Monthly Archives: June 2009

Tennis’ first, there is only one Wimbledon

It’s called “The Oscars” of its sport. If the game were American football, it would be the Super Bowl. If soccer, the once-every-four-years World Cup. It is comparable in stature to The Masters of golf, the NBA Finals of basketball, the Olympics of the 100-meter dash. Such is the popularity of this 14-day-long event that one British man once quipped, “Tennis is not popular in England. Wimbledon is.”


Why? Why is this event held at the All-England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club in the London suburb of Wimbledon considered so revered? For one, it is “the oldest tennis tournament in the world.” And isn’t being the first—like that first kiss, the birth of your first child, one’s first job and paycheck, a first-time trip abroad—always special and extra memorable? That’s W. Continue reading Tennis’ first, there is only one Wimbledon

Dancing our way to a Guinness World Record

While before, when the question is asked, “What’s in Cebu?” we often answer with the usual “sweet mangoes” and “Magellan’s Cross” and “white-sand beaches” and “SM and Ayala shopping,” after this weekend, we’ll have to add another description: “world-record holders.”

For what a brilliant idea from a brilliant man whose passion for dance is incomparable. Think of all the benefits a “World Record” will shower upon Cebu. There’s the publicity. This is major, major news. An act that should be trumpeted not only in our native province but, just as well, in our nation’s 7,107 islands.


From Sun.Star Cebu Continue reading Dancing our way to a Guinness World Record

A personal visit to golf’s finest, The Masters


Picture-perfect swing

While Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson fanatics stayed up all evening last night to watch the U.S. Open final round, I’d like to share with you the experience of a top-notch golfer who was a recent spectator at the event called “The Wimbledon of Golf.”

Maria Johnson, whose former name was Maria Teresa “Bebot” Pacaña before she migrated to America 33 years ago, is one of the top amateur golfers in her home state of Georgia. She sports a 4-handicap. Here’s Maria’s story…

“To all golfers and fans out there, Augusta National, a tradition laden golf course, rings a familiar tune. It is home to The Masters, considered by many to be the grandest of the four majors where all of the top professionals come to win the coveted green jacket. Thousands of people all over the world flock to Augusta National every spring to witness this spectacle. Continue reading A personal visit to golf’s finest, The Masters

Maria Teresa “Bebot” Pacaña Johnson

Here’s an article I wrote about Mrs. Johnson last May 13, 2007…

Today, I’d like to greet a dear friend. We’ve met only once. We’ve met six dozens of times. Confused? In person, yes, only once—but through exchanges of emails the past two years, I’ve gotten to know her very well: that she’s lived in the States for 31 years now, that she owns a 4-handicap in golf, that she was the country’s No.1 roller skater in 1973…

Today is the birthday of Maria Johnson. It’s also the birthday of Bebot Pacana. You see, Maria and Bebot are one and the same person, athlete, wife, mother, friend.

Here’s the story I wrote, “Maria Comes To Town,” for Sun.Star Cebu in August 22 last year…

Today, she is called Maria Johnson. She’s American. She’s a golfer; not an ordinary, weekend hacker, but a Pro. Almost. She shoots a 4-handicap — which places her among the top echelon of female golfers in the United States. Amazing? Continue reading Maria Teresa “Bebot” Pacaña Johnson

A message to all the fathers

Published in Nov. 13, 2007, this has to be my favorite of all the articles I’ve written…

One of my most fulfilling roles in life is being a dad. I love being a father. I love the moments when I hold my daughter’s hand and take her out to a date, when we sit on the floor and play Korean jackstones, when we have breakfast at 6:30 a.m. and I tell her stories about World War II. Yes, no misprint there: our topics range from her Grade 3 quiz on Math to her Bright Academy football practice to why Japan attacked Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941.

I love my daughter. Continue reading A message to all the fathers

Son and Father

Once, there was a teenager who lived alone with his father. The two owned a special relationship. Even though the son never got to play basketball—he was always on the bench—his father never stopped cheering from the stands, never missed a game.

This young man was the smallest of his class when he entered high school. But his father continued not only to encourage him, but also made it clear that he didn’t have to play ball if he wanted to stop.

Yet the boy loved basketball. So he decided to hang in there, determined to try his best at every practice, and perhaps get to play when he turned senior. All through high school he never missed a practice, nor a game, but remained a bench warmer all four seasons. His faithful father was always in the stands with words of encouragement for him. Continue reading Son and Father

Happy Father’s Day!

One of the funniest messages I received this morning…

Why is Father’s Day celebrated just days after June 12, Independence Day? To remind us, fathers, that we were once free men!

Now on to the more serious ones… Here are quotations I compiled about dads…

“I actually tell my son that I don’t have any hair because he asked me the same question that I gave him when he was born, so he actually still believes that. He’s five years old.” – Andre Agassi

“Don’t make a baby if you can’t be a father.” – Anonymous Continue reading Happy Father’s Day!

As a dad, Dr. Ronnie Medalle scores an ace

Among the hundreds of fathers I know, he is one of those I admire the most. Successful in his practice as a top ophthalmologist with ACES (Associated Cebu Eye Specialists), he is even more successful in his role as husband to his wife, Stephanie, and as a father.

Dr. Ronald Anthony Medalle, when I asked him how he finds time, despite his full load, to be with his children, said, “For important things in life, you MUST find time. I strive to be there for them in every important event. I ‘tutor’ Santi weekly on his piano lessons. Otherwise, through a simple board game or with a fun “Wii game” you can get that moment. But every so often I pull them out just to have a one-on-one chat.”


I’ve known Ronnie for several years now ever since I joined the Rotary Club of Cebu West (he was a former president) and can attest to the love and adulation he showers on his children and, yes, to their “sports bonding.” Continue reading As a dad, Dr. Ronnie Medalle scores an ace

The Role of the Father

Thanks to Dr. Vic Verallo, my mentor in running, for sharing this most profound and meaningful article about fatherhood. (These two stories are true.)


Many years ago, Al Capone virtually owned Chicago. Capone wasn’t famous for anything heroic. He was notorious for enmeshing the windy city in everything from bootlegged booze and prostitution to murder.

Capone had a lawyer nicknamed “Easy Eddie.” He was Capone’s lawyer for a good reason. Eddie was very good! In fact, Eddie’s skill at legal maneuvering kept Big Al out of jail for a long time. To show his appreciation, Capone paid him very well. Not only was the money big, but Eddie got special dividends, as well. For instance, he and his family occupied a fenced-in mansion with live-in help and all of th e conveniences of the day. The estate was so large that it filled an entire Chicago City block. Continue reading The Role of the Father

Johnvic and Boy on KB24, Phil and ‘Cry Baby’

Two basketball tacticians I conferred with yesterday. JOHNVIC GULLAS, whose family owns the University of the Visayas (UV), stands over 6 feet tall and, during his schooldays, shot eight triples for Sacred Heart (Boys) in one game and nine three-pointers in a Velez College intrams contest. ELMER “BOY” CABAHUG is a celebrity. A former PBA star, he has since led the UV Green Lancers, as head coach, to eight straight CESAFI titles. Here’s my Q & A with the two:


(Emmanuel Dunand/AP)

ON L.A. Gullas: The Lakers played the Magic so well that I was not surprised they dominated. Look at Game 3 when the Magic shot a record 75% (first half) but won by only four, 108-104. That shows you that for the Magic to win they have to play at an extraordinary level. The Lakers’ big men exposed Howard’s lack of a low post play. The Lakers defense on the perimeter vs. the Magic was excellent, preventing them from hitting open shots (with Game 3’s exception). Cabahug: It’s all about experience. Orlando is new in the Finals. The crucial games were 2, 3 and 4. The Magic had chances and it could have been 3-1 in their favor. But what LA always does is to ‘take the last shot.’ They control the game’s final outcome, win or lose. They were also very composed in their execution. Their experience made the difference. Continue reading Johnvic and Boy on KB24, Phil and ‘Cry Baby’

No hypnotic magic can stop the Lakers now


Sorry. That was supposed to have been the script. Orlando should have won. They led 24-20 after 12 minutes, held a 12-point advantage during halftime, led 67-63 after the third quarter and, with just 39 ticks left, led by five. Then, with the same length of time it takes to count “1.. 2.. 3.. 4.. 5,” they owned a three-point edge. But, left unattended because the enemy believed they’d rely on Kobe The Great, a forgotten elderly named Mr. Fisher was left open. Swoosh! It was 87-87. It’s called “LeShot” of these NBA Finals.

It’s called Experience.

For here he was, 34 years old in a league where the average age is 26 years young. Wasn’t Derek Fisher a bygone? Obsolete? An abandoned relic? Not with that three-pointer he converted to force OT. And not when, minutes later with 31 seconds left, he scored another 3-pointer. To think that, prior to those two heroic bombs, he attempted five 3-pointers and missed all five. Isn’t that called luck? Swerte? No.

It’s called Experience. Continue reading No hypnotic magic can stop the Lakers now

Kobe stumbles, Orlando revives Magic touch


Last February, Sports Illustrated conducted a survey where 190 NBA players were asked, “With the game on the line, which NBA player would you want to take the last shot?” Dwayne Wade got two percent; Paul Pierce got three percent, same with Chauncey Billups and LeBron James. Who received a staggering 76 percent? You guessed it right: Kobe Bean Bryant.

But, as we all saw yesterday, with less than 30 seconds left in the game clock and Orlando Magic leading by two, Kobe dribbled left, then right, penetrated—then he fumbled! From a potential game-tying two-pointer, he lost the ball… and the ballgame. Worse, minutes earlier, he missed a free throw. Not once but five bungled free throws out of 10 attempts. And he’s the man proclaimed by 76 percent of his peers as the game’s “best closer?” Continue reading Kobe stumbles, Orlando revives Magic touch

A bad Dream

Meyrick and Perl Jacalan are furious. Devoted sports enthusiasts (Meyrick has completed the Hong Kong and Singapore Marathons and follows F1 racing while Perl finished the Singapore 21K and relishes Federer vs. Nadal), they’re infuriated because they can’t watch any sports.

Hooked up with Dream Satellite TV, since May 1 almost all the top channels have been abolished: There’s no Solar Sports, no ESPN, no Star Sports. Even HBO and Cinemax have been eliminated. Continue reading A bad Dream