Sep 152014

Street Magician David Blaine looks as if he’s just relaxing while underwater for more than 10 minutes during his Real Or Magic show at the Big Dome last Friday night —  MONG PINTOLO

For a while, I expected the street magician David Blaine to make the big audience (including the Araneta Empire big boss Jorge Araneta and his wife Madame Stella Marquez de Araneta) at the Big Dome last Friday night disappear with the wave of his hand and it was a big relief that he didn’t do it. Neither did he turn the unborn chick into a live, wings-flapping one when Manny Pacquiao made him eat balut during Blaine’s quick trip to Gensan, nor did he make the monstrous Metro traffic jam melt like ice-cream left out in the sun.

Filipinos are magic-lovers and the big turnout at the Big Dome proved it. You can just imagine how they (we!) held our collective breath and wondered how “he did it,” such as when he played tricks with a deck of cards and with a big bowl-ful of puzzle pieces (more than 2,000, he said), one of which perfectly fitted a blank point on the Philippine map; and when he hit a tall plastic cup with his palm that, “fortunately” (heave a big sigh of relief!), wasn’t the one covering an ice pick with which he later let a volunteer from the audience pierce his palm (ouch!), but there was no blood, see!

As “gifts” for participating in the acts, Blaine gave the cards, the map (complete with the missing piece) and the ice pick to volunteers that he picked at random from the audience. Lucky guys!

But the amazing (I should say, “life-threatening”) thing that Blaine did was stay underwater for 10 minutes and 28-plus seconds, thus breaking his own record of just over seven minutes — “And he did it in Manila!” proudly announced the host, Assi Petesh, who as a welcome breather did wonders with the Rubic’s Cubes by, at one point, matching the arrangements of two cubes by looking the other way. (Aside: I almost lost my sanity trying to solve the cube way back when and hurled it against the wall when I failed to. Served “it” right!)

I guess you have heard about Blaine’s visit to Gensan. But here’s an account contributed to Funfare by an eyewitness:

Hardly has magician David Blaine had a restful sleep following his successful debut at the Smart Araneta Coliseum a few hours earlier last Friday (Sept. 12) than he had to be up and about at 4 o’clock the next morning to prepare for an important out-of-town engagement. 

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Accompanied by a group from Ovation Productions, the promoters of his Real Or Magic show, he proceeded to NAIA Terminal 3 where he boarded a 6 o’clock Cebu Pacific flight for General Santos City for a special event that would be highlighted by a meeting with another famous personality outside the world of magic and illusion.

After traveling more than a thousand kilometers for an hour and 20 minutes, Blaine and his entourage reached their destination: A beautiful and elegant mansion in one of Mindanao’s most progressive cities that is home to the country’s No. 1 sports hero and one of the world’s biggest names in sports.

Blaine soon stood face-to-face with the object of his cross-country journey, world boxing champ and Sarangani Rep. Manny Pacquiao, during a historic event that could easily qualify as a close encounter of two kings: The King of the Ring (Manny) and the King of Magic (David).

Cel de Guia of Ovation Productions, who accompanied the group, described the event as “a success,” especially considering that it was totally unplanned and had to be done to accommodate the wish of David to meet Manny in person while he was in the Philippines.

Cel, the better half of Ovation Productions honcho Renen de Guia who was unable to join the trip, told Funfare that the initial meeting between the two celebrities was “nice, pleasant and warm and truly befits their stature as international celebrities.”

The two hit it off beautifully and became instant friends, with Manny treating David to simple Filipino delicacies, such as balut and durian.

For his part, David dazzled Manny with some magic tricks, optical illusions and sleight-of-hand that elicited loud cheers and applause from Manny and his wife (and Sarangani Vice-Gov.)  Jinkee and their children and the other spectators present.

Before parting, Manny and David exchanged autographs and posed for some selfies and photo ops for posterity.

After that brief but memorable encounter, the big question in everybody’s mind now is: Did David Blaine cast a magic spell on Manny Pacquiao to prevail over undefeated world junior welterweight champ Chris Algieri in their much-awaited title fight on Nov. 22 in Macau?

Stay tuned.

Your guess is as good as mine.

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