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Know your Azkals: The Filipino in Anton

March 19, 2011 10:22am

When Anton Del Rosario walked inside the coffee shop with his French-Filipina girlfriend, you would honestly think you landed on an episode of The Hills. But don’t let the foreign looks and American twang mislead you. Anton is just as Filipino as we are – well almost.

Anton’s Fil-Am dad visited Manila after the Vietnam War. Within three weeks, he met Anton’s mom, courted her and married her. They moved to San Francisco where Anton was born and raised along with his brothers.

“I grew up in San Francisco, but the Philippines is my home too," he says.

Anton has never lost touch with his roots here in Manila. His family used to visit the Philippines twice or thrice a year for vacation. He even played for De La Salle University’s football team for a year.

Although he trained with the Azkals for the 2000 World Cup Qualifiers, it wasn’t until the 2004 Tiger Cup that he seriously committed to playing for the country.

“It was the first tournament I joined with Aly, Ian, Chieffy and Chris. In 2004, we beat East Timor. It’s my fondest memory in the Azkals because it was the team’s first win in like 12 years," he says.

Anton started playing football when he was six-years-old. He’s 29 now and his love for the sport has not waned. (By the way, when I asked his age, he said it’s “something you should never ask a guy" but revealed it anyway.)

For all the good things football is, he says he hates the pointless running.

“I hate running for no reason. I mean, if there’s a ball in front of me, I would understand it. But just running around aimlessly? I really hate that," he quips.

Well all that running keeps him in shape and has already gotten him in teams such as Notre Dame, Belmont, Kaya and Harmony. Not really “aimless" if you look at it.

Girlfriend, kids and partying

Anton’s been here in Manila since December 2009. He met his girlfriend Laetitia through common friends and they’ve been together for over a year now.

Laetitia says he’s really “makulit" and sweet. He’s done a lot of romantic things for her, but her favorite is the time he surprised her with a huge bouquet of flowers in the office.

Anton also spends a lot of time with his family especially now that his mom and three brothers reside here in Manila too. If ever you’ve seen photos of him with little kids, those aren’t his children – they’re his nieces and nephew.

“I really love children. I actually want to have four or five kids of my own," he says and turns to his girlfriend for approval. She just smiles and nods.

But for now, Anton is more bent on putting up a business here in the Philippines and squeezing in a party every now and then.

“If I had to quit football, I’d probably be taking up law," he says with utter confidence but then bursts into laughter.

“No actually, I’d probably be partying in the US."

Off the pitch, he describes himself as very friendly and social. In fact, two of his favorite places here in the Philippines are Boracay and Fiamma. Very party-esque indeed.

Despite looking foreign and spending most of his life in San Francisco, Anton says he's as Filipino as the rest of us. Photo: Mav C. Gonzales

How Filipino is Anton?

Anton says he’s in tune with his Filipino side, especially when it comes to food. He’s been living here for a pretty long time after all.

He says lumpiang shanghai is the best dish ever. However, he has no idea about Filipino celebrities (except his teammates who already have celeb status here), TV shows or movies.

“Oh wait, there was this one movie that I watched back in 1995. I don’t remember the title but it was hilarious!" he says.

I asked if he understood the movie.

“Actually, no. I sat through it but I didn’t understand it," he laughs.

But the most pressing question is: does he know the Philippine National Anthem?

“I know parts of it," he smiles.

“I think we’re the only team where during the games, half the team doesn’t know the national anthem," he adds and grins at the irony.

Well, Anton and the other Fil-foreigners in the team have a couple of days to have the national anthem memorized before their match against Myanmar. And don’t worry about the twang Anton, we know you’re Filipino deep down inside. -- OMG, GMA News
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