Filipino para-athletes got off to a promising start in the first full day of action in the 11th ASEAN Para Games on Monday in Indonesia.
The country got three golds from para swimming and two from para athletics, with Ernie Gawilan and Roland Sabido delivering early in the day.
In the afternoon, Angel Otom added swimming's third mint in a memorable ASEAN Para Games debut in ruling the women's 50-meter backstroke event in a time of 41.68 seconds.
Veteran thrower Cendy Asusano added the third gold in early morning action in ruling the women's javelin throw F54 with a heave of 13.72 meters.
"Masaya po ako kasi hindi ko akalain na makukuha ko 'yung ginto sa unang bato pa lang," said Asusano, hoping to duplicate a golden treble she achieved in the 2017 Games with the discus and shot put still scheduled for the succeeding days.
Team captain Jerrold Mangliwan regained his men's wheelchair 100-meter T52 title with a victorious time of 19.18 seconds.
A Tokyo Paralympic Games veteran, Mangliwan led a similar 1-2 finish for the Philippines in the event after being challenged by newcomer Rodrigo Podiotan Jr., who placed a strong second and settled for the silver medal.
Two-time Asian Para Games silver medalist Achelle Guion was forced to play second fiddle in the women's 45-kilogram division of powerlifting with a hoist of 70 kilos behind hometown bet Ni Nenga Widiasih, who took the gold with a lift of 97 kilograms.
Also contributing a bronze medal each for athletics were Joel Balatucan, Daniel Enderes Jr., Arman Dino, and Jesebel Tordecilla in the men's shot put F55, men's 5,000-meter T20 race, men's 100-meter T47 race, and women's discus throw F55, respectively.
Swimming also contributed another bronze in the 4x100-meter freestyle relay, while veteran powerlifter Marydol Pamati-an also had bronze in the women's 41-kg class with a lift of 70 kilos.
Overnight, table tennis also made its modest medal contribution with two bronze medals in the men's team Class 4 through Billy Cartera, Racleo Martinez, and Darwin Salvacion and in the men's class 8 doubles courtesy of Jobert Lumanta and Jayson Ocampo.
Counting the silver in men's 3x3 wheelchair basketball last Sunday, the Filipinos now boast an early overall medal tally of five gold, four silver, and nine bronze medals.
The country's standard-bearers aim to surpass the haul of 20 gold, 20 silver, and 29 bronze medals, good for fifth overall, in the Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur in 2017.