Were it not for Paragua's heroics, we could well dismiss 2005 as the Philippines' annus horribilis. The locals' performance on home soil in the SEAG was a complete catastrophe. It was in that event that our Southeast Asian neighbours, Vietnam, slapped the Filipinos around the 64 squares. And at the time of this writing, Philippines ratings are still absent from the FIDE website.
Let's hope that 2006 will be a better year.
All this reminds me of something I learned in the Philippines all those years ago when I was a little boy. Pinoys are like bamboos - we sway with the winds.
Here, the best chess columnist in the world, Bobby Ang, provides us a quick roundup of Pinoy performance in the 23rd SEAG. Dimakiling, by the way, has just been offered a coaching gig in Singapore. However, according to his father - "His coaching stint in Singapore is not yet confirmed. It, however, is a good offer. But he is having second thoughts because he still aims to be an IM then a GM."
And in this article, we find a familiar name. Her performance in Brisbane was bad, but she has promised that in New Zealand, "I will fight back". Of course, Arianne now plays under the Aussie flag.
With Paragua continuing his superb efforts abroad and possibly a new NCFP leadership, the signs are good. Or else, I may well renew my Catholicism and start praying again.