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.
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.
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?
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
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?
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
Huelgas and Burgos Lead All Vermosa Aquathlon 1 Winners
2-time Southeast Asian Games (SEA Games) gold medalist Nikko Huelgas and Erika Nicole Burgos proved how strong they are among all the winners in the standard distance contest of the Vermosa Aquathlon 1 which was held recently at the world-class Ayala Vermosa Sports Hub in Imus City, Cavite.
Huelgas was unstoppable from start to finish as he finished the 500 meter swim- 5 kilometer run course in a swift 25 minutes and 54 seconds, easily winning the Male 25-29 age-group title. Meanwhile the next two fastest males were from the 18-24 category namely Juan Francisco Baniqued and Inaki Lorbes who finished in 27:00 and 27:17 respectively.
Among the ladies in the event presented by Ayala Vermosa Sports Hub, Standard Insurance, Apollo Petroleum Jelly, Alviera, LeGarde L-Carnitine, Smart, official timing partner Garmin, hydration partners Pocari Sweat and Sip Purified Water, shoe partner Saucony and recovery partner Air Relax Massage Guns Philippines, Erika Nicole Burgos emerged as the Female 18-24 champion after clocking in 30:33. She was followed by Female 15-17 champion Olivia Kwon with 33:25 while Female 18-24 entry Bea Marie Quiambao registered the 3rd fastest time of 34:30.
The relay champions declared were Team AA (All-Female) composed of Mikaela Arroyo and Boo Pascual, Team Good Boiz (All-Male) composed of Hjalmar Pasaylo and Lorenzo Joaquin Solda, and Team GG (Mixed) composed of Gabriella Venturina and Mark Garin.
Nikko Huelgas, who won the SEA Games gold medals in 2015 and 2017, had high praise for the quality of the design of the race course stating that the lanes in the Olympic-sized swimming pool were spacious while the angular roads around Vermosa provided nice challenge. This was also his first time ever to race in the venue.
Meanwhile, Get Coach’D coach Doray Ellis stated that their team’s preparations, which includes training at Vermosa, paid off nicely as their members won a huge number of awards across different age-groups. For the past two years, their youth athletes developed their racing skills and became more competitive as they grew. Erika Nicole Burgos is a member of their team.
“Despite what has been going on around us, we are very happy with the huge turnout of participants as well as Bike King’s decision to push through with this first race we hosted this year. We are looking forward to hosting this June’s triathlon event and two more aquathlon events in the months to come,” said Vermosa operations manager Andrea Intalan.
The Top 20 finishers of the standard distance contest individual category in the event earned points for the simultaneous Ayala Vermosa Sports Hub Series and the Sun Life Aquathlon Series. The Top Aquathlete per age group will be declared later this year.
Ayala Vermosa Sports Hub (AVSH) is a complete one stop training facility for tri athletes and sports enthusiasts. The first development in the country that integrates an Olympic size pool, football field, track oval and sports and science laboratory.
This press release was issued on behalf of Bike King Philippines and Ayala Vermosa Sports Hub.
Chicano and Banzon Lead Winners in Apollo Petroleum Jelly TRI 2020
2019 Southeast Asian Games (SEA Games) gold medalist John Leerams Chicano of Team Apollo Petroleum Jelly and Lyllian Grace Banzon of Team Sante Barley posted the best time finishes among all standard distance competitors during the Apollo Petroleum Jelly TRI 2020 event held recently at the Subic Bay Freeport.
Chicano proved to be untouchable among all the men finishing the standard distance 1.5 Km swim – 40 Km bike – 10 Km run race in 2 hours, 11 minutes and 42 seconds easily winning the 25-29 age-group title. 35-39 champion Ronald Molit came next in 2:23:47 while 18-24 champion Joshua Alexander Ramos was the 3rd fastest with 2:25:00.
Among the ladies in the event presented by Apollo Petroleum Jelly and supported by Cleene, MEDIPLAST , LeGARDE L-Carnitine, Vermosa Sports Hub, Alviera, Clark Global City, Smart, Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority, Acea Subic Bay and Court Meridian Hotel & Suites, Banzon (30-34 champion) and Ines Santiago (35-39 champion) finished less than a minute apart respectfully timing 2:41:08 and 2:41:59. Amanda Carpo came in next at 2:48:16 winning the 45-49 title.
In the Team Competition, Team Sante Barley emerged as the champion with the best time of 12:44:16. For the relay categories, the champions declared were Maxi Atletika – Zalora 2 (All-Female), Maxi Atletika Multisports D (All-Male), and Fitness First – Salice (Mixed).
Regarding the quality of the event that was also backed by hydration partners Pocari Sweat and Sip Purified Water, timing partner Garmin, shoe partner Saucony and recovery partner Air Relax Massage Guns, Chicano described the race courses as well-crafted. While the persistent wind prevented the heat from wearing him down, the SEA Games gold medalist still found the bike leg a nice challenge because of it. For her part, Sprint Distance 15-19 champion Lauren Plaza confirmed a similar experience regarding the wind’s effect on the bike leg and still she had an enjoyable racing experience and praised the cheering spectators and the race organizers.
“This is our first triathlon race and we are very happy about the large participation as well as the collective positive feedback from the athletes. This event was conceptualized to create a venue for athletes to test their limits while enjoying a chafe-free experience,” Apollo Petroleum Jelly Brand Manager Jamie Reyes-Omorogbe stated.
Widely known as a staple in every Filipino’s household, Apollo Petroleum Jelly is an athlete’s secret weapon. It can help lubricate skin areas that are predisposed to chafing, perfect for triathletes who has constant contact between skin, clothing and footwear during their races. Apollo Petroleum Jelly starts at PHP29.50 for 25 grams, and goes up to PHP 142.00 for 200 grams. It is available in drugstores, leading drugstores and supermarkets and department stores nationwide. To learn more about Apollo Petroleum Jelly and other related products, visit Philusa.com.ph
This Press Release was issued on behalf of Bike King Philippines and Apollo Petroleum Jelly.
Disclaimer: This is my original work with details sourced from John Chicano by means of an interview and research. Anyone who wants to use this article, in part or in whole, needs to secure first my permission and agree to cite me as the source and author. Let it be known that any unauthorized use of this article will constrain the author to pursue the remedies under R.A. No. 8293, the Revised Penal Code, and/or all applicable legal actions under the laws of the Philippines.
A Chat with 2019 SEA Games Gold Medalist and Southeast Asia’s Triathlon King – John Chicano
Since he first participated in the Southeast Asian Games (SEA Games) in 2017, John Leerams Chicano raked in notable honors for the Philippines and took his career in the multisport of triathlon (swim-bike-run) even higher.
Today, Chicano is one of the highest-ranking members of the National Team of triathlon and this past December, he won the gold medal in the men’s triathlon event of the 2019 SEA Games that was held at the Subic Bay Freeport Zone (so close to his native Olongapo City). With that big victory, he established himself as Southeast Asia’s newest triathlon king replacing Nikko Huelgas (2015 and 2017 SEA Games gold medalist). It was also the big reward for the long road (about a decade) he literally took engaging in multisport events like triathlon and duathlon.
Recently I met Chicano and had a nice chat with him.
For you, my readers, here is a look at 3-time SEA Games medalist John Chicano.
A quick look at his background
John Chicano has been engaging in triathlon for many years now and has been a member of the Philippine team along the way. He represented the country in many events of the Triathlon Association of the Philippines (TRAP), most notably the annual Subic Bay International Triathlon (SUBIT). He also raced in other triathlon events organized by Bike King Philippines and other race organizers. On livelihood, he previously worked as a bike mechanic as well as a janitor. He now has his own family to support.
When it comes to triathlon at the SEA Games, he made his debut in the 2017 edition of the games held in Malaysia and won the silver medal in the individual men’s triathlon event next to teammate Nikko Huelgas who won the gold medal back then (note: Huelgas first won the SEA Games gold in 2015). His achievement was recognized by the media and the national government which in turn rewarded him (along with all other medalists) with cash incentives in accordance to Republic Act Number 10699.
Winning the SEA Games gold medal at Subic Bay
On the early morning of December 1, 2019, the SEA Games men’s triathlon event started with Chicano and Cebu-based teammate Andrew Kim Remolino representing the nation. After going through the pressure and enduring the pain of the 1.5 kilometer swim – 40 Km bike – 10 Km run event, Chicano won the gold medal in 1 hour, 53 minutes and 26 seconds. Remolino followed with 1:55:03 to win the silver medal, completing the 1-2 punch for the Philippines.
“We were confident in the sense that we prepared well for the SEA Games which includes three months of training at Clark,” Chicano said. “While I was confident to win, there were a few moments of uncertainty since the big competition (men’s triathlon) could turn out to be unpredictable.”
During the December 1 event, Chicano and Remolino raced together during the 40-kilometer bike leg and on the spot they came up with a new strategy to win gold and silver. At that particular stage, another foreign competitor biked near them. Earlier in the swim leg, Remolino was the first to emerge from the sea while Chicano was 4th (an Indonesian and a Singaporean were slightly ahead of him). During the 10-kilometer run leg, Chicano and Remolino built up their lead as a country and, ultimately, he gave it his all to win the gold, literally upgrading from silver (2017 SEA Games). The victory was witnessed by the top sports officials, the coaches, the Triathlon Association of the Philippines (TRAP), the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority officials, the spectators, corporate sponsors and, of course, Chicano’s family.
“It was a very happy moment for me to cross the finish line for the gold medal. I even felt like crying for happiness back then,” Chicano recalled the very moment he won the gold and became Southeast Asia’s best. “This was the big payback for almost ten years of effort racing in triathlon and growing to be stronger and more competitive. My triathlon effort and build-up started in 2010, preceded by biking in 2009. The feeling was so tremendous and happy.”
During the medal awarding ceremony, Chicano thought deeply about his SEA Games achievement and that he could bring further honors to the nation (plus his locality) in the years to come. The day after that, Chicano and teammates Remolino, Kim Mangrobang and Kim Kilgroe got tremendous spotlight together in the national newspapers which was expected considering their victorious achievements.
His SEA Games gold medal achievement not only raked in praise from many, financial rewards also came in from the national government (RA 10699), the City Government of Olongapo, corporate sponsors and other generous parties. Chicano even got to visit the Philippine Senate and met with Senator Richard Gordon.
As of this writing, Chicano is strongly focused on triathlon and he believes that what he achieved so far as a triathlete, and also as Southeast Asia’s best male triathlete, will be remembered for a long time and perhaps inspire the next generation of Filipinos to excel in sports.
When it comes to the near future, Chicano will go to Australia very soon to attend the Annual General Meeting and Awards Night of the FilOz Triathlon Club as their Guest Speaker. After that, he will undergo triathlon training for a few more weeks there in Australia.
From this point on, I recommend you all to take a close look at Chicano in triathlon events both local and overseas. He is, after all, Southeast Asia’s reigning triathlon king.
Disclaimer: This is my original work with details sourced from Kim Mangrobang by means of an interview and research. Anyone who wants to use this article, in part or in whole, needs to secure first my permission and agree to cite me as the source and author. Let it be known that any unauthorized use of this article will constrain the author to pursue the remedies under R.A. No. 8293, the Revised Penal Code, and/or all applicable legal actions under the laws of the Philippines.
Meet Southeast Asia’s Reigning Triathlon Queen – Kim Mangrobang!
When triathlon (swim-bike-run) made its debut in the Southeast Asian Games (SEA Games) in late 2005 at the Subic Bay Freeport Zone here in the Philippines, Marion Kim Mangrobang was still a teenager who witnessed the event as a spectator. Already a junior-level member of the Philippine triathlon team, she naturally cheered for her older teammates Ani De Leon and Sandra Araullo who represented the nation in the first-ever SEA Games triathlon event for women.
Fast forward to December 1, 2019, Mangrobang represented the Philippines in the 2019 SEA Games individual women’s triathlon event (her 3rd SEA Games since 2015) which was also held at Subic Bay and, more notably, won the gold medal in front of a large cheering crowd (with coach Ani De Leon – Brown, the other Philippine team coaches, officials of the Philippine Sports Commission, PHISGOC and the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority plus other important personalities watching near the finish line) followed by her teammate Kim Kilgroe who copped the silver.
As far as the SEA Games records go, Mangrobang won a total of four medals since her debut in 2015, specifically 3 gold medals (the first gold won in 2017) and 1 silver medal (won in 2015). In retrospect, her gold medal victory at Subic Bay was a successful defense of her gold medal achievement in the 2017 SEA Games which essentially established her as Southeast Asia’s reigning triathlon queen.
That being said, I am very happy to present to you my feature interview of Kim Mangrobang which starts right now.
Kim Mangrobang’s background
Mangrobang was born in Sta. Mesa, Manila, in 1991 to parents Richard (an engineer) and Dine (a manpower firm executive). Since the age of four, her family has been living in Santa Rosa, Laguna which is now a progressing city south of Metro Manila.
Mangrobang got into the sport of swimming as a result of her parents’ encouragement for her when she was little. She found sports to be an enjoyable pastime.
“As with most other parents, my mom and dad encouraged me to get into sports during the summer season when I was young. So I joined a swim team and along the way I felt I was playing given the aquatic aspect of swimming,” she recalled. “My teammates and I had fun with swimming and later I realized that swimming would be a serious form of competition.”
At the age of nine, she started swimming and eventually it became a daily part of her life similar with her teammates. As an elementary student, she continued swimming and eventually she became a varsity swimmer in her high school days (with the goal of making it in the Palarong Pambansa) and participated in many swimming competitions (between local sports clubs).
Being a member of her school’s swim team and of a separate swim club, Mangrobang learned a lot about competitive swimming related to national sports and inter-club competition. Along the way, she had to deal with a certain disadvantage of hers – her height.
“I really was a short girl back then. When I was twelve, my swimming coach noticed my height disadvantage and he figured out that it would be more helpful if I would try out with the Philippine team of triathlon,” she said.
That coach turned out to be none other than Abelardo “Abet” Alon-Alon who was a former national champion in triathlon as well as a former national team coach in the said sport. Historically, Alon-Alon was a standout in Philippine triathlon’s early years back in the 1990s His suggestion to Mangrobang to get into triathlon and into Philippine multisport turned out to be a blessing for her and the nation.
She immediately took part in a tryout (for the Philippine triathlon team) which was composed of a 1.5 kilometer swim and 3-kilometer run. Her swim time was 27 minutes and 36 seconds while she timed around 12 minutes in the run. She qualified and her membership with the Philippine triathlon team started on the junior (youth) level.
“That was the start of my new journey in sports and I realized that there were better opportunities in triathlon,” she recalled.
Triathlon career and rise in prominence
Gradually Kim Mangrobang redeveloped herself athletically under the guidance of triathlon coaches like Raul Cuevas (now heading race organizer Bike King Philippines), Peter Gonzales and Abet Alon-Alon to name a few. As she maintained her swimming, she learned to bike and run gaining valuable skills and experience. Before participating in triathlon, she engaged in aquathlon (swim-run) events.
At age thirteen, she took part in a Fit-and-Tri event for youth finishing 6th overall in a short distance aquathlon race held in Ayala Alabang Village. She finished 2nd to the last back then as she was still getting oriented. She went on to join a lot more aquathlon events later.
Her first-ever triathlon performance happened in another Fit-and-Tri event some time later. In that race, she finished 6th place. In further triathlon events, she gradually made her way up until reaching 1st place.
“To the best of my memory, I finished at around 4th place overall during the first year of competing in the Fit-and-Tri series. In the following year, I reached 1st place overall. Emerging 1st became normal for me in the years that followed, until I reached the age of fifteen or sixteen,” she recalled.
In 2006, Mangrobang joined the Junior Elite race of the Subic Bay International Triathlon (SUBIT) held at the Subic Bay Freeport Zone and finished 2nd. That event was her first time to compete with foreign triathletes her age and instead of feeling intimidated, she performed well and still enjoyed the experience. Her value as a member of the Philippine team grew more. That same year, she raced in the Asian Duathlon Championships held in Clark finishing 4th in the Junior Women contest.
At age seventeen, Mangrobang tested herself in a Standard Distance (1.5 Km swim – 40 Km bike – 10 Km run) event during the 2008 Subic Bay ASTC Long Distance Triathlon event and won the bronze. Ahead of her were LC Langit (gold) and Monica Torres (silver).
In May 2009, Mangrobang finished 10th in the Elite Women contest of that year’s SUBIT clocking 2 hours, 32 minutes and 45 seconds (2:32:45). In the years that followed, she kept on representing the Philippines in the Elite Women contests of not only SUBIT but also in other triathlon events of the International Triathlon Union (ITU) that were held around the world. No matter how tough the field of competition was, the Santa Rosa triathlete kept focusing and persevering on doing her best and improving herself.
In the 2016 edition of SUBIT (2016 Subic Bay NTT ASTC Triathlon Asian Cup) held at Subic Bay, Mangrobang emerged as the Elite Women champion followed by her teammate Kim Kilgroe and Hong Kong’s Kate Rutherford. She timed 2:10:40 and won several ITU qualifying points in return. For the Philippines, it was a rare gold medal victory in the history of SUBIT which has often been dominated by foreign triathletes. The said victory was also proof that Mangrobang’s overseas training (under the guidance of Portugal-based coach Sergio Santos) paid off nicely. To this day, her training in Portugal continues.
Mangrobang also achieved great honor for the nation in non-triathlon events. She emerged as the women’s champion in the Lisbon Meia-Maratona Dos Descombrimentos Half Marathon that was held on December 6, 2015 in Portugal. Her victorious performance saw her timing 1:22:40 outclassing 2nd placer Ceu Nunes (1:26:55) and 3rd placer Sofia Mateiro (1:27:34). That particular sports event was noted to be a programmed race to test the fitness of triathletes. It was also a rarity that Filipinos get to race in the said event, which made Mangrobang’s victory even more outstanding.
Triathlon at the Southeast Asian Games (SEA Games)
“I was still in high school back then. Me and my family left Santa Rosa at dawn to go to Subic Bay to watch the SEA Games triathlon. I had to take a leave of absence from school since that was a school day and I had to go back to school the very next day,” Mangrobang recalled. “When we arrived, there was already a huge crowd of spectators around the venue. The excitement was really high even before the race started.”
Mangrobang recalled that as a spectator, she felt nervous for the nation and what was at stake just as the individual participants were formally introduced during the pre-race ceremony. Like many others, she could only stand and watch the race unfold from behind the barricades (used for crowd control) and experience bouts of anxiety and nervousness. She cheered for her older teammates Sandra Araullo and Ani de Leon. Araullo went on to win the silver medal while De Leon (now a coach) finished 4th.
“I was really nervous back then as a spectator. Then I said to myself, ‘how much more nervous I would be if I was the one racing for the Philippines in the SEA Games,’” she stated. She added that she noticed the added pressure of participating and literally carrying the nation and the local people’s hope that victory would be achieved. She imagined herself in the future being in such a high-stakes situation.
After almost ten years later, Kim Mangrobang made her debut in the SEA Games (2015) in Singapore as a triathlete. Her teammate back then was Claire Adorna.
“Coaches of TRAP selected who were the best to represent our country in the SEA Games with results required,” Mangrobang recalled. “Based on the results of the time, they saw that me and Claire were the best and we were selected for the games. There were no qualifying races back then, which is different compared to today.”
In the 2015 SEA Games individual women’s triathlon event, Claire Adorna and Mangrobang worked together with a strategy to help the former gain a lead early in the event. Adorna raced with a foot injury back then and the team’s focus was to help her (and the nation) build up a good lead in both the swim and bike legs of the race, and ensure victory even if her injury would slow her down in the 10-kilometer run leg. The strategy was a success for the Philippines as the injured Adorna won the gold medal and Mangrobang captured the silver medal. Their respective times were 2:13:08 and 2:14:26. The bronze medal went to Thailand’s Arunsiri Sanruthai who was more than seven minutes behind Mangrobang.
“During the build-up heading to the SEA Games of 2017, there was anxiety and pressure among us teammates mainly because expectations for us to repeat success were so high as a result of what we achieved in the previous SEA Games,” she stated.
To put things in perspective, the Philippines not only repeated its success in the 2015 SEA Games, they exceeded it by having twin gold-and-silver medal victories in both the individual men’s and individual women’s triathlon events in the 2017 edition of the games. On the men’s race, Nikko Huelgas won his 2nd consecutive gold medal while John Chicano added more punch to the victory by grabbing the silver medal. For Mangrobang, that particular event marked her first time to win the SEA Games gold medal.
“It was a very happy moment for me personally because all the efforts and training invested paid off in the best way possible,” Mangrobang recalled her feeling of winning her first gold medal. “A lot of relief followed as all the pressure and nervousness accumulated just vanished and got replaced with the thrill of victory. Naturally, I became very thankful.”
With regards to the 2019 SEA Games, Mangrobang spent a great deal of her time overseas. As she kept training in Portugal (plus a month of training in Mexico), she represented the country in many sports events that were held in other parts of the world for the first eleven months of 2019. As such, she did not spend much time in the Philippines.
Regardless, she won the gold medal of the individual women’s triathlon once more in the latest SEA Games marking her successful defense of her standing as Southeast Asia’s triathlon queen. Her time was 2:02:00. The December 1, 2019 victory at Subic Bay also marked the full turn of life for Mangrobang who went from spectator in the 2005 SEA Games triathlon into Southeast Asia’s best female triathlete fourteen years later at the same freeport.
After winning the two 2019 SEA Games gold medals (individual women and mixed team relay), Mangrobang and her medalist teammates were greeted by lots of local spectators who also expressed their gratitude to them.
“Getting praised and being thanked a lot in return for the victory is normal. It is also a very humbling feeling to see so many spectators rooting for us national athletes to win. Through that experience, I realized there is truth to the 2019 SEA Games tagline of ‘We Win As One,’” she stated.
Mangrobang and her winning teammates (John Chicano, Kim Kilgroe, Kim Remolino, Claire Adorna and Fer Casares) plus members of the coaching staff were nicely rewarded by the national government through Republic Act Number 10699. They formally received their cash incentives in a special ceremony held at Malacanang Palace in the presence of President Rodrigo Duterte.
“The President jokingly said I resembled a certain past classmate of his from his days as a Grade 5 student,” Mangrobang said recalling her short chat with Duterte as she had her photo session with him at Malacanang. It was her 2nd time to be with the President.
The post-SEA Games buzz did not stop with Duterte. Apart from meeting corporate sponsors and having sessions with some members of the press, Mangrobang was acknowledged by the respective local government units (LGUs) of Santa Rosa in Laguna and Bauan in Batangas through social media.
Bauan claimed Mangrobang as their own since her mother is a native there. After accepting their invitation, she attended the flag raising ceremony at Bauan and was presented by the LGU officials to the locals. They gave her a certificate of recognition. Mangrobang also attended another flag raising ceremony with the Provincial Government of Batangas (headed by Governor DoDo Mandanas) held in Batangas City.
Aiming High for 2020 Tokyo Olympics
As of now, Kim Mangrobang is aiming to get qualified to represent the Philippines in the individual women’s triathlon event of the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games. With the support of San Miguel Corporation, Nike, Specialized, Oakley, Garmin and the Triathlon Association of the Philippines (TRAP) and the guidance of coach Sergio Santos, she is now in full training in Portugal and eventually she will be joining several triathlon events (recognized by the ITU) that serve as qualifying races for the Olympics.
According to Mangrobang, there will only be 55 slots for the Tokyo Olympic Games individual women’s triathlon event. The qualifying period will end this coming May and subsequently the final lineup of triathletes racing in the Olympics will be announced.
“I’m very focused now on getting into the Olympics and I’m using whatever energy I have for it,” Mangrobang declared.
Message to the Readers
“When I race, I realize that it is a big responsibility because I become an inspiration to other people and I hope that what I achieved will inspire others to engage in the active lifestyle as that is important. I also hope that once they get into triathlon, they will learn to work hard and train smart.”
Note: My special thanks to Akrotiri restaurant located at Commercenter, Filinvest City, Muntinlupa City. Akrotiri really has a nice place (which was great for this feature interview) as well as a fine selection of food and beverages. Those of you who are reading this, I highly recommend Akrotiri.
To put things in perspective, the consolidated sales reached a total of $226 million in 2019 compared with $217 million the previous year.
In relation to the latest statistics, DFPC chief operating officer Vicente Pelagio Angala said the Philippines’ hosting of the Southeast Asian Games (SEA Games) and the opening of Duty Free Luxe have significantly contributed to the upswing.
He said the growing number of tourists visiting the newly-rehabilitated Boracay Island via Kalibo Airport has been beneficial to DFPC sales.
When it comes to the top source markets, 85% came from Filipino tourists, balikbayans (visiting Filipinos who live overseas) and overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).
Confectionery is still the major growth driver, with 31 percent share of the total sales, followed by liquor (21 percent), fragrance and cosmetics (18 percent), and fashion merchandise (10 percent).
The DFPC claimed it has met a number of significant milestones last year, including the opening of “Go Lokal’s” Marahuyo this past November.
“In line with the directive of Department of Tourism (DOT) Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat and in partnership with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), we have augmented our product portfolio which now includes more local artisans,” Angala said.
With the agency’s strong commitment to giving top local products a global audience, DFPC was recognized as “Highly Commended CSR Initiative of the Year “at the 2019 Frontier Awards in Cannes, France for supporting The Micro Small & Medium Enterprises (MSMEs).
The DFPC has expanded the list of exclusive brands that it carries which now includes: Gucci Beauty, Armani Beauty, Hogan, and MCM. Last year, it also embarked on the renovation of the Fiestamall and NAIA Terminal 1 Arrival stores.
DFPC is expected to maintain the momentum in 2020 with the opening of Duty Free store at the Hilton Sun Valley Resort inside Clark Freeport Zone by the first quarter of this year.
For everyone’s reference, the DFPC is the country’s sole operator of the duty-and tax-free merchandising system, and a vital component of the DOT as it contributes to the efforts in the development of the country’s tourism infrastructure, programs, and projects through revenue remittances. There are Duty Free Philippines outlets and shopping centers around the Philippines including Parañaque City (Fiestamall shopping center), Cebu province, and Clark International Airport to name a few.
For further learning, posted below is the official FAQ of Duty Free Philippines.
It’s been almost a month since the 2019 edition of the Southeast Asian Games (SEA Games) hosted by the Philippines ended with resounding success. The Philippines won a total of three hundred and eighty-seven medals to finish #1 among all Southeast Asian nations. The 387 medals won are composed of 149 gold medals, 117 silver medals and 121 bronze medals.
Here in South Metro Manila (composed mainly of the cities of Parañaque, Muntinlupa and Las Piñas) there were indeed Philippine team athletes who won medals at the SEA Games who reside locally.
Shortly after the end of the premier sports event of the Southeast Asian region, the City of Las Piñas honored the SEA Games medalists among its residents by showcasing them in a special ceremony at City Hall in the presence of Mayor Imelda “Mel” Aguilar, Vice Mayor April Aguilar-Nery, City Councilors and more.
The local resident athletes honored were Joseph Arcilla (Gold Medalist – Soft Tennis), Anna Alicia Katrina Castillo (Gold Medalist Women’s Basketball), Mikoff Manduriao (Gold Medalist – Soft Tennis), Russ Ashley Monville (Gold Medalist – Arnis), Erdilyn Peralta (Bronze Medalist – Soft Tennis), and Aljon Salonga (Silver Medalist – Water Polo). Not only did they attend the special ceremony at City Hall with their sports uniforms, they also brought the SEA Games medals they won. They received certificates from the City Government.
Over at the City of Muntinlupa, the City Government led by Mayor Jaime Fresnedi did its part doing the same and their SEA Games medalists attended a special ceremony – which was mainly about the City’s 102nd anniversary celebration – held at the Sports Complex in Barangay Tunasan.
The Muntinlupa-based SEA Games medalists who received honors and shared the stage with the Mayor, Vice Mayor Temy Simundac, Congressman Ruffy Biazon and City Administrator Engr. Allan Cachuela were Kodo Nakano (Bronze, Judo), Keisei Nakano (Bronze, Judo), Shugen Nakano (Gold Medalist, Judo), Daryl Mercado (Bronze, Judo), Ryssa Jezzel Sanchez (Silver, Arnis), and Rick Jayson Constantino Senales (Bronze, Kurash and Judo). Incentives for the said achievers were promised by the City Government.
Meanwhile in Parañaque City, there have been no signs so far that there were any Parañaque residents among the many Philippine athletes who won 2019 SEA Games medals.
Twice, I inquired about this to City Administrator Fernando “Ding” Soriano plus my other contact at the City Government. It was only yesterday that I finally received a reply from City Admin Soriano. Below is his response.
Soriano: The moment there (are) residents from (Parañaque), we will certainly give recognition and awards.
Has the City Government of Parañaque approached the 2019 SEA Games organizers for a list of Philippine Team athletes (who won medals specifically) with city addresses?
If there are indeed any 2019 SEA Games medalist living in Parañaque City who just learned about the promised rewards and recognition from the City Government, which specific office should he or she go to? Who should he or she look for?
Does mayor Edwin Olivarez have time to meet Parañaque-based SEA Games medalists?
If any new updates come up, I’ll post them right here.
The Muntinlupa-based SEA Games medalists who received honors and shared the stage with the Mayor, Vice Mayor Temy Simundac, Congressman Ruffy Biazon and City Administrator Engr. Allan Cachuela were Kodo Nakano (Bronze, Judo), Keisei Nakano (Bronze, Judo), Shugen Nakano (Gold Medalist, Judo), Daryl Mercado (Bronze, Judo), Ryssa Jezzel Sanchez (Silver, Arnis), and Rick Jayson Constantino Senales (Bronze, Kurash and Judo).
The other city athletes who made the honor list were Francis Casey Alcantara and Jeson Patrombon (Gold, Tennis Doubles) Jaime Delange (Gold, Skateboarding) and Jeson Patrombon (Bronze, Tennis Singles).
The above SEA Games medalists will soon receive incentives from the City Government.
On the field of public service, those who were honored were National Academy of Science and Technology of the Philippines Outstanding Scientist Dr. Nathaniel P. Hermosa II, IdeasxMachina CEO and Malaking Muntinlupa Foundation founder Clemente C. Domingo III, Metropolitan Waterworks & Sewerage System (MWSS) Administrator Lt. Gen. Emmanuel B. Salamat (ret.), former Muntinlupa Mayor Ignacio R. Bunye, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Deputy Governor Francisco G. Dakila Jr. (represented by Maura Dakila), and Department of Transportation (DOTR) Sec. Arthur P. Tugade.
For academics, the Muntinlupa residents who were honored for being ranked as top-notchers in various board and bar examinations were Coun. Jun Metong Sevilla representing Atty. Patricia Sevilla (Top 7, 2018 Bar Examinations), Mrs. Gail Turner Diaz representing Engr. James Christian Turner Diaz (Top 4, 2019 Electrical Engineer Board Exam) and Atty. Sean James Borja (Top 1, 2018 Bar examinations).
Apart from being the home city of tremendous achievers, Muntinlupa also had more reasons to celebrate big time. The city is also one of the nation’s leading investment hubs. Mayor Fresnedi emphasized the town’s progress to its people which called as Muntinlupa’s greatest resource. Also highlighted were the City Government’s sustainability initiatives and commitment to prioritize programs for education.
“As we journey through the second century of Muntinlupa, the local government will continue to invest in sustainable programs, focusing on the education of Muntinlupeños, to position the city and its people to greater heights,” Fresnedi said.
For historical perspective, Muntinlupa gained its independent status as a municipality in the year 1917 through Executive Order 108 issued by Governor General Francis Burton Harrison. Today, it has transformed as a Highly Urbanized City with nine equally progressive barangays and a population of 504,509.
Muntinlupa has been recognized as a model LGU (local government unit) in the country and garnered several awards and citations from various governing bodies including the Seal of Good Governance from DILG in 2015 and 2019, Seal of Child-Friendly Local Governance from Regional Committee for Welfare of Children in 2017-2019, Red Orchid Award in 2018 and 2019, Jose Rizal Award in 2017-2019, Most Business-Friendly City Award in 2001, 2002, 2017, and 2018, Green Banner Award and Outstanding LGU in Nutrition Program Management in 2018, MERALCO Luminaries Award in 2018, Government Efficiency and Resilience Award (3rd Place) from National Competitiveness Council in 2017 and 2018, respectively; and Union Internationale des Transports Publics Awards in 2017, among others.
With the way things are going, Muntinlupa’s strong progressive drive as a highly competitive city of the Philippines (and arguably as the leading city of progress of South Metro Manila) will only keep on moving forward.
2020 National Age Group Triathlon Season Kicks Off at Subic Bay on January 26
After delivering the first two gold and silver medals of the recently concluded 30th Southeast Asian Games (SEA Games), triathlon opens a new decade in the country with the launch of the 2020 season of the National Age Group Triathlon series which will fire off with close to a thousand participants on January 26 in the Subic Bay Freeport Zone.
A joint project of the Triathlon Association of the Philippines (TRAP) and the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA), the season opening race will have participants challenging themselves with the Standard Distance (1.5 Km swim – 40 Km bike – 10 Km run), Sprint Distance (750 M swim – 20 Km bike – 5 Km run) and Super Sprint Distance (500 M swim – 13 Km bike – 2.5 Km run) prepared for them with San Bernardino serving as the main venue for starting, transition and finishing.
At stake in the event supported by the SBMA, the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC), Standard Insurance, FINIS and Asian Centre for Insulation Philippines (ACIP) are gift packs and winners’ medals for the Top 3 winners of each age-group category per distance as well as the Team Relay category.
Entry fees are set at P3,750 for Standard Distance, P3,000 for Sprint Distance, P2,500 for Super Sprint Distance and P7,500 for the Team Relay. Inclusive with the entry fees are the post-race meal, the finisher’s medal and race t-shirt. Registration will end on December 31 or when all slots have been filled up.