Quezon City at 75: The Validation of My Hometown

Last October 11, The City of Stars came alive as Quezon City began celebrating its 75th Diamond Jubilee. Throughout the day, events were done across the six districts of the nation’s largest city. From street parties in each district to the fireworks at midnight that lit up the city bright. However the center of attention was the very firstQuezon City Food Festival held along the recently christened food hub of the city, Maginhawa Street.
 
As early as the festival opened at 9 in the morning, Quezon City residents as well as people from outside the city flocked along the two kilometer stretch to sample what the area’s booming food industry has to offer. The stretch which started at the intersection with Masaya Street and ended at the intersection with Makadios Street was closed to motorists with the exception of vehicles who have been issued car passes to drive along the street.
 
Every restaurant nestled along the street gave food aficionados a lot to offer. From offerings given by café’s, casual dining spots, steakhouses, dessert & tea places catering to different cuisines from around the world such as Filipino, Italian, American, Japanese, among others. The whole stretch caters to anyone coming along on any budget. It is indeed a food lover’s dream to come and sample what this street has to offer.
 
In addition to the restaurants, tents were set up for other businesses who hope to leave their imprints on to the people who went along the festival during the course of the day. Also, an evening concert and street party was held at the midpoint of the entire festival grounds. It was indeed a festive atmosphere throughout the whole of Maginhawa Street from morning until midnight. And to cap the day off, a 15 minute fireworks display that went off near simultaneous as other areas of the city with street parties lit up the skies and brought awe to the people who stayed the night out and celebrate what this city has to offer to the world.
 
Though there were a few hiccups that happened during the festival as some food tenants ran out of food or items to sell as the night went along as well as the lack of portable toilets along the whole stretch. The very first Quezon City Food Festival was generally a success. Indeed it left memorable moments for everyone who came in and celebrated what this city has to offer. We are certain that this will not be the very last time this festival will come along in our lifetimes. Hopefully, there will be improvements made for next year’s event.

 

With other activities lined up for the rest of the year such as today’s celebration at the Quezon Memorial Circle, the Quezon City Book Fair and the Quezon City Half-Marathon Night Run. Indeed last night, Quezon City proved itself of being one of the most progressive citiesin the country.
 
On personal note, this event validated of how proud I am to call Quezon City my hometown. The Maginhawa area has been a part of my life for 11 years of my existence with my school days in elementary and in high school. At the time I was having my education in the area; it was known to have more internet shops than restaurants. I never thought that this area transformed into a celebrated food hub in a short span of time. This place will forever have a spot in my heart and mind for I made a lot of good memories here. I will always have a smile on my face coming back to take either my family or friends and enjoy a good meal together. So for anyone who wants to come I will be happy to show you around.
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After the Asian Games, will you give up on Gilas?

It has been a eventful 14 months in the history of Philippine basketball. From winning silver at 2013 FIBA Asia Championship on home soil. To those thrilling tune-up games leading up to the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup in Spain. To the eventful return of Philippine basketball on the world map with a gallant performance at the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup. Despite the fact, Gilas Pilipinas won only 1 of 5 games and did not making it to the next round of the tournament finishing 21st in the 24 team tournament. The world was put on notice with what they have accomplished. All the way to Incheon for the Asian Games. Where unfortunately, the team suffered a disastrous finish settling for only 7th place in the tournament.

The tournament was a disaster for the national team. After winning their opening match against India, they suffered a tough loss against Iran where the team kept in close distance with the Iranians. Then into the next stage of the competition, they suffered a shock loss to Qatar. Followed up by another tough loss against the host nation and eventual gold winners Korea. Then a victory that felt like a defeat against Kazakhstan ending the medal hopes of the team. Losing to China and ending the tournament with a win over Mongolia for the 7th place finish.

With a twist of fate, the team that brought a nation together, has completely tore it apart. As the critics emerged blasting the team on every aspect. Majority of the brunt was put on Gilas head coach Chot Reyes. Reyes, who on a press interview blasted naturalized player Marcus Douthit after the loss to Qatar which led Filipino basketball fans to blast him on his own miscues during the course of the tournament. Primarily on the team’s failure to execute in end game situations that has been present even in their stint at the FIBA Basketball World Cup thus leading to the infamous moniker that is “Choke” Reyes. In addition, to his choices on rotating players during the course of the game. Calls for him to vacate his coaching job for the nationals spread like wildfire. Critics wanted to give other great coaches like Tim Cone or Yeng Guiao the opportunity to call the shots for the nationals.

The downfall of the team in the Asiad, unfortunately overshadowed Jimmy Alapag’s farewell run donning a “PILIPINAS” jersey. This after he came out for one last shot with the national team after earlier calling himself to retire after the tournament in Spain. As well as the good name that this team have put on the basketball world map during those eventful days in Sevilla.

This graph pretty much explains how “most” people felt after each tournament that Gilas had played since last year.

Photos used were from multiple blog sites.
 
For obvious reasons, I did not choose to use a person from Gilas Pilipinas for this graph. It would undo everything that I wrote in my previous blog entry.
 
As a fan of this team. I am saddened as any Gilas fan there is in the world about the outcome of the last tournament. After all the hard work and inspiration that this team gave to the nation. The team indeed suffered a major setback in those tough days in Incheon. That forced own basket vs Kazakhstan pretty much summed up all the struggles this team encountered.
 
I may have the right to exercise tough criticism on the team itself. However, I choose not to do so. I mean on a personal note, it is unfair to criticize someone for not being able to execute what the people wanted. 
 
As far as Coach Chot Reyes is concerned, I’m not blaming him. I mean what’s the point?!? You give praise when he coaches well enough to win games for the team, but stab him in the back when he commits something unforgivable in coaching that the team losses. 
 
This ain’t the first time that anyone on this team has been criticized, remember Gary David at last year’s FIBA Asia tournament? Some fans called him out not worthy of being a part the national team after his struggles during the tournament. Fortunately for Gary, his fellow players and most people backed him up and was instrumental in that quarter-final win vs Kazakhstan last year.
 
His critics have valid points which are worthy of consideration. I can honestly say, he is the most polarizing head coach that Philippine basketball has ever seen. Some people love him, some people hate him. But I have to say he is still one of the best coaches this country has ever seen in this generation. Take out what happened in Incheon, he coached the team back into the world stage of basketball.
 
I’m not asking anyone to stop sharing their sentiments good or bad. For one fact, that this nation is truly obsessed with the game of basketball. That is something I truly admire about our passion for the sport.
 
Speaking of the Philippines in the Asian Games, the country brought home 15 medals from Incheon. The lone GOLD medal came from cycling athlete Daniel Caluag. 3 silver medals (2 in wushu, 1 in boxing) and 11 bronze medals (5 in taekwondo, 3 in boxing, 1 each in wushu, archery and karate)
 
There is the outspoken minority of Filipinos who think that we should focus on sports where we can actually have a better shot of success or winning a medal in international tournaments. We should not forget about them too. After all these kind of tournaments aren’t always about basketball. It was unfortunate that only a few got to learn about these medal finishes by our athletes. Indeed, it should be a stepping stone to improve the general standing of Philippine sports. I do hope that our sports program gets better in the near future.
 
In ending, as for Gilas Pilipinas in the near future. For sure, it will debut a new look team once the next tournament comes next year which is the FIBA Asia Tournament that is a qualifying tournament for the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The winner of the tournament automatically qualifies for the Olympics. While the second and third place teams will have to go through a Olympic qualifying tournament for three wild card spots at the Olympics.

Whether Gilas management decides to keep Chot Reyes or choose another coach. So be it as long as it’s for the best interest of the program.

 
Is it time to give up on this team? I personally think otherwise. As a fan, I will continue to support the national team 100%
 
If there is anything that I have learned as a fan of teams like the Houston Rockets and the UST Growling Tigers. That is to never give up on a team no matter what happens. Stick through everything good or bad. 
 
I have yet to taste genuine joy as a basketball fan whenever a NBA Finals or UAAP Finals is being played out as both of these teams have not won the championship in their respective leagues ever since the day I started rooting for these teams.

Some of my friends have tasted that genuine joy whenever their team/school won the title.

 
Yet I come back every year with renewed hope that one day they will reach the promise land and as a fan I get to taste the joy of going all the way to the promised land.
 
There will be time for the wounds to heal. It will be another 11 months until Gilas Pilipinas returns to battle in the Asian stage. As a fan, will you give up? or hang on through good and bad times?