Sochi, Russia – For a country that has never experienced snowfall, or seen ice other than in the local favorite shaved ice snack called halo-halo, it is quite impressive that the Philippines will have the biggest delegation in this year’s Sochi Winter Olympics, next only to the United States.
After a 22-year absence, the Philippines will be represented in the Winter Olympics by figure skater, 17-year-old Michael Christian Martinez, who will carry the red, white, blue and yellow Philippine flag at tomorrow’s opening ceremony. Marching behind Martinez will be his mother, father, grandparents, brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles, godparents, cousins, in-laws, pastor of his Catholic church parish in his native Muntinlupa, principal and his entire class at his school, his coach and coach’s wife and children, his hairdresser, costume designer, massage therapist, personal physician and nurse and some unnamed Philippine senators, congressmen and local officials handpicked by Philippine president NoyNoy Aquino.
(This is far from unusual, as far as the Philippines is concerned. It is consistent with a revered Filipino tradition called sabit meaning “to cling.”)
One hundred million Filipinos will be watching the opening ceremony and cheering for their favorite “son.” It could yet break records in terms of television viewership in the Philippines and might surpass the record numbers during Manny Pacquiao’s boxing fights or the Miss Universe Beauty Pageant.
The Adobo Chronicles wishes Martinez all the best in the skating competition.