With the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics happening this month, Bank of China and SM Supermalls have partnered to celebrate and support the Philippines lone entry in the winter games, Alpine skier Asa Bisquera Miller. He will be competing in the men’s slalom and the giant slalom.
With support from the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC), the Philippine Skating Union (PHSU), the Philippine Olympic Committee, and the Chinese Embassy, Bank of China Manila and SM recently showcased some of the country’s best ice skaters in the newly iced SM Mall of Asia Ice Skating Rink. Entitled “Together on Ice,” the campaign seeks to bring more visibility towards winter and ice sports, a rarity in a tropical country like the Philippines.
According to PSC Commissioner Celia Kiram, these initiatives are especially important in today’s current context. “Despite the limitations of the pandemic, we need to continue and support our Filipino athletes, as well as promote the moral values that come with sports. Because sports promotes community–something that has been missing for a lot of people during this difficult time.”
“We’re thankful for organizations and activities that actively promote winter and ice sports in the
Philippines, especially since we have no winter,” said Jim Palomar Apelar, President of the Philippine Ski and Snowboard Federation. “This is an important step towards attracting more Filipino athletes to the fold.”
Together on Ice
In the rare ice performance at the SM Mall of Asia skating rink, young, up-and-coming skaters showed just how much local talent we have in a sport that does not come natural to our region. Performers included members of the Philippine National Developmental Pool, namely Skye Frances Patenia, Hayden Balucating, and Skye Chua. All home-grown talents, and all multi medalists both locally and internationally.
“Despite not having a winter season, we have several extremely talented winter and ice athletes,” said Nikki Cheng, President of the Philippine Skating Union. “Through this initiative, we hope to make ice experiences more accessible and show Filipinos the beauty and viability of winter sports.”
A partnership for community and recovery
The idea behind Bank of China and SM’s partnership borrow heavily from the official slogan of the 2022 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, which is “Together for a Shared Future.” The slogan reflects a commitment to overcome global challenges as a community with a shared future for mankind. It also demonstrates unity and a collective effort, embodying the core values and vision of the Olympic Movement and the goal of pursuing world unity, peace and progress.
“It is this spirit of collaboration and togetherness that will be central to economic recovery in 2022,” said Deng Jun, Country Head of Bank of China Manila. “As a global banking group, it is also a philosophy that Bank of China advocates. That’s also why we wanted to work with SM to promote the Winter Olympics, an event where thousands of people from many different nations come together to celebrate their shared humanity.”
The idea of promoting community through sport takes on even greater meaning given the ongoing pandemic, when social activities have been put on hold, and people lack venues for community.
“At SM, our mission is to give Filipinos a venue for meaningful moments,” said Steven Tan, President of SM Supermalls. “After almost two years of social distancing, Filipinos are eager for a sense of normalcy and community. The re-opening of our ice rink is certainly a step towards us being able to provide
Filipinos that venue.”