Cebu City sets Guinness world record for largest arnis class

Mars G. Alison
Cebu City sets Guinness world record for largest arnis class
Cebu City shows off its proficiency in the Philippines' national sport to barge into the record books anew

CEBU CITY, Philippines – Some 4,800 students, coaches and persons with disabilities gathered at the Cebu City Sports Center on Tuesday, December 2 as Cebu aimed to set a Guinness World Record of having the largest arnis class in the world.

The event was witnessed by Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama, who had to hurry as he had to leave later that day for Paris to attend the Climate Change conference, and Philippine Sports Commission commissioner Jose Luis “Jolly” Gomez.

“Let this be a moment of pride for all of us. Only in Cebu can you see youth excel in sports, excel in arnis like this,” Rama said.

Arnis, which also goes by Eskrima, is a martial which involves the use of sticks and was named the Philippines’ national sport in 2009.

(READ: Arnis: A proudly Pinoy sport)

No other country has attempted the feat so should the attempt be able to pass criteria such as synchronized movement for 5 to 10 minutes, among others, then Cebu will have the world record. Guinness will evaluate the event before giving confirmation of the world record within 3 months time.

This is not the first time that Cebu led by the Cebu City Sports Commission headed by its chairman Edward Hayco has attempted a Guinness world record.                                                          

In 2009, Cebu snatched the largest dance class world record by fielding in 7,770 participants as against the previous record of 2,289 participants held by Budapest, Hungary.

Then in 2012, Cebu toppled another record, this time the world’s largest board game (chess) tournament held by Krasnoyarsk, Russia. Cebu was able to gather 43,157 participants while the previous record stood at 1,214 entries.

Its third attempt was at breaking a world record held by the United States which is the largest archery tournament with 7,804 participants.

Cebu was able to pull it off last year with 13,102 participants but they had to resubmit the documents due to technicalities for the event so they are still waiting for the Guinness confirmation.

As for the arnis attempt, “we want the whole world to know that we have set a record for the largest arnis class that hopefully many of them will attempt to make, we want to let them know that Cebu is the bastion of this ancient art of stick fighting,” Hayco said.

‘Two years in the making’

The arnis attempt was two years in the making and was backstaged by the archery attempt, which was supposed to happen in 2013 but was delayed by the Bohol earthquake and Super Typhoon Yolanda disasters.

According to Hayco, the hardest part in the arnis attempt was that there were too many events in Cebu and that they couldn’t find the right time and the right schedule to fit in the Guinness attempt.

The arnis attempt was spearheaded by arnis coach Jude Gelig, who Hayco said was one of the first coaches to sign up as a volunteer in Cebu’s grassroots programs.

Hayco explained that setting Guinness World Records was never their purpose but that it was a means of gathering and motivating participants.

“We use the excitement that comes with the name (Guinness) as a catalysts to gather and excite everyone.”

He also cited dedicated coaches as a starting point in these GWRs that Cebu now holds.

“Starting point will always be a dedicated coach. We had Loloi Rendon for the largest dance class, Roger Abella for the chess and Southeast Asian Games gold medalist Dondon Sombrio for archery and Gelig for arnis,” Hayco said.

Pending the confirmation of the GWR, Hayco said that in their hearts, it was already a record.

“When you see the pride, the smile that glow from every face of the youth, you know you have brought out the best in them.”

Hayco added that “sports is a tool to bring out self growth, self respect, self confidence, if done in the right way it is a tool to bring out their best.”

“Today’s event was a way of bringing out their best. How? When in their lifetime can they ever be part of a Guinness event?,” said Hayco.

Aside from the arnis grassroots, the CCSC also worked with the Department of Education Cebu City Division through sports coordinator Zenaida Gocotano and Mandaue which provided the PWDs.

Participants were aged 11 years old and up and came from Ramon Duterte Memorial National High School, where Gelig also teaches, Cebu Normal University, Inayawan Night High School, City Central Elementary, Abellana National School and schools in Lapu-Lapu City. –

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