wala naman akong binabalikan, wala naman akong napapala?"

At hinding-hindi ko makakalimutan ang sinabinya."Tinatanong pa ba yan? HOME. Home is where the heart is."