Ball Is Life

I still find it surreal that I'm playing real basketball with Lucas, my eldest son turning 11 this month, at our small makeshift half court at home. Matteo, now 8, also plays but not as intense and as dedicated as Lucas (he plays hours in the afternoon and waits for me in the evenings to play 1on1).
At the missus' friend's house a few weeks ago. Our court at home doesn't look better, hehe.

The missus and I bought a standard sized hoopset (with matching NBA logo) at one of the sports stores in Robinsons Magnolia last Christmas. It was our gift for them then, in the hopes that maybe they could be the next Teng brothers sensation in La Salle in the future. ;-) I set the height of the ring as standard as possible ---maybe a difference of 6 or so inches from the standard height. But it serves it's purpose as the boys make full use of it, especially Lucas.

Last night's 1on1 game against Lucas was typical as in any other night we played. It was preceded by a 2vs1 game wherein Matteo and I teamed up, beating him handsomely (as usual).

Onto the 1on1 game, it was as competitive as before, with me trying my best to emulate Kobe's turnaround shot and step back jumpers. I may have slightly went overboard on the taunts as the shots went in ("swoosh!") but Lucas didn't seem to mind....

...until he was getting crushed on the score line.

The game ended at 10-5 or 10-7 I think, with me winning the game. By the time I went off to rest, I saw Lucas about to cry but, like a man, tried his best to keep it to himself as he practiced his shots.

I challenged him to a recovery game of 21 which he obliged. He whispered to me "[Give me] no pity."

Again, I beat him (21-17). He grabbed the ball and was dribbling and shooting to recover. But this time the disappointment of his 3 game loss was more obvious, with Lucas almost about to pour his eyes out with matching hikbi.

I talked to him on how he should approach this setback, that he should man up, that it's just a game, and that there'll be a winner and loser in every game. I forgot the other phrases that I said, but I hope he got what I was driving at. The missus talked to him for a few minutes too when I left.

As a parent it is automatic that we should give all the best that our children should have. They are our most precious blessings and as such, we want to make sure they get everything ---including winning. But in basketball, I will NOT go easy on him for this is the only way he'll learn and improve. In basketball and in life, nothing is fair. He must learn to accept that. If I always set myself to lose, he won't be able to cope out there when the going gets really tough.

Just like how Michael Jordan's brother would beat him in their backyard games, I will take that role (with a heavy heart) of beating Lucas in basketball for this'll be the only way that he will try to find a way to beat me.....and perhaps become one of the best basketball players EVER to carry the Punsalan name on his jersey.

Lucas, if you find this post later on, know that I want you and Matteo to be the best that you can be ---whatever you want to pursue in life. Don't give a damn on what other people say ---especially if you lose. Just pick yourself up, get back into the game, and do your hardest (and smartest) to win!


Hell Week

Feb 13-19, 2017 will go down in my book as one of the worst weeks that will ever happen in my life.


Driving to work, I hit another car as I was turning left from Gil Puyat to Tordesillas. The opposing driver immediately called to my attention that I was on the 3rd lane trying to make a left. I quickly proposed to settle it without the need of going to the traffic bureau as his car only had a minor scratch on the front bumper. Paid the amount of P2,500.00 the next day.


Dad suffered a mild stroke after hours of driving between Paranaque and Ortigas. He was slurring heavily on the other end of the call and started making his usual habilins so I decided to drive from my Makati office to their house in Paranaque. He would normally resist invitations to take him to the hospital since he regularly encounters such episodes but this time he felt that this was different. He had loss of balance, his right arm felt numb, aside from the slurring thus we rushed immediately to Makati Med.

The ER tests confirmed what we suspected: acute stroke. There was a clot in his brain, detected by the MRI which, fortunately, can be treated thru medicine. He was released from the hospital last Sunday ---not after daily sermons from his cardiologist to change his obese lifestyle.


After visiting Dad with the missus, we were hit from behind by a Grab driver who quickly admitted that he was not focused on the car in front which was me. The car in front of me made a stop so I did the same. Unfortunately, Mr. Grab driver didn't and slightly crumpled the back of our Mazda.

Body repair costs P7,000.00 which he was able to pay last Sunday but will take 2-3 days to repair. This'll mean Uber rides for me to and from the office for the mean time.


After parking the missus' car in the gym to get the vital parking space due to high-demand of Zumba Titas for popular (and fortunately gay) instructors, I did my usual run around the neighborhood. After about 3+ kms of running, I realized that my shorts' back pocket had a hole and that my LTO license was missing. I ran an extra 2kms on my usual 6k run to trace my steps but couldn't find it. I went home and grabbed my road bike to do another sweep. Fortunately, with the help of our newspaper boy slash weekend roadbike warrior, it was found in a wet spot in the corner where he and his boy were resting after a day's delivery of newspapers.

If you look into all the mishaps that happened, you can see that there was always a happy ending to it. The two car accidents were settled amicably, my LTO license was found, and most importantly, Dad is all well and hopefully back to full recovery. Often the initial reaction to such incidents are shock, disbelief, and anger ---all of which are understandable at first. But once these things figure themselves out after some time, you just have to be amazed at how blessed you are to get things moving normally again.

Maybe a reminder from God that we need to be more thankful (AND more careful!) of what we have.


My Dad and Mr Ito

On our way to Tokyo after Christmas last month, I was able to watch the Japanese film "My Dad and Mr. Ito" via the Japan Airlines entertainment facilities. We were flying Economy but the good people of Japan Airlines made it a point to make the passengers in our class comfortable with in-flight entertainment and a good (complete) meal.

The movie was in Japanese but fortunately English subtitles were available. I enjoyed the film since it played out as how I expected it to be: a soft/quiet story of a young woman, her father, and her boyfriend, and how they go about living their lives under one roof.

I love to watch these types of soft films, devoid of the usual loud drama dialogues or action-packed scenes that most (major) productions employ. It is probably ones' longing for peace and quiet amidst the everyday hustle and bustle of life, the need to make the mind and soul relaxed and rejuvenated that watching these sort of films makes it enjoyable......like yoga.



Years passed and I find this blog again. Clicking on past posts that were read by recent visitors, it has somehow awakened the sleeping (wannabe) writer in me....again.

Opting to spend the remains of my lunch hour in my office cube and playing relaxdaily music on YouTube, my fingers could not wait to receive thoughts from my head that I wanted to type here, on my old blog which I originally considered to be my sacred place.

A place where I can write freely (and hopefully, wonderfully) whatever it may be. It can be about my family which I love so dearly, or whatever topic/experience for the day that I would like to write.

Maybe it's too much of watching Erwan Heusaff's Overnight travel series on YouTube that somehow wanted me to reconnect to blogging again. The random thoughts that I've collected all these years may have reached a tipping point, with a need to spill somewhere....like this blog.

But maybe, just maybe, I could write with a little more effect or pizzazz so to speak. That would be great.

I cannot guarantee that I'll be writing most of the time, but I will be more conscious that this blog exists, and it's blank pages need to be filled. In doing so I get a chance for my future self to look back and see how I have been during those years and, hopefully, end up with a contented smile on my face.

Epictetus once said, "If you wish to be a writer, write." I guess it's not gonna be any more simpler than that.

And so, I write.



My Osaka Tips

Just arrived in Manila after a 6-day, 5-night holiday vacation in Osaka with my family. It was a pleasant trip that I strongly recommend you to take. However, there were lessons learned that needs to be blogged so that next time (yes, we hope to go there again soon) we'll take good note of it. Hope these tips of mine help you as well.

  1. Change your currency to Yen at the Kansai Airport. Upon arrival there's a money changer just before heading out onto the terminal exit doors. I highly suggest that you change your money there as there are limited spots for some currencies, like Philippine Pesos. Further, the exchange rate there is better (2.05JPY to 1.00PHP) versus that in Namba Walk (1.83 to 1.00). There is the usual 10,000 (USD?) limit that you may need to abide to as mentioned by the highly courteous staff.
  2. Buy round trip tickets if you're using the airport bus express. Cheaper by about 200-300JPY per person.
  3. If you can't live without WiFi, there's a pocket-wifi rental store at the airport, just across the money changer I mentioned in #1 above. The rate is cheaper per day by about 40-50% versus my Philippine network's daily roam-surf rate. I find that going online is especially helpful when roaming around, especially if you know how to use Google Maps.
  4. Get a subway map upon reaching your hotel, and study it. This will be very useful when you go around (and outside) Osaka.
  5. Sheraton Osaka Hotel, where we stayed in, has a serious WiFi problem. I suspect that they limit the number of IPs connecting to their network which causes some of the phones/tablets not to connect at certain times.
  6. Alternatively to #3, free WiFi is abundant at the subway stations and around Osaka. You just need to sign in with your email and allow the network to get your FB basic info which I assume is for their stats monitoring. However, note that these Free WiFi spots are not available in all areas, so I still recommend that you take #3.
  7. Muji and Uniqlo sells cheaper in Osaka (or probably the whole Japan) vs the Philippines.
  8. On subway escalators, stay on the right side as the left side is for people who are in a hurry (express lane).
  9. Select "child" on the ticket terminals if you have young children with you. It's 50% cheaper.
  10. Go to Nara from Osaka on a day trip. Highly recommended.
  11. Go to Kyoto. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
  12. One should go to Dotomburi for a food trip experience there. Namba and Nippombashi stations are nearest going there.
  13. Try the Family Mart Matcha Latte there, especially with a Minneken(?) waffle that you can also buy in some of the subway stations there.
  14. Lastly, forget about work or other things that stress you. You're on a holiday so enjoy every minute of Osaka while you're there.
Any tips you recommend as well? Do post it on the comments section. :)


To my 21 year old self

I am trying to remember how you were. Celebrating your 21st birthday while on 5th year college, going about your way trying to pass quizzes and exams, and eventually graduating on the March target date. Reviewing for your ECE Board Exam WHILE starting your 1st job in Alcatel with Carlo and Ferdie, your college batchmates. Eventually passing the board in Oct (or was it Nov?) of 1995. Salary was pretty above average for a first job compared to your other batchmates and you were quietly proud about it. Work was just a 10minute jeepney ride away and you got to go around the country installing switches. I think the only thing you got stressed about was STILL not having a girlfriend at 21.

If by some cosmic chance you, my 21 year old self, get to read this, I would like to say that you will face a LOT of challenges along the way as you reach me, your 42 year old self.

Don't fret too much about how your neighborhood childhood crush preferred going out with that motorbike-riding cool dude over you, a jeepney-commuting 95-lb dark skinned torpe. Don't worry about not having to meet ANY (and I mean ANY) girl of your type in Alcatel. Through a major decision that you'll make in 2 years' time, you will eventually meet her. And then, her. :)

Don't worry about being single for so long as you will later on get married and have 2 handsome and loving kids along with a very patient and loving wife. They will become your daily source of love, happiness, and comfort.

Don't worry about being in what seems to be a dead-end contractual job as that will just mark your career path for greater things to come. Through your courage and God's grace, your career will flourish and you'll play a very important role in a big company in years to come.

Believe it or not, you WILL struggle to lose weight later on. Yes, that very fit 95-lb body will eventually balloon and will need to go thru a lifestyle change, exercise-wise, as you'll discover running and cycling.....and doing both in races, or duathlons as they call it.

What you're going through now? Well, that's peanuts compared to future situations that you'll be in.

Never cease praying. For God will continually bless You and guide You especially in the toughest of times that lie ahead.

Keep your chin up, kid.

---Your 42 year old self

P.S. Get a passport. You will use later on, more often than you think. ;-)


Roelle Football Version 39

I am typing this post with aches and pains all over my body. Yesterday I played in the inter-company 7-a-side football tournament. 5 games under extreme conditions. We didn't reach the semis since we finished 5th.  Still, not bad for a team that had just met 2 months prior to the tournament.

As I mentioned in my previous post, age is really starting to show. By the 3rd game onwards, I couldn't get myself to run or kick the ball hard. It was like km32 of the marathon wherein I've bonked and resorted to walking to the finish line.

Still, not bad for a football comeback as I was able to score two goals.

Yup, I'll still play the beautiful game by age 40 onwards.

That's me with the ball. Really! :-)