View Full Version : Everybody should visit Manila by Gilbert Arenas

07-15-2008, 09:21 AM
Nakakatuwa naman sya. ;D


Then we stopped in Manila. It was a different world. I’ve never seen fans like that in my life. These pictures can’t even do justice to what was going on out there. I had a reception at a small, little venue to welcome me to the city and there were 200 people there.

One thing I want to say about Filipinos: they’re very warm people, very good-hearted people. Like, everybody was nice. You know, you meet nice people, but a whole country of nice, genuine, warm-hearted people was unbelievable. These are diehard fans.

I really didn’t know if I was in Game 7 of a playoff series, I couldn’t tell the difference. Everywhere I went it was just bananas.

I also want to give a shout out to my man from Maryland who flew from MD to the Philippines and told me the reason he flew all the way out there was to get autographs from me because he knew I was going to be there at that date and time.

I did a couple mall tours. I also helped a kid with his wish. It was in one of the poverty areas in Manila and there’s a group called GK that builds homes for people all over the world. They helped this community out by putting people in homes. I guess a couple weeks before we got there, a hurricane hit and destroyed their community and GK helped build it back up.

One little kid who lived there wanted a basketball court for his community so all the kids could play so I donated – with the help of GK and adidas – a basketball court to that community and the kid was very happy.

You have to look at the Agent Zero posters they had out there. They put me in a cape at one of my last events in Manila. It was at one of their biggest malls and they were predicting it was going to be crowded. I mean, crowded to me is a Saturday afternoon at the mall where you have to wait in line for 10 minutes to pay for your jeans. Their crowded was probably four or five thousand people in the mall. It was like nothing I’ve ever seen before, and I’ve seen crazy fans all over the world. It was like Golden State against the Dallas Mavericks with Game 3 back in Oakland. It was that type of atmosphere in the mall.

I was stunned.

They made me feel like an NBA star.

Any NBA players out there: If you’re having a bad day, or you’re having a bad career, go to Manila. They’ll bring your spirits up, trust me.

I felt like I just won the NBA championship, to be for real.

After we left the mall we were looking at pictures from the event a couple days later and we were telling ourselves, "Man, that was unreal!"

Plus, with the security I had, I felt like I was the President. I felt like I was Obama. I really felt like I was running in the presidential election, especially when I got to meet the U.S. ambassador out in the Philippines. We had a great time talking to each other.

We actually went to a college basketball game together. Their college game would be like if it was Duke and Maryland playing each other and you split the crowd in half, 50-50. One side of their gym was blue and one side of their gym was green and everybody was just yelling.

Backstage I met Manny Pacquiao, he’s the town hero. I have to be honest, they made me feel even bigger than him at the moment. I talked to him and he invited me to his November fight, so if I have time and depending on if we have a day off, I might go see that. Oh, I also met Jet Li in Shanghai, can’t leave him out.

On top of everything else in Manila, I stayed at the best hotel I’ve ever stayed at – The Peninsula. I was in the mack daddy “El Presidente” suite and was like the Fresh Prince with Geoffrey – I had a live-in butler.

One more note on Manila, just so you guys can get a picture of what kind of people they are and how much they adore and love entertainers and the NBA. Think about this: If you’ve ever been to a Beyoncé concert, or anybody’s concert in the states really, if they sell out an arena it will be 20,000 fans. Last year in Beyoncé’s hometown, Houston, she pulled in 12,000 people to her show. D.C. was her biggest sell, she put 18,000 people in the seats. Meanwhile, she was in Manila for two days to do two concerts and she had 85,000 people, two nights straight.

She couldn’t even do it in the arena, she had to do it on the lawn. Like, “Everybody, y’all just get in the grass, I’m going to perform.”

That’s how the people are out there.

07-19-2008, 11:04 AM
Arenas aftermath/Sportstacking cranks it up
Saturday, July 19, 2008

We’ve all heard about the overwhelming reception Washington Wizards guard Gilbert Arenas received in the Philippines and his gushing review in his blog on NBA.com. Arenas received a lot of love in his three days here and he responded in kind.

But there’s more.

Raphael Bartholomew, an American writing a book about basketball in the Philippines, wrote a piece on the Agent Zero Asian Tour which was published in The New York Times Thursday. In the story entitled “A Filipino Embrace,” Bartholomew chronicled Arenas’ first trip to the Philippines in great detail and his reactions to all his experiences.

“He really received the rock star treatment while he was here,” the 6-4 Bartholomew told The STAR. Bartholomew, a graduate of Northwestern, is a huge basketball fan who has been in the Philippines for over two years trying to finish his book.

“They make you feel like you’re a god,” Bartholomew quoted Arenas as saying. “When my NBA career is done, I have to play here one year just to feel that.”

“This country’s love of basketball may surprise the players, but it is well known to sportswear companies, which have been sending American stars to Manila for years,” Bartholomew wrote. “Despite its small population and weak economy compared with other Asian markets like China, India and Japan, the Philippines consistently cracks the top four in rankings of Asian basketball sales for Adidas, according to Joey Singian, the managing director of Adidas Philippines.”

Bartholomew, whose piece on the Ateneo-La Salle rivalry also made it to the New York Times last year, wrote in great detail about fans’ emotional reaction to Arenas and compared it to a papal visit. In the article, Odette Velarde of the Adidas marketing group noted that many NBA players who came here are “not the Mr. Congeniality types” and limit their contact with the public, as well as their autograph signing. But not Arenas. His being approachable endeared him even more to Filipino fans, who responded with even more affection.

“I feel like Jay-Z in the States,” Arenas told the crowd at the Trinoma Mall that Sunday afternoon. “I don’t get this kind of love in Washington.”

Bartholomew, for his part, finds himself in a happy quandary. Every time he thinks he’s close to finishing his book, he learns something more about the rich and colorful love affair Filipinos have with the sport. Prior to the Arenas piece, Bartholomew also did a follow-up on injured former Alaska import Roselle Ellis for a Seattle newspaper.

“I started doing interviews for a chapter on the Crispa-Toyota rivalry and it added another 20 to 30 pages to my book,” Bartholomew told The STAR. “I don’t know when I’m going to finish. There’s always so much more to it.”

And his efforts, along with the reviews of Gilbert Arenas, will go a long way in helping erase some of the country’s negative image around the world and show how warm and welcoming we are as a people.

* * *

“Sportstacking is going to be big here in the Philippines and in the rest of Asia,” reveals Larry Goers, vice-president of the World Speedstacking Association.

Goers was in the Philippines this week to help promote the new sport formerly known as cup stacking. The sport requires participants to stack and unstack 12 specially made plastic cups in different configurations in the fastest possible time. The current holder of two overall world records is 10-year-old Steven Purugganan, a Filipino.

He and his two older brothers are in the top 10 in the world. The Philippine sportstacking association is run by Aris Alipon and Derrick Chiongbian.

“I first learned about the Philippines through these guys, even before I knew about Steven,” Goers admits. “We’ve already gotten many inquiries from schools, which is the true base for the sport.”

Sportstacking started in California over a decade ago when a bunch of kids were trying to find something to do in their spare time. It soon spread to Denver, Colorado, where the sport’s top officials taught it to schoolchildren.

Purugganan, a YouTube sensation (type in dvpurugs), finished shooting a McDonald’s commercial in Chicago in June. He also shares the tandem stacking record with his brother, wherein one of them uses his left hand while the other uses his right. Goers expressed amazement at the large increments with which the youngest Purugganan breaks the times set by older competitors.

“He shatters the record; he doesn’t just break them,” Goers adds. “The German team wasn’t particularly happy having all their record broken by this little kid. So they went back to more serious training.”

Goers also revealed one unique attribute of the sport: youth is a big advantage.

“I’ve noticed that, when they get older even just in their late teens, stackers start to slow down,” Goers said, speaking from personal experience. “This is the only sport I know where kids are at an advantage.”

And the World Sport Stacking Association is hoping to find more Filipino sensations for their new game.