Muntinlupa-based SEA Games medalists congratulated by incoming Mayor Ruffy Biazon

In case you missed the news, the 31st Southeast Asian Games (AKA the 31st SEA GamesSEA Games 31 and Hanoi 2021) hosted by Vietnam is over and the Philippines won 52 gold medals (including three from triathlon and duathlon) to finish 4th overall in the medal standings. In Muntinlupa City, Mayor-elect Ruffy Biazon congratulated the SEA Games medalists based in the city, according to a Manila Bulletin news report.  

To put things in perspective, posted below is the excerpt from the Manila Bulletin report. Some parts in boldface…

Muntinlupa mayor-elect and outgoing Rep. Ruffy Biazon congratulated six athletes who won at the recently concluded 31st Southeast Asian Games in Vietnam.

“Congratulations sa mga Muntinlupeño athletes na lumahok at nagwagi sa 31st SEA Games! (Congratulations to Muntinlupeño athletes who joined and won at the 31st SEA Games!),” Biazon posted on Facebook.

They are Annie Ramirez, who won a gold medal in Jiu-jitsu Women’s 62 kg.; Shugen Nakano, gold medal, Judoka Men’s 66 kg.; Rose Ann Marie Robles, gold medal, Grindsky Esports (LOL: Wild Rift – Women Team Event); Carlo Biado, gold medal, Men’s 10-Ball Pool Singles Event, and silver medal, Men’s 9-Ball Pool Singles Event; Keisei Nakano, silver medal, Judo Men’s 73 kg.; and Daryl John Mercado, silver medal, Judo Men’s 55 kg.

“Thank you for bringing pride to our country and city!” added Biazon.

The Philippines ended its campaign at the 31st SEA Games in fourth place overall with 52 gold medals, 70 silvers and 104 bronze medals for a total haul of 226.

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: If you are a Muntinlupa City resident, what is your reaction to this recent development? Are you happy to learn about local residents who represented our country in the 31st SEA Games came home as medalists? Do you think that more Muntinlupa-based athletes will represent our country in the 2023 SEA Games in Cambodia?

You may answer in the comments below. If you prefer to answer privately, you may do so by sending me a direct message online.

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/ and on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/authorcarlocarrasco/

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Mangrobang wins another gold medal for the Philippines at the 31st SEA Games!

The Philippines got a much-needed boost in the medal tally of the ongoing 31st Southeast Asian Games (AKA the 31st SEA Games, SEA Games 31 and Hanoi 2021) in Vietnam as the region’s reigning triathlon queen Marion Kim Mangrobang pulled off another gold medal victory in the women’s duathlon event today. To put things in perspective, this is the second straight gold medal Mangrobang won for the nation and the duathlon event for women happened just a day after the women’s triathlon took place. That being said, what she achieved for the nation – double gold medals in back-to-back multisport events – is nothing short of amazing!

The official race results of the SEA Games women’s duathlon showed that Mangrobang finished the grueling 10 kilometer run – 40Km bike – 5Km run event in 2 hours, 13 minutes and 12 seconds, securing the gold medal for the Philippines. The silver medal went to Tahira Najmunisaa Muhammad Zaid of Malaysia who finished 2:14:22 while Indonesia’s Zahra Putri Bulan Aprillia grabbed the bronze clocking 2:14:49. Mangrobang’s teammate Alexandra Ganzon finished 8th with a time of 2:23:09.

Kim Mangrobang’s SEA Games women’s duathlon gold medal victory acknowledged. (photo source – Philippine Olympic Committee Facebook page)

Looking at the individual times, Mangrobang had the 2nd fastest time in the 10Km run leg and went on to complete the 40Km bike leg in 1:09:51. Mangrobang excelled in the 5Km run leg clocking 19:51 which was enough to secure the first-place victory. None of her competitors finished the 5Km run in less than 20 minutes.

Kim Mangrobang’s double-gold accomplishments this weekend helped the Philippines a lot in the ongoing SEA Games. As such, she has established herself as the reigning queen of triathlon and duathlon in the entire Southeast Asian region. On social media, the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) acknowledged the newly won women’s duathlon gold medal as the 14th gold the country won as of this writing. What Mangrobang achieved here will be remembered for a very long time and it is worth recording in the history of Philippine sports, Philippine triathlon and the SEA Games itself.

As I mentioned in my previous article, the next edition of the Southeast Asian Games will be held in Cambodia next year already. The 32nd SEA Games (marketed as Cambodia 2023) already has triathlon, duathlon and aquathlon among its official events. That being said, Kim Mangrobang’s reign as Southeast Asia’s best female triathlete and duathlete will last until the next SEA Games happen. If you want to learn more about Mangrobang, read my feature article of her by clicking here.

Going back to the ongoing SEA Games’ duathlon, the Philippines almost won a medal in the men’s duathlon event according to the race results published. John Chicano finished 4th timing 1:57:50. He was just 14 seconds behind the bronze medalist Jauhari Johan of Indonesia. The gold and silver medals were won by the respective duathletes of Vietnam (1:55:58) and Indonesia (1:56:12). Chicano’s teammate Raymond Torio Molano finished 6th with a time of 1:59:49. Those who want to learn more about Chicano – who won the 2019 SEA Games men’s triathlon gold medal and was the top Philippine finisher in the recent Subic Bay International Triathlon – read my feature of him by clicking here.

To view the SEA Games women’s duathlon official race results, click https://triathlon.org/results/result/2022_hanoi_south_east_asian_games._duathlon/559070

To view the SEA Games men’s duathlon official race results, click https://triathlon.org/results/result/2022_hanoi_south_east_asian_games._duathlon/559069

Now that the triathlon and duathlon events of the 31st SEA Games are officially over, the Philippines won a total of 3 gold medals, 1 silver medal and 1 bronze. Fer Casares and Kim Mangrobang’s gold-medal accomplishments (plus the respective medal victories of Andrew Kim Remolino and Raven Faith Alcoseba) in Vietnam made that clear the Philippines is the best in Southeast Asia in the sport of triathlon until the next SEA Games happen in Cambodia. On duathlon, the Philippines is the best in Southeast Asia among the women while Vietnam is the best in the region among the men.

Considering what the Philippines achieved in the multisport events in Vietnam, we should all be thankful to the Lord for the victories. I encourage you all to congratulate our nation’s best multisport athletes as well as their coaches, the local triathlon officials, the supporters and other stakeholders who helped made the SEA Games events and participation push through.

In closing this post, posted below are two translations of Philippian 4:13 from the Holy Bible which should enlighten you about victory, achievements and accomplishments. Once again, praise and thank the Lord for the triathlon, duathlon and other sports victories the Philippines achieved in the 31st SEA Games.

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

Philippians 4:13 (NKJV)

I have strength for all things in Christ Who empowers me [I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him Who infuses inner strength into me; I am self-sufficient in Christ’s sufficiency].

Philippians 4:13 (AMPC)

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/ and on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/authorcarlocarrasco/

Amiladjid and Stawicki register best times among standard distance age-groupers in SUBIT

Al Shrynel Amiladjid and Rhia Mae Alexandria Stawicki emerged with the best standard distance finishes in their respective age-groups and genders during the recent 2022 NTT AST Subic Bay International Triathlon at the Subic Bay Freeport Zone.

Amiladjid finished the 1.5 kilometer swim – 40 KM bike – 10 Km run in 2 hours, 11 minutes and 9 seconds which earned him the gold in the Male 25-29 age-group. Next to him among the males were Male 40-44 champion Jet Ramos with 2:12:55 and male 18-24 champion Charles Jeremiah Lipura with 2:14:30

Among the women in the event organized by Triathlon Association of the Philippines in cooperation with Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority, Philippine Sports Commission and Philippine Olympic Committee, Rhia Mae Alexandria Stawicki easily outclassed her competitors with a fast 2:17:17 to win the Female 18-29 age-group. Next to her were fellow 18-29 competitor Jaquelyn Ann Cruz with 2:42:32 and female 40-44 champion Maypette Ng with 2:43:33.

Other standard distance age-group champions declared in the race recognized by the World Triathlon and Asia Triathlon sponsored by Standard Insurance, Asian Center for Insulation Phil (ACIP), Pocari Sweat, Aurora Suites & Pavilion and FINIS were Maryfel Aumentado (female 35-39), Celma Hitalia (female 45-over), Mike Kramer (male 30-34), Luigi Victor Robles (male 35-39), Rene Tayag (male 45-49), Dante Macalintal (male 50-54) and John Villanueva (male 55-above).

On the sprint distance (750 meter swim – 20 Km bike – 5 Km run) age-group competition, the champions declared were Daniel Nazarro and Katrina Salazar (16-19), Cathery Ayessa Manalastas (women 20-24), Leonides Sollegue (male 20-29), Nicolle Arielle Andaya (women 25-29), Mitch Otsuru-Park (women 30-39), Charles Cruz (male 30-34), Micah Munoz (male 35-39), Toni Camille Favis (women 40-over), Jeffrey Real (male 40-49), Benjamin Villagracia (male 50-above) and Alex Silverio (sprint male para-triathlon)

For the complete race results and lists of winners, visit https://register.raceyaya.com/event/subit2022

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The above information was sourced from an official press release issued by the Triathlon Association of the Philippines. Some parts were modified for this website.

For related triathlon stories about the Subic Bay International Triathlon and the SEA Games this year, click here, here, here and here.

Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/ and on Instagram athttps://www.instagram.com/authorcarlocarrasco/

Female sports in Iowa are strictly for biological females!

While I was able to visit the United States several times in my life, I never got to visit the state of Iowa. Very recently, Iowa made waves in the news as their governor Kim Reynolds signed into law a significant piece of state legislation that prohibits transgender girls and women from participating in sports events of females – specifically from kindergarten through college –, according to a CBN News report.

In the presence of many young ladies and little girls, Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds formally signed into law House File 2416 which prohibits biological males from competing in females’ sports. (photo source – @IAGovernor)

To put things in perspective, posted below is the excerpt from the CBN News report. Some parts in boldface…

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds (R) signed a bill Thursday that prohibits transgender girls and women from participating in female sports from kindergarten through college

During the signing of House File 2416, Reynolds was surrounded by a group of cheerful young female athletes. The measure received approval from the state’s House and Senate, passing with a vote of 31 to 17.

This is a victory for girls’ sports in Iowa,” Reynolds said in a statement. “No amount of talent, training or effort can make up for the natural physical advantages males have over females. It’s simply a reality of human biology. Forcing females to compete against males is the opposite of inclusivity and it’s absolutely unfair.” 

Under the new law, schools at all levels must designate sporting events as male, female, or co-ed. Students wanting to compete in sports must play with others that match the gender listed on their birth certificate.

Numerous groups shared their support of HF 2416 and applauded Gov. Reynolds for defending female sports in Iowa.

Protecting girls’ sports isn’t political; it’s biological reality,” said The Family Leader, a conservative group based in Iowa. “Allowing genetically male athletes to compete in women’s sports puts our girls at an undeniable physical disadvantage and threatens their athletic opportunities. Our high school girls and college women deserve to compete on a level playing field, and today, that playing field is protected.” 

Trans girls are boys, not girls. Trans women are men, not women,” remarked State Senator Jeff Taylor (R-District 2) during a hearing about safeguarding women’s sports.   

Christiana Holcomb, senior counsel with Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), praised Iowa for passing the legislation.  

When the law ignores biological reality, female athletes lose medals, podium spots, public recognition, and opportunities to compete,” Holcomb said. “Comparably fit and trained males will always have physical advantages over females – that’s the reason we have girls’ sports.

However, Iowa Safe Schools, an LGBTQ youth advocacy group, called the measure “a solution in search of a problem” to score “petty political points at the expense of Iowa’s children,” the organization tweeted.

Iowa became the 11th state to ban transgender athletes from competing in female sports. Others include Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Idaho, Mississippi, Montana, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, and West Virginia.

While I am clearly not a resident of Iowa and it has been many long years since my time of sports officiating has ended, I must say that the new law of Iowa makes perfect sense and it should help the collective American efforts to push back against the wrongful allowing of biological males competing right along with their female counterparts in sports events that are meant for female competition.

I personally saw lots of local sports events which had competitive categories specific to age-groups (apart from the normal men’s open and women’s open categories) which are further split by gender. Take for example, in a foot race that attracts several hundred participants, the athletes belonging to the 20-24 age-group who emerged as the top 3 finishers of their gender result the awarding of medals and prizes to the top 3 males and top 3 females under the 20-24 age category. Winners of different genders under the same age-group are not to be awarded in a mixed-gender approach.

The trend of transgendered females – who are biological males identifying as females – competing with true females (biological females) in female sports events is very wrong and clearly unfair. As such, I strongly agree with Iowa’s new law and I can say that the other states that implemented the ban on transgender athletes from competing in female sports did the right thing. Transgender athletes’ participation will ruin not only female-focused sports events but sports events in general as we know it.

Let us be clear here. God created human beings only in the form of male and female. There is simply no in-between and no alternatives to the male and female. Read the holy scriptures below. Key parts related to gender in boldface for you readers…

Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”

Genesis 1:26-28 (NKJV)

So Adam gave names to all cattle, to the birds of the air, and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper comparable to him.

And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall on Adam, and he slept; and He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh in its place. Then the rib which the Lord God had taken from man He made into a woman, and He brought her to the man.

And Adam said:

“This is now bone of my bones

And flesh of my flesh;

She shall be called Woman,

Because she was taken out of Man.

Genesis 2:20-23 (NKJV)

The holy story of God’s creation of humans with male and female as the genders is definitive and clearly truthful. “Transgender” refers to an individual whose gender identity differs in some way from his/her birth or biological sex. To put it clearly, transgenderism is an abnormality and like homosexuality, it is also an abomination. Transgenderism is clearly unnatural. In addition, there is a Satanic Left effort in this world that exists to not only cause gender confusion but also distort humanity as well. For added insight, watch the video below…

For added insight about the unfair inclusion of biological males in females’ sports events, watch the videos below…

Going back to the CBN News report, I strongly agree with Governor Kim Reynolds that the law she signed is a victory for girls’ sports in their state and that having biological females forced to compete against biological males is both unfair and the opposite of inclusivity. I also strongly agree with The Family Leader group that the protection of girls’ sports is a biological reality and not political. Iowa state senator Jeff Taylor pointed out the obvious – Trans girls are boys. Trans women are men.

We should praise and thank the Lord for this Iowa breakthrough. We should pray to Him that more states around the United States as well as nations around the world will follow Iowa’s example and set the record straight – females’ sports are strictly for biological females.

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: What can you say about Iowa’s approved law banning transgender girls and women from participating in sports events of females? Do you agree that biological females should always be protected from the biological males trying to compete against them in sports events that are meant for females? Do you think that the transgendered people are being discriminated? If you are a parent and you know that your athlete daughter will be competing with a disadvantage in a sports event that includes biological males as her competitors, how would you feel?

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/

Over 650 Philippine athletes counted so far for the 31st SEA Games

If you are rooting for the Philippines to become successful in the upcoming 31st Southeast Asian Games (AKA 31st SEA Games, the Vietnam SEA Games or Hanoi 2021) in Vietnam this coming May, be aware that more than six hundred fifty national athletes have been listed to represent the country, according to a Philippine News Agency (PNA) article published recently. To make things clear, these athletes were collectively submitted by the varied national sports agencies (NSAs) to the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC). The current number of athletes is tentative at best as there are NSAs still finalizing their respective athletes for the SEA Games.

To put things in perspective, posted below is the excerpt from the PNA article. Some parts in boldface…

The Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) has so far summed 656 athletes who will do battle in the 31st Southeast Asian Games that are due in under two and a half months in Hanoi, Vietnam.

POC President Rep. Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino said majority of the 39 national sports associations which are fielding athletes to Vietnam have submitted tentative rosters for the May 12 to 25 Games.

The Philippines is competing in 39 of the 40 sports programmed by Vietnam for its only second hosting of the Games since 2003. In these 39 sports, the country is participating in 44 disciplines, according to Tolentino.

“Comparing the numbers when we hosted the Games in 2019, we’ll have a delegation that’s slashed almost in half from three years ago,” Tolentino said in a news release on Monday. “And a quick look at the numbers show we’ll be hard-pressed to repeat as overall champions.”

There were 1,115 Filipino athletes in 2019—an automatic privilege that host countries have—and they won 149 gold, 117 silver and 121 bronze medals for a guaranteed overall title.

But we’ll have a fighting team in Vietnam, setting aside the difficulties of training and competing or training overseas because of the Covid-19 pandemic,” Tolentino said.

Of the 44 disciplines, the POC has yet to receive a tentative list for athletics, men’s 3×3 and 5×5 basketball, weightlifting and jiujitsu.

The deadline for the submission of entries by names is on March 12 and Tolentino said the POC is hopeful to complete the list—including expected revisions from NSAs which already complied with the body’s February 24 internal deadline—by then.

Several NSAs were allowed to submit tentative lists because they’re still completing their final qualifications or trials,” he said.

The estimated size of the delegation is pegged at 874. Also on the tentative list are 177 team officials (coaches, team managers and/or NSA heads or representatives) and 20 members of the medical (doctors, nurses, and masseurs/therapists) and administrative staff.

Competition venues for Filipino athletes are spread out in four clusters although majority will be in the main hub of Hanoi, Tolentino said. The POC based the clusters on their proximity to Hanoi.

Filipino athletes will be competing in diving, swimming, finswimming, archery, athletics, badminton, 3×3 and 5×5 basketball, billiards and snooker, bodybuilding, bowling, boxing, canoe-kayak, chess, cycling, dancesports, esports, fencing, football, golf, gymnastics (artistic, aerobic and rhythmic), beach handball, judo, jiujitsu, karate, kickboxing, kurash, muaythai, pencak silat, rowing, sepak takraw, shooting, table tennis, taekwondo, tennis, triathlon/duathlon, volleyball, beach volleyball, vovinam, weightlifting, wrestling and wushu.

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: Considering the difficulty everyone had to endure with the COVID-19 pandemic, do you think that the current athletes the Philippines has right now are competitive enough to bring home SEA Games gold medals? Among the all of the above listed SEA Games sports the Philippines will compete in, what are the five sports that interest you the most right now?

You may answer in the comments below. If you prefer to answer privately, you may do so by sending me a direct message online.

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/

31st SEA Games in Vietnam will still push through as planned

Even as the whole world continues to struggle with the varied effects of COVID-19, the 31st Southeast Asian Games (AKA 31st SEA Games or Hanoi 2021) to be hosted by Vietnam will still push through as planned this coming May according to a news report by GMA Network.

To put things in perspective, posted below is an excerpt from the GMA Network news report. Some parts in boldface…

Following the first meeting of member countries’ chefs de mission (CDM), organizers have set the timeline for the upcoming Southeast Asian Games (SEAG) in Hanoi, Vietnam.

It’s certainly a go for the SEA Games in Hanoi in May,” Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) president and Rep. Abraham Tolentino said, following the CDM’s virtual meeting on Tuesday.

The SEA Games is set for May 12 to 25, with the organizers setting March 12 as the deadline for the entries of those who will compete in the Games.

The POC plans to send 627 athletes for 39 out of 40 games, with the country not competing in Xiangqi or Chinese chess. However, the Philippines will field athletes for bodybuilding which is making its return to the biennial meet.

Aside from the March 12 deadline of entries, the organizers also set April 25 as the opening of the SEAG accreditation center, and May 12 as the opening ceremonies.

The above report ended stating that the next big meeting of the officials will happen on March 18.

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: Do you think that by May 2022, the COVID-19 infections will slow down? How excited are you for the 31st SEA Games right now? What is the one sport of the 31st SEA Games you are looking forward to?

You may answer in the comments below. If you prefer to answer privately, you may do so by sending me a direct message online.

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/

31st SEA Games in Vietnam officially set for May 12 to 23, 2022

Finally, the delayed 31st Southeast Asian Games (also referred to as 31st SEA Games or Hanoi 2021) that will be hosted by the City of Hanoi in Vietnam will officially take place from May 12 to 23, 2022 as the event organizers announced recently. This is a breakthrough following the previous announcement that May 2022 would be the month of organizing the events that will lure the best athletes of Southeast Asia.

To put things in perspective, posted below is an excerpt from the article published recently by Philippine News Agency (PNA). Some parts in boldface…

Organizers of the 31st Southeast Asian Games (SEAG) in Vietnam announced on its website on Friday that the biennial multi-sport games postponed from last year will be held from May 12 to 23 next year.

The specific dates were posted on Vietnam’s national Olympic committee website and reported by Channel News Asia (CNA).

The Games will open three days after the Philippines holds its national elections on May 9, 2022, and according to Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) president, Rep. Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino, the majority of the athletes, coaches, and officials on Team Philippines would be unable to cast their votes.

This is one of those sacrifices of having to represent the country in an international competition,” he said in a news release.

The POC has determined a 626-athlete delegation to the Vietnam games, which will be played in the Hanoi main hub.

The main bulk of the delegation will be leaving for Vietnam no less than a week before the opening ceremony,” Tolentino said. “This is because our athletes need to acclimatize and get the feel of the competition venues, environment, and weather.”

It gets hot in Hanoi in May, with temperatures expected to reach 34 degrees Celsius.

Hanoi hosted the SEA Games for the first time in 2003 in a December schedule when the weather was wintry, with temperatures dropping to 11 degrees Celsius in the evening.

Vietnam originally scheduled the SEAG from November 21 to December 2 last year, but was forced to postpone it due to the pandemic.

Hanoi will be the main hub with 11 other sub-venues.

Vietnam, the ANC said, has allocated a budget of about USD69 million (PHP3.45 billion) for the games, which are expected to attract nearly 20,000 participants, 7,000 of them athletes from 11 countries.

Visiting Vietnam

With regards to Vietnam, those who plan to visit the country during this pandemic should take note that recently the country opened specific tourist destinations for foreigners without the hassle of quarantine related to COVID-19. There will be specific rules and requirements that should be met in order for foreigners to be accepted. Posted below is an excerpt from the New Straits Times report. Some parts in boldface…

VIETNAM has opened up five popular tourist destinations in the country for foreign visitors to visit without quarantine.

The government said that foreigners who have either been fully vaccinated or recovered from Covid-19, can visit the five destinations starting this month.

The Vn Express said that the move comes after Deputy Prime Minister Pham Binh Minh approved the pilot plan by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism.

The plan will be carried out in three phases, with the first phase allowing foreign travellers to visit designated places in Vietnam’s biggest island Phu Quoc, Da Nang City, Quang Nam Province which is home to the ancient town of Hoi An, Khanh Hoa Province which is home to Nha Trang beach town, and Quang Ninh Province home to Ha Long Bay.

Authorities said that travellers must show proof of full vaccination or Covid-19 recovery, as well as a negative coronavirus test done within 72 hours before departure.

Only test results done using RT-LAMP or RT–PCR methods will be accepted.

Visitors will also need to have a medical or travel insurance that includes coverage for Covid-19 treatment worth at least US$50,000 and must book a package tour.

Children under 12 years old travelling with a parent or guardian do not require a certificate of vaccination against Covid-19.

They must also install the contact tracing IGOVN application on their smartphones and use it during their tours in Vietnam.

Although there is no quarantine requirement, visitors will be tested on the first day of arrival using a rapid antigen test and if the result is positive, they will be taken to a medical facility and the cost will be borne by the insurance company or the tour operators.

Authorities said that foreigners who want to see their families in Vietnam can register with the tour operators to do so.

The second phase of the plan is expected to take effect in January next year and it will allow tourists to travel between the five destinations allowed in the first phase.

The Express said that the third phase will see Vietnam fully reopen to foreign visitors.

However, a detailed timeline will depend on the pandemic situation in the country.

And now here is Vietnam tourism video for your viewing…

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: Are you looking forward to the 31st SEA Games now that it has a finalized set of dates for the organizing? What is the one sport you are looking forward to watch in the Hanoi SEA Games? Are you interested to visit Vietnam anytime soon?

You may answer in the comments below. If you prefer to answer privately, you may do so by sending me a direct message online.

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

31st SEA Games in Vietnam to open in May 2022

The SEA Games Federation had its official meeting this past Monday and the news are already spreading (refer to the reports of the Philippine News Agency, the Bangkok Post and The Straits Times)…the delayed 31st Southeast Asian Games (referred to as 31st SEA Games or Hanoi 2021) in Hanoi, Vietnam will officially begin in the middle of May 2022 although the specific date has yet to be determined. Take note that the 31st SEA Games were postponed previously due to the COVID-19 crisis that is still ongoing.

To put things in perspective, posted below is an excerpt from the Philippine News Agency report. Some parts in boldface…

Vietnam is looking to begin the 31st Southeast Asian (SEA) Games by the middle of May next year.

This was confirmed during the SEA Games Federation meeting on Monday.

Philippine Olympic Committee president Bambol Tolentino proposed during the online meeting for the event to formally open by May 12.

“As the debate went on, I suggested for a May 12 opening ceremony, a Monday,” Tolentino said. “The Vietnamese organizers will confirm the specific dates soon.

Originally scheduled from November 21 to December 2 this year, the SEA Games, still set to take place in Hanoi, was moved to May due to the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic.

Traditionally being done every odd-numbered year ever since its first staging in 1959, the 31st edition would mark the first time the event will happen in an even-numbered year.

A total of 520 events from 40 sports will take place in Hanoi with the Philippine team participating in 39 of the sports.

However, it is expected that the SEA Games will return to its usual every odd-numbered year schedule by the 32nd edition with Cambodia finally getting a chance to host the biennial meet.

But the 2023 host is set to hold the SEA Games at an earlier date, which posed a problem during the federation meeting since the May 2022 start to the Vietnam games has been set too.

For the newcomers on this website, I previously blogged about 2019 Southeast Asian Games (2019 SEA Games) mainly focused on the sport of triathlon which itself was added to the 31st SEA Games (refer to published news reports here and here, plus my own blog post here). The Philippines won the gold and silver medals in the 2019 SEA Games triathlon events for men and women and the gold in the mixed relay triathlon. The Philippines also won the gold, silver and bronze medals in the duathlon events for women, men and mixed relay respectively. In the first quarter of 2020, I featured SEA Games triathlon gold medalists Kim Mangrobang and John Chicano. Personally, I am anticipating the Philippines’ participation in the triathlon and duathlon events of the 31st SEA Games in Vietnam.

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: Are you looking forward to the 31st SEA Games? What is the one sport you are looking forward to watch in the Hanoi SEA Games? Do you think that the Philippines will be able to win big in the 31st SEA Games in Vietnam? Are you willing to support the Philippine team athletes through the Ayuda sa Atleta program?

You may answer in the comments below. If you prefer to answer privately, you may do so by sending me a direct message online.

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

Business tycoon Ramon S. Ang will give P22 million in incentives to Olympic medalists

There is no doubt that the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games was historic for the Philippines thanks to Hidilyn Diaz, Nesthy Petecio, Carlo Paalam and Eumir Marcial who won four medals combined, including the Olympic gold (in women’s weightlifting).

In addition to the established law that guaranteed that the Olympic medalists will receive millions of pesos worth of incentives from the national government, San Miguel Corporation (SMC) president Ramon S. Ang will give over P20 million more in incentives to them according to a recent report by the Philippine News Agency (PNA).

To put things in perspective, posted below is an excerpt from the PNA article. Some parts in boldface…

San Miguel Corporation (SMC) president Ramon S. Ang will give Tokyo Olympics medalists, led by the country’s very first gold medal winner Hidilyn Diaz, a total of PHP22 million in incentives for accomplishing the Philippines’ best Olympic performance to date, in 97 years of competing in the foremost international competition.

Ang’s “personal gift” or incentive to the winning athletes, as earlier announced by the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) prior to the Summer Games, will consist of PHP10 million for weightlifter Diaz, PHP5 million each for boxers Carlo Paalam and Nesthy Petecio for winning silver medals, and PHP2 million for boxer Eumir Marcial’s bronze finish.

“As a longtime partner and supporter of Philippine sports, I’m so happy for our athletes. All their hard work paid off. They’ve opened the eyes of so many Filipinos sports patrons, fans, and aspiring athletes that indeed, we Filipinos can compete and win against the best in the world in the Olympics. This is just the beginning. We have the momentum. We can only get stronger in the succeeding Olympics,” Ang said in a news release on Monday.

“I’m especially grateful to Hidilyn, whom we’ve supported for several years now, for giving honor to the country by winning our very first Olympic gold medal. We can build on these successes to develop stronger sports programs and produce more Olympic winners like Hidilyn, Carlo, Nesthy, and Eumir,” he added.

Ang also said the Olympic athletes, as well as their coaches and teams, gave the Philippines more than just medals.

“The message of this Olympic campaign for us Filipinos is clear. We are resilient in the face of challenges and we do not back down from adversity. This pandemic is perhaps one of the greatest challenges in our lifetime. Thank you Hidilyn, Carlo, Nesthy, and Eumir for giving us hope and inspiration during this critical time. You showed us that nothing is impossible,” Ang said.

Ang added that as the Olympics showcased the outstanding athletic feats that fully-trained athletes are capable of, it also serves as a reminder that people are not limited, and that Filipinos should endeavor to keep fit and healthy in the face of Covid-19 pandemic.

“Aside from following health protocols to stop the transmission of the virus and getting vaccinated, we should also do our best to make sure we are mentally and physically fit and healthy during this crisis. I believe that will help us a lot in coping with the stresses of this time,” Ang said.

Before the pandemic, SMC consistently supported the country’s participation and hosting of international competitions, including the staging of 2019 Southeast Asian Games.

Wow! The deep generosity of Ramon S. Ang is undeniable and he is absolutely right that great achievers who competed in very tough competitions should be rewarded handsomely. While Republic Act Number 10699 (RA10699) guarantees that the national government will release incentives for national athletes who won medals in specific competitions, private sector-provided incentives are undeniably helpful and very welcome. Thank our Heavenly Father for all the success achieved and the blessings that manifested! Thank the Lord also for the tremendous Olympic success the Philippines achieved!

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: Are you very happy for everything that our nation’s four Olympic medalists achieved for the Filipino people at the Tokyo Olympics? Are you delighted to learn that the Olympic medalists as well as all the other Philippine Team members who did not win medals at the Tokyo Olympics will be rewarded accordingly?

You may answer in the comments below. If you prefer to answer privately, you may do so by sending me a direct message online.

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

Hidilyn Diaz wins the first-ever Olympic gold medal for the Philippines!

By the time you are reading this, you should be aware that what was once impossible for the Philippines became a tremendous breakthrough – national weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz (her official Twitter and Instagram) defeated her Chinese competitor in the Tokyo Olympics women’s 55 Kg. weightlifting competition and won for the Philippines its first-ever Olympic gold medal the other night. The mainstream media of the Philippines went full blast with their coverage of the pioneering achievement.

The Manila Bulletin front page.
The hard copy of the Manila times.

That being said, we Filipinos should praise and thank our Heavenly Father for anointing Diaz to win the often-elusive Olympic gold medal for the Filipino people. Her victory is a clear reminder that with God, nothing is impossible. The Olympic gold victory is pioneering for Diaz and also marks the beginning of a new age in the history of the Philippines even as it remains struggling with the COVID-19 crisis. Before checking on the official news story, watch first these three relevant videos.

And now we can proceed with the official story of the Philippine News Agency (PNA), the excerpt of which is posted below. Some parts in boldface…

After 97 years, the elusive Olympic gold has finally been taken by the Philippines.

Hidilyn Diaz became the first Filipino athlete to win it all in an Olympic event after winning the women’s 55-kg. weightlifting competition at the Tokyo International Forum in Japan on Monday night.

Diaz, the 2016 Rio Olympics silver medalist, prevailed in a neck and neck showdown with China’s Liao Qiuyun in the clean-and-jerk lift as their battle for the gold went down the wire.

Finishing tied with Diaz in the snatch with a 97-kg. maximum lift, Liao lifted 126 kg. in her final lift, forcing Diaz to go for 127 to steal the top spot from Liao.

Diaz, however, smoothly cleared the 127-kg. lift to win it all, also setting an Olympic record in the process.

Her 224-kg. total is also an Olympic record.

I don’t know what to say. It’s a dream come true. I just want to say that we Filipinos are strong. We Filipinos can compete here at the Olympics. We can do it,” a high-spirited Diaz was quoted as saying by Xinhuanet.

The 30-year-old Diaz gave advice to younger Filipino athletes to “please dream high.”

“That’s how I started. I dreamed high and finally, I was able to do it,” she added.

Liao admitted that she was surprised by Diaz’s improvement.

“I feel good today. I can lift 123kg at most due to injuries, and never thought of a successful 126kg lift. I didn’t expect her strength like this,” Liao said.

China’s coach Zhang Guozheng echoed Liao’s thoughts.

“I didn’t expect such a situation,” he said. “Liao has gone all out, so it’s not a huge pity for her to lose the gold medal. It’s just because we did not expect our opponent (Diaz) to be so strong.”

Diaz has also assured herself of a total of PHP33 million from various people who pledged monetary rewards to the gold medal winners.

Zulfiya Chinshanlo of Kazakhstan claimed the bronze with a total of 213 kg. lifted.

Muattar Nabieva of Uzbekistan, despite setting the Olympic record for the snatch with a 98-kg. lift, missed out on the podium as she could only clear 114 in the C&J for a total of 212.

Malacañang joined the entire nation in celebrating the country’s first-ever Olympic gold medal since it joined the most prestigious quadrennial event in 1924.

As you can see in the above PNA story, the first-ever Olympic gold medal won for the Philippines is tremendous and the good news is that, as of this writing, there are still opportunities for other Filipino athletes competing at the Tokyo Olympics to win more medals (even gold) and help lift the nation in the medal rankings. Going back to Hidilyn Diaz (who was born in Zamboanga City in 1991), her pioneering achievement will earn her tremendous (and deserving) financial rewards from both the government and private sector. Check out the respective reports of the Manila Bulletin, GMA News and Nikkei Asia. To nobody’s surprise, a big welcome-back-home for her is being prepared.

Unsurprisingly, a lot of people around the Philippines, notably public officials who enjoy the automatic mainstream media magnification, expressed their admiration for Diaz and congratulated her. Among the many acknowledgements and congratulatory messages for Diaz expressed by lots of people and organizations (both domestic and foreign), Planetshakers Church in Australia and the Embassy of Israel in the Philippines posted their congratulatory messages for her via their official their respective Facebook pages yesterday. Look at the screenshots below.

Facebook post by Planetshakers.
Post of the Embassy of Israel in the Philippines via Facebook.

Hours after her victory, Diaz posted a picture of herself and the Olympic gold medal on her Instagram as a picture story post. She thanked the people for their prayers.

National fame and Olympic achievement aside, Hidilyn Diaz’s gold medal achievement shows that nothing is impossible with God. Learn from the holy scriptures below…

Jesus looked at them and replied, “With people it is impossible, but not with God—God makes all things possible!”

Mark 10:27 (TPT)

Not one promise from God is empty of power. Nothing is impossible with God!

Luke 1:37 (TPT)

I am convinced that my God will fully satisfy every need you have, for I have seen the abundant riches of glory revealed to me through Jesus Christ!

Philippians 4:19 (TPT)

I know what it means to lack, and I know what it means to experience overwhelming abundance. For I’m trained in the secret of overcoming all things, whether in fullness or in hunger. And I find that the strength of Christ’s explosive power infuses me to conquer every difficulty.

Philippians 4:12-13 (TPT)

To our Lord is all the glory and let us praise and thank Him so much for anointing Hidilyn Diaz who not only won the Philippines’ first-ever Olympic gold medal but also all the many medals and honors she achieved in other international events as the representative of the Philippines. She truly deserves the financial rewards and the inevitable long-lasting fame that comes with being the nation’s first-ever Olympic gold medalist. Still you must always remember that worship is only for the Heavenly Father, Lord Jesus and the Holy Spirit. Never let idolatry dominate you for it is not only unholy, not only foolish but also will separate you from the Lord.

Let me ask you readers: How much of an impact did Hidilyn Diaz’s Olympic gold medal victory have on you as a citizen of the Philippines? Did you ever doubt she would win the gold medal in the Olympics? Does her gold medal victory inspire you to improve yourself?

You may answer in the comments below. If you prefer to answer privately, you may do so by sending me a direct message online.

In closing this article, posted below is a performance of the great Hillsong worship song King of Kings by Melody Hwang.

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com