Football in the Philippines has become immensely popular, if I would say, because of the Phil-foreigners who have come back to play for the national team. Girls can't help get giddy over the Younghusbands, Etheridge, Shrock, the Greatwiches, Guirado and more. Their names are foreign sounding. Not a hint of Filipino even when they speak and how they look. However, there will always be a few exception of die-hard fans of the sport. Whether they're rooting for Phil or Chieffy.
So when news broke that Philippines will be rehabilitating Rizal Memorial Stadium to host the FIFA 2014 qualifiers against Sri Lanka, the boyfriend and I were ecstatic. We were counting the days and discussing ways to get good seats. We were absolutely correct when I finally rushed to the ticket outlet only two hours after the selling opened and found out most seats have been taken already! In just a day, all tickets were sold out. I knew from his face that he was disheartened when I only got the seats near the goal end.
July 3, 2011. I was there. Yes, with 13,000 more fans, we were cheering wildly. The boyfriend was explaining a lot of rules before the match: offside, penalty, yellow and red cards. Outside the stadium, Azkals shirts were sold like pancakes. Inside, we endured the scorching heat. In just thirty minutes, I got tan lines!
The Game. Just as the game was about to start, rain poured very heavily. People didn't budge. Nobody cared except for a few who used the tarpaulins and banners to cover themselves with. The boyfriend asked for some guy's raincoat wrapper to secure our phones. We were dripping wet when Chieffy scored the first goal and everyone went wild! The boyfriend was exchanging high fives with people we didn't know. Three more goals and the Philippines definitely made history that day. It was our first time to qualify and get to the next round. I was in tears and was keeping my emotions. I was very proud to be Pinoy. I was very proud to have witnessed the event.
Soaking wet. The cashier at the LRT looked at us with disbelief when we handed her a wet 100 peso bill.
I initially signed up as a Kaholero member but gave up my seat since I already have my ticket. These guys were awesome and definitely rocked the stadium.
The crowd showed off the wave and the flag passed around the stadium.
After the game, Chieffy and the rest of the half-naked team rounded up the stadium to share their victory. The boyfriend was able to catch a baller.
Proud to be Pinoy.