Thursday, July 29, 2010
Monday, July 26, 2010
With barely a few weeks left before the much anticipated beauty pageant in the world, Maria Venus Raj, a resident of Bato Camarines Sur, is summoning all her power to firmly make the universe feel her prowess as the next to watch for.
Just a few days after her coronation last March 6, she almost lost her crown when the Binibining Pilipinas organizers headed by the Colombian Stella Marquez Araneta found an alleged discrepancy in Venus Raj citizenship when her supposedly verbal answer on her birthplace does not match her records that according to the organizers nullify her citizenship. Fortunately, the Department of Foreign Affairs validated and reaffirmed her citizenship by issuing her a Philippine passport. Now she is back with vengeance and also a very shining example of a strong, driven woman of the 21st century and an inspiration for all.
All the necessary trainings and enhancements have been taken by her and only a few Osmel Souza magic can only break the spell cast on the Philippines for a long decade drought of not making the cut. Her only weakness is the interview because she had a hard time composing thoughts and best deliver it. All she needs to do is to be natural as possible, deliver short message but firm or she can have sense of humor but most importantly, she needs to be spontaneous and with sense in order for her message to be effective. Hopefully by now, they will start bombarding Internet with her stunning pictorials on her outfits for the competition. Can't wait to see her at the Miss Universe 2010 on August 23in Mandalay Bay Resort, Las Vegas, Nevada and special guest of Miss Earth 2010 in Nha Trang, Vietnam to be held at Diamond Crown Convention Center on December 4.
All the necessary trainings and enhancements have been taken by her and only a few Osmel Souza magic can only break the spell cast on the Philippines for a long decade drought of not making the cut.
Saturday, July 17, 2010
Gigantes Islands or giant islands are huge rock formations on the white powdery sand beach resort in Gigantes, a part of the town of Carles, Iloilo, the northeastern part of Panay Island in west central Philippines.
Its pristine island and azure waters with its sparkling white sands is comparable to El Nido, Palawan, Philippines because it is unspoiled, isolated and non commercialized area open only for a few tourists. It is also the place of some artifacts discovered few years back, one of our great ancestors, pioneer settlers of the Philippines. Gigantes Islands is also home to some endemic flora and fauna which are critically endangered species. I will never regret visiting this island and if possible, maybe build a vacation retreat house or permanent residence because of the loveliness of the island. You can watch more of the Gigantes Islands or Isla de Gigantes, Carles, Iloilo on Youtube.
Monday, July 12, 2010
Paulino Alcantara: Legend in World Football
By Nestor P. Burgos Jr., Philippine Daily Inquirer
ILOILO CITY – As the world celebrates for Spain’s winning of 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa, basketball-crazy Filipinos should know that they have a hero to inspire them to switch to football as a national passion.
And it’s not the great Pele of Brazil, Argentina’s living legend Diego Maradona or the current world top player Lionel Messi, also of Argentina, or heartthrob Cristiano Ronaldo of Portugal.
Long before these heroes burst into the global football scene, there was Iloilo-born Paulino Alcantara.
Alcantara, born to a Spanish military officer and an Ilongga mother on October 7, 1896, is considered to be one of the sport’s legends, especially in Spain.
While he is largely unknown to Filipinos and even Ilonggos, he is revered in the world football community with tributes and memorial sites devoted to him in the Internet.
“He may be unknown even to the young players, but he is an icon to many of us,” said Pablito Araneta, also from Iloilo and former vice president of the Philippine Football Federation (PFF), which groups around 35 football associations in the country.
Alcantara scored an astonishing 357 goals in as many games played, or an average of one goal per game, as a striker of the Futbol Club Barcelona (Barcelona Football Club) where he played from 1912 to 1927, according to the club’s website.
He also helped Barcelona, one of the top clubs in the current Spanish league, win five Spanish championships and 10 Catalan League championships, the first professional football league in Spain during that period.
His strength was legendary. Medium built and lacking the physique of a professional athlete, he, nevertheless, earned the title “El Romperedes” (Net Breaker)” on April 30, 1922, after a powerful kick 35 yards from the goal ripped the net in a game between Spain and France.
“For many years after, children from Barcelona would recall that moment and would wish to do the same as the man from the Philippines,” according to Alcantara’s profile in the FC Barcelona website.
Except for online accounts, however, there is little information on Alcantara and his family.
Araneta said a research conducted by PFF in 2007 during the commemoration of the centennial of Philippine football showed that Alcantara’s father was a Spanish military officer stationed in Iloilo. Other accounts identified his mother as surnamed Riestra.
No Official Records
Ilonggo historian and lawyer Rex Salvilla said he has not come across official records of Alcantara and his family, which could explain why he is not well known among Ilonggos.
Salvilla noted that Alcantara was only 2 years old during the Philippine Revolution in 1898. His father, being a Spanish official, could have gone home and brought his family to avoid imprisonment or could have surrendered before taking his family with him to Spain, Salvilla said.
But according to various accounts posted in the website www.world-football-legends.co.uk/alcantara/php, Alcantara came to Spain when he was 14 years old, a year before he debuted with FC Barcelona. He returned to the Philippines in 1916, or when he was 20 years old, and played for two years with the Bohemians, a Filipino football club.
He returned to Spain and resumed playing with his club in 1918 where he rose to become a legend.
On the other hand, in its Philippine football centennial issue, the Pinoy Football Magazine, published by the PFF, said Alcantara became the youngest player to wear the FC Barcelona jersey when he started playing for the club when he was 15.
Missing the Olympics
But more than becoming a football star, Alcantara was dedicated to becoming a doctor and did not play in the 1920 Antwerp Olympic Games to study medicine.
He retired from football in 1927 to dedicate his time to medicine but he briefly coached the Spanish national team in 1951, which was unbeaten in the three matches that he steered the team.
Alcantara died in Barcelona on February 13, 1964, at the age of 67, according to the FC Barcelona website.
It was also during Alcantara’s peak that the Philippines became an Asian football powerhouse with the country bagging the gold in the 1913 Far Eastern Games, the forerunner of the Asian Games.
While Alcantara missed the 1913 games, he played four years later as part of the national team that routed Japan 15-2 in their match in Tokyo.
Japan was among the Asian teams that qualified in the round of 18 in the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.
“That rout of Japan was the highest that the Philippines had advance in international football, Araneta said.
World’s No. 169
The international football federation FIFA currently ranks the Philippines 169th out of 207 member-countries in men’s football.
Despite the Filipinos’ preference for basketball and boxing, football players and fans have increasingly drawn inspiration from Alcantara’s exploits to raise local awareness and passion for the sport.
A life-size statue of Alcantara was unveiled at the PFF office at the PhilSports Complex in Pasig during the football centennial commemoration in 2007, said PFF general secretary Chito Manuel.
In Alcantara’s home province of Iloilo where football is popular especially in Barotac Nuevo town, dubbed the “Football Capital of the Philippines,” players and fans can readily cite Alcantara as proof that Filipinos can do well and even be among the greatest in the international football arena.
“We don’t have to stop at watching the World Cup and cheering for our idols. A hundred years ago, an Ilonggo already showed us the way to greatness,” said Duffie Botavara, president of the Barotac Nuevo Football Club.
Berlin (AP) – There’s been plenty of ink for Paul the octopus lately, and why not?
The octopus, also known as the “Oracle of Oberhausen,” has successfully predicted the winner of eight World Cup matches including the FIFA World Cup 2010 winner Spain that concludes today in a game against Netherlands, 1-0.
Paul had predicted correctly the winner of today’s final match. And rather than go out on a limb – or maybe eight of them – the critter is sticking with the favorite, picking Spain over The Netherlands.
Handlers of the 2 ½ year- old floppy octopus – a resident of the Oberhausen Sea Life aquarium – usually have him make predictions only for games in which Germany plays. But because of Paul’s recent worldwide fame and demand for his pick for the final, they made an exception.
Here’s how the seer sucker makes his prognostications: Officials put a mussel inside each of two clear plastic boxes bearing the national flags of the teams in his tank. Paul then makes his choice by opening the lid with his tentacles and devouring one of the treats.
Millions across Europe, in Taiwan and elsewhere watched a live TV broadcast Friday of his choice of Spain, complete with breathless commentary. He also predicted Germany over Uruguay in Saturday’s third-place game.
Paul has gotten business proposals, has thousands of Facebook fans and even has the attention of world leaders.
Animal rights group Peta wants him freed. Many Germans – upset that he correctly picked Spain over Germany in Wednesday’s semifinal – want him fried.
“Paul is such a professional oracle – he doesn’t even care that hundreds of journalists are watching and commenting on every move he makes,” said Stefan Porwoll, the Sea Life aquarium manager. “We’re so proud of him.”
After his prediction of his home country’s loss came true, German TV showed footage of a grilled octopus. That prompted Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero to fret about the safety of “El Pulpo Paul,” as he’s known in Spain.
Security for Paul
“I am concerned about the octopus,” Zapatero said. “I’m thinking about sending in a team to protect the octopus because obviously it was very spectacular that he should get Spain’s victory right from there.”
In response to hundreds of angry e-mails from Germans, the aquarium actually took extra precautions, Porwoll said.
“I even told our guards and people at the entrance to keep a close look at possible football fans coming after Paul for revenge,” he said, adding that the hate mail was outweighed by declarations of love and requests for predictions.
Peta says Paul’s tank is too small. But Porwoll said the creature was born in captivity and has never had to deal with any natural enemies, so dumping Paul into the Atlantic would likely mean death. He could live up to four years in captivity, Porwoll added.
In the meantime, he might have a future beyond World Cup. A reporter from Greece asked if the mollusk medium could foresee the end of the financial crisis, and German TV stations have offered lucrative contracts, Porwoll said.
After Arab news sites reported Paul’s picks, it was suggested he be sent to Iraq to choose between two bitter rivals – Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and his main challenger, Ayad Allawi – vying to head the new government.
Gary Jenkins, an economis with London’s Evolution Securities, hedged his market analysis note Friday with the phrase, “unless Paul says differently.”
British punters who had backed The Netherlands to beat Spain in Sunday’s final are switching sides after Paul predicted a Spanish win, bookmakers said Friday.
“The Paul Effect” has turned the betting on its head with more punters backing Spain since the famous octopus gave his verdict,” said a spokesperson for Paddy Power bookies.
Before Paul’s prediction, Paddy Power said it had seen 54 percent of the bets laid placed on the Dutch to win. But since then, 56 percent have gone on Spain.
“Whilst the shrewdies and big money punters are firmly backing Spain, Holland had been the more popular bet among the casual punters in terms of number of bets placed, said a spokesperson.
“But since Paul’s prediction on a Spain win, we’ve taken more bets on the Spanish for the first time since the final lineup was known.”
Paul’s effect is not as strong at rival bookmakers’ William Hill, who said people are suspicious of placing hard cash on the musings of an octopus.
“We have not changed our prices. We’ve had a few quick rushes on Spain after Paul’s prediction, but I think our bettors make their own decision rather than following the octopus,” a spokesperson said.
Graham Sharpe, the spokesperson for William Hill, said bettors have been asking the staff about the picks by the buoyant clairvoyant.
“If you had just bet 10 pounds ($15) on each of Paul’s six successive winning selections… so far, you would have made a healthy profit of 84 pounds ($126) – but if you had put the winnings from each bet all onto the next one, you would now be looking at 1,400 pounds ($2,108) of profit,” Sharpe said.
Paul is not without competition. There’s also Mani, a parakeet in Singapore, who predicted the Dutch would win Sunday by creeping out of his wooden cage and choosing between two cards that bore the two nations’ flags.
In South Africa, Spanish team defender Carlos Marchena isn’t putting too much stock in Paul’s pick.
“It’s only an octopus,” he said.
Reports from AP, AFP
The Red wins the 19th FIFA World Cup first time for the Iberian peninsula and the third loss of the runner up Netherlands. Maybe its not yet time for the Orange team to win it but they may have another time and dont take chances and do all you can to win.. Sorry to see Wesley Sneijder weeping and spitting as their team losing the game to Spain but thanks to the only score of the Spanish armada, the bald-headed Andres Iniesta, to the strong goal keeper Iker Casillas and most especially to Carles Puyol of making Spain's first entrance into the finals. Congratulations Spain and pour over the Champagne!
Sunday, July 11, 2010
Germany won against Uruguay for a third place finish at the near conclusion of FIFA World Cup 2010 and the finals will be set later between Netherlands and Spain. The best of luck
Saturday, July 10, 2010
The exciting match between Netherlands and Uruguay could not sustain the adrenaline rush and nerve wracking exciting kicking balls between old time rivals Germany and Spain with the latter winning the semis advancing to the finals against Netherlands, a prominent European team and a finalist in FIFA World Cup in previous editions. The two already met formerly at European Championships 2008 in Austria and Switzerland with Spain taking the title. The intense rivalry continued at this year's FIFA World Cup in South Africa with Germany seeking their 4th trophy while Spain is seriously playing to win their first title of this calibre. Thanks for a foul made by Germany's midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger, that allowed a corner kick and passed on to Spain's Carles Puyol to head kick for a sole goal of Spain in the game that made continue their journey for the title.And thanks to the clairvoyant cute slimy and slender tentacles of Paul the Octopus who sides with Spain but angers Germans. Goodluck to both Spain for the finals on Sunday and Germany for a 3rd place match later today against Uruguay!