The Correspondent’s Notebook – I

This year’s Philippine Intercollegiate Debate Championships are sponsored by Sun Life Financial, a Canadian insurance and financial services firm. After a delay that set back the schedule of the tournament by about an hour or more, one new plug I conceived was “This delay is insured by Sun Life.” Terms and conditions apply.

*****

Meanwhile, the tournament has produced a few surprises so far, even if the outcomes tend to follow a very predictable pattern. (In other words, for those in the know, Ateneo and UP Diliman are doing well.) One such surprise happened about four hours ago, when the matches for Round Five were announced. Four Ateneo teams were, it was revealed, made to face each other thanks to the random assignment/powermatch system used in the tournament. When the Excel spreadsheet scrolled down to reveal one of those two matches, a loud groan arose from the Ateneo de Manila section. And when the spreadsheet scrolling stopped, a resounding cheer arose from the UP Diliman benches.

I have never heard of two matches in the same round where teams from the same school faced each other. I was told that such an occurrence, while rare, was with precedent: at one tournament in the British Parliamentary format held some time ago, four teams from the same institution took part in the same match. It seemed like a match done within training, but with an external assessor present.

*****

Tomorrow, this tournament’s break night will return to the Fort, at the Prince of Jaipur restaurant. (I hope they serve the biryani, which my friend George made me try sometime back.) It is a good thing for me, because before that, I will slip out after round seven and head for SM Hypermart in Pasig to watch Joy Alano’s All I Want. It’s on the way, and besides, after all the debating, why not relax with a good play?

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Speaking of which, I am posting a photo album from last night’s SPIT show within the weekend. And yesterday, I learned that the ties that bind people are much more manifold and mysterious than I realized.

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