Archive for July, 2008


Whatever happened to the Masculados?

I ask because I didn’t find them in Wikipedia, not even when I added an apostrophe before the last S of their name.

I have neither the compelling nor elective reason to keep track of the career of this singing/dancing male group after their visit to the newsroom during one of those indolent afternoons of April 2003.

For the sake of the uninitiated, the Masculados were a band of buffed young men who recorded humorously suggestive songs such as “Jumbo Hotdog,” “Sana Mama,” “Lagot Ka” and “Nakaka.” Their get-up was as risque as their performance that sent several women and many mhin wanting to squeeze their biceps. Their songs were upbeat and easy to sing along to and could not easily be shaken off once heard.

I say these things in the past tense because they have no longer been heard of, from, about or whatever preposition the Masculados would perhaps choose to use such as over and above.

I stumbled upon this picture as I was searching for a file in my office computer. The picture was taken sometime in April 2003 during an album tour and which I had emailed to my friend Aimee.

I have cropped the picture to remove me and Evap because the expression on our faces was anything but innocent. Owing to my position, I was often asked by newsroom tourists to have their picture taken with me. And so this was how I found myself “surrounded by real hunks that could happen only in dreams.”

But dreams morph into the unexpected.

Sought for an autograph by reporter Aledel, they not just signed their names but also dedicated themselves to her: Masculados love’s you!

Unaware of the apostrophic downer they just caused, they left the newsroom in high spirits, flexing their biceps and inviting us to buy their album.

We love’s you, Masculados. Study hard.


The Day I Betrayed Federer, At Sea

Out of necessity, I had to wear it.

In my hurry, I forgot to pack the pair of board shorts that I would have used for the dive in Nalusuan, Mactan. Whenever Francis and I dive, we wear board shorts and rash guards. We don’t dive deep so we don’t see the need to wear wetsuits, which insulate divers from the coldness of the deep.

Besides, putting on a wetsuit can be cumbersome, more so getting out of it. A wetsuit does not flatter my body at all. In it, I have to suck my breath and tuck my stomach in until I hit the water or until I get dizzy, whichever happens first.

The few times I dived in Samal Island in Davao, I had to wear one though. It was necessary because everyone was wearing it. Unaware to them, I was barely breathing, neither through nose nor mouth.

Diving with Francis allows me the bliss of not making crucial decisions, like where to eat between dives. But during our dive last Saturday, I was torn.

He handed me a pair of board shorts for me to wear for the dive. It was just the kind Rafael Nadal wears! Oh no. I was conflicted: to wear it or not?

If I wear it, where is my loyalty to Roger Federer? Nadal cut Federer’s heart into slivers at Wimbledon, and by fan extension, mine as well. If I don’t wear it, it means I can’t fit in it, which is just the closest reason for my not wearing the shorts.

I made a crucial decision.

I slipped into it and tugged at a wedgie, ala Nadal. I could have smashed myself with the air tank for the betrayal. I’m sorry, Roger, but I had to. Pride leaves no Federer fan feeling too fat.

Jonji, me in my Nadal shorts, Francis, Paolo


Running with the strollers

(The Sun.Star sports editor had refused to publish this photo in his section for reasons he politely pointed out to me. The only real runner in this group is the guy in the green and white singlet, Gabby Ingles.)

We set out into the early morning sun with athletic and holy intentions.

We were going to run the 5K to help raise funds for the re-roofing of the Seminario Mayor de San Carlos. We were going to have a reflective morning. Today was going to be life-changing for us, because for once, we were not gathering to drink but to run for a cause.

There was only one real runner among us and he had competed in marathons. The rest of us were runners-in-the making. Entering the race posed a problem: Where do we pin the bib numbers? Front of our shirts? Back? it took us longer to work on our bib numbers than our run, er, walk, er, stroll. Goodness, OK, run.

Finally pinned where we wanted them, the bib numbers made us look like real runners, competitive runners.

But runners don’t wear slippers and wedge sandals and bring umbrellas to a race, which some of us did. Well, if Oscar Pistorius can run in steel legs, why can’t we run in high heels?

Of the eight of us, one ran, three brisk-walked, one walked then ran then walked, and four strolled for 15 meters then waited for our return. We had a strong support group in this four; they cheered us on as we passed by them on our way to the finish line. They made us feel worthy of our bib numbers.

By 8 a.m., we were hungry regardless of how far we had gone, whether beyond 15 meters or less. All of us ate like athletes. We felt near to God because we had breakfast in the seminary.

The cook blessed us for such hearty appetites.

(Event happened on Dec. 2, 2007 in Cebu City)


Faith, superstition in Federer-Nadal match

Devastated and disconsolate.

This was how I felt at 4:30 a.m. Monday, July 7, when the reality of Roger Federer losing to Rafael Nadal in the Wimbledon finals began to sink in. I felt like it was I who played in center court and lost. I cried.

I cried for Federer who wanted not so much to win a 6th Wimbledon title but not to lose to Nadal in his own court, the one where he is king.

For 13 straight days, I kept track of the Wimbledon matches of Federer and Nadal and anticipated a championship match between them. Nadal’s scores showed a player who has improved a lot and who seemed to have up his game for the sole purpose of beating Federer.

I usually watch TV from the rocking chair near the stairs but for the championship match, I switched positions. I felt that Federer’s chances of winning were higher if I sat at the dining table, if I kept a certain posture, if I observed a pattern of my nocturnal movements. Superstition and faith preceded logic as my nerves began to fray.

When Federer was down 2 sets to love and he wasn’t leading by a distance in the third set, I began to pray. My initial prayer was for Federer to win the match. But when I saw how the match progressed, I revised my prayer: that Federer be not humiliated by Nadal again. A month ago at Roland Garros, Nadal destroyed Federer, 6-1 6-3 6-0.

I became religious at the Wimbledon finals.

For each point and set that Federer won, I said a prayer of thanks. For each serve that Federer threw, I prayed for a point. I hadn’t prayed so hard in such a long time. I prayed for sets, not for the match. I thought if I prayed piecemeal, I’d have better chances of my prayer being heard. One set at a time.

On the eighth game of the fifth set, when Nadal broke his serve, I knew the prayers for Nadal were louder and more fervent.

Just before I went to bed, I said a prayer for Federer: that God give him the strength to do what is expected of a real champion.

Almost 24 hours since the loss, I still feel devastated and disconsolate.

My heart bleeds for my champion.

July 2008
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