Sunday, June 21, 2015

Healthy Eating To Boost (CD4) The Immune System

For the past three years, during my hiatus from blogging, I have been discovering food that boosts health. Foods that will strengthen the body's immunity to illnesses, viruses, and the likes. During my research, I have discovered and (probably proved) tested some foods that do strengthen the immune system. These foods that I am going to write about have been consumed by yours truly on a regular basis. 
  • Mushrooms - these edible fungi have been a  personal favorite of mine. The three varieties have been a regular in most of the dishes I have been cooking... These are: Shitake (fresh and dried), Button (fresh, white or brown), Portobello (fresh). Of the three, Shitake mushrooms are well known to have the most health benefits and is also well known around the world as an immune system booster. You can have buy it in stores either dried or fresh. However, among the three, Portobello is the tastiest and most delicious. 
  • Salmon - is labelled as one of the few super foods available. It's tasty, you can have it raw or cooked, and it has essential fish oils. 
  • Turmeric - this spice is a regular on my (almost) everyday rice. It is known to reduce blood pressure and cholesterol.
  • Milk - Drinking milk after a meal can hinder the digestive system to absorb fat, and has a lot of protein and calcium too!
  • Eggs - Eating two eggs a day is considered safe. Eggs are packed with protein and other nutrients. Eating eggs on a regular basis also makes the liver produce less cholesterol because of the eggs cholesterol content, therefore, controlling the body's cholesterol in the process. More on the the relationship of cholesterol, liver, and the body in my future articles. 
  • Wine - I have been drinking win on a regular basis. I am already okay to drink alcohol regularly, but on moderate amounts and two hours after or before drinking my ARVs. I drink white most of the time lately as I have been eating fish a lot. I still have red wine, that I drink sometimes before I sleep. 
  • Yakult - This Asian native drink contains bacteria that regulates our digestive system. It is made of milk, with yogurt like taste. Having a healthy digestive system is important for nutrient absorption. No matter how healthy and nutrient-packed the food is, it's useless unless your stomach and intestines can digest and absorb whatever is needed to be absorbed.  
  • Oats - Cholesterol fighter and fiber provider. Need I say more?
Well, those are just some of the regular food I eat, and I always pair them with great music playing in the background to complete the mood. More on how to incorporate those foods in your daily diet and more, soon.

Monday, June 1, 2015

I Am Still Alive

It's been three years since I posted something in this blog. I admit, I missed blogging, I tried several times to change the genre of my documented literature to something else, like poetry, photography, or anything away from what triggered to start this blog. Although I'm still very much active in Twitter, it's different when you have a regular audience you cater to, and somehow help other PLHIVs either long-term survivors or the newly diagnosed. Something triggered me to check out the emails I get from this blog, then I logged in to Blogger to check how my sleeping blog is doing. I still got a few thousand hits last month, and I still get emails from readers both old and new, I even got a comment saying that I am already dead as the blog has not been updated for the longest time. So here I am, typing on my laptop, showing the world that I am still alive. 

It has been three years, yes, it has been that long. I thought, there has been a new breed of PLHIV bloggers sprouting in the internet along with the fast rising number of HIV cases in the Philippines. I thought that my hiatus would be prolonged as my wisdom and experience with this illness (or condition) would no longer be needed because I am sure that the new PLHIV bloggers' knowledge would suffice the need. As I witnessed in Twitter, there is still a need to guide the newly diagnosed, there is still a need to share experiences, there is still a need to share what I can. To help give light to stay alive and be alive with HIV/AIDS.

My weight has been on a constant high with little up and downs in-between; but my determination to finally get rid of the bulge is never hampered. I need to lose some weight, because I may not die of HIV or AIDS complications, I may die of a heart disease or any sort of cardiovascular related illnesses. At the moment I am slowly shifting to becoming a weekday pescatarian. I cook my own meals for almost the entire week, I am on a sugarless diet (most of the time), so I don't put sugar on my coffee, in fact, I like it black. I brew my own coffee most of the time using a French Press and I only use locally grown Arabica beans. My CD4 count for three years (running) has been constant above 1000. My last CD4 count this past March was 1,196, and my Viral Load is zero. I am no longer in San Lazaro Hospital's care, I am under the care of a private hospital which I will withhold the information for privacy purposes. I am still taking the same ARV combo of Zidovudine/Lamivudine and Efavirenz. The Efavirenz side-effects are still being felt, but I am well adapted to them now. However, the much awaited "high-definition" dreaming has not happened to me yet. 

I tried enrolling to a gym and tried swimming, the former was a failed attempt to be fit because of my excessive exhaustion from work, swimming is still being worked on. All in all, my goal these days is to be fitter and healthier and to eat better foods. Losing weight will follow as long as my food intake is better. I cannot give-up on fat as the ARV needs them, besides, I don't want to look dry. 

So there, in a nutshell, I'm still alive and my immune system's health is pretty much intact and already back to normal with zero viral load. I believe, that's all thanks to healthy eating and keeping a healthy perspective in life. Furthermore, a stable and healthy emotional and mental state plays a key role in keeping my immune system strong, aside of course to the much needed ARVs.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

The New Jam 88.3

The other week, there were rumors that Jam 88.3 is going to change their format to a masa radio station.  So I checked online to see how true the rumors were; some blogs did say that Jam 88.3 was going to change their format, but to what, it was unknown at that time. Until one afternoon, while I was listening to Jam, a commercial said that they will "be new" on September 11. So the rumors were true, but to what kind of format, (still) I did not know. How I hoped that they will not be joining the masa radio station bandwagon, because they are already great as they were.

So I waited until September 11, and when I listened on that day, I thought,  nothing has changed. A few days later... (As of this writing, I am currently listening to A Different Sunday). I noticed, that they changed the schedules of their popular programs such as Republik from Saturdays to Sundays from 6AM to 6PM, right after that is A Different Sunday. However, I was not able to catch the schedules of some of their old radio shows nor the new ones if they have any. The radio station did somehow change their format after-all, they are now playing more songs from bands that I haven't heard of or from bands who are only popular to hardcore music nerds and hardcore alternative music fanatics, they are now playing more songs from indie bands (I think).

Jam 88.3, you are truly a beacon of good alternative taste in the music airwaves, specially during (these) Sundays! Keep it up! However, I am still yet to hear what really is the change, or whatever has been changed.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

OPM is (NOT) dead

There has been quite a stir online when the issue that OPM is dead has been given light on the media. It sparked a lot of reactions both supportive to the topic and otherwise. This is my take on the current situation of the country's local music...

OPM has evolved greatly, from songs with deep meanings using words that seemed like old world Filipino poetry made into a song, to simple and easy to understand lyrics, to music used as propaganda or to spark a revolution, instilling hope to people during times when creativity and democracy was in iron chains. OPM used to have a lot of reflective content; of what is happening in the country, may it be about a certain Filipino lifestyle, characteristic, or perhaps maybe just about a place. In the old days, when people don't have much freedom for anything, people were more patriotic, so was our local music. In the old times, writers really do put such an effort in the songs they make, and they make it big and the songs are immortalized. There were also days wherein OPM lyrics were so simple like most songs in the 90s. We had a lot of hits during that time because many people can greatly relate to the song's message, thus, the reflective content of the songs in those days were apparent, many people were able to grab and love the meanings, producing hits. There were songs that merely tells a tale of a heartbreak, a past love, or simply meeting a girl in a jeepney; presented in a very novel and tastefully executed way. At present when people have more freedom than ever, the quality of such content in the musical arts have greatly declined. As what is being shown in the mainstream media, most songs are merely remakes of old ones. I'm not against remakes, but aren't there anything else to tastefully write?

I have been an avid supporter of OPM, and I have been listening to it since I discovered what a radio is back in the 80s. I started purchasing cassette albums of local bands during the 90s, an era where many say was the greatest age of OPM. Then I started buying CDs when the new millennium came, as it did, OPM started to change too, sounding more international and its sound has been hitting foreign shores. As time passed by I noticed that the mainstream OPM has been dominated by remake after remake of old hits, which is apparent in telenovelas and on the masa-market radio stations. I wondered, what happened to making new songs? As I continue my recluse from mainstream music and television; I then submerged myself in the local live music scene; watching live bands instead of listening to some crappy song on the radio or watching recording artists who cannot sing, or actors forced to sing, or perhaps some singer reviving an old hit one after another. Watching live music and going to such places is where I get updates on bands and their new materials, as well as new talents. Hanging-out with like minded people also feeds my thirst and it builds my knowledge on what is out there in the OPM scene.

There are still quite a number of venues where one can still watch good local music and great bands, we have B-Side in Makati, Big Sky Mind, and Cubao X; where some of the last remains of the old Metropolitan Manila is still standing and which is in danger of being lost to a high-rise real estate. Saguijo (also in Makati), is one place that has been catering to people who loves good music and is a venue for great bands to show off their talents, at the same time showing some artworks made by local artists. I have been going to this place for years, and each time, I go home satisfied and drunk (figuratively) with the great sound of OPM music. It was where I first watched Urbandub perform, during the time their hit First of Summer was dominating the airwaves. It is a place for artists who make and write their own music. Going there is immersing myself in pure OPM bliss.

As I was preparing to write this blog entry, I had many thoughts regarding OPM songs. I even thought of defining it or how to define it... Here are my first few thoughts regarding the topic: That if a song is made by a Filipino artist, is it automatically an OPM? In my own opinion, an "Original Pilipino Music" should: reflect the life of a Filipino, be about a place or a certain Filipino lifestyle. Is OPM really dead, dying, or just evolving? I was wrong in the former, because music do evolve with time. As new OPM songs are becoming more "globally sounding", our bands are becoming ever more popular worldwide, enabling our local bands to be internationally known not just in Asia, but also in the West; bands like Typecast and Taken by Cars. However, I am not sure if these bands are widely known locally because I don't hear their songs being played in most radio stations. I cannot say much regarding the T.V. media, because I don't watch T.V. except for documentaries and the daily news.

NU 107, was a haven and an outlet for both the popular and emerging Filipino bands. When it disappeared, it was a loss, not just to local bands but for people who greatly appreciate rock and alternative music. Jam 88.3 then took in what NU 107 left, giving a venue for great OPM and alternative music. Then soon, the latter will be changing its format; to what, is yet to be known. If they will be driving their way to the masa-market radio station bandwagon, then it will be such a great loss. As they are the last medium on the radio who plays alternative music and gives opportunities for good local bands to be heard on the airwaves.

We have a lot of talented and great bands right now. Most sounding so good one will never know they are even a local band, with materials that can be at par or even better than any popular international artist or band. We have bands such as: Yolanda Moon, Encounters with a Yeti, Turbo Goth, Malay, Anyo, Lampara, Techy Romantics, Curbside, Wilabaliw, Not Another Boy Band, Sleepwalk Circus, Jejaview, Taken By Cars, Paramita, and many, many others. How many people, specially the masses know all or even some of the bands mentioned even exist? How many of them know the beautiful music they make? If they only know, maybe they won't be too much attached to crappy foreign pop songs, and the untalented singers will be forced to be better at their craft and release better materials.

I do understand that it is a matter of taste, each to his own as the famous line says; but even those who have access to greater forms of media, the middle class, immerses themselves in the foreign pop culture.  Most of them do not know that we do have such great talents in the local music scene. Most of them (IMO) do not know that we still have a thriving OPM scene.

Yes, at present, OPM is thriving; but only to those who know where to watch them, to those who can, to those in the know. I do think, not long from now, great OPM will only be for the exclusive few.

Monday, September 3, 2012

The Phantom of the Opera in Manila (a review by musical first timer)

Last night, me and a very good friend went to watch The Phantom of the Opera at the CCP main theatre. We were lucky to get great seats at the orchestra at a very early part of this year because the seats got sold out pretty quickly. Thanks to Citibank, we got our tickets at a discounted price.

This is my very first musical, so I cannot compare it to anything at all; except to the movie version of the play, however, I think it would be unjustifiable if I did.

The set was marvelous, and I was amazed how they fit all the props on that stage, and with a few surprises. I can really say, that the set was not only expensive, fabulous and exciting, but also high tech! Regarding the production, everything was glamourous; from the costumes to the props. I was astounded with the talents involved in the entire musical; from how they design and put up the props, the orchestra, and of course... the actors. The musical was done in a very operatic or should I say classical fashion; and being a virgin to these kinds of production, everything to me was so new and was just simply amazing.

The musical received a standing ovation. I heard whispers from nearby audience that the ticket price was all worth-it and they loved it. As for me, it was simply a magical night I will never forget. 

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Hope from shattered dreams and a broken heart...

I read a blog entry this afternoon that really affected me so much that I started to play songs about shattered dreams and broken hearts. 

Click here, for That Nishiboy's blog entry.

I can feel the the writer's pain, being a little of an avid reader of his blog and knowing a bit about the author. I can say, in that particular day, he dreamt and he longed; then suddenly all came crashing down on him. In that situation, I can't really say it was his fault, but whatever there is to learn, I hope he doesn't grow so hard that he becomes too numb to love in the many coming days ahead.

Some people can be just so adventurous that they treat others as merely disposable toys; disregarding how the other party feels, but then again, how would they know, how would I? Were the proper expectations set in the first place? I am in no position nor I want to judge anyone who sleeps to many beds looking for that orgasmic high. I don't want to judge those who spends a piece of their time to single-served strangers, exchanging body fluids, tasting their salty sweat and their cigarette flavored saliva. Only to go home to someone waiting for them, waiting for that kiss, for that warm embrace, waiting to taste their lips who kissed a stranger's mouth and sucked a stranger's cock. Whatever their reason for doing so, I am in no position to judge who and what they are. I only hope that this pandemic of carnal addiction would not turn this metropolis into a city of heartless souls. 

His story makes me remember what I lost, and appreciate what I already have. Also, makes me wonder how many more hearts will be broken and torn. How many dreams will shatter after every lustful tryst? How many relationships will falter and how many will be born out from tonight's scorching entwinement of sweaty bodies and spurting warm fluids? How many from tonight, how many tomorrow?

Monday, August 20, 2012

Self-Empowerment Training (RITM)

This is an a public invitation that a fellow PLHIV (pozziepinoy) from RITM asked me to re-post from his blog. I have personally attended this training several months ago. It is a good way to meet up with fellow PLHIVs from different Treatment Hubs. In our batch, there were seven from San Lazaro Hospital (including me) and seven from RITM. It was a refreshing experience to meet PLHIVs from a different Hub. While the seven of us from San Lazaro Hospital are the tenured ones in our batch because most of us were diagnosed in 2010 and already knew each other because we often see one another every Thursdays (OPD Day); the boys from RITM don't know each other, aside from the fact that they were all newbies because all of them just got diagnosed this year, they also don't get to see each other very often due to clinic schedules. So we were the ates and kuyas of our batch.

Anyway, this training is fun and educational. A good way to be able to move forward, specially for those who just got diagnosed.



              SUNDAY, AUGUST 26, 2012, 8AM TO 1PM


Interested parties can text or call Ate Beth 0917- 836-0312. You can also email me at if you have any inquiries. Please indicate your complete name with middle initials for the certificates and ID.

This is a project of RITM-ARG and training is FREE! First come first served basis only. Limited slots available.