Halo Halong Pinoy

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Gilbert Arenas : Everybody should visit Manila

I found this Gilbert "Agent Zero" Arenas NBA.com blog entry about he's experience when he visited major cities around the world including TManila, Philippines last July entitled Everybody Should Visit Manila.


Then we stopped in Manila. It was a different world. I’ve never
seen fans like that in my life. These pictures can’t even do justice to what was
going on out there. I had a reception at a small, little venue to welcome me to
the city and there were 200 people there. One thing I want to say about
Filipinos: they’re very warm people, very good-hearted people. Like, everybody
was nice. You know, you meet nice people, but a whole country of nice, genuine,
warm-hearted people was unbelievable. These are diehard fans. I really didn’t
know if I was in Game 7 of a playoff series, I couldn’t tell the difference.
Everywhere I went it was just bananas. I also want to give a shout out to my man
from Maryland who flew from MD to the Philippines and told me the reason he flew
all the way out there was to get autographs from me because he knew I was going
to be there at that date and time. I did a couple mall tours. I also helped a
kid with his wish. It was in one of the poverty areas in Manila and there’s a
group called GK that builds homes for people all over the world. They helped
this community out by putting people in homes. I guess a couple weeks before we
got there, a hurricane hit and destroyed their community and GK helped build it
back up. One little kid who lived there wanted a basketball court for his
community so all the kids could play so I donated – with the help of GK and
adidas – a basketball court to that community and the kid was very happy. You
have to look at the Agent Zero posters they had out there. They put me in a cape
at one of my last events in Manila. It was at one of their biggest malls and
they were predicting it was going to be crowded. I mean, crowded to me is a
Saturday afternoon at the mall where you have to wait in line for 10 minutes to
pay for your jeans. Their crowded was probably four or five thousand people in
the mall. It was like nothing I’ve ever seen before, and I’ve seen crazy fans
all over the world. It was like Golden State against the Dallas Mavericks with
Game 3 back in Oakland. It was that type of atmosphere in the mall. I was
stunned. They made me feel like an NBA star. Any NBA players out there: If
you’re having a bad day, or you’re having a bad career, go to Manila. They’ll
bring your spirits up, trust me. I felt like I just won the NBA championship, to
be for real. After we left the mall we were looking at pictures from the event a
couple days later and we were telling ourselves, "Man, that was unreal!" Plus,
with the security I had, I felt like I was the President. I felt like I was
Obama. I really felt like I was running in the presidential election, especially
when I got to meet the U.S. ambassador out in the Philippines. We had a great
time talking to each other. We actually went to a college basketball game
together. Their college game would be like if it was Duke and Maryland playing
each other and you split the crowd in half, 50-50. One side of their gym was
blue and one side of their gym was green and everybody was just yelling.
Backstage I met Manny Pacquiao, he’s the town hero. I have to be honest, they
made me feel even bigger than him at the moment. I talked to him and he invited
me to his November fight, so if I have time and depending on if we have a day
off, I might go see that. Oh, I also met Jet Li in Shanghai, can’t leave him
out. On top of everything else in Manila, I stayed at the best hotel I’ve ever
stayed at – The Peninsula. I was in the mack daddy “El Presidente” suite and was
like the Fresh Prince with Geoffrey – I had a live-in butler. One more note on
Manila, just so you guys can get a picture of what kind of people they are and
how much they adore and love entertainers and the NBA. Think about this: If
you’ve ever been to a BeyoncĂ© concert, or anybody’s concert in the states
really, if they sell out an arena it will be 20,000 fans. Last year in BeyoncĂ©’s
hometown, Houston, she pulled in 12,000 people to her show. D.C. was her biggest
sell, she put 18,000 people in the seats. Meanwhile, she was in Manila for two
days to do two concerts and she had 85,000 people, two nights straight. She
couldn’t even do it in the arena, she had to do it on the lawn. Like,
“Everybody, y’all just get in the grass, I’m going to perform.” That’s how the
people are out there.

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