Latest Stories




In his short sleep he dreamt kneading and folding dough to make bread. It is a difficult task requiring much physical stamina. It is stamina which involves the whole body. The dough is set on a table. In front of which he must stand. He folds the batch and then presses down into it using the strength of his arms and shoulder coupled with his full weight. All these over and over again until the texture is just right. And for some breads he actually has to give it a good punch to get it just right.

It gives him good opportunity to think, this tedious process of kneading and folding. And he might have longed to be a singer and boxer one day. Did he ever guess he would be a champion? Did he know for certain he might be known one day as one of the greatest boxers of all time second only to Muhammad Ali? Did he ever dream of making all that money and owning all those cars? When did he start hungering for it? Has he lost his hunger?

These questions form part of his narrative. They are inevitable. The name is only a name. It is only a cue or a brand, if you will. But as more people learn to recognize it, so too grows the wealth of its meanings. And so the boxer in time becomes related to the pride of a nation and an endorser of products. He becomes a peace time weapon the nation might use to hold itself together against its imagined enemies. He becomes exemplary of every poor person’s dream to rise above abject misery. At times but only if he allows it he might even become an act of God.

But these are only narratives. They are what people think they see. And they always see what they want. The boxer himself sees the world differently.

Dancing with his opponent up in the ring, the boxer knows this is his stage. He must contain its expanse in his head and locate himself there at every instance in the bout. What can he see from where he stands? Not everything. Indeed, he can see very little. To find his enemy he must peek through his own gloves. He raises them in front of him for protection. They cover his eyes. He must sense more than see his opponent. He feels for where he is with his punches. And then he waits for the response. Feels the texture of his opponent’s fists. Are they strong? Do they sting? How much weight is behind them? What is the size of his enemy? How quickly does he move? Where is he? How much do the punches hurt? Can he outlast them?

He must respond to him punch for punch. He cannot know the exact mettle of him. But neither can he his. He must match the intensity of his assault. Does he intend to make this a contest of speed or of brawn or of brains? He must guess the manner of his attack. And then he must move quickly to make this his game.

And all these are caught inside rhythmic time. There is a beat that the boxer must come to understand and then match. The punches are like notes. In jazz one can always put unexpected notes off-tempo, inside and off the regular beat of the music. Not too many. One will do, if it is completely unexpected. And if it is a dynamite punch it might floor the opponent and put him to sleep. And people will not even see the punch until the replays and the slo-mo reviews.

After which they will go on with their theories and their analysis about why he fell. And some of these, as he perfectly knows by now, will be completely ridiculous and sometimes entirely self serving. Such as the claim that he fell because he switched religions.

He was knocked out by an act of God?

What kind of God would waste time fixing a boxing match while thousands of little children go homeless or hungry if they did not die in the wake of typhoon Pablo? If God is that way, why believe in Him? And won’t He give him room to search for Him in his own way and in his own time?

Isn’t it good enough that he even searches for Him at all after he traveled from poor bakery worker and kneader of breads to where he is now, saddled with property, power, wealth and his retinue of so called “friends”?

In the ring, he makes his bread as he always did. Alone. And with only a single opponent whose singular intention is known and clearly stated. He carries only himself. He rises and falls on his own strengths and weaknesses. Let the world watch as God must, from a far distance and with the rest of the audience.

Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter

More from this Column:

Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: belief , Boxing , bread , Religion

Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
  1. Henares on Pacquiao bashing: I did not start this
  2. ‘Mom, I love you,’ says text from student on sinking ferry
  3. ‘No real progress in PH if dynasties not dismantled’
  4. Massive infra spending set
  5. More legal woes for Cedric Lee
  6. Kim Henares needs a reprimand, says Cayetano
  7. Passengers denied chance to escape sinking South Korea ferry
  8. South Korea president shouted down by distraught parents
  9. Two Popes who would be saints
  10. Lacson’s wife loses diamond earring to thieves but recovers jewelry quickly with police arrest
  1. Kim Henares needs a reprimand, says Cayetano
  2. Suspect in Vhong Navarro mauling tries to leave PH
  3. Fr. Suarez says last Mass on Easter before returning donated land to San Miguel
  4. MH370 co-pilot made mid-flight phone call – report
  5. More legal woes for Cedric Lee
  6. I’ll follow my conscience on Estrada, says JV Ejercito
  7. ‘Wife of Jesus’ theory papyrus not fake – Harvard study
  8. Gay college instructor arrested for oral sex with student
  9. ‘No real progress in PH if dynasties not dismantled’
  10. Palace: We can’t blame increase in population on Vitangcol
  1. KL confirms Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 ended in Indian Ocean
  2. MRT passengers pass the hat for 6-year-old Ashley
  3. Pork payoffs to newscasters Erwin Tulfo, Del Prado, others bared
  4. Rookie, lady cops lauded for quick response to MOA heist
  5. Model Helena Belmonte wished ‘to slash her wrist and hope to die’
  6. Malaysia averts another air tragedy; pilot lands troubled plane safely
  7. Revilla says he was joking; Lacson stands by his story
  8. Revilla ‘consulted’ Lacson on how he evaded arrest
  9. Police rule out foul play in Helena Belmonte’s death as boyfriend is ‘traumatized’
  10. Cudia, dismissed for lying, got 99% in conduct


  • Tens of thousands travel by sea this Holy Week
  • Police: Dad smothered toddler to play video game
  • 7 killed in shooting in China-Vietnam border
  • Chinese trade group to mediate shoe factory strike
  • Malaysia, Australia in deal on black box custody–report
  • Sports

  • Pacquiao shorts in Bradley fight sold for P1.7M in LA auction
  • Ryu pitches Dodgers past Giants
  • Alonso sets the pace in Chinese GP practice
  • Heat seek Three-peat but Spurs, Pacers top seeds
  • Can Spurs get back at Heat? Can they survive West?
  • Lifestyle

  • Levine designs womenswear with help from fiancee
  • Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Nobel laureate, dies at 87
  • Ford Mustang turns 50 atop Empire State Building
  • Pro visual artists, lensmen to judge Pagcor’s photo contest
  • ‘Labahita a la bacalao’
  • Entertainment

  • EXO postpones release of mini album ‘Overdose’
  • ‘X-men’ filmmaker slams ‘fabricated’ sex attack claims
  • Singer Chris Brown’s bodyguard on trial in DC
  • Whoopi Goldberg debuts as marijuana columnist
  • ‘X-men’ director accused of sex assault on teen boy
  • Business

  • Italy sells luxury state cars on eBay
  • Asian shares mostly up in quiet trade
  • Dollar up in Asia on US jobs data, Ukraine deal
  • Barbie doll has a problem
  • Oil prices mixed ahead of long Easter weekend
  • Technology

  • Nokia recalls 30,000 chargers for Lumia 2520 tablet
  • Facebook rolls out ‘nearby friends’ feature
  • Netizens seethe over Aquino’s ‘sacrifice’ message
  • Filipinos #PrayForSouthKorea
  • Taylor Swift tries video blogging, crashes into fan’s bridal shower
  • Opinion

  • Editorial cartoon, April 17, 2014
  • A humbler Church
  • Deepest darkness
  • ‘Agnihotra’ for Earth’s health
  • It’s the Holy Week, time to think of others
  • Global Nation

  • DoH denies Filipino nurse no longer positive for MERS virus
  • WHO warns vs spread of MERS-Cov, urges vigilance in taking precautions
  • Last call for nominations to ’14 Presidential Awards
  • San Francisco business coalition slams proposed tax on sugary drinks
  • A ‘time-travel’ production of ‘Les Miserable’ at Stanford
  • Marketplace