Thursday, September 7, 2017

Baka Sakali



Walang sigurado.

Life is unpredictable, is the one of the first life lessons I learned at an early age. I usually associate the Filipino phrase “Walang sigurado” (Nothing is certain) with sudden death of loved ones—my favorite aunt, my grandmother, my brother-in-heaven.

The uncertainty of life (how long or brief it is, and what happens in it) had been a stumbling block, for 23 years or for the better part of my existence. A motivation to be more careful, to keep things close to my heart, well, close to my heart, and to tread through this Universe as cautiously as I can. Surviving rather than living.

But when a close friend had a serious illness that was not in any way caused by her lifestyle, I started to doubt the way I live survive this life. I realized for the first time that, Life is short. So in 2016, I entertained the idea of veering away from my tried and tested Cautious Way™. I spent the last few days of 2016 taking this (to me, then) Big Risk that previous-me would not have taken, or even thought of. And even then, when I took that Big Risk, I still tried to control its outcome. To avoid surprises and uncertainty. Long story short, I gave up before I really tried.

After much introspection after that Big Risk and how unsuccessful my Cautious Way™ has been in bringing me closer to my ultimate life goal (i.e. To Be Happy), I had new words to live by:

Life is too short for us to do the things we don’t want to do.

This new mantra helped me see 2017 in a different light. Things I previously would not have done, tried, or said yes to, I did. Reading a self-help book for the first time, sending an application letter for a job I considered to be way out of my league, swimming (metaphorically hehe) despite not knowing how and having nearly drowned in the past, trying new things, sharing myself with more people, just to name a few.

But of all these risks, the most important and most potentially damaging or uplifting (depending on the outcome) is, sending paper planes.

Oh Wonder said to build a paper plane to float to you; I built a few more just to be sure.

I still don’t know whether it was a good idea to send those “planes” but I measure its importance by my willingness to take a leap of faith. To just go and say, Bahala na si Batman.

Yes, it is still true that nothing in life in certain (I’m still not sure whether the recipient of the planes genuinely appreciated them, or were they merely being polite, or they didn’t want the guilt of turning down someone), but at least now I have the courage to willingly take a real leap. To leave it all to fate and great timing.

Baka sakali.

I took that leap not knowing what the outcome will be. I took that leap hoping for a less heartbreaking result than what I got in 2016. I took that leap exactly 38 days ago and up to now I'm still confronted with whys and hows. Does it really take 21 days to develop a habit? Do I want you to do things by force of habit or by conscious effort? Am I doing the right thing? Or is it too much? I am not any closer to the answers to my questions.

But what I am sure of is this, I took that leap with the hope that it will bring me closer to happiness only to discover that taking the leap itself made me happy.


Saturday, December 31, 2016

2016

Every year since 2007, I post a review on Multiply about the year that passed and rate that year with stars--5 stars being the best. Sadly, Multiply closed down, and along with its closure went my reviews for 2007, 2009, 2010 and 2011. Those reviews are forever lost but I have continued that tradition here for 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015.

My 27th birthday was mostly spent in quiet reflection.

HIGHS:

1. Lawyered. 2016 was scary for its potential to be really good or be really bad. Fortunately for me, 2016 took the really good route. Up to now, I can't find the appropriate way to describe how passing the Bar felt. To say that it was indescribable is even an understatement. It was that good a feeling.

Signing the Roll of Attorneys. #ontothenext

2. Got a job that mattered. The work we do is tiring and demanding (of time, effort and brain cells) but I've always believed in working with a purpose: To contribute to the greater good. I'm fortunate to do something I like and get paid while doing it.

Hail to the Chief!

Because of work, I went around the Philippines in the past year. I reached cities I haven't been to before (Legaspi, Bacolod, General Santos, Tuguegarao and Puerto Princesa to name a few) and revisited those that I have (Tacloban and Cebu). I had a chance to visit my grandmother in Western Samar as well.

PPUR Tour with co-workers

3. Went shoe crazy. I have always been obsessed with shoes (sneakers to be more precise) but I didn't have the moolah to be a legit one, then. So I waited for the right time.

My babies. *heart eyes*

4. Went basketball crazy--ier. FIBA came to Manila last July for the Olympic Qualifying Tournament, and I was fortunate to have a friend willing to spend a considerable amount of her monthly salary for a lower box ticket. It was my first time to watch Gilas Pilipinas play in an official FIBA tournament, live. The boys lost but they fought valiantly, as always, and made the country proud. Next up: China for the FIBA World Cup in 2019 and Tokyo for the Olympics in 2020.

#LabanPilipinas
PS: On a slightly related note, Rain or Shine, my favorite PBA team, got a championship this year as well. I was watching live when Paul Lee made that game-winning, series-turning shot in Game 2 of the Finals against Alaska.

5. (Slowly) got rid of a nasty law school-acquired habit: speed reading.

My 2016 (Incomplete) Book Haul.

6. There were less Neutral Nights this year (I hate adulting) but I'm glad we were there for each other in the most important of times.


I also opened myself to the possibility of gaining more trustworthy (albeit unlikely) friends.

JARIP babies
First Floorers sans Avram, Sam and Toff
And I invested more in family. We spent all major holidays together this year and (except for my youngest brother's birthday which coincided with a work trip to Palawan) all our birthdays together.

Family first. Always.

7. Wrote my first multi-chapter fanfiction. I started it in January, hoping to finish it by the end of that month but adulting got in the way and I was only able to finish Chapter 5 by March. I'm restarting on it this mini-holiday break, and I hope to finish it before 2017 ends.

8. Drowned, metaphorically. The entire year I metaphorically dipped my feet in the water to get a feel of how water felt between my toes, because I have not been near a body of water in a long time. But on the last month of the year, I convinced myself to finally jump in. Anticlimactically, I nearly drowned. To be honest, I expected to drown (since I didn't know how to swim) but there are necessary mistakes that one has to make to grow. And this was one of them. I needed to feel how water can both give and end life. This setback made me realize that all things are an end and a beginning, and the difference lies in how one chooses to view it, experience it and learn from it. I hope that my experience with drowning will help me keep myself afloat the next time I jump in.


LOWS:

1. Lost my phone. Again. This was the first thing worth P20K-and-above I bought using my own money from my first salary after the Bar Exams. Losing my first ever phone from my first ever job, in 2014, have prepared me for this moment. All I needed was one power cry (hahaha!), and I was over it.

2. Failed to revive blogging. I have blogged less and less in the past two years. I attribute that to not having patience and time to experience things (watch new TV shows or movies and read books) and write about them. So I try to, at very least, maintain this annual tradition.


VERDICT: FOUR AND A HALF STARS | No "low" could make 2016 a three-star year like 2011, 2013 and 2015 were. Passing the Bar Exams, on its own, made this year worthy of four stars. The half star I attribute to all the good things that happened this year--listed or not. Despite the metaphorical drowning, I can genuinely say that ever since I started this rating-my-year thing, I've never had as good a year as I did in 2016.

2016 was a year of trying new things in my personal and work life. I encountered triumphs and defeats in both. In times that I was close to giving up and losing hope, I found comfort in listening to the song, Hold On When You Get Love And Let Go When You Give It by Stars.

There's been a lot of talk of love
But that don't amount to nothing
You can evoke the stars above
But that doesn't make it something

And the only way to last
And the only way to live it
Is to hold on when you get love,
And let go when you give it... give it.

I know it's true, please don't think I do
Nothing that you say or do will make you love me
Forget the song, things will go on
I keep seeing you from the dark with you above me

Take the weakest thing in you
And then beat the bastards with it
And always hold on when you get love,
So you can let go when you give it.

Forget the song, things will go on.

THE FUTURE: For the past three years, I have focused on the career aspect of my Happiness Timeline. With my next goal (joining the Bench) being a mere dot on the horizon (as I have to wait for four more years, minimum, to be eligible to try), I plan to focus more on the non-career aspect. More traveling, more reading and more shoe-hoarding. And more swimming, too, I guess.



Saturday, October 15, 2016

(Over) Thinking

I replayed each and every interaction we had

--our conversations 

(that left me stumped most of the time),

companionable silences,

text messages,

Facebook Messenger thread,

hugs exchanged--

and I wonder,

Did I make them up?

Did they even happen?


Or did it all happen in my head,

A truth only I knew.

A death only I will mourn.

Monday, August 29, 2016

OITNB 4: Prison breaks everyone

Previously on Orange is the New Black: Chapman became the leader of an illegal women's underwear mafia. Ruby Rose came to Litchfield as Stella and shacked up with Chapman for business and pleasure only for the latter to send her to max. Nichols went to max, too. Burset went to SHU. CO Bennett ran off to God knows where taking Daya’s How-to-be-a-Mother-while-in-Prison storyline with him. Poussey saved Soso from drug overdose. Morello got married. Crazy Eyes had a girlfriend. Doggett was raped by CO Donuts (not his real name obviously), causing her to bond with Big Boo. Private corporation, MCC, is running the prison with double bunk beds and stricter correctional officers (COs). And everybody had a swim in the nearby lake except for Vause who was busy fighting for her life in the greenhouse, and Chang who was busy enjoying a quiet shower.

I wasn’t able to write about all this last year because I could not and would not allow myself to focus on anything not Bar Exams-related. Thank god that boring part of my life is over.

Season 4: The darkest Orange season to date.

Season 1 was all about Piper and her penchant for wrong decisions. Season 2 showed us how prison changes the inmates and their family and friends. Season 3 showed us how prison can be home, and the inmates, family.

For me, the recurring theme of Season 4, Orange’s darkest season to date, is this: Prison breaks everyone.


Norma sings for Soso. A throwback of sorts to when Poussey sang at the Chistmas show in Season 1 when Norma couldn't.


Orange, as a whole, is not a TV series for the faint-hearted. I knew this going into this season. But Season 4 was something else. All inmates experienced their worst fears—for Chapman it was living with the consequences of her actions (i.e. a grotesque tattoo of a window); for Vause it was killing someone with her bare hands; for Aleida it was living outside of prison; for Nichols it was being someone else other than an addict; for Morello it was knowing that she drives people away but couldn't help it; for Maritza it was eating a baby mouse (for this fact alone Humphrey takes Healy’s place as the worst CO of all time in my book); for Lolly it was facing the reality that we couldn't travel back in time no matter how hard we try; for newbie inmate Hapakuka it was turning into someone she hated; and for Taystee and Soso it was losing the person they depended on the most in prison.

Getting branded with a swastika by Ruiz and her group scared Piper enough to burst the bubble of invincibility that she has surrounded herself with ever since she started her illegal business and white people task force. She realized she was not untouchable to her co-inmates and, moreso, to Piscatella and his private army. She was, like everyone, susceptible to being on the receiving end of violence or injustice. And she needed her family back.

Piper reached out to Alex and—for the first time since the show started in 2013—I had hope for these two. In three seasons, they have repeatedly and intentionally hurt and lied to each other more times than I could count. Prison has broken Vauseman repeatedly in the past, but it could bring them back together again. This season's version of Vauseman is the one I like the most because it’s the most supportive and connected they have been since we knew them.

Vauseman agreeing to do easy

The prison is breaking Daya. Daya has always been that girl protected by her baby-daddy or her Latina mothers or the Dominican women. For the first time since she entered prison, Daya will be alone in Season 5 to deal with the consequences of her actions (see photo below). I am excited to see her character grow into someone after four seasons of being in the background. Even if her growth may seem to be not for the better.

Oh, Daya.


Prison broke Caputo. Since Season 1, Caputo has always been an ally to the inmates. Someone who listened to them and saw them as persons, as human beings. A rare quality to find in Litchfield nowadays. But somehow, him allowing MCC and Linda from Purchasing to walk over him and his principles broke the Caputo we know. We see brief glimpses of his humanity when he was convincing CO Bayley to quit his job before the incident in the cafeteria happened and when he called Poussey's dad before the presscon, but these glimpses fade into the darkness as we listen to him defend MCC at the close of Season 4.

Sometimes people's intentions get warped. Like light through an evil person. (Crazy Eyes, S04E11)


Prison broke the COs, too. The ones that left, the good guys, were broken when they left Litchfield. They are now waiters and parking guards dealing with bad health and low-paying multiple jobs. The ones that arrived, Season 4’s biggest bads so to speak, were already broken and broke the inmates more than they could break each other. Sending Nichols to max broke CO Luschek. Raping Doggett broke CO Donuts. CO Humphrey was the easiest to hate but the rest—yes I’m looking at you Stratman, Dixon, McCollough and Blake—just standing there doing nothing to stop the different instances of abuses doesn’t make me hate them less. CO Piscatella was the scariest because he was smarter and bigger than most and cared the least. The most dangerous of combinations, if you ask me.

Season 4's Biggest and Baddest


Speaking of hate, CO Healy has always been my most hated living person on Litchfield. But it did not make seeing him break more bearable.

Mr. Healy, off to his own Safe Place.


Seeing CO Bayley’s story unfold was heartbreaking. A kid that will never be the same again after what happened to him in prison. And to think he viewed the Litchfield gig as an in-between-jobs thing.

Piper was correct: they grow up too fast.


Prison kills people, too. A number of characters have come and gone but Poussey’s death hurt the most because it was sudden and heartbreaking. We expected Tricia to die because of drug addiction, Miss Rosa because of her illness, and Vee because of her inherent evilness. But Poussey was a curveball. She has been kind, loyal, hopeful and in perfect health—the ideal character to kill off to make her death resound two or three seasons down the road. It was painful to go through but it was necessary.



It was sad, yes, but it was tastefully done. We, the audience, was fortunate to have had the opportunity to say goodbye to someone we hold dear. To see the best night of Poussey’s life. To have a smiling Poussey as a last image of her we see. An opportunity Taystee, Soso, Crazy Eyes, Black Cindy and Janae did not have. But they, more than us, have to live with her absence in the seasons to come.

Toast can never be bread again the same way we will never be the same without you, dear Poussey.


CO Dixon said it best, an inmate’s death was something CO Bayley has to get over. We all have to get over this, as it is only the beginning.

Orange is renewed up to Season 7. More heartbreaks, and hopefully triumphs too, are in store for us, but we have to be willing to take the messy and uncomfortable ride. Red said it best when she said, Some things can't be rushed.

What's next: How will the prison survive the Poussey riot? How will Poussey's death affect Litchfiled and its inmates? What will happen to Daya? Can Vauseman do easy? Will Healy be back? How will Bayley live with himself after this? Will there be more douche COs? How can Litchfield fit more inmates?


-----


You may notice that I did not mention the whole Judy King storyline because it was, for me, superfluous and unnecessary, and the Dominicans-take-over-the-prison thing because it seemed, as a friend said and I agreed with her, overdone. That’s all I have to say on those points.



Sunday, May 15, 2016

Hello from the Other Side

Sorry if, by the title alone, this looks like it's going to be a sappy ode to a lost love. It is not. Rather it is list of things I did that I think helped me in passing the Bar. I call them Barhacks.

New favorite number: 948

Remember when I wrote about going on this journey called the Bar Review? Where I got all sappy and wrote a short message (considering how long my How I Met Your Mother blog entries are) for my family and friends? I wrote that I'd see them on the other side.

Well, here I am, 11 months later, writing from the other side--which doesn't feel any different, mind you. I have yet to make a straight face when people call me "Attorney." Baby steps.

Surreal.

I will go straight to the point and say it, preparing for the Bar Exams was difficult. It entailed a different level of discipline and focus. To study for 8 hours a day, six days a week for four months. Taking the Exams in four Sundays, from sun up to sun down, was mentally and emotionally taxing, It was a necessary experience I would rather not go through again.


Here are 6 Things That Helped Me Pass the Bar:

1.) I studied my ass off. I created a study calendar based on the time I had (four months excluding November), my strengths and weaknesses, weight of a subject/exam, and stuck to it, regardless of the pace of my classmates and friends. I committed myself to do two readings for every Bar subject, wrote important concepts on index cards, created an expanded outline based on the Bar syllabi, and welcomed the harsh yet helpful comments from my Mock Bar coaches.

Thank you Blessings for the free calendar!

I think the key here is knowing what style of studying works for you and committing to that, regardless of other people's pace. Do not change textbooks (or, god forbid, add more) mid-way through just because your Bartaker friend read it. I figured early on that listening to Bar review lectures were not helpful to me at all so I stopped going to them and just read the books, codals and review materials.

2.) I like listening to music while studying so I created a playlist (called astronaut food) of songs I can listen to without affecting my concentration. During the actual Bar weekends, I created a novembar mornings playlist which both calmed me and inspired me to do my best. It also helped my concentration that I had Spotify Premium so I could listen to the songs without the distraction of being connected to the Internet.

3.) I surrounded myself with people I genuinely found comfort in--parents, siblings, my neutrals, sorority sisters. I avoided all unnecessary causes of stress (clingy friends, emotional situations etc.). I went home on weekends whenever studying took its toll, and loaded up on unlimited hugs and words of encouragement from my mother. And on weekends that my schedule did not permit going home to Laguna, I had dinners with my best friends.

Weekend dinners at Happy Thai were instant pick-me-uppers. #neutrals

It also helped that I willed myself to not get into anything serious heart-wise. A simple law school crush was enough. Some people I know did the complete opposite and they passed, too. It varies, really. Just make sure you do not lose focus.

4) I removed the Facebook app and Facebook messenger app on all my mobile devices because browsing Facebook was time-consuming. I retained my Twitter and Instagram accounts because they're not as demanding as the former. I also set simple rules for myself (i.e., I won't check Twitter until I read x number of pages) and followed them. Ultimately, it's all about moderation and discipline.

5) I was obsessed with Gilas Pilipinas 3.0--from their games in Estonia to the Jones Cup to Changsha. I scheduled my study time around their games. I read all entries in Carlo Pamintuan's Gilas Diary. I even trash talked with a Lebanese guy on Instagram because he was being a d*** about Gilas having "Americans" in Jayson Castro William, Gabe Norwood and Matt Ganuelas Rosser. 🙄 Rain or Shine games were also marked on my calendar.

Basically, basketball provided an enjoyable yet not too time-consuming activity in between my reading schedules. I also had the Song triplets and Dougie the Shih Tzu to obsess over without going overboard. Do things that make you happy. But always in moderation.


6.) I found solace in my Faith. I prayed whenever I needed, wanted to. I prayed when I lost focus and strayed from my plans. I prayed when I questioned why I was subjecting myself to that level of torture. I prayed to find strength to continue aspiring for greater things, higher things.

---

These are the Six #BarHacks that worked for me. It may vary from person to person. The key is to discover what techniques (hacks, if you may) work for you (and stick to that) and what doesn't (and do not ever use them).

Finally, at the risk of sounding purist about it, I am firm believer that the years you spent in law school should have prepared you for the Bar Examinations. To be honest, most of what I answered in the Bar I remembered because of the classes I took (i.e., I remembered certain concepts because my professor got sooo mad when no one from our class could answer her question). I took difficult subjects under challenging professors even if there are no guarantees that I would get high grades. Take no short-cuts. 



Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Thank You, Law School Crush

My giddiness and utter surprise in passing the Bar has subsided. I guess now is the best time to write about one of my personal MVPs during the Bar Examinations and, most especially, during the dreaded waiting period.

The pressure of the Bar Examsbefore, during and aftercan make underbars do crazy thingsthings one, based on his/her characteristics, would not do on usual days.

I have too many questions, and places to go

To say that the Bar Exams drove me crazy is an understatement. It was an important part of my Timeline, my Happines Roadmap. Not passing it would have dire consequencesone of which is going through Bar review again, which is, quite frankly, something I think I would not have the patience or diligence for.

There are too many options, far too many unknowns

In those crazy times, I did the unexpected: I obsessed over a simple law school crush. I spoke gushed about it to close friends. I tweeted about it as often (albeit mysteriously) as I could. It was a source of amusement, not only for my tired, panicking soul but also to my friends who knew me as a private, introverted person.

You make my crazy feel normal, every time

Although I decided not to have any distractions from review (except for Gilas Pilipinas or Rain or Shine games I incorporated into my schedule), I was happy to have a source of . . . kilig (indirect English translation: fluff haha). 

You make the bottom less deep

Unbeknownst to you, that short good luck text you sent on the first weekend of the Exams (after I tweeted that I wanted a good luck text; it remains a mystery to me if you read that tweet or it was just a happy coincidence) and that short hug we shared on the last Sunday calmed my then-weary, worried soul. For some, words and a hug sound lame (because hello it's 2016) but to me these acts meant the world. The hope it sparked and kept aflame was enough for me to power through the difficulties and look beyond Novembar.

You make my weakness less weak

After the Bar Exams, with nothing to do but wait, I bought you a gift—a simple thank-you gift of sorts. But I chickened out at the last minute because I had no proper (read: logical) reason to give you a gift and decided to keep it for myself. But the Universe conspired with the gods and gave me a reason to send it to you, sort of as a hand-me-down item, which perfectly downplayed the whole I-bought-you-a-gift-because-I-liked-you thing. It was perfect. You were happy to get something second-hand, not knowing I bought it for you, all along. I was happy that you were happy. That gift was followed by another.

You make it easy to try

At this point one of my closest friends cautioned me to think twice about the effort I was putting in this, and the effort that you weren't. My friend didn't know that I wasn't expecting you to make any effort as I treated the whole thing (me giving you gifts) as a way for me to be in control of something in my life—because the Bar results were clearly out of my hands by then.

You make the darkness less dark

Me obsessing over you—liking almost all your photos, checking all the albums you posted on Facebook, engaging you in virtual conversations, wanting to know how your day went (even if it often appeared that you were too busy to reply to Facebook private messages) provided me with the necessary distraction from the four months of waiting. 

You make the waiting feel shorter

Now, that the results are out, with nothing to be distracted from, I find myself wondering about the future of this so-called obsession. Is this the end of a somewhat lucky admiration? Or the beginning of more complicated things to come? You, master of subtlety and mystery, give me little to no clue.

Regardless of where we will (or won't) go from here, I want to say thank you, even indirectly (on the off-chance you'll read this and know that it is you I am writing about), for keeping my heart busy when my mind was going crazy. Thank you for making my heart skip a few beats just enough for it not to be overwhelmed by the Bar-induced anxiety.

You are the who . . . this is the why



----



Italicized lines are from the song This is Why I Need You by Jesse Ruben.


Thursday, March 24, 2016

Towards a better Philippine Basketball Association

At a fairly young age, I realized what I want out of this life. Personal life-wise, I think I got it covered with my Timeline. 

Career-wise, I only have two, very different dream jobs. It's one or the other. On one hand, being a trial court judge and, on the other, being the first female PBA Commissioner. The first one is fairly predictable to achieve. After talking to people who've done it and achieved more, there is somewhat a track, a certain path to walk, that would lead straight to judgeship. I'm slowly starting on that path, guided by the best people in the Judiciary.

My second dream job, however, entails having the right connections in a male-dominated world--even much more male-dominated than law. Never has there been a female PBA Commissioner. I can only recall one or two female PBA governors, and no female PBA coach--whether assistant or head. Overall, basketball is a difficult sport and industry to get into, moreso, be successful in, for a woman. And I want to change that. 

But, I have to be realistic. Being a PBA governor and Commissioner is a tall order. And I may not achieve that with the way things are going in my life right now (especially since I'm starting on the path to my first dream job). 

So, in the off-chance that the next PBA Commissioner, male or female, or a member of his/her staff would read this, here are my suggestions to make a better, more successful Philippine Basketball Association (PBA):

1. Create a PBA Store. The PBA is longest professional basketball league in Asia. The best of the best come here to play. Thousands, hundreds of fans follow the league, their favorite players. Yet, if one asks, where can I get a legit San Mig Coffee Marc Pingris jersey? There's no "official" PBA store or supplier that makes PBA merchandise. (Or if there is, the seller is not as publicized.) Hence, the proliferation of online sellers of replicas or sub-standard items. We have the best basketball fans in the world yet the Association fails to tap merchandise sales as a source of revenue for the league. I envision a one-stop shop where fans can go to for their PBA needs--from players' jerseys, personalized jerseys, shirts, tumblers, caps. You name it, the PBA Store has it for you.

2. Create and maintain a PBA website. This may seem simple or even elementary, considering the world we live in today. But, the PBA does not have an official, regularly updated, well-maintained website. A site where a basketball fan wanting to learn everything there is about the PBA, could. From team/player information, game schedules, ticket purchase, stats, features. Currently, Sports5 is doing it for the league. However, based on the history of the Association, media partnership has always been temporary or shaky. TV5 has done wonders for the Association in terms of accessibility (I can't remember the last game I watched on an actual TV set) but considering how political the PBA is, it would be best to have its own website, in case the TV5 media deal doesn't pan out in the future.

Also, another important addition to this website is the Transparency Page. Philippine government offices are mandated to have a Transparency Page in their official websites. I envision the PBA to have one, too. Where fans, players, coaches, management or anyone for matter can access the myth that is the PBA Rulebook. No one I know has actually seen it. Not even the players. I doubt it even exists. So, to settle doubts like mine, it is in the best interest of the league to have such Rulebook published and made accessible. So players would know what rules they're violating or will violate. That's called due process. Look it up, it's in our Constitution.

3. Develop an application or video game like the NBA 2K. Every basketball fan wants to be their idol, whether on a real court or on an animated one. Yet the PBA, with its traditional view of revenue-generation (ticket sales and TV advertisements), fails to tap a potentially viable resource in video game sales. Currently, I only know of PBA Slam!, a mobile application which allows the users to play 3-on-3. But, not all PBA players are available, and it's not as sophisticated as the NBA 2K. I know for a fact that there's an unofficial, modified version of the NBA 2K program that features PBA players, PBA teams and even the Araneta Coliseum. If fans can create a modified version for free, I'm sure the PBA could pay people to create an official version with better quality.

4. Build its own PBA Arena or Coliseum. With the increased revenue from merchandise and video game sales and online advertisements, the PBA can now generate and save enough money for the construction of its own Arena or Coliseum. I can only guess how much the Association pays for renting out venues such as the Araneta, MOA, Philsports/Ultra and the like. Having its own place, the Association would have independence to schedule games and decide ticket prices. Maybe the PBA could sell Season Passes or Conference Passes at a discounted rate.

5. Establish an empowered PBA Players' Union. Finally, the Association has to understand that for it to survive for another 40 years or more, it has to take care not only of its fans but also of its players. The league is nothing without the players--who fans idolize and willingly pay to support, either in ticket or merchandise sales. The recent hulabaloo with Mahindra not signing or paying a handful of players with existing contracts from the previous team, Kia Sorento, showed us how vulnerable players are. Like a normal laborer, they toil with their bodies, day in, day out, to earn a living. They play with their hearts out and train with all seriousness, sometimes to the point of over-exertion, to put food on the table and clothes on their families backs, and to send their children or siblings to school. Yet their employment security is not given priority. Having a respected player's union, headed by a player with great bargaining power (maybe Junemar Fajardo?), will ensure that players' rights are protected. This is, after all, a high-risk profession. 


I envision a better PBA--an independent, transparent and responsive Association that takes care of its fans, players and investors. This is easier said than done but with the right Commissioner leading the league, this is not impossible. That person may not necessarily be me, but regardless of that, as a die-hard fan, I would be content seeing these developments happen for a league that is very close to my heart.