In my 10th year living in the Philippines, I came to an important realization of how well I was treated here. Wherever I go, people are always kind and welcoming. I have never felt like I am an outcast. Even in the big crowd of the Sabong world, never that I felt left out.

Nevertheless, I came to wonder why numbers of other foreign Sabungeros didn’t make it here. And I have found the answers to my questions. It is a simple as 1, 2 and 3, many of them failed to understand one thing. That in order for you to be embraced by others, you first have to learn to embrace first. In order for you to be accepted, you have to learn to accept first.

Today, I was invited by Mr. Rizal Tinsay for his birthday Derby. I must say that I felt deeply honored to be part of that crowd. At first I felt intimidated as I look around and realized that I am the only white guy there. But after seeing some familiar faces, I started to feel settled, to feel I belonged. Filipinos are naturally friendly and the most warm-hearted people I’ve known. I can testify and make a fair comparison regarding this because as a Military Aviator, I have visited and lived in many different sides of the planet. Being with Filipinos, it was never hard for me to build bridges with them. As I have always said, people are people. We are all unique in every sense of our being. In order for us to co-exist with each other is through the process of healthy adaptations and acceptance to the things that appears different from what we are used to. There are good and bad wherever we go, we must take it as it is and understand that it’s all part of the beauty our world has to offer.

As I exited that place, I brought with me not only the pride of my cocks winning today, but above all, I felt lucky to have been winning the hearts of my Filipino comrades. I am home.

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