Friday, December 31, 2010

Top 10 Football Moments of 2010

These are basically the best 2010 football games I watched in ESPN or in internet streams. There were obviously greater games than the ones I selected but unfortunately, I was not able to watch those games.
  1. FIFA World Cup final [Spain vs. the Netherlands]: Spain winning the FIFA World Cup, European champion Spain defeated the Netherlands 1-0 in the finals and proving once and for all that that the heart and soul of F.C. Barcelona’s sextuple success in 2009 were Xavi Hernandez and Andres Iniesta, not Lionel Messi. [See below]
  2. Champions League Semi-finals [FC Barcelona vs. Inter Milan]: in my opinion, it is the actual Champions League final and far more thrilling than the Inter Milan vs. Bayern Munich final match-up. Barcelona was the tournament favourite but Jose Mourinho has other things in mind in that series . [video]
  3. FIFA World Cup [England vs. Germany]: The goal that never was… in the World Cup last sixteen play-offs. Frank Lampard scored a goal but disallowed by the referee. The incident could have brought a revolutionary change to the game and FIFA will finally introduce video review in football games. Unfortunately, just like any controversial goals before (allowed or disallowed), the chance to make a change failed and so was England’s World Cup campaign, thanks to a referee!
  4. AFF Cup [Philippines vs. Vietnam]: The biggest upset in ASEAN Football, the Azkals defeated Vietnam in front of their home crowd, 2-0. The victory did not only make history but it captures the hearts of previous non-football fans in the Philippines. [video]
  5. El Clasico [FC Barcelona vs. Real Madrid]: Barca 5, Madrid 0... I must admit, as a Real Madrid fan, after that game the best team in the world is FC Barcelona.
  6. FIFA World Cup [New Zealand vs. Italy]: New Zealand’s Shane Smeltz shocked the football world after scoring the opener against defending World Champion Italy. The game ended in a 1-1 draw dominated by flopping Italians and valorous Kiwi defense. [video]
  7. FIFA World Cup [New Zealand vs. Slovakia]: New Zealand’s Winston Reid scored a goal in the dying seconds against Slovakia to earn the All Whites a 1-1 draw. [video]
  8. AFF Cup [Philippines vs. Singapore]: Philippines’ Christopher Greatwich scored the equaliser in the dying seconds against Singapore Lions to earn the Azkals a 1-1 draw (comparable to New Zealand’s  1-1 draw against Slovakia) [video]
  9. FIFA World Cup [Uruguay vs. Ghana]: Uruguay’s Luis Suarez intentionally blocked a goal attempted by Ghana using his hand. The problem was that he was not the goalkeeper. Suarez’s deliberate handball would have been ironically awesome if that game was against Argentina, coached by the Godfather of “Handball” Diego Maradona. Unfortunately, it was against Ghana. [video]
  10. The curse of Nike’s World Cup Ad: all teams and players featured in Nike’s World Cup Ad failed to win the World Cup. The only guy ended up winning something was not even a footballer. [video]

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Rizal Day

Rizal Monument
"I want to show to those who deprive people the right to love of country, that when we know how to sacrifice ourselves for our duties and convictions, death does not matter if one dies for those one loves – for his country and for others dear to him."

Today, December 30, 2010 is the 114th Death Anniversary of the Philippines' greatest national hero Dr. José Rizal. The night before his death, Rizal wrote a farewell poem to all he loved, his family, his friends, and to the Filipino people.

Below is the Spanish text and English translation of the poem, "Mi Ultimo Adiós" (My Final Farewell), written by the national hero of the Philippines, Dr José Rizal, in Fort Santiago on the eve of his execution by the Spanish on December 30, 1896:

Mi Ultimo Adiós

Adios, Patria adorada, region del sol querida,
Perla del Mar de Oriente, nuestro perdido Eden!
A darte voy alegre la triste mustia vida,
Y fuera más brillante más fresca, más florida,
Tambien por tí la diera, la diera por tu bien.

En campos de batalla, luchando con delirio
Otros te dan sus vidas sin dudas, sin pesar;
El sitio nada importa, ciprés, laurel ó lirio,
Cadalso ó campo abierto, combate ó cruel martirio,
Lo mismo es si lo piden la patria y el hogar.

Yo muero cuando veo que el cielo se colora
Y al fin anuncia el día trás lóbrego capuz;
Si grana necesitas para teñir tu aurora,
Vierte la sangre mía, derrámala en buen hora
Y dórela un reflejo de su naciente luz.

Mis sueños cuando apenas muchacho adolescente,
Mis sueños cuando joven ya lleno de vigor,
Fueron el verte un día, joya del mar de oriente
Secos los negros ojos, alta la tersa frente,
Sin ceño, sin arrugas, sin manchas de rubor.

Ensueño de mi vida, mi ardiente vivo anhelo,
Salud te grita el alma que pronto va á partir!
Salud! ah que es hermoso caer por darte vuelo,
Morir por darte vida, morir bajo tu cielo,
Y en tu encantada tierra la eternidad dormir.

Si sobre mi sepulcro vieres brotar un dia
Entre la espesa yerba sencilla, humilde flor,
Acércala a tus labios y besa al alma mía,
Y sienta yo en mi frente bajo la tumba fría
De tu ternura el soplo, de tu hálito el calor.

Deja á la luna verme con luz tranquila y suave;
Deja que el alba envíe su resplandor fugaz,
Deja gemir al viento con su murmullo grave,
Y si desciende y posa sobre mi cruz un ave
Deja que el ave entone su cantico de paz.

Deja que el sol ardiendo las lluvias evapore
Y al cielo tornen puras con mi clamor en pos,
Deja que un sér amigo mi fin temprano llore
Y en las serenas tardes cuando por mi alguien ore
Ora tambien, Oh Patria, por mi descanso á Dios!

Ora por todos cuantos murieron sin ventura,
Por cuantos padecieron tormentos sin igual,
Por nuestras pobres madres que gimen su amargura;
Por huérfanos y viudas, por presos en tortura
Y ora por tí que veas tu redencion final.

Y cuando en noche oscura se envuelva el cementerio
Y solos sólo muertos queden velando allí,
No turbes su reposo, no turbes el misterio
Tal vez acordes oigas de citara ó salterio,
Soy yo, querida Patria, yo que te canto á ti.

Y cuando ya mi tumba de todos olvidada
No tenga cruz ni piedra que marquen su lugar,
Deja que la are el hombre, la esparza con la azada,
Y mis cenizas antes que vuelvan á la nada,
El polvo de tu alfombra que vayan á formar.

Entonces nada importa me pongas en olvido,
Tu atmósfera, tu espacio, tus valles cruzaré,
Vibrante y limpia nota seré para tu oido,
Aroma, luz, colores, rumor, canto, gemido
Constante repitiendo la esencia de mi fé.

Mi Patria idolatrada, dolor de mis dolores,
Querida Filipinas, oye el postrer adios.
Ahi te dejo todo, mis padres, mis amores.
Voy donde no hay esclavos, verdugos ni opresores,
Donde la fé no mata, donde el que reyna es Dios.

Adios, padres y hermanos, trozos del alma mía,
Amigos de la infancia en el perdido hogar,
Dad gracias que descanso del fatigoso día;
Adios, dulce extrangera, mi amiga, mi alegria,
Adios, queridos séres morir es descansar.


English translation of the above poem

My Final Farewell

Farewell, dear Fatherland, clime of the sun caress'd
Pearl of the Orient seas, our Eden lost!,
Gladly now I go to give thee this faded life's best,
And were it brighter, fresher, or more blest
Still would I give it thee, nor count the cost.

On the field of battle, 'mid the frenzy of fight,
Others have given their lives, without doubt or heed;
The place matters not-cypress or laurel or lily white,
Scaffold or open plain, combat or martyrdom's plight,
T is ever the same, to serve our home and country's need.

I die just when I see the dawn break,
Through the gloom of night, to herald the day;
And if color is lacking my blood thou shalt take,
Pour'd out at need for thy dear sake
To dye with its crimson the waking ray.

My dreams, when life first opened to me,
My dreams, when the hopes of youth beat high,
Were to see thy lov'd face, O gem of the Orient sea
From gloom and grief, from care and sorrow free;
No blush on thy brow, no tear in thine eye.

Dream of my life, my living and burning desire,
All hail ! cries the soul that is now to take flight;
All hail ! And sweet it is for thee to expire ;
To die for thy sake, that thou mayst aspire;
And sleep in thy bosom eternity's long night.

If over my grave some day thou seest grow,
In the grassy sod, a humble flower,
Draw it to thy lips and kiss my soul so,
While I may feel on my brow in the cold tomb below
The touch of thy tenderness, thy breath's warm power.

Let the moon beam over me soft and serene,
Let the dawn shed over me its radiant flashes,
Let the wind with sad lament over me keen ;
And if on my cross a bird should be seen,
Let it trill there its hymn of peace to my ashes.
Let the sun draw the vapors up to the sky,
And heavenward in purity bear my tardy protest
Let some kind soul o 'er my untimely fate sigh,
And in the still evening a prayer be lifted on high
From thee, 0 my country, that in God I may rest.

Pray for all those that hapless have died,
For all who have suffered the unmeasur'd pain;
For our mothers that bitterly their woes have cried,
For widows and orphans, for captives by torture tried
And then for thyself that redemption thou mayst gain.

And when the dark night wraps the graveyard around
With only the dead in their vigil to see
Break not my repose or the mystery profound
And perchance thou mayst hear a sad hymn resound
'T is I, O my country, raising a song unto thee.

And even my grave is remembered no more
Unmark'd by never a cross nor a stone
Let the plow sweep through it, the spade turn it o'er
That my ashes may carpet earthly floor,
Before into nothingness at last they are blown.

Then will oblivion bring to me no care
As over thy vales and plains I sweep;
Throbbing and cleansed in thy space and air
With color and light, with song and lament I fare,
Ever repeating the faith that I keep.

My Fatherland ador'd, that sadness to my sorrow lends
Beloved Filipinas, hear now my last good-by!
I give thee all: parents and kindred and friends
For I go where no slave before the oppressor bends,
Where faith can never kill, and God reigns e'er on high!

Farewell to you all, from my soul torn away,
Friends of my childhood in the home dispossessed !
Give thanks that I rest from the wearisome day !
Farewell to thee, too, sweet friend that lightened my way;
Beloved creatures all, farewell! In death there is rest!

(This is the 1911 translation by Charles Derbyshire of the Spanish original of José Rizal's poem, Mi Ultimo Adiós)

Monday, December 27, 2010

Rulers of the Philippines prior to July 1946 (a brief history)

This entry is from my old (and defunct) blog and sort of the second part of the Philippine Presidents entry.

Philippine modern history began when Ferdinand Magellan (Fernando de Magellanes) first set foot in the islands of Visayas and Mindanao, claiming the country for the King of Spain. The first known national chief executive was Miguel Lopez de Legazpi, the first Governor-General of the Spanish East Indies. Legazpi and his successors ruled the islands for 333 years in the name of the Spanish monarchs and its empire, the Spaniards even named the islands after one of their greatest kings, Philip II (Felipe II).

Briefly, during the Seven Years War of 1756-1763, when Spain allied with France (The House of Bourbon ruled both countries) went to a virtual world war with Britain and its allies in Europe, North America and Asia, the Philippines becomes a British territory. The British occupation lasted for three years (1762-1764) and only appointed one Governor-General, Dawson Drake, to rule the country in the named of the British monarch and its empire. The British returned the colony to Spain but the Philippines the Spaniards got in return was more rebellious than ever before.

Spanish rule ended in 1898 after the Philippine Revolution, Asia's first nationalist and colonial revolution, and the Spanish-American War. The First Republic of the Philippines (Asia's first republic) was born with General Emilio Aguinaldo as its first President but the republic did not last long. The United States wants a piece of the pie of the Chinese market. The American experimentation of colonialism gives birth to a superpower and the occupied Philippines was the extension of the American westward expansion that goes back to as early as the Proclamation Line of 1763.

The new colonial rulers appointed Military and later Civil Governor-Generals to rule the country, among them was William Howard Taft, the first civil governor and eventually the 27th President of the United States. The country remained an American colony until 1935, when the United States granted the colony self-government and the Commonwealth of the Philippines was born. The Commonwealth lasted for 10 years and co-existed with the Japanese-sponsored Second Republic of the Philippines in the Second World War.

During the colonial periods, the Head of Government were the Governor-Generals while the Head of State were the Kings of Spain and briefly of Great Britain, and the Presidents of the United States of America. However, during Commonwealth period, the Filipino president was the Head of the Government but the Head of State was still the American president. During the Second World War, however, General Masaharu Homma was the chief executive of the Japanese military administration until it was replaced by the Philippine Executive Commission (PEC) and later by the Second Republic.

The Philippines was granted independence by the Americans on July 4, 1946, the 170th anniversary of the American declaration of independence and the Philippines' Third Republic was born. 

Spanish Governor-Generals of the Spanish East Indies (Philippines, Marianas, Carolines, Palau), 1565-1898:
Miguel López de Legazpi 
· Guido de Lavezaris  · Francisco de Sande  · Gonzalo Ronquillo de Peñalosa  · Diego Ronquillo  · Santiago de Vera  · Gómez Pérez Dasmariñas  · Pedro de Rojas  · Luis Pérez Dasmariñas  · Francisco Tello de Guzmán  · Pedro Bravo de Acuña  · Cristóbal Téllez de Almanza  · Rodrigo de Vivero  · Juan de Silva  · Andrés Alcaraz  · Alonso Fajardo  · Jeronimo de Silva  · Fernándo de Silva  · Juan Niño de Tabora  · Juan Cerezo de Salamanca  · Sebastián Hurtado de Corcuera  · Diego Fajardo  · Sabiniano Manrique de Lara  · Diego de Salcedo  · Juan Manuel de la Peña Bonifaz  · Manuel de León  · Francisco Coloma  · Francisco Sotomayor  · Juan de Vargas  · Gabriel de Curuzealegui  · Alonso de Avila Fuertes  · Fausto Cruzat y Gongora  · Domingo Zabálburu de Echevarri  · Martín de Urzua y Arismendi  · Jose Torralba  · Fernando Bustamante  · Francisco de la Cuesta  · Toribio José Cosio  · Fernándo Valdés  · Gaspar de la Torre  · Juan Arrechederra  · Francisco José de Ovando  · Pedro Manuel de Arandia  · Miguel Lino de Ezpeleta · Manuel Rojo · Simón de Anda · Francisco Javier de la Torre  · José Antonio Raón  · Simón de Anda  · Pedro de Sarrio  · José Basco  · Pedro de Sarrio  · Félix Berenguer de Marquina  · Rafael María de Aguilar  · Mariano Fernández de Folgueras  · Manuel Gonzalez de Aguilar  · José Gardoqui Jaraveitia  · Mariano Fernández de Folgueras  · Juan Antonio Martínez  · Mariano Ricafort Palacín  · Pascual Enrile  · Gabriel de Torres  · Joaquín de Crámer  · Pedro Antonio Salazar  · Andrés García Camba  · Luis Lardizábal  · Marcelino de Oraá Lecumberri  · Francisco de Paula Alcalá de la Torre  · Narciso Claveria  · Antonio María Blanco  · Antonio de Urbistondo  · Ramón Montero  · Manuel Pavía  · Ramón Montero  · Manuel Crespo  · Ramón Montero  · Fernándo Norzagaray  · Ramón María Solano  · Juan Herrera Dávila  · José Lemery  · Salvador Valdés  · Rafael de Echague  · Joaquín del Solar  · Juan de Lara  · José Laureano de Sanz  · Juan Antonio Osorio  · Joaquín del Solar  · José de la Gándara  · Manuel Maldonado  · Cárlos María de la Torre  · Rafael de Izquierdo · Manuel MacCrohon  · Juan Alaminos  · Manuel Blanco Valderrama  · José Malcampo  · Domingo Moriones  · Rafael Rodríguez Arias  · Fernándo Primo de Rivera  · Emilio Molíns  · Joaquín Jovellar  · Emilio Molíns  · Emilio Terrero  · Antonio Molto  · Federico Lobaton  · Valeriano Wéyler  · Eulogio Despujol  · Federico Ochando  · Ramón Blanco · Camilo de Polavieja  · José de Lachambre  · Fernándo Primo de Rivera  · Basilio Augustín  · Fermín Jáudenes  · Francisco Rizzo  · Diego de los Ríos 

British Governor-General of the Philippine Islands, 1761-1764:
Dawsonne Drake 

American Military Governors of the Philippine Islands, 1898-1901:
Wesley Merritt
  · Elwell S. Otis  · Arthur MacArthur, Jr. 

American Civil Governors of the Philippine Islands, 1901-1935:
William H. Taft  · Luke E. Wright  · Henry C. Ide  · James F. Smith  · William C. Forbes  · Newton W. Gilbert  · Francis Burton Harrison  · Charles Yeater  · Leonard Wood  · Eugene A. Gilmore  · Henry L. Stimson  · Eugene A. Gilmore  · Dwight F. Davis  · George C. Butte  · Theodore Roosevelt, Jr.  · Frank Murphy 

Japanese Military Governors of the Philippines, 1942-1945:
Masaharu Homma  · Shizuichi Tanaka  · Shigenori Kuroda  · Tomoyuki Yamashita


Sunday, December 26, 2010

Boxing Day Quakes and Aftershocks

Just when we thought everything is gonna be OK, a day after Christmas (a.k.a. Boxing Day), the earthquake came rolling back. People and even the media called it "aftershocks" when it supposed to be entirely new quakes with small aftershocks that followed. These quakes are part of the Earthquake Swarm event that commenced last September 4, 2010. Some of the quakes and so-called aftershocks that followed then were not even from the same faultline.

There is a possibility that the Boxing Day Canterbury quakes were reactions to the magnitude 7.3 Earthquake off the coast of Vanuatu. The Vanuatu quake might have re-awakened the loosened and sensitive faultlines in the South Island of New Zealand. Although, both may not be related at all since if the quake in Vanuatu felt as far as Canterbury then it should have cause tsunami in Vanuatu and nearby island countries.

Anyway, let us not forget that Boxing Day was also the anniversary of the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami. Maybe the quake here was a reminder about what happened six years ago or its God's way to remind people that they are not celebrating Christmas the right way. 

Check Out: 

Friday, December 17, 2010

2011 Home Test Series [Rugby Union: Philippines vs. Hong Kong]

The Philippine national rugby union team (also known as the Philippine Volcanoes) will play two home test matches against Hong Kong in the middle of April 2011 (April 14 and April 16) at Rizal Memorial Stadium. 

Although, this is good for Philippine rugby and it could be a beginning of rugby rivalry in Asia. I will be worried about the welfare of the Filipino players if they are playing Hong Kong in two rugby XV test matches with only one day to recover from the first test match. This is not Sevens Rugby where teams can play 3-5 matches in one day. I watched the New Zealand All Blacks since 2002; their international test matches are played once every week and thats from a world-class national team. They play their test matches once every week not twice in three days. Unless of course, the Philippine Rugby Football Union (PRFU) will used a completely different line-up for the second test then it’s not a problem at all.

2011 Home Test Series (see also: Philippines in the 2011 Asian Five Nations)
  • vs. Hong Kong, 7-64 (April 14), at Rizal Memorial Stadium [Manila, Philippines] trial match L
  • vs. Hong Kong, 10-74 (April 16), at Rizal Memorial Stadium [Manila, Philippines] L

Here's the 30-man Philippine Volcanoes national squad:

Phil Abraham, JC Bautista, Terry Carroll, Austin Dacanay, Michael de Guzman, Jay Flores, Ronald Fong, Kit Guerra, Chris Hitch, Josh Inong, Freddy Morris, Nick Pineda, Josh Sutcliffe, Jaime Urquijo, Andrew Wolff, Raf Zappia, Rupert Zappia

Arnold Arinion, Dave Carman, Justin Coveney, Chris Everingham, Cleo Gomez, Christian Kennedy, Jake Letts, Michael Letts, John Morales, Patrice Olivier, Oliver Saunders, Ned Stephenson, Kenny Stern
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Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Jury System for the Philippines

Well, after a facebook discussion with a friend and the recent acquittal of a bunch of criminals in the Philippines, I decided to talk about jury system here. Back in 2006, I received a letter that I was summon for a jury duty for the month of June. Then another one in December 2009 and again in August 2010. Although, I was selected to the final 30 a couple of times but I was never pick to the final 12.

Jury duty is a civic duty. It is compulsory to everyone who was not a lawyer, a judge or a criminal. Some people do not like it because it interrupts their plan/schedules or they do not have interests about the law or the trials. Others saw it as a learning experience and a chance to contribute to the community. For me, as a political science student and as an immigrant, it was a learning experience. I lived here in New Zealand for a long time now but I was never a citizen. I am just a resident. However, I have the right to vote during elections and get summon for jury duty. So, if I can participate or get selected to jury duty in another country, even though I am not a naturalized citizen there, then how come I can't do that on my own country (Philippines).

What is "Jury System"?

Jury system is a random selection system that ensures public/civil-based trial juries. The people convicting the offenders are purely democratic. "Its JUSTICE SYSTEM wherein the FUNDAMENTAL enforcers of its rule of law are the common people and not their government, be it federal, state, or local governments through the Grand Jury and Trial Jury Systems."

However, the real question is, will the jury system fit the Philippines?

Jury system has its flaws when you introduce or practice jury duties in the Philippines. Just like every election in the Philippines, where rich can buy votes and for the poor, elections means being paid to vote and it is a popularity contest. In a jury system, the people will decide the fate of the defendant but if the defendant is rich enough to buy the conscience, the voting decision, and the principles of the juries then its pretty much just like the old system. If corrupt politicians can buy their way into public office, then a rich criminal can buy his way out of a trial.

Of course, that does not mean we should not have a jury system in the Philippines. The flaws of the jury system are nothing compare to the flaws of the current corrupt judicial system in the country. If I have my way, I will overhaul the entire Philippine system, from politics to economy, from judiciary to the corrupt society. Why just advocate to reform part of the corrupt system? Why just reform the judiciary system? How about reform the entire corrupt and flawed system?

Anyway, we can reform or overhaul part of the system or the entire system but if the political mindset of the people remains unchanged and the politicians they elect continue to be irresponsible elites then we do not deserve to be a democracy. Who else are the ones voting the corrupt politicians into office. Corrupt politicians do not elect themselves, the people are. In other words, corrupt people always vote for corrupt politicians.

The easiest path to overhaul an entire system or a society is to stage a revolution or launch a military coup. However, such practices are not much of a norm these days and the people will surely oppose it. Another way is to introduce reforms slowly but legitimately. Replacing part of the system one by one but at the risk of integrating it with the corrupt practices, as pointed out with the flaws of the jury system. Although, the jury system have its flaws but such flaws are only possible if the defendant is rich or when the trials last for more than two days or a week (usually a high profile case). Ultimately, Jury System will end the corrupt system in which justice is only available to the rich Filipinos. 

Check Out:

Thursday, December 9, 2010

The Legend of "El Romperedes"

Paulino Alcántara
Since the Philippine national footballers are finally getting some attentions they deserves (thanks to their impressive showing in the AFF Suzuki Cup), I would like to introduce to all new Filipino football converts: Paulino Reistrá Alcántara. [This entry was from my old defunct blog.]

Who is Paulino Alcántara?

Paulino Alcántara was a footballer, in fact, he is the greatest Filipino footballer (soccer player) of all time, and the first Filipino and Asian player ever to play football in Europe.

Alcántara was also one of the greatest players ever to play for Futbol Club Barcelona (F.C. Barcelona), one of the greatest football clubs in the world. At the age of 15, he was the youngest player ever to play for Barca’s First Team and was the all-time youngest scorer for the club. He ends his career as Barca’s all-time leading scorer and still is the holder of the 83 years old scoring record.

Of course, not many Filipinos know about his exploits and most people who knew about his success are not even base in the Philippines. In a country obsessed with basketball and a great producer of some of the best boxers, bowlers, billiard players in the world, Filipinos would prefer the likes of basketball legends Robert Jaworski, Alvin Patrimonio, and the NCC trio (Allan Caidic, Hector Calma and Samboy Lim), or boxing legend Manny Pacquiao, or bowling legend Paeng Nepomuceno or billiard legends Efren “Bata” Reyes and Francisco Bustamante than great footballers such as Alcántara and his modern contemporaries (Alfredo Razon Gonzalez, the Younghusband brothers, Neil Etheridge). Heck, even past sporting legends such as Carlos Loyzaga (basketball), Pancho Villa (boxing), Gabriel “Flash” Elorde (boxing), Felicisimo Ampon (tennis), Simeon Toribio (athletics) are long forgotten due to the lacks of sense in history by modern Filipinos. Footballers, on the other hand, are more revere not in the big cities but in the universities in Manila or in the provinces of Visayas and Mindanao (particularly Iloilo and Negros provinces).

Alcántara was born in Iloilo on October 7, 1896 to a Spanish father (his father served the Spanish Colonial Army in the Philippines) and a Filipino mother. In 1910, his family moved to Barcelona, Spain and there he briefly played for F.C. Galeno, the club formed by his classmates. He then joined the youth squad of F.C. Barcelona and started a career that many Filipinos are unaware of and many Spaniards revered to this day.

In 1912, Barca’s President (and founder) Joan Gamper signed him to the club’s First Team and made his senior début at the age of 15 on February 25, 1912 against Catalá SC in the Catalan Championship (Championat de Catalunya). F.C. Barcelona won 9-0, and Alcántara scored the first three goals of the game. Among his teammates during his first spell at the club were Francisco Bru, Jack Greenwell and Romà Forns. In his debut appearance, he achieved the distinctions of being the first Filipino and Asian player ever to play for a European club, the youngest Barca player ever to play professional football, and the youngest Barca player ever to score in first-grade football.

He debuted in the Spanish Cup (Copa del Rey) on August 14, 1912 against Sabadell to mark the installation of a new set of floodlights at the Estadio de los Arlequinados. The match finished 8-2 to Barca with Alcántara grabbing a hat trick.

In his first four years (1912-1916), Alcántara went on to help the club win a Catalan Championship and Spanish Cup double in 1913 and the Catalan Championship in 1916. Before winning his second Catalan championship title, he was selected to play for the Catalan XI and went on to represent the Catalans five more times until 1924.

After the 1915-16 football season, Alcántara and his family decided to move back to the Philippines. There, he continued his studies in medicine and played football for Bohemians Sporting Club of Manila. He led his new club to two consecutive Philippine Football Federation Men’s Open Championship titles, from 1917 to 1918, and was selected to play for the Philippine national football team in the 1917 Far Eastern Games in Tokyo, Japan.

In the Far Eastern Games, he led the country to its biggest winning margin ever in international football, demolishing Japan, 15-2. Unfortunately, the team abandoned their match against China after a successful conversion of a controversial penalty awarded by the referee giving China a 3-0 advantage. As a result, the team settled for the silver medal. Alcántara also represented the Philippines as a table tennis player.

Alcántara: Barca's all-time leading scorer
In 1918, he returned to Spain and resumed his distinguished career with F.C. Barcelona. The new coach (and former teammate) Jack Greenwell introduced Alcántara to the team as a defender but fan protest forced Greenwell to return Alcántara to his natural position. He then led the team to another Catalan Championship title in 1919 but failed to win the Spanish Cup after losing 5-2 in the finals to Arenas Club de Getxo. His return marks the beginning of the club’s first golden reign in Spanish football.

In 1920, he was named team captain and led Barca to another Catalan Championship and Spanish Cup double with Alcántara scoring in a 2-0 win over Athletic Bilboa in the Cup finals. At the same year, Alcántara was selected to play for the Spanish national team in the Olympic Games but turn down the opportunity due to his educational commitment. In 1921, he led Barca to another Catalan Championship but failed to win the Spanish Cup. He was again selected to represent Spain in international football and he made his debut on October 7, 1921 at the age of 25 against Belgium and scored both goals in a 2-0 win. He became the first player from Barcelona born outside of Europe to represent Spain in international football.

In 1922, he led Barca to its third Catalan Championship and Spanish Cup double with Alcántara scoring twice in the Cup final 5-1 demolition of Real Unión. On April 30, 1922, Alcántara earned the moniker “El Romeperedes” (the net-breaker) after ripping the goal net with a thunderous strike from 35 yards out in an international match between Spain and France.

After a trophy-less season in 1923, he led Barca to another Catalan Championship in 1924 but failed to win the Spanish Cup. The next two years (1925 and 1926), he lead the club to a back-to-back Catalan Championship and Spanish Cup double with Alcántara scoring the winner in the 3-2 win over Atlético Madrid in the 1926 Cup final.

Alcántara: The First Filipino World Class Athlete
After winning his 10th Catalan Championship, Alcántara, at the age of 31, officially retired from the game on July 5, 1927 with the Spanish national team and F.C. Barcelona playing a testimonial game in his honor. He ended his career as the club’s all-time leading scorer with 357 goals in 357 games.

After his retirement, Alcántara was finally able to practice his profession as doctor but his retirement did not prevent him from helping his old club. From 1931 to 1934, he served as one of Barca’s Board of Directors and he coached/managed Spain’s national team in 1951. He died on February 13, 1964 in Barcelona, Spain.

Today, Filipinos admired modern-day sports legends, particularly the overpaid and sometimes overrated PBA players and the lack of knowledge over past achievements blinded them from following the footsteps of our country’s world-class athletes from the past. Philippines has produced some of the world’s greatest boxers, bowlers, and billiard players in history but before the great Pancho Villa or before the great Carlos Loyzaga or before the great Gabriel “Flash” Elorde or way before the great Efren “Bata” Reyes and the great Manny Pacquiao there was Paulino Alcántara. A Filipino legend not just for the Philippines, not just for Spain, not just for Barca, but a legend of the greatest game in the world. He was truly the first Filipino world-class athlete, a legend of a sport that was long ignored by his own countrymen.

Awards and Achievements

Club Records (F.C. Barcelona) and Distinctions:
  • Career all-time record holder for the most goals scored by a player in first-grade football (357 goals in 357 games, in the seasons from 1912-27 (215 goals in friendlies, 5 in the Spanish Cup, 98 in the Catalan Championship, 35 in the Spanish Championship, 3 in the Pyrenees Cup and 1 in the Barcelona Cup).
  • 6th Career all-time record holder for the most goals in all competition, excluding friendlies (137 goals)
  • Youngest player ever to play for F.C. Barcelona First Team (15 years, 4 months and 18 days)
  • Youngest player ever to score for F.C. Barcelona in First-Grade Football (15 years, 4 months and 18 days)
  • First player from Barcelona born outside Europe to represent Spain in international football.
  • First Filipino and Asian football player ever to play in Europe 
  • Team Captain of F.C. Barcelona (1920-1927)

National Teams:
  • Catalan XI (1915-1924)
  • Philippine national football team (1917)
  • Spanish national football team (1921-1923)

Individual Achievements:
  • 2007 Philippine Football Federation Centennial Award for the Most Outstanding Player of the Pre-War Era

Team Achievements:

Catalan Championship (10 titles)
Spanish Cup (5 titles)
Philippine Football Federation National Men’s Open (2 titles)
Pyrenees Cup (1 title)

  • 1912-1913 Catalan champions
  • 1912-1913 Spanish Cup champions
  • 1913 Pyrenees Cup champions
  • 1915-1916 Catalan champions
  • 1917 Philippine Football Federation National Men’s Open champions
  • 1917 Far Eastern Games Football Championship (silver medal)
  • 1918 Philippine Football Federation National Men’s Open champions
  • 1918-1919 Catalan champions
  • 1918-1919 Spanish Cup finalists
  • 1919-1920 Catalan champions
  • 1919-1920 Spanish Cup champions
  • 1920-1921 Catalan champions
  • 1921-1922 Catalan champions
  • 1921-1922 Spanish Cup champions
  • 1923-1924 Catalan champions
  • 1924-1925 Catalan champions
  • 1924-1925 Spanish Cup champions
  • 1925-1926 Catalan champions
  • 1925-1926 Spanish Cup champions
  • 1926-1927 Catalan champions

There are other Filipino footballers (past and present) in Spain but unlike the great Paulino Alcántara, they never had a chance to don the Philippine tri-colors in international football. The most prominent Filipino in Spanish football after Alcántara was Eduardo Teus López Navarro (a.k.a. Teus). He was born in Manila and played for my favourite La Liga club Real Madrid from 1913 to 1918. Just like Alcántara, he went on to coach Spain’s national team.

Other Filipino footballers were Gregorio Amestoy Querejeta (played for Zaragoza, Atletico Madrid and Gimnastic de Tarragona, 1939-1948), Ignacio Larrauri Larrauri (played for Athletic Bilboa, 1941-1942), Julio Uriarte García (played for Zaragoza, 1939-1943), Julian De Guzman (played for Deportivo La Coruña, 2005-2009), and his brother Jonathan De Guzman (currently playing for Mallorca, 2010-present), Angel Aldeguer Guirado (currently playing for Deportivo Ronda, 2010-present) and his brother Juan Luis Guirado (currently playing for Racing Lermeño, 2010-present). Just recently, Angel Aldeguer Guirado became only the second Filipino player ever to came out of Spanish football and emulated Paulino Alcántara in donning the Philippine tri-colors in international football.

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Tuesday, December 7, 2010

"My December" by Linkin Park

"My December"
by Linkin Park

This is my December
This is my time of the year
This is my December
This is all so clear
This is my December
This is my snow covered home
This is my December
This is me alone

And I
Just wish that
I didn't feel
Like there was
Something I missed
And I
Take back all
The things that I said
To make you
Feel like that
And I
Just wish that
I didn't feel
Like there was
Something I missed
And I
Take back all the
Things that I said to you

And I give it all away
Just to have somewhere
To go to
Give it all away
To have someone
To come home to

This is my December
These are my snow-covered trees
This is me pretending
This is all I need

And I
Just wish that
I didn't feel
Like there was
Something I missed
And I
Take back all
The things that I said
To make you feel like that
And I
Just wish that
I didn't feel
Like there was
Something I missed
And I
Take back all the things
I said to you

And I give it all away
Just to have
Somewhere to go to
Give it all away
To have someone
To come home to

This is my December
This is my time of the year
This is my December
This is all so clear

And I give it all away
Just to have somewhere
To go to
Give it all away
To have someone
To come home to

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Quote of the Day

“It does not matter if you don’t look Filipino, if your skin is not fair or even if you cannot speak Filipino. What really, really matters is your heart because there are many people [Filipinos] out there who speak Filipino but their heart is not Pinoy.”
~Mario Feliciano, Filipino-Iranian Cadet in the United States Military Academy (USMA), West Point, New York (Class of 2008)

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