By JUSTIN KENNETH CARANDANG, GMA Integrated News
What do you feel when you hear the Philippine national anthem being played at a global sporting event?
With the Philippine national women’s football team, the Filipinas, making their debut in the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup, ‘Lupang Hinirang’ will be played for the first time in one of football’s biggest stages.
“I get the chills. When I heard you say that, I felt this starstruck kind of thing,” Hali Long said when asked during the New Zealand’s embassy send-off ceremony for the Filipinas last June.
“Just excitement. I have this ritual where when the other national anthem is playing, I really try to ground myself,” Long added. “I just give thanks to where I am, who I am with, all the hands that have helped, all the people there supporting us.”
“By the time Lupang Hinirang comes on, I’m probably semi-emotional and the last four lines, I’m probably looking at my toes, letting the tears fall.”
That overwhelming feeling of pride for the Philippines and giving one’s all for the flag is what Long is excited for.
“That’s what I’m most excited for, that feeling. It already is such an overwhelming feeling for me. To do that on the global stage, I’ll let you know what it feels like when I get there.”
“Right now, it’s hard to describe that. It’s so ceremonial to me and I can’t even tell you exactly how I feel but it’s overwhelming, full of joy, and really grateful and honored that I get to do that for the Philippines.”
The Filipinas will face Switzerland in their first game on Friday in New Zealand.
—with reporting by Ryan Fenix/JMB, GMA Integrated News