Project Management

Ever since I went into business in 1997. I can still remember Click Me! Computer Sales and Rental Service. I was doing good for sometime, then went bad. Then the same with Action Online Co. Ltd., ups and downs.

I am no graduate of any business course. And is basically a self-taught businessman. And I learned the hard way through mistakes. But I just consider what ever losses I had as my tuition fee to my own business school.

My business started as a product business and eventually became a service business where I deal with some amount of projects. When they were a bit few, they were easy to handle, but as they got more, everything started to get harder. Along with many mistakes done in the old company that can be summarized as doing to much that the company can actually handle without a back up plan of how to handle too much projects. It was unsuspected growth that messed everything up.

I always wanted to save on money and did not embrace technology right away. Everyone started having pagers and I did not have one right away. But also bought one eventually. Everyone started having cellphones and I did not opt to buy one right away, until my clients were always asking my cellphone number, then I assumed I needed one already. I did not want a PDA, and used the conventional pen and paper. My partner was the first to decide on having a PDA, and I was convinced with the productivity advantages and got one too.

Today I manage everything I do through my PDA synchronized with MS Outlook. But for many years everything was still not running smoothly. Especially when working with teams. Coordination was always a issue. It was like you have to follow up everyone on everything all the time and that alone is time consuming. And sometimes people’s free time to accommodate you don’t jive at the same moment. But somehow I was still able to handle that for half a year with my company YDS Web Solution.

Now I am here in the United States, and is also working for Einstein Industries, who has literally thousands of websites made by a big number of Webmasters in teams of three people. Collaboration is crucial for flawless delivery of projects. A small misunderstanding or something not followed up can break everything up. Fortunately our company had a project management system. We informally call it the “tracker” since we can track the status of projects. It seemed as a very effective tool that solved all problems I had in the past with regards to project management in working with teams. The software though looks proprietary, or probably a modification of something of the shelf.

For my own company, I knew I needed something similar and I came across dotProject. It had all the features I needed and work very similarly to the project management system I used at work. Right now I am just happy using dotProject and it made life a lot more easier.

Sorry I am not placing a review of dotProject here, I will probably place is somewhere in my students’ blog someday. All I want to do here is express my happiness using it.

If you are in search of a web hosting service that has a Project Management System like dotProject installed, you can contact me. Send me an email.

DSL Finally

My landline phone was installed last Jan 14.

My DSL was installed last Jan 20.

Since this is an extra landline phone in a house where all the phone cables are set in the walls. The phone company SBC inquired about the wiring and said if I need work on that area, they can help. And there is a charge of $125. Wow, that is P7,000! Just to do wiring. That wiring thing is free in the Philippines. And it is simple for me to do it myself. So I said do not do it and I will do it myself. So last Jan 14 they installed it in the phone terminal box outside on the wall of the house.

Getting the Phone to Work

Since work is 8:00am to 5:00pm on weekdays and I am a bit far from work. I get home and it is dark already. So I choose not to fix it during these times. Weekends would have been perfect but just did not have the time sometimes.

Last Jan 21, our company let us go home at 2:00pm and that gave me enough time to get things connected.

But the terminal box had two extra connections not one. One of them was probably dead. But I got a real cheap $14 phone and some old wires to test them out on the box and call the number to get the right connection terminal.

Now for the internal wiring, there was enough for two more phones, I tried one, and went to my room upstairs to test it and there was no dial tone. Went down stairs and used the other set of wires, and still did not work.

I ask Papa if he had a multi-tester (VOM) so I can test the connection. He said he does not have one. So I decided to use a flashlight. I just joined all wires together and on the other end used the two wires acting as a switch of the flashlight to test the wire connections. I tried all combinations, which is 4! (Not an exclamation point, 4! meaning 4 factorial. Which is nothing but 4x3x2x1.) All gave no light. I was thinking since this is only a 1.5V battery and long wires, maybe the resistance ate all the voltage in the process. But I had a long roll of phone wire with me to test it out. And it work. So it meant nothing but the connections are broken somewhere.

And all of the wiring was inside the house, and I did not want to mess around with the walls. So I just made the wires pass outside the window, all around going down the wall to the phone terminal box. And it served me fine.

Getting the DSL to Work

In my old company Action Online, we had PLDT DSL, and where I worked at Informatics, we had BayanTel DSL. And I configure everything up myself. I’ve played around with Windows 98, 2000, 2003 and XP. Internet Connection Sharing, Wingate, ProProxy, AutoNet, SOHOConnect.

So I just unpacked everything up and connected everything. I saw the DSL LED on the Modem light up and I just said, great, the DSL signal is there. So I just need to hook it all up.

But no matter what, I could not get it to work??? I have been doing this for a long time and it just would not work. Although everything came with an installation CD, I decided not to use it. Since I don’t want excessive softwares installed on my computer. But since everything was not working, I then decided I need to run the CD that SBC Yahoo DSL gave.

It was quite a long installation with a lot of questions. The usual profile questions, your phone number, and even your a Modem Access Code which is a set of numbers on a sticker below your modem and everything then worked. Why did they have to make it that way? The only reason I can see is to keep track of you. Your profile, and your modem info. Aside from that it runs a lot of programs upon start up.

-The SBC Self-Support Tool
-Yahoo Browser in the System Tray
-A file called MotiveSB
-A file called IPClient by Visual Networks
-A file called IPMon32 also by Visual Networks

It makes Yahoo Browser the default browser and make SBC Yahoo DSL your homepage in all browsers. It also makes you SMTP not work anymore of you are using some other SMTP since Port 25 is blocked for some reason. Microsoft’s Internet Connection Sharing cannot be configured on a second LAN card since it will disable the DSL connection. If you share the connection itself, it disables the connection too. So it is forcing you to use a router/switch and not just a hub.

Basically, how I see things overall is they can just detect which modem on which account if being use. Not because they want to spy on you or what, but I guess if you do something crazy and hack into something or do anything greatly bad, and the authorities request access logs from them, they have something to give.

Unlike how I had it in the Philippines, as long as there is a DSL signal and a DSL modem, you are online. And you can share the account endlessly as long as you can configure it.

Too much code!!!

I’m just taking a break from work. I do not know why some people have too much code in their work and why can’t they make it shorter. Most of those who do this are the WYSIWYG dependent people. Relying on what Dreamweaver renders. Too much unnecessary nesting to tables. Image pushers here and there. Slicing everywhere. Not reusing images that are used all the time in different pages. Not taking advantage of CSS repeat-x, repeat-y, repeat and no repeat and just place large chunks of images. Using image names Fireworks made in the slicing.

All of the above is a big ???

I grew up using dial-up for a long time, and I know how pages load in dial-up. So in my sites download speed is always a priority. Hard code is the way to go with nice short clean, easy to read code. Homesite is still and always the best for me, Dreamweaver does not even have a match for it.

I’m was just fixing a site with messed up tables. Totally unscallable. Well back to work.

No time to blog… but still finding time to blog…

Just a few quickies since I need to sleep already

– Secondary IDE Port of my Motherboard is not working well, it can’t detect anything even with a new IDE cable and new hard disk. And both IDEs are enables in the BIOS.

– Got a new ATI Radeon 9200SE 128 DDR 8X AGP so I can move my old Riva TNT 64MB to the other computer so it can handle higher resolutions and hopefully get to install Xadros Linux this time.

– Billing is starting to be time consuming without an automated system, but I don’t have enough time to create one either. I’ll probably look for a ready-made opensource alternative.

– Moving accounts from server Moray to server Quezon for server Morays retirement.

– US Based hosting clients like,, are cool. is moving, under negotiations. Persuading I see it growing. was cool.

– Marcia and Amor has a meeting tomorrow, good luck, I hope you bring home the bacon. Marcia might be meeting with a company president, marketing manager and IT head.

– Work is a lot at Einstein, but my builds are nearly all done. Thanks to John who has been doing like 20% of the total number of sites. Without him, I’d be still working on that 20% more sites.

– My company had employees and partners, then partnerless, then employeeless, for cost cutting reasons. Now I am going back to having an employee. I hope this is a sign that business is doing good.

– New phone, new numbers. Landline still not working. Will check it out well tomorrow. Salary is near, need to save up for plane tickets if ever I get a vacation from work.

– Room still a mess

– domains still need to be transfered.

– Personal Vault is cool.

– Did not see the previous comet since San Diego had cloudy rainy nights. 🙁

– First time I saw a humminbird in action yesterday.

– Trillian 3 rocks

– Set aside my Mac Mini dreams since I need money to go back to the Philippines. If the company does not grant me my vacation, I’ll buy that Mac Mini to make me feel better.

– That’s it, I’m out… Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz….

Less Time for Blogging

After we moved here to Escondido, I am not spending more time traveling to work, so I have less time working. And I end up doing mostly work, no time for Blogging.

It is now a Sunday, so I am taking advantage of it to drop a few lines here before it is all working day again.

Phone Busted

My Nokia 3650 is unlocked that it can accept any carrier. My Smart sim card is working fine. I’ve tried Globe in it too as well as Sun and it has no problems. But I just bought a T-Mobile sim card and it had problems, my phone always rebooted.

I was thinking maybe there is such a thing as limited unlocking? So I searched online and saw this software along with several procedures to unlock. But I also found out that once your phone is unlock, it can take any provider.

So I was thinking maybe it was my software that did not accept the T-Mobile sim. My phone was running on SymbianOS and had tons of modifications in the past adding and removing softwares. And I was thinking maybe on the softwares installed causes some conflict with my T-Mobile sim card. So I simply just wanted to remove all modifications I installed on my cellphone, although I cannot remember them all.

I searched online and found a reformat code for Nokia 3650. This supposed to bring back the phone to it’s original default settings. Like the exact same way it was when it was purchased. I tried it out and it did seem to reformat. Problem is, I lost the menu button. So I can literally do nothing on the phone but make and accept calls.

I brought it then to an authorized Nokia Service Center. And they said my phone is really messed up big time. And the only last resort is to flash it, but when they do that, there are no guarantees. It has a 50:50 chance of getting fixed. I said go for it since I can’t do anything but call anyway, so they went for it and it still did not work.

I’ve got a 6600 on the way from the Philippines that I asked my wife to buy. But I will also probably get another phone so that I can have both my Smart and T-Mobile sims running at the same time.

Can’t Run Linux Yet

I have been trying to install Xandros Linux in the other PC I have here. Problem is my monitor can’t display the resolution required. I wanted to switch monitors, but the monitor would not also work on my Windows PC with a 1280 x 1024 resolution and 32bit color.

I’ll probably sell my monitors on eBay since I know there are a lot of people that run only 800×600 to 1024×768. And will probably but a new one. But my hands are full with a lot more other stuff so I can’t do all of that right now. Maybe in the meantime, I’ll load windows on this other PC running on low resolution.

Room Still a Mess

After moving to the new location, my room is still a mess, but I make it a point that I fix something up everyday. So that every day that passes by, things get better.

Photo’s by Dru

Friend at work, John Kelly aka Dru Kelly( loves his camera. He likes photography and takes some random pictures. Some of them include his co-employees at work.

I’ve got a few shots and he posted them online.

Drinking Pepsi at the office kitchen – Click on the picture to see a larger view on Dru’s Photo Gallery
Weird looking photo of me tasting salt – Click on the picture to see a larger view on Dru’s Photo Gallery

Now time for me to read blogs… will first go to my wife’s blog on

Belated Happy Birthday Mom

My New Year was spent as a busy one. Before new year, it was mostly packing up things in preparation of moving to a new house my sister-in-law bought. And when we got here, it was mostly moving things from the garage to the room, helping out with Mama and Papa (my in-laws) with their stuff as well.

At the new location, we had no phones yet with overseas capabilities. My computer was still into separate parts, so I could not go online either. And once I got online, the data-center unplugged my server due to another hack attempt.

When I got online it was mostly web server upgrades, system software upgrades, and whatever security updates I could find and do. Then I messed things up with some scripts but finally got it working before any of my clients got mad and called me up.

Right now, I still can’t call my Mom to greet her a happy birthday. But I am taking this opportunity to write a letter for my Mom for her belated birthday greeting.

I guess mostly everyone thinks their mother is a great mother. I am no exception; I believe my mother is great mother too. And let me enumerate why.

1. My Dad was a chef, my Mom was a housewife, but my Mom cooks very well. She tries new things she sees on TV sometimes, and sometimes her first shot at it may not be the best, but you know it will get there. I see her as a evolving cook. She still finds it a puzzle on what to cook per day. She feels paulit-ulit na lang niluluto n’ya. (her cooking is just going over and over again) And she finds it hard to think on what to cook next. But whatever she decides to cook, I am sure it will taste good. Comparing it to my Dad’s cooking, Mom is no match, but comparing Mom’s cooking with every house I have eaten at, Mom cooks better than most.

2. Mom prioritizes others before her own children. Even in simple things, the food dishes she chooses, she makes sure that everyone will like it. She keeps in her head, the list of dishes the people like and do not like. And prepares everyone’s favorite. She makes sure she has something for everyone. If Rene, Marcia, Allan Go are at the house, she secretly prepares the foods she knows they will like. When she gets that done, then she will think if I and my sister will eat it.

When she buys clothes when she has a lot of money, like when she wins Mahjong, she’d go out to SM and buy something. She buys things for Rene, Marcia, Allan Go, syempre kung may sobra lang, saka kami ni Ats. (of course, only if there is excess, that’s when she buys something for me and Ats)

But I totally do not feel bad about it. In fact I feel good about it. Because this is where I can see how she values the people we love too. Unahin muna ang hindi kadugo, bago ang kadugo. (Treat first those who are of different blood before those with the same blood.)

3. As a kid, even until I grew up, Mom never got mad at me in front of other people even if she is really mad already. She will just say let’s go home or stuff like that. But once you get home, that’s when you have to prepare. If you are already at home with some friends, she will even call you in a very nice tone, pretending she needs some assistance with something in the room. She makes it a point that you do not get scolded in front of other people.

4. When me and my sister were young, if ever I had my girlfriend at home, or my sister had her boyfriend at home. And are left in the living room with no one else around, I could sneak a kiss or two, or even a good smooch while my Mom was in the room. And whenever my Mom goes out of the room, she’d be humming a tune of an unknown song. Pretending to be humming something, but she is just actually warning us, saying like “hey, I’m coming, so you better stop whatever things I do not supposed to see.”

5. Mom balances friends well. She befriends anyone and is often in between two people who are not friends, even enemies at times. But she still manages to handle everything well.

6. Mom is not at ease when she knows someone is mad at her for some reason. Even when they are not, she just thinks they are.

7. Mom is the only person that gives me no-interest, no-definite payment time loan. And even if my credit record is so bad with her, I can still avail the emergency loan as long as I promise early payment time.

8. Source ng tsimis. (of gossips)

9. Mom has a guilt feeling that Ats did not grow up the way I did, since she did not allow Ats to go to parties and other celebrations.

10. Mom loves her own son-in-law and daughter-in-law like her own children.

11. Mom is very religious

12. Mom is paranoid, always thinks I will get into an accident I BMX and Taekwondo.

13. Mom is humble. Hindi nakikipagsabayan sa mga mommies na walang kinuwento kundi ang magaling nilang anak. (She does not compete with stories of other mothers that tell nothing but great stories of their children.)

14. Mom believes in you. And she worries about my problems even if I do not consider them problems.

15. Mom is my number 1 cheerleader even for the simplest achievements that even I do not celebrate since they are no big deal to me.

16. Mom always gets up in the morning to prepare breakfast for everyone that is leaving the house early in the morning.

17. Mom dresses up well for any occasion, looks young and strong for her age.

18. Mom does not know how to get mad at others, she just bangs the whole place up, slamming doors and everything so you need to be a good decipherer of her actions to get the picture.

19. Simple lang naman kasiyahan ni mommy, mag shopping pag may pera. (Mom just has a simple happiness, to go shopping when she has money.) So if she gives you something, even if you do not need it, accept it and say thank you. It will make her happier than say something like, naku saying naman Mommy, hindi ko kailangan yan, pinera mo na lang sana. (oh no Mom, I really do not need that, how I wished you gave me money instead.)

20. A natural talented ballroom dancer. She did not need any ballroom lessons, she just danced a lot when she was young.

21. She is afraid of the dentist, so she brushes her teeth well. And she did a good job, all her teeth are strong and just has one false tooth. That she takes off when eating. She has the best way of doing it. She just gets a small piece of tissue, gives out a small cough, and presto, that’s it. Her move is as swift as David Copperfield. Now you see it, now you don’t.

22. Mom is not that good in math, logic or analytical thinking. But for some reason, she is good in Mahjong. And Mahjong requires good analytical thinking just like any other thinking game.

23. Mom did not finish highschool, but all the lessons in life I needed to learn outside of school, mom has filled up a large part of it. Although I believe Mom was over protective and served me too much, it did not make me too dependent and lazy, just a little bit lazy. Nyahahaha.

24. Mom can read people well. She can tell if someone is really a good person or not. She kind of just has a hunch, it may be wrong sometimes but often they are true. I can see she kind of detects liars in a way, but I wonder why she believed all my lies when I was kid? They were not too many, but maybe she was just pretending she believed me.

25. Super babaw tulog ni mama. (Mom’s sleep is super shallow) And a ring of the phone will always wake her up no matter how deep her sleep it.

26. Mom never gets sick. Well nearly never gets sick. But when she does, she is really, really sick.

27. Mom does not really like the dogs and cats 100%. But she keeps them there since they are pet’s of my Dad and me. I hope Cornicor is still alive, Cornicor is the only pet that knows Dad. And I think Mom has a good bonding only with Cornicor. But Babycor is starting to follow her mom Cornicor in being malambing and not wild that much.

28. Mom is part of the digital divide. The older generations somehow cannot embrace technology that well. But Mom is a texter. She learned well her cellphone talents. And knows how to set the time in the TV with remote control. Give any washing machine and she can figure it out. I guess that is the only technology she has embraced. 😀

I want to say more about Mom, but three clients are chatting with me. One redesign deal, one about billing and another for their testimonial.

Well isang dakilang ina ni Mommy (Well she is one great Mommy). I would not be how I am if not for everything I learned from my Mom. Thanks and Belated Happy Birthday!

I love you and miss you.

What’s my belt?

In the Philippines I have trained in Taekwondo, Aikido and Jeetkunedo. That was way back 1991 to 1996. Those years were the years of my peak performance. Maybe some of you have seen my pictures in Friendster or elsewhere where I’m in a Taekwondo uniform wearing a blackbelt. That was right after a fight in one of the competitions I joined in the Philippines. But I am not a Blackbelt.

In the Philippines, during competitions, everyone is allowed to fight wearing a blackbelt, even if you are a blackbelt or not a blackbelt. As long as you are willing to fight and know you can fight, the only rule in the Philippines is if you are bluebelt and below, you need your instructor’s approval to compete. There are no age categories nor belt categories. Only weight categories. The belts in the Philippines are:


Where each colored belt in between white and black has a high and low ranking. In the Philippines I am high redbelt, but always competes wearing a blackbelt and has won several matches against real blackbelts. But I never reached the finals though in all Philippine competitions I joined.

The colors of the belts in the States, specifically here with the member schools of the San Diego Taekwondo Association are:

Blue Stripe
Purple Stripe
Brown Stripe
Black and Red Stripe

When I got here in the States, I was accepted as a brown stripe belt. Like in the Philippines I was two belts away from blackbelt. So I basically have the same rank.

But one difference here is I never compete against blackbelts here since competitions are by age, by belt and by weight. Which is a good thing for me especially that I am already 31, and the last time I did Taekwondo was in 1996. Until I started Taekwondo again when I came here to the States last July 11, this year.

Today is my promotion test for Red Belt, which is low brownbelt in the Philippines. Promotion test here are different, I do punches and kicks, self-defense techniques, forms and breaking. In the Philippines, promotion test are concentrated on sparring. There is no breaking though in the Philippines, but I am pretty confident I can break the blocks of wood today. Especially the kick I’m going to do for my test is a flying side kick. And a flying side kick has a lot of power in it so breaking should not be hard. Wish me luck!

Although I won 2nd place in the 10th Annual San Diego Taekwondo Championship, Master Min still wanted me to join the California Open which I think I am not prepared for yet because I need to build up my endurance again. But when I said I am not sure I want to join, he has not reminded me to join again. Sergei, one of my friends here at the taekwondo studio wants to join and has been inviting me join too, but I really think I will build up my endurance and is working on a three month program with 24 Hour Fitness to develop peak sports performance level to augment my taekwondo skills.

Amateur-Made Video Starring Me

Last September 11, 2004, I was caught on tape. I was with someone in a very tiring act. We were both going full blast but I ran out of gas earlier.

The cameraman, Mr. William Pintos was filming something else but when he saw us, he took a video of us too.

What I did in this video is a lot more tiring than what Paris Hilton did in her videos that are circulating in the Internet.

I may not be victorious with this video, but you will see in the video that I am *ehem* the second best in San Diego. Nyhahahaha

You will need Windows Media Player by the way. I uploaded a small 2.7MB video, if you want to see a clearer copy, I got a 9.3MB version of the clip too.

I actually just captured this video from a VHS tape and if you watched the whole tape, there is actually many of us, all doing it at the same time.

Awarding Ceremony

Since Champion Taekwondo Academy had the most wins on the recently held 10th Annual San Diego Taekwondo Championship, we kind of had a simple awarding ceremony.

I supposed to arrange these and add captions, but it’s 11:00pm, I need some sleep.

Master Min asked Me, Ryan and Sergei to join the California Open Taekwondo Tournament this November. I do not know if I supposed to be happy or not. I guess it is an honor to be asked by your teacher to attend meaning he see that you have potential to make it, but I can already picture the extra training I need. I really have to jog every weekend to get my edurance up since my edurance is my number weekness right now. Second is my flexibility. Third is my strenght. And when it comes to competition strategy, I have a lot of that. The problem is, strategy is nothing if my body can’t do it anymore.

Although I got 2nd place in the last tournament, I still do not feel the way I was in 1994 to 1996 when I was training under DLSU. There are a lot of things I used to do that I am having a hard time doing now.

Extra greetings:

– Thanks to all those who congratulated me by email.
– Thanks to Sir Adrian, Received the payment already in the bank.
– Thanks to Sir Josiah and Ma’am Chiqui, Received payment also in the bank.
– Hi to Marcia, Hi babe, I hope Jamie is feeling better. Hi Dawn and Rain. Practice ka din mabuti Rain sa Taekwondo ko. Jamie might go into taekwondo soon sa Pink Toes sa Fairview. Janet always wanted to go into taekwondo, sama-sama na kayo, babe ni Jamie and Janet sa pink toes. Pagpumasok na kayo, kwento mo sa akin sino instructor dun.
– Eric B. tumawag ka daw sa bahay? Bukas may taekwondo ulit ako, tawag ka kahit mga 10pm. But if puro ring ng ring, naka call-wait yun at naka connect sa Internet. You could chat with me on AIM, YM, MSN, ICQ. Information is show on top of this page.

The 10th Annual San Diego Taekwondo Championship

Yesterday, Saturday, September 11, 2004, was the 10th Annual San Diego Taekwondo Championship at the Rimac Gym at the University of California – San Diego.

Everything started at 8:00 am and I left at 7:00 am to get there on time and give enough time to get there even if I get lost. Although Yahoo Maps and Map Quest suggested a route, I did not follow it after looking at the maps for some time, and got all the streets in my head, and was considering two alternative routes, either Torrey Pines Road from Highway 56, or exit on Genesee from Highway 56. While driving, I missed the exit to Torrey Pines when I noticed the road was already climbing high turning left. I then stayed on the right lane to be sure I don’t miss Genesee Avenue After taking the exit on Genesee; I was able to go straight to Torrey Pines and head to the Rimac Gym. After seeing some people in Taekwondo uniforms, I knew I was at the right place already.

UCSD looked like a real cool place, and reminded me of my days as a university student after seeing the large gym and the playing field outside. There were a lot of people jogging in the morning in the university streets.

I first saw Juno and Bonnie outside, then caught up with Sergei as well, then everyone else started coming. We entered the gym, and I started out with the meeting of the referees before everything started.

It was the poomse(forms, in karate, this is kata) competition first in the morning and I was one of the judges for the poomse being, one of the referees. My co-judge, I’m not sure if I remembered his name right, Mikhail was a blackbelt from another school, who was a businessman who owned a video production company, making videos, animations outsourced by other companies and their latest project is the Harry Potter animation series for TV. He also did mention he was working on educational videos for children sold in the Philippines.

We then had lunch, which was free for the referees, judges, organizers and volunteers sponsored by the San Diego Taekwondo Association. Although food was many and delicious, I did not want to fill myself up that much since it might be too heavy in the stomach or worse, might even make me throw up during my competition.

After lunch was the kyoroogi(sparring) competition, although I was still a referee, I felt I needed more time to warm up and prepare for my match mentally. But I made a promise to help out in the competition as a referee to Master Won K. Min who is a very nice guy. I also promised to help fix things at the venue the night before, but was I absent that time so I really felt like helping out as a referee.

Me outside the gym before everything started.

Before the kyoroogi, there were demonstrations by all these Taekwondo schools in San Diego. The first demonstration was a emotional-touching one by AH Taekwondo, a 10 year old kid who could barely walk with legs like twigs and no power and needed special crutches, attached to his forearms to walk. But he really had the spirit to go on. He did different hand combination techniques and self-defense techniques using his crutches and even did breaking demonstrations as well.

Other schools did rehearsed fights, although they looked good and would be great for the movies, they do not appeal to me that much.

Two demonstrations I liked best were from Champion Taekwondo Academy and World Taekwondo Institute. Champion Taekwondo Academy did great with the breaking where the highlights were Daniel’s high side kick over the shoulders of two people, and these two people were standing up. And Andy’s high roundhouse on a board held by someone on top of another person’s shoulders, as Andy took a step up on another person’s hands.

World Taekwondo Institute seemed to have the most adult blackbelts compared to the other schools. So there was a lot of breaking. The highlights were a turning side kick breaking four boards, a jumping turning hook kick (Philippine kick name: jumping turning long) with an extra ½ turn, and not only one person did it, a lot of them did it. This was a personal favorite kick of mine in the past, when I used to do it too, but with the training I will be doing, I think I will be back with the skill I had before.

This trophy says Outstanding Referee, but there is really nothing special about it, all referees received the exact same trophy. So all of us were outstanding! 😛

Being a referee, I knew that we will not allow anyone to join without head gear, body armor, forearm guards, shin and instep guards, mouth piece and groin guard. The only thing I had was a groin guard! Outside was a table selling everything but I did not have all the money to buy everything since I didn’t have the cash yet. Mama and Papa gave me $50 for me to use for food and a good thing food was free for referees so I used up all the money on everything I could buy for my kyoroogi competition. I got myself some shin guards, forearm guards, and a mouth piece. I borrowed armor and head gear. After I got everything, I wore whatever I could and just wore my referee t-shirt over it and went back to the referee seats and was a corner judge for some of the fights.

When it was my time to line up to prepare to fight, I went on to the competitors’ area to prepare. I was a bit surprised to see more people than expected who fight in my age category. Since it was my first time to wear a mouth piece, I wore it earlier for my to get used to it and I was not used to it at all. It was kind of funny looking at the faces of the other competitors before the competition started, you can’t really tell if they are confident or not, but I could see them hiding fear in their faces. And here comes Joe and Sergei (friends of mine from Champion Taekwondo Academy) who looked real confident sparring at each other backstage before the competition started where everyone is lined up. What they were doing looked liked fun, so I decided to join in as well. And as were sparring, I found it funny looking at the faces of the other competitors; it was already like scarring them. Nyhahahaha.

Another competitor talked to me and asked if I was a Filipino, and I said yes. He then asked how long I was in the States, and I said 2 months. He then asked where I trained in Taekwondo, I said mainly in the Philippines. And then he said “Naku lagot, patay na!” (Oh no, we’re dead!) He then asked at what Taekwondo school in the Philippines did I train, and I said at DLSU under Stephen Fernandez. He then said again “Naku lagot!” (Oh No!) But I just laughed at his reactions since and said that was a long time ago; the last time I practiced hard was in 1996 and I lost all my endurance through time without practice. He too was knowledgeable of how training is different in the Philippines compared to the States.

Read on and find out how I got this!

Well anyway, from fight after fight, each fight along the way felt tiring and more tiring, but was still happy to advance up to the finals. During the final match, this already assured me at least a 2nd place spot in my division and my competitor did not look tired at all. Since I was so tired, I was rarely kicking and my competitor kept kicking, but never hit me well. He was like kicking air as I always moved away from his kicks. But I think it did make me look like a losing chicken to the judges like I was running away from a fight. During the last round I felt I had no energy to go on, but I said he has never really landed a solid point on me, so I’m going hard even if I’m so tired, I will push myself near the limit of collapsing. Nyahahahaha. A few seconds before the fight ended, I landed a good solid, nice sounding roundhouse to the chest of my opponent. And he never landed a solid kick on me. I thought I got already, with a 1-0 score on my favor. And then when the winner was announced, I lost. Nyhahahahaha, and I knew why. I backed out of the fighting arena three times and was given two warnings and a point deduction on my third time. Since two warning is equal to a point deduction as well, I was given a negative 2 point. So I got a final score of -1! Nyhahahaha, but there are really no negative scores here, so it was like a 0-0 match. But my opponent was more aggressive and I was just so tired and was moving away the whole time. Anyway, 2nd place is still good and I had a chat too with the winner who was a Russian from a Taekwondo School in Los Angeles. And as we parted ways and congratulated him and said nice meeting you, he also said, if you’ll be here next year, we might meet again. And I said yeah, and hopefully I win next year, then I laughed.

I would also like to give this opportunity to thank the people who helped me win this competition…

Stephen Fernandez – He is still the person responsible for the foundation of all my Taekwondo skills. The whole DLSU Taekwondo team was a real hard-core Taekwondo team. The 6:00am varsity training was an experience I never experienced in any other Taekwondo school. 3 hours straight sparring 3 minutes each round, sparring with everyone without safety gear and head kicks are allowed for all belt levels. For me is my best Taekwondo instructor so far in the history of my Taekwondo experience.

Edrick Galing – This beefed-up muscleman was not only a Taekwondo instructor, he was a nutritionist, a health adviser, aerobics competitor since he is a Human Kinetics graduate of UP. He was like a fight tactician, a technical fighter. Although Stephen was also a technical coach, a fight tactician too, Stephen was move of a sadistic motivator. Edrick was like a anti-violence guy. I remember Stephen saying once “If your opponent is faster than you, hurt him a bit so he slows down.” Something you will never hear from Edrick since he never wants somebody hurt.

Cesar Mateo – Just like Edrick Galing, he has the same traits, and is also from the college of Human Kinetics at UP. I believe he is even still teaching there at UP up to now.

Lumar Sosa – Unlike other instructors who were products of Sung Chon Hong, Sir Lumar was a product of David Lee. He had the skill but did not have the hardcore attitude like the others. He is humble and has Christian teachings integrated in his classes.

Robert Danao – This guy is a bit old already, but he is beefed up. His skill is extremely great considering his age where I think is nearly in his late 30s or early 40s. He recently won a competition here in the States for both poomse and kyoroogi. His whole life is inspiring knowing that he was once a criminal and serve a long sentence in jail. He learned his lessons and turned to the Lord and changed for the better. He had nothing to do when he got out of jail and ended up helping cleaning the Philippine Taekwondo Association’s Central Gym and helping out in everything there while he studied Taekwondo at the gym as well.

Won K Min – My latest instructor here in the States, he is Korean and I know he’s pretty hard core considering training in Korea is hardcore but since he is in the States, He adopted the American style of training. Always starts classes with a greeting, “Hello everyone, how are you today?” and end with the greeting, “Good job, everyone did good today. Class dismissed.” And kicking to the head is really a big issue here in the States since it is not allowed for colored belts and I kind of understand why since people easily sue people here, and if a kid tells his parents, I got kicked in the head and their parents go hysterical, they sometimes just want to bring everything to court and take legal action, and that’s where the trouble starts. But generally I think he is doing a good job since Champion Taekwondo Academy got a lot of wins during the competition.

This November, is the California Open Taekwondo Competition, now the question is am I joining? The answer is no, but in 2005 I believe I will. The San Diego competition was already tiring for me, although I reached the finals. I was way tired in the final match and the California Open will have more competitors and it will be more tiring since there will be more fights. But I will train hard for it to be able to join next year. I just need to jog a lot to get my endurance back. I might go to a gym next month to get beefed up as well for more strength and muscles sometimes pad up your body so you don’t get hurt that much when you get hit.

I would also like to the Lord for keeping everything safe during the competition. There was only like one incident that brought the attention of the San Diego Taekwondo Association president. This was during a match of two 15 year old blackbelt girls where one of them got ax kicked in the face and hurt her eye. It was nothing serious, but being a 15 year old and with all the crying, she was so emotional about it that she cried so much and did not want to stand up anymore. She was fine after about 30 minutes.

I’d like to say sorry to Garry, Tess since I did not get to attend the baptism of Julie Ann in the States, and thanks for understanding the situation as well. The competition was a whole day affair.

Thanks to my family’s support back home, my wife who is behind me even if she’s in the Philippines. My Mom who always worried in everything I do, don’t worry Mom, you have to worry a lot if I join competitions in the Philippines. But here in the States, do not worry about anything, everything is done safe here.

Thanks to Mama and Papa because without them, I would have no place to stay which is really a large expense on my part if ever they were not here with me without a job when I came here.

Thanks to my fellow students at my do-jang, and congratulations too! Many of us won, for those that did not win, we are all here to help you out with your mistakes and will correct them. For those that did not join, the only reason I see why you do not want to join is because you feel you are not confident with the skill you have, so we are here to help you out with that too and develop the skill you need to be confident to join as well.