Wednesday, June 22, 2016

The Return of the King: Cleveland wins first NBA Title

Cleveland's first NBA Title

When Lebron James decided to return to Cleveland he brought with him the blueprint to win a title from his four years on the job training in Miami.  Lebron said that winning a title for the city will be a long process that will test his patience but is excited to face the challenge to rear a young squad that did not even make it to the playoffs in the four years he was in exile into becoming a championship team.  The only bright spot when he arrived was the 2011 draft first over-all pick Kyrie Irving who was slowly making a name for himself.  After his first year, Lebron led the Cavaliers to the NBA finals and lost to the Golden State Warriors in six games.

Lebron on the fastbreak (game 6 photo)

This year the Cavaliers steamrolled through the Eastern Conference and was ready to make amends but unfortunately started the NBA Finals down 0 – 2 as the Warriors manhandled the Cavaliers. After two more games at the Q the Cavs were now down 1 – 3 and heading to the Oracle Arena where the Dubs were almost invincible all year round. But the resilient Cavs were unfazed and focused on some adjustments in game 5 that gave them a statement win with both Lebron and Kyrie scoring 41 points apiece. In game 6 Lebron scored 41 points once again and added 11 assists to lead the Cavs to another blowout win and more importantly forced a game 7 with the defending champs.

Kyrie scored the winning three

Game 7 set the stage for the greatest comeback in NBA Finals history as Lebron scored 27 points, grabbed 11 rebounds and dished out 11 assists, the third triple double in a Game 7 and his 7th in the NBA Finals as Lebron willed his team to victory.  Actually Lebron has two more games (Games 1 & 4) wherein he was one assist shy of a triple double. For me, the play of the NBA finals is Lebron’s spectacular chasedown block on Andre Iguodala. That play showed that Lebron did not want to lose again to the Warriors as he prevented Igoudala from scoring the go ahead basket that would have brought the house down.

One of Lebron's many dunks (game 6 photo)

For the record, the Cleveland Cavaliers are the first team in NBA Finals history to come back from a 1 - 3 deficit and win the title. Also, they are the first team to comeback from a 0 - 2 deficit with the league MVP playing on the other team which incidentally is also the third team to win the title after falling behind 0 – 2 in the series, the 1969 Boston Celtics and 1977 Portland Trail Blazers where the last teams to do that. The Cavaliers are also the fourth team to win a best of seven finals on the road - the Celtics (1969 & 1974)  and Bullets (1978) were the only two teams to do that.

Hail to the King

Lebron James on the other hand is the hands down Finals MVP. He is the first player in NBA history to top all five major statistics for both teams in the finals. His averages were 29.7 ppg, 11.29 rebounds per game, 8.86 assists per game, 2.57 steals per game, 2.29 blocks per game and he also led both teams in minutes played at 42 minutes per game. Lebron is also the second player alongside Kareem Abdul – Jabbar to win the finals MVP with two different teams. Congratulations to the Cleveland Cavaliers and Hail to the King he is definitely home.

thanks to for the photos

Saturday, June 18, 2016

If the shoe fits

Their showroom in Marikina

If there is one problem I have encountered the past 20 years is buying quality leather shoes that I can use to go to work.  The problem here is because my feet are horizontally challenged and most of the time finding shoes that will fit my feet would take forever. One time it took me 3 months going from mall to mall to look for shoes that will fit me until I found the one.

My shoe fits perfectly

Three years ago I have stumbled across one of the best shoemakers in Marikina – the Gibson’s shoe factory. Luckily, one of my officemates had a sister working part time in the factory and referring clients to them which was just a stone’s throw away from their house. I visited their office in Concepcion Marikina and was lucky enough to have my feet measured and after a week got my new shoes for P1,500.00 only.

other styles you can choose from

This is probably the best customized leather shoes I ever got and who could imagine that it comes at an affordable price. If I would have seen something similar to it in the mall, it would have cost me P 3,000.00 pesos at least which was the last leather shoes I bought in Cubao. I was so happy that my feet can now breathe while walking and I will not have problems specially when it’s swollen and I have to slowly put my shoes in.

Going to school will always be easy with these

After three years I am back to replace my shoes. I was taken aback that Gibson’s has now a showroom for their shoes. I think it’s about time considering their history and what’s nice is that they still accommodated me when I asked to have custom made shoes at the same price.  What’s nice is that they have added their line of shoes. Gibson’s usually caters to the students buying school shoes for school. At the same time, combat boots are also their forte but this time around you can see a variety of shoes that can fit whatever style you like.

Give Love with Gibsons!

As usual I bought another pair of shoes for my nephew and also referred this showroom to my friend who is getting married. Hopefully he can customize his shoes for his wedding. Just go to their website and check out their shoes then go directly to their showroom. You can look for their very accommodating sales people namely Edith and Mitch. 

133 Katipunan St. Concepcion Uno,
Marikina City 1807
Telephone #s: (632) 477 – 8879 or 654 - 7932

Friday, June 17, 2016

A hundred and one adventures at the 100 Islands

While living in exile in Dagupan city in 1988, our neighbor who ran a salt business invited me to join them on their outing to the Hundred Islands. The next day, their boat picked us up at Pantal River and we road off all 40 of us to one of the best natural wonders in our country. Upon arriving we immediately went down on the only island allowed to have some people which was the Quezon Island. It was fun eating and swimming on that Island and as the day ended we commuted back to Dagupan city.

In 1993 I went back with my High school friends and lo and behold we were also led to the Quezon Island to have some R&R. Nothing much has changed but back then it was more of enjoying nature and the pristine beach in that island. I am not a tourism consultant but being there you dream of Island hopping and dropping by other Islands.

Twenty years after my dream was realized when I came back to these Islands. First thing that caught my eye was how organized they were in accepting tourists since there was a center being built where you can rent a boat. Everything was centralized, impressive. Next, I discovered that not only can you drop by Quezon Island, but the boatman has an itinerary to tour you around until 5pm or go on specific islands of your choice. Lastly, not only can you swim and eat but there are other activities you can enjoy as well like riding the zip line, snorkeling and many more. We rented a boat for P 1,400 which can fit 5 people. The bigger one is P 1,800 for 6 to 10 people. I think its better now because you don’t have to haggle with boatmen on boat prices like before.

I am happy that the Department of Tourism has finally thought of a way to “sell” the Hundred Island to tourists by way of having a great experience in these islands. Much of the things that you can experience here is now similar to the beach activities in Boracay.

Our tour was quite simple, we alighted at the Governor’s Island which is a must for photographers since it gives you most probably the best view of the Islands from atop. Going up 150 steep flight of stairs for me is enough to see the majestic view from above.

Since there were many people in the other islands we managed to just take a peak at the other islands namely the Marcos Island, Romulo Island, a Children Island. One of the more intriguing islands is the Devil’s Island which had so many trees and I believe more than a thousand bats resting on those trees.

My buddies and I settled for a dip at the Old Scout Island. It’s quite small but had less than a hundred people on it. One thing nice though was that the place is ideal for snorkeling. Unfortunately, there were lots of boats passing by that was why viewing the corals was quite dangerous. Like an old scout, we went on to get our food, placed some used newspapers on the sands and had our lunch old style under the rocks.

We eventually went back after seeing the dark clouds going towards our direction. It was unfortunate for us to get wet because of the strong rains that we braved but luckily we survived it and went back ashore trying to dry up. Good thing there was a shower room for rent at the park where washed off the sticky feeling coming from a rain.

For now the 100 Islands impressed me considering the fact that a national treasure has been reborn. I hope a few years from now I would be able to blog again on new experiences on this fantastic Philippine wonder.

Thanks to Ian Siongco and RJ Marasigan for their wonderful pictures

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Pangasinan 2016: Reminiscing my past

Pangasinan is a place close to my heart because for one this is the place where my mom was born and grew up but more importantly this where I found refuge when I was a lost teenager. Although I stayed in Dagupan City which was at the heart of Pangasinan, this trip served as a refresher to me since it brought me back to the western part of the province which I barely remembered since I was quite young then when I first visited this part of the Pangasinan. This visit made me quite amused since a lot has changed and it’s something worth telling to some friends. This visit brought me from West to East with some stops in Bolinao, Alaminos and Manaoag.

In this trip I was with my travel buddies, Rothz de Lima, RJ Marasigan, Ian and Krisvi Siongco. We left Quezon City at 7:30 am, had some stops to buy water and snacks and only stopped when we needed to use the toile as I drove straight to the town of Bolinao. Bolinao has become a popular place for tourists in Pangasinan since it has so many tourist spots and a lot of resorts were developed the past to fifteen years. 

You can actually ride a Victory liner bus or Dagupan bus that can take you to Bolinao or Alaminos straight since I saw the Bus stations of those two Bus lines. It might be a 6 – 8 hour trip depending on the stops and traffic. Since I brought my car along it took us almost six hours to get there. We passed by NLEX and SCTEX and took the Hacienda Luisita Exit. I was trying to look for familiar landmarks but used my Waze app instead to make sure I was led to the right path. After a few minutes I finally found the town that I was looking for which was the Camiling town access road. This access road will lead you to the Pangasinan towns Mangatarem and Sual which will then end leads you towards Alaminos and Bolinao. 

Unfortunately when we visited there was a power interruption that made us cut our visit short because the caves we wanted to visit were not accessible because they needed light inside the caves. So we then visited one of the main attractions that is a haven for photographers – the Cape Bolinao Lighthouse tower. We then went back to our resort and rested after a long morning ride.

Our next day saw us visit one of the country’s top natural wonders – the Hundred Islands. These group of Islands used to be a place that mostly people from Northern Luzon would visit, now it is pretty much more accessible to Southerners and foreigners too. The Hundred Islands in Alaminos, Pangasinan has developed into a Tourism spot where everyone can have a good time. This is my third time to go to the Hundred Islands and I am happy that there has been so many developments in the place that it has now become a popular tourist destination.

First, there are more Islands to go to. The two times I went to these Islands in 1988 and in 1994, you can only access the Quezon Islands and mostly people who can afford it can go for some Island hopping and just go around. Now there are more Islands to discover as they added the Governor’s Island where you can hang around and more importantly have a great view of the place on its view deck which will have you go up to 150 flight of stairs.

Since there were a lot of people in other Islands we decided to stay at the Old Scout Island where there are less than 50 people and was near a great snorkeling area. We eventually brought our baon to the shore and had our sumptuous lunch along the sands. After lunch we saw that the clouds were fast forming into a storm so we headed back to the wharf amidst the heavy rains that went our way. Luckily there were shower rooms for rent at the Park where we came from.

On our third day, we headed east before going back to Manila to visit another popular place in Pangasinan which is frequently visited by faithful Catholics - the town of Manaoag. Everyday, this place is visited by thousands of devout Catholics because this is where the Basilica of our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary of Manaoag is located. Locals would tell you that Manaoag derived its name from the word “Mantaog” which means “to call” in their Pangasinense dialect. The Shrine of Our Lady of Manaoag houses the 17th century ivory image of the Virgin Mary which was brought to our country from Spain in the same century. It was told that there was an apparition of the Virgin Mary holding a rosary in this area way back in 17th century and that was where the church was built. The small church has evolved into a bigger one and I cannot recall anymore the images of the church when I last visited the place as a kid. Thousands of devotees flock the place and pray for Miracles that would alter a person’s life most specially one’s health and fate.

My reimmersion of Pangasinan was a great one and the only problem I had was that time was not on our side since we only had three days to tour almost 800 kilometers of driving and getting around. Hopefully next time I can visit my hometown Dagupan and other beautiful towns and beaches in the province to further reacquaint me of my teenage years and who knows some past acquaintances might come up. 

many thanks to Ian Siongco and RJ Marasigan for the beautiful pictures

Friday, June 3, 2016

STI holds Coaching clinic

Budding STI Coaches together with Phoenix Fuel Master players 

In an effort to help STI Campuses create and strengthen their Sports Programs, the STI Head Office through the Events Management Group and Education Training and Development Group spearheaded the STI Basketball Coaching Clinic last May 30, 31, and June 1, 2016. Since sports plays a vital role in having a holistic approach in Education, the 27 training participants learned the ropes in laying down the foundation of their sports program by starting with the most popular sports in the country – Basketball.

Day 1 with Coach Eric Gonzales and Coach Julio Veloso at the STI Coaching Clinic

The Training was also a venue to upgrade the Basketball knowledge of appointed basketball coaches of our STI Luzon schools who were hired either as PE Instructor, IT Instructor, Lab Facilitator, Career Adviser and other positions that are not related to what they primarily do at STI.  The three-day Training included topics on Basic Coaching, Conditioning, Skills Development and creating a day to day practice plan for one season.  To give the trainees ample knowledge in Coaching, STI ESG got Globalport Assistant Coach Eric Gonzales to start off the training.  Coach Eric brings with him a wealth of coaching knowledge as an assistant Coach in the PBA, a Champion Coach in the PBA Developmental league and an assistant Coach of the recently crowned UAAP Season 78 Champion FEU Tamaraws. Touching on the topic of Strength and Conditioning was former Coca-Cola Tigers strength and conditioning Coach Julio Veloso. His topic dwelled on how the coaches can maximize the strength of their players and most importantly give them conditioning drills to make them ready for battle and avoid injuries.

Day 2 with my buddies Olsen Racela and Richie Ticzon

The second day focused on skills development and preparing a practice plan. Coach Eric Gonzales gave a detailed description on how he runs practices and demonstrated it on the court. After that, he also demonstrated basic defensive formations to give the trainees enough knowledge on the defensive formations needed for their games. Helping out Coach Eric were the STI College Ortigas – Cainta basketball players who also learned a thing or two on the various defensive drills ran by Coach Eric. In the afternoon two former PBA standouts conducted Offensive skills drills. Mr. Velvet Touch Richie Ticzon who is now an Assistant Coach for the Phoenix Petroleum Fuel Masters in the PBA Developmental League taught the STI College Ortigas-Cainta dribblers the basics in shooting the ball which was his specialty when he was playing. At the same time, he drew some drills that eventually came out as an offensive play. Two time PBA Mythical 5 selectee and National Team lead point guard Olsen Racela also dropped to teach some offensive sets. Before the drills, Racela talked to the coaches and players and gave an inspirational story which was about his story and life in basketball which was brought about by discipline and hard work. At the same time he shared that one of the most important things that a coach should have should be patience. After that Racela proceeded by demonstrating different kinds of ball screen offensive patterns that the trainees can use for their offensive patters.

Coach Eric sharing his thoughts on coaching

If the first two days were mostly theories and teachings, the third day saw the trainees visit two different practice sessions of two basketball teams to see how to execute properly what they have learned. First stop was the practice of the Phoenix Petroleum Fuel Masters practice – the recently crowned PBA Developmental League champions.  Coach Eric ran the dribble drive offense to perfection and then showed how to run the correct man-zone defense. All that were discussed the past two days were witnessed by the trainees in this practice session. In the afternoon, it was the practice of PBA Team Global Port Batang Pier that the trainees witnessed.  Since it’s a month and a half from the PBA opening the players led by top pick of the 2014 PBA rookie draft Stanley Pringle and the rest of the Global port team did some conditioning and shooting drills. 

Coach Richie sharing shooting techniques

The three day training covered almost all the basic ingredients in creating a sports program particularly in creating a basketball team from a neophyte squad to a powerhouse team. Also, the simulations that the Coaches saw in the two practices they attended definitely helped them visualize what is needed to mount a winning team. As the training ended, all trainees were all excited to get back to their respective schools and start their programs and hopefully we will see results in the coming months.

Helping out the Coaches were the STI College Ortigas-Cainta basketball team