PASIG CITY – We Win As One. This is the battle cry not just for Team Philippines but to all competing athletes from our neighboring Southeast Asian countries as well. Regardless of our color, ideology, or religion, we are brothers. We may be diverse but we stand as one and protect each other.
Exactly on the first day of December, the competition will officially begin. The better athletes will prevail and takes their place at the top of the podium. The losers will have two years to train and get better.
This is the biggest SEA Games so far, with 56 sports events being played some – like arnis and dancesport made their second appearance while some including water sports, sambo, obstacle race, modern pentathlon, and e-sports will make their debut. The results will immortalize an athlete. But the opening ceremony immortalized the Philippines as the trailblazer of such kind of fanfare.
Fast-paced, digital, modern but simple. Everybody watching was agape, dizzied by the swiftness of the program and satisfied. Yet undeniably, wanting for more.
I can’t help but regret it. I regretted why I did not join the party. Regretted, that I did not grab a seat on the bus from the World Trade Center in Pasay City to the Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan. Regretted that I opted to stay at the comfort of the WTC Sub Press Center watching the show from the 54 inches LED TVs rather than queue with the other sports journalists to see the opening rites with my own eyes.
But like those who braved the 2-hour ride going to Bocaue and the long line at the entrance, I too, along with my fellow sportswriters who like me, opted to stay at the press center, cheered hollered and clapped wildly as the P55M controversial cauldron emitted the flame of friendship when was lit by boxing superstar and senator Manny Pacquiao and world amateur boxing gold medallist Nesthy Petecio at the New Clark City Stadium in Capas, Tarlac. At that moment, I am one of the millions of proud Filipinos.
At that moment all my frustrations leading to this coverage were washed like the P6Billion budget for this hosting.