"a caterpillar doesn't just grow into a butterfly. a caterpillar must undergo metamorphosis, and a cocoon is where a caterpillar risks it all: enters total chaos, undergoes total rebuilding, and is born to a new way of living. only in taking the risk of entering that inert cocoon can the caterpillar go from dormancy to potency, from ugliness to beauty."

Monday, May 04, 2015


"To see a man beaten not by a better opponent 
but by himself is a tragedy."
 -- Cus D'Amato

boxing is a sport, yes, but, like modern-day wars, it's also a business. people can only wish for a great fight but there's no guarantee at all.

when a boxing match is touted as the "fight of the century" (never mind that it's just 15 years into this century), you can't blame people for expecting a mayweather-pacquiao bout to be something like an ali-frazier slugfest or even better. unfortunately, this "fight of the century" failed to live up to the hype and this is not surprising. quite predictably, mayweather won by taking advantage of a strategy that does not make him lose points in the game, anyway, but takes away the very idea of boxing as a contact sport of throwing power punches and not so much about turning far too many opportunities into the art of hugging and running about in the ring. still, congratulations floyd mayweather, jr.!

i am writing this and i am not even a fan of boxing. i just happen to read many, many months ago about the muhammad ali-joe frazier boxing matches, especially the anecdotes on the "thrilla in manila" (ali-frazier 3); check them out online then you'll have an idea or two of what a "fight of the century" should at least be. 

i was hoping mayweather would step up his game a bit in this boxing match to make things worthwhile for the boxing fans but it's like asking for the moon and stars -- he's just self-absorbed that way and, good for him, his boxing style lets him stay undefeated. his style, by the way, reminds me of winning any contest by mere technicalities, not by a spectacular display of excellence to raise the bar.

at best, i've only seen pictures of the mayweather-pacquiao match; i haven't seen any of the videos -- i don't have to. oh no! if it's just another one of those boxing matches with no KO's nor remarkable exchanges of punches, i don't have to watch otherwise it's just like reading a story with no climax nor cliffhangers, eating spaghetti without meatballs, drinking expired soda -- no fizz -- (and they all remind me of that biblical latin phrase "mane thecel phares" quoted in el filibusterismo) -- not worth the while, a waste of time.

i learned about how things were like during the mayweather-pacquiao bout mostly from facebook posts, which made it easy for me to imagine how mayweather played it like he always does because i've seen clips of his previous fights and there's nothing special in his wins -- his smart style of securing the win is boring. pacquiao, on the other hand, knows how to give a great show when he's in the ring, win or lose.

unsurprisingly, mayweather arrogantly claimed that he did more for boxing than muhammad ali BUT, if being the announced winner who got heavily booed by the crowd is any indication, this is just him and his money team shamelessly and desperately plugging his 'TBE' business. despite his undefeated record, the crowd and the other greats wouldn't readily serve glory and greatness to him. 

05.03.15 it's a pacman world today!

win or lose, it's how you play the game, how you do business. in deserving greatness, the HOW matters. :) congratulations manny pacquiao!

note: this was originally posted here.

Wednesday, April 01, 2015

blacklight (ultraviolet light) plus philippine passport pages

"The only reason people do not know much is because they do not care to know. They are incurious. Incuriosity is the oddest
and most foolish failing there is."

--Stephen Fry

1st day of april 2015 
once upon a wednesday

weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee! thanks to the tip that i got from ate bambit, i found out about the interesting images that are embedded on the pages of our passports. 

thanks also to that viral article showing the images revealed by ultraviolet light (a.k.a. blacklight) on the pages of the canadian passport! ate bambit got curious and she wondered if there's something similarly interesting in philippine passports that we can see with blacklight, too. surprise, surprise... there are! she shared some pics and i got really interested so i went looking for a handy blacklight.

-- some of the blacklight treats in philippine passports -- 

here are some of the images from my old and my new passports (yep, even the old one!). these are all mobile shots so bear with the quality. 

departure and arrival stamps on my old passport
note: china really prefers to use red :)

i was surprised to find out that even those entry-exit stamps we get upon departure and arrival light up with blacklight... ohhh so they use special ink for those stamps.

this represents the generic look of the pages
of my old passport under blacklight
several lines of the passport issuing agency's name in filipino and in english
with the letters written all caps in normal and mirror-orientation
above the page number and a featured image at the bottom

those passport pages are not plain-looking at all! blacklight reveals that all the pages in the philippine passport have something other than the passport number and logo.

in my old passport (maroon and machine-readable; issued in 2008), all pages on the right face of every spread bear the image of the national flower of the philippines, the sampaguita. the photo which appears before this paragraph is page 42 and the left face of the last spread of my old passport. page 42 bears the image of the 2000-year old banaue rice terraces, a national cultural treasure of the philippines.

some of the images featured on the pages of the machine-readable passport:

sampaguita, kalesa, philippine jeepney, and abaca

rizal monument (manila), intramuros (old walled city of manila), barasoain church (malolos, bulacan),
and the colorful vintas (zamboanga)

bicolandia's mayon volcano and bohol's chocolate hills

both my old and new passports have a panoramic image of the malacañang palace on the centerfold. in my old passport, after the centerfold, the right face images from the previous pages were just used again. 

the centerfold image of the machine-readable passport
malacañang palace

unlike the old passport, my new passport (e-passport; issued in 2012) packs more and bears a unique image on every page -- representing stuff from northernmost batanes to southwesternmost tawi-tawi and from palawan in the west to surigao in the east!

some of the images featured on the pages of the e-passport:

stone houses (batanes), paoay church (ilocos norte), calle crisologo (vigan, ilocos sur),
and banaue rice terraces (ifugao)
bamboo organ (las piñas), the big guns of battery way (corregidor island),
mayon volcano and cagsawa ruins (bicol), and mines view park (baguio)

blood compact shrine (bohol), san juanico bridge (samar-leyte),
gen. macarthur and company landing memorial (palo, leyte), and lapu-lapu monument (cebu)

i am delighted that iligan city and tawi-tawi share a spread in the e-passport. on page 18 is an image of the maria cristina falls and on page 19 is the image of the sheikh makhdum masjid, which stands on the site of the oldest mosque in the philippines in simunul island, tawi-tawi.

images of mindanao in my new passport
maria cristina falls (iligan city) and sheikh makhdum mosque (tawi-tawi)

because i'm from iligan city, page 18 deserves a highlight in this post! hihihi.

presenting... the blacklight look of the 18th page of my new passport
iligan city's maria cristina falls 

another image of mindanao in my new passport
surigao's day-asan footbridge

well, if you think that this post is an april fool's day prank, get a uv lamp or uv penlight and see for yourself!

in my honest opinion, it's really a must-try! you won't be disappointed unless your passport is fake. hahaha.

post scripts:
(1) all the blacklight images 'hidden' in the machine-readable passport are already embedded in this post. i selected only a few from the pages of the e-passport but here's the list of featured blacklight images from that newer and better version: rizal monument, banaue rice terraces, bonifacio monument, vigan (calle crisologo), leyte landing memorial, chocolate hills, mayon volcano, corregidor, mines view park, blood compact shrine, day-asan footbridge (surigao), lapu-lapu monument, san juanico bridge, windmills of bangui, maria cristina falls, simunul island mosque, cultural center of the philippines, aguinaldo shrine, malacañang palace, san agustin church, taal volcano, fort santiago, san sebastian church, tubbataha reef, manila city hall, fort san pedro, barasoain church, national museum, callao cave, miag-ao church, limestone cliff (el nido, palawan), fort pilar, mt. apo, las piñas bamboo organ, people power monument, mt. samat shrine, underground river of palawan, batanes stone houses, paoay church, and the makati business district.

(2) with blacklight, philippine passport pages appear more interesting than philippine bills. i used to think that it was the other way around.

blacklight + PhP 20 bill
except for the serial number on the bill's front face,
nothing else really interesting lights up
so here's the back side

blacklight + PhP 100 bill
same case as the PhP 20 bill -- except for the serial number on the bill's front face,
nothing really interesting lights up
so here's the back side

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