He wore red, high-cut boots by Nike with the words “PACQUIAO” and “MANNY” etched at the back. His black shorts were printed with yellow flames. A gray sleeveless Nike shirt covered his chest while a green pair of gloves wrapped his hands.
Last Wednesday at 2:30 p.m., accompanied by the country’s top boxing writer—Salven Lagumbay of philboxing.com and the Philippine Daily Inquirer—I stepped inside RP’s most famous gym today, owned by Rex “Wakee” Salud.
Manny Pacquiao had just finished 10 rounds of sparring. Tired? Did he look fatigued? No. How about recharged? Or pumped-up? For one-and-a-half hours, I observed Manny. After sparring, Manny stepped down the ring then proceeded to pummel the double-end bag. He stared at the round leather that hung from the ceiling, encircled it, threw quick jabs, moved his head left, ducked, stepped back, forward.
Two years ago (August 28,2007, to be exact), I wrote this piece. It’s relevant given that PacMan is scheduled to play basketball again in Cebu.
I LIED. In an article I wrote two days ago, I vowed to stay five feet away from Manny Pacquiao when I’ll guard him in basketball. But when we met last Sunday morning from 10 to 12 at the Cebu Coliseum—his Team Pacquiao versus our Cebu Sports Media squad—we collided. Literally.
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.
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.
Published in Feb. 28 of last year, here’s an article (and fruit) that all should consume…
Each morning for breakfast after I consume a cup of coffee and devour a bowl-full of cereal, I peel open fruits that are delicious, quick to digest, inexpensive.
Bananas. Are they good for us? For those who exercise? For athletes? I pose these questions because haven’t we all seen Lance Armstrong, midway through one of his Tour de France victories, snacking on a banana? Or Rafael Nadal, in between winning sets at the French Open, feasting on this yellow fruit?
I found the answers when an article, sent by Bobby Villareal, landed in my E-mail Inbox entitled, “A Banana A Day Keeps The Doctor Away.” A Banana A Day Keeps The Doctor Away? Wait, wait. Isn’t that supposed to be “an apple a day…?”
First published in October 24, 2006, here’s a tribute to my best friend…
I don’t do this. Usually, I don’t yield space to send birthday greetings to friends. But this one’s special. This person is different. Someone I’ve known for many Septembers, opened my ears and listened to talk, someone whom I’ve heard sing—and what a voice, ranging from as high as Mariah Carey’s glass-breaking pitch to as deep as Aretha Franklin’s—and someone, with my wife’s consent, I’ve had the pleasure to spend almost an hour with each day.
Happy birthday, iPod! Yes, without the world noticing, it was five years ago yesterday—October 23, 2001—when Steve Jobs carried his baby on the palm of his hands and announced: “With iPod, listening to music will never be the same again.” Steve Jobs, what a proud dad you are today. While the walkman was “cool,” the CD “revolutionary,” and the turntable “all-vinyl,” the iPod is defined by more than one word: “It’s one of the most successful consumer electronics products—ever.”
Since summer is near (or has, in fact, because of the HOT weather, arrived), here’s an article I wrote in May 2007 about one of the world’s best beaches….
It was 23 years ago when my feet first touched the powder that sprinkled on this island. Then, there was no electricity. No rock bands rocked your sleep until 3:17 a.m. No Greek or Indian or Portuguese cuisine tempted your tongue. No 18-hole golf course chased down the white ball into a six-inch-hole like Fairways and Bluewater. No Flying Fish or Banana Boat or Yamaha jet-skis floated on the slippery seas. Boracay, in those 1980s and echoed by Madonna, was “Like A Virgin.”
Last week, after my 10th or so visit, my feet once more touched the powder. I despised it. You know what I hated the most? The part when, after five days and nights stranded there, your boat leaves the paradise to head back home.
I hate leaving Boracay! To my family-threesome—my wife Jasmin and daughter Jana included—there’s no other place in our archipelago that we’d rather vacation than this island strip off Panay the world calls “One of the Best Beaches in the World.”
Photos courtesy of Dr. Vic Verallo and Meyrick Jacalan
Mizuno-Asia Miles Sinulog Half-Marathon 21K Men’s winners (from left) Rogelio Reli, John Dueñas, champion Angelito Sibayan, third placer (and last year’s champion) Elmer Bartolo, Rene Desoyol, Vicky Yue of Cathay Pacific/Asia Miles, Paolo Cagalingan of Mizuno and Dennis Lu of Philam Life. The Sinulog Run, held last Saturday (Jan. 17) at the Asiatown I.T. Park, drew a total of 1,223 runners.
Squandered break points. Rain delays. Two-set comebacks. Saved match points. A finish just 12 minutes shy of five hours. And, at 9:16 p.m. London time, the latest ending for a Wimbledon singles final. It wasn’t just a Grand Finale. It was a Match For The Ages. A rivalry that’s unrivalled. A marathon classic. Here are 14 random thoughts…
1. Manny Sainz, the president of Casino Español de Cebu, is beaming a toothful grin today. Next to our own, his favorite country won. And how Spain has dominated sports… Nadal wins two Grand Slam titles. Spain win football’s Euro 2008. Pablo Larrazabal (any relation with Dr. Yong?) wins golf’s Open de France. And Alejandro Valverde wins the Tour de France first stage en route to possibly the yellow jersey in Paris. Said Manny Sainz: Viva España!
From left: Jesse Taborada, John Pages, Meyrick Jacalan, Dr. Ron Eullaran and Roel Militar
The year was 1986 when my family and I moved from Bacolod to Cebu City. Back then, like any 14-year-old who had developed deep friendships with classmates and neighbors, I resented the decision
“Can I just stay in Bacolod?” I recall asking my parents. The answer, of course, was obvious. From the City of Friendship we transferred to this Queen City of the South. Looking back 22 years ago to that time—with no offense meant to Bacolod—it would be hard for any city to surpass what Cebu offers. In schooling, in business opportunities, in R & R, in malls to visit and night spots to party in and, lest I forget, in this favorite topic of these back pages…. Sports.
Take mountain-biking. Here in Cebu, if one craves to climb steep hills, descend on trail roads, trek across muddy terrain or traverse shallow streams—it’s all, as the cliche goes, right at our own backyard.