ESPN's New Look

I just can’t help but admire how ESPN continues to evolve as my favorite sports web site. Just like what I planned to do — a chronicle of events that shaped Davao all these years — it also detailed how the web site revolutionized the way sports journalism is delivered online.


With videos, high quality photos and content-rich pages, I can be stuck in the site for an hour reading the articles (provided I haven’t visited the site for the past 72 hours). And with the quality of their content so good that ESPN people began to think it’s even more informative that the daily newspaper’s sports section pegged at a dollar — for free. Which led them to create Insider, a fee-based special section that contains NBA rumors (haha!), specialized content and other interesting facts and stats. I subscribed for six months spanning 2002 and 2003 but later ditched it when I found some of the posts were reposted by generous subscribers on one fan forum. I later found another sports info source and became irked further when I can only see those orange “Insider” logos across ESPN’s NBA front page, mastered by Chris Ford and John Hollinger. I promptly posted my own sulking words towards ESPN.

But it did not last long before I came back frolicking over the scoresheets of ballgames between my favorite NBA team and formidable foes. ESPN is simply creative enough to rebrand itself as one of media’s telling example of how journalism should be mixed with entertainment. All you need to do is setup your broadband connection and the information keeps on shooting in your brains.

While its cable presentation still is awesome (I think they feature at least five SUNS games telecast on a lazy Saturday morning all throughout this season), its web site reinvents itself with those never before imagined technologies plugged into your browser (Desktop scoreboard, ESPN 360, etc). I just keep on switching the tab of my Firefox browser when the Phoenix Suns has a game and I am in office.

I can’t wait to see what they bring to the table next time they make an update. Congratulations on your tenth year!

Letting Go

This piece of forwarded e-mail from former Hong Kong buddies Jun (now in Tokyo) and Aggie (now in Singapore). It’s about letting go. To me it’s very difficult but as long as you are exerting effort to let go, that’s a start. And as we start the new year, this one might be a good dose for everybody:

There are people who can walk away from you. And hear me when I tell you this! When people can walk away from you:

LET THEM WALK

I don’t want you to try to talk another person into staying with you, loving you, calling you, caring about you, coming to see you, staying attached to you. I mean hang up the phone.

When people can walk away from you let them walk. Your destiny is never tied to anybody that left.

The Bible said that, they came out from us that it might be made manifest that they were not for us. For had they been of us, no doubt they would have
continued with us. [1 John 2:19]

People leave you because they are not joined to you. And if they are not joined to you, you can’t make them stay.

LET THEM GO.

And it doesn’t mean that they are bad persons, it just means that their part in the story is over. And you’ve got to know when people’s part in your story is over so that you don’t keep trying to raise the dead. You’ve got to know when it’s dead.

You’ve got to know when it’s over. Let me tell you something. I’ve got the gift of good-bye. It’s the tenth spiritual gift, I believe in good-bye. It’s not that I’m hateful, it’s that I’m faithful, and I know whatever God means for me to have He’ll
give it to me. And if it takes too much sweat I don’t need it. Stop begging people to stay.

LET THEM GO.

If you are holding on to something that doesn’t belong to you and was never intended for your life, then you need to……

LET IT GO.

If you are holding on to past hurts and pains……

LET IT GO.

If someone can’t treat you right, love you back, and see your worth…..

LET HIM/HER GO. (Ugh!)

If someone has angered you…..

LET HIM/HER GO.

If you are holding on to some thoughts of evil and revenge……

LET IT GO.

If you are involved in a wrong relationship or addiction……

LET IT GO.

If you are holding on to a job that no longer meets your needs or talents…..

LET IT GO.

If you have a bad attitude…….

LET IT GO.

If you keep judging others to make yourself feel better……

LET IT GO.

If you’re stuck in the past and God is trying to take you to a new level in Him……

LET IT GO.

If you are struggling with the healing of a broken relationship…….

LET IT GO.

If you keep trying to help someone who won’t even try to help themselves……

LET HIM/HER GO.

If you’re feeling depressed and stressed ………

LET IT GO.

If there is a particular situation that you are soused to handling yourself and God is saying “take your hands off of it,” then you need to……

LET IT GO.

Let the past be the past. Forget the former things. GOD is doing a new thing for 2006.

LET IT GO.

Our 15th Member

We used to call him “singkaw” in an apparent reference to his twisted elbow after he fell down from the carabao he was riding when we’re in grade school. If the painful reminder of that fall were still prominent, the monicker would not dissipate — ever. Even when he is now a police officer whose in charge of 91 “able bodied soldiers”, as his recent e-mail would describe his troops.

Grecel is a man of gallant stance, loud, intimidating voice and affable, contagious laughter. Right from the start he had the leadership quality, showing off his skill as a neophyte troop leader of our Kawan 177 under Ma’am Papin in Grade 2. It was around this time when he lost his father, a policeman and probably his inspiration to do these stuff, to cardiac arrest. Couple it with the fall, and he was a skinny kid, whose elbow was cast and later subject to taunts of classmates and friends.

Singkaw…

When bullying was common in our neighborhood, the only way to get around him was to scamper around and shout the word which only sparked his fits of rage chasing his antagonist.

He was my classmate in Grade five and the annual boy scout camp is to be held at Malagos, home to the Philippine Eagle. It was raining and he was absent for the past two days due to fever. But he surprised the class of Bougainvilla under Ma’am Alejandro when he showed up at the departure day, wearing the rosary as his necklace.

In high school, he was our Company Commander, a rung under the corps leadership of Aldrin, the Corps Commander, Adjutant Warlito, Logistics Officer Joanne and me as the Intelligence Officer. He could easily pass as the leader of the battalion but was instead appointed in the most influential post of all. He commands leadership among the two platoons of male cadets, who are his close friends off the pitch.

In college, he was a high ranking official at University of Southeastern Philippines ROTC corps, Davao’s consistent topnotcher at annual tactical inspection. It was 1994 when I was in my second year and a sophomore at University of the Immaculate Conception when our school scored a sensational upset over Rodel, Iga and the rest of the Ateneo de Davao ROTC, an intra-city rival. But when it was the turn of USEP, we got swept to third spot, after Notre Dame of Marbel coveted the cinderalla finish. When I asked John Elmer about the feat of USEP-Mintal joining their cadres of Obrero campus, he proudly told me it’s because one of our childhood friends was lording over the disciplined troops, ushering them to another top podium finish at the end of the inspections.

It was not surprising when he skipped Mechanical Engineering and went through a military school in the north. By that time I was in UIC as a programmer and I seldom hear about him.

Recently, I learned he was assigned in Maragusan, a town in Davao del Norte bounded by pristine ecological beauty and attraction to local and foreign adventure seekers. At the same time, it was known that many Communist rebels are in the area. Probably he was put there because he deserves such challenge.

And when he found time to search for something a few days ago, he found my photo online and got curious of what is going on. I immediately invited him to be the 15th member of our Yahoogroups. A day later he is officially a member of mintal_barkadas, joining us in reminiscing and keeping in touch.

Just as Apolinario Mabini was the brains of the Philippine revolution despite being a polio victim or Lance Armstrong withstood bouts with cancer to win his seventh Tour de France title, being “singkaw” was never ever a reason for Grecel to lead the 91 gallant men serving the country.

Welcome to the Group!

Our 15th Member

We used to call him “singkaw” in an apparent reference to his twisted elbow after he fell down from the carabao he was riding when we’re in grade school. If the painful reminder of that fall were still prominent, the monicker would not dissipate — ever. Even when he is now a police officer whose in charge of 91 “able bodied soldiers”, as his recent e-mail would describe his troops, a scar on his elbow is still evident of that fateful day.

Grecel is a man of gallant stance, loud, intimidating voice and affable, contagious laughter. Right from the start he had the leadership quality, showing off his skill as a neophyte troop leader of our Kawan 177 under Ma’am Papin in Grade 2. It was around this time when he lost his father, a salesman and probably his inspiration to do these stuff, to cardiac arrest. Couple it with the fall, and he was a skinny kid, whose elbow was cast and later subject to taunts of classmates and friends.

Singkaw…

When bullying was common in our neighborhood, the only way to get around him was to scamper around and shout the word which only sparked his fits of rage chasing his antagonist.

He was my classmate in Grade five and the annual boy scout camp is to be held at Malagos, home to the Philippine Eagle. It was raining and he was absent for the past two days due to fever. But he surprised the class of Bougainvilla under Ma’am Alejandro when he showed up at the departure day, wearing the rosary as his necklace, ready with provisions for the camp.

In high school, he was our Company Commander, a rung under the corps leadership of Aldrin, the Corps Commander, Adjutant Warlito, Logistics Officer Joanne and me as the Intelligence Officer. He could easily pass as the leader of the battalion but was instead appointed in the most influential post of all. He commands leadership among the two platoons of male cadets, who are his close friends off the pitch.

In college, he was a high ranking official at University of Southeastern Philippines ROTC corps, Davao’s consistent topnotcher at annual tactical inspection. It was 1994 when I was in my second year and a sophomore at University of the Immaculate Conception when our school scored a sensational upset over Rodel, Iga and the rest of the Ateneo de Davao ROTC, an intra-city rival. But when it was the turn of USEP, we got swept to third spot, after Notre Dame of Marbel coveted the cinderalla finish. When I asked John Elmer about the feat of USEP-Mintal joining their cadres of Obrero campus, he proudly told me it’s because one of our childhood friends was lording over the disciplined troops, ushering them to another top podium finish at the end of the inspections.

It was not surprising when he skipped Mechanical Engineering and went through a military school in the north. By that time I was in UIC as a programmer and I seldom hear about him.

Recently, I learned he was assigned in Maragusan, a town in Davao del Norte bounded by pristine ecological beauty and attraction to local and foreign adventure seekers. At the same time, it was known that many Communist rebels are in the area. Probably he was put there because he deserves such challenge.

And when he found time to search for something a few days ago, he found my photo online and got curious of what is going on. I immediately invited him to be the 15th member of our Yahoogroups. A day later he is officially a member of mintal_barkadas, joining us in reminiscing and keeping in touch.

Just as Apolinario Mabini was the brains of the Philippine revolution despite being a polio victim or Lance Armstrong withstood bouts with cancer to win his seventh Tour de France title, being “singkaw” was never ever a reason for Grecel to lead the 91 gallant men serving the country.

Welcome to the Group!

Here We Go Again

You give your hand to me
And then you say hello
And I can hardly speak
My heart is beating so
And anyone can tell
You think you know me well
But you don’t know me

No you don’t know the one
Who dreams of you at night
And longs to kiss your lips
Longs to hold you tight
Oh I am just a friend
That’s all I’ve ever been
Cause you don’t know me

I never knew the art of making love
No my heart aches with love for you
Afraid and shy I let my chance go by
The chance that you might love me too

You give your hand to me
And then you say goodbye
I watch you walk away beside the lucky guy
Oh you will never know
The one who loves you so
Well you don’t know me

You give your hand to me
And then you say goodbye
I watch you walk away beside the lucky guy
Oh you will never know
The one who loves you so
Cause you don’t know me
Oh no you don’t know me
Ohh…you don’t know me

Ang Akong Bakasyon sa Davao

Ang akong bakasyon sa Davao napuno ug kahinam sa daghang butang. Kahinam makita pag usab ang gikamingawan nga pamilya. Kahinam mahimamat ang mga higala nga sa Yahoogroups lang nagkaistorya. Kahinam sa mga pagkaon nga dugay na wala natilawan.

Niabot ko sa Davao niadtong ika 17 sa Disyembre pinaagi sa maanindot nga bag ong Davao International Airport nga gibuksan kaniadtong niaging tuig.

Giplano nako nga magpuyo lang sa balay kasagaran sa akong pagpuyo sa bakasyon kay napulo lang kini ka adlaw.

Gisaulog nako ang akong adlaw nga natawhan niadtong ika 21 sa Disyembre. Nitambong sa akong gamay nga salo salo ang akong mga barkada niadtong high school ug elementary. Anaa sab ang akong mga ig agaw ug mga paryente sa Tugbok ug mga silingan.

Wala kaayo ko nisuroy sa downtown kay naisip nako nga mas importante magpuyo lang sa balay. Kasagaran sa ginahimo nako sa balay kay mutan aw ug television, maminaw ug radio ug ang pag connect sa Internet.

Mingaw na sab inig balik nako sa 27 sa Disyembre kay di na ko kaabot sa Bag ong Tuig. Lingaw gyud diay ang Pasko diri sa Pilipinas.

Ang Akong Bakasyon sa Davao

Ang akong bakasyon sa Davao napuno ug kahinam sa daghang butang. Kahinam makita pag usab ang gikamingawan nga pamilya. Kahinam mahimamat ang mga higala nga sa Yahoogroups lang nagkaistorya. Kahinam sa mga pagkaon nga dugay na wala natilawan.

Niabot ko sa Davao niadtong ika 17 sa Disyembre pinaagi sa maanindot nga bag ong Davao International Airport nga gibuksan kaniadtong niaging tuig.

Giplano nako nga magpuyo lang sa balay kasagaran sa akong pagpuyo sa bakasyon kay napulo lang kini ka adlaw.

Gisaulog nako ang akong adlaw nga natawhan niadtong ika 21 sa Disyembre. Nitambong sa akong gamay nga salo salo ang akong mga barkada niadtong high school ug elementary. Anaa sab ang akong mga ig agaw ug mga paryente sa Tugbok ug mga silingan.

Wala kaayo ko nisuroy sa downtown kay naisip nako nga mas importante magpuyo lang sa balay. Kasagaran sa ginahimo nako sa balay kay mutan aw ug television, maminaw ug radio ug ang pag connect sa Internet.

Mingaw na sab inig balik nako sa 27 sa Disyembre kay di na ko kaabot sa Bag ong Tuig. Lingaw gyud diay ang Pasko diri sa Pilipinas.

Christmas Vacation Wishes

Wishes on Christmas vacation and their outcomes.

  1. Find that elusive DV8 album.

    Outcome: I scoured shops at MusicZone, Odyssey and BCS across Victoria Plaza, Gaisano Mall and Gaisano Ilustre and I found none even part of a "various artists" selection. It’s a pity many sales ladies do not know the group.

  2. Gather high school friends for a whirlwind trip to the places we used to go to in the past: Shrine, Gap Farming, Pink Sisters, Victoria Plaza, Vales Beach and Banok’s Chicken.
    Outcome: We organized to meet up at a seafood hangout the day after my birthday. It never materialized; I realized they are all married and have more priorities in life. Better luck next time, if ever.

  3. Meet my godfathers and godmothers especially that my birthday falls a few days before Christmas.

    Outcome: I learned one of them died already and I only have a photo of him carrying me when I was two years old. I met only Ninang Nida who paid me a visit at home the day after my birthday.

  4. SMS, e-mail, call or send cards to friends near or far.

    Outcome: I don’t know all the numbers or home addresses or e-mail addresses of people I got to know and other friends are located on the other side of the world. Worse, Smart’s roaming service will say network is congested and I can’t make a call.
  5. Stay on the couch from 8pm to 2am watching music and comedy DVDs with the whole family.
    Outcome: My folks are either not at home all the time or are early risers and it’s therefore difficult to keep them awake late at night. I must remember I am on vacation and not in my late night DVD adventures in Hong Kong.

Davao Observations

Looking around Christmas in Davao, things I observed in the past remain the same:

  1. A lot of children. It’s a wonder that everywhere, children are ever present: jeepneys I ride, queues I fall into, my birthday party and so on. It’s never bad to have this sight. Hopefully, the needs of these children will be addressed such as education, health and other social needs.
  2. A lot of “istambay”. The term was derived from the phrase “stand by” or just stay put. Due to lack of opportunities, a lot of people are staying put in the corner letting the day pass unproductively. Some of them would end up having odd jobs such as jeepney dispatcher/barker or trisikad driver. Some of them are content as couch potatoes watching DVDs or singing on videoke day in and day out.
  3. A faithful crowd. Misa de Gallo starts at 4:30am but we had to be in the church an hour earlier because the crowd will fill all seats by half past 3. As the Mass starts, the church overflows that late comers bring their own chairs.
  4. A happy people. Lumad folks travel to Davao City to ask for little help from the lowlanders. While in the past the reception was cold and hostile, now it has improved thanks to the inspiration brought by the city mayor who goes from one extreme end to the other to portray a real father of Davao City.
  5. A great place to celebrate Christmas. No firecracker noise means no gory scenes of broken fingers, crying victims of negligence or poor pyrotechnic quality. Here, Christmas is celebrated and not Chinese New Year.

Philippines: The World's Most Migrant-Friendly Country

Despite the fact that many Filipinos want to migrate to Canada, USA, Australia or elsewhere in search of a better life, Filipinos are very warm to immigrants in the country. This is according to Gallup International Voice of the People where the Philippines has 87% favor rate regarding migrating foreigners.

Personally, I feel good if a Malaysian or Fijian would settle in the Philippines because it dispels my fear that my country is not a good place for foreigners to settle. Just a few days ago, I saw a gruesome murder of a Japanese tourist in Malalag, Davao del Sur and it casts a warning to incoming tourists who might fall into the same fate. (Sidebar: I saw my Computer Engineering batchmate Deozar Almasa, now a polic inspector, interviewed on TV)

Coupled with high regard for foreigners (the Filipino way of colonial mentality is still alive and kicking), we have the inclination to like them because many of us think they are better than us (not just whiter skin nor better English twang).

I would agree on what these foreigners feel for my country. Every time I go to the Philippines for vacation, I am almost tempted to do a spending splurge because cost of living is low (please do not misinterpret this as “prices are affordable”; to a foreigner or someone who worked abroad, prices of food or transportation is cheaper here). That is why when Thailand introduced “Thailand Elite” country club style of luring big spending retirees, I thought the Philippines should do the same. The Philippines is haven to retirement package seekers because of its low cost of living, something retirees look for to spend their chest of retirement benefits.

Inspite of this, the Philippines is not as diverse as Singapore or Hong Kong or Dubai where foreign nationals compose a significant percentage in population. Understandably, the negative impression of the country’s bureaucracy, corruption and government inefficiency played a role to keep foreigners at bay.

This fact does not seem to prevent other migrant groups from pursuing their desire to be in the Philippines. Look at the Chinese migrants from Fujian province of China many years ago. They now have become a cornerstone of the country’s business structure, owning banks, airlines, shirt factories and huge shopping malls.

Malaysians, Israelis and Vietnamese follow the Filipinos’ warmness towards migrants. Obviously, Canada embraces the idea of immigration to fill their vast landscape with people who deserve the Canadian way of good life. There it will not be surprising (or shall I say culture shocking) to board a cab driven by an Iranian or attended by a Filipina nurse for medication.

What surprised me was Thailand who holds the highest xenophobic (the feeling of animosity towards foreigners) rate in Asia. I see a lot of Americans, Europeans and Japanese in Thailand (probably most of them were tourists but I also know many foreigners live there). I wasn’t too surprised anymore when I imagined Thailand’s geographic location. Bounded by war-torn Cambodia, Laos and Burma, Thais could feel their progress is hampered by migration of these citizens from neighboring countries, often fleeing the junta government, civil war and simply for a better life.

Turkey, Taiwan and Hong Kong are among those places whose citizens do not regard highly the foreign migrants in their territory. I would agree for Hong Kong. Discrimination is present (I assume it is present for any society).

But the news about the Filipino openness to having a neighbor with different color of skin or speak another language is encouraging. I can imagine that this foreigner will be taken cared of very well (showing around or cooking food for him, hopefully not asking for payment later).

When I was a kid, I had a classmate who is an American (or was he British) named Edward Miller. In school he is taunted by children as “Amerkanong Hilaw” (half-baked American because of his complexion). But I also thought he enjoyed our company then because he often gets the attention he deserves not just in taunting but for any other needs he may raise.