Tuesday, 22 July 2008

Coach Gabby and Kuya Joey

The present crop of Pinoy hoop fans don’t know him
I don’t even expect my generation to know him either.

My crop haven’t seen this peppery guard run rings around his taller opponents.

No one among my peers actually saw him pace the sidelines in major games.
But tales from the more older ones say he was a legend.

He played basketball in the Olympics.
He steered powerhouse teams in the NCAA and the defunct MICAA.
He mentored future basketball greats like Crispa coach Baby Dalupan and the Great Difference himself, King Caloy Loyzaga.
He was one of the lords of Rizal Memorial Coliseum at the time when games are won on the parquet floor and not in the boardroom.

To wide-eyed, bumbling kids of the 80s who spent their summer afternoons at Nic Jorge’s BEST Center training camp at the Ateneo courts over at Loyola Heights, he was the old man who would patiently teach each and every participant the proper way to execute a lay-up, the cross-over dribble and the two-handed set shot.

Coach Gabby Fajardo was part of Coach Nic Jorge’s pool of coaches at the BEST Center. He was one of the “golden boys” at camp. His brother, the late Fely Fajardo – who is also a hoop legend himself – and Coach Skip Agcaoili were the other old hands who helped run the month-long basketball clinic.

It was easy to spot Coach Gabby at the sprawling Ateneo. Kids crowd around him. He exudes an aura of a doting lolo.

He’d patiently teach 5, 6 or 7-year-olds how to dribble the ball, or run passing drills for tiny tots that at first glance looked like a parlor game played in a Jollibee birthday party. From time-to-time, Coach Gabby would even kneel down to tie a kid’s shoelace.

The final buzzer sounded on Coach Gabby last Saturday. He was 91.


I never expected that my 50th post would deal with death.

Since I started it with Coach Gabby's death, it would be unfair if I'd not punch in a line or two for my Kuya Joey who has rejoined his Tatay and Mommy last Thursday.

I'm still scrounging for words to describe how I feel about his passing. We've lost touch, but fond childhood memories of us talking about cars or watching the PBA together, especially when our idol Ramon Fernandez was playing and the time when we shared a classroom at Letran still linger in my consciousness.

May his soul rest in peace.

(Kuya Joey's picture snatched from my cousin Don Navarro's Multiply site)

Thursday, 17 July 2008

Costly but still cheap shawarma nights

This is the original version of the story I filed at XPRESS.

By Ares P. Gutierrez

Dubai: Shawarma nights in Dubai may not cost you an arm and a leg, but residents and visitors are now forking over a few more dirhams to indulge their gustatory craving for an authentic yet inexpensive Arabian meal.

Restaurants and cafeterias from bustling Bur Dubai to the bedraggled streets of Satwa have jacked up the price of shawarmas to compensate for the relative spike in prices of commodities.

A random sampling of eateries in the neighbouring districts show that the average price of a chicken or beef shawarma has increased by one dirham – from Dh3 to Dh4 – with some establishments twice adjusting their prices in the first six months of the year.

At Picnic Home off a busy corner near the Bank Street Roundabout in Bur Dubai, a hot piece of shawarma can be had for Dh4.50. Paired with a can of soda, diners are set back by Dh6.

Janet, a food server at the joint, said they used to sell shawarmas for Dh3 apiece, but had to jack up the price to Dh4 at the start of year, and topped it up with 50 fils by mid-year.

Shyrel Iligan, who waits tables at Sabah Lebnan restaurant along Al Musallah Road, said they now sell shawarmas for Dh4 or 50 fils more than their year-ago prices.

“It’s not just the price of shawarmas. We had to reduce the size of our manakesh and fruit beverages to cope with rising costs,” she said as she lists down the prices of chicken and cooking gas as the ones that weighed heavily on the restaurant’s operating costs.

Abdul Aziz, who mans the cash counter at Hot Burger Restaurant along Bank Street in Bur Dubai and Narshad of Al Khayel Cafeteria in Satwa agrees with Shyrel.

“We used to get a kilo of chicken for just Dh8. Since last week, a kilo costs Dh18,” said Abdul Aziz.

Customers milling around the front of Al Khayel Cafeteria, opposite the Satwa Bus Station, gaze at an A4-size sign announcing the new shawarma prices at Dh3.50.

“Chicken and beef (prices continue to go) higher and higher,” Narshad said.
But in spite of the price hike, shawarma joints still enjoy brisk sales.

“At the end of each day, nothing is left. All sold out,” said Shyrel as she points at the stack of chicken slowly roasting on the revolving metal oven. A log of beef or chicken could make over 300 servings of shawarma, she said.

Henry Casas, a signal man at a Japanese construction company, said he doesn’t mind if his favourite Arabian delight now costs more.

“I’m already too tired to prepare dinner so for me, a shawarma is the cheapest and fastest meal in town,” he said.

Ariel Gesta, a steward at Fairmont Hotel, said eating shawarmas is a way of life in Dubai.

“You’re not in the Middle East if you don’t eat and enjoy shawarmas.”

Tuesday, 8 July 2008

Harvard University Test

forwarded by my good friend, Eliezer Semine

This was developed as an age test by the R&D Department at Harvard University.
Take your time and see if you can read each line out loud without a mistake.
The average person can't do it! This is really difficult, not so easy, so be careful.

1. This is this cat
2. This is is cat
3. This is how cat
4. This is to cat
5. This is keep cat
6. This is a cat
7. This is fool cat
8. This is busy cat
9. This is for cat
10. This is forty cat
11. This is seconds cat

Now go back and read the third word in each line from the top down, and I bet you can't resist passing it on.

Monday, 7 July 2008

Mabuhay ang Katipunan!

From time to time, the Bulletin comes out with relevant historical pieces such as this editorial about the Katipunan. Read on and learn. I'm just wondering why this important event in our nation's history seems to have been conveniently forgotten.

116th anniversary of the founding of the KKK
Manila Bulletin editorial, 07 July 2008

THE Philippine Revolution was the handiwork of several Filipino patriots. And the KKK (Kataastaasan, Kagalanggalangan na Katipunan ng mga Anak ng Bayan) was the instrument they forged to liberate the country from foreign dominance.

Marcelo H. del Pilar and Dr. Jose P. Rizal conceived the idea of establishing two parallel organizations in Manila – one to be composed of the educated and well-to-do persons who would operate openly and legally, the other to be composed of the masses, was to be organized secretly and with radical aims in the event that the overt organization would fall. Both had the same goal – to emancipate the country from foreign rule.

Del Pilar tried to establish the Katipunan as early as 1888 but succeeded only in 1892 through the help of brother-in-law Deodato Arellano and other colleagues.

Dr. Rizal established the La Liga Filipina in July, 1892, but this organization was aborted when he was arrested and exiled to Dapitan.

Del Pilar prepared to return to the Philippines to lead the revolution himself. He secretly disseminated his political works La Patria and Ministerio de la Republica Filipina to inform the people about his plans. Death on July 4, 1896, prevented him from realizing his plans.

The radical solution was left to Andres Bonifacio and Emilio Jacinto to implement. Under Bonifacio’s energetic leadership and Jacinto’s untiring intellectual activities, the Katipunan was transformed into a "powerful weapon of the weak."

The KKK ideals of Liberty, Equality, and Brotherhood of Men magnetized the unlettered masses who flocked to the Katipunan fold by the thousands.

Emilio Jacinto was the "Soul and Brains of the Katipunan." He wrote most of the Katipunan teachings, hymn, Kartilya, constitution and bylaws, rules, rites and ceremonies, etc. The Katipunan newspaper, the Kalayaan, was his brainchild. Ably aided by equally indefatigable Katipuneros like Aurelio Tolentino, Makario Sakay, and Aguedo del Rosario,

Jacinto and Bonifacio spread the Katipunan from Manila to Southern and Central Luzon. When the colonial authorities discovered the existence of the society on August 19, 1896, they were shocked to know how widespread it had become.

The KKK symbolized the unified energies of the Filipino people.

Today, our country and people are beset by numerous ills that once again calls on all of us to unite our disparate energies and goals in order to overcome these ills and move the country forward.

Ill-educated and ill-equipped, our forefathers succeeded in attaining their freedom and founded a republic – the first republic in Asia.

The KKK ideals live in each one of us.

As we observe the 116th anniversary of the KKK founding, let us rekindle these ideals and, like our forefathers, when they freed themselves from foreign bondage, free ourselves, too, from the clutches of poverty, disunity, and ill-will.