by Oliver Carlos

The latest plant that I am cultivating in my garden is a dragon fruit. I’m very intrigued by this wonder fruit. It doesn’t taste anything spectacular, but I’ve read that it’s very nutritious. It’s a good source of vitamin C, fiber, probiotic, and antioxidants. It is also believed to be effective in lowering blood sugar, aiding iron absorption, and strengthening one’s immune system. These are probably the reasons why the dragon fruit is quite expensive.

Believe it or not: My dragon fruit plant grew 10 inches overnight! (photo by Jet Castillo)

The dragon fruit is not endemic in the Philippines, it’s originally from tropical America. But today, there are many growers of it…

by Oliver Carlos

When I was a little Sunday school boy, I used to imagine Goliath to be as big as Voltez V. We humans would be just as tall as his ankle. But as I grew up, I started reading the Bible myself, and I came across the actual story of David and Goliath in 1 Samuel 17. I discovered for myself Goliath’s real height.

There’s a shoe store in Makati where customers can measure their height and compare themselves to NBA stars. The white line above my head marks 5'9" while the red line on the left of my head marks 5'7". Meanwhile, beside me is the 7'2" Shaquille O’Neal. (photo by Jethro Castillo)

The Bible specifically says that Goliath’s height was 6 cubits and a span. Back in those days, they haven’t invented feet and meters yet. People in the ancient times used cubits and spans. One…

by Oliver Carlos

Have you been to this mall in Alabang? Did you notice the old-looking façade and a large statue of a woman in front of it? What are these doing in the middle of a commercial district? Are they related to buying and selling? These 2 structures have a deep history that most shoppers do not know. This may be the first time you will hear this.

The mall developers kept the vaccine factory’s facade and statue intact because of their great historical value. (photo by Jethro Castillo)

On the same spot where the mall stands today, there used to be a vaccine factory. That facility was built during the American colonial period. …

by Oliver Carlos

It’s very rare to attend 2 weddings in a span of 32 days. But it just happened to me. My wife and I just stood as ninong and ninang to 2 pairs of husband-and-wife. Both couples are churchmates. Last June 22, 2021, Dennis and Marge tied the knot. Days later, on July 24, 2021, it was the turn of Dave and Amaine.

Dave Soltura and Amaine Camacho (photo by Taavi Films)

Dave Soltura and Amaine Camacho (photo by Taavi Films)David “Dave” Soltura is a full-time voice actor and voice coach. You can hear his voice in many television commercials these days. He also dubs movies and…

by Oliver Carlos

Most poems and other literature tag a negative meaning to sunsets. It is usually used as an allegory to a dark period in life, and most often to death. Writers would compare the sunset to the fading away of one’s glorious career, or to the failing of one’s physical health. The sunset marks the end of the day, and similarly the end of life.

This is the last sunset of the previous millennium. The date of this photo is December 31, 1999. (photo by Maffy Castillo)

But for some, that isn’t necessarily true. Now that we are in the modern age, most people’s days begin at sunset. Those who do night shifts in factories, convenience stores, night markets, and…

by Oliver Carlos

Thirty-two years ago, I was so in love. It’s not the tweety-tum love that you’re thinking of, but it’s a love that is much greater than that. I was so in love with Jesus. It was just at that time that I started to understand how much he loved me. Yes, I’ve been reading the Bible and attending religious gathering years before, but it’s only in 1989 when everything I’ve been reading suddenly became relevant. …

by Oliver Carlos

In the Philippines, the carabao is a mainstay in many farming households, especially in the old days. That’s why it was declared by the Americans as our national animal in the early 1900s. When the Americans first arrived here, they declared several national symbols for us, based on what they saw common in the surroundings. Together with the carabao, our “original” national symbols were the narra (tree), maya (bird), bangus (fish), and sampaguita (flower). But in the recent times, I have observed that elementary schools now teach a different set of national symbols. The ones mentioned above…

by Oliver Carlos

My initials are OC. That fits me well. They represent my personality perfectly. OC means obsessive-compulsive. I’m the type of person who knows what he wants, and plans meticulously his own future, both long term and day-by-day. OC people get awfully frustrated when their plans don’t lead to fruition the way they wanted it.

My home college, the UPLB College of Human Ecology. This is where my basketball dream met its abrupt end. (photo by Jet Castillo)

When I was in 3rd year high school, I wanted to be a PBA player. I had a step-by-step plan to make that happen. Step 1 is to study in UP Diliman. From there, I planned to make a name as a varsity…

by Oliver Carlos

I lived in Sampaloc district in Manila for a good number of years. We stayed at Carola street in 2013, and then at Florentino street, for 2 years, and then at Maria Cristina street for 5 years beginning in 2015. The pandemic just sent us back to the province in 2020. My son Jethro was a UST student from Grade 7 until college, and I spent most the working days of the week in our Manila residence. Right now, Jethro’s doing online classes and he’s set to graduate in 2023.

Kuya Rene (far right) together with his mother (far left), and his siblings at the University of Santo Tomas. The kids were elementary pupils in that school in the 1960s and 70s. (photo from the Deriquito Family collection)

Part of life in España is dealing…

by Oliver Carlos

While driving in eastern Laguna, I noticed for the first time a very tall monument. In my estimate, it’s no less than 50 feet tall. At the zenith of the concrete structure is a large eagle. The monument reminded me of our national bird, the Philippine eagle (Pithecophaga jefferyi), which is also the largest of all eagle species in the world. I remember the first time I saw up close a real Philippine eagle, it’s more than 20 years ago, more than 20 kilometers away from the statue, it’s right in my hometown of Los Banos.

This statue is easily the tallest man-made structure in the area. This is along the Pagsanjan-Sta. Cruz highway. (photo by Jet Castillo)


Blog is Life

Oliver Carlos wears many hats. He's a history professor, a life coach to young adults, an athlete, a sports media practicioner, and a loving family man.

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