Dancing and singing in the rain with the Philippine Azkals

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Thanks to my husband’s innovative art form, and the decision of the Philippine Football Federation to adopt “aquadrumming” for the booster squad for the Philippine Azkals’ home game against Sri Lanka, I ended up among the best seats in the Rizal Memorial Stadium during the July 3 game. It wasn’t in the VIP area, it wasn’t in the media room; it was in the section reserved for the Kaholeros, the die-hard booster squad that provided loud, hearty, thunderous cheering and drumming throughout the game.

I was so moved by everything I saw and experienced that day and just had to share it in this blog post for ProPinoy.net. I’m sharing an excerpt and some photos here, and can only be grateful to the Universe for this truly inspiring victory–a historic moment not only for Philippine football, but for Filipinos’ capacity to believe in themselves and in their countrymen.

Under the Philippine flag during the Philippine Azkals-Sri Lanka game (July 3, Rizal Memorial Stadium, Philippines)
Photo by Nina Terol-Zialcita

I was literally right under the Philippine flag when the National Anthem started playing to signify the beginning of the second match between the Philippines and Sri Lanka for the 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifiers. Everyone stood at attention, with some holding the flag up above their heads with their left arms, while their right hands were on their chests. It’s been a while since I last heard the National Anthem sung this loud and, this time, I knew that everyone sang it with pride.

Just as the game started, rain started to pour. What we at first thought would be a drizzle or a light shower quickly turned into an all-out downpour, and some of those who were out on the Kaholeros’ side of the stadium started jumping and dancing, welcoming the water and relishing in the drama of it all. The OC side of me wanted to take cover, but I let my inner child out and danced around in the rain as well, remembering the good ol’ days when it was safe to do that, and allowing myself to just live in the moment. The rain and the accompanying wind were refreshing—the perfect setup to what would be a remarkable afternoon.

Panning around the unfolding events in the Rizal Memorial Stadium, the scene looked straight out of a Hollywood movie. There was the audience enduring the rain for the sake of their beloved team, the drummers intensifying the beating of their drums, and the team swishing and sliding but still managing to maintain great footwork and control. If someone were to shoot a movie in one take, this would have been the perfect moment for it.

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The Kaholeros drumming and cheering for the Philippine Azkals (July 3, Rizal Memorial Stadium, Philippines)
Photo by Nina Terol-Zialcita
The Philippine flag during the Azkals-Sri Lanka game (July 3, Rizal Memorial Stadium, Philippines)
Photo by Nina Terol-Zialcita
My husband Paul, football's resident Aquadrummer :) (Philippines vs Sri Lanka, July 3, Rizal Memorial Stadium, Philippines)
My husband Paul, football's resident Aquadrummer 🙂 (Philippines vs Sri Lanka, July 3, Rizal Memorial Stadium, Philippines)
The Philippine Azkals vs Sri Lanka (July 3, Rizal Memorial Stadium, Philippines)
Photo by Nina Terol-Zialcita
Paul Zialcita, Aquadrummer, at the Philippine Azkals-Sri Lanka game (July 3, Rizal Memorial Stadium, Philippines)
Photo by Nina Terol-Zialcita
Two years after getting married at the Milan Homeless World Cup, the Zs are still drumming and cheering--for football, for country, for love
Two years after getting married at the Milan Homeless World Cup, the Zs are still drumming and cheering--for football, for country, for love

Read the rest of the post HERE

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