New year, new hope: Taclobanon spirit propped up with revived court
MANILA, Philippines – More than 5 years since tragedy struck Tacloban, the remnants of its wrath remain.
Life has just never been the same since super typhoon Yolanda hit as thousands of lives were taken and lands and properties were ravaged.
But the residents of Barangay 82 in Marasbaras have always been trying to pick up the pieces. And this time, they're heading into the new year with a new hope following the restoration of their basketball court that had been left in shambles for years.
Rexona, through its Keep On Playing campaign, renovated the court by replacing the tattered backboard and ring with a new set, installing spotlights, and repainting the whole cement floor.
For 20-year-old resident Roque James Nim, having the court restored to its old beauty is significant to help prevent teenagers like him from going down a dark path.
"Imbis na matuto sila ng masama, sa basketball nila ilagay 'yung oras nila," he said.
(Instead of doing bad things, they should put their time on playing basketball.)
"'Yung basketball kasi, parte na ng buhay namin. Parang kulang 'yung araw namin kapag hindi kami nakakapaglaro. Mahal namin 'yung basketball lalo na kapag sa court namin mismo nilalaro."
(Basketball is part of our lives. It's like our days are not complete if we don't play the sport. We love basketball and it gives us joy that we play the sport here in our own court.)
After Yolanda hit Tacloban, the court was unplayable for weeks. And although the community decided to come together and clean the area, it never looked the same.
For every jumpshot or layup taken, the ring looked like it would fall off the backboard anytime.
So when news came that Barangay 82 had been chosen to have its court renovated, the youth and the whole community volunteered to help.
With rapper Mike Swift – who is also known in the basketball community as Mr. Pinoy Hoops – leading the way, the entire barangay worked night and day to bring the court to what it is now.
"Malaking bagay ang pagpaayos ng court na ginagawa dito. Hindi lang puro basketball ang ginagawa sa court na ito, mayroon ding mga party, pag Flores de Mayo. Malaking bagay na maganda na."
(It's a big thing for us to have this court fixed. This is not just for basketball, whenever there are parties or events like Flores de Mayo, they happen on this court. It's a big deal that it now looks better.)
Even barangay captain Rustico Medina never thought he'd see the court come to life again.
"Halos hindi ko na nga malaman 'yung pakiramdam ko sa saya na itong basketball court namin dito, naayos ng ganito ngayon."
(I can't really explain how I feel now but I'm just really happy that our basketball court got fixed.)
"Isa 'yan sa mga pangarap ko nang ako'y umupong kapitan. Sa awa ng Diyos, nasunod din 'yung pangarap ko at pangarap ng barangay."
(This is one of my dreams. By the grace of God, I saw our barangay's dream come true.) – Rappler.com