Page 195. I only got to page 195.
I consider myself a bookworm but when it came to Pacific Rims, I barely made it to the halfway mark when I had to stop reading because tears were starting to blurr my vision. I actually took a break for a couple of weeks (which is quite rare) before I finished the second half of the book. Why did it affect me so much? Why did it make me cry? Because the content of page 195 could not even be considered as one of his great adventures .
To better explain this phenomenon, let me back up a bit...
I've always considered myself a basketball fan but I only found out about Rafe's book in 2012 after it had been out for 3 years (which is quite sad). Funny thing is, even before I knew who @Rafeboogs (Rafe Bartholomew's twitter account) was, he knew me.
Last December 11, 2012, Rafe covered Manny Pacquiao's defeat to Juan Manuel Marquez in Las Vegas. The resulting article painted an article so graphic, that I had to ask Carlo Pamintuan (who was also covering the fight) about it. I merely mentioned him in my tweet, and this was his reply.
It was only after this that I actually became curious about this Tagalog tweeting person who most of the PBA sports journalists (some of who had become friends of mine) were friends with. I researched all I could about Rafe Bartholomew .only to find out that he had actually written a book on Philippine basketball entitled Pacific Rims: Beermen Ballin' in Flip-Flops and the Philippines' Unlikely Affair with Basketball. So I ordered a copy from Amazon for $9.00 (only to later find out that is was actually being sold in most National Bookstores in the Philippines). The book took around 3 months to get to me (there's a complicated reason for that), so in the meantime, I scoured the web for book reviews, podcasts, video uploads on youtube... anything on Rafe Batholomew and Pacific Rims.
By the time I finally got to read the book, I had already built a mental image of who Rafe was. An uber white-boy, an American who came on a Fulbright scholarship to study Pinoy hoops and ended up embracing a culture that was so different from his own. This book, Pacific Rims, held all the details of how he came to be "ONE OF US".
Back to page 195. ...
I had now gone through half of the hilarious experiences that he chose to include into his book. I had just finished laughing my ass off when he described his unique pants-dropping experience in Boracay, when he began to describe another part of his life while living here in the Philippines.
Then, with a few paragraphs on page 195, Rafe showed us how he had become part of the Xavierville community. He had kids that sat on his lap. He knew the tricycle drivers by name. He even became honorary godfather to one of their daughters. As I read through this section, I just knew that unlike so many other foreigners, fil-ams, fil-foreigns that come and visit this country, this man had somehow fallen in love with the Philippines. In the three years he spent here, he embraced all the positives and negatives of a culture so different from his own and it brought tears to my eyes because I knew that like the millions of OFWs who have to go back to their places of work after a brief visit home, he'd be heartbroken when he boards that plane, but unlike them, he'd actually be going home.
(Fortunately, he doesn't end the book that way so I was spared the waterworks that was sure to come if it had. )
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NOTE OF THANKS....
Dear Tio Paeng...