first person

3 Days of Minus 20

Los Angeles Times
May 16, 2007
By Alex Tizon

BEAUFORT SEA – For three days in March I camped on a drifting slab of ice, 200 miles north of Alaska, as close as I’d ever get to the top of the world and to knowing what it would be like to live on an ice cube. The cold crept through my boots and socks, into my toes and up my legs. It numbed my fingers and face and froze the moisture in my eyes. It swept into my lungs.

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Colliding Egos: Boxing as Personal History

The Seattle Times
April 26, 1998
By Alex Tizon

I DON’T WANT TO brag, but I’ve been punched in the face more often than any of my closest friends. This is partly because most of my friends are pacifists. I am not. I’m one of those people who believe that violence is built into our species, that some situations call for it, and that the capacity for it lives in each of us.

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Mount Pinatubo: The Aftermath

The Seattle Times
February 18, 1996
By Alex Tizon

SAN MARCELINO, Philippines – Her name was Rowena Domingo, 27 years old, thin and cocoa brown with eyes that belonged on a kid’s face. I met her in the western foothills of the island of Luzon, 60 miles northwest of Manila, on a mud trail outside what used to be the town of San Marcelino leading to what was once the Santo Tomas River. The town and river no longer were recognizable. They, along with Rowena’s husband and an immense portion of the central plains of Luzon, were buried under mudflows of Mount Pinatubo.

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No Happy Homecoming For This Brown Man

The Seattle Times
April 30, 1995
By Alex Tizon

Brown was on my mind. I was a brown man come home to a country of brown people, standing with a suitcase in hand under a blistering sun, listening to a lovely brown innkeeper tell me without a hint of shame that she did not rent to anyone my color or hers. Only to foreigners. On that particular island of the Philippines, foreigner invariably meant white. My wife was white, a fact duly noted by the lovely brown innkeeper.

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