Saturday, December 27, 2008

Christmas Day with Pacman

This is the first time I spent Christmas day away from Manila and away from my family. I was with my brother Charles though so technically I was still with family. It was an experience that was all worth it.

I left Manila on Christmas Eve after attending our family Noche Buena. In fact, I had two Noche Buenas because I arrived LA on the 24th still. Because I didn't have a ride from the airport, the very kind Pambansang Kamao, who was on the same flight with his 3 playful kids, offered me a ride in his Lincoln Navigator together with Jinkee to his Palazzo apartment where we spent Christmas eve eating and playing games. The first game was a drinking contest and I won a hundred bucks. Actually there were three of us, and we tied so we all got $100 a piece. We kept laughing and laughing all night! We were about 30 to 40 people in his condo. The second game was so unique that you won't see it very often during Christmas day. It involved a Christmas tree decorated with dollar bills, denominated in $1000, $500, $200, $100, $50 and $20. as seen in the picture. When your name is called, you pick a sheet of paper from the box that Manny is holding then whatever amount is written on the paper, that's the amount you pick out from the Christmas tree. Everyone gets to win something. I won $100 and Charles won $20 (The only $20 sheet out of about 100, talk about luck!) Haha! This is just one of the many giving sprees of SANTAcquiao and this is why he is showered with many blessings and victories.

Christmas Day. This is what ultimately convinced me to fly to the US for the holidays. After hearing Christmas mass in his room, we rushed to the Staples center together with about 30 people to catch the first Boston Celtics vs LA Lakers game after the NBA finals last year. This is the first time I felt what it was like to be part of an entourage of an international star! Of course, he got special parking because he is Manny Pacquiao. He had reserved a VIP suite that could fit all of us. ALthough it was a bit high, the view was still good enough to get a glimpse of Kobe, Ray Allen, Pierce, Garnett and the rest. Food and drinks were being served too! I like Boston because of Rey Allen but I'm still a bigger Lakers fan because of Kobe. And i somehow had a hunch that they were going to stop the longest winning streak of Boston in their franchise history. And they did! It was a fantastic game, quite energizing considering it was an elimination round game. Kobe had 27 points and he was just so fun to watch!

Before leaving the Staples Center, of course we had to take a picture with the statue of the man from who was last responsible for the success and stardom of this man we call Pacman. It was truly a Christmas that will be remembered many many years from now. Not only did we get to watch the world's greatest active basketball player but also we get to watch it with ESPN's Fighter of the Year for 2008 and the Philippine's Sportsman of the year for 2008.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas!! :)

I've just read through the comments section of the last entry and I think it's about time i write another entry to update you and all try to answer some questions :)

Again I apologize for disappearing for a while. I think the title of this entry explains it all. I just got back from a very short trip to Hong Kong / Macau with the Ateneo team, as our reward for the UAAP Championship. It was a great trip. Thank you MVP and Tita Debbie Tan for making this trip possible and worthwhile :)It's sad though that this may be my last official engagement with the team and i'll surely miss hanging out with the players, coaches and management alike!

The past weeks have been hectic attending Christmas parties, store openings, giving talks, fixing outreach programs, and shooting a commercial. Imagine if basketball is added to that list. It was indeed tiring physically but not for the soul. For example, weaving through the mountains to get to Tanay, Rizal to give a short talk to Juvenile delinquents was fulfilling. Driving to Pampanga and back to give a short talk about leadership to student leaders of Holy Angels University was just as memorable. I promised the students that I will write about my visit, and I am now keeping that promise. I have to admit that I am very impressed with their campus and facilities, not to mention their very warm welcome. For a moment, I thought that I was in a hotel or corporate office in Makati.

On that same day, I was blessed to have the chance to read to about 80 kids a book entitled Ang Mahiwagang Biyulin by Christine Bellen and published by Anvil. Of course, the event was sponsored by Inquirer and tied up with Barangay Urdaneta who also provided the food for the kids. Thanks to Hapee and Anvil, each kid was able to take home a book and some kiddie toothpastes. Here's a short link about the event which you might want to check out

Some people were asking why my eye was red during the TAYO (Ten Accomplished Youth Organizations) Awards, where I awarded the winners together with KC. Well, apparently I had an eye allergy/infection which caused my contact lenses to react badly. I felt terrible having to stand on stage and press on my eye all throughout in such a formal event with many distinguished guests. Therefore, i had to survive with one eye wearing contacts and the other without. Felt weird! I didn't want to turn down the press who wanted an interview so I went on with it. Anyway, congratulations to the winners!

Anyway, it's been a very busy but INTERESTING December for me going to so many cool places, driving north to Pampanga, east to Tanay, south to Pila (Laguna)... In the city, i've been to the pier, to the streets of Binondo, to the US Ambassador's residence... In First Pacific's headquarters in Hong Kong and Lang Kwai Fong which is just a few meters away... In Pacman's quarters in LV and LA... and others! Whew! Truly a learning experience for me! I wish I can share the many inspiring and touching stories of the people I've met in these places.

Some of you seem to know already that I won't be spending CHristmas here in Manila for the first time. I will still try to update this blog from time to time but I would like to take this chance to thank you all for a wonderful 2008! Thanks for all the support and encouragement! Don't forget the true essence of Christmas - to love and to share (your self, your time, your resources, etc)! But above all, it is to be united with HIM by creating a new and clean relationship with the Father through the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

Merry CHRIS-tmas and a HAPEE New Year TIU all of you! (Hahaha! Corny!)



Sunday, December 7, 2008

Pacman the Man!!!

I still can't believe what Manny had just done! Most boxing experts predicted that dela Hoya would knock out Pacquiao and that Pacquiao will not stand a chance. I'm shocked, the world is shocked! He just raised himself to another level.

I have to admit that I was literally shaking and feeling cold before the fight. My heart was pounding hard when both fighters were entering the ring. I had a great view right at the center of the arena with my two friends. We really felt the pressure of the match and we even said a prayer all together right before the match began.

After the first two rounds, I already felt that Manny was in control and that it was just a matter of time when he would knock out Dela Hoya. He just had to be careful with Dela Hoya's quick power left hooks. His maturity was evident as he was cautious throughout the fight, but still remaining aggressive. Every time Pacman threw a series of punches that threw Dela Hoya off balance, I would get off my seat and start throwing punches in the air as well.

After the referee stopped the fight after the 8th round, i raised my arms and got goose bumps. What a great feeling! Filipinos in the Grand Arena in MGM Grand were giving high fives to each other, hugging and rejoicing out loud! The match was clearly one-sided. Dela Hoya just didn't have the legs and the endurance to keep up with Manny's speed and power. Sadly, some Mexicans and Americans were booing dela Hoya for a poor fight. He was gracious in defeat though.

It's a great feeling for all Filipinos! I just feel so proud to be a Filipino, and moreover, Manny's co-host. I was lucky enough to have dinner with him in his suite the night before the fight. Actually I was still stuffed from a heavy merienda, but of course i didn't want to pass up the chance to eat with Manny in his Mandalay Bay (The Hotel) suite before the fight after he invited me. At least this time it's not in the Pinoy Records studio. So i ate his tinolang manok, fried fish, pork and beef. He even invited me to watch the Celtics vs Lakers game this December 25 in the Staples Center with him and his family since he bought box seat tickets. Too bad I won't be in the states at that time . The whole time he was so relaxed and cheerful as if there was no fight the following day. He was very confident that he would win because he told me to join him in his convoy going back to L.A. because it will be very very fun in the bus. I'm still thinking whether i should join them or not because i also want to stop by an outlet mall on the way back to L.A. Manny's really such a funny guy, i wish i can tell you more but i have to go.

We didn't join the after-party anymore in Rumjungle in Mandalay Bay since it was just sooo packed!! Instead, we went to Manny's room and luckily, bumped into Manny without having to brave the crowd. Again, lucky Chris gets to hug and congratulate his idol right before he went into his bedroom and locked it :)

It's 4am now and i think i have to sleep so i can attend the mass at 10am . So please pardon my very messy and incoherent entry. My mind isn't really functioning anymore. I'll update when i have more time :)


some other personality i saw in the match: Reggie Miller, Charles Barkley, Usher, Mike Tyson, and the Golden Boy boxers,(they announced that the following were in the arena as well although i didn't see them: JLo, Marc Anthony, Eva Longoria, George Lucas, Russel Crowe, Magic Johnson, and others) Of course lots of Filipino celebrities and politicians too :)

Congratulations Manny! Congratulations to all Filipinos! Mabuhay! :)

Friday, December 5, 2008

Short Update from the US / MEG Magazine December Issue

Hello everyone! First of all, thank you for all your congratulatory messages! It's 12:15 am now here in California of December 5, just one day before the Dream Fight between Manny Pacquiao and Oscar dela Hoya. Everywhere I go here, everyone talks about the fight. Can't wait for the big day! I just hope and pray that Manny doesn't get hurt whatever the outcome will be. Anyway, we just finished our Pinoy Records taping in L.A. I'm now in San Diego spending a night here with an uncle then we'll drive to Vegas tomorrow morning in time to catch the Weigh-in! That I wanna see too. I hope that you all try your best to watch the fight , support Manny and our country! Times likes these are rare when all Filipinos come together for to cheer for a common cause! That's why Manny is such a national icon. I hope that we have more of these events and people.

That's all for now . I'm gonna hit the sack. Update you guys soon, hopefully with pictures :) Btw, I will try to upload a video of my short speech after receiving the Nickelodeon award. ALSO, I'm on the cover of the December issue of MEG Magazine. So for those interested, get a copy :)