Balls Birds Boxing and Babes

Each culture is marked by its favorite events and sports. One cannot think of the USA without an image of raging football fans with painted bare bellies or the World Series.  Europe has its football, Australia has rugby and so on.  Here in the Philippines four very different events make the culture what it is and divines its people.

I was not a tall boy, that has not changed, so I assumed basketball was not my game, never learned the basics, leaving that for my more elevated buddies. But here no one is tall, except my lovely bride, it is a country of small boys who all can dribble and make that lay in shot. Every small community has a basketball court and they are used daily. The local tournaments draw huge crowds, all life stops for them.  There are many pro teams as well and round ball is on TV constantly. So it seems excluding short fellas was a mistake. Often, I see the boys playing and they will invite me to join, each time I wished I could play like my friends who learned early.  The other day I passed by an army camp on my run. I was greeted by two guys with M16s and one with a basketball, he tossed me the ball and I made a jump shot from about the foul line. I quit then knowing that was just luck hahaha.

Anytime there is a vacant lot, 3 or more boys and a ball the game is on. Rusty hand made hoops, baggy shorts and the boys everywhere you look, before school, at breaks, weekends always a game on.

Now the Birds.  When you drive along a country road and see dozens of bikes, trikes and jeepneys parked along the side it means one thing; Cockfights! This has been a SE Asian and particularly Filipino tradition since the dawn of civilization. Here they are even televised and every town, village or any community has them.  When you see a field with cute little chicken condos spread around, those are fighting cocks. The birds are hand raised, adorned and well fed, they live better than any chicken on earth a proverbial chicken aristocracy.  I have been a few times, the excitement is contagious as the gamblers reach a fever pitch. I am usually pretty lucky but I have yet to pick a winning bird, even with 50/50 odds.  Now many in the west will condemn this sport, and with reason, but I have to say; if there is reincarnation and I had to come back as a chicken, I would pick a fighting cock over a chicken in Colonel Sanders chicken factory any day. 

Love them as they do, these two past times pale to the passion that is boxing. When Manny Pacquiao fights the entire country comes to a grinding halt, it becomes a national holiday.  Everyone everywhere dreams about the fight, thinks about the fight, talks about nothing else but the fight and certainly watches the fight. They have to ask folks to cut back on electrical use so the zillion TV’s don’t crash the grid.

Boxing and particularly Manny Pacquiao is the soul of the Philippines and a more deserving hero never lived. His generosity and philanthropic activities are amazing.  He was elected and reelected to the National Senate.

Now all this might make you think this is a very masculine dominated culture. This may be true to an extent but the last of our cultural icons brings out the feminine side, the romance and the glamor that is the Philippines and is no less cherished nor important than the others; the beauty pageant!

Again, in every village every age and every walk of life has at least one pageant, most many more.  The little girls, the teens, the ladies and yes, the ladyboys all compete in different events. Twice now, I have had the honor of judging such events. Recently in the small village of Conception I judge a high school pageant, and last year, in Donna’s village, a ladyboy pageant, (see blog -----). The contestants in each were extremely well rehearsed and the costumes extraordinary.

The love of beautiful women goes right to the top. Last year the third Filipino to win the Miss Universe title (others in 1965, 1969). Pia Wurtsbach became a national hero; she is absolutely adored. This brought the pageant to the Philippines this year and they threw out all the stops, it was amazing.  Again, the country held its collective breath as the current Miss Philippines got in the final nine, then six! A language stumble cost her the crown as she tried to answer in English. This was haggled over more nationwide, commentaries abound, even more than the bad call that cost the Seahawks their last Super Bowl.  Donna can recite pageant statistics like a baseball fan, how many made the top 5 and what province. She is proud to tell you her province has produced some big winners.

So, what kind of people cherish basketball played by short guys, chickens fighting to the death, boxing matches and a super hero boxer, and simultaneously, the beauty pageant and the most beautiful women on earth? The answer is only one kind, the Filipino.  They live with passion, often raw. They have an immense national pride, not the “we are better than you” kind that causes wars but the “we are who we are and damn proud of it” kind. They banter politics as much as anyone but let an outsider criticize their leaders and the “fighting cock/ Manny” spirit comes out. President Obama found this out the hard way. 

Most of all they love life! Life at its basic terms. Children, beautiful women, fiestas, national heroes all bring out the wonders of Filipino life,

Make Your Dream Your Story

Capt. Brian Calvert

M/Y Furthur


SUBJECT: Re: Balls Birds Boxing and Babes Brian, this was so beautifully written, a perfect Christmas gift. Thanks so much. Jim On Dec 27, 2017, at 7:04 PM, Furthur Adventure > wrote:

 jimflaherty  12/28/2017



Your story is beautiful.  Much Love and Many Blessings!  

 Cheryl Klein  11/17/2017

nice travelling mark. you can visit bali island , indonesia. it's very beatiful place and much tradition in here

 superhero  10/20/2017

Australia 2 is currently located in the Western Australian Maritime Museum in Perth.  Most of the Challengers and Defenders in the 1987 Australian Defence series were fitted with winged keels so might be one of these.  

 John  5/20/2017

Brian, so sorry to hear of your loss, and another Angel arriving in heaven. 

Thank you for sharing your heart and story.

 June  4/6/2017

Great story!  Love that part about the brown skined/black haired Jesus "the way it should be" Haha - Kepp ém coming Captain Brian!  Jonas.

 Jonas Lundström  8/19/2016

Great job, Brian!  I can only imagine how difficult of a position who had.. It is totally amazing all these great opportunities that you have received!  Keep up the great attitude and continue to enjoy this awesome venture!  You make me smile every time I read one of your adventures.  I pray that they will continue to be all good!  Keep us posted..

 Sandy Joski  8/8/2016

Most excellent review! You captured the magic the love the rainbows..…  Loving this!!!

 Carol DaBrescia  6/10/2016

Your words ring true and flow perfectly to describe the adventure we are all on. Miss you! I see a boat trip in my near future as we continue to "Go Further!" One Love! 

 Spirit  6/9/2016


Thank You for sharing your "stuff on Further" article!!  We live in Maine and are prepping our new (to us) 46' Trawler for living aboard and cruising, and this information is very helpful!! 

I've been following your adventures for several years now and I can't thank you enough for all the inspiration you've given us!!  Plan to toss off the lines June 2016. 

I hope some day we will cross paths.


 Jim Mac  11/18/2015

Wow sounds like your living life and having a great adventure all in one the wife and I have thought about upsizing our boat and trying cruising. We enjoy all your updates stay safe and happy 

 Gerald Jackson  11/9/2015

Just read all of this Brian, what a good life for you, so happy for you. I could and should do this too about my life, it's pretty happy ever after as well.Ha Ha world, & good for us:) Stay safe out there on the high seas, there used to be modern day pirates ya know? I was the crew for about a yr. on a 40 ft. Valiant sailboat with my boyfriend who owned it, way back in 1980.  XOXO Linda

 lindahoxit  11/6/2015

Congratulations, great to find a partner in crime to share the adventure with.  I wish you both much happiness.

 Chris French  6/24/2015

Almost 7 years I working at the puerto galera white beach ,, and Barbie he the one of my best friend and I know he meet a lot a coustomer from others place and out of country and thank you so much for a lot of tourist they from my country also my place puerto galera, I hope you injoy and relax;) mowahhh good day

 Icey  5/12/2015



see you


in hand

 Dev Gottesman   5/5/2015

Nice place i think, i dont know when i can go there, thankyou for this share, i very like it

 boni  3/22/2015

It was a great story, right up to the point where the ping pong story gets introduced  (female crew taken along ). From that point forward, the story becomes watered down, repetitive, exploitive ( so much for Buddhist values ) and lacking the kind of character the story had through the first few years.

Women are more important than whales, yet whales in this adventure obviously get top billing while women seem to be a source of entertainment. Something to have along to please the eye, satisfy urges, make good photos, cook and clean. At least that is how it reads as time goes by.

As for value in other nations (boat work). I find it difficult reconcile how one is willing to pay low labor rates in countries/people we claim to love so much, while paying high labor rates in countries we are not so sad to leave (Oz). Could it be we love those who we can exploit, filling our "needs box" easily? What is not to love? Imagine if we paid those we love the same high rates in other lands? How much better would their lives be?

While it started well, this is now less a story of adventure and a great boat and crew, "usual suspects" and exotic places, dinners on a beach. Sadly the story has taken a turn. One that no longer holds my interest, for reasons stated. No need to read the book.

Should have continued on to the Med.....

 Sparks  1/6/2015

A very well written story ourhigh sschool teachers would grade it a A. Gladto see you going 

FURTHUR   AND SAFE  RECALLED all our high jinx  God  blessed to you ROY

 Roy Christopherson  12/31/2014

Very concerned for you Brother, the Typhoon has wrecked havoc all around you, it looks like.  Hope you are dry & floating my friend.

 SaltyDawg  12/9/2014

Enjoyed reading your adventure. 

 donna olson  12/3/2014

Brian and Christie, Really v glad to meet you both at Kota Kinabalu with Dive Below yesterday and thanks again for showing me onboard Further. Being a "city-person / corporate-warrior", your experience and attitude towards life truly inspires me... It takes a lot of courage and a "dare to be different" mindset to embark on this incredible journey. I m very humbled after listening to your story and amazed by how you managed to touch the lives of people that you meet at the various ports. Wishing you all the very best for all your trips + Rescue diver course and may you always be safe and joyful. Will be following your blog and maybe we have a chance to meet again somewhere , somehow .... Cheers Justin

 Justin Lee  11/16/2014

Great article in Sea Mag. Congrats !

 Kerry  9/20/2014

So glad you were there to celebrate with us--I loved your speech :)

 Lua  8/30/2014

Cap't, it was a pleasure to share the journey with you, and I hope for a time again to be in your bright and energetic company. Derek

 Derek  8/7/2014

Love it man! It was great meeting you in Madison and wishing you all the best! Flowpoetry

 Flowpoetry  8/5/2014

Brian it was wonderful meeting you in Madison at the first Furthur Test in over 50 years. What a ride!!! Looking forward to the adventure of life and I have a feeling that our paths will cross again. Doc and Bertha Bus Productions would love to work with you when your ready. Stay in touch! Hope to see you at Phases!

 Spiritmentalist (Ashlee)  7/28/2014

Well done (Pops)! :)

 Jonas Lundstrom  5/19/2014

Ulterior motives! Nicely done ;-)

 Ken  4/13/2014

I have friends and family similarly afflicted. Your message brings hope. Thank you.

 unknown  3/19/2014

Wow, Brian! Thank you for sharing your life story! I stil think you should write that book, and I no more think you should "drop the anchor" to do it; you are doing excelent writing under way! Radoje MY Kitri, Selene 5498

 Radoje Micic  3/18/2014

I would of loved to engaged the aux.

 troz  10/22/2013

Brian I have one question for you, Is there ever NOT a smile on your face ?

 Kerry  8/1/2013

Thanks Brian for the lovely tribute. You were a good friend to him and he loved the fact that you shared the same birthday. I am so glad we got to see you at Pangkor Island...what can I say it was just such a shock. He was not complaining of feeling ill and was so happy that we had crossed the Singapore strights. The night he died he said to me "the adventure begins tomorrow." I know that he is still with me even though my life has changed drastically. I am presently back in Melbourne staying with my best friend but will go back to Malaysia in a month or 2 to sort out the boat. I truely hope that we meet again somewhere along the track and he really loved you Brian xxx

 Lorraine  5/17/2013

Hey Brian! Wish we were there with Totem and you at the Freedom Bar! Very cool you got the privilege of hanging with Naill, an amazing guy. The girls are fantastic, too -- I'm sure they'll be Furthur crew in due time! Big hug to you! A2

 Alison and Allan  5/13/2013

Hello Captian Brian! Loved reading about your most recent journey. Thank you for all the details about the different marinas and the shopping. Bonne journèe

 Brenda  4/4/2013

Brian: Linda and I have enjoyed your blog this past year since meeting you at Seattle Opening Day last year. Are you coming back again this year?

 Tom Pickens  3/25/2013

Brian, I will forward your latest post to my American friend JonLee who is currently teaching in Salalah, Oman. She has some insights re the Muslim women, their attire and life style. She also taught in NE Thailand for quite a few years so has that experience to compare and contrast. Thank you for the thought provoking blog and beautiful photos. Keep strumming!

 Brenda Prowse  3/20/2013

Happy Year of the Snake, Pappa hero!

 Brenda Prowse  2/11/2013

Excellent account, Brian. I really like the way you related your experience to "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance." Robert Pirsig would be proud!

 Brenda  1/23/2013

que impresionante ju!!!!!!!que hermosa experiencia!!!!!

 unknown  1/10/2013

I've said it before but I'll say it again, YOU ARE ONE LUCKY DUDE !

 Kerry  1/2/2013

Awesome blogpost & story Brian! We are coming for our first visit in Thailand early November & will use some of your dive blogpost for ideas. Cheers, enjoy and will meet on the road someday. That's us if you are interested

 David  11/13/2012

Hola July!!!!!!! Estoy con Mari y con Adri en mi cumple!!!! te estamos viendo estas hermosa y felíz te quiero Muuuucchooooo!!!!!!! Un beso enoooorrrmmmmeeeee te mandamos todas

 Silvia  10/20/2012

Idea for you, Brian: drop the anchor for a while and write the book! Me be the first in a list of pre-orders! Radoje, wanabe in your wake

 Radoje  9/19/2012

WOW just WOW ! That was scary to read, I cant imagine what it was like in person. Stay safe.

 Kerry  8/26/2012

Kitty from Thailand remember me Brian and me work in chalong

 Kitty  6/27/2012

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