Before I Forget

Thank god I’m not that famous (like Piolo)

Surviving a ‘tsunami’ on the way to Tubbataha

In 2014, in Tubbataha, the author (far left) with Lucky Manzano, Marc Nelson and Piolo Pascual (From the author’s FB)

From the author’s Facebook, publishing with permission


This picture of a wonderful time in Palawan just popped up on my feed. It’s from 2014 and I have a pretty random story about it. . . .

Almost Famous.

As a WWF National Ambassador, we have perks and duties and one of them is to travel to our various project sites throughout the country to volunteer, research and observe WWF’s successful work.

The crown jewel of WWF Philippines’ labor is undoubtedly the Unesco Heritage site, the Tubbataha Reefs in the middle of Sulu Sea.

As a treat they invited Marc Nelson and myself (national ambassadors), Lucky Manzano (Oceans & Seas Steward) and Piolo Pascual PH (Mountain & Forest Steward) to join the WWF research team for this once-in-a-lifetime trip.

It was an absolute miracle to get all four of us to simultaneously take time off work and embark on this week long trip aboard a live-aboard ship.

Good times ahead!

So we all meet at the NAIA3 airport on Friday morning with our WWF liaisons. Marc and I arrive early and are sitting and waiting at our gate for everyone else to trickle in. Lucky arrives as well. Sunglasses, cap, chill and inconspicuous. Then Piolo arrives last and joins us.

Now, NAIA3 was a fairly new airport at the time and there were no business lounges yet, but our WWF chaperones knew well enough to commandeer a small corner away from all the throngs of passengers.

Now its Marc Nelson, Piolo Pascual, Lucky Manzano and myself chatting away and all my low-self-esteem-having-ass could think of was, “if this plane crashes, and everybody dies, I won’t even be in the headlines.” 😂

All of a sudden, a woman musters up the courage to approach us and asks for a picture. But in reality we all knew what she REALLY wanted—a solo picture with Piolo. Well, Piolo obliges, and well, that’s pretty much the GO signal to “Release the Kraken.”

Like a human tsunami, a wave of people immediately comes rushing forward asking for a pic with Piolo. Our gate was now a mosh pit with Papa P in the center! Marc, Lucky and I immediately jump back (or more like get pushed back). The surge of humans looks like a zombie scene straight out of World War Z. When the adjoining gates got word of Piolo Pascual in the house, they too joined in the pichoor-taking frenzy. It was madness.

Fans, workers, pilots, FA’s and onlookers swarmed in. Nobody even asked Piolo how he was, How was his day or where he was going. They just lined up and snapped a selfie. 🤳 🤳 🤳 🤳 🤳 🤳

And in the middle of that bedlam, Piolo was the consummate professional. Cool as ice buko automatically flashing his million-peso smile for every. Single. Person. 📸

Marc and I stood there, shaking our heads, mouths agape and just stared in awe at the orderly carnage.

In all my years in the “Biz,” I’ve never seen anything like this.

Then as if on cue, Lucky pops in his head between us and says in a serious tone, “Thank God I’m not THAT famous,” walks away and slinks back to hiding.

Marc and I slowly turn to each other, crack up and say at the same time, “F*ckin’ artistas.” 😂

About author


A former magazine editor, he is one of the few sports and television celebrities who love to write—and can really write.

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