By Merlina Hernando Malipot
The Department of Education (DepEd) highlighted indigenous games and local sports icons in an effort to revive and strengthen Pinoy games and honor the country’s sports heroes during the staging of this year’s Palarong Pambansa.
Anchored on the theme “Shaping the Future Through Sports,” the 2019 Palarong Pambansa is scheduled from April 27 to May 4. DepEd, together with the DepEd-Youth Formation Division (YFD), DepEd Region XI, and the Schools Division Office (SDO) of Davao City, introduced “Larong Pinoy” and the Sports Heroes Day as new highlights during the 62nd Palarong Pambansa.
Education Secretary Leonor Briones said the “Larong Pinoy” and the “Sports Heroes Day” are “two exciting events that speak of our commitment and loyalty to our culture that reflects our soul and unites our people.”
She said that “Larong Pinoy” – also known as the Philippine indigenous games – “aims to strengthen and revive the traditional Pinoy games, while the Sports Heroes Day provides our young athletes the opportunity to personally interact with Filipino sports icons.”
DepEd said that the “Larong Pinoy” seeks to “strengthen and revive” the traditional Pinoy games by introducing kadang-kadang, patintero, hilahang-lubid, and karera ng sako.
“It is deemed as a unique way to foster camaraderie and friendship among DepEd Executive Committee members, DepEd sports officials, local government unit (LGU) representatives, and sports icons,” DepEd explained.
Briones, who graced the opening of Larong Pinoy, expressed her hope that indigenous games “would be equally appreciated and recognized” as the popular sports like basketball.
DepEd Undersecretary and Palarong Pambansa Secretary-General Revsee Escobedo encouraged everyone to “take this as a chance to learn from each other and empower one another in the spirit of unity, nationalism, camaraderie, and solidarity.”
To boost the “spirit of discipline, teamwork, excellence, fair play, solidarity, and sportsmanship” among young Filipino athletes, the DepEd – through YFD and SDO Davao City – also hosted the “Sports Heroes Day.”
“Sports Heroes Day” featured different sports icons from participating events of Palarong Pambansa who delivered inspiring messages to student-athletes, coaches, and sports enthusiasts. In addition, the icons engaged with selected Palaro contestants in exhibition games.
Sports icons and their representatives like Richard Gialogo (arnis); Elma Muros-Posadas (athletics); Janella Mae Frayna (chess); Reyland Capella (gymnastics); Czarina Mae Arevalo (tennis); Lerma Elmira Balauitan (track and field); Rubilen Amit (billiards); Jean Pierre Sabido (taekwondo); Richard Gonzales (table tennis); Jairulla Jaitulla (swimming); Donald “Dondon” Hontiveros (basketball); Paolo Lim Tancontian (judo); Delia Acuña (softball); Arnold Sarabia (baseball); Mansueto “Onyok” Velasco (boxing); Divine Wally (wushu); Gemma Silverio (wrestling), Simeon Moralla (sepak takraw); Bernard Abellana (badminton), and Ronald Pereña (pencak silat) also shared their invaluable experiences with young student-athletes.
The sports icons also graced the ribbon-cutting ceremony of the regional sports heroes’ gallery and visited the 2019 Palaro contenders in the billeting quarters of their respective regional delegation.
“The activity not only served as a venue to honor the remarkable contribution of the sports icons to their respective sporting field, but also as a significant opportunity for student-athletes to have a personal interaction with them,” DepEd said.