Goosebumps and tears were felt across the country as the 30th edition of the Southeast Asian Games was launched in Bulacan.
This is perhaps the most watched opening ceremony in history. The magic of Youtube allowed millions unable to see the live TV coverage to watch it over and over, and even compare the quality of the coverage.
Goosebumps not only because of the opening ceremony that creatively presented us to the world, but our capabilities and desire to be greater than we are, despite the obvious odds, starting with the fact that we took over from a neighbor which decided not to host due to some understandable concerns.
These are all the more sweet when we consider how some of the preparations were marred with inconveniences and how some were sadly politicized by a few quarters to look like major blunders, some falsely so. The eventual apologies by some journalists on their false reports are noted.
What is more important to note, is that the Southeast Asian Games are the one event brings us in ASEAN together in a way that is deeper than ministerial meetings and summits. Southeast Asia is a group of very diverse cultures with almost all member states coming from a unique colonial experience.
It is because these games bring ordinary citizens and their families to meet up at venues, share local delicacies and realize just how similar we are as Southeast Asians. To paraphrase Kennedy, it is to realize that we breathe the same air, cherish our children’s future and are all mortal.
As social media now occupies a big place in our daily lives, and cheap travel options allow us to visit each other with greater frequency, we all realize just how similar we are and how this awareness will eventually influence our economic and social relationships.
Moreover, as geopolitical and economic events unfold, we see ASEAN playing a bigger role as a major trading partner of three of the largest economies: China, Japan and South Korea.
The SEA Games boost the sense of the ASEAN community at this important juncture.
My message to our readers attending the venues is to try to make new friends from our neighboring Southeast Asian states, expose your children to these countries and diverse cultures.
Try to browse through their history and cuisines, and videos of street food.
You will realize, with the same goosebumps and tears, that we are all, largely the same.
Thanking Davao’s business community
To the Davao City business community, I offer sincere thanks for choosing me to be the incoming President of the multi awarded, 51-year-old Davao City Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
It is vital to note that chambers of commerce were first instituted in 16th Century France.
Eventually, they brought merchant guilds together to voice concerns in the new democracies that sprouted after the renaissance period when land ownership and wealth-generating enterprises broadened.
They play a vital role as the voice and helping hand of business to help strengthen the local economy.
Taking it deeper, the voice is heard by advocating for policies that will help local business, while the hand comes by helping businesses thrive through capacity building initiatives such as training and facilitating trade missions and events that bring buyers and sellers together.
It is inspiring to see how far this dynamic business community has come, and the role it plays in attracting investments and boosting economic growth in a region and Mindanao has nowhere to go but up and a country that keeps moving forward.
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