Monthly Archives: August 2008

Pacquiao vs. De La Hoya Talks Stall: Golden Boy CEO says 75% Sure Fight will Happen

by Joseph Pimentel/AJPress
LOS ANGELES – Three key issues are stalling the proposed Manny Pacquiao vs. Oscar De La Hoya mega match up, according to Golden Boy CEO Richard Schaeffer.

Schaeffer said he met with Top Rank President Bob Arum, Pacquiao’s promoter, for two hours Wednesday but both sides could not come up with a consensus agreement about the deals of the fight which would be slated for December 6 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

The three issues stalling the deal are the size of the boxing gloves, De La Hoya’s weight limit, and the financial split.

“Oscar hasn’t made 147 pounds in almost ten years,” said Schaeffer to the Asian Journal during the Shane Mosley vs. Ricardo Mayorga press conference. “And we know from experience that a boxer could lose the match on the scales. The size of the gloves is also an issue. Oscar is used to wearing 10 ounce gloves while Manny usually wears 8 ounce gloves in his fights.”

“[And] the financial split is what it is,” he said. “Every time I negotiate a De La Hoya fight it’s the same thing. Suddenly the opponent feels they should make Oscar [big] money and I feel certain people have a market value.”

He declined to discuss the specifics of the proposed fight purse and other financial aspects, adding, “we guarantee a record purse for Manny Pacquiao, multiple times more than he has ever made so far. We think it’s a fair deal.”

Since winning his match against Steve Forbes in May, the Golden Boy De La Hoya has been looking for a grand finale fight before he rides off to the retirement sunset. A proposed re-match with Floyd Mayweather Jr. was rebuffed when Mayweather abruptly retired. Mexican counterpart Antonio Margarito lies waiting in the wings but after impressively thrashing Puerto Rican champion Miguel Cotto to a bloody pulp, De La Hoya would be best served to stay away from him.

Meanwhile, Pacquiao has also been looking for an opponent since his dominating performance against Mexican American David Diaz. That night, Pacquiao became the first Asian to capture four world titles in four different weight classes. The 29-year-old WBC Lightweight Champion’s first opponent choice was British contender Ricky Hatton at 140 pounds, but Hatton is already slated to fight New York champion Paulie Malignaggi in November.

Pacquiao’s other possible fights: a rematch with Juan Manuel Marquez would be out the door, Venezuelan knockout artist Edwin Valero is having a hard time getting medical clearance in Nevada and Humberto Soto lost his most recent match albeit by a technicality.

At first, a possible Pacquiao vs. De La Hoya bout was a only a pipe dream of fans and boxing enthusiasts wondering “what if” match ups but the idea began to pick up steam when Pacquiao’s trainer Freddie Roach said Pacquiao could fight at 147 pounds, the welterweight class. In his last two matches, Pacquiao has weighed in the night of the fight at 146 and 147 pounds, respectively.

Schaeffer said that he’s confident that a Pacquiao vs. De La Hoya deal could be done.

“We have to do a lot of work on those three issues: the size of gloves, the weight – either at 149 or 150 pounds and financial split,” said Schaeffer. “I’ll say I’m cautiously optimistic. If I were to use percentages, I would say there’s a 75 percent chance a deal will be done in the next few weeks. I’ll be sitting down with Oscar next week. Arum will discuss this with Manny [when he gets back from the Olympics] and I’m sure in a few weeks everybody will know the outcome.”



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Remembering the Manongs of Manilatown

by Miko Santos/AJPress
SAN FRANCISCO – As you come in to the exhibit area of Manilatown Heritage Foundation in the International Hotel in downtown San Francisco, an overwhelming sense of history, both beautiful and sad hangs in the air.

Haunting black and white photographs line the gallery depicting the life and struggle of Manilatown’s former denizens centering on the tenants of the old International Hotel.

The photos include some very beautiful and sad images and stories in the captions: a photo of a distinguished Filipino gentleman and his band, an old man waiting by the stairs, photos of the elderly folk just ravaged with decades of labor and illness.

The exhibit entitled Manongs of Manilatown: The Inspiration of Al Robles, displays rarely seen photographs of Filipino elders by Tony Remington, Chris Huie and others.

Robles, renowned FilAm poet and activist, has dedicated his life to these elderly veteran community members, roaming single occupancy hotels and taking manongs to appointments, bringing them lunch and listening to their stories. He is the link to the disappearing “manong” generation, the bachelor society that came from the Philippines in the 1920s and ’30s as workers. He records, interprets, and channels their stories.

Throughout the mid-twentieth century, the International Hotel was home to elderly “manong” Filipino soldiers who served the United States in World War II and farm workers from Salinas, Watsonville, Stockton and Delano.

In 1977, after almost nine years of court battles and community protests, the manongs were evicted from the I-Hotel leaving many of them with nowhere to live. The event became a kind of civil rights struggle that galvanized Filipinos and other Asian-Americans. Thousands protested to block the eviction.

The show will run from July 26 through September 6 during regular gallery hours Tuesday to Saturday, 1:00 to 6:00 p.m.

The next event, at the International Hotel on August 9, will feature a poetic documentary, Time Travel with Al Robles, by Curtis Choy.


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Olympic Medalists and Other Notable Finishes

by Joseph Peralta/AJPress
Since the Philippines started its participation in the Summer Olympics in 1924 in Paris, France, it has only captured a total of nine medals in three disciplines (Athletics, Swimming and Boxing).

None of these is a gold, however. The country is still looking for its first gold medalist and will be relying on the 15 athletes it is sending to the 2008 Beijing Olympics. As an incentive, an athlete who wins a gold medal will receive a cash prize of Php15 million (or about $342,309, based on a Php43.82 to $1 exchange rate), which President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo announced recently.

Here are a few facts: The Philippines has captured silver medals twice, both in boxing. Only once has the country had multiple medalists in an edition of the Olympics. Up to now, only one athlete – Teofilo Yldefonso – holds the distinction of being a multiple medal winner. Boxing continues to be the sport that gives the Philippines a good chance for medals (five in all – two silvers, three bronzes).

In two instances, members from the same family have won medals in the same sport in the Olympics. This would be Jose Villanueva and his son Anthony Villanueva, and the Velasco brothers (Roel and Mansueto).

The country has actually won a gold medal, although it did not count in the official tally. That was in the 1988 Seoul Olympics when bowler Arianne Cerdena captured the gold in Women’s Bowling which was a demonstration sport. Bowling, unfortunately, was dropped in subsequent editions of the Olympics.

Additionally, two athletes copped bronzes in Taekwondo (Stephen Fernandez and Bea Lucero) in the 1992 Barcelona Olympics when Taekwondo was also still a demonstration sport.

As far as highest finishes in other disciplines in the Summer Olympics, here are a few notables: a) The Philippines finished in 5th place in Men’s Basketball in the 1936 Berlin Olympics; b) Anthony Naranjilla finished in 37th place in the Men’s Individual Competition in Archery in the 1972 Munich Olympics; c) Hector Begeo made the Semifinals of the 3,000m Steeplechase in the 1988 Seoul Olympics; and d) Herman Suizo finished in 52nd place in the Men’s Marathon event in the 1992 Barcelona Olympics.

Here is the list of Filipino medalists in the Summer Olympics:

1928 Amsterdam Olympics: Teofilo Yldefonso, Bronze, Men’s 200m Breaststroke

1932 Los Angeles Olympics: Teofilo Yldefonso, Bronze, Men’s 200m Breaststroke; Simeon Toribio, Bronze, Men’s High Jump; Jose Villanueva, Bronze, Men’s Bantamweight (Boxing)

1936 Berlin Olympics: Miguel White, Bronze, Men’s 400m Hurdles

1964 Tokyo Olympics: Anthony Villanueva, Silver, Men’s Featherweight (Boxing)

1988 Seoul Olympics: Leopoldo Serrantes, Bronze, Men’s Light Flyweight (Boxing)

1992 Barcelona Olympics: Roel Velasco, Bronze, Men’s Light Flyweight (Boxing)

1996 Atlanta Olympics: Mansueto Velasco, Silver, Men’s Light Flyweight (Boxing).

(Source: Wikipedia)


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Natalie Coughlin: Like Fish to Olympic Waters

by Momar Visaya/AJPress
There are a few celebrities in sports whose presence at the upcoming 2008 Olympics in Beijing is both widely and wildly anticipated. Natalie Coughlin is one of them.

Her path to Olympic fame and glory began when she was just a young kid swimming in her parents’ backyard pool. Her dad Jim, a Vallejo police officer and mom Zennie, a Kaiser paralegal, also enrolled Natalie and her sister Megan in swimming classes.

This path however was not paved with the proverbial gold. She was a swimming prodigy at 15, and at the age of 17, she missed, by two seconds, the last spot for the swim team then, which was set to compete at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney.

Instead of sulking, Natalie began her rehabilitation plan and trained harder than usual. Four short years later, she reaped her rewards.

Natalie was propelled to superstardom when she won five medals at the 2004 Olympics in Athens, Greece. Then 21 years old, she won golds in the 100-meter backstroke and the 4×200-meter freestyle relay, silvers in the 4×100 freestyle and medley relays and a bronze medal in the 100-meter freestyle.

In 2006, Natalie wrote a book with Sports Illustrated’s Michael Silver entitled, Golden Girl: How Natalie Coughlin Fought Back, Challenged Conventional Wisdom, and Became America’s Olympic Champion.

A psychology graduate from UC Berkeley, Coughlin (pronounced cog-lin) will be one of 10,500 athletes to compete in 302 events in 28 sports during the Olympics.

In an exclusive interview with the Asian Journal, Natalie shared her training regimen, her lola’s chicken adobo and her wish to learn Tagalog in the future.

Asked to describe herself in three words, Natalie responded: “Perfectionist, realist, stubborn.”

Here are excerpts from the interview.

Asian Journal (AJ): How is your training regimen these days? Do you have a pre-competition routine?

Natalie Coughlin (NC): My daily routine is really no different than it usually is. I still maintain my swimming, weights, and Pilates schedule. Since I’m in training camp, there is a lot more rest time (a.k.a. nothing to do). My pre-competition routine is always the same and it involves a lot of stretching and a little bit of swimming.

AJ: You are looked upon as a role model by the youth, what is your message to them?

NC: Be active! Get involved in some sort of sport or other activity and have fun with it. H2O Audio’s waterproof mp3 case is a way to make sports more fun by allowing you to swim, surf or run while listening to your favorite music.

(Editor’s Note: Natalie is one of the endorsers of H20 Audio, the leading brand of waterproof and ruggedized sports accessories. She is also the company’s swim gear design and development advisor.)

AJ: Not a lot of people know that you have Filipino blood. How many percent Filipino are you?

NC: I’m a quarter-Filipino.

AJ: Did you grow up eating Filipino food? Do you still eat Filipino food? What are your favorites?

NC: Yes, I grew up eating a lot of Filipino food. My family blends Filipino food and American food at all of our gatherings.  Halo-halo is one of my favorite treats. And I’m sure everyone says this, but my grandma’s Chicken Adobo is by far the best I have ever tasted.

AJ: Have you been to the Philippines?

NC: Unfortunately I haven’t been there yet. My family is from Cavite.

AJ: Did your lola (grandmother) teach you how to speak tagalog?

NC: Although my family speaks Tagalog amongst themselves, I was never taught. I am using a computer program called Rosetta Stone that is helping me learn Tagalog…maybe now I’ll know what my family is saying about me!

AJ: How is your diet like these days? What are your favorite foods?

NC: I eat a lot of organic fruits and vegetables. I try to fill my plate mostly with vegetables in a variety of different colors. My favorite foods are Vietnamese and Peruvian.

AJ: What is the best thing about swimming?

NC: I love being in the sun and in the fresh air. I am passionate about swimming and thrilled to have the opportunity to help people throughout the swimming community experience the fun of listening to quality music while enjoying a swim or participating in other water sports.

AJ: What is your favorite event? How many events will you be competing in?

NC: My favorite event is probably the 100 back. I will compete in up to six events in Beijing, including relays. My individual events are the 100 back, 200 IM and 100 free.

(Editor’s Note: Natalie is the American record-holder in four events on the Olympic schedule.)

AJ: You now lead the 58 club, how did you prepare for that?

NC: Lots of hard training!

(Natalie broke the 59-second mark with a time of 58.97 seconds. She was also the first woman to break the one minute mark in the 100-meter backstroke.)

AJ: What do you do when you are not swimming?

NC: I really enjoy cooking and eating.

AJ: What are your other favorite sports?

NC: I enjoy watching track & field, I personally like to surf and run for cross-training.

AJ: Who was your role model as a child growing up? Has that changed?

NC: I didn’t really have any specific role models. However, I did enjoy watching Summer Sanders and Janet Evans.

AJ: What’s your favorite song to listen to underwater?

NC:  Any Jack Johnson song.

AJ: What is the best part about swimming with music?

NC: It puts me in tune with both the music and the water.

AJ: What’s your advice to the next generation of world record swimmers?

NC: Don’t take anything too seriously.

AJ: If you weren’t an Olympic swimmer what would you be?

NC:  A professional dancer but I have no experience.

(Special thanks to Tom Harvey of H20 Audio for facilitating the interview. For more information about the Natalie Coughlin Signature Series, visit


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The promised land: I-Hotel’s legacy lives

by Malou Liwanag-Aguilar/AJPress
During the mid 1960s, the I-Hotel, officially known as the International Hotel was targeted for demolition because of the urban renewal and redevelopment movement. The first eviction notices were issued to residents in 1968, but nine years of litigation, public protests and disagreements ensued.

A home, a community
Built in 1907, the I-Hotel was a low-cost residential hotel located at the corner of Kearny and Jackson Streets in the Manilatown section of San Francisco.   It was not only a home to many Asian Americans, but a community, specifically to the Filipino American population. But San Francisco’s growing financial district has made the land a prime piece of real estate.

The I-Hotel was a place to thousands of seasonal Asian laborers in the 1920s and 1930s  — many who were young Filipino and Chinese men who worked as laborers, dishwashers, messengers and other jobs that were referred to as “appropriate for Orientals.”  There were also the “old-timers,” those who settled in San Francisco after years of working in seasonal harvests, on merchant ships and canneries in Alaska and Washington.

For the most part also, Asian women were excluded from entering the US until 1965, preventing most men in Chinatown and Manilatown from having their own families.  According to Roots of Justice:  Stories of Organizing in Communities of Color by Larry R. Solomon, California’s antimiscegenation laws prevented Filipinos and other Asians from marrying outside their race, and the white elite pushed “race preservation” by bringing the issue before the House Committee on Immigration and Naturalization.

Still, life persisted, and the neighborhood grew to a community filled with camaraderie.

Lost, but not beaten
After WWII, plans were made to expand the downtown business center in San Francisco.  Low-cost housing, restaurants, barber shops, markets, clubs and other businesses that benefited the Filipino community were destroyed.  One of the hotels slated for demolition was the I-Hotel.  In March 1968, business magnate Walter Shorenstein bought the I-Hotel and made plans to construct a multilevel parking lot on the site.  Securing a demolition permit, he ordered the evictions of the 196 tenants.

But the word was put out – the battle cry was to “Fight to Save the I-Hotel.”  Students, community leaders and activists were up for the fight, a long one.  The final residents were evicted on August 4, 1977. In 1978, then-Mayor Dianne Feinstein created an International Hotel Citizens Advisory Committee, which was unable to break the deadlock between low-cost housing advocates and the property owner. The building stood empty while the fate of the site continued to be debated, but was finally demolished in 1981.

The site was acquired by St. Mary’s in 1994, but the air rights was later sold to Chinatown Community Development Center which planned to build a replacement low-cost residential project. Construction began on the new I-Hotel in 2003, and the building was completed on August 26, 2005. The new building contains 105 apartments of senior housing. A lottery was held to determine priority for occupancy, with 2 residents of the original I-Hotel given priority. Occupancy started in October 2005. The Manilatown Heritage Foundation now sits in the area, with a historical display commemorating the original I-Hotel.

(Editor’s note:  Last August 4, 2008 was the commemoration of the final eviction of the tenants of I-Hotel.  Various activities are scheduled including a film showing of Manilatown is in the Heart, a time travel documentary, on August 9.  For more information, log on to


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US Mint offers special coin collection to Asian American Communities

by Miko Santos/AJPress
SAN FRANCISCO – To celebrate the ostentatious event of the date 8-8-08, the United States Mint released a new set of gold coins targeted primarily for the Asian American community

US Mint Director Edmund C. Moy, the 38th director of the US Mint and the first Asian American to hold the post, discussed the significance of this new set of gold coins, saying, “The 8-8-08 Double Prosperity Set presents a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for coin collectors and the general public.”

The sets go on sale August 8, 2008 or “08-08-08.” This date was chosen since the number “8” is traditionally associated with prosperity in many Asian cultures. A date with the “triple 8” only occurs once every 100 years.

To mark this occasion, this is also the first time the United States Mint has paired two gold coins in custom-designed packaging, making this set a unique product for the Asian-American community.  The sets will be priced at $1298.95. There is no production limit placed on the sets.

The American Buffalo One-Half Ounce Gold Uncirculated Coin contained in this set is one of the newly-released fractional weight options in the expanded American Buffalo Coin Program.  The coin bears the classic portrait of a Native American in profile on the obverse and the magnificent American Buffalo, or bison, on the reverse.  Noted American sculptor James Earle Fraser, a student of Augustus Saint-Gaudens, originally designed both images for the redesigned five-cent coin (nickel) released in 1913.

The American Eagle One-Half Ounce Gold Uncirculated Coin displays Augustus Saint-Gaudens’ enduring full-length figure of Liberty with flowing hair, holding a torch in her right hand and an olive branch in her left.  The coin’s reverse, by Miley Busiek, bears the endearing image of a male eagle clutching an olive branch while soaring above a nest containing a female eagle and her hatchlings.

Both coins in the 8-8-08 Double Prosperity Set are legal tender with a nominal face value designation of $25.  But their gold metal content and artistry make them worth far more.  Inscriptions on the coins include the “W” mint mark for the United States Mint at West Point , the date, the fineness and the weight.  The coins are packaged in an attractive hardwood box with a Certificate of Authenticity signed by Director Moy.

Customers may order the 8-8-08 Double Prosperity Set at the United States Mint’s secure Web site at  Orders may also be placed at the toll-free number, 1-800-USA-MINT (872-6468).  Please add $4.95 shipping and handling fee to all domestic orders.  There is no set product limit for the 8-8-08 Double Prosperity Set.


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Historic Filipinotown Festival: A celebration of a community

by Gayle Gatchalian/AJPress
Two blocks of Temple St. was barely enough to contain the 6th Historic Filipinotown Festival last Saturday, August 2. Spearheaded by the Historic Filipinotown Neighborhood Council (HFNC), this year’s festival has been the biggest so far and has opened its arms to embrace people of all color and creed, making it an event truly for the community at large.

Since its inception, the Festival has been drawing crowds of Filipinos from all over Southern California and beyond. The one-day extravaganza of food, culture and fun used to reside in small alleys but it proved too big to stay there for long. The festival also catered to the current residents of Filipinotown, not just its namesakes. With 65 percent Hispanic residency in the district, they had to take it to the streets. The 2008 festival provided an action-packed schedule to those who attended. About 800 runners participated in the 7:30 a.m. 5K Run/Walk followed by eleven hours of non-stop stage time. There was dancing and singing that kept the multi-cultural crowd entertained. There were carnival rides for the younger kids to enjoy and numerous booths of organizations and commercial entities active in the FilAm market. No festival would be complete without food of course and not surprisingly, food was to be found aplenty. Filipino superstar Nora Aunor graced the evening, topping off the long day’s celebration of Historic Filipinotown.

Alvaro VanEgas from Proyectos Saluda, is media chair and promoter for this year’s festival. Proyectos Saluda is actually an organization that promotes Hispanic cultures, but VanEgas could ignore the similarities between Hispanic and Filipino cultures. His involvement is paradigmatic of the inclusive, welcoming nature of the festival and Filipinos themselves. Cross-cultural sharing is an important part of the festival and the Latin component could be felt throughout the day.

“It used to be on a small community level, but now we have gone big-time with a massive campaign and plenty of sponsors,” VenEgas continued. “We want Historic Filipinotown to be a model for all other Filipino communities and this festival is the first step in a long-term project to promote the area.”

Historic Filipinotown has gone a long way since its incorporation in three years ago. The HFNC has a vision to make Historic Filipinotown, HiFi as it is fondly called, a tourist destination in the city of Los Angeles. HFNC President Cecille Ramos explained, “This is an opportunity for the community to get together, discover and embrace each other’s culture.” She added, “A miracle is happening in HiFi. Everyone is coming together, enjoying diversity and the happenings.”

HFNC was responsible for putting up the freeway signs indicating HiFi’s downtown location. Their next project involves adopting 125 city posts upon which will hang a parol, those ornamental star-like lanterns that grace every Filipino home during Christmas. Mrs. Ramos disclosed that “there’s a lot of excitement in the families we’ve spoken to and the pledges are coming in.”

The community can only look forward to more in the coming years. “We are looking into a bigger street closing, more booths and more runners for the Run/Walk,” revealed Mrs. Ramos. This one-day street party might even see another day added to its schedule.


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