Monday, March 29, 2010

NatGeo Island Sweep

Most people go to Boracay for rest, relaxation and of course to party the night away. So it was refreshing to see the number of volunteers who showed up when we organized a beach cleanup event to raise awareness on the need to sweep our most popular beach.

Many groups have organized beach cleanups before and this one is no different. I guess the main difference is that we were able to get many groups together to really have a show of force and make a statement. There had never been a cleanup in Boracay this scale before. Different groups were able to do it but no more than 100 people at a time.

So you can imagine the inspiration generated when over 400 people showed up to volunteer to clean the Island. From tourists, the locals, foreigners and Filipinos, everyone had so much enthusiasm and energy on a Sunday after all the parties were done.

So three straight days of events for the FOX International Channels. Thank you to all who attended and made it happen.

FOX Votes Earth

Last Saturday, March 27 at 8:30pm to 9:30pm, billions across the globe participated in a high profile statement about Climate Change. "Vote Earth" was the campaign and with an idea that started 3 years ago, Earth Hour was again implemented where everyone was encouraged to shut down the use of energy and electricity for one hour.

It just so happened that we were having an event in Summerplace in Boracay Island so we decided to be part of it and shut down the lights. We had a great event the night before and were getting ready for another on the 27th. I guess this post is really just as a "feel good" statement since it really will take a lot more that a 1 hour shutdown to save our planet but every little bit counts.

Before the party started, we turned off all the lights at 8:30 (actually most other establishments weren't able to), had a prayer for mother earth, then started lighting bio-degradable lanters that was released into the Boracay sky one by one. I think many noticed the lights out and really walked on over to participate as well. Tribu Manila started their cool set after the lights were back on at 9:30pm.

So we can at least say that Boracay was part of Earth Hour.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

TV5 Para Sayo Kapatid

Although we do have quite a number of Free to Air channels right now in the Philippines, there is practically a duopoly as far as viewership is concerned. ABS-CBN and GMA corner about 3/4 of eyeballs when it comes to watching television, and they pretty much get the same share of TV Advertising Sales.

Last night was a re-launch of TV5 after Mediaquest, the media subsidiary of PLDT bought the station late last year. A Malaysian group had actually re-launched the channel less than 2 years prior renaming it from it's original identity "ABC5". After mild success in ratings wasn't converted into revenue, the Malaysians pulled out and a new dynamic group from the telecoms giant has stepped in. There has been buzz about the aggressiveness of the new TV5 so I wanted to get a glimpse of what they had to offer. A new logo, a cool station ID, a commitment to upgrading facilities, and solid shows for the masses was what they unveiled.
The new direction looks promising. Although they do have their work cut out for them, it is very refreshing to have a third player who seems to have a legitimate shot at becomming a challenger in the network wars. There were times when I did feel like I was watching a noontime variety show but I guess they really had to make the point that formidable personalities are on board ready to challenge for the top. Dolphy, Maricel Soriano, Ruffa Gutierrez, JC De Vera, Vic Soto, and Joey De Leon were just some of the heavyweights who performed last night. Paolo Bediones and Ryan Agoncillo hosted the affair which seemed to last over 3 hours.

The most impressive part for me was the fact that it seems there is finally a commitment for a major upgrade in infrastructure. This I think has been overlooked by all who want to be a major player. All the other channels try to do it by content only and not take care of the reach and distribution of the signal. With the resources of Smart/PLDT, it is actually believable that it might happen in this case.

I was a little dissapointed that the initial plans don't include sports but I guess you can't do it all at once. So good luck Sayo Kapatid, I hope your entry into the big leagues benefits the Filipino TV viewer in general.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

"The Event" Uneventful

I'm not sure what's more embarrassing, running/defending just so you won't get hit or fighting your ass off but getting knocked out swinging. Today's fight between Pacquiao and Clottey didn't really get me as excited as the Pacman's previous fights but I was still curious as to how it was gonna go down as Joshua had never been knocked out. As far as PPV is concerned, Clottey never really had a big following (like Delhoya with Americans, Hatton with Brits, and Cotto with Puerto Ricans) even with his home country.
Clottey, scared that Pacman's quickness will overwhelm him, chose to cover up all 12 rounds to minimize any damage. Of course, if your arms are defending your face, they cannot be out punching so he had no chance to score any significant points. The Pacman won easily.

To be honest, I was really frustrated after the 3rd round and the fight bored me to death. At first, I really thought the African was just feeling out how strong Manny's punches were in the beginning, then attack after he was able to determine that he can take it. But then, he did the exact same thing in the next 9 rounds! Even with his coach telling him "you're losing every round" "you gotta let your hands go".

In the post fight interview, he said he was never hurt and that he could take Manny's punches. If that's the case, then he just cheated all of us fans out of a good fight. "The Event" as it was hyped certainly did not live up to its billing. We say these guys are warriors and train and risk their lives in the ring. There was only one warrior in the ring today and it wasn't Joshua Clottey. Their "risk' is rewarded with millions of dollars. Can't you at least take a chance instead of playing it safe and taking home your million dollar paycheck?

There's an old saying that goes "No Guts, No Glory". Now we know why Joshua Clottey has never tasted true glory. The irony of it all is that he came into the fight nicknamed "The Hitter".

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Inspiring People to Care About the Planet

When I was studying my undergrad at Northwestern, I subscribed to two magazines. One was Sports Illustrated, the other, National Geographic (NatGeo). Working for Solar was such a perfect fit since I loved sports so much. Now working for FOX in the PH, the passion is just as strong because of the National Geographic Channel (NGC). All of us try to find fulfilment somehow in everything we do. To make a difference. To inspire people. To do good.
On Sunday, April 18 starting at 5am, NatGeo will be putting together a running event at the Mall of Asia to raise awareness for Earth Day, more specifically Climate Change. I think people's consciousness have been awakened somehow with typhoon Ketsana (Ondoy) affecting the lives of millions, including those you had to give their time, money and resources to help others. The "Earth Day Run" will support the project "Design Against the Elements" DAtE, a project headed by Illac Diaz to bring innovative solutions to vulnerable communities in developing countries. It was launched last Friday in Malacanang as a long term plan to be more prepared against Climate Change. It was my third time in Malacanang, the first two being because of sports, but this one will hopefully have a lasting impact for our country's future.

Why DAtE? Because it takes so much money and effort to react to floods and typhoons while it will continue to happen beyond our control. Let's focus our money and efforts in preparing everyone so that we won't have to keep on spending all that money and effort every time an "Ondoy" happens. Let's enable communities to fight without having to be displaced and continuously get aid.

I do hope and pray many many thousands join the April 18 run at the Mall of Asia. The registration fee will go towards creating awareness for Climate Change and supporting the DAtE project. Registration starts March 8.

To know more about DAtE, log on to

For more details and to sign up for the run visit the Nike outlet in High Street, and the Timex outlets in MOA and SM North EDSA or visit The registration fee/donation includes a very nice technical shirt from NatGeo in the race kit.

So let's go beyond being aware, let's make a difference and be accountable. Let's help build sustainable communities to fight against Climate Change. Let's run for Earth Day Awareness and continue on the road to a better future for everyone. Let's show the world how much we care. Join the thousands who will wake up early run (or walk) and be heard. A little sacrifice will Inspire People to Care About the Planet.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

King James (Yap) Rules

I gotta admit, when I first had a conversation with Coach Ryan Gregorio about Purefoods drafting James Yap many years ago, I was a bit skeptical. Yes, James won the UAAP MVP and was the best shooter out of college, but I had my doubts about his leadership and ability to win championships. Even when he was voted best player in the UAAP, he never won the title. So when Coach Ryan told me that James is the best player in the draft, I thought he was in one of his hyperbolic raves again. I worked with him in the UAAP panel and a little in the PBA and he did have a tendency to get over excited about basketball, which I think is great.

I also remember a good friend Luigi Trillo who was coaching the Adamson Falcons at the time telling me about this kid he was hoping to recruit for the Falcons to get him over the hump. James went on to have a fruitful UAAP career but not with Adamson. His best shot at winning was in 2002, teamed up with Paul Artadi and a bunch of other solid players but eventually lost to Ateneo off a last second shot by Gec Chia.

James has proven Coach Ryan right on a number of occassions already in the course of his Purefoods career. James is hands down the most popular player in the PBA now especially since marrying Kris Aquino, one of the most popular personalities in the country with all the controversies that come with it. With winning the Finals MVP, he is no doubt the King of the PBA right now.

Last night, after getting to watch the Game 4 sweep live (for the first time in a long time), I got reminded again why Coach Ryan was right and what makes James a great player: Mainly his demeanor. A smooth operator, he doesn't get too excited or too down. He is like a well oiled machine built to play on the court and get the job done. He is the best offensive player in the PBA right now and it seems his defense is catching up as well. You can tell that although he doesn't talk much, his teammates rely on him to lead them and James embraces the responsibility. James is a player who has the fans holding their breath in anticipation whenever he has the ball. Very few have that ability.

San Miguel and Alaska were hands down the favorites to win the title. Purefoods just got on an incredible roll and couldn't be stopped with James Yap at the driver's seat. My doubts are all gone. He has the leadership and he knows how to win championships. I'm happy to be proven wrong.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Nonito Sr. vs Nonito Jr.

The YouTube video above is the very dramatic response of Nonito Donaire, Jr. to his father's accusations regarding their estranged relationship.

Nonito "The Filipino Flash" Donaire, Jr. is the next best thing in Philippine boxing after Manny Pacquiao. He has really been very unlucky after winning the title against Vic Darchinyan. He's had fights cancelled, postponed, fighters switched last minute, and even changed trainers in his title defenses. All throughout, the "Filipino Flash" has been very professional and just gone about his business and defended the Filipino's honor.

It has been an honor to know Nonito (Jun) and spend some time with him the past couple of years. I first met him with his dad, Nonito Sr. along with his then manager Gary Shaw during their first visit to Manila after winning the title. Jr. and Sr. seemed very tight at the time.

Last year, I was sad to find out that the relationship between Jun and his dad has deteriorated mainly because of Rachel Marcial Donaire, Jun's wife. I also know Rachel, and she is a tough, strong minded person. It is obvious that Nonito and her love each other very much. I can see how some can misunderstand her but I certainly think all she wants is the best for her husband. I've met Rachel's family as well and the champion couple has even been to my place during a Christmas Party a couple of years ago. We've been to a couple of parties together and we spent some time in Boracay last year as we all had a great time.

Last week, Nonito Sr. spoke out in public about his relationship with his son. He seems to have a deep seeded animosity toward Rachel and her family. Accusations about greed, control, and alienating the Donaire family from the current life of Jun. I really am not close enough to really know the real story or even details but I do know that it's tough not being in good terms with your dad. Here's the link to Nonito Sr.'s statements:

I don't know if this will ever get resolved but I do know that this must be eating up both Nonito's alive. Imagine not being able to share your success with your father who was with you from the beginning. I can't imagine having to sit on the sidelines while you watch your son rise to the top and become a glorious champion.

Maybe someday, we can witness a happy ending to this saga and even make a nice feel good movie about it eventually. Nonito Jr. is too good a person not to deserve both a championship belt and a good relationship with his dad.