Before anyone ever cared what I used to shoot my mobile photos, I was a kid who loved Apple. It’s what I listened to. It’s what I adored. It’s where I learned Snapseed. It’s where I played Angry Birds. It holds a special place in my heart. Steve Jobs saw me grow up, then I got sad when he died. I sometimes feel I’m his No. 1 fan. My passion for Apple products can be overwhelming. But it drives me. My relationship with Apple is bigger than iPhones. I didn’t realize that a year and a half ago. I do now.
Remember when I posted my review of Android vs. iOS? I was thinking.. this is really tough. I could feel it. I was leaving something I had spent a long time admiring. If I had to do it all over again, I’d obviously do things differently, but I’d still have left. I had no choice, my iPhone 5’s battery died and just quit on me. The HTC One, for me, has been almost like summer school for other kids. The past year helped raise me into a better phone user. I surely don’t use cheap car chargers anymore. And I learned from Android that user experience can be richer with more options. I will always think of Android as my second home. Without experiences I had with it, I wouldn’t be able to do what I’m doing today.
I hopped on the Android platform because of widgets and customization tools. I made sacrifices with its crappy virtual keyboard. I believed I could do something magical if I made the switch. And that’s exactly what I did! No, not really. But it was hard to leave what I built with my HTC phone… especially the souped-up cars I won in Drag Racing… not to mention the cute cartoons I did with Bitstrips. Nothing will ever change the worthless things I’ve actually accomplished. My HTC and me are brothers for life. I also want to thank Google PlayStore for giving me an amazing year.
I’m doing this essay because I want an opportunity to explain myself uninterrupted. I don’t want anyone thinking : me and Android didn’t get along… HTC couldn’t put the right phone together. That’s absolutely not true.
I’m not having a press conference or a party. After this, it’s time to go to work. I have to transfer my contacts and reinstall the apps again.
When I left the iPhone, I was on a mission. I was seeking widgets, and I found a lot. But now I already know that having widgets doesn’t compare to typing comfortably on the virtual keypad. And I mean without typo errors every 3 words. I haven’t had that feeling in a long, long, long time. My goal is to send a text message, or post a tweet or Facebook status, without being stressed by those damn typos. No question. But what’s important for me is bringing the favor back to Apple, because I hope they come out with the most awesome of iPhones when they roll out the iPhone 7. That’s the one I wouldn’t dare miss.
I always believed that I’d return to Apple and finish my career here. I just didn’t know when. After Tim Cook unveiled the 6, going back to the iPhone wasn’t even a thought. But I have two boys and a wife. I started thinking about what it would be like to shoot more of their moments with a phone camera having Focus Pixels. I looked at other models, but I wasn’t going to leave my HTC One for anything except the iPhone. The more time passed, the more it felt right. This is what makes me happy.
To make the move, I needed the support of my wife and my mom, who can be very tough. My iPhone 4 and 5 that are still with me, not being used and just gathering dust in a drawer – seeing all that was hard for them. My emotions were mixed. It was easy to say, “OK, I don’t want to deal with iPhones ever again.” But then you think about the other side. What if I didn’t use an el cheapo, generic car charger on my iPhone 5? What if it’s still working? How would I react? I’ve met with an Apple technician, face-to-face, man-to-man. We’ve talked it out. Everybody makes mistakes. I surely made a mistake, as well. Who am I to hold a grudge?
I’m not promising I won’t bash Globe after giving me this iPhone 6. Hey, it didn’t even come with a discount – I paid the same price as a new subscription plan, to think I’ve been a postpaid user since 2003. Where’s the reward in loyalty with that? No way. My patience will get tested. I know that. I’m going into a situation with a new phone and a bigger data usage plan, let’s see if Globe’s mobile internet holds up. I see myself listening more to my Spotify premium account. I think I can watch more videos posted online. I think downloading files will be much faster. And I can’t wait to post more selfies or food that I eat.
But this is not about the internet speed or Globe. I feel my calling here goes above the carrier. I love taking pictures with my phone, in more ways than one, and I take that very seriously. I want kids all over the world to realize that we can shoot with any camera, and it starts with the camera in our hands… or pocket.
In iOS, nothing is given. Everything is earned…. Or bought in AppStore. You work for what you have, and it starts with the purchase of the expensive iPhone. Will it bend? Will it break? Or will it stand the test of time and careless use?
I’m ready to accept the challenge. I’m coming home.
(Obviously inspired by this : http://www.si.com/nba/2014/07/11/lebron-james-cleveland-cavaliers)
(Special thanks to Joyce Crisostomo-Santos for expediting my iPhone6 purchase. You're the shining light in the otherwise dizzying world of Globe.)
I am officially thirty-two years young. Okay, you win. Old.
Old enough that my age is no longer in the calendar, just like that famous phrase in Filipino, "wala na sa kalendaryo". Old enough to sometimes feel the aches of an aging body, or the immediate effects (otherwise known as the bulging batok) of eating too much chicharong bulaklak or my all-time favorite papaitan. Old enough to prioritize getting enough sleep at night over hanging out with friends just for the heck of it.
Old enough to realize, and I hope not too late, to take care of myself because I got a beautiful wife and an adorable little boy to also take care of. To do my best to outlive them because I wouldn't want to miss them growing up and growing old.
I'm sure we've encountered the term "turn back the clock", but we all know Father Time spares no one. In my case, I'd sure love to say "turn back the calendar", but it will be a futile attempt just the same. It's best to accept the fact and move on. We're not getting younger at any point in our lives, unless we're Benjamin Button. But we can be wiser and accomplish more moving forward.
I hereby acknowledge that I'm old according to calendar standards. Though I feel fine, I feel light, my eyes see clearly, my other senses work with no issues, my latest blood chemistry results were okay... these signs indicate I'm still young. My hairline, however, proves otherwise. Good thing my wife finds me sexier than I've ever been. Must be the beard.
I remember one night when I was twelve years old, I prayed to God to give me a hundred more years to live. By rough estimate, I'm only 30% of the way, IF the good Lord grants my request. True story, by the way.
To God, to my family, loved ones, and all of you my friends, THANK YOU. Life is more worthwhile with you.
I am nothing on my own. TO INFINITY AND BEYOND!
This page has a ton of words. To sort through them faster, here's an index of the blogs from oldest to most recent. Click on the title to go to the post directly :
It has been a year since I launched this site - a blog, portfolio and social portal all in one. I sincerely consider building my own website an accomplishment. I was no web geek but did some study and practice, and of course Weebly made it easier. When my previous blogsite hosted by Multiply shut down a few months ago, I appreciated having my own site all the more.
Thank you for taking time to look around and see the posts and photos. Weebly has a cool feature that tracks your site statistics and it's also available on their iPhone app. The stat's out : 58,503 unique daily visits for the past 366 days (remember, 2012 was a leap year).
To mark jersandel.com's first year, I made a complete overhaul to the site. After some tweaks and renovations, it's finally done. Here are the before and after look :
Old look :
The new and current look :
Still a dark theme but simpler, complete and easier to navigate. I like it. I hope you like it too.
And oh, a couple of days ago I installed Google Analytics to give me better insight about online traffic. It's a bit complicated but I like what I'm seeing so far.
I have plans to introduce new sections here, definitely I'll be able to start on at least one very soon. For now, I welcome you once again to my new-look site.
Thank you. Cheers!
To those who "liked" this site thru their Facebook accounts, thank you so much. I don't (and won't) have the guts to ask people to like something for me, but I put a Facebook like button on this site's homepage. Getting a hundred likes would have been enough to tell me that at least I'm doing something right. But getting over 1,400 likes so far? Unbelievably heartwarming. Again, thanks.
Hi. My name is Jeremy Bourdain. I'm a foodtrip photographer.
It's been more than two years, but the hiatus officially ends. I'm back to foodtripping. Back to my Bourdain pseudonym. Alright, again, I only use it to gain any credibility I can get when it comes to food. All I really know is I love to eat and I love taking pictures of food. With my wife Anie and good friend Lucille, I started this series in 2010 with Bulacan and Pampanga binges. We've been wanting to continue it, but something would always come up and cancel our next plans. Thankfully, Lucille never gave up. She asked us to go again last week. And fortunately, it pushed thru. Finally!
Our destination was something too familiar, but one that we loved to go back to nonetheless. UP Diliman, Lucille and I's alma mater. Having lived in the campus for 5 years during my college life, and a decade since I graduated, it's been a while since I've wandered the tsibog places. Now was a good time to do it again.
I came prepared - with an empty stomach that hasn't had food for 14 hours because Anie and I had a blood chemistry test earlier that morning (fasting needed to get accurate results). We were really hungry. I also took my Canon EOS M with me, but for some strange reason, I got lazy to shoot with it and left it in the car. It might have been a case of I-just-want-to-eat-ism. Anyway, I got my iPhone so I took all these photos with the iPhone 5. NO FILTERS, except for the title photo where I used a grunge layer.
1st stop - Rodic's Food Express
I don't think a UP food trip could be complete without Rodic's. It just can't be left out. Their tapsilog is legendary. Seriously, no exaggeration. It's actually soft beef tapa flakes that just taste so good. You gotta try it to believe it. Lo and behold - the tapsilog now costs 75 pesos. If I remember correctly, it was just 40 pesos when it used to be my breakfast staple. Oh well, one of the constant things in life : inflation.
We also tried the crispy tawilis, one of our favorite morning munch. Just irresistible. Just don't put the vinegar too early, or you'll lose the crispiness. Lesson learned.
2nd stop - Chocolate Kiss Cafe
Back in my college days, if there was a sosyal place to eat in UP, it was Chocolate Kiss. The food choices were few - the UP Ayala Technohub was a mere plan back then, Philcoa and Katipunan didn't have as much eateries like today - and far between. So if you wanted to change scenery or if your friends are too choosy and conyo, you take them to CK. Not Calvin Klein. Choc Kiss. Hmmm, it would cost about 3 to 4 times as much as eating in other places, but hey, you get what you pay for.
We were there too early and only their groundfloor Cafe was open. Their main dining on Bahay ng Alumni's 2nd level was still closed and wouldn't be open until lunch. Dang, I so wanted to once again taste my favorite beef stroganoff. We had to settle for the cafe's cakes.
We ordered two kinds - date walnut and devil's foodcake. Pictured above is the former, and frankly, it's the one that caught my fancy. No offense to the devil, but CK's date walnut cake is just perfect. The frosting was delicious and right on the money in terms of sweetness. The fact that I love nuts made me appreciate the rest of the cake. Sorry, Anie and Lucille. But one small slice was enough for each of you.
3rd stop - Moonleaf Tea Shop
We did a little detour to kill time (we were too early and most of the food establishments were still closed). We went to UP village. Ahh, most places were also closed. Luckily, Moonleaf along Maginhawa street was open and willing to let us in.
Moonleaf was introduced to me by my sister who studies in Ateneo. She would buy me one when she'd go home to Bulacan. I've tried many other milkteas, but for me, Moonleaf is tops. And so, it turns out their first branch was in UP village. Not the one that we found, but this one was huge compared to the branches I've seen. We ordered our favorite - wintermelon with pudding - and settled into our seats. Best of all - they had free wi-fi! In this day and age, if you're a public establishment and want to keep pace with the competition, you have to have wi-fi. FOR FREE. (Hello, Starbucks and Ayala Malls!)
Anyway, what I love about Moonleaf is that their wintermelon tea is sweet and unpretentious. It's milk tea and pudding, that's it. No other ingredients that make the taste complicated. One more thing : I like it that it's named Moonleaf and not another "Tea". Okay, if you're thinking of putting up your own milk tea business, I've come up with possible names for you : TranquiliTea (for yoga practitioners), ActiviTea (for the sports-minded), PuberTea (for teenagers), FormaliTea (for conservatives), RealiTea (for those who have lost their idealism), ProductiviTea (open to meetings and business functions), PreTea (for cute conyo kids), DiviniTea (for goddesses or daugthers of construction magnates who scam their investors), SerendipiTea (place to go on blind dates), or StupidiTea (if you're actually taking this seriously).
4th stop - Beach House
Somewhere near the Main Library and the Sunken Garden, a quaint house stands proud. I have no idea why they called it "Beach House", but it's famous for its barbecues. For good reason. While I was a student, I probably ate here not more than 5 times, because I didn't like that it was always crowded during lunchtime (and I only happen to frequent the place for lunch). But I loved the barbecue. I still do.
It's tender, it's juicy, it's well-marinated. Iba talaga. 27 pesos for a stick, I tell you, is money well-spent. They could cook the rice with crap, and the customers wouldn't mind because of the barbecue. It's that good.
Okay, I might be exaggerating a little, but you get what I mean. Still the best barbecue I've tried after all these years. I only wish they do some renovations to the beach house. It's gotten really old.
5th stop - Khas Food House
Must admit : I discovered Khas by accident. One night, back in college, my roommate and I were looking for a place nearby for dinner (we lived in Area 2). We were full of Lutong Bahay (another famous UP eatery) and the Shopping Center food. So we ventured to the arcade and stumbled upon a Persian-themed place. Hesitant at first, I found the food weird-tasting initially, but I've come to love it since then. Back then, kebabs were not as "in", I guess Khas is a pioneer in its own right.
Fortunately, it's still in operation. I noticed they have expanded and made the place more colorful.
We ordered beef biryani, Lucille had rice with beef toppings. To be honest, the biryani was good. But because I've tried Raaz Mahal (in BF Homes, Parañaque) - which I think offers the best Persian food in the metro (I've tried about 4 other places) - my standard got so much higher. Make no mistake, Khas' own biryani is delicious and all that, it's just that compared to Raaz Mahal's, it falls short. Well, for 150 pesos, it's much cheaper. But still.
6th stop - UP Shopping Center food carts
We went back to the Shopping Center to have some snack. Lucille wanted some corn, Anie wanted green mango. Cheap thrills. I thought Lucille was referring to whole corn cobs and I looked at her and wondered if she still wasn't full. We just had lunch!
Turns out what she wanted were corn kernels with cheese in a cup.
It looked this appetizingly-good, I couldn't blame her.
Anie, meanwhile, scooted over to a nearby cart and found manong with the green mangoes.
You know what sets these sour mangoes apart from other sour mangoes? Nothing. But they have special salt! Spicy mix of salt, chili, I bet some vetsin, and other stuff I wouldn't wanna know but would certainly wanna taste with my mangoes. A proven, winning mix that's key to manong selling no less than 50 mangoes everyday.
7th stop - Amici, UP Technohub
Having eaten those excruciatingly-sour mangoes, we wanted sweet stuff next. Crossed to the other side of Commonwealth Avenue to the UP-Ayala Technohub, a place which I sure wished to have in college. Lucky kids.
We settled into Amici, one of the restos there. Upon entering the establishment, a vibrant, yummy array of ice cream greeted us. We gave in to the urge. I ordered Mango Jubilee, Lucille wanted Mint with Chocolate, while Anie had "the Rouge". Nope, not named after the X-Men character, but it was named the Best Dessert of 2012 by the Philippine Daily Inquirer. Not bad at all.
The Rouge was layer-by-layer of blueberry, strawberry, vanilla gelato and crushed graham, made into one fine-tasting piece. It sure looked pretty. 160 pesos per slice, with the ice creams (which were also good, by the way) costing 80 per scoop.
8th stop - Le Ching Tea House, UP Technohub
There's a tea house in Greenhills that I love, and apparently they've branched out all the way to UP Technohub. Le Ching! By this time, we were really full. I know I was. My stomach was calling for timeout, but hey this was a foodtrip, and when I saw Le Ching, I knew it couldn't be bad.
For something light, we ordered chicken feet (my favorite) and hakao (shrimp dumpling).
The hakao was a bit bland, but that's how it should taste like, I guess. The chicken feet, on the other hand, was happiness. Tender and really tasty, a bit spicy, just perfect. I forgot I was already full. Four pieces of hakao for 99 pesos, 4 pieces of chicken feet for 85. The "adidas" was cheaper and better-appreciated.
9th stop - Mang Larry's Isawan
We really wanted to try UP Technohub's Mezza Norte, a market of a slew of food variety, but it won't open until 6PM. So we headed back to the campus for another food "landmark". A UP food trip also wouldn't be complete without Mang Larry's, the most famous of all the isawan. Mang Larry's is da wan.
As expected, a big crowd is already there, mostly UP outsiders who dig the isaw (grilled intestines in sticks). Can you imagine, students from other schools make it a dating place! Either cool or pa-cool. Either way, they're all there because of the isaw. Mang Larry's has the best.
Maybe it's just me, but I find Mang Larry's to have the cleanest isaw, without the coloring. But nothing spectacular that sets it apart from isaw in other places. It just happened to be in UP where it has become an icon of bridging the gap between the rich and the poor, the sosyal and the masa. Mang Larry just happened to cash in. He's the only isaw vendor I know who has an organized system of ordering. Now you fall in line, then state your order to one of his boys who gets your name and order then gives the paper to the "fan" boys. You then wait for your name to be called.
Mang Larry is also the only vendor I know who brings his own generator. Beat that.
And did you know that you can now have your isaw delivered? Call Mang Larry's at (02) 902-7676 and have isaw delivered right at your doorstep.
Naaaaah, I'm just messing with you.
9 stops and we were done by 4:30PM. I wanted to get a tenth one, but Mercato at UP Technohub opens at 6PM. Full and not having anywhere else to go to, we decided to call it a day and bring to a close another food trip. It was fun and nostalgic. The UP Diliman campus was my home for a number of years. It sure felt great AND old to be back - I was looking at the students and realized ten, fifteen years ago, I was like them.
Time flies when you're having fun.
Thank you to my constant trip buddies - Anie and Lucille. Till the next one! Let's hope we get to do a follow-up real soon. The two-year lull was too long.
J. Bourdain out. For now.
(Talo na naman si Pacquiao. Maraming kuro-kuro, ‘yung tipong galing sa usapang-kanto. Hindi na pinag-iisipan, basta may masabi lang. Kaya eto, magta-Tagalog din ako, baka sakaling mas maintindihan ako noong mga bara-bara kung mag-isip.)
“Ayan, nagpalit pa kasi ng relihiyon.”
“Hindi na kasi nagsusuot ng rosaryo.”
“Hindi na kasi nagsa-sign of the cross.”
Aba, may punto nga naman sila. Mula nang hindi na nagsuot ng rosaryo si Pacman, natalo siya kay Bradley at Marquez.
Siguro nga kung nagsuot ng rosaryo si Manny, hindi siya mamalasin sa desisyon laban kay Bradley. ‘Yung rosaryo siguro ay talagang lucky charm na makikita ng mga judges para ibigay sa Pambansang Kamao ang panalo. Siguro kung suot ni Manny ‘yung malaking rosaryo, siguro hindi siya tinamaan ng matinding solid mula kay Marquez. O kaya, siguro parang anting-anting ‘yung rosaryo para hindi maramdaman ni Pacman ‘yung suntok, ala-Nardong Putik kumbaga. Pwede rin naman na kapag nakita ni Marquez 'yung rosaryo bago hubarin ni Manny para sa laban, baka mapaisip si Marquez habang pinakawalan niya 'yung suntok na tumapos sa laban, "teka may rosaryo nga pala 'to kanina, hindi ko masyadong lalakasan kahit na gigil na gigil na ako dito sa mokong na 'to."
Siguro nga kung nag-sign of the cross si Manny, mababahag ang buntot nila Tim at Juan Manuel. Kapag nakita nila si Pacquiao na mag-cross, baka sakali nga namang masiraan sila ng loob sabay sabi, “siyet, kakampi ng Diyos ‘tong kalaban ko, paano ako mananalo?”. Tapos bigla rin nilang maiisip, “teka, pwede rin naman ako mag-sign of the cross ah, ang dali lang nun eh, so kakampi ko na rin ang Diyos, kwits na tayo!”
Siguro nga dahil sa relihiyon ‘yung pagkatalo ni Manny, hindi dahil sa pag-edad niya o dahil sa galing ng kalaban niya. Hindi rin dahil sa hindi na niya pagtutok sa boksing gawa ng pagiging kongresista niya. Siguro kung sarado-Katoliko pa rin si Manny, gaya nga ng gusto ni Nanay Dionisia, baka sakaling bumano si Bradley at biglang nabura sa isip ni Marquez kung paano labanan si Manny, kahit pang-apat na pagtutunggali na nila ‘yun. Siguro nga kung hindi ginugugol ni Manny ang libre niyang oras sa mga bible study na ‘yan, baka sakaling nanalo siya. Mas okay nga siguro na mag-sugal na lang si Manny, mag-bilyar hanggang hatinggabi, mag-sabong, at magwaldas ng salapi, oras, at lakas sa kung ano pang gimik. Siguro nga kung hindi sumama si Pacquiao sa mga pastor na ‘yan, baka sakaling wala pa rin siyang talo mula noong 2005. Siguro nga mas mainam na tumambay na lang si Manny kasama ang mga alipores niya na may kanya-kanyang interes at planong manghuthot sa kanya. Siguro mas mabuti na imbes na kasama ni Manny si Jinkee at pamilya nila, eh mag-hangout na lang sila ni Ara Mina, Krista Ranillo, at kung sinu-sino pang artista at babae na na-link sa kanya.
Siguro nga mas maganda na sira at magulo ang buhay ng ating Manny Pacquiao, kesa naman etong maayos nga pero natatalo naman para sa ating bayan. Eto kasing si Manny eh. Sa dinami-dami ng pwedeng gawin, eh nagpalit pa ng relihiyon. Ayan tuloy, talo. Aanhin pa natin siya kung talo naman siya sa ring, wala naman tayong pakialam kung umayos ang buhay niya basta manalo siya, 'di ba?
(Disclaimer : Make sure you get the sarcasm before you comment. Read between the lines. This blog is a counterpoint to those who said Pacquiao lost because he switched religions. So before you accuse me of anything, I'm making it clear. Let's learn how to read properly.)
(Sorry, but maybe this blog would alleviate some of the sorrow from the shocking knockout. A massage and a movie weren't enough.)
May 2, 2009. It was my first time seeing a Manny Pacquiao fight live in Las Vegas. The fight’s stature was nowhere near the one I also watched live at Araneta Coliseum in July 2006 (versus Oscar Larios). This time, it was against a legit boxing superstar, one that posed a serious threat : Ricky Hatton. And it was happening right in the mecca of boxing. I was on vacation in the US at that time, so why not make the trip to Vegas to watch the fight? Figured it would be fun.
The electricity of the crowd was unbelievable. There’s nothing that compares to seeing a big fight live, in all honesty. I wish everyone could experience it so they’d know what I mean. Anyway, us Filipinos were the minority, as about 75% of the crowd were noisy, beer-guzzling Britons who came all the way from England to cheer their mate Ricky. It gave me goosebumps everytime the thousands of Britons sang in unison “There’s only one Ricky Hatton! One Ricky Hatton! Walking along, singin’ a song, walking in a Hatton wonderland.” They did that probably a hundred times during the course of the event and each time it gave me the shivers. Seriously. And if a fight broke out (they were consuming alcohol, remember), I was planning the Pinoys’ escape route. We were absolutely outnumbered.
Fortunately, Manny took care of business for us. He knocked Hitman Hatton down twice in the very first round. In the next, he scored the most scintillating knockout I’ve ever seen, as he snapped Hatton out of his senses. Lights out. The crowd was stunned. The boisterous Brits were hushed. Even Pinoys were shocked at the sudden ending, but after a while the Pacmaniacs regained their senses to let out their cheers of triumph. Hatton, while all these were going on, lay motionless, expressionless on the canvas. He was out cold. Seated on the upperbox section, I could only see his face on the jumbotron, but I knew he was in bad shape. And from afar, he looked to be dying.
It was a surreal scene from a cruel sport. The knockout got replayed countless times at the MGM Grand arena, and each time the Pinoys cheered lustily. The Brits, who traveled thousands of miles and spent thousands of dollars (or euros) to witness the fight, were just as stunned as Hatton. It was like pressing the mute button on your max-volume stereo. The transition from loud to silent was swift. I felt for the British fans. It was devastating. Draining. That’s the beauty of boxing. Every fighter has a chance to end the fight with a single punch. On that night, I sure was glad it was Manny who landed that punch. It was the Pinoy fans’ turn to scream their lungs out. My uncle Cesar, my companion for the Vegas trip and an avid boxing fan himself, quickly went up and down the aisle while waving the Philippine flag. Me? I was content cheering from my seat, well aware that we were surrounded by disappointed and maybe dissed Brits.
It was a long, slow walk back to our hotel. A lot of fans approached us (I was wearing a Pacquiao jacket) and offered their congratulations. Some drunk Brits were a bit edgy – bordering on being sourgrapes – but they stayed nice. Some “neutral” American fans also praised Pacquiao (“he’s f*cking fast”, “too good”), but told me what they really want next is another fight with Juan Manuel Marquez, because if there was someone who gave Pacquiao fits, it was Marquez.
I nodded in agreement before acknowledging their congratulations.
One of my fave fighters of all-time is Roy Jones, Jr. Former cruiserweight, light heavyweight, heavyweight, and pound-for-pound king. He had the speed, the power, the showmanship, the rap-star attitude. He was first brought to my attention in 1997 by a highschool classmate who’s still a close friend to this day, Raymond. He’s my boxing buddy. To put it simply, we talk about boxing a lot. Before each fight, we discuss it. After each one, we dissect it. Every fight. Not just Pacquiao, Donaire or any Pinoy’s fights. Every fight by boxers we know (and we know loads of them). We could spend a whole night and finish a lot of beer just talking about boxing (our barkada would attest to this, if we are seated next to each other, the topic almost always is boxing). We don’t ever get tired talking about boxing and basketball, aside from highschool stories that seem to be on loop because they get told over and over and over again.
Anyway, Raymond and I followed Roy Jones’ career, from his rise to his peak to his decline. We talked about how Pacquiao was also bound to decline, like any other fighter. We knew he’d lose some speed and quickness. We knew he’ll have a decrease in power and reflexes. We knew he’ll fade. It was inevitable. And because of that, we sincerely wished that Manny would retire before his decline comes. Sort of going out on top. Avoid the pitfalls of being number 1, and knowing when to leave. We didn’t want Pacquiao to follow the path of Jones, whose legacy has been tarnished by a series of knockout losses because he fought way past his prime. We wanted Pacquiao to tread in the footsteps of Rocky Marciano or Ricardo Lopez, boxers who retired undefeated. Or perhaps like Barry Sanders of the NFL, or Bjorn Borg of tennis. Athletes who retired at their prime, and said no to the lure of a comeback.
Manny’s decline would come. We just hoped he’d realize it sooner than later. Because the Filipino in us would hurt to see that day.
For the record, I had Juan Manuel winning Pacquiao-Marquez II (114-113 on my unofficial, relevant-only-to-me scorecard), and had the third fight a draw (I gave all the close rounds to Pacquiao). Could have gone either way, but both fights were awarded to Pacquiao. When I voiced this opinion, I got some flak from fellow observers, but I defended my point of view in a blog (Pacquiao-Marquez : The Morning After). We were all giving our opinion, anyway. If I could back up mine by providing information, then do so with yours.
Alas, Pacquiao vs. Marquez 4 happened. I didn’t like the fight, but as a fan I had no choice. We don’t make the fights. Top Rank does.
Before the fight, Raymond (boxing buddy) predicted a Marquez win. I didn’t agree, but also didn’t disagree. I was neutral. I was in no mood to analyze a fight I didn’t really want. Whatever happens, it will be fine with me. Anyway, Raymond said this time JMM would finally win.
We never thought Marquez would win this way.
The initial shock came in the 3rd round, as Pacquiao went down via a Marquez looping right. WOW! It hasn’t happened that long, I wasn’t used to it anymore. Pacquiao can get knocked down?? Suddenly the physics of boxing reintroduced itself : two boxers collide, one could go down. Even Manny Pacquiao. Good thing he quickly got back up.
After the knockdown, I realized Manny needed to win by knockout. He couldn’t simply win a decision and have the naysayers point out he was floored by Marquez. He needed a knockout, or knock Marquez down at least twice to have the upperhand in bragging rights. It’s just the way it is in this rivalry – win while shutting up the critics.
Manny evened things by scoring a knockdown in the 5th, and he looked good as the fight wore on. Marquez’s nose was bleeding badly, and it was a matter of time until Manny capitalized on it.
Until 2:59 of the 6th round. Until the punch. That punch. The punch that broke millions of hearts. Including mine.
I actually didn’t see the punch clearly, as I was already anticipating the bell to end the sixth round. But then just as the bell rang, Pacquiao crumpled to the floor, facedown. Here were my thoughts as each second passed since Manny went down...
1.... (Shocked, speechless. Flashback of Sergio Martinez knocking out Paul Williams.)
2.... (Oh my God! He’s not moving! Manny, move! Manny, get up!)
3.... (Oh my God! Oh my God! He’s not going to move. He’s out! He’s out!)
4.... “TULOG ! Tulog si Manny ! Tulog si Manny !” (Still in disbelief.)
5.... Bayless waves off the count and the fight. Marquez celebrates. Filipinos turn silent.
Shocked. Stunned. Crushed. Devastated. Dismayed. Dazed. Flabbergasted.
Searched for more adjectives at Merriam-Webster’s, because I ran out, here : Shaken. Traumatized. Astonished. Astounded. Staggered. Overwhelmed. Upset. Ravaged. Wrecked. Distressed. Ruined.
Shattered. The scene shattered many hearts. Shattered a lot of pride. Shattered a lot of dream fights. Now I knew how the Britons felt like after the Hatton fight. If I loved seeing Hatton's knockout over and over, this time I kept my eyes off the TV when they showed the replays of Marquez's perfect right straight that Manny just walked into. It was a complete reversal of the Hatton fight aftermath. And if some giddy Pinoys made a lot of Youtube videos mocking fun of Hatton, this time let's expect a lot of videos and what-have-you's poking fun at Pacquiao. What goes around comes around. It is what it is.
Perhaps Manny spoiled all of us, that's why we're this shocked. We knew he could lose every time he stepped on the ring, but we never anticipated something like this to happen. He was THAT good.
Perhaps Marquez was ripe for a breakthrough victory against his nemesis. He always felt he got robbed. This time, it was his turn to bask in glory. He deserved it, as he deserved the previous 3 fights if he only got the decisions. This time, it was clear-cut, no-contest, undisputed. Marquez can now lay claim to be the better boxer. You can call it a lucky punch (I don't), but we can't deny his technical boxing skills and determination to win. Training four months and chasing a fourth fight with Pacquiao even though he got the raw end of the judging the previous three, now that's dogged determination.
Pacquiao-Marquez 5? Bob Arum says, why not? Manny, understandably, says, why not? Juan Manuel says he would think about it. The Filipino in me says, "go for it", but the boxing observer in me says "no thanks". I want Manny to avenge this terrible loss, but Marquez has always been the antithesis to Pacquiao. After four battles, Manny still hasn't solved Juan Manuel. Marquez, it looks like, has solved the judges by rendering them useless. (If I were Marquez, I'd ditch it. Nothing more to gain, everything to lose in a fifth fight. Only money will be the factor.)
Funny, but people have written off Pacquiao-Mayweather happening, while I see it as Manny's last resort. If Pacquiao is to overcome this KO loss, it would be winning against Mayweather. The fight could happen next more than ever because of two things : 1.) Mayweather would now think Pacquiao is very beatable, and 2.) Pacquiao, due to his back-to-back losses, will no longer insist on a 50/50 split and would settle for less. For the record, I don't like the matchup but it's an itch that needs to be scratched. I've said it before and I'll say it again : I don't think Manny would win against Floyd, but of course I'd root for Pacquiao. (Now, don't start questioning my loyalty to my country. I'm just sharing my opinion as a boxing fan. No more, no less.)
This loss is definitely a blow to us Filipinos. People might say, "it's just boxing", but because of Manny Pacquiao, boxing is not just boxing anymore. It hurt. Definitely. But the good thing is, Manny will recover from this one. Whether he's the same fighter after this (brutal knockouts often change a boxer's psyche) remains to be seen. What I'm sure about is that Filipinos will still support him. I know I will.
It will be tough to overcome, but hey, Nonito Donaire has a fight this Sunday. And I think our recovery will be pretty quick with his win.
Manny, thank you. We're still proud of you. Whatever you do next, we hope for the best.
We've accepted it, we just wish that knockout never happened.
We took that punch with you.
Looking back to December 4, 2009. The date of our seventh anniversary as a couple. Our wedding day. Curiously enough, we titled the event "Seven". And who would have known, except for whoever shrewdly planned these things, that three years later, we will have our Seven. There's now the three of us. Seven, Anie, and me.
To mark another December 4th, our third as a married couple and tenth overall, let me share some photos from the big day. Sort of a simple celebration this time, as we've had a wonderful paradise getaway in 2010, and had a mushy anniversary video in 2011. This year, I just want go back in time through photos by the phenomenal Oly Ruiz and the Metrophoto team.
I love you, Anie and Seven.
We'll remember always. 12/04/09. =)
It's time to say goodbye to my Multiply account. Since 2008, I've blogged and posted photos at gwapoi.multiply.com. That's where so many things started. My literacy about online codes, layouts, and terms. My passion for photography, fueled by friends and contacts who were generous enough to make "bola" comments on my photos - I knew some were empty flattery, but it definitely encouraged me to continue and strive to improve (we all need our share of "bola" to go with critiques). Multiply gave me the avenue to voice my opinions and hear the opinions of others (I loved the arguments). It was also thru Multiply that I got to know a lot of new friends. And it was Multiply that introduced me to Bulacan Letratista (BULLET), the photography club I now belong to.
When I launched this website (www.jersandel.com) back in February, I stopped posting in my Multiply account but wanted to keep my Premium subscription and leave my "gwapoi" account as is. It's good to have something to look back on. I even dedicated a section here in my new site ("Old Blog", which I'll now be linking to the new site). My first ever post here, in fact, was a farewell to Multiply.
But then plans changed when Multiply announced that by December 1 they would be shutting down the social networking platform of their site, and would concentrate on its online shopping portal. Left with no other choice, I migrated my Multiply posts to Tumblr. The restriction of 100 latest posts set me back though, since I had over 250 posts . Well, Tumblr cut me some slack and I was able to transfer 120 posts. I tried getting around the limit (deleting new posts so the system would read my older posts as new ones), but to no avail. I've always backed up my photo albums posted on Multiply so there's no problem there for me, but it still sucks that my posts from 2008 to April 2010 weren't included in the move to Tumblr.
Anyway, it is what it is.
You can view my Multiply archive at jersandel.tumblr.com and just keep scrolling down the page to load all the posts. It's the best I could do to salvage the shutdown situation. I do like how the content appears in Tumblr. Almost seamless transfer, and it looks even better. The comments are all gone, but I can live with that.
Before I bade goodbye to Multiply, I went thru my every post and listed down the stats. The figures in the photo above is as accurate as it can get (thanks, MS Excel).
I'm sure a lot of people share this sadness. But it's time to move on.
Thank you, Multiply. Goodbye, Gwapoi.
It finally happened.
Two months ago, as our photography club Bulacan Letratista (BULLET) was again approaching its founding anniversary (which falls on November), some of us in the group were brainstorming what would be a good way to celebrate the anniversary. Last year we held the first-ever photo exhibit at the Bulacan Provincial Museum. This year, the consensus was to give back to the community - and some members were suggesting having an outreach program by going to an orphanage or shelter and distributing goods. It was definitely a noble idea, but I thought we could do something just a little bit better and something that was related to our club. How about a basic digital photography workshop, absolutely free for anyone interested? We'll take care of everything needed for the workshop and invite everyone who wants to learn photography.
It was easier said than done, but soon the wheels were in motion and we found ourselves announcing "Back To Basics", BULLET's way of commemorating our 4th anniversary. I know there have been previous plans by the group to hold a workshop, but for one reason (or excuse?) or another, it never materialized. Until now.
Took a lot of collective work, but it paid off. Shortly after the announcement, we strongly felt the clamor for the workshop. Just a few days after opening the pre-registration, we reached our participant limit of 60, and had to add 30 more slots to accommodate those in the waiting list. We're all happy that the workshop became a success.
A HUGE success.
Workshop behind-the-scene photos from Noel Crisostomo and Mhoie Mendoza (click on thumbnails to view large) :
We did it! We could have had a big celebration amongst ourselves. Sure, we could have looked back and reminisce all we want (such a waste). We could have celebrated our past. Yet we wanted to give something to the present and the future. We strived to give back. In the end, we are honored to have celebrated BULLET's 4th anniversary through a worthwhile cause.
Some THANK YOUs are in order :
- To the Provincial Youth, Sports, Employment, Arts, Culture and Tourism Office (PYSEACTO), for the generosity and continued support, for making it possible to secure the workshop venue.
- To our other sponsors and fellow BULLET members who gave monetary assistance
- To Kath Cruz and Kat Centeno, for coordinating the workshop-organization efforts (I know it's a huge task to get/remind people to do their assignments)
- To Eugene Figueroa, for coordinating last-minute arrangements
- To Sherwin San Diego and his Soundscape Pro Audio services, for the sound system during the workshop
- To Christopher Adriano, for the workshop-essential LCD projector, and the other things you helped out on
- To Echel Darcen, MJ Cruz, and Roy Borje, for soliciting from sponsors
- To Ejay Caluag and Erika Santos, for the workshop certificates
- To Borky Perida, for the professional workshop poster design
- To Arts by Ayerie, for the cool bag tags and other freebies
- To everyone else who contributed to the success of the workshop (you know who you are), doesn't matter if it was a big or small part, just the same you're part of the group effort - from attending or participating in meetings, to doing errands during the workshop, or just being there to show your support, they are all APPRECIATED.
- To the workshop participants, without you this whole thing wouldn't be a success
- Personally, I'd like to thank my wife. Preparing the workshop lecture material took a big chunk of my free time. I only had evenings to do it, and she understood - leaving me alone while she took care of our five-month-old baby while I prepared the workshop lessons. Trust me, that's a welcome relief.
From all of us in Bulacan Letratista... THANK YOU!
As for the participants, I really hope you picked up something from the workshop. Let me apologize for the fast pace of the lessons, cramming the essentials into 7 hours ultimately led to a faster-than-usual progression. Rest assured, I did my best to make you understand the most important stuff.
My advice from hereon is very simple : KEEP ON SHOOTING. DON'T STOP LEARNING.
Until then. =)
Due to insistent demand, I made a PDF version of the Back To Basics Workshop lecture material. Condensed to 34 pages (the PowerPoint presentation was 120-slides-long). I am posting this here available for everyone to download, but the document is password-protected. I will only be giving the password to those who attended the workshop. It's a bit unfair if they took the time and effort to be there while others who didn't would also be getting these notes. Also, the notes are the bare essentials of what I discussed, so if you weren't actually there and you happen to read the PDF file, there might be some things that you won't fully "get".
But if you know how to hack PDF files, then by all means, go for it. =)
Rush of Blood to the Head
We all have something to say. If I get the rush and find a keyboard, I blog mine. Anything and everything under the sun. And stars.