By FRANCIS SANTIAGO
MANILA, Philippines — Dana Ramos, a first year University of the Philippines student, is a diehard Philippine Azkals fan.
So when she learned that the national team will be playing against Mongolia in an AFC Challenge Cup qualifier on Feb. 9 in Bacolod City, she skipped going to movie houses for nearly a month to save money for airline tickets.
“I will be absent from class for three days. But it’s okay. I will be with my friends to watch the game live,” Ramos, 17, said.
Ramos, who is set to arrive in Bacolod on February 8 and will stay in her classmates’ relatives there, is one of the thousands caught in the football mania that is sweeping the country.
Ramos, who spent around P3,000 for the two-way airfare, is actually lucky to have booked a flight early because reports have it that its already difficult to land a flight close to Feb. 9.
She’s also lucky to have a house to stay in because reports have it that hotels near the Panaad Stadium, the venue of the match, are fully booked.
A quick random check in the hotels and Inns around Bacolod confirmed the reports.
“It’s very unusual to have guests as many as these. And most of our guests will be coming in from Manila to watch the (Azkals’) game,” said Sansan Lacson, a desk officer from Check Inn Pension Arcade, which stands beside the Bacolod City Hall in Luzuriaga Street.
Offering one of the cheapest rooms at P500 per night, Check Inn, about a 30-minute drive from the Stadium, has all its 91 rooms reserved within the week of competition.