The Spirit Of The Dead

On September 17, 2017, a cold sunny Sunday in the far region of Nizhny Novgorod in Russia, somebody told me that there exist a forgotten cemetery and in front of it is an abondoned house in the village of Matyushevo.  Nobody has been living in the house for the past 30 or so years, and just three months ago, the granddaughter of the former owner came to cut down all the dense layers of tall grass and shrubs because there is a plan to renovate this old soviet house.  I was also told that the spirit of the owner is still haunting his own home.  I got interested to see this place immediately.  So off I went.

I got lost finding the correct road but I enjoyed the adventure anyway.  3 or 4 hours passed and I found the village, and then the cemetery.  A broken gate greeted me, and once inside, theres nothing much to see but shrubs.  All the tombstones and epitaphs of the dead were hidden by vines and grasses’.  A couple of minutes more and I finally found the house.  It was a ramshackle and really neglected. And as soon as I made my first photo of the house using my mobile phone, I felt that somebody is inside this old wooden cottage and won’t take kindly to a stranger from another side of the earth.  I asked a companion to hold my mobile and to take series of photos as I force open the locks and document the rest of my illegal actions.

The floor was unsteady but the lumber posts inside were still good.  At first, the inside of the cottage smells like old rotten wood and after a minute the smell switched to sweet smelling flowers and again the scent of old rotten wood.  These scents alternate every now and then.  I took photos of the whole cottage, every corner of it.  I heard someone knocking on the window so I went to see who it was. I lifted the curtain but there was nobody there.  Then I felt (and I heard) someone just blew a cold breath on my nape.  Beside this window was a small hanging altar.  I lifted the cover and there was an old photograph of an old man.

I felt that a spirit was warning me to leave immediately but my curiosity was not yet satisfied. I spent more time opening the drawers and cabinets and admiring the antique equipment that were there.  And as I open the main cabinet, I got goosebumps to see a scythe.  The same size of scythe that the demon use to claim lives. I wanted a photo with this thing so I took it out of it’s place.  Then just right beside where this scythe was resting was a box. I opened it, and holy mother of Mumba… photographs of dead people being mourned.

See the photographs below.


Just Because

On Sunday,  2nd of July 2017, my friends were divided because of the Manny Paquiao versus Jeff Horn fight.  Half of my friends celebrated with the Australian boxer’s victory, and half stood their ground with almost violent reactions regarding the controversial unanimous decision.   For some reasons, many Filipinos started hating Paquiao when he became a statesman and in support of the newly elected President of the Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte.

I’m not going to talk about politics now, it’s a never ending issue to be discussed. Hate the Senator as much as you want with the basis that he had not done anything good yet for the country.  But we’ve seen him wave the Philippine flag a gazillion times to represent us, the Filipinos, didn’t we?  We know what Paquiao have done for the country, and yet we chose to overlook those achievements simply because we do not want him to have his own seat in the parliament.

We are already divided by politics, we are already divided by religion, and when a first class athlete steps into the ring to give us pride, we choose to get divided one more time.  Ang sisira sa isang Pilipino ay Pilipino rin.  It’s easy to explain why we can’t get along and support our own product.  When a Filipino sees a good product making it worldwide, his reaction is to criticise rather than to praise.  To make a good name for the sake of our country and countrymen is not easy.  We always go for what is easier which is complete disapproval.  End of the story.

What else is there to hate in the person of Manny Paquiao aside from his participation in politics?  If we can’t trust him as a lawmaker, then we still have the other 23 Senators who can take care of the law, yes?  The man is known around the world as a superior Filipino athlete, already a rich Filipino man, a Filipino billionaire, something that most of us wanted to become.  Shall we hate him for that too?

We all have the freedom to chose our own bets.  And yes, we can always give our support to the one who is against our own.  But when the fight is over and we lost the battle, do we realise how happy we are that we trashed our own flag bearer?

How Do You Value The Life Of A Filipino Worker?

Not all Filipinos have the luxury to travel abroad. I have friends who keep travelling for leisure, business, and discovering places and culture. I am a guilty son of a gun who take travelling like it’s a vitamin, a must do activity, as I can’t keep my ass in one place, spending more time outside the comforts of a nice home, and enjoying whatever there is to enjoy in other places or other countries. Sometimes, I have the most shallow reason for travelling to another country, such as wanting to satisfy my craving for a particular food in one town, or take photos and sit down to make an art work of a beautiful scenery, or (as I often do) find unusual items for collection or for selling.
For many Filipinos, they leave the Philippines to seek a job with better pay even if it means leaving their families behind. Countless stories about mothers who left their children at home, to take care of another family’s children in other countries. Many Filipinos sacrifice their lives, missing the growing years of their own children in exchange for comfort. Last year, I met an ageing man, a father of 6, working as a porter in Netherlands. He needs this 12-hour job to rebuild their house that was crushed by a strong typhoon. All his children and grand children were divided and living in evacuation centers and church backyards. This porter’s job includes scrubbing the shit out of toilet bowls, and collecting and segregating the garbage.
My personal experience with a Filipino OFW happened one cold day in the apartment in Moscow, 2 years ago. The newly employed cleaner arrived with the administrator. She looked like a typical southeast asian lady but I could not guess from where (Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, etcetera…) until she said “good morning sir” in a familiar accent.
I didn’t speak a word, let her in, and I sat down to continue my breakfast. For the next 15 minutes, I was observing the way she works around the apartment; quick, organized, and coordinated. I kinda shocked her when I said “Taga saan ka sa Pilipinas?”. She slightly jumped backward and with a shrieking voice; “Ay Pilipino!!!”
We started laughing after she told me that she thought I was either a Japanese or a Kazakhstani.
There is a thin line between being proud and being sad, to hear that Filipinos are known as house maids, cleaners, and labourers. In one instance in one home in one big city in Russia, my friends and I were invited to have dinner. After meals, I took the liberty to stand up and place my plate in the sink and wash some of the dishes. One of the friend’s made a malicious and uncomfortable comment; “Ha, All Filipinos love to clean, hahaha!”. Thankfully I was composed enough to say “No, Filipinos are polite people, I am just being polite. Even in my own apartment, I never ask you to clean the dishes after you eat and finish all the food in the ref. Do I”? He turned red.
This is just one of the things that saddens me. Just because our country is known to export workers, the reputation of Filipinos in other countries are being stained. And even more sad to know that the Filipinos who contribute to the development of one country with their expertise and skills in labor are being abused by the locals. Again, countless cases of poor Filipino workers suffering in another country need our Government’s serious attention.
Most of my friends from foreign countries who have visited my homes in the Philippines came to the realisation that not all Filipinos are damn poor. I am not implying that I’m ultra rich, just proving that I am a polite host and would do anything to keep my foreign friends happy when they are staying with me. I already had hundreds of foreign guests who can attest that they never spent a single money when they are staying with me. That’s just how I treat my foreign friends. They have a car to use, sometimes a driver to take them around when I am busy, all the food they can eat, all the beer and alcohol that they can consume, and all the joy and best experiences to take home. I define hospitality as “Everything is free when you’re staying with me”. And it breaks my heart to see that despite of all the kindness, I still hear stories of unkindness to my fellow Filipinos. My heart bleeds even more to know that kind hearted Filipinos are physically getting hurt for nothing.
Here’s something I can openly share. I consider Taiwan as the most peaceful and one of the most relaxing places among the countries that I visit regularly. I have good friends and they are really great people. For 15 years of going in and out of this country, I had my own shares of troubles but most are nothing to worry about.
Taiwanese people in general would love to do business and for most of the people whom I know and spent time with, are happy, friendly, and respectable. What I do not understand though, are the physical abuse and the violence inflicted to my fellow men, those who are already poor in life, and wants nothing more but a good paying job.
It was October 5, 2015. A horrible night to remember. A young Filipino worker in Taiwan is peacefully ending his day, breathing air outside their dormitory on this humid night. I will not mention any names for the sake of legal issues that is now being dealt with by the Philippine Consular Office.
This young boy lost his parents at an early age, and ended up as the sole breadwinner in the family. He chose to be an OFW in Taiwan so he can put his little sister to school. It was a long day for this young boy who just came from Chungli, tired and getting ready to rest. He decided to light a cigarette outside his dorm located in Hsinchu, with another Filipino friend.
Then came several scooters, on it were 3 men and 2 women to be exact. The young boy is not familiar with these locals and it made him feel a little uneasy. One of those scooter riding men, a baseball player, (as I heard from the report) picked up a hard brick and threw it “baseball style” to the face of the young Filipino lad (his friend who was smoking with him was hit in the nose). For some stupid reason known only to these bullies, the attack was a success. The young victim quickly fell on the ground and was later taken to Zhubie Hospital in Hsinchu County.  The victim who’s suppose to be saving money to improve their already difficult life is now in need for more money to pay his medical bills.

I ADMIT AND CONFESS that there are times when I’m being a snub to my own countrymen, especially when they act like clowns and in embarrassing manners, that I do not wish to be associated with them. But I stand up for those who are physically abused, Filipinos or not. And this is why I am a martial artist in the first place; it is my duty to defend the helpless either in my own land or in another country. Dismally, other people treat labourers/workers as a class lower than them. Let me state once again that not all Filipinos are poor.

Middle class or poor they may be, most are educated, polite, and respectable. Come to the Philippines and know it first hand. Filipinos are just unlucky to have less money because our riches are inside the pockets of our government officials.
So really… How do you value the life of a Filipino worker?

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The Book Called “The Tao Of Malayang Anyo”

I haven’t been writing a lot lately. Newspapers deliver the same old news, and most journals are all about glamour. In my recent discussion with a few friends in the media, everybody is talking about The Southeast Asian Games held in Singapore that didn’t create much impact in terms of attracting the attention of most of our countrymen. There’s not much news to share.

But here’s something that’s not really new, only because a few knows about it. I am extremely happy that someone finally thought of sharing a great pile of  information and put it on print. I came across a book by Perry Gil Mallari called “The Tao Of Malayang Anyo”. I never endorse any book on strength and conditioning except a decade ago when I was still active in sports fighting doing Matt Furey’s strength programs.

Here’s why The Tao Of Malayang Anyo is interesting; The author put into words what I have been doing all these years. And I have been doing only 2 things; A lot of thinking and A lot of action. What about sleep? That’s part of my thinking stage.  For this reason, I wake up with new ideas that I can execute into action. I often wake up in the wee hours of the night just to work on an idea.

I am in my prime, and very glad to say that I have not acquired any physical training related injuries. All my injuries were obtained outside of my workout room when situations are not under my control. I am in the stage of my life where I should be taking it easy, and be aware of how I put physical stress on myself. But I kept my strength and still functional since 15 years ago, and I did it because of my strong mental workout that goes with my physical exercises.

Here’s what I’m trying to say; go to any fitness center and tell me how many people are aware of what they were really doing? Observe how most of the members are lifting weights and leaving them on the floor after using, despite of the numerous polite notices on the walls to return them after use. As soon as they finish pumping blood to their muscles, their brain dies. It cannot read and it cannot understand. I have argued with thousands of gym idiots to respect those signs, but with no luck. Another example is when most members pump 10 repetitions and suddenly go “blank”, spending 10 minutes of rest, sitting down on the same machine, or walking around the area, or watching other members, etc.

Most of my friends who come to me for advice regardless of what the problem is, I always recommend exercise. BODY WEIGHT EXERCISES.

I get all sorts of expressions and curses. Most of them are not willing to swap their gym memberships for a homestyle workout . I am not suggesting to stop your trip to the fitness centers, but bodyweight exercises have endless benefits and not just body toning. I’ve been saying this for many years now… “The Mind and The Body can work together to protect ourselves against illness”. Too much depression, miseries, despair, unhappiness, these are just some of the things living in our minds that can be taken out or be avoided or at least be controlled by doing bodyweight exercises.

Bodyweight exercises connects your mind to your body while doing natural movements that you thought are easy. To make it sound funny, these are movements done by babies when they were playing. Any person who developed mental and physical strength through bodyweight exercises are very agile and quick to think of solutions. If you’re an athlete of any sport, THIS is what you definitely need. Even for those who are not into sports, such as every CEO that I know of who participates in bodyweight exercise sessions have more solutions than problems inside the board room. There is confidence in the way they carry themselves, and the energy is always fully charged.

The Tao Of Malayang Anyo is a must read book. Take my word for it. What the fitness centers can’t give you, this can book can.malayang anyo book

The Crocop vs Gonzaga part 2, and the upcoming Lyoto Machida vs Luke Rockhold fight.

The Crocop vs Gonzaga rematch, and the upcoming
Lyoto Machida vs Luke Rockhold fight.

Mirko Crocop is known to be the scariest headhunter in the ring. This legendary striker made a name in Japan’s famous K1 full contact matches and Pride Fighting Championships. Anybody who steps in the ring with Crocop will surely have to hide their heads when the Croatian begins to swing his baseball bat legs in the air.

In 2007, Mirko Crocop tasted a very painful defeat when Gabriel Gonzaga, a Brazillian, gave Crocop his own dose of medicine and knocked him out via head kick, in UFC 70. There was a 7 year silence from the Crocop camp. But thanks to the MMA promoters who still believe in the power of the Croatian, and called out Gonzaga to face the guy he put to sleep and face him one more time in UFC Fight Night 64 in Krakow, Poland on April 11, 2015.

7 years put on a lot of weight in the physique of Mirko, and his lightning fast moves seem to have faded a bit. Gonzaga threw a lot of punches in the first round that shook Crocop and made him think twice about getting closer to the Brazilian. Victory was almost seen from the Gonzaga corner when a hard takedown put the Croatian under a mount and received a rain of good pounding. Both attempted to leg lock each other but neither got the leverage to complete the lock.

After both men were able to go back to their feet, another takedown from Gonzaga was applied. The armbar attempt was suppose to finish Crocop but it didn’t happen. The 3rd round gave Crocop a deep cut from the agressive Gabriel Gonzaga, and the Croatian, slowly and carefully looking for an opening, found a free space where he can insert his left elbow for Gonzaga to eat.
The elbow rocked the Brazilian down. Still careful, Mirko Crocop accurately placed every punch to where it should be, shaking the head and bloodying Gonzaga to finish the fight.

The whole Tauron Arena in Poland was roaring in cheers as Mirko Crocop raised his hands up to celebrate his victory.
Lyoto Machida vs Luke Rockhold

Scheduled to fight on April 18, 2015 in Newark, New Jersey will be the number 2 ranked fighter in the UFC, Lyoto Machida versus the number 4 Ranked fighter, Luke Rockhold.

If you want to predict as to who will be the top dog after 5 rounds, here are details about these octagon warriors:

Machida collected 22 wins but half of it were left for the judges to score. Rockhold collected 13 wins mostly via submission. Machida’s knocking out power is 40% higher than Rockhold who only has 30%. Both fighters can defend a takedown, but Machida can take down an opponent more accurately than Rockhold. Both fighters can strike, only Machida can place his punches in the proper target area.

If Luke Rockhold can finish this fight in the first 2 rounds, then he need not worry about the longevity of Machida. Otherwise, Lyoto Machida can either knock Rockhold out cold in the later rounds, or get the judges decision via scores.

Paquiao and Mayweather, Finally !

After a hundred years of waiting for the fight to happen, The Philippine fist, Manny Paquiao, will finally be seen slugging with Floyd Mayweather. If there’s anybody and anything we need to be thankful for making this fight a reality, that would be Floyd Mayweather, for having a hard time coming up with a million more reasons to evade kissing Paquiao’s leather gloves, and thank the the community of boxing fans for making Floyd’s world a smaller place to hide.
It took Floyd a hundred years to gather his guts, his terms and conditions, and his lame strategy of announcing to fight Paquiao only 2 months before the big fight day. Come on boxing fans, for all we know, in fact a huge possibility, Floyd Mayweather started training months ahead as part of his game plan to beat the Filipino boxing congressman. Paquiao almost gave everything on a deal just to make this fight happen.

The big question is always, who’s arm will be raised in the air? So let’s analyse these men’s most obvious front weapon; the jab. Mayweather uses his jab to set up his next blow, while Paquiao throws his jab with a gun powder. Looking at Mayweather’s most recent fights, his jabs connects with a force just enough to make his opponents pay attention for what’s coming next, and Paquiao’s jab is part of his footwork as he advance forward for an attack.

From adam, Manny Paquiao’s footwork and feints is always unreadable. This is where Floyd Mayweather can use an extra antenna to monitor Paquiao’s next location. Hell, Mayweather needs a satellite dish. If MGM Grand does not have enough signal for Floyd’s dish, he can kiss all of us goodnight before the 3rd round begins. But hey, every boxing coach I talk to was saying that Floyd Mayweather is so far the most accurate boxer. But none of them coaches told me next to who. Every boxing champion who can connect beautifully in setting up a knock out is darn accurate. This is what boxing is all about isn’t it?

Did you know that one of Floyd Mayweather’s serious request to be a part of the deal before signing the contract to fight Manny Paquiao is that, Manny will not be allowed to ask for a rematch in case Manny Losses to Mayweather, even by 1 point.
But in case Floyd losses to Manny, he can always ask for a rematch, a drug test to be conducted on Manny, and all his requests to be a priority.

Just wondering though, is KFC really one of Floyd Mayweather’s sponsor?

Drug Testing In Sports Fighting

We heard it many times, seen it many times. We give praises to our most favorite fighter, only to find out that they’ve been tested positive for banned substances. The obvious reason for taking performance enhancing drugs is to excel and dominate in the fight, no more no less. Any other reason is just that; a reason. As time goes by, the list of banned substances becomes endless. Athletes will always find their way to a a new drug that is not listed. Those who are using banned substances are usually well versed on what they were doing. The better word to describe the use of illegal drugs in sports is Doping. Doping in sports is a risk that athletes take to become invinsible, but can also lead to an end in their chosen careers.

The procedure used by the Olympic committee during the 1928 Olympics is via interview. The committee will ask the athletes one by one if he or she is using drugs. And their word is taken as the statement of truth.
Believe it or not, rampant doping began in the early sixties in the sport of swimming. It was an experiment to see if there was an increase in the overall stamina, and it did. Cyclists started using illegal drugs too, in the form of Barbiturates that is suppose to delay the fatigue and sharpen the reflex, which is strange because this drug is used for mild sedation and decrease aggression.

While athletes are getting busy finding ways to enhance their performance, doping committees need to double their time in intercepting every new revolutionary supplements that are put on the shelves of every sports shops and health stores. They need to formulate a plan through which sports commissions in every country could establish a fact and verify weather a sports person was actually administering a banned substance or not. It was only in the 1970 that the Olympic committee and other amateur athletics organizations decided to regularize the procedure through series of urine tests or blood tests. The fighting sports of boxing and the martial arts are now required to submit their samples which are then submitted to certified laboratories. Action is immediately taken to any fighter who’s results yield positive and guilty of using banned substances.

The punishment given to a fighter depends on the kind of drug that was identified. From a mere warning, to a temporary ban, to a permanent ban from fighting in any arena. As long as a fighter chooses to compete at an elite level, drug testing will be a part of his or her life. It can be an irritating and uncomfortable situation for any fighter because doping testers can come to you anytime wether you are asleep, on a date, or inside the training hall. But this is how the committee cleans the sport of fighting. Each fighter is subjected to both in-competition testing, and out-of-competition testing, and this can occur at any time, any place with or without further notice as long as the fighter is actively participating in professional competitions.

The doping committee or representative will approach the fighters, inform them of their rights and responsibilities, and will be asked for any identification before the collection of samples. Fighters who compete in events sanctioned by a national governing body are subject to blood testing. In blood testing, the detection of additional substances that are not detected in the urine are easily identified. After collection of samples of urine or blood, or both, the samples are sent to the laboratory. Note that the owner of the samples are not disclosed. The containers are coded, and the names are never revealed to the laboratory.

The collection of both urine and blood are designed to be a safe process and comfortable for the fighters to ensure that the integrity of the fighter is maintained. The approach is polite, and the communication between the doping representatives and the fighter is always at a positive level. The fighter has the right to bring another person that he trust to witness his test. Normally an interpreter if the fighter is from a foreign country. A fighter who is in the middle of his training when visited by a committee representative, can continue training and take his time until he is free and relaxed to take the doping test. Series of questions can be asked by the representatives such as the type of supplements they use and if they are under any medications. 90 mililiters of urine is collected, and in case of blood test,s a certain mililiters of blood will be taken according to what the testers are looking for.

When a fighter escapes the venue where the testers are present, such as the case of Wanderlei Silva (During the Wanderlei Silva vs Chael Sonnen hype) is already a sign of guilt and may be considered positive, or be penalised by the Sport Figthing Organization. A fighter also has the right to ask for identification and credentials from the doping test representative, and choose the collection vessels. A fighter must receive a copy of all forms that was used to document the processing of his test.

So why did Anderson Silva’s use of banned substances came late and announced days after the fight? Well, it is in the fighter’s right to request for the modification of the test in case of disability (being in a post recovery stage), which can be done in many ways. It is also the UFC’s and the fighter’s right to request for a delay in doping control report for valid reasons.