In photo, Dancesport medalists Wilbert Aunzo and Pearl Cañeda; Triathlete Andrew Remolino; Arnis medalist Dexter Bolambao

The Southeast Asian games formally opened on the 30th of November, at the Philippine Sports Arena, with a grand welcome party to our ASEAN neighbors.  The huge delegation of Filipinos who graced the stage during the opening salvo have made our hearts brim with pride and joy.  But for us Cebuanos, there is no greater pride to have our own represented in the meet, setting the pace of the medal haul.

For the first day of the biennial meet, the Cebuano athletes from different sporting fields made their presence known as they helped establish the medal haul at the onset, contributing 3 gold and 3 silver medals.

Triathlete Andrew Kim Remolino of Talisay City handed the country’s first silver medal, aiding in the 1-2 sweep in the men’s category.  The nineteen-year old felt a great responsibility of bringing pride to the country when he was named part of the four-man team and winning second medal of the day made all the training worthwhile. 

Photo from Andrew Kim Remolino’s Facebook Page

On the dancefloor, the dancesport pair of Wilbert Aunzo and Pearl Marie Cañeda garnered three gold medals as they danced their way thru the samba, cha-cha and rumba events in the Latin category.  Their winning forms are attributed to the long hours of training with the Cebu City’s Dancesport Team, making a name for themselves in various national and international dancesport competitions before they made their appearance in the SEA games.

Photo from Dancesport Team Cebu City‘s Facebook Page

Dexter Bolambao, the lone Cebuano in the National team, did not disappoint as he clinched the gold in the bantamweight division in arnis.  Considering that the full contact live stick is the national sport of the country, the two-time world champion surely made it known that the sport is rightfully ours to uphold. 

Photo from Phl Sports Commission’s Facebook Page
Photo from Dexter Bolambao’s Facebook Page

The double gold for Sepak Takraw proved to be a doable feat as both the men’s and women’s teams, with Metodio Suico of Mandaue City and Jean Marie Sucalit of Catmon, joining the powerhouses respectively, managed to dominate their rivals in the hoop event.

Photo of Metodio Suico from Mansta Mandaue’s Facebook Page
Jean Marie Sucalit with the other PH representatives for Women’s Sepak Takraw. Photo from 2019 SEA Games

In the MTB cross-country event, cyclist Niño Surban pitched in the growing medal count with a silver finish, his first in his 4 SEAG appearances, where he finished his previous SEAG stints with bronze.  As the first day of the SEA games end, John Febuar Ceniza copped silver in the men’s 55-kg division in weightlifting.  On the second day, two silver medals were added to the tally by Elreen Ann Ando from the University of Cebu for the 64kg division in weightlifting and Jude Oliver Marie Rodriguez for the arnis featherweight division.

Niño Surban with the other PH team. Photo via Avegail Rombaon‘s Facebook post
Photo from John Febuar Ceniza’s Facebook page
Jude Oliver Marie Rodriguez. Photo via Philippine Eskrima Kali Arnis Federation‘s Facebook Page
Elreen Ann Ando from the University of Cebu for the 64kg division in weightlifting. Photo via Candice Gotianuy

As the games continue until 11th of December, the numbers are expected to rise, even Typhoon Tisoy cannot dampen the Filipino spirit.  As of today, our country leads with 47 gold, 30 silver and 17 bronze medals.

The stellar performance of our Filipino athletes has brought pride and glory to the country, a testament that we, rise to the occasion, aiming to deliver the best performances.  With the select Cebuanos in the delegation, the Bisaya flavor of grit and passion for sports is something to watch out for.  The Cebuanos are not only known for lechon, but also for the tenacity to overcome any obstacle along the way.

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