After finishing my training at Baguio and the practice round at Boracay, I took a break from golf and went searching for balut on the beaches and backroads of the island. Like Manny Pacquiao, I am a big fan of balut. Is this the performance enhancing drug that Mayweather accuses Pacquiao of ingesting? Let me just say that the balut certainly helped my performance and I am glad it is legal in the Philippines.
So that brings us to the day of the main event, the 11th Chairman's Cup. Even with the benefit of my Baguio training (like Pacquiao), and the lingering effects of the balut (so very like Pacquiao), and the reassurance of having Nicer Landas in my corner, I remained a bit nervous. And that showed on the first few holes, as I managed a par at the 1st but added double bogeys on the 2nd and 6th. Then, just like Pacquiao, my skill and training paid off as I ran through a spectacular stretch of pars and birdies (and even added an eagle!) on the most challenging section of the course.
By the time I reached the 16th tee, it was all about enjoying the view and savoring the few remaining shots on my way back to the clubhouse. Much like Pacquiao did in the Margarito fight, I eased off at the end, as the match was clearly over. I didn't add a birdie after the 13th; there was no need for me to punish the course any more.
Like Pacquiao I celebrated the victory with a party that evening, and like Pacquiao, when I returned to Manila there was another round of celebrations. Some people have asked me what comes next after this, what match can I take on now that will really challenge me? I'm going to leave that up to my managers. But I will say that I may not play another match until 2011. Pacquiao returns to politics after his fights, and I return to science.
I look forward to a November weekend in Boracay next year when I will defend my championship. I'll be training hard over the next year and expect to be in fine form again by the time of the Chairman's Cup. And if you want to beat me, you may need balut, a Baguio training program, and that je ne sais quoi that only rarely shows itself in my opponents but is so much a part of my game.
I would go on to celebrate with an icon of Philippine culture, but that is another story, for another time.