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07 July 2020

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31 December 2019

Southeast Asian Games 2019

We were concerned that the little boy would feel sad when the UAAP basketball season was over. Fortunately, the Philippines was hosting the Southeast Asian Games (SEA Games). So more sports to watch for us. 

There were lots of negative stuff happening leading to the start of the games. There were allegations of corruption, unpreparedness, etc. These are all so unfortunate because they took the spotlight away from the athletes who were supposed to be at the forefront of the games. Some athletes who were brave enough to speak up were punished by being removed from the line up. 

So aside from exposing the little boy to various sports, one other motivation for me to watch the games was to support the athletes. I want to show them that the games were all about them and definitely not about these corrupt and credit grabbing politicians. 

November 28, 2019

First sport we watched was floorball at the UP Gym. Floorball is a bit like hockey. 

We watched the women's match between the Philippines and Singapore, where we lost badly, hehe. At least we managed to score a goal. :) 

It was during this match when I witnessed the funniest cheer. One member of the crowd would shout, "Takutin natin sila." Then the crowd would shout, "Awoo!" 😂








November 29, 2019

We were lucky because there were a number of sports held in areas near our home.  

First stop for this day was the Santa Rosa Sports Stadium to watch netball. Netball is similar to basketball with modified rules. For this SEA Games, only women's matches were played for netball. 

We watched the match between the Philippines and Brunei, where we lost again. The little boy was getting a bit desperate because we've been watching losing matches. When I told him we'll be watching football afterwards, he asked me if we're good in football. 😂

It's ironic that the best player of Brunei was actually half Filipina. 

The Philippine team was gracious enough to have a photo taken with us. 

With Singaporean fans




With the Philippine Netball Team

Afterwards, we moved to the Biñan Football Stadium to watch women's football. We had to walk a bit because cars were not allowed to go into the street leading to the stadium. We felt safe the entire time because the streets were lined with policemen. 

We also found out that the president declared that watching games were now free except for football, volleyball, and basketball. So we still had to buy tickets. 

We regret not getting dinner at the Santa Rosa Stadium where they were selling rice toppings, etc. The only dinner option at Biñan was hotdog. Little did we know that we were going to consume a lot more hotdogs throughout the duration of the SEA Games. Konti na lang lolobo na kami kagaya ni Pami. 😂

We watched the match between the Philippines and Malaysia. And we won!! By a lot!! That win brought the Malditas to the semi finals. 

The SEA Games was also a good chance for us to have our photos taken with (sports) celebrities. Walang hiya-hiya. The only ones we avoided were politicians. 😂

Standee of goalie, Inna Palacios



With San Miguel Beerman and UP Men's Basketball Assistant Coach, Alex Cabagnot

Standee of Sarah Castañeda

December 1, 2019

It was Manila day for us. We took advantage of the fact that it was a Sunday and traffic was expected to be lighter. 

First stop was the Rizal Tennis Courts to catch some tennis matches. Ang init! It didn't help that matches were held simultaneously and we were seated far from the court where the Filipina tennis player was playing. 

We didn't have breakfast yet and the only options were overpriced chips. So breakfast namin Chippy and Tortillos worth 50 pesos each. 

We left after watching a bit of tennis. Okay na sa kin na makaexperience manoood ala Wimbledon. 😂 The little boy said he didn't like the sport but he cried when we told him we were leaving. 

With Alvin Patrimonio



With Christine Patrimonio

We were supposed to have lunch first before moving to the gymnastics venue, also at Rizal. But we saw a long line going to the stadium. Pipila daw mga walang ticket. So although you can view the games for free, you still had to line up and they still sold tickets and gave priority to ticket holders. So surprise, surprise. We had hotdog for lunch again (or more like brunch)! I'm sure the little boy was enjoying. 

The line was quite long and it was taking forever for them to let people in. I was concerned that the little boy would get grumpy of waiting under the sun. We decided to buy tickets so we could go inside already. 

The place was quite packed. I'm pretty sure a lot of us were looking forward to seeing Carlos Yulo. And boy, it was definitely worth it! He was sooo good, especially in the floor event. Solid. Legit. He was okay in the other events as well. We didn't mind sitting on uncomfortable seats for around 4 hours because we were witnessing such marvelous display of talent. 

Shout out to the kind volunteer who gave us her Philippine flag. That little flag kept us company throughout the duration of the games. 

The day's highlight for me was when Yulo was awarded a gold medal for over-all performance and the little boy asked why we had to sing the National Anthem again despite singing it already in the beginning. I was overjoyed to explain to him that we were singing it again because we won the gold medal. Nakakaiyak!! 




December 2, 2019

We decided to visit nearby venues again. We didn't want to venture farther because a strong typhoon was expected to arrive. Most cities suspended classes already. 

We first went to the Muntinlupa Stadium to catch some badminton matches. There were fewer spectators compared to the other sports we watched. We didn't catch any match with a Filipino athlete either. 

Rafael enjoyed listening to the Thai fans cheer. :)

There were lots of food stalls outside the stadium too. Di limited sa hotdog ang makakain. 😃




After a quick lunch, we headed to the Vermosa Sports Hub to catch some underwater hockey matches. Both men's and women's teams had matches against Singapore. 

To our surprise, however, we were not allowed to enter the venue because we had no tickets. According to the guard, only 150 tickets were released per day and they no longer had tickets for the day. We were resigned to the fact that we won't be able to watch ice hockey or only watch it from outside. But we were fortunate to meet kind souls. First was the parent of an underwater hockey athlete who was not able to use his ticket for the day. He gave us one ticket and said he had some more in the car. Rhuel went with him to get more. Unfortunately, the tickets were for other dates. 

We tried to ask the guard if Rafael and I could go inside with just one ticket. But she was strict and required one ticket per person. I told Rhuel to go in and just take photos but he refused because his goal was for Rafael to watch the match. So I thought we would end up wasting the ticket we got. 

But we met our second angel - the volunteer assigned at the ticket booth. There was one spectator who arrived with two tickets. The ticket booth volunteer graciously gave us the spare ticket. Para daw makapanood si baby. I was very touched by these little gestures of sweetness and thoughtfulness. 😍

The men's match almost ended in a draw until Singapore scored a goal with very few seconds left in the game. The women's team lost too. 

Underwater hockey is a very quick game. If I recall correctly, there were only 2 7-minute periods. It was quite challenging to watch because all the action happened underwater. We had to rely on the screen projecting videos from under the water. But we still had fun nonetheless. 

Rhuel had to watch from outside. After the Philippines' matches though, they were allowed to go in already. Too late. The clouds were so gray anyway so we decided to go home instead. 





December 4, 2019

We bought tickets for the men's football match against Timor Leste in advance. We anticipated that many people would want to catch the game held in Biñan. But we were scared that we made the wrong decision because the weather was quite bad the day before due to the typhoon. The rain was not so bad but the wind was so strong. 

Good thing the weather cooperated so we did not end up wasting our tickets. 

I prefer this late afternoon games. May araw pa and they don't end too late, allowing us to get decent dinner hehe. But of course we still had popcorn and hotdogs. 😁

The Azkals won but it was not enough to take them to the semis. Their standing depended on the result of the match of the 2 other teams in their group and they had to make around 8 goals to move to the semis. Sayang but good effort pa rin. 

It was the seniors who really carried the team. Both Schrock and Aguinaldo's efforts were superb. 

It was nice to see lots of kids watching the match. :)




With La Salle Green Archer, Andrei Caracut



With basketball player, Jayvee Gayoso, whose son is part of the Azkals

With UP alumna and former NU courtside reporter, Ira Pablo

With former NU Bulldog, Kyle Neypes

December 5, 2019

Unlike their male counterparts, the Malditas made it to the semis. Tough game though because they were against the defending champions, Vietnam. 

Tough game for us to find tickets too. Hehe. Sold out agad. Rhuel was agit because he really wanted to watch it. Mas importante pa daw kesa dun sa men's game the previous day. No tickets in SM. No tickets at the Biñan ticket booth. Wala!!!

So when all else fails, kapalan na lang ang mukha. I messaged a few people who might have access to tickets and I fortunately found an angel in a former classmate. He will not be named in order to protect his identity. 😁

Rollercoaster ride yung quest for the ticket. We were resigned to the fact that we won't be able to watch. But while we were about to start dinner in our sleeping clothes and around 30 minutes before kick off, we got word that we can watch the match!!! So madali na. Rafael dressed up in the car. Dishes were left in the sink. And Rhuel made a mad dash for the stadium. 

We got there around 15 minutes in to the game. Problem was the guest list was not with the police officer at the spectator's entrance. Apparently, there was a different list at the VIP section. 

Pero dahil mukha na siguro kaming kawawa and the police officer was about to go home around 30 minutes into the match, she let us in to the VIP area where someone was already waiting for us. 

Shoutout to the police officer who was respectful. Di kami tinarayan or di nya pinafeel sa min na gatecrashers kami. 

And special shoutout to my ticket source whom I had to bother until we were finally allowed to get in. He is a busy guy who had to contact an even busier guy to make sure we made it in. Nakakahiya and I will forever be grateful. 

And let me talk about the VVIP experience. Grabe, the volunteers were bowing down to us. Para kaming royalty na nakalinya sila sa gilid namin while we were going up to the VVIP area. And that area is the air-conditioned section with glass enclosure, cushioned seats, at catering!!! Perfect para sa mga PG na hindi pa naghahapunan. Sayang hindi kanin at ulam ang handa. But the pastries helped us survive the night. May pa Pocari Sweat pa. 

Going back to the game. The first half ended in a draw so there was hope. But Vietnam scored a goal early in the second half. We thought we scored a goal shortly thereafter but it was nullified. 

The Malditas lost and failed to make it to the finals. Galing pa rin!!

And there were a lot Vietnamese fans. They must really love football. 







December 7, 2019

Saturday was taekwondo day. We went back to the Rizal complex to watch taekwondo at the Ninoy Aquino stadium. Lunch muna sa Harrison Plaza before that. Nostalgic because that's where Rhuel and I had our lunch around 12 years ago when we started seeing each other again. And gigibain na sya at the end of the year. 

It was poomsae day for taekwondo. More like demo demo and not combat (which is called kumite). They had individual recognized poomsae when we got there. The Filipina won the gold. Then they had group recognized poomsae where the men's team won gold. 

Admittedly, we found this not as exciting as the other sports we watched. Or patong patong na rin puyat namin. But we had fun taking photos with fans from Thailand and Malaysia. Ang sasaya nila. 




We also had a photo with Lavin Raj, Singapore's basketball player whom Filipino fans adored. 

After the recognized poomsae, freestyle poomsae naman. This was more entertaining to watch. Parang may halong gymnastics na kasama. We only stayed until the group matches. We had to leave afterwards because it was getting late. 

I was grateful for the opportunity to watch a different type of taekwondo. I always thought these martial arts sports were all about combat. Hindi pala. :)






December 8, 2019

Of course we can't skip basketball. Well, we actually thought of skipping it. Kasi ang late ng games. But events like this rarely happen in the Philippines so go na lang. 

Plan was to watch ice hockey first where the Philippines had a bronze medal match. Pero naligaw ligaw kami finding the rink. And tickets were very limited so they were sold out when we got there. At least somebody thought of putting up a big screen outside. So dun na lang kami nanonood. Sayang it seemed like a really exciting sport. But Rhuel says the players were too slow and inferior compared to the NHL players. 

Indonesian Ice Hockey players



It was women's basketball game afterwards. Philippines was against Malaysia. Surprisingly, the game was really exciting. And ang solid ng girls ng Perlas Pilipinas, especially Afril Bernardino who was soooo hardworking both on offense and defense. The other girls did well too like Jack Animam, Danica Jose, Capinpin, and Pontejos. This Bolera founder is so proud haha. 

We had fun taking photos with other celebrities too but most especially with the Indonesian women's basketball team. They gamely had their photo taken with Rafael and one of them even carried him. :)

The girls won which made their next game a gold medal match against Thailand. 

With former PBA player, Bobby Jose, whose daughter was part of the Perlas Pilipinas. He gave some wise advice to Rafael - if he wanted to be a basketball player, he should sleep early and not eat junk food. So sabi ni Raf di na siya mag-fastfood, which lasted for a day or two. :D

With NU basketball players, Shaun Ildefonso and Camille Clarin

With the Indonesian women's basketball team




December 9, 2019

It's karate day at the World Trade Center. We were able to witness both the kata (similar to poomsae) and kumite events. 

I think I prefer poomsae over kata. Parang masyadong scripted and madrama yung kata for me. 

We were fortunate to witness the gold medal kumite match of Jamie Lim, UP Summa Cum Laude and daughter of Samboy Lim and Darlene Berberabe. Ang galing na bata. She stopped training while in UP. Went back to training in July after her graduation and managed to win gold after 5 months. Such a blessed, smart, and talented kid. Shempre iyak din ako nung nanalo sya feeling invested lang. 

Karate matches were fast. They were at least 2 hours ahead of schedule so we were able to go home early. 



With SEA Games karate gold medalist, Junna Tsukii. She was so sweet, letting Rafael wear her medal. :)


December 10, 2019

Rhuel was not interested in watching the men's basketball games because he felt it was going to be boring. Masyado raw magaling ang Gilas. 

But Rafael had been bugging us to watch the 5x5 basketball ever since tickets were released by SM. So even if the game was starting very late at 8:15 pm, go na lang. My only condition was we're only watching the gold medal match. Because I live for the awarding and flag raising ceremonies. It's a not-so-secret dream I have for Rafael - representing the Philippines as an athlete and winning a medal. Baha siguro luha ko nun. 

I'm glad we watched basketball that day. We witnessed the Perlas girls win gold over Thailand. Gilas did the same thing in the subsequent game. Afril was superb again and Pontejos too. The stadium was packed but not full. I was expecting a really huge crowd. 

Prior to the game, we chanced upon Mr. Raha Mortel, a Filipino who was an assistant coach of the Thai men's basketball team. He used to play basketball here and in Thailand and has stayed there for several years already. Makes me so proud to see our kababayans making waves in other countries as well. He's also the brother in law of Paeng Nepomuceno. 

The awarding ceremonies were momentous, especially for Perlas since it was their first SEA Games gold medal. Nakakatawa lang na nakikicheer and alaska din si Rafael, copying other Pinoy fans. Nice training for him hehe. 

With bowling legend, Paeng Nepomuceno

With Mr. Raha Mortel, assistant coach of the Thai men's national basketball team








The SEA Games was a great experience for our family. It was nice to be exposed to different sports and cultures. It was priceless interacting with fans from other countries and rubbing elbows with our own athletes. It was also a good teaching moment on sportsmanship, winning, losing, and respect for cultural and racial differences. 

It made us proud that we can host such an event with courteous security personnel and volunteers. The toilets were clean and working and had toilet paper. Kaya naman pala. Sana all the time hehe. 

It was also a revelation that Rafael can already stay up late. As in hatinggabi late hehe. 

I loved the athletes' stories. Carlos Yulo's hardships in training. The rhythmic gymnast who's a cancer survivor. The men's volleyball team that eliminated the defending champions Thailand. Basta all the sacrifices the athletes and coaches had to make. This is all about them. Not the epal credit grabbers. 

We all felt sepanx watching the closing ceremonies. Kahit na party party mode pa sila Arnel Pineda and Black Eyed Peas. 

Rhuel's already asking me to check bookings for Hanoi in 2021 since they're hosting the next SEA Games. And sobrang hangover nya sa games, he dreamt that we're joining the family poomsae event. Hahaha. 


Our family loves sports and this was a great bonding moment for us. Here's to watching more sports events together in the future!