tickets for philippines-nepal friendly match to be sold starting october 1 – pff

PASIG CITY, Philippines – The Philippine Football Federation (PFF) announced today that tickets for the Philippines vs. Nepal international friendly will be sold beginning October 1. The game will be held at the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex on October 11 with kick-off at 7 pm.

Tickets will be sold through the various outlets of Ticketworld and online through ticketworld.com.ph. Ticket prices are as follows:

Lower Grandstand Center

P3,000

Upper Grandstand Center

P2,000

Lower Grandstand Side

P1,500

Upper Grandstand Side

P1,000

White (Center) Bleachers

P500

Blue (Side) Bleachers

P300

Green (Side) Bleachers

P300

Ticket sales will be limited to 5 tickets per transaction. This is to allow more fans a chance to watch the game at the stadium.

The Philippine Men’s National Football Team (“the Azkals”) will feature a complete, full-strength line-up barring any injuries. This will form part of the team’s preparations for the Challenge Cup finals in March next year in Nepal. The Azkals will be facing a Nepal team which is ranked number 134 in FIFA/Coca Cola rankings. The Philippines is currently ranked number 165.

Fans are encouraged to check the ticketworld.com.ph website for the seating arrangements at the stadium and choose their preferred seats and alternate choices to allow for faster processing of ticket sales. The PFF also would like to caution fans against buying tickets from other sources other than TicketWorld. This is to prevent the inadvertent purchase of “fake” tickets. Measures put in place by the PFF and Ticketworld led to the discovery of fans who had to be turned away at the gates for having the misfortune of purchasing spurious tickets for previous matches.


philippine football: learning through experience and moving forward

“published a year ago but sadly many of the reforms we aspired for remain just that, aspirations”

PASIG CITY, Philippines – The Philippine Football Federation (PFF) conducted its 4th Board of Governors’ meeting this year at the Philippine House of Football yesterday. A lot of the meeting was concerned with hearing from the various committees about the activities that have happened this year. The focus of the reports as well as that of the Governors were not just on the actual results of the various activities but more so on the mistakes that were committed, the lessons that were learned and the proposals for how to act going forward.

While there is a lot that is going right for Philippine Football, it is also important to bear in mind that this is, in reality, a transition year. The appointment of Nonong Araneta as PFF President only happened late last year and this appointment was affirmed (after all the legal and other challenges) early this year. This is why it is important to take advantage of the opportunity to learn from “growing up” pains, so to speak. There is a common thought that runs among the current set of PFF Governors which is that if we are going to do something, we have to do it right and do this right away.

The “self-assessment” meeting and the reports presented covered a gamut of topics which included competitions, grassroots development, national teams, coaches development and referee training. While the focus of many has been on the performance of our national teams, there is a concerted effort to improve the level of coaching, officiating and sport administration. Even as I write this, several of our coaches (both men and women) are currently overseas in various development programs.

Despite the myriad of activities, the PFF remains on solid financial footing. Through the first 8 months of the year, the federation continues to run a cash surplus. It is expected that PFF will end the year with a healthy surplus despite the expense of running its various programs which will likely exceed P100 million for this year alone.

A significant component of PFF’s cash inflows now come from its own revenue-generation measures as result of ticket sales from hosting international matches, marketing rights fees and merchandising revenues. This allows the PFF to diversify its sources of funding and improve its ability to sustain its programs.

To further strengthen its marketing efforts, the PFF Board of Governors approved a proposal by PFF President Nonong Araneta for the creation of a board-level Marketing Committee. The committee will be headed by PFF Governor, Leyte FA President and National Team Manager Dan Palami. The three-man committee will also include Laguna FA President and Finance Committee Head Jun Pacificador and PFF Treasurer Bonnie Ladrido. The committee is tasked with reviewing, consolidating and coordinating the marketing efforts of the federation.

The PFF Board also approved the selection of the site for a $500,000 training center in Valencia, Bukidnon.  This project will be funded by FIFA as part of the FIFA Goal Programme.  The proposal for the site has been forwarded to FIFA for approval.  If approved, construction is expected to start late this year or early next year.

Mr. Araneta also briefed the Board of Governors on an ambitious plan to partner with government institutions on a multi-year grassroots development program.  This will also tie into a bill in Congress being proposed by Rep. Walden Bello for sports development. The PFF is serving as a resource institution for Rep. Bello on his bill which the PFF has suggested should benefit all Philippine sports.

Other notable items brought up in the meeting included the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) for the PFF to upgrade the football-related facilities at the University of Life (UL) campus and the prospect of hosting up to 5 international matches for the Philippine Men’s Senior National team (“the Azkals”) in 2012.

The MOA with PSC calls for the PFF to fund the upgrade of facilities at UL in exchange for the rights to use these facilities. The approved plans include the installation of an artificial pitch on the UL field, upgrading the grandstand and bleachers and the renovation and refurbishment of some of the dormitories. The UL will serve as the training center for all the National Teams of the PFF. The new pitch and the ability to house our athletes in the dormitories should allow our players to upgrade their skills while at the same time creating an atmosphere conducive to building team cohesion. The PFF has estimated that the project will cost it P25 million. Work has already started and the dormitory refurbishment has almost been completed primarily through the efforts of Mr. Palami.

The international friendlies will follow the global schedule of FIFA. There are 5 windows in the FIFA calendar for next year allowing for these types of competitions. The teams that the PFF will invite to play will include both national teams and international clubs. First on tap will be a team from either the Segunda Division B or the Tercera Liga of Spain’s La Liga. This match is being eyed for the first week of January. The next identified match will be in the first week of June, 2012 where an invitation to Fulham (among others) of the English Premier League is expected to be extended. These plans are in the initial stages and the PFF will release updated information when they become available.

These matches as well as the efforts by the PFF to upgrade our country’s facilities serve to better prepare our national teams for international competition. The Azkals are scheduled to compete in the tournament finals of the 2012 AFC Challenge Cup in Nepal from March 3rd to the 18th. In December of 2012, the Azkals will compete in the 2012 AFF Suzuki Cup which will be jointly hosted by Malaysia and Thailand.

There remains a lot of work to be done and it can be overwhelming at times but as many of us say, it’s all for the love of the beautiful game.


the edsa skyway: if you will build it they will come (aka throwing away money to make things worse)

A Small pothole

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TANAUAN, Philippines – At the Congressional hearing on next year’s budget for the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), Secretary Rogelio Singson bared plans for building a 6-lane elevated highway on top of EDSA. Total cost (not including cost overruns,  presume), P50 billion.

Singson was quoted as saying that – “Edsa is already very congested, and its expansion capacity has already been exhausted to its limits.”

First, there are many things that can be done to at least reduce congestion on EDSA. First, it is obvious to many that a lot of the congestion is caused by the excessive number of buses on this thoroughfare. Study upon study points to this fact. We have not even tried to rationalize the bus transit system wherein scheduled service will be the norm and designated bus stops will serve to eliminate the indiscriminate violation of traffic rules by buses who stop to drop off and pick up passengers wherever they damn please.

We have also not even allowed the willing private sector to take over the rail systems. Companies have lined up and stated their intention of expanding and improving services on our rail systems.

How about rationalizing public transport routes so that not all buses have to traverse EDSA?

Logic and experience dictate that reducing congestion on EDSA calls for reducing the number of vehicles travelling on it and not increasing it by building a monstrosity on top of it. Bear in mind that it is not only EDSA that is being choked by traffic, most of our peripheral streets also suffer the same daily hell. If you build this EDSA Skyway, you attract more vehicular traffic to Manila which will have to come down somewhere. Yes – EDSA may feel less congested initially but watch all other streets come to a standstill which at some point will back up into EDSA and the EDSA Skyway. Yes – if you build it, they will come.

In many places in the world, ill conceived elevated highways are coming down. I was in Boston when the so-called “Big Dig” was at its height. That was when elevated highways in Boston which had blighted and separated communities started coming down. Why do we insist on trying for ourselves and finding out what others have already found out does not work? It becomes even more maddening to know we will be spending P50 billion to do it.

We have many laws, ordinances and other regulations making traffic obstruction a violation. It is what traffic enforcers often fall back on when they cannot think of anything else to accost you with to part with some pampadulas. If you were to just religiously enforce this, every bus on EDSA would probably eventually be kicked out but then again, EDSA would relatively be less congested when they start learning it becomes an expensive proposition to break traffic laws.

We have to stop thinking of the relief of traffic congestion on EDSA as the problem that needs to be resolved. If you think about it, it seems stupid that we let an inanimate object like our vehicles control our lives and worse, a P50 billion decision. Yes – it may be that building a new highway will get the person from one place to another faster but how long do you think that will last. At the end of the day, the laws of physics dictate that you can only squeeze a certain number of people and other objects within a defined physical space.

Metro Manila is dying from the fact that it can only accommodate so many people. Its physical infrastructure is decaying, the quality of public services is laughable and the quality of life is declining.

Our country is not Metro Manila. The key to helping the metropolis is to decongest it by focusing development elsewhere. It is not by attracting more people into it. I am sure there are now many people who would rather not traverse EDSA because of what they will experience. That in a sense, already helps those who have no choice but to go through EDSA. Building the Skyway will help these people but it will also attract those who have stayed away. When that happens, we will be back to square one and will have been P50 billion poorer for it.

This rambling blog does have a point. Development ultimately should be aimed at improving the over-all quality of life of communities and the individual. There is only so much development that one place can take before it starts to become suffocating.

Plans like the EDSA Skyway are not the solution. They will only serve to make things worse. It is very disappointing that our public officials continue to lack the imagination and the courage to make tough decisions now instead of kicking the can forward, so to speak.

Sana hindi dumating ang ating inis sa punto na wala nang susunod sa daang matuwid dahil masyado palang malubak ang daang ito.


living with 9/11: a personal recollection of coping but never forgetting

September 11, 2001 attacks in New York City: V...

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Joseph – 10 years ago we had to evacuate our office and walked home in all the silence that was still so loud. People all over. I remember hearing someone on the corner of my building saying over the phone names of some friends that were known to have died. You went to the store and bought some water, bread and canned food! We stayed the whole day in my apartment and did not know what to expect! I remember you slept on the sofa and we had no clue about anything. It will never be forgotten and my heart goes out today to all the people that died, their families and friends. Luv, Hulda.

ON BOARD PR 853, Philippines – Hulda Pjetursdottir, Halldor Thorteinsson, Greg Lentini, Ro Bhalla, Paul Ferrigno, Hreidar Mar Sigurdsson, Terrie Edwards-Aoki.

These were the people I was with in the Madison Avenue office of Kaupthing New York, Inc. in Midtown Manhattan on September 11, 2001 – a day which will forever remain seared in my memory.

It was the second day of my second week at the boutique investment bank – 2 months after finishing business school. I can’t remember how the day began so it must have been unremarkable. I would have taken a bus from Valley Cottage, New York to catch the 6:05 am Metro North Commuter train across the Hudson River in Tarrytown. I would have arrived at New York City’s Grand Central just before 7 am and I would have walked the 10 minutes to our office building and would have been at my desk at 7:05 am.

The first vivid memory I have of the day was checking e-mail on my computer. I was seated just in front of Hreidar. The regular morning conference call among investment banks was on speaker phone with Ro, Greg and Terrie as direct participants while the rest of us would casually listen in. The call was into its 16th minute when I thought I heard someone say there had been an explosion somewhere. 8:46:30 – that would have been American Airlines Flight 11 crashing into the North Tower of the World Trade Center.

I then remember all of us starting to watch what was happening on local TV – WNBC Channel 4, the New York affiliate of NBC. It took a while before news crews were able to get a shot of the smoke that was billowing out of the North Tower. I remember my first impression upon seeing the first shots on TV – it seems like a small fire. Indeed, the first reports were that of a small plane crashing into a building. It was a confusing time. There were calls from the folks at the North Tower into the TV station that were being aired live.

Somehow, even before United Airlines Flight 175 crashed into the South Tower, I remember thinking – this has to be deliberate. I don’t exactly know why I thought that or what led me to think that but I did.

Then I see this dark bird-looking “thing” on the right side of the TV screen and then – BOOM! Well, you didn’t really hear the BOOM but I see this massive explosion of yellow and gray. At that point, there was no doubt in my mind that this was a deliberate act of terrorism. In the seconds after that, you couldn’t quite comprehend what you were seeing. You know it’s not a movie. You feel what can only be described as shock and I’m sure I recoiled and shuddered at the sight of the explosion.

I remember calling Jo-Ann to say I was okay. Of course it was just past 6 am in Los Angeles where she was by this time. I had woken her from her sleep and had no clue of what I was talking about. The only thing I could say was turn on your TV. It was a good thing I called her then because soon after that phone lines became jammed and remained so throughout the rest of the day.

I returned to watching TV with the guys and were soon greeted with a shot of the Pentagon on fire. We couldn’t quite understand what we were seeing then as NBC’s Washington DC affiliate just cut into the World Trade Center footage without warning.

It was probably at that point that we were told to go home. Our building was being evacuated. No one really knew at that time what was going on and there was fear that other targets in Manhattan could be next.

By this time, however, there were already reports that Manhattan was being shut down and all public transport in or out of the city was suspended. Hulda told me I could stay at her place as long as it took.

I remember walking down the stairs, going up to Fifth Avenue to begin the 60-block walk to Hulda’s apartment in the Upper East Side of Manhattan. It was when we were turning to go north on Fifth Avenue from 42nd Street that I first got a glimpse of the burning towers. At some point, I glanced back to see that only one tower was left. Further on, I glanced back and all I could see was the blue sky where the towers used to be. It was then that I realized what surreal meant – seeing, or in this case, not seeing something that was supposed to be there but no longer was. You could see but your mind could not comprehend.

We ate boiled hotdogs for lunch and dinner. Boiled hotdogs are apparently an Icelandic specialty as per Hulda. I cannot remember now what we did for most of the rest of the day. I remember Hulda being interviewed by national Icelandic radio. I remember having finally being able to reach my aunt whom I was staying with and telling her I was okay and that I was spending the night at Hulda’s place. I remember being anxious every time we would hear jet engines overhead – this time, however, these turned out to be jets of the US Air Force or the Air National Guard. I would have finally drifted off into sleep from exhaustion and probably still in a state of shock.

The following morning, I remember waking up early to try my luck at hopefully getting a train ride home. As I trudged the 60 blocks back to the Grand Central Station, I vividly remember seeing New York streets as empty as you’ll probably never see it again. The city that never sleeps apparently slept in or remained glued to their TVs. All I saw were some people walking their dogs (maybe a form of stress therapy) and the doormen of apartments.

I finally am able to get home and remain pretty much glued to the TV the rest of the day and night.

I return to work on Thursday, September 13 only to find the office locked. Hulda had apparently not been able to get through to my phone to say that work had been called off until Monday the following week as the markets were closed anyway. So I go home and continued to watch TV.

The sensory overload finally caught up to me and suffered a panic attack that night. 9-1-1 was called and there was some commotion outside the house when a police car, a fire truck and finally, an ambulance respond to the call. The ambulance brought me to Nyack Hospital where I was injected with Valium. And then, I feel – heaven. Yes – Valium (especially when injected directly into your bloodstream) has that effect on you. Eventually I am cleared to go home that same night.

I remember going to mass that Sunday and saw the largest ever gathered congregation in that church up to and since that Sunday – September 16, 2001.

The next several weeks were quite difficult. Despite the markets having opened, investment banking activity was practically non-existent.

I still couldn’t really sleep well and continued to feel very anxious. This led to a serious inability to sleep. I eventually decided to see Ground Zero myself hoping to exorcise my own demons.

When I get there, the barricades had still not been pushed out enough. You could still see the smoldering ruins of the Twin Towers. I said a silent prayer for those who had died and left.

The panic attacks have come and gone. The anxiety has come and gone. But I have not forgotten and probably never will.


u.p. naming mahal: anong nangyari sa ‘yo?

UP Diliman's Oblation statue as viewed from th...

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TANAUAN, Philippines – The release of the QS World University Rankings earlier this week showed a continuation of the decline of Philippine universities relative to their global peers. The University of the Philippines was the top university in the country based on the rankings, coming in at number 332 out of 742 schools in the ranking list. This was from a ranking of 314 in the precious year. Ateneo de Manila University – the top-ranking Philippine school last year at 307 – declined even further in the list to number 360. De La Salle University and University of Santo Tomas fell into the netherworld of the rankings coming in below number 550.

U.P. President Fred Pascual commissioned a study which included a focus group discussion, of which I was a part of, to find ways to address the seeming decline of the State University. I was, in a sense, surprised by this action of the U.P. President. First, it seemed like a good start to admit that there may be deficiencies whereas in the past something like this would have been quickly dismissed with this and that rationalization. Second, I was surprised by the speed at which the university administration acted to at least look at this issue.

In news articles citing the study, the key ingredient cited for the decline in the rankings was the lack of money or investment in our schools. While it is an important (indeed, a very important one) component in arresting the relative decline in our higher education system, money alone will not be able to solve all this. It is time for us to go beyond the superficial and look into a more honest understanding of the problem and hopefully come up with a workable solution. The problem with just looking at this from a money angle is that people will just point blame at government and cite the insufficiency of the government subsidy, specifically for U.P. This ends up being counterproductive as alam naman natin that hindi naman talaga kaya ng gobyerno ang pagpundar sa lahat ng pangangailangan ng Unibersidad. So it ends up being a circular argument as the lack of funds from government begets a decline in the relative quality of higher education which begets complaints about the lack of funding which begets…well, you get the point.

Let’s step back a bit and agree that we need to find out more about the criteria for the rankings. There are six indicators measured by the  QS World University Rankings – Academic Reputation (40%), Citations per Faculty (20%), Faculty/Student Ratio (20%), Employer Reputation (10%), Proportion of International Students (5%) and Proportion of International Faculty (5%). So now that we know, what do we do about these?

I would argue that rather than focusing on using these rankings as a benchmark for success, let us look at these rankings and our place in them as a guide and not the end-all, be-all of our quest to improve the quality of education. I would further argue that U.P. look inward and conduct an honest assessment of its reason for being. This should be more important than some external ranking of quality.

Tinayo ang U.P. para maka-produce ng leaders para sa bansa. U.P. should not separate itself and indeed should acknowledge that the ultimate benchmark for its success lies in the question of how instrumental it has been in improving the country and improving the life of each Filipino. The U.P. student and U.P. graduate should always remember that our education was paid for (and/or subsidized) by the Filipino people.

So kung mag-isip tayo – ano na ba ang estado ng Pilipinas ngayon? Ask the question – have U.P. graduates really made a difference in improving the lives of the Filipino? Yes – U.P. has produced leaders in politics, in medicine, in the legal profession, in government service and other arenas. It is one thing to get to be a leader, it is entirely another to judge the results of one’s leadership. Nung nasa tuktok na tayo ng ating profession o larangan – naging matagumpay ba tayo sa pag-angat ng buhay ni Juan de la Cruz?

Having been educated in U.P. is both an honor and a privilege. Having been educated in U.P., however, comes with strings attached. May utang ka sa taong bayan at ang kabayaran nito ay ang paggamit ng iyong natutunan at talino para sa ikabubuti ng lahat. This sense of obligation has never really been inculcated in many of us U.P. graduates and it should be. Like it or not, there is a greater burden on U.P. graduates that needs to be acknowledged and acted upon.

At the end of the day, it is up to each and every one of us to help U.P. fulfill its mission. It is only when we have uplifted the lives of our countrymen can we say that U.P. has been a success and not when we become number one in some survey which is meaningless to the people whom we are obligated to.

Kaya tanong ko sa inyo mga kapwa kong Isko at at Iska – may nagawa ka na ba ngayong araw para kay Juan de la Cruz?


philippine azkals to face nepal on october 11 in manila

MANILA, Philippines – Philippine Football Federation President Mariano “Nonong” Araneta, Jr. has confirmed that the Philippine Men’s National Team (“the Azkals”) will face Nepal in an international friendly on October 11 in Manila. The All Nepal Football Association communicated to the PFF their acceptance of the invitation to play against the Azkals. The Himalayan Tigers are scheduled to arrive in Manila on October 9. Additional information including ticketing


Azkals to Host Nepal and India in friendlies

Flag used from 1981 to 1986. The shade of Blue...

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The Philippine Football Federation is arranging for the Philippine Men’s National Team to play India and/or Nepal in a couple of international friendlies to be held in Manila in October and November. The Azkals are currently in the midst of preparing for the Long Teng Cup in Taiwan which starts September 30. From Taiwan, the team will proceed to play Singapore in Singapore in another international friendly. These matches will also serve as preparation for the U-23 team for the Southeast Asian Games in November. Several members of that team will be integrated into the Azkals.