Archive for the 'Just a thought' Category


The idleness of being

I’ve got blisters on my feet from running in new shoes and I have shin splints, and so my legs hurt when I walk.

I went to the city pool to do some laps only to find it exclusively booked for the regional school meet for the entire week.

I called up the yoga center but no one answered.

No running, no swimming, no yoga. Great. By the time I’m fit and good to do all three, my new running shorts, new swimsuit and new leggings would have shrunk. Tsk tsk. They don’t make sports apparel the way they used to anymore.

In the meantime, can someone get me Fernando Verdasco for breakfast, lunch and dinner? Please?

Now what? (from


Oh wow, Steffi!

steffi graf 2Steffi Graf and son, I like. / Photo from

A website that I regularly visit brought me to these pictures of Steffi Graf.

At the close of her ATP tour, she posed for the Swimsuit Edition of Sports Illustrated.  I don’t remember the date of the issue but it was maybe 1999. I kept the copy for a while and only gave it away when it hit me that I neither could wear those bikinis nor play tennis. This truth still stands, sadly.

I admire Steffi for the physical discipline she has imposed on herself. Not many women in their 30s and 40s and slinging motherhood have the fortitude to keep excess weight off.

Me? The only time I don’t lug around excess weight is when I fly. I travel light. (I hate taking small planes because I am weighed at the check-in counter. I see that I am heavier than most of the passengers from my seat assignment, which is the one closest to the cockpit, and it’s not my bag that accounts for much of my total passenger weight.)

Steffi, I like. (Thumbs-up sign here.)


Energy from a bracelet

phitenFor the past three weeks, I’ve been wearing this aqua titanium-lined silicone bracelet that is supposed to energize me and improve my well-being.  Two friends who lead an active lifestyle and wear the bracelet attest its effectiveness as an energy booster.

This is how the Phiten bracelet, a red MLB Phillies (in homage to Jayson Werth yet I doubt if he wears one), has worked for me:

Of late, my swimming has been confined either to treading the water or wading into it at shoulder depth and then spending the time in it chatting with friends similarly situated. I haven’t swum beyond 10 meters in four years or so until last month.

I’ve been wearing the Phiten bracelet for three days when I swam toward an islet in Guiuan, Samar from a friend’s yacht that was anchored a little more than 50 meters away from shore. I swam back to the yacht after a huge lunch in the islet. It wouldn’t have been a big deal had my body been primed for such a distance.

kayak guiuanTaking the kayaks, my friends reached the islet and then later the yacht, way ahead of me. I might as well have been racing against an old turtle trudging land. I took my time, noting the depth of the waters as long-spined sea urchins became more visible as I got nearer the shore.

Warmed up by the swim in the seawater, I did laps in the 35-meter pool when we got back to The Surf Camp. I wasn’t sprinting like I had to beat Dara Torres’ record or the old turtle’s terrain time. The point being, after four years of not having swum long distance, meaning beyond 10 meters, I managed to crawl non-stop from one end of a 35-meter pool to the other.

The ScreamFrom the way I was catching my breath after the first lap, I saw myself as a meatier version of the subject of Edvard Munch’s painting, The Scream. I didn’t find my wind until after the third lap. I swam seven more laps, alternately using freestyle and breast stroke.

I woke up the next morning with a stiff neck.

I have a farm in FarmTown. Since I wore the Phiten bracelet, I now plow and plant faster and my right arm, where I wear it, feels less heavy after hours of moving the mouse.

Since I wore it, I sleep earlier and longer so much so that I have difficulty getting up at 5:15 a.m. to go to the track oval. My running shoes, worn only twice since I bought them, cry for my attention. Soon, shoes, soon.

I will not blame the Phiten bracelet for my hearty appetite because no amount of titanium, whether it be wrapped around my neck or my wrist, can restrain it.

When I told my acupuncturist about the Phiten bracelet, he dismissed its effect as nothing but placebo. Er, Doc, this bracelet, which looks like rubber to you, cost me almost P2,000.  For this sum, it should have an intrinsic remedial value. Wearing it I feel invigorated.

My acupuncturist, who is also a medical doctor, looked at me and said, “It’s the acupuncture that makes you feel energized.” Oh.


Glad Steffi Graf is retired


Back when she was an active player, Steffi Graf was the only female tennis player whose matches I watched on tv. Since she retired in 1999, women’s tennis has lost its appeal to me.

I watched her last match, the Wimbledon finals in 1999, in which she lost to Lindsey Davenport, 6-4 7-5.

After 10 years, I watched her play again last Sunday. I would have missed it had I not been alerted by another Graf fan.

Steffi Graf, playing in two exhibition matches at the grand opening or closing of the retractable roof at the center court of the All England Club, was the same Steffi Graf I last saw play. Well, not exactly the same. She was laughing and smiling this time, a far cry from her stolid demeanor she put on during competitions when she was still in the women’s circuit.

Turning 40 next month, Steffi Graf epitomizes fitness and health. She doesn’t look a pound heavier than she was in 1999 despite having given birth to two children. Her long, toned legs–which have carried her to 22 Grand Slam titles–have always been a source of envy for me and my female friends.

Like what happened in the past whenever I watched her play, I sighed in resignation to the fact that I can never have legs like hers unless I amputate mine and wear prostheses molded like her legs. But even if I did this, I would have to cut my arms as well because they would now be disproportionate to my new legs. Then I would have to wear arm prostheses molded like Graf’s. But even if I now had arms and legs like Steffi’s, I would need to pare my torso, which in its present condition, is not anywhere like Graf’s.

Oh, just kill me.

I’m glad Steffi Graf has retired.


The doctor is late

pacquiao-honoris-causaDr. Manny Pacquiao (with plaque) / Photo by Amper

When Manny Pacquiao delivered his prepared speech after being conferred Doctor in Humanities honoris causa, his heart was beating so fast that it could have been a speed bag he hits at practise.

He was nervous, he told a jampacked ballroom of Waterfront Cebu City Hotel at about 7 o’clock tonight.

Indeed he was because he mispronounced the name of the school that conferred on him the doctorate. He had to be corrected that it was “Southwestern University,” not “Southern Western University.” As he is wont to add “s” to words English, he referred to himself as “doctors.” For words unfamiliar to him, “kinetics” became “kinestetics” but he got “humanities” right.

Lest we forget, a boxer doesn’t declaim in the ring. And so despite his mispronunciations, Pacquiao was widely applauded at his conferment.

He was widely applauded by a crowd that had waited for three hours for him to arrive at the ceremony that was scheduled at 4:30 p.m. He came in late and apologized for his tardiness, which he attributed to a delayed flight from Manila. At about 7 p.m., a choral rendition of his signature song, “Para Sa Iyo Ang Laban Na To” began the ceremony.

The conferment rite was exclusive to Pacquiao. That he arrived very late for it doesn’t befit a man SWU looks up to as one who has “captured excellence and exemplary performance in what he does.” Pacquiao could have been advised to come on time and give importance to the event. He could have arranged for a morning flight.

The humanitarianism he showed for the victims of typhoon Frank in July 2008 earned him the honorary doctorate in humanities, SWU president Eldigardio Gonzales said. SWU originally wanted to confer on him a doctorate in human kinetics for espousing the value of physical fitness but the Commission on Education (Ched) wouldn’t allow it.

Just as well because Pacquiao would have called himself  “doctors of human kinestetics.”

So in his speech, prepared and brief, he said with a note of nervousness in his voice, “You cannot measure how smart a person is by how many books he reads. You can measure how smart a person is through his good nature, his love for the country, his love for his family and most importantly, his faith in God.”

For that, Dr. Manny Pacquiao heard a thunder of applause from SWU students, faculty and officers he had kept waiting for almost three hours.

(Many thanks to Beth B.)


In some parts of Loon

In parts of Loon, a town in Bohol, there is a different way of playing chess and basketball. The rules of the sports are the same but the skills required to play them are somewhat unorthodox.

Take chess. Ordinarily, you sit across your opponent and use your arms and fingers to move the pieces.

But in Cabilao Island, a prime diving destination in Loon, you need to use your entire body to play chess. The wooden chess pieces are huge and conclusively heavy. You lift a pawn with both hands. You straddle the horse to move it. You bend and lift or you bend and push. It’s like moving furniture.

cabilao-1The chess set in Polaris Resort, Cabilao Island

By the time you have made your third move, you have sweated a bucket. You pray your opponent is not a sore loser and hits you with the rook. If it’s any comfort, he can’t throw you the chessboard. The photo above explains why.

In Mocpoc Sur, playing basketball requires consideration of plants. For reasons that defy sports and landscaping logic, seedlings are being planted in the middle of the basketball court.

cabilao-3Hedged plants in the middle of a basketball court in Mocpoc Sur

The basketball rings have not been removed, giving the impression that it remains a basketball court.

In remote barrios like Mocpoc Sur, there is no open space more ubiquitous than a basketball court. During the barrio fiesta, the basketball court is converted into a dance court.

The plants are hedged in the middle of the basketball court in Mocpoc Sur. The players will need to upgrade their dribbling and passing skills to include plant evasion. It will be a skill specific to the basketbolistas of Mocpoc Sur. Kobe will die of envy.

Because in parts of Loon, time is enjoyed by doing nothing and anything. I love Loon. I really do.

(Photos by Friar Tuck)


Post script on Jayson Werth

BBA-WORLD-SERIES-The mitt of the matter (Photo from AFP)

A father holds sentimental thoughts about his son and contemplates a future for him that brings with it his father’s past.

Whatever hopes Jayson Werth has for his son most likely include a spot in the baseball field in the major league.

Werth comes from a long line of baseball players. His grandfather and an uncle had played in MLB, and his dad in the minor league. His stepfather had also played with the NY Yankees. At one point in their baseball careers, Werth, his grandfather and his uncle had played for the LA Dodgers.

For Jayson Werth and his son, there will be more runs batted in, assuming, of course, his son won’t turn to wrestling. In that case, there will be smackdowns instead of homeruns.

BBA-WORLD-SERIES-Perfect! (Photo from AFP)

April 2018
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