This is one of my so many memorable anecdotes while working with the Office of Presidential Protocol for 16 years. For my husband and me, soccer is not just a sport but also a way of life and part of the socio-cultural fabric of many nations. It is a spiritual activity for our family and for me, a religion.
|My pilgrimage to Santiago Bernabeu Stadium in Spain (Real Madrid vs Real Santander in 2007)|
I remember during the 2002 World Cup, my boss then in Malacanang Protocol called me up on a Sunday while I was in Anilao diving to tell me that then President Arroyo wanted a congratulatory message drafted to South Korea for being the first Asian country to reach the semis of the World Cup after beating Spain.
The Chief of Presidential Protocol (COPP) said she gave the assignment to me because she wanted someone who could appreciate the magnitude of the occasion and the accomplishment, not to mention familiarity with the game and its terms. I was crying while writing that message. After it was signed by then President Arroyo I had to ask one of my colleagues to be the one to send it thru fax to DFA and our Philippine Embassy in Korea. I'm trying to remember now whether I was crying over South Korea's accomplishment or because Bing and I (Note: we weren't the only ones) felt Spain got cheated out of that game by the referee, hahaha. Not to mention, I attended the Opening Ceremonies of the 2002 World Cup. Bing and I were rooting for Spain at that time and they happened to have a very good team that year.
|My two boys during the friendly game of Real Madrid vs DC United in USA|
Got so many pictures but I'm not tech savvy and can't seem to post more than two photos without screwing the layout. Please bear with me. :)