March 17, 2018


Jabar and I recently celebrated our fifth year anniversary together. Five years of annoying each other, getting fat together and being the ultimate partners-in-crime. Speaking of partners, partnership has never been more meaningful to us these days when we don't have a nanny to help us with the kids/household chores while both of us work full time. Jabar and I developed strategies and skills to make things faster and efficient at home while we still got to do what is expected of us in our workplace. And hey, we don't get late at work!! (There's no excuse for being late, unless there's heavy traffic jam!)

With our Amina Mariam and Amreen Nurlailah who made our anniversary dinner more...exciting!!! 

Unmarried people may assume that a couple is already well-adjusted in marriage in five years time. Wrong. Jabar and I haven't really sorted out our differences and we have just learned to let little things go and admit that we are two equally different individuals. For as long as we have the same vision and goals, then I think we're good. Occasional bickering rise up once in a while but we know our limits and our respect for each other is strongly kept in place. Alhamdulillah. 

Life is becoming even more exciting now that our two toddlers are growing up. Yamyam and Amreen are equally different too, each has her own unique character and we need to adjust to each child. Bismillahi mashaaAllah.. I am but grateful for each and every day that I wake up beside my two little girls.

We have planned months ago to hold an intimate anniversary dinner date here at Brassiere 3, Conrad Hotel. However, now that we have nobody to left our kids with, we had no choice but to bring them with us. All plans of intimacy dissipated when the older one began to run around and jump up and down the couch, while the younger one began to squirm in the high chair  and both kids did not want to be spoonfed but to eat by themselves with their bare hands! You do not want me to describe what kind of mess and chaos we created in the supposedly serene buffet restaurant. Haha! Great thing is that it was Friday night and only few people were there and nobody really did mind us. I kept on apologizing to the waiter attending to us and she assured me that they're also used to this kind of scene. Oh well. Life with toddlers. SO MUCH FUN. 

Alhamdulillah for the five years spent with Jabar. I cannot imagine life without him beside me. We have seen each other in the worst state, he has seen me fail and yet he still continues to encourage me and brings out the best in me. So much love for the man I am with. I am looking forward to the next five and hundred years with you! 

March 13, 2018

Profound. #magaralkanaAi #resAidency2018

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February 8, 2018

Road To Residency

My chill life is over.

After five years of living a normal life, I have to step-up my career and proceed into residency training. I think I said this before in this blog that the medical career is very broad, one can go into public health, research, clinical medicine (IM, FM, Psychia, Pedia), surgical (general surgery, OB, ophtha, ENT) or auxiliary (patho, rehab, nuclear med).  It took me five years to really think hard about what I want---a clinical career. Based on my med school and board exam performance, I was quite inclined to Internal Medicine and yes, I love IM! So I prepared for it and made it to PGH pre-res. But in the middle of pre-residency, I did not want a life spent like that for the next three years. I am not a single woman anymore, I have a husband and children to take care of. I can’t live with a every 3-days duty** schedule. That, for me, is too morbid. I pity my children. I did not get into IM residency but I am even thankful. I found a benign but competitive clinical training---Family Medicine in Ospital ng Maynila Medical Center. Yey!

What is Family Medicine? Honestly, it is one of those med school subjects that was not quite taken seriously because it deals with basic clinical cases that students feel they’re so light they can handle it even with eyes closed. Our FM internship rotation gave us opportunity to rest during weekends. But hey, FM is not to be taken lightly. It molds physicians to become 5-star physicians: clinician, researcher, social mobilizer, leader and teacher. As an academic discipline, FM encompasses a distinct body of knowledge appropriate to the needs of a changing society. It is not disease-oriented but also health-oriented which emphasizes on the importance of disease prevention, health maintenance and curative medicine. FM manages patients holistically, we're not only dealing with the physiological aspect of the illness but we also include its psychosocial factors.

Ospital ng Maynila Medical Center is the home base of Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila (PLM) College of Medicine, one of the top medical schools in the Philippines. Needless to say, OMMC is dominated by PLM grads (the same way PGH is dominated by UPCM grads) so I was hesitant to blend in at first. But during pre-res, my co-residents are very accommodating as well as the consultants! It is only here where we can speak to the consultants as friends, not as god-like creatures who’d make us feel like we know nothing.

One month into residency, I am eternally grateful that Allah led me to this path. We only go on duty once a week, and on an 8-5 sched during weekdays. So if I’m lucky and I’m not on duty during weekend, I have all my time for the little tots. The husband and I can still do stuff together---groceries, market and do jogging once in a while. I can even do other stuff because I have plenty of time! Alhamdulillah..

**duty means 24-48 hours attending to patients in the hospital, either in the wards, ER or OPD. Outside the duty schedule is either pre-duty or post-duty, that still warrants being in the hospital for 12 hours. A regular resident knows only 3 kinds of days: pre-duty, duty and post-duty. Then repeat. There are no weekends or holidays.

January 27, 2018

This blog looks pitiful.

WANTED: Webpage Layout Editor/Artist, anyone?

January 13, 2018

Words for 2017

This came quite late for my annual blog tradition where I describe my past year with two words. I was caught up with pre-residency and eventually residency that I had little time to sit down and write. So much for the introductory words. 2017 was my worst year. Ever. All the terrible things that could happen in probably 5 years were squeezed in a single year for me. What better way to describe it than LOSS and DEFEAT.


What happened in Marawi is one for the books, it will be marked in our history for the rest of our lives. The story will be passed down from one generation to the next after us. We lost our most prized possession—our homeland, including the properties which were product of our parents’ and grandparents’ sweat and blood. Almost all our family’s properties along Lilod Madaya---those of my grandmother, my grandaunts and granduncles, my uncles and aunts, my cousins’—were lost to the war paved by young men claiming to purge Marawi from its sins. It’s been eight months since the siege and I still cannot get over it. I cannot even bring myself to watch documentaries showing the massive destruction in our land. 

In relation to the siege, I lost someone very close to my heart. Someone I consider a sister. She was blinded by a false ideology thinking that she can somehow save her family and her land by joining the war. I shall respect whatever reasons she had for what she did will never change how I saw her as one of the most kind, innocent and adorable person I have ever met. She will never hurt even a fly. Her soft voice and laughter will forever be remembered. 

In the midst of the siege, I lost one of the most important persons in my life---my grandmother. She was very healthy at mid-80s, but one fine afternoon, as she was about to pray for salaatul-‘asr, she fell while sitting on her bed and was declared DOA at the hospital. I went home to Lanao del Sur, but not in Marawi. My heart was breaking when I was there not being able to smell the fresh air of MSU or even take a glimpse of Marawi because of the ongoing Martial Law. It pains me to see and to know that my relatives, people I grew up with, were scattered all over Mindanao.

At around that time, there were many reports about missing men in Iligan and my brother-in-law was one of them. He was abducted for almost 6 weeks, we initially thought it was a kidnap-for-ransom case but we never heard from the abductors. My in-laws searched the entire Lanao but to no avail. We’ve exhausted all the possible means but everything turned out negative. We’ve only clung to our unrelenting faith in Allah that he’ll be back to us safe and sound. True enough, when we’ve almost lost hope, he unexpectedly appeared at the doorstep of their place in Iligan. I will not dwell on the details of his abduction but up to now he has no idea who his abductors were as he was blindfolded the whole time. What he knows is that they were Visayan-speaking men. Alhamdulillah for the second chance at life given to my brother-in-law. I pray those men won’t bother him again.


2017 was the best time for my clinical career to get back on track. I applied for residency training at the most prestigious Department of Internal Medicine at the Philippine General Hospital. Out of 100+ exam takers, I was one of the 48 passers who qualified for pre-residency. I was ecstatic when I passed the exam. Knowing how rusty my brain has become after almost 3 years of not practicing, it came as a surprise that some medical concepts were still retained in my memory. From the 48 pre-residents, only 36 of us made it at the end of the pre-res. The rest didn’t continue while some quit in the middle. From 36, only 21 qualified for residency training. I wasn’t one of them. I didn’t make it. It kinda broke my heart a bit because I prepared and worked hard for it but somehow I was thankful because in the middle of pre-res I kept asking myself if I really want to pursue it there. For the entire 2 weeks, I barely see my kids and I lost track of the household that I manage. I left everything under the care of Jabar and the household help.

I wasn’t ready to give up my dream of becoming an internist yet. I looked for an open pre-res in other hospitals. I tried Manila Doctors Hospital. They allowed me to go on pre-res for a week along with 9 others but only 4 remaining slots were open. I gave my best shot for that week. I was very competitive, always ready for an answer, even the chief resident was rooting for me. I was kinda sure I will get in. For the second time, I was defeated. Apparently, the chairman was doubting my commitment because of Jabar’s nomadic nature of work. He was afraid I might quit in the middle of residency. I cried buckets. I felt like I lost all the chance of getting into residency. I’m getting old and the medical concepts I know are becoming obsolete by the day. I need to refresh my brain.


2017 taught me that with every loss and defeat, there’s always a chance to rise above the challenges. Loss and defeat are both a state of the mind. Meranaos have lost Marawi but our consciousness will forever be connected to our beloved Ranao. Our Meranao-ness will never be lost. We and our children will still speak our language, we will still wear our malong, we will still cook and eat pindialokan a manok , and palapa will still be our staple spice wherever in this world we will be. This government may have succeeded in bombing our homes and driving us away, but Meranaos will thrive and we will even become better people, in shaa Allah. With our hands, blood and sweat, we will rebuild Marawi.

(Pause. I’m crying profusely now)

I may not have continued Internal Medicine and I may have felt defeated after two attempts at IM residency but I found my niche now with Family Medicine (FM). Alhamdulillah. Family Medicine is a highly clinical branch but offers a lot more benign schedule. Residency training in FM allows me to indulge in deep clinical learning and at the same time take care of my children and of the household. It allows me to take care of my own health and well-being. Alhamdulillah. Allah’s mercy is indeed never-ending. I do not regret those time I went into IM pre-residency because I met wonderful people and maybe that’s Allah’s way of not making me regret my decisions. He made me experience what it is to become an IM resident but did not bring me there because He knows it will not do me good.

Alhamdulillah, alhamdulillah, alhamdulillah. All Praise Is For the Lord of the Universe whose love and mercy is boundless.

January 2, 2018

Day 1. Year 1. #resAidency2018 #WeAreFamily

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December 31, 2017

December 24, 2017

Best friends forever, ok? πŸ’• #sisters #AminaMariam #AmreenNurlailah

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December 3, 2017

'Tis the season to be jolly.. 🎢🎡🎢 #AminaMariam

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