The Magic of the Azkals!

BREAKING NEWS: A few minutes from now, I would take that long (and flashy!) walk to the podium to grab with my splendid right hand the piece of paper that I worked hard for the past four years.


While the Azkals was battling it out against the Bengal Tigers last Friday night, I sent an SMS to some of my friends who may have the smallest hint of sports lovers’ blood running through their veins: OMG! Lamang tayo, 3-0. Woooooh! Stay tuned, a historic win is coming!

One of the replies I got was: Tapos? Fad much.

Oh, it completely ruined my night. Boo.


I still can't get over it! The Philippines made it to the AFC Challenge Cup for the first time evaaaaar.

Sorry but this post is not so much of the Azkals as this is more about the symbol that they represent in a basketball-mad archipelago where kids first learn to dribble a ball than to memorize the alphabets. I wrote this to show my appreciation to the passion and love expressed by most Filipinos (I wish I can say all) to our national football team.

FIFA homepage, baby - TWICE.

The Azkals is, I believe, the most talked about national foot
ball team in forums, in Facebook and in Twitter today – I cannot even count on my fingers how many times the Azkals made it to the top-trending topics on Twitter. It can be remembered that their popularity skyrocketed only after their historic 2-0 win against Vietnam and that’s just merely five months ago, just freeeeaking five months ago. In the year-end report of Sports Illustrated, their match against Vietnam made it to the “Top 10 Soccer Stories of 2010”. And if you think that’s all, the Azkals even got a worldwide exposure when they were featured in the FIFA homepage not just once but twice. Wow, that’s pretty amazing for a football team which a few years ago was tagged as the whipping boys of the region.

Fame is not fame without the controversiesand tons of it. The Azkals suddenly become the object of scrutiny. The Azkals has been criticized for having players who are half-Filipinos and half-something else. On this, I have a few words. If you’re going to bash these half-breeds because they are not are pure-blooded Filipinos, you should carry out that to other countries who simply naturalize international star players to make them their own. Indonesia’s El Loco comes to mind.

Others also make an issue *cough cough Angelica cough* of the players entering show business. Oh c’mon! Considering that they have better-paying jobs abroad, one would truly find it remarkable that the Azkals chooses to come home and wear the Philippine colors, nevermind the fact that the monthly training allowance for our atheletes is “barya-barya lang”. Now that’s showbiz offers and endorsements are mobbing the team, I hope none of us will refrain them from savoring their success, their well-deserved success.

Regardless of what others think or say towards the Azkals, I’m proud of them as all should be of their country’s representative. They have worked hard to get to where they are now. Like an askal, they are survivors and hardworkers. No matter how many fat 0’s they get, they keep on fighting.

What amazes me more is the support they’re been getting from the Filipinos. I must say that the kind of fiery support the Azkals has been getting is very strong. When the Suzuki Cup came to a close, the pessimist in me said: "you're just keeping your hopes high, Azkals’ efforts will be easily forgotten as soon as the media stops reporting them". Of course, media won’t pick this up much because they are more interested in the president’s lovelife. But the heck, I was proven wrong. Indeed, the Azkals sparked a major football revolution. And it taught me two things: 1) Homegrown stars can be as charismatic as the half-breeds and 2) Filipinos love their national team that we care enough to include them in our prayers (oh yes, I do).

The Azkals are worthy of being idolized! And Mizuno too. They were there when the Azkals were still on sh*t.

The Azkals generate so much intensity, so much passion from the Filipinos, never mind if not all understands what a red card means.
Such is the love and adoration of the Filipinos to their national football team. People who do not know any better would repudiate such love and adoration as a passing fancy, a pure fanaticism if I may. Well, to tell you, it is fanaticism but it is one of a kind.


As I go on, I remember what?

I wish Mom and Dad had a child before I was born ‘cos I was thinking if I have a big sister/big brother, at least, they can kinda orient me on the do’s and don’ts in college. Perhaps had I had these tips I didn’t made some really huge mistakes and learn things the hard way.


I’m still in a bit of daze brought about by thinking that just few weeks from now; I would take that long (and flashy!) walk to the podium to grab with my splendid right hand the piece of paper that I worked hard for these part four years. Shikes! Has it really been four years? It seems just like last year.

When I made the decision to take up BSN, I knew it would be hard – I just don’t know how haggard-ing it would really be. Oh freaking gawd! It completely savaged, ruined and destroyed my sleeping time (read: laging puyat!). It semed like I had a thousand of stuffs to do every day and sleeping was, well, my last option. Believe it or not, I became accustomed to 18 hours a day, 7 days a week schedule. (Don’t take up BSN unless you love going to school on weekends.)

During the first few weeks in school, I missed my family so badly. (Newsflash: I’m staying in a dorm) That was the time that I realized that I had reach the point in my life where mom and dad will not always be around. I must take responsibility for myself which mean I must take off my diaper, wipe off the milk in my lips and do things for myself.

I learned how to cook for myself – just a little bit though. I tried to cook pancit canton with sabaw once and the taste was urgh. Don’t try this at home evaaaar! I had a shoddy affair with attendance especially in the first two semesters. I was tempted with the usual things like cigarettes and alcohol. Don’t worry, I’ve already stopped it. I forced myself to eat carinderia foods whenever possible. Noodles are well, not nutritious but I learned that it’s very cost-effective. I learned that bringing my student ID at all times do wonders. I check Facebook at least three times a day; I double it on weekends. I became used to taking a bath with cold water – yes, this is a big deal for me. I became a celebrity blogger, in the campus at least. Whenever I go home, all I do is to eat as much as I can, sleep as much as I can but I don’t do the laundry. Let’s be clear on that. I let my Mom do that wonderful job for me. I almost give up this course for a stupid reason that I cannot share here. I learned that having a girlfriend is just a waste of money. I flirted with girls on Facebook – not cool! I joined a pageant in the campus. I’ve met tons and tons of awesome people and some annoying ones. I learned that to budget your allowance is harder than taking an exam. And so many other memories. And oh yes, lessons too!

I would have to admit that mine was a typical college experience. It was tough! I faced a lot of adversities. I have always wanted to go to a certain elite school in Manila but belonging to a lower middle class family, I wasn’t able to fulfill that particular dream. But I’ve always conditioned my mind that bad things happen to everyone. What I need to do is to work my ass off to ensure that no opportunity is rendered spoiled. And with this comes the realization that true success is not defined by the status that you have or by the numbers in your bank account, but it is how you worked for it. Once you learned that lesson, you’ll get along much better in life. You might say that I am not in the position to say this ‘cos I’m just freaking 19 years old – I repeat, nineteeeeeen – but I think you don’t have to be as old as Lola Basyang to share a little bit of what we call, wisdom.

I don’t know where this is going anymore or how I am supposed to end this post. I still had a lot of thoughts going on in my awesome awesome head but lemme just say how thankful I am for everyone who made this journey of mine smooth from start to finish. Some of them will not make it to my post-college life and I to theirs and it’s a sad realization. Really, that really hurts. It is sad and a little thrilling! But I should never say bye.

When I look back in my college days, I see so many mistakes that I (or my friends) did that are inevitable. It pisses me off that I screwed things up pretty bad. So for you to not make the same mistakes that I did, I scribed down some nice (and sensible) college tips that you can ponder on.

1. If you are going to study in a big state university, prepare for the dog-tiring registration process.

2. No matter how much you disliked keeping trashes, don’t throw school receipts.

3. If you have early morning classes, set at least 3 alarms. You don’t want to be late, don’t you?

4. If your class got a load of attractive people, the easier it will be for you. Trust me!

5. If you have a unique feature or whatever, chances are a nickname will emerge and stick harder than a bubble gum.

6. Befriend the campus’ “sekyu” in the beginning of the semester ‘cos it might work for your advantage in the future.

7. Don’t forget to bring your student ID wherever you go.

8. Be cool when dealing with professors that don’t like your point of view. Don’t get upset or anything. Your (stupid) professor might take it out on your grade. It should never happen but it does.

9. Don’t expect to get high grades when you miss more classes than you attend.

10. You don’t need to be close with your roommate. You don’t need to be friend with him either. But at least, try to be cool to him ‘cos he knows where you sleep.

11. Avoid having to purchase separate body soap and laundry soap by using body soap as laundry soap and vice versa.

12. Study, study and study during “hell week” unless you want to fail.

13. If you don’t, prepare to get a little sleep ‘cos you’ll be studying all the time.

14. If you are accustomed to 8 hours of sleep per day, then you are dead.

15. Check your Facebook only once during “hell week” ‘cos those grades might end up suffering.

16. If you are a guy, don’t enter a serious relationship if you have a weekly allowance of Php2K or below.

HIATUS MODE. I don’t want to do this – I really don’t – but I should. I need to isolate myself ‘cos I need to concentrate. NO BLOGGING. No Facebook for two weeks. I know it’s tough but this is the best thing I should do – for myself. Please bear with me. I promise that I will get back to everyone as soon as I can.

PS. I know you would miss me. I just know you would ‘cos


Right? Right!