Manila Vanilla

What it's like to be a U.S. Fulbright scholar, basketball player, journalist, and the whitest man in Metro Manila.

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Location: Quezon City, Metro Manila, Philippines

New Yorker by birth, shipped across the globe to the world of malls, shanty-towns, patronage, corruption, basketball and a curious burnt-toast smell that wafts around at dusk

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

The Return! Alex Compton Story

I've been shamed into posting again. I've been pretty busy lately, but I'll try to get my act together and keep this blog alive. As a warm up, read this story I wrote for the Madison, Wisc., Isthmus about Alex Compton, the Philippines' third most-beloved white man, after Paul Anka and myself. In this tryptych, we see a still of Alex from one of his legendary CoffeMate commercials, a shot of him playing for Madison West HS during their 1992 state championship run, and a photo from his days as a men's undergarment spokesmodel in the Philippines.


Anonymous NYC Teacher said...

Good article on what an American overseas should be -- engaged in the local culture, learn the language, and in Compton's case, be in love with the national sport, basketball. The modeling angle shows the bizarre juxtaposition of opportunity and culture in the Philippines for foreigners. Informative because you go beyond the surface of things. Good job.

9:20 PM  
Blogger goodspeed said...

"Alex Compton, the Philippines' third most-beloved white man, after Paul Anka and myself."

Sam Milby would be the first most-beloved white man here :) then Paul Anka, Alex and that takes you to the fourth place :)

We run a college basketball site ( and loving every game.

Is your book finished? Can't wait :)

Hey, blog more ;)

7:07 AM  
Anonymous Oxy said...

Alex is an amazing ball player and a beautiful person inside out. I had the opportunity to meet him twice and I realized that he receives his fans warmly. Such quality endears him more to basketball followers. Yes, he's more Filipino than any other Fil- Am cagers there is.

And I admire him more so because he is an excellent motivator and a leader. I've seen him talking to his teammates to encourage them through a tough semis in the minor league. I'm happy he's now playing pro in PBA.

7:17 PM  
Anonymous carole said...

what a great article.

I haven't met alex compton, though I've heard a lot of good things about him, i think he really deserves the chance to play pro in PBA, he's a great athlete, great person, what else could you ask for? he speaks as if he's a real Filipino, and he is by heart:)

9:25 PM  
Anonymous macky said...

I booed this guy once. it was in an MBA game. Manila Metrostars @ Davao Eagles.

MBA games were so much fun to watch. Lousy venues, tons of TO's but rabid fans & electric atmosphere.

Davao's homecrowd (or "eagles nest" - gloriously cheesy) would hold up some fun homemade banners. my favorite: "Superman, Batman, Jordan, Quilban".

Back to Compton. He always seemed like a stand up guy. I think he beat us with his threes.

3:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Alex moved to my street in Madison, Wisconsin in 1988. I had lived there for 14 years before Alex came along. A neighbor lady mentioned that a new kid had just moved in and that I should introduce myself. I was shy, nervous and didn't really know what I would say to him. I didn't think I needed a friend as I would just be starting high school at Madison West in a couple of weeks. So I went to his house, put my hand out and met Alex Compton for the first time. He seemed like an average teenager, had acne and messy hair.....Just like me! But his eyes and smile were welcoming. Not knowing anything about this kid or what to do with him, I decided we should walk to the park and play basketball and shoot horse. Now at the time I was a short little guy at 5 feet tall and was terrible at basketball. Now for Alex it was a different story. He didn't miss. Outside shots, inside layups, fade aways...everything went in. The only time he missed was to keep me interested in the game. He was a gracious winner. After the games, we walked home and I said, "You should try our for our high school basketball team." It is all history from there.

11:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would like to get in touch with Alex, does anybody know how to do so? my email address is I played basketball at Cornell as well and would like to speak with him.

7:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

you are an abnormal! joke...he..he..he....sory.. honestly, i am your fan!!!!....

3:11 PM  
Anonymous fe said...

you are an abnormal! joke...he..he..he....sory.. honestly, i am your fan!!!!....

3:12 PM  
Blogger alexa yheng said...

I would never forget alex compton..the first time i saw him was on t.v.when my boardmates were watchimg MBA..A glance at the t.v. and there..a glance from him..(i know that he can't see me)..Starting then, I always watch,every game on t.v. He became my idol:)..Not giving up, and playing the best game that you could, and most hope and strenght to his friends,team mates and even his opponents..I really wish then that I can see him play live, but I never had a chance..But the inspiration that you gave me still remains..Hope someday I can meet you.God Bless you,always!

11:36 PM  

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