#ShareIloilo: The future football stars of Barotac Nuevo
ILOILO, Philippines – Barotac Nuevo is a place famed for producing the best and the brightest in Philippine football. How do they do that?
Nikki Luna reports.
Barotac Nuevo was once known as the football town of the Philippines. So many national team players came from this town from Chiefy Calindog, Elmer Bedia, Ian Araneta and Ruben Doctora to name a few.
In Iloilo, Barotac Nuevo is the heartland of football. It's a place where the sport is celebrated as a life-changer.
Coach Benjie says the kids here are so dedicated to football, they wake him up for dawn practice.
BENJIE BEDIA, FOOTBALL COACH: Coach gising na training na tayo, yung iba yan kapag hindi mo nakuha umiiyak pa yan. (Coach, wake up! Let’s train! Some of the kids who don’t get in even cry)
A tricycle driver, he trains the kids for free.
BENJIE BEDIA, FOOTBALL COACH: After the byahe focus on kids, sige laro lang ng laro makakatulong ito sa pagaaral nyo. (After doing the rounds, I focus on the kids. Constant practice will help their future.)
He also says it’s their stepping stone to a better future. Kids play football here everyday in the Plaza. As children of the football capital of the Philippines, it's in their DNA.
Aside from keeping them off the streets, football also opened doors for these kids to make their lives better. And it brought in visitors who wanted to see future football stars, showing that sports can go hand in hand with tourism.
Nikki Luna, Rappler, Iloilo.
For more on Iloilo, visit #SharePH on Rappler. – Rappler.com