Game Day: The PH Azkals vs. Kuwait's Al Azraq

I admit that I am a fan of the Philippine Azkals Football Team {started early this year} but I have never gone to a game, or made an effort to because I am deathly afraid of crowds and I always fear for my life when seated on bleachers because I can be such a klutz.

That changed last Thursday, as I was struck with luck as I found myself with a ticket to the 2014 FIFA World Cup Qualifier game between the Philippines and Kuwait and in the VIP section, too {a blessing, really, because it was raining but very humid}!

I was not aware of how different the energy could be between watching at home on a TV {therefore seeing zoomed-in footage of the game} versus watching live, which means no zoomed in action clips. And so I never tried it before this game day and boy was I in for a surprise.

Game Face On. I'm wearing my staples {MAC Foundation and concealer et. al}
but I have gone to test my Tara Cabullo palette from shu uemura.
Also, I'm wearing white because the Azkals Fans Club said so. :D 

Cheeks: shu uemura Glow On Medium Pink 375
{I might have found another love in this because this blush doesn't make need a retouch. It stays put all day!}

Eyes: IR White and G Gold
Still was not in the mood for the works kind of eye makeup so I just dusted these two shades on my lids and I look more glittery than usual. <3

The game was at 7 PM at the Rizal Memorial Stadium {kill me but I've never stepped foot in this stadium ever} so we needed two hours to make sure we get to the venue on time. C {who's responsible for my ticket, together with R, thank you!} and I left the office at 5:15 and navigated our way to Manila. With Google Maps on phones and armed with waterproof jackets, we were able to get to the stadium at 6 PM. Surely, getting inside was another matter as throes of long-time football and Azkals fan lined up wearing white, blue and some even carrying Philippine flags. I was psyched to watch the game. I remember seeing fellow Filipinos in full rain-gear {raincoats, because umbrellas are not allowed}, in rain boots, Melissas, Plueys and waterproofed bags so they can watch in despite the rain. This was nationalism, I thought.

We got into our seat as the Kuwait players were being called and as soon as the Philippine
was called, I already cheered like crazy {yes, crazy fan girl here}.

Just before the game started, my seat mate arrived with his son, brought to you by Sun Life Financial Philippines

And on the other side, we {C and I} had Bam Aquino and Elmo Magalona {son of SLFP's endorser Pia Magalona}for seatmates. Yes, Team Sun Life all the way!
{also, I'm Best in Oiliness in this photo}

Kick off! Philippine players are in white and Kuwaiti players are in blue.

Of course, as soon as the game started, this Kuwaiti fan started chanting on a megaphone {not sure if it was a cheer, I could not understand it} for their team. Many of us were annoyed because we could not concentrate on the game but he eventually stopped which was a good thing. Later that night, he told Bam and his friend, who were sitting behind him, that he's a true blue Al Azraq fan and he follows all their games anywhere in the world!

And the crowd goes wild! Philippines {Stephan Schrock did!}scores the first goal of the game minutes before the first half ended. I swear that that moment alone was worth the heavy traffic, the not-so-us dinner, the humidity and the discomfort of being seated at the RSM bleachers. It was a moment where we were all cheering for the same team, regardless if they were pro-RH bill, anti, regardless of who they voted for last elections, from where walk of life, we came, if we were artists or corporate slaves {LOL}. It was a unifying moment, especially for a country that is rarely united on things. And I was just darn lucky to have been there.

 Schrocki is a powerhouse in the field, even in his 5'7" frame!

Philippine Azkals' Goalkeeper Neil Etheridge {in yellow] garnered a lot of cheers {me included} for a lot of incredible saves that night. My hoarse voice can also be attributed to Chieffy Caligdong, who is incredible in catching the ball and with countless goal attempts, as well as brothers Phil and James Younghusband.

 The dejection could be felt from where I was when the clock ticked off its last minute.

 And even if the Philippines lost to a worthy opponent that night, it surely felt like this:

The World Cup 2014 dream may be over since Kuwait walked away with the win but there will be another one after that {in Russia!} so until then, the Philippines will just cheer for the Philippine Azkals in Asian and regional games. After all, with all the efforts, practice and training that they are putting into it, there's no doubt our country will be in the World Cup, give or take a few years.

As for me, I am just glad to have been there to witness a part of a dream, to lend my voice to the thousands who cheered {though, really, I cheer just as loud when I am at home}, and to have been part of the country as one. It's such an experience to be there and I'd no doubt be doing it again in the future.

**Special thanks to Armand and Anton del Rosario and of course to my employer Sun Life Financial Philippines {especially RGM} for having me watch the game. And to C, because it was such a fun, phenomenal experience, up to the 'commiseratory' drinks we had after!