SEA Games: Worth the wait as grand opening puts behind fiascos » Manila Bulletin Sports

Manila Bulletin Philippines

Breaking News from the Nation's leading newspaper

Tempo

Online Newspaper

Showbiz and Celebrity News

Sports News

World News
News Asia

SEA Games: Worth the wait as grand opening puts behind fiascos

Published

By Jan Carlo Anolin

BOCAUE, BULACAN — Thousands of spectators from 11 countries participating in the 30th Southeast Asian Games flock the Philippine Arena, the biggest coliseum in the country, to witness the historic opening ceremony and to support their respective athletes here last Saturday.

Participants and athletes from the Philippines parade in the 30th SEA Games opening at Philippine Arena, Bocaue, Bulacan, November 30, 2019. (MB Photo / Rio Leonelle Deluvio)

Participants and athletes from the Philippines parade in the 30th SEA Games opening at Philippine Arena, Bocaue, Bulacan, November 30, 2019. (MB Photo / Rio Leonelle Deluvio)

The hosting was hounded by fiascos such as food, transportation, accomodation and venue preparations a few days ago. But these incidents sparked the signal for supporters and athletes that everything is about to change, at least after the opening, gaining a huge round of applause in social media.

For a moment, issues, left and right, were set aside as around 50,000 people — spectators, politicians, co-athletes and neighbors from the region — roared along the performances in the Phiilippine Arena.

For others, the long wait came to an end. Others won’t mind the heavy traffic and long distance to travel because at the end of the day, being part of history, was worth the wait.

Lowin Rebotura, 26, travelled all the way from the northern part of Luzon for the opening ceremony.

An almost eight-hour drive from Cagayan Valley, Rebotura risked going to the Philippine Arena without tickets at hand.

“Nahirapan ako kasi naubusan kami kaninang umaga,” Rebotura said, who arrived as early as 6 am together with his family. “Nagtanong-tanong na lang kami. Naisipan lang [talaga] naming magpasyal.”

Richard Castillo, a 22-year-old working student from the Polytechnic University of the Philippines, took some time off from school and work on a holiday to show support to the Filipino athletes. The opening ceremony happened to strike the same day our great hero Andres Bonifacio was born.

Castillo didn’t mind commuting from Mandaluyong to Bocaue, expecting that world champion Carlos Yulo graced the event during the parade of athletes.

Yulo was initially named torchbearers for the lighting of the cauldron together with boxing legend Manny Pacquiao. Due to scheduled events, last-minute changes were made as world champion boxer Nesthy Petecio replaced him.

“Minsan lang ‘to mangyari sa Pilipinas. Historic siya,” Castillo said, who might be cheering somewhere in the Rizal Memorial Coliseum on Sunday as Yulo bagged gold medal in the artistics gymnastics. “Gusto talaga naming masaksihan ‘yung SEA Games opening at gusto naming sumuporta sa aming mga kababayan.”

The Parish Commission on Youth, a youth ministry at Barangay Muzon in San Jose Del Monte, Bulacan, took the spotlight while waiting in line. Around 300 of them, all visibly clad in yellow shirts, were all smiles taking selfies and waving their Philippine flaglets despite being under direct sunlight for hours.

Joren Lazaro, their leader, was busy distributing tickets and keeping the group in an organized manner when the Bulletin sought for an interview.

“Nakaayos na po po namin [‘yung tickets] para derederecho na po sa loob,” Joren Lazaro said. “Sobrang proud kami na tayong mga Pilipino ay proud [din na] sa atin ginawa at kaya nating i-host ang ganitong kalaking event sa bansa natin.”

The church volunteers — a mixed of young and old age groups — rode jeepneys from San Jose Del Monte to Bacause, just an almost one hour ride, to take part in making history.

“Inaabangan natin syempre ang pagsuporta natin sa kapwa Pilipino at the same time ‘yung hospitality natin. Mararamdaman [ng ibang bansa] ‘yung [pagiging] welcoming nating mga Pilipino sa kanila.”

To their anticipation, the Games kicked off in a majestic fashion as if all sweat and fatigue paid off in exchange for one grand opening.

As of this posting, the Philippines garnered a total of 25 gold, 15 silver and nine bronze models.

The Games will wrap on on Dec. 11, Wednesday, at the New Clark City Athletics Stadium in New Clark City, Capas, Tarlac.

Tags: , , , , ,

Related Posts