I AM subbing for Mang Nars Padilla who called me up Friday morning saying that he was in the hospital probably with Tita Sol for some routine check -ups.
He was calling me Thursday afternoon but I missed his call and again earlier that night, again missed it.
It was a little past eight when my phone rung and saw his name registered on the little monitor. I answered it and he said that he will not be able to beat the Friday noon deadline and so he asked me to sub him.
The title is actually a take from the 80s ET (the Extra Terrestrial) rip-off Mac and Me.
I met Mang Nars sometime in March 1996. It was after the first Panagbenga and Mang Nars just arrived from the United States after more than six months of stay after losing his city council seat in the May 1995 elections.
We were bound for Vigan, Ilocos Sur and aboard the Department of Tourism van as part of the media entourage of then DoT–Cordillera director Carmelita Mondiguing for a tourism conference for Cordillera, Regions 1 and 2 tourism stakeholders. Aboard also was Mondiguing’s assistant Jovy Ganongan.
I was subbing for Laarni Sibayan, who had DoT as one of the government agencies she was tasked to cover. Actually, SunStar Vibrations editor Gerry Evangelista charged her to cover practically half of the government agencies, and the other half was mine, along with my public utilities and sports coverages.
However, the late Rey Pedronio took over the coverage of the Departments of Agriculture, Trade and Industry and Labor and Employment, being then our business reporter.
Thom Picana was aboard too as our photographer. Then Cordillera Regional Assembly information officer Donald Jacob was part of the entourage to assist his boss, then CRA chair Sergio Kawi. He was supposed to be aboard his boss’s car, but asked that he join us, being friends with Thom and I, although his intention was to be in the same vehicle the pretty DoT assistant boarded.
Donald and I were also correspondents for the national broadsheet Today, while Thom corresponds for the Mania Times. Also on board was the late Augustus Saboy, a stringer for the Philippine News Agency and one of the veteran mediamen.
The pick-up point was at the Ganza restaurant along Lake Drive at around 4 AM. I arrived with Thom and Donald, who were both boarding at an apartment near our old place along with another SunStar reporter, Bong Cabagbag, who was also a correspondent of Today.
Mang Nars knew both Thom and Donald that Mang Gus had to introduce me. “I thought Pigeon is a girl,” quipped the former councilor, who I knew as a young boy thanks to his Silahis ng Pasko and Children’s Mardi Gras every first of December of which I was part of as a grade 1 student, when we paraded as shepherds.
It was the beginning of a long collaboration and two years later, Mang Nars will invite me to be part of the Fil-Am media which was introduced during the Philippine Centennial in 1998. Mang Nars took me in as chief writer for the media team until 2006 when he quit. I am still part of the Fil-Am media.
On the side, I helped him host his weekly Sportscope Sabado at Mountain View Cable and assistant in his Kafagway Sports Awards.
Last month, Mang Nars called me to take part in the KSA to receive my sports promoter of the decade. The KSA honored Eduard Folayang and Mark Sangiao as top awardees and a slew of athletes including wushu’s best Divine Wally.
I rarely see Mang Nars now and that Saturday morning was the first in many months since I hold my separate awards being more concerned with younger athletes. I had my BBEAL Heroes awards late January where some 50 college athletes. Folayang and Wally were included in that award.
Despite that, I still have so much respect for the old man, who I consider as one of those who helped me better my craft, particularly sports which appears to be the real direction I’m treading.
The last two days, the Puyat Center has been host to the 8th SCTBA Prima Pasta bowling tournament where two of the best Filipino bowlers ever have enlisted. Bong Coo was once the queen of the bowling lanes and along with former World Cup winner Biboy Rivera were the two big names enlisted in the five day tournament that offer more than P200,000 in prizes.
Organized by the Go brothers, Nikko and John Paul, the event is a three division competition, namely, Mixed Open Masters whose champion will get a prize of P50,000. The classified masters champion get P30,000 and the mixed restricted seniors with P20,000 purse.
Participants to the event come from various bowling groups, namely: Tenpin Bowling Affiliation of Makati (TBAM) , Dagupan Association of Tenpin Bowlers Inc (DATBI) , Bowlingplex Tenpin Association (BTA), Magallanes Sarimanok Tenpin Bowling Association (MBA), Philippine Senior Bowlers (PSB), Pasig Bowling Association (PBA), Davao Tenpin Bowling Association (DATBA), Playdium Tenpin Bowling Association (PTBA), Pearl Bowling Association of Paranaque (PBAP), Cavite South Tenpin Bowling Association (CASBA) and the Mandaluyong City Tenpin Bowling Association (MCTBA).
The event, which is sponsored by Prima Pasta, Batobato Plate, Baguio Coun try Club, The Manor, Pugo Adventures and Sakura Terrace / Yamashita, among others, was supposed to see bowling legend Paeng Nepomuceno but begged off to attend to his ailing father in law.
The PBF is recognized by the Philippine Sports Commission, Philippine Olympic Committee and affiliated with the Asian Bowling Federation (ABF) and World Bowling.