Sunday, August 19, 2012

A Winner in His Own Right

My daughter Kyle could not contain her excitement when she told that Alex Mallari was the third pick overall for the PBA Draft last Sunday, August 19, 2012. Honestly I was not really surprised as my nephew had been a favorite even before the draft had started. I could not help but smile how he had gone a long way.

( A  few days before the PBA draft)

When Alex first came to the country more than a year ago, her aunt had sent a message to all his relatives that had a facebook account, even adding that before he left CA, his grandparents told him of the places and relatives that he needed to visit. I thought then that he was just a tourist but when I started browsing his profile photos, I was surprised to see that he was wearing a basketball jersey and being interviewed by a courtside reporter. That was when I sent him a message and introduced myself which he kindly responded. When I told my kids about these,  they turned to google to know more about him, even stumbling a picture of a young Alex during his days at Lewis - State Clark College. From then on, we became avid fans, always looking at the updates for every game, making sure to watch him if my schedule permits and if the venue is accessible to our place. Sadly, we only got to see him live twice since then but every time we do, we get to bring him some "ensaymada, " which was more than enough excuse so we can to talk and hug him for a few minutes once the game had ended.

Seemed it was like yesterday when we watched and took a video of that first game which we uploaded so that his family can watched it back home. And that last game where he just recovered from an eye injury, leaving him ten stitches, but still managed to play and score for his team, though loosing the game in the end. That was when I told him, "keep safe," pointing to his left eye, which was slightly red from the injury.

Perhaps a lot of us may think that basketball players who came from abroad  have all the advantage of entering the Philippine Basketball League. As far as height, built and looks are concerned, people may think that these players can pull all the strings to their benefit. But what others do not know is that they also have their share of challenges, ridicule and discrimination. Same thing when our love ones choose to live and work for a foreign country. My kids and I were not blind with the thread of comments we read at one point when Alex was getting negative feedback on how he played his games. I told them they should get used to it because it was part of being in the limelight. What matters is we know him better than other people do. And that some are just really good in giving feedback and in finding other people's faults.

All too often we forgot that hard work and determination can never dampen one's spirit in order to achieve a dream. That feedback, subjective or otherwise can only add fuel to continue what had been started. Not even distance, loneliness or the longing to be home during special occasions or time of illness can affect one's sense of focus and professionalism just to reach that certain goal. Some perhaps were just born lucky as others were born winners.

(Alex's defining moment when PETRON  finally chose him to be part of its  team)

The Robinson's Place at Ermita, Manila was filled with basketball fans and spectators. I told my kids it will be hard to get near him unlike before as he is now a celebrity in his own right with reporters asking for interviews left and right. But my daughter Kyle would not budge. "Once he sees us, he will recognize us immediately." I know that. Alex is one person who has his two feet planted firmly on the ground and remembers his humble beginnings. I added there will be other days that we will be able to talk to him again. I even assured them that day will not be long from now.

Besides, what matters is that he finally got what he deserved and  we should thank him for making us all proud.

(image credit to and Ms Miakka Lim's  photos)

Friday, August 17, 2012

It Is About Time We Exercise

I recently found a fitness buddy who had long wanted to get back into shape for some time now. This strong woman is also a single parent who used to be a gym buff years ago. Sadly that had changed when she gave birth to her youngest and became busy with work.

One great motivation to get fit is to have a buddy. For some of us who are not that lucky, we only have our determination and discipline to get fit. Others find the wisdom on the people they care about who had gotten ill as a result of an unhealthy lifestyle.

Whatever drives us to exercise, it pays to remember that it is never too late to start. And allow me to share why I decided to listen to my body clock and finally focus on wellness and getting fit.

My first hip hop class at Bonifacio Global City

It is About Time We Exercise | Healthmad

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Five Countries I Want to Visit Before I Retire

I often ask myself what is with traveling that attracts most people? Is it because of the fad or the adventure that comes with it? Have people become so stressed with their lives that their souls are dying to get some fresh air, a change of scenery even if it will cost them a hefty amount? Whatever the reasons behind why people travel, be it a personal or a fancy one, there really must be something unique that makes the experience worth remembering and sharing it with the ones you love.

I have travelled many times with the stories I have read, heard and watched on the screen since I was a kid. And with these stories, some places did struck my interest not just because of the rich history and culture but the people who lived in it. They maybe fictional, historical or real, still it will not do any harm to visit and get a glimpse of how it felt to walk, dine and breath the same air these colorful characters had given life while I was growing up.

Below are the five countries I want to visit before I retire.

(The Buckingham Palace)

1. England. London, The Buckingham Palace, The Westminster Abbey,Wales and if possible get to visit the places where CS Lewis, Shakespeare, Charles Dickens, Jane Austen and JK Rowling grew up and studied. It would also be a plus to visit some of the historical places while they were in the process of writing the drafts of their stories like that cafe where JK Rowling visited as she wrote the lines that will ultimately become the best loved story of all time - Harry Potter.

(The Palace of Versailles)

2. France. Known for its art, music and rich history, it is a country that I will want to visit simply because someone close to my heart who had very humble beginnings was able to get a financially secured life in France, proof that nothing is impossible as long as you put your heart into it.

3. Egypt. Blame it on my undying love for the "The Mummy" and "The Mummy Returns" movies. But I guess even during the time of Elizabeth Taylor's "Cleopatra," I have gotten bewitched with Egyptians, pyramids, pharoahs, mummies plus the woven tales and legends that go with it. 

(Old Montreal At Sunrise)

4. Canada. From what I have heard and read, a lot of Filipinos tried their luck in this country and became successful. Though I believe that life is what we make it, still my curiosity was triggered on why this country had become so popular that it deserves to be visited. Perhaps I just need to find out, if I am lucky to set foot on it in the future. 

5. USA. I already have my map marked on this one. The trip will start in NY where I get to visit my only sister and her family. Since NJ is just a 30 minute walk from her place, I will take advantage of that. We will walk the streets, take the subway, perhaps visit even the NY Public Library, Ground Zero and other places where I only had read or seen at the movies.

(My sister Xenia and her daughter Ingrid)

Then after two weeks, I will visit the rest of my relatives in CA. Most of them are already there, in Los Angeles, Glendale, Los Alamitos, Long Beach, Lakewood. These places I knew by heart because of the endless stories my dad told me, about his only brother who I've only met once, his wife who is my godmother, and their kids whose names had become all too familiar, but never got the chance to meet even until now. Now when all of us have families of our own. Now where we get to keep in touch through, whose pictures had been sent via snail mail since I was a kid which my family had kept all these years, proof that we are related and whose ties can never be broken despite the many decades that had passed.

(My cousins from CA - Paul, Kuya Percy, Ate Marilyn, Kuya Val and Ate Olivia)

One avid traveller once shared that life does not only consist of how many breaths you have taken but how many times it took your breath away. At the back of my mind I know it will be ages to set foot in any of these countries but then again everything is possible if one believes that one day, this will all come true. And I have a strong feeling that it might just happen very soon. 


Many thanks to Jimmy who is the host of this week's BC Bloggers Meme. You can drop him a visit at

(image credit to google and