Friday, November 21, 2008

The AUHC Video

Asian Underwater Hockey Competition Plug from fiona borres on Vimeo.

The guys from the Underwater Hockey club are so talented and so diverse. Jay Abello, who hails from Bacolod, is a film director and got his group to produce this 30-sec. TVC for the 2nd Asian Underwater Hockey Championships. Now everyone wants to see the unedited footage.

The AUHC starts tomorrow and we've all been practicing for over a month now. Results to follow!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Black Tie Brawl

Tyrone and I were invited to the Black Tie Brawl last October 18th. Now ordinarily, I would never be able to drag Tyrone to any kind of social event. The draw of the BTB though, is that it's eight Mixed Martial Arts fights thrown in with a five-course dinner at the Hyatt Hotel and Casino. There must be some bloodlust in my son, because he readily agreed to go to the fights with me.

The BTB was a dress-up event, so a few days before, Ty and I went off to find a suit for him. We found one in our first stop - The Landmark. On the third floor kids section, we found a blue suit for P1,980. Add in a few pesos more to get it cut the right length and we had a great deal! This is what we looked like before heading off to the Hyatt:

At the event, quite a few people were actually wearing tuxedos! It's a good thing that Tyrone and I dressed up. T was actually of the opinion that there might be a few people in jeans with jackets, but actually there were hardly any dressed down attendees. If anything, my light grey suit was under-dressed, a fashion faux pas!

We sat at a table with guys from IPVG, as I had been invited by Enrique Gonzalez, their president. We decided to put up a small betting pool, with the pot going to whoever had the most number of correct guesses as to who would win each of the eight fights. Tyrone and I could only get 3 of 8, less than a 50:50 rate! The winner was Rodney Hall, who is in the Sports Betting area and got 8 of 8 correct. I guess his abilities to spot winners extends even to sports he is unfamiliar with.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Valdes Bonding at the O3

"I love it when a plan comes together!"
- Col. John "Hannibal" Smith from the A-Team

I just know yesterday is gonna be one of the highlights of 2008 for all of us. Our O3 adventure turned out fantastic, with a 3rd place finish among the relay teams.

We're all still on Cloud Nine, but just to bring us back down to earth, perhaps it is also best to clarify how we got our podium finish.

First off, only 7 teams registered for the Relay O3, and then, only 5 actually showed up.

The first place Powerade Team was unbeatable. They had the Philippine Long Distance swimming champion, who did the 4k swim in about 48 minutes, then a Tour of Luzon biker for the 120k ride and finally a champion marathoner for the 30k run. Their total time of 6:05 was so fast that they caught up with the overall O3 winner, Mathieu O'Halloran, who was flagged off 30 minutes ahead of the Relay and finished on his own in 6:36.

So really only 4 teams were vying for 2nd and 3rd. Then the two other teams actually got DQ'd, the Cagayan de Oro Team because their swimmer started with the O3 pack instead of with the Relay start, and the Happy Feet Team because, unfortunately, their biker had a crash as she neared the finish.

So that left Team Valdes vs. the Ocean Adventure Team, who all turned out to be pretty young and athletic guys. Ocean Adventure won 2nd place with a strong 8:20 time, a good 48 minutes ahead of us, with each of their team members winning against us individually: their swimmer finished in 1:09 vs. my 1:21, their biker did 4:01 vs. Robin's 4:15 and their runner clocked 3:09 vs. Tessa's 3:31.

I think Robin could have potentially matched or beaten their biker, but he had a bike crash in Tagaytay a week ago and was still nursing bruised ribs and hips. We're just glad that he was able to make it to Subic. Tessa's best 10k is already sub one hour, so the 3:09 is within her reach. As for me, 1:21 is the fastest and longest I've ever swam, so a 1:09 seems pretty far away.

Well, win or lose, we did have loads of fun, especially with Dave, Mona and the kids in our support group. Lots of pictures will be loaded up on our Multiply sites soon.

The official race results are here. Our official times are:
Swim 4k 1:21:01
Bike 120k 4:15:56
Run 30k 3:31:10
Total 9:08:07

Sunday, July 06, 2008

47 is the new 30 = O3

How strange it feels to get into one's late 40's. A few days ago, I could still legitimately call myself "mid-40's." But now a new plateau has been reached and my math skills tell me I should be rounding up rather than down.

One consoling text was received from my bro, Robin, who noted that "47 is the new 30." Well, let's just hope I can continue to keep up with the many tireless thirtysomethings in the underwater hockey games.

Perhaps in "celebration" of this latest milestone, I started training today for the upcoming O3 triathlon. The official race name is the ITU O3 Asian Long Distance Triathlon and it is scheduled for August 2, 2008 in Subic Bay, just 27 days away.

All this is to help T with her preparations for the New York Marathon in November. As part of her training for that 42k run, today she ran 21k in the Manila Half Marathon, finishing in a strong 2:13. Her coach, Ani, says she should be scaling up to the 30k level by August, so the O3 is perfectly timed.

Unfortunately for me, the O3 is a triathlon, so for T to run the 30k leg, she first needs teammates to do the 4k swim and the 120k bike. Robin is a very good biker and has been pressed to duty to take care of the 120k bike.

That leaves the challenging swim leg, which is described as:

O3: Two 2km loops (Cut-off: 2 hours & 45 minutes, 8:45AM )
Description: Clockwise direction with a surf-run each loop. The swim course will be marked with buoy lines. Kayaks will be deployed to guide some of the swimmers or provide safety assistance. A C-shaped buoy line will be located offshore. The distance from swim exit to transition is 50m, beaches and path with shower.

Today I swam 1.5k at the Polo pool, with no waves and with 30-sec breathers every 500m. I'm quite far from getting to 4k. But I guess that's what goals are for.

Robin, of course, quipped that he and Tessa may not even get to start their races in the event I don't finish the 4k! Ah, now that's a consoling thought!

Saturday, July 05, 2008

A Long Time Ago in a Tunnel Far Far Away

During our HavItAll scuba weekend, Ichay B and I were reminiscing about our scuba diving days in the eighties. We remembered one near accident we had inside the Mapating Cave, which is a tough cave dive complicated by its deep depth.

Not surprisingly, we had different recollections of the near-25-year-old event. The third person in the cave, Jingjing T, couldn't be reached by cellphone but we all did get to contact each other weeks later.

Here are the e-mails and the three versions:

To: Jingjing
From: Dennis

As I recall that dive from 20 years ago, we were all in the short tunnel in Mapating - me in front, followed by you and Ichay. Somehow, I remember looking back (for what reason I cannot recall) and then seeing Ichay and you moving into a buddy-breathing position.

However, you couldn't get your reg into her mouth. When I looked closer, I saw that her reg's mouthpiece was still in her mouth! Somehow, her reg and mouthpiece had separated in the cave! I remember sticking my finger into the mouthpiece hole, still in Ichay's mouth, and flicking it off with my finger. Then I gave her my reg and I went for my octopus.

Once we were both breathing again, we moved to the cave mouth, I gave her the octopus and I got my own reg back, then we made our ascent with you following closely behind.

In Ichay's version, she recalls that she started buddy breathing with you in the short tunnel and that I took over for some (unrecalled) reason.


To: Dennis
From: Jingjing

Well, for my version of the story...
Before the dive, Ichay and I had an agreement that since we were buddies, that we would do the buddy breathe just in case anyone was low on air during the deco stop.

What I remember is that we just got out of the cave and before our ascent, Ichay pulls my reg from my mouth. I obliged because I had expected it. But I wondered why it came a bit too soon. Anyway, so we calmly moved into the buddy breathing position. I didn't notice she had her other mouthpiece still in her mouth. That's why she had water every time she inhaled and couldn't get enough air. I thought she was breathing well. After she took two breaths, I was expecting my reg back but she wouldn't give it back yet. I waited another 2 breaths and before the situation got worse, you came along. You saved both our lives from damage at that point. We never thanked you. Thanks!


To: Jingjing
From: Dennis

How galing your memory. My recollection has got to be wrong then since I must've sensed you both struggling with the reg - that's the reason I must've looked back. The only question is whether we were still in the short tunnel or already in the entrance.

And, of course, the craziest question of all - how did Ichay's reg get separated from her mouthpiece in the first place???


To: Dennis
From: Ichay

My and Jing's versions match. Dennis, you're not much older than us ha! :)

To add on to Jing's version- we were in the short tunnel, Dennis was ahead, I was next, then Jing. I started breathing water and immediately, there was a sharp and intense pain - must be the lack of air at 150 feet. When I was at the verge of blacking out from the pain, I just had enough sense to think that I needed air so I turned around because Dennis was too far ahead and saw Jing's silhouette (the light from end of the tunnel was several meters behind her). I grabbed for the general direction of her mouth. At this point, everything was a blur and luckily, my hand landed on her reg. Until now I wonder what would have happened if my hand missed Jing's reg.

I must have not been thinking well anymore because I realized after the dive that I never gave Jing back her reg. Sorry Jing!!! That's when Dennis came.

So Dennis, yes. Thanks for saving Jing and I! :)

And as to why my mouthpiece came off, I have no idea.


Funny how a single event can have multiple shades of memory. Very Rashomon.

The reason Ichay never got into any trouble, of course, had nothing to do with me. It's because she has six toes! (As blogged by her sister here.)

Her Dad once told me that because of this, "maswerte si Ichay." And true enough, she has always been a lucky person.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Fourteen Years

June 24th was our 14th wedding anniversary. T and I have come a long way from marching down the aisle of the Santuario de San Antonio, with a long-haired Afghan hound as part of the entourage. Funny how it's the little details that I remember.

The morning of the wedding, my Mom woke me up with a frantic phone call. "Dennis, is there a dog in your wedding?"

"What? Of course not, Mom. Why would we have a dog in the wedding?"

"Well, I'm looking at the entourage list and it says right here, D-O-G."

"Oh that must be a typo or something. It's probably a code from the bridal consultants. D-Oh-6 or some crazy thing like that. Don't worry about it."

Of course, T had never told me about the dog. Apparently one day about a month before the wedding, she'd been walking in Urdaneta Village and saw Lito and Kim Camacho (this was way before his Secretary of Finance stint) walking their Afghan hounds.

She quickly convinced Lito to lend her the dog for our medieval-themed wedding. Their ten-year-old daughter Bea became a last-minute additional bridesmaid (to control the dog!). When designer Inno Sotto's staff presented me the additional bill for Bea's gown, I still remember saying, "What's this for?" And T snatched the invoice and said, "Oh never mind, it's a surprise for you. Just pay it."

So on the evening of the wedding, there I am at the foot of the altar watching everyone walk slowly up the aisle, the violin strains of Pachelbel's Canon providing a medieval ambiance. Suddenly I see this beautiful hound bouncing up the aisle, led from behind by a young girl (I'd never seen before).

In my mind, the only thing I can think of is, "Oh my God. On my wedding day, I lied to my Mom."

So with that intro, I must say it's been a remarkably interesting fourteen years. These days it's no less subdued, especially on T's part. The costumes continue to be outre, the wigs outlandish, the accessories oversize.

(This photo is from our anniversary dinner at Azu Thai, the Gamboa's new restaurant at the Milky Way Building. T's necklace was a gift from my Mom.)

Thing is though, we don't have any dogs. But things do come full circle. Annika is ten now and she's been asking for one.

P.S. I was looking through our old wedding albums and came across this photo, which includes the very svelte Gigi and the alluring Rosan. Very worth posting.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Fathers' Day at the Shang

Today is Fathers' Day and I spent most of it in a business lunch with some foreign visitors. Ironically enough, just outside the Shang's Inagiku restaurant was a small exhibit celebrating the day. The sign says,

"A Tribute to Fathers"
Captured moments of distinguished men in the role they play best ... fathers.
June 13 - July 6, 2008
Makati Shangri-La

The exhibit featured a framed photo of a bunch of different fathers, all from pictures taken by their kids. Thanks to T and her good friend, J, who works with the hotel, my photo was deemed fit to join the exhibit.

We decided to submit a photo taken by Tyrone when we stayed at the Sangat Island Reserve in April this year. Funny but I just realized that I never blogged about that trip. All I did was post our pictures in Multiply. The caption under my photo says,
"a photo taken by Tyrone on a scuba diving trip in Coron, Palawan"

That was a fun trip, a continuation of the annual Father-Son Trips that Bryan and I used to do when he was younger. Sangat isn't a plush place; in fact, it's quite basic in amenities (although they did have wireless connectivity at the resort's bar). For me, its key attribute is its proximity to the ten or so Japanese World War II wrecks in Coron Bay and Busuanga Island.

Ty and I got to dive six of the wrecks: Tangat, Kogyo maru, Irako, Taiei maru, Akitsushima and Olympia maru. Actually Tyrone skipped the Irako as that was a deep dive, and the dive guide and I penetrated into the ship's kitchen at 113 feet. The wrecks and Coron Bay have lately been getting a lot of good press. Hopefully that will improve the tourism numbers of the area.

As can be seen from this photo alone though, it was a good bonding trip for both of us. And Ty is clearly learning to frame his photo subjects properly. Some good thoughts to take away from the exhibit ... when I should be home with the kids and not negotiating contracts.

Friday, June 13, 2008

An Old Hockey Picture from Marilen

In our underwater hockey group, the "vets" are those players who have been playing since the early 90's, when the Philippine Underwater Hockey Confederation or PUHC was formed. There are also those who've been playing since the 80's, of course, during the Jurassic, pre-hockey Period when we were all U.P. Divers.

Marilen Carpio recently sent this blast from the past, a hockey picture from September 1989. From L-R, that's me, Marilen, Gigi Santos, Martin Reyes, Toti Turalba, Freddie Reyes (Martin's brother), Jingjing Llamas and my brother Dave.

How time flies! Gigi looks like Marcie, the friend of Peppermint Patty in Peanuts. Toti looks like a boy and now he and Jing are married with two kids. And we all miss Martin, who passed away a few years ago.

The funny thing is that this is probably the only hockey game I played in 1989. I left Manila in 1988 to take my MBA. In between the two years, I got a summer job working for NutraSweet. What I did that summer was to fax (no e-mails yet) John Concepcion in Manila and talk about launching a diet version of Sarsi.

That project worked out pretty well because at the end of the summer, NutraSweet sent me to Manila with another manager to finalize the launch plans for Diet Sarsi. I was only in town for about five days, but obviously I found time to squeeze in a hockey game one night. I guess that's why Marilen describes me in the photo as "visiting."

I ended up working for NutraSweet until 1996, during which time I didn't get to play any hockey at all because they stationed me in Chicago, then Singapore, then Hong Kong and finally in Manila when T and I got married in 1994. Gosh, indeed how time flies!

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