From the 12,000 participants in the biggest national youth sports event, there are a number of unsung heroes who are silently working behind the scenes – earning themselves respect and admiration heroes rightfully deserve. (READ: Barefoot runner overcomes Intellectual Disability, raises college funds through sports)
Here are the some of the unsung heroes of Palarong Pambansa 2017:
Dr Jocelyn A. Imbang
Despite acquiring flu due to severe heat and dust, Dr Imbang, 55, a dentist from Northern Antique Vocational School, still chooses to stay and be in service for the baseball and softball players in Camp Fullon.
“Masaya akong nagseserve sa kanila na kahit in case of emergency, mayroon silang mapupuntahan. Dinidisregard ko ‘yung health ko para mafulfill ‘yung obligation ko,” she said.
(I am happy to serve so that in case of an emergency, they have a place to go to. I disregard my own health to prioritize and fulfill this obligation.)
A principal and a technical official who have been officiating the Palarong Pambansa for 10 years, Alex Mamaril, 46, never stopped to ensue the success of the biggest national sports event.
“Masaya ako na nafulfill ko yung pangarap ko na makapagofficiate sa mga Palaro and at the same time nakaka-meet at nakaka-bonding ko rin ang mga kasamahan kong nag o-officiate once a year.”
(I’m happy that I fulfilled my dream to officiate events like Palaro. At the same time I get a chance to meet and bond with my fellow officials once a year.)
Mamaril said that officials are here to serve and form athletes who can represent our country in international competitions.
“We’re here in DepEd to serve these young people to develop their potential in sports so that some day they will become great leaders and good athletes for our country – not only here in the Palarong Pambansa but also at international competitions. That’s why we have standards to follow. We abide with the rules to development the discipline of the athletes,” he said in Filipino.
In the midst of stress and streets filled with deafening sounds, it is rare to find someone actually enjoying what they’re doing. For the 49-year-old Pedro Calungsod, however, he’s more than happy being there for 12-16 hours every day.
“Pag enjoy ka sa trabaho mo, sigurado yang di ka mapapagod. Kahit pa overtime kami, masya naman sa trabaho.”
(If you enjoy your work, you won’t get tired for sure. Even if I extend my work hours, I enjoy it.)
He is a traffic enforcer designated near Antique’s Provincial Capitol during Palarong Pambansa. He spent most of his day ensuring the safety of the Palarong Pambansa delegates, sacrificing his time with his family as a result.
“Kasama na to sa trabaho namin, suportado rin naman ako ng pamilya ko eh, tanggap nila,” Calunsod said. (This is part of our work. I am supported by my family)
Fifty-nine year old Susan Piansay sees Palarong Pambansa as an opportunity to share her expertise in tickling people’s taste buds all the way to their hearts.
Nanay Susan is MIMAROPA’s resident cook for 3 years now. Since then, she ensures that all athletes will receive his/her daily dose of nutritious meals.
With a smile on her face and tearful eyes, she admits that her love for sports started when her 3 children became athletes. She appreciated the values that her children learned through sports and she became an avid fan of Palarong Pambansa.
Piansay believes that her way of showing gratitude to the activity is through serving dishes to athletes. She considers it as a passion even if the task requires a lot of her time and energy.
“Parang ito yung passion ko, pakiramdam ko kulang ako kapag wala ito. Kahit na nakakapagod, kahit na ayaw ng mga anak ko at nagmamakaawa na sa akin, ito talaga yung kaligayahan ko eh” she said.
(This is my passion. I feel so incomplete without this. Even if it could be tiring sometimes and my children disapprove, I would tell them this is my source of happiness.)
Even if the job doesn’t pay that much, Piansay said it’s the love for the people that make her truly complete.
Aside from being a teacher, Sheryl Heredero, 38, from region 4-B MIMAROPA helps in this year’s Palarong Pambansa by being the chaperone of the Sepak Takraw Girls Secondary team. She serves as the “mom” of the group and also ensures the sanitation of the quarters of the players.
“Madaming skills at knowledge ang naibibigay ng chaperone kasi bukod sa pagiging nanay sa mga athletes, kami din ang nagtuturo good character sa kanila,” she said. (There are many skills and knowledge that a chaperone gives to athletes. Aside from acting as their second mom here in Palaro, we are also the ones responsible in instilling good character.)
Hannah Jane Bibianco, an 8-year-old Antiquena, considered Palarong Pambansa as an opportunity not to show her sports skills but to earn money out of scraps.
After the opening program, Hannah as well as her three siblings feel the excitement after seeing the junks of plastic bottles left on the ground.
“Masaya ako na maraming tao. Masaya ako na maraming kalat kasi maraming ipapakilo,”
(I am happy – if there are many people, that means we have more junks to weigh.)
In her own little way, she is contributing to a greener Palarong Pambansa. – with reports from Bea Mae Punongbayan, Leslie Ann Sanchez, Marll Baden Paul Paigao, and Alyssa Jhoie Miciano/ Rappler.com
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