The eSports Diary: My thoughts on the best Filipino player

In an interview that I have done for eSports by INQUIRER.Net back in 2014, I had the pleasure of interviewing one of the best eSports athletes that the Philippines has produced.

Elgee Gaboy used to play CrossFire for MSI-EvoGT until his retirement in the latter part of 2014. He is the undisputed top Filipino player across all eSports disciplines as he and his team lead the country to the podium for two consecutive years at the World Cyber Games (WCG), getting 3rd and 2nd place, respectively.

Not even the “golden age of Filipino Dota” back in 2013 can stop Elgee from taking the mantle of the best Filipino player. However, many contenders have emerged for the title since then, each of whom deserve to take the title for various reasons.

Here is my take on the matter:

2014: Christian “REVENGE” Amores

Many people expect me to list someone from the Dota 2 community, considering that Execration has done a good job at qualifying for StarLadder during the last quarter of 2016. However, the fact remains that no other Filipino, whether in a team or individual game, has achieved as much as Pacific.Macta did during that year.

A lot of people thought that Macta would not be able to survive beyond the group stages of that year’s CrossFire Stars, which is the premier competition in CrossFire that featured many of the best teams in the world. This is because they never had international experience; all of their players were considered rookies in top-tier CrossFire.

That is, until they shocked the Filipino eSports community by finishing third place and beating Europe’s PENTA Esports with a clean sweep of 2-0.

REVENGE played a huge part in getting his team to the podium, thanks to his phenomenal skills both as a sniper and as a pistol player for the team.

Thus, the title of the best Filipino player for 2014 goes to REVENGE, hands down.

 2015: Caviar Napoleon “EnDerr” Marquises-Acampado

Mineski has went to the Frankfurt Major and yes, got a placing that no one expected them to take. Sure, Pacific.Macta did the ultimate comeback from a wildcard slot to take third place for that year’s CrossFire Stars, allowing them to gain another podium sport for Philippine eSports. And yes, Pompi reached the semi-finals of the IeSF Hearthstone Tournament, which is in itself a historical moment for Philippine eSports.

However, the title of “player of the year” goes to EnDerr, who has tirelessly represented the Philippines in Starcraft 2, a title which offers no room for mistakes and punishes the tiniest miscalculations that a player can make.

Finishing third in the 7th eSports World Championships is no easy feat.

Keeping good form and decent results while going up against some of the best StarCraft 2 players in the world is an even harder feat.

And EnDerr has done both of them.

For the reason stated above, EnDerr is my pick for the best Filipino player in 2015.

Honorable Mentions:

Ryan “Bimbo” Jay Qui: Captain, prodigy and pub-wrecking player, who does not know this guy from Dota 2? What he only lacks is a podium placing at a major international Dota 2 tournament.

Our Hearthstone players: There are simply lots of them. Any of them win a top 8 placing in a big international tournament and they’ll take my spot this year unless a Dota 2/LoL/CS:GO team from the Philippines does the same.

Well, let’s see who will be the person that will lead us to the Promised Land of an eSports gold medal this year. Or at least, somewhere close to it…

 

Thankfully, one year of teaching’s over!

So I have finished a year of teaching, minus the things that I need to e-mail to my principal and whatnot.

Well, here’s a quick breakdown of what has happened during my one year of teaching:

  • I failed five students in my subjects.
  • I taught three subjects, namely, Reading, ESL and Values Education.
  • I’ve had a total of 50 students from Grades 4-6.
  • I was able to help start up our school paper.
  • I finished nine textbooks in one year.

It’s been a rough year. People say that the first year of teaching is always rough, so I hope that the succeeding years will be kind to me!

For the most part, I have enjoyed my maiden year of teaching, even though I wished that I had done some of my lessons better. But, you know,

The happiest portion of my teaching career thus far is seeing your students being able to learn something that they will carry for the rest of their lives. I hope that I will turn into a better teacher in the future.

I guess I have earned my vacation now. Hoping to travel around the country, see one or two places and have a good time with family and friends!

Alright! Rock and roll! Time to look forward to a new year of teaching…with optimism and a refreshed mind!

eSports Diary: Thoughts on ESL One Manila

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Day 1 (Saturday):

Had loaf bread and jam for breakfast, rice and mashed potatoes for lunch, and a MCDo chicken fillet meal for dinner

Day 2 (Sunday):

Had loaf bread and chicken tinola for breakfast, rice and mashed potatoes for lunch, and a MCDo chicken fillet meal for dinner

Stats: 

Recap articles made: four
Interviews made: two
Articles that can be made out of those interviews: three to four
Autographs for myself: seven
Autographs for my friends: more or less the same number
Hours spent covering the event on day 1: 12 hours
Hours spent covering the event on day 2: 9 hours
Selfies taken: Half a dozen

OVERVIEW: One big event. 9 out of 10 for just about everything – I don’t give anything beyond 9.5 anyway.

If you want to have a look at my thoughts on ESL Manila, carry on!


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It was mostly sunny weather when ESL One Manila began in full earnest. Being the first international Dota 2 event here in the country, expectations for #ESLOneManila were high as it represented many milestones in the history of Philippine electronic sports (eSports).

ESL Manila is the first $250,000 (i.e. big-purse) Dota 2 tourney to be held in the country. It is also as well the first gaming event to be shown both on national TV and on primetime programming. Most importantly, it is one of the first big-ticket gaming events in recent years to be officially supported by the Philippines’ very own Department of Tourism.

My expectations going into the event have mostly been positive as it is under the auspices of ESL and Mineski, who are among the leaders of the eSports industry internationally and locally, respectively.

When I stepped into the cool and cozy grounds of the Mall of Asia (MoA) Arena, I can clearly feel the hype, excitement and energy as the local crowd chanted and cheered for their favorite teams.

Most of the people cheered for Mineski, Secret (a European team) and Liquid (who keeps teams in other games as well); whenever the crowd sees one of these teams on stage (or even one or two players), they just get fired up!

But it does not mean that they don’t appreciate good plays as the crowd cheered and clapped for every nicely-executed gameplay that happens in-game.

In the end, the Chinese in the form of Wings Gaming grabbed the trophy, 3-0. away from Team Liquid (who placed second during the Shanghai Dota 2 Major.)

As for the two days I’ve been at the event, the players, managers, casters, analysts and (take note: writers) who were on-site were really accommodating, friendly and amazing. For me, it was not just the biggest event in my 18 months of covering eSports; it was also one of the most enjoyable events that I’ve attended in my entire life!

Most importantly, the Filipino crowd…no, OUR CROWD showed their enthusiasm and energy at such an event. The passion was just…mind-blowing, to say the least.

Sure enough, I was not able to buy anything from the ESL Shop (they were way too expensive and even though I wanted to buy, I don’t have the money at hand to do so.)

But still, it was great and the epicness of the event was way beyond my expectations. Congratulations to all the people behind this event!

It was a nice experience covering this event for eSports@INQUIRER.Net.

Hoping to more events to come!

 

More Thoughts on Teaching

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About nine months ago, I punched my first-ever time-in at the elementary department of Fountain International School. I was a fresh graduate back then who knew nothing about the intricacies and surprises of real life.

All of a sudden, I started teaching Reading, Values and ESL to students from three different grade levels. As an international school, our students come from different nationalities and ethnic backgrounds: We sure are a melting pot where the sights, tastes and colors of our respective cultures live side by side in diversity.

Time sure flies fast.

The first year of teaching is almost done and I felt that I haven’t grasped the full grip of teaching just yet. My learning process is like a slow boat to China: It takes a lot of time and effort, innumerable mistakes are done along the way, more of the same troubles are encountered…so it is a great victory to learn one or two things at the end of the day.

Luckily, the things learnt in teaching are more or less permanent in one’s mind. That’s the bright sport of hardship: Once you achieve something, you are able to keep it around for a long time.

I feel that I’m fortunate to have a great teaching environment and to have colleagues who are kind enough to pitch some sort of advice every now and then.

I am also happy to have bright, creative and patient students who understand the difficulties that I have. I hope that they were able to learn a thing or two in my subjects!

Right now, I know that I’m not even a run-of-the-mill teacher and that I have a lot more to learn. I freely admit that I do a lot of mistakes and that there are times that they cause lots of inconvenience.

At least, I know now how to do some lessons the right way. Finally, I can see students learning something substantial. Something good is happening, right?

Knowing that being a neophyte teacher and expecting to get smacked in the face is part of the job. This person is lucky enough to have gotten some communication skills along the way: Learning how to speak nice and loud surely helps!

One of my high water marks in my teaching career so far is the activation of the school paper. Without the content provided by the students and without everyone’s encouragement, I even doubt that we have a student-oriented publication as this.

It has turned out to be an extremely engaging paper and it has been one of the hottest posts on the school’s social media pages. I was happy (and a bit proud) to see my students promoting the paper and being able to showcase their literary & artistic talents: It is not easy to convince people to do something that makes them go out of their comfort zone.

As I said, teaching is not a smooth-sailing ride. But I know now why it is considered to be a noble profession of service.

Teaching is a form of art that transcends age, race, color, creed and time. The things that one does in teaching may make or break a certain student’s future.

It’s not warts and all for me when it comes to teaching, but I understand the sacrifice that people put into teaching…and I try to embrace and love it even though it is not my dream job!

All things said and done, no matter which career path I take in the future, I will always place this teaching career in an important corner of my mind.

Ten Thousand Thoughts

As you may all know, “ten thousand thoughts” is a hyperbole.

But if anyone realizes how fitting it is, then one should shiver at the very notion of it: There are lots of things that people want to say, but they are unable to find the right words for it.

For starters, it is unbelievable to see people pitching their forks toward each other. I don’t understand why in the world can’t you work together towards a common and lofty goal. Seriously speaking, are you going to fight over a heap of rubble?

Can’t you just man up and make a compromise?

The other thing is that some people just have too much tunnel vision. If you think that deciding on a certain matter without properly consulting the parties involved would bear good results, then you’re in for a nasty surprise.

Obedience and cooperation can only be demanded up to a certain point. Don’t make those people alienated by the results of making unsound decisions.

If you think that you are happy with this state of things, then go ahead. But do not say that you were not warned beforehand.

I’ll leave it at that. Besides, I have better things to do on a Sunday other than talking about abstract stuff.

‘Nuff said.

Learning and Teaching

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It has been six months since I started teaching.

Along the way, I saw many things, experienced a lot of good things and experienced many downfalls.

I will not mince any words here: Teaching is one of the hardest challenges that I have to face in my life. At the same time, however, the profession has allowed me to have an accelerated course in life.

I know of the hard times that my good friends in the high school department are facing at the moment, so I must say that I am still really thankful and that I feel lucky that I am teaching in an elementary department. At the same time, I am also happy that I finally had the chance to teach at a Turkish-operated school. Well, time for some good old-fashioned teaching, you know?

Well, I think I had fun spending my time with students. I am not exactly that comfortable around people and I guess teaching has allowed me to meet many students, teachers and parents alike…and learn how to deal with people too!

Despite the fact that I am a teacher right now, I feel like I still need to learn a lot of things: From micromanagement to creation of lesson plans, the road is pretty long for the likes of me.

At times, I feel stressed out when I have to think that I have to do a certain lesson for that day…or in some cases, go to a certain class not once, not twice, but thrice in a single day.

The question is: Is there satisfaction in teaching?

The answer is yes. When you see at least one of your students learn a thing or two, then that’s the greatest gift that a new teacher can have. Or take the love of your students, for instance. If your students love you for your teaching (and a bit of personality as well), then I guess that erases most of the proverbial sweat and tears that comes with teaching.

They say that the first year of teaching is the hardest year, because it is the time for adjustment. I know that I can be better after this year, but I hope that I did not gave unnecessary headaches to my students especially those who are about to finish elementary school.

If I have a long-term dream in teaching, I would like to see my school become an English-writing powerhouse. Not just in campus journalism: I want to see my students write what they want to express, do it with decent English and be able to show their arguments clearly and creatively.

I want my students to learn the basics of advanced writing at a young age, not to see them featured in major publications (though that’s a major source of pride), but because I want them to be equipped with the skills that are needed to thrive in the 21st century.

Is that an easy aspiration? That’s no easy task, given that writing is one of the last things that are taught in the English language, along with listening.

But I’m willing to learn to do it.

I’m willing to give my 101%.

So that when the day I finally go to the place of my dreams, I can look back and confidently say:

“At least my students did something for themselves.”

Yes, it was one rocky and slippery path.

But the experience was worthwhile…and I hope that it continues to stay that way!

#fighting

On The Road: Writing for eSports

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As I write this blog post right now, I have spent 16 months writing for different eSports websites (particularly eSports by INQUIRER.Net) and I can that it was one hell of a roller-coaster ride.

I can still safely say that although I have done a good amount of things (basic comparison: my articles on computer games and culture have been read by tens of thousands of people from all over the world), I still have a lot to learn when it comes to write for news publications.

Meanwhile, my personal blog here averages somewhere between two to ten readers a day. (And for the record, a good part of those who go to this site recently also come from the eSports websites where I write for.)

Notwithstanding the comparison, I sincerely believe that I have became a better writer overall. I have also learned a lot of English and applied many writing tricks in the process. I must say that I am a much well-rounded scribe right now, than, say, back in 2013.

I really enjoy the job because it combines two of my passions in life: playing computer games (particularly first-person shooters) and writing all sorts of stuff. Besides, I get to meet lots of amazing people and hey, who does not want someone who knows a particular game well?

It is fun. It is hard to describe it in words, but the world of electronic sports looks like a magical place to be.

Besides, I learn a lot of things. Not just about the games that I play, but also on how to deal with people, whether personally or online. I also get to see new ways of writing, new things on social media and all sorts of other stuff that many can only dream of experiencing even once in their lives.

And yes, gala dinners and privileged information are also good bonuses, no?

Here’s the other side of the coin: Especially for Dota 2, it has been one hell of a learning curve for me. My editor keeps on reminding me not to do certain things and given the scatterbrained person that I am, well, I keep on doing those things.

On another note, I realize that I must improve my overall level of English if I want to be able to do things in a better way.

Sometimes, time management is not easy. You have to think of ways on how to become a better teacher…(yes, that’s my day job and I worry how to teach elements of literature to middle schoolers) while at the same time trying not to forget that you are a writer at heart.

Combine that with the days where you are stressed and here’s the result: It becomes really hard at times.

Do I stop? No.

Do I give up? Not at all.

I try to write for an hour or two (or in the worst case scenario, catch up on the latest news for a similar amount of time) because I know that I should find a way to keep my mind active so that I can write…decently.

Besides, why throw the towel when you know that you have a bright future in it? And it is not just a personal belief; it is a fact that lots of investors and companies have started to put money into the electronic sports sector.

Sometimes, people say the following things to me:

“Hey Earl, why the heck do you waste your talent in eSports?”

“Yo, why not try to write something else useful, or beneficial to society, such as economics, politics, etc.”

To be honest, I think about those things at times.

But when I see that I am able to help make a difference in my own little way, I shrug these thoughts away from my mind.

And I know that I’ll be able to ride on the waves one day and see the total acceptance of competitive computer gaming into mainstream society.

For now, I’ll just sit back, enjoy my cup of calamansi juice and enjoy doing my stuff.


Here are some of my best articles on computer games:

Esports is now a major subject in Norway

Philippine FPS team gets third in international tournament

Fnatic: The Strongest Team in CS: GO history

Enjoy reading!