MANILA, Philippines – Whitewoods Leisure and Convention, the hotel accommodating the Philippine women’s football team, clarified that it did not serve kikiam to the 2019 Southeast Asian Games athletes.
The hotel said in an official statement released on Wednesday, November 27 that it served chicken sausage and not kikiam, noting that the incident was a result of miscommunication.
“The coach who released a statement to the media has repeatedly apologized to our staff and management for the erroneous Kikiam comment; however, the statement had already gone viral before she could make corrections,” the statement said.
Early this week, Philippine women’s football coach Let Dimzon said the team was served kikiam for breakfast.
Whitewoods said it had since clarified the issue with the team and Dimzon had “repeatedly apologized” to the staff.
“This coach admitted that she was not present during the breakfast buffet. She saw the chicken sausage in a plastic container (which is not a hotel container, as we do not use plastic for packed meals) and assumed that this was the full breakfast offering,” the statement said.
Whitewoods noted it serves a buffet-style meal plan – that includes an omelette station, other assorted sausages, fruits, fresh fruit juices, bread, and rice – to the athletes as part of the directive of the SEA Games organizing committee.
The hotel further defended itself that national team member Hali Long’s post about their accommodation woes was “exaggerated.”
However, the hotel management apologized for the additional waiting time because of another delegation’s late check-out.
“An athlete delegation arrived earlier than check-in time, and we gave them the option to stay in our unairconditioned lobby or in our airconditioned conference room during the almost three-hour wait to make it more comfortable for them.”
“They were able to check-in a little later than expected due to another athlete delegation’s late check-out by 2 hours; for this we apologize and have taken measures to ensure that it does not happen again.”
Earlier, Whitewoods sent Rappler a letter written by hotel president and chairman of the board Edgardo M. Capulong that was addressed to Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) chairman William “Butch” Ramirez.
Apart from listing the specific events that happened, Capulong denounced the “uncalled for” behavior of the athletes as the “kikiam issue” went viral on social media.
“We are so sad because our very own Pinoy athletes are the very first [ones] to destroy our dignity as Filipinos. Where is our sense of nationalism,” wrote Capulong.
“What is the point of winning gold for our country if we recklessly destroy other people and our honor as a nation and Philippine Sports Commission as an institution.”
Capulong further clarified that the hotel’s kitchen is halal-certified and it was another group that brought Baliwag Lechon for the team.