Last night, the 23rd South East Asian Games was declared closed by President Macapagal-Arroyo amid fanfare in Luneta Park. These Games saw the Philippines become overall champion for the first time in the Games’s history with 113 golds, 84 silvers, and 94 bronzes. Tempo has an article wrapping up the medal tally, and it seems that the only sports where we turned up medal-less were badminton and football.

I’ve been watching the coverage all week, and my heart has leapt within me every time a Philippine athlete wins. It even got to the point where I stood up each time they played our national anthem. Ü Our athletes (homegrown and balikbayan) did their best to bring honor for the country; Philippine tourism benefits from the exposure of not only Manila, but various other scenic sites where the Games’s sports were staged. Overall, the Games are something to be proud of and to smile about.

POSIBLE: During the interminably long commercial breaks, the only commercial I was fond of seeing was Globe Telecom’s “Posible” commercial. Rivermaya’s inspirational song combined with Filipino athletes showing off their skills made me want to get out there and win something. Alas, I am no athlete.

GOOD AND BAD: The good news is that after this huge win Philippine SEA Games athletes will be treated to a free vacation courtesy of the Philippine Tourism Authority. President Macapagal-Arroyo even thinks this will be the beginning of the Philippines becoming a sports power in Asia. That may be difficult to do, if the bad news happens. Next year the Philippine Sports Commission’s budget could be slashed to 27 million pesos, down from its 107 million peso budget this year. Boo to the Department of Budget and Management for recommending the budget cut. Really, really stupid.

RELATED LINKS: I have a SEA Games tennis wrap-up at my tennis blog. Arybba talks about her experience organizing the SEA Games. Ganns talks about Philippine victories in 2005. Also, INQ7.net has the full list of Philippine gold medalists.

SEA Games Searches

My posts about the South East Asian Games brought in a lot of search traffic on:

I was planning on writing a longer wrap-up post about my impressions on the SEA Games tomorrow, but I’ll answer the last search query tonight. According to the television commentators, the mascot‘s name is Gilas (Excellence), and he’s an eagle (agila in Filipino).

UPDATE: I also got linked to from a thread on the AsiaFinest forum.

Lord of the Rings Aftermath

To which race of Middle Earth do you belong?
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I promised to myself that I would read the Lord of the Rings books once every year, and ever since Fellowship of the Ring came out in the theaters I’ve done so. That is, except for this year.

I started re-reading Fellowship of the Ring around March of this year but only got as far as “Concerning Hobbits” before I had to put it down and attend to other time-wasting activities. Ü I think I’ll read it during my “Christmas break.”

Simply Unbelievable

I was listening to the radio on the way back from bringing Marielle to work when I heard that a Thai official has accused the Philippines of cheating at the South East Asian Games. Jaruk Areerajakaran, the secretary general of Thailand’s Olympic Committee, said, “It is hard to win at the Games because the hosts are cheating.” Thaksin Shinawatra, Thailand’s Prime Minister, made a statement that “the organizer aims only to favor their own athletes.”

How in the world can the Philippines, the organizer of the 23rd SEA Games, be cheating? For game-fixing to work in the massive undertaking that are the Games, there has to be a huge conspiracy with palm-greasing and pocket-lining all around (and we all know the Philippines can’t afford that, right?). The Philippine SEA Games organizing committee released a statement that says officiating is conducted not by the organizers themselves, but by the SEA Games Federation’s pool of international referees and judges.

My interest in this was so piqued that I wasn’t satisfied with local news reporting on it. I did a Google search for international news about it. The Bangkok Post reports that a few days before the official start to the Games, a Vietnamese official had told reporters in Hanoi that the Philippines had already fixed the games to win the overall crown. Nguyen Van Minh declared that the Philippines would do this by using judges from the Southeast Asian region. All I have to say about that is “Hello? It’s the South East Asian Games.” If there’s any bias to be had from using judges and referees from Southeast Asia, it might be that they’ll decide in favor of their own country. That’s why if the Philippines is playing, no Filipino judge or referee will be officiating.

The Philippines leads the medal standings (gold and overall) with five days left in these Games; Vietnam and Thailand are in second and third place, respectively. I won’t say this is for certain, but considering the source of the accusations I wonder if it’s just the sour grapes talking.

No offense meant to the citizens of Thailand and Vietnam. But their officials’ accusations are simply unbelievable.

UPDATE: Thai sports officials apologize for “inappropriate, baseless” report; Thai embassy says Thaksin’s remarks taken out of context.


If anyone can tell me why I’m the first person in a room to be bitten by mosquitoes, I’d be happier. Well, not really happier because I’d still be bitten, but at least I’d know why it happens.

Is it because I release more carbon dioxide than the next person? Is it my slightly warmer body temperature (only applicable when I have my period)? Do I have some sort of insects appeal?

I think I might have to start wearing insect repellent round the clock. If only it didn’t smell so nasty and lotion-y, though…