That World Cup dream

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Every country has a dream of bringing that 18 carat gold trophy back home and this coming July 13, Germany and Argentina will be battling it all out. So far, it has been an exciting World Cup. The last time these two countries met in the finals was in 1990 where Germany (West Germany then) beat the 1986 holders Argentina, 1-0 in Italy. I was 7 yrs old in Saudi Arabia and a few days later, the Gulf War was about to start. I had a few memories of that World Cup, it was mostly Maradona. During the Gulf War, I was mostly at home watching Captain Majid (the Arab version of Captain Tsubasa) and watched EPL games. Eric Cantona would be one name I would always remember at that time as well. Then came USA’94 and Saudi Arabia qualified for the first time, of course I was rooting for them, my country of birth. I had also started playing football at this time where relatives were telling me to play basketball instead, and I did but I just loved football more and was better at it. Saudi Arabia would advance to the second round and lose to semi-finalists Sweden, who would lose to the winners, Brazil who got crushed 7-1 by Germany a few days ago.

When I moved back here in the Philippines around 95′ I didn’t see any football around my area, but was happy when the high school I went to had a team. I immediately tried out and was their goalkeeper for 3yrs. During college I stopped, the so called university didn’t have a football team or any other sports team, except basketball. I was still an avid fan of the World Cup though and woke up early in the morning during France 98′ and watched wherever I can during the Korea Japan 2002. By 2005 I had started playing football again (thanks to online forums) and eventually found a team where I would play every weekend. My reflexes were still in touch and a mentor had helped me improve my skills. I had the ideal height as a goalkeeper and always thought I could make it in the national team, I just had to work on my punting on the ground. Yep, I had silly dreams of playing in the national team, keeping clean sheets and all, but the Philippines didn’t have such nice records then. I remember watching a scoreline of a 9-0 loss in the Tiger Cup (some scorelines were worse), the Philippines was the whipping boys of South East Asia then. As I was getting more momentum, playing in different tournaments, third division league, football was growing and so forth… I got injured, suffered a fracture in a freak accident diving for the ball in a patchy field.

It wasn’t the same after recovering for some time, I lost my morale but still had that bite in playing. So I started taking pictures, mostly football and skateboarding. Football was on the rise in the Philippines after it made a shocking 2-0 defeat to Vietnam during the 2010 Suzuki Cup. Football was suddenly everywhere. After more than a year from injury I started playing football again and met the chief photographer of the European Pressphoto Agency (EPA) in the Philippines who happened to be my teammate. I had no idea he was a photographer until he brought his big lenses on our games. We were target practice for his Euro Cup and World Cup adventures. And that was it, I had wanted to be a photographer, I had wanted to cover the World Cup. I started taking pictures more, attended workshops, quit my corporate job, went to school again and somehow made it and is now making a living out of taking pictures.

Philippines, I hope you make it one day to the big stage, Saudi Arabia for you to qualify again, Germany to win the World Cup again in the future with me somewhere in the sidelines capturing those moments.

http://www.markcristino.com/

 

Leyte 7 months

Everyone knows what happened 7 months ago when the strongest typhoon recorded on land hit Eastern Visayas of the Philippines, almost destroying everything in its path and leaving thousands dead. A few weeks back I attended my cousin’s wedding in Leyte. I took this opportunity to visit the damaged areas, even if it was only for a day. I had wanted to stay longer, but I had work and the wife needs help with the baby at home. Almost the same situation 7 months ago, I thought that would be the moment I could cover a disaster, but my wife was 7 months pregnant at that time, risky. So I stayed home and documented instead the arrival of the survivors in Manila. Leyte means a lot to me, my dad and his family are from here and it’s been a while since I visited. Good thing was that our relatives were all okay.

Philippines is well known for corruption in politics and it was the reason I was hearing all over when I talked to most of the people I met in Tacloban; battle of clans, exchanging foreign relief goods with local cheap products, rice not getting there and so on… despite this, the locals were smiling and life was moving on. The Philippines got billions of money from donations, I really wonder where it went. Infrastructure needs some speeding up, I thought the typhoon had just arrived when I got off the plane and walked around the airport, progress is there, but too long. The Pope will be visiting next year, i’m hoping for some speedy recovery. God Bless the Philippines.

Some snaps from my 2 day trip around Tacloban, Tanuan and Hindang, Leyte. The full set can be viewed here: http://www.markcristino.com/#!leyte/c1sqy

 

 

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A taste of Cebu skateboarding

More than a month ago, I went to Cebu to cover the football match between the Philippines and Malaysia, which ended in a 0-0 draw. Football has always been one my passion. I got introduced to when I was grade 2 back in Saudi Arabia, surprisingly in a kind of racist way; “Oh you’re Filipino, you play the goalkeeper”. Ever since then I played as a goalkeeper; in high school then local clubs after I graduated in college.

Strangely though, I stopped playing football in college simply due to the fact that there was no one I knew that time playing it around where I lived. Enter skateboarding, I remember having this old fish board back in Saudi Arabia. Everyone sort of had one, so I bugged my parents to get me one, and I did during one of the weekend sale bazaars around the hood. I never took it seriously then, just pushed through the streets and that was it. I got into it again just after graduating from high school. It was hard looking for boards, and they were pretty damn expensive.

There was 3 of us high school buddies who decided to skate, the problem was where. Skateboarding seemed so small back then here in Manila, and you’d be greeted with cheers; “Ayun oh trasher! Basurero!” Eventually I found a group in Robinson’s Galleria, where I met the Makati skaters who took me to different spots in the Metro and so on and so forth.

Meeting the Cebu skaters reminded me of how skateboarding was back then; small, tight, compact and everyone pretty much knew each other. It was all good vibes, not to mention that these dudes really rip! A lot of them are creative as well, the guys in charge of Quila clips, Strap, Brad and Butter etc… so much stuff going on in the scene, you can’t really get bored here.

Skateboarding has truly grown and evolved, and I’m happy and quite sad at the same time. It’s hard to explain; you have to go through what skaters experienced back then to understand it, but the Cebu skate scene? It made me smile… and the ladies as well.

As Go Skateboarding Day approaches, I hope every skateboarder thinks about why he or she is skating in the first place. You can’t skate all your life, but you can keep on pushing until you physically can’t.

Cheers!

Now here are some snaps from my 2 day trip.

http://www.markcristino.com/

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Pacific Paint Documentation

Some snaps from an assignment for Africa-Interactive documenting Pacific Paint (Boysen) Philippines.

 

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Chinese New Year

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David Beckham

In this file photo, David Beckham of the LA Galaxy delivers a cross against the Philippines at the Rizal Memorial Stadium on Dec 3, 2011. The game was part of LA Galaxy's 2011 Asia Pacific Tour where they trounced the Philippines, 6-1. David Beckham is in the Philippines the second time to visit the victims of typhoon Yolanda in Tacloban, Leyte as a goodwill ambassador for the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF).

In this file photo, David Beckham of the LA Galaxy delivers a cross against the Philippines at the Rizal Memorial Stadium on Dec 3, 2011. The game was part of LA Galaxy’s 2011 Asia Pacific Tour where they trounced the Philippines, 6-1.
David Beckham is in the Philippines for the second time to visit the victims of typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) in Tacloban, Leyte as a goodwill ambassador for the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF).

Feast of Santo Nino

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