The past several days have been quite exciting. We witnessed the rise and rise of our world-class Filipino athletes, and the lows and very lows of fake news galore. We witnessed whether live or via social-media platforms and traditional television channels, the cultural extravaganza that led to the lighting up of a controversial cauldron, which later led to a quite pointless national discussion over a particular song choice. It seems that we can't fully accept being just simply sensational. That we had a Typhoon Tisoy dampening everyone's spirits is but another natural element to our Filipino drama.

It cannot be denied that the official opening of the Southeast Asian Games was a huge success. The organizers, volunteers, athletes, and of course, the wonderful performers who took part in it deserve a standing ovation. Those who attempted to mangle the visuals we saw and downplay the goose bumps we felt, can be gleefully snide and nasty in isolation from the rest. I, for one, thought that the lighting of the cauldron was ingenious, and to see our Pambansang Kamao, Manny Pacquiao, passing on the torch to fellow boxing champ Nesthy Petecio gave the moment the sentimentality we are known for.

In a few days, Tisoy shall be just another wet memory and our attention shall be on sending off our Southeast Asian guests. We would be all alone and undoubtedly, the calls for a congressional investigation will again be the focus of national news. That is expected in a democracy like ours, and post-event assessments are par for the course in any government-related activity. Nevertheless, we must give credit where it is due.

The probinsyano-mayor-president and his loyal crew led by House Speaker Alan Cayetano and BCDA Chairman Greg Garcia, as well as BCDA President Vince Dizon did an amazing job. That they had some missteps along the way deserved to be looked into by the proper authorities, but not by those who maliciously wish these gentlemen, particularly President Duterte, nothing but the agony of extreme failure and shame. The SEA Games is for the region that we belong to, and more important, the hosting was done by all of us, and not just by our government. I say shame on those who spent money and effort to malign our flag, and every little patriotic effort to ensure the success of the Games.

If there was a syndicated, orchestrated, diabolical effort to put down the Philippines amid such a massive international sporting event, then let's not waste time in uncovering who these perpetrators are. The key word here is malice. Our athletes do not have a hint of that in their rigorous training and performance. They just want to be world class. And, so do we, even as spectators, and especially as hosts. And by God, we were!

So now, it's back to work for most of us. The fake news factory may still have excess budget to spend. Still, I felt the loftiness of national unity over a span of a few days and it wasn't because of the typhoon. It was incredible to see the organizers think as big as they could, and be allowed to, yes, make those ideas happen.

The truth is that we, as a nation, must be prepared to embrace the role of being a major political, economic, and social development partner not just in the region, but also in the world. Let us not cower from it. It is our destiny. We are one great nation and we shall continue to win as one, beyond the SEA Games.

We can and will win as one. And that, my friends, is not fake news.

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