Heroes day

I just came from the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier beside the City Council building where we held the commemoration of today’s National Heroes Day.

I represented Vice Mayor Sara Duterte and delivered the welcome remarks. Our guests include the consuls from Japan and Malaysia, government and police officials, war veterans and representatives from many civil society groups.

Our keynote speaker was my colleague 6-term city councilor Nilo Abellera. He paid tribute to our heroes and extolled their virtues that we should emulate like courage, patriotism and sacrifice.

As I sat beside the Malaysian consul-general Nik Mustafa Kamal Nik Ahmad, we had a quiet conversation while the flower offering was going on. We covered quite a lot in the short span of time. Foremost on my mind was the stalled peace process where Malaysia plays a crucial role as both a mediator and a member of the ceasefire monitoring group.

The consul expressed concern that their mandate of being in the monitoring body would lapse at the end of this month. He said both parties, the GRP and MILF, must come to terms asap with regards this international monitoring mechanism.

He thanked Mayor Rody Duterte for lending a voice of moderation in the on-going conflict in Mindanao. He was also elated that the Kadayawan festival last week went without a hitch.

We likewise touched on the current political situation in Malaysia where former deputy prime minister Anwar Ibrahim is seeking a parliamentary seat in tomorrow’s by-elections in Penang. We talked about the wind of change sweeping Malaysia akin to the Obama mania in the US.

I also had the chance to congratulate the consul on Malaysia’s silver medal in badminton at the Beijing Olympics where our own local sports heroes brought home none.

My hero today is war veteran Sotero Palabyab who noticed the list of “distinguished national heroes” printed in the program. He remarked that most of those in the list were heroes of the Spanish era.

He said we should pay attention too to contemporary heroes. His suggestions: Manuel Quezon, father of the Wikang Pilipino and president during the Commonwealth period, who once said he would rather have a government run like hell by Filipinos than one run like heaven by the Americans; and Ninoy Aquino martyred for freedom and democracy 25 years ago who said the Filipino is worth dying for.

9:07 a.m.

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Perfect score for China

I salute China for the successful Beijing Olympic Games. What started on a lucky date 08-08-08 ended up for the host getting another lucky number – a perfect score, 100, – for its total medal haul. It has the most number of Olympic champions at 51 gold medalists. It also earned 21 silvers and 28 bronzes.

The new sports powerhouse has bested perennial medal leaders the US and Russia.

I doubt if China could have achieved this feat had it been awarded the hosting of the Summer Games four years earlier in 2004. The added four years gave China time to prepare well to be crowed today as the champion of the 2008 Olympics.

5:58 p.m.

Monday blues

My post on swimmer Michael Phelps was inadvertently deleted yesterday morning. Arrgghh! I really did not know what happened except that I was in a hurry to leave after posting and closed my laptop.

Anyway, I wrote about the greatest Olympian of our lifetime having more medals in two Olympics than the Philippines (population over 90 million) which has participated since the 1924 Games.

The Philippines is one of the major producers of gold in the world with mines stretching from Benguet in the north to Diwalwal in the south. It is unlucky, however, in the gold medal quest in the Summer Olympics. It has thus far produced only nine medals – 2 silvers and 7 bronzes. Michael Phelps on the other hand has 16 medals – 14 golds and 2 bronzes in the last two Olympics.

If he were a county, he would be at the top 50 in all time medal tally, better than more than 150 other nations.

– – – – –

I sat for more than six hours yesterday listening to the dialogue between the government peace panel and businessmen at the Marco Polo Hotel on the controversy over the ancestral domain issue.

While we were listening to the conversation, reports were filtering in from the field about rebel attacks in Sarangani and Lanao del Norte.

Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro noticeably changed his prepared remarks regarding the peace talks to strong assurances to the business community that the government would deal with the attacks more forcefully.

He was cheered by the participants unlike the other members of the peace panel who were jeered – at least in my table – over repeated answer that the peace agreement is still a work in progress.

– – – – –

After the dialogue, I rushed to the People’s Park for the opening of the Kadayawan festival.

At about 7 p.m., I excused myself after 3 hours through the elaborate ceremony. The program was simply too long. What was scheduled to be finished by 6 p.m. was still halfway by the time my stomach started to grumble.

6:41 a.m.

Sunday quiz 6

When the Swede wrestler protested his defeat and refused his bronze medal at the podium last Thursday, his anger was directed at the “bunch of fatsos” at the judges table.

Perhaps unknown to him, however, it that the medal is not just bronze, or gold and silver. The Chinese hosts have incorporated jade in the reverse side of the medals, thus, making the medals an unprecedented piece of jewelry. And to host China and to many Asian countries, jade represents “honor and virtue.” My own necklace and ring are both made of this “stone of heaven.”

His refusal to accept the medal was a slap on the face not just on the International Olympic Committee but to the host nation as well. Truly an unfortunate incident.

Here is your chance to hand out your own medals … which blogs are the most insightful, interesting, sexy or wacky. Click the medal and send them to the winners … eerrr preferably not a wrester from Sweden!

7:38 a.m.

First gold

4:20 p.m. Update

First male gold medalist

First male gold medalist

Young Chinese shooter Pang Wei became the first male athlete to win gold in Beijing. Its the second for the host to lead the medal tally. He won the Men’s 10m Air Pistol finals.

12:05 p.m. Update

Unofficial results at the Women’s 48Kg Weightlifting event saw a new Olympic Record for Chen Xiexia, and host China’s first gold medal.

10:58 a.m. Update:

It’s Katerina Emmons of the Czech Republic who struck the first gold in the Beijing Olympics. She vested 46 others in the Women’s 10m Air Rifle. China’s Du Li finished at a disappointing fifth.

First gold winner

First gold winner

I was way off my mark, just like the Philippines first competitor in trap shooting. Eric Ang was 2nd at the bottom after the first round.

Original Post:

As the competitions for the 2008 Beijing Olympics commence this morning, many are anticipating who would win the first gold.

I believe host China would take the first gold medal. Place your bets …

Chen Xiexia

Chen Xiexia

Chen Xiexia in the women’s 48Kg Weightlifting or …

Du Li

Du Li

Du Li in women’s 10m Air Rifle?

Weightlifting starts at 10 and Air Rifle at 1030. The results should be out very soon.

In men’s competitions, the first gold would be contested in Cycling’s Road Race, which reels off at 11. The event will start in Beijing and end at parts of the Great Wall. A total of 143 cyclists will answer the starting gun.

Eric Ang would be the first Filipino Olympian to see action in Men’s Trap Shooting Qualification, which just started.

9:07 a.m.

August 8 activities

Here are my activities for today, August 8, double 8.

SM City Davao is inaugurating its expanded foodcourt facility today. A mass will kick off the opening rites at 8 a.m. I was invited as guest for the ribbon-cutting. Later in the afternoon, SM will host 80 kids from Bantay Bata for fun and games at the mall.

At Marco Polo Hotel, Club 888 our media forum for business and tourism will mark its anniversary. There will be a lunch party.

Also at SM, I will drop by at the 3rd Mindanao Travel and Tour Expo at 1 p.m. The tourism trade exhibit is part of the pre-Kadayawan activities and will run up to Sunday.

At 2 p.m., I will preside at the coordinating meeting of various sports groups in the city for the sports activities during the Kadayawan and preparations for the forthcoming Mindanao Friendship Games, BIMP-EAGA Games and Arafura Games in Darwin, Australia next year.

At 4:30 p.m., I will represent Mayor Rody Duterte at the opening of another branch of East-West Bank of the Gotianun Group. The new branch is located at Monteverde St., in the city’s Chinatown.

It’s the 18th birthday of our third child, Kyra Angeline, and so we’re having a family dinner after their school class. Tomorrow, she’s throwing a party for friends and classmates.

Finally, starting 8 p.m., I will be off to the opening of the greatest show on Earth – the Olympic Games in Beijing – but only via cable TV.

6:11 a.m.

Let the games begin

It’s still two days from the official opening of the Beijing Olympics, but the games have actually begun.

Canada edged Argentina 2-1 in the first round match of women’s football late this afternoon. A total of 23,201 spectators watched the preliminary game at the TJ Olympic Center Stadium proving the popularity of the Summer Games in the China.

The early matches in football were necessary because it requires 18 days to complete up to the finals.

Candace Chapman of Canada went down in history books as the first Olympian to score a goal in the Beijing Games. She made it on the 27th minute.

6:55 p.m.

Update:

The fastest ever goal – 2 minutes after the kick-off, was recorded by a Norwegian player in defeating the US 2-0 in another first round match.