Warriors from Caraga

Athletes from Caraga bring their 'fighting spirit' to Palaro 2013

FIGHTING SPIRIT. Caraga brings their warrior culture to combat sports in Palarong Pambansa 2013. Photo by Devon Wong

Athletes from the region of Caraga bring their ‘fighting spirit’ both in the arena and their daily lives.

Devon Wong reports.

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In a sea of brightly coloured uniforms representing regions from across the Philippines it’s hard to stand out in a crowd.

But one group of athletes vows to never forget where they come from.

BERNARD ABELLANA, DELEGATION HEAD OF REGION 13: Caraga derives from its name, ‘soul’, “Cagaran”. Our ancient name is kalagans and we’re a soul-baring people.

Known as one of the poorest regions in the Philippines, Caraga sends a modest group of athletes to this year’s Palaro.

But they say they’ll bare and bring their all.

LJAY GUATNO, ARNIS PLAYER: We fight. We don’t give up. We never give up.

The warrior spirit of Caraga comes to life when sports level the playing field.  Some are born athletes, but others are born fighters.

JIMBOY LIBRANZA, BOXER FROM REGION 13: You really need the fighting spirit to pass through your challenges

Like many athletes here at Palaro, Jimboy hopes his sport will earn him a scholarship so he can help support his family. He splits his time between school and helping with the family business.  He only trains when he finds the time.

If I have a place to practice in, I practice. But I really need to manage my time. Because, for example, at 3 AM I go to sea and fish and then go home at 6 AM, and then go to school, and then 4 to 6 practice boxing.

But what they lack in facilities and preparedness, Caragan warriors make up in spirit.

Sure thing, we are lucky enough that we have everything except money.

Athletes from Caraga say they’re confident going into the games, and particularly in combat sports.

Each athlete here today overcomes their own set of personal challenges.The medals are beginning to tally, but Palaro also lets athletes show what really counts, their passion.

Devon Wong, Rappler, Dumaguete

– with reports by Paulo Lim/Rappler.com

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