Lady Luck finally smiles on Rizaleña eskrimador

Michael Angelo Jugado
Lady Luck finally smiles on Rizaleña eskrimador
Four times she was denied a gold medal in the Palarong Pambansa but this year, Mary Allin Aldeguer has finally reached her goal

TAGUM CITY, Philippines— Always the bridesmaid, never the bride no more.

Calabarzon arnis player Mary Allin Aldeguer has always fallen short of winning the gold until May 3, when she saw the light at the end of the tunnel, finally winning her first ever gold in the annual multi-sporting event.

Fifteen-year-old Aldeguer, who hails from Cainta, Rizal, ended her string of disappointments after bagging the gold medal in the secondary girls’ Individual Likha Anyo Double Baston event at the Aces gymnasium here.

“Masaya ako. Sobrang saya kasi po nung first time ko sumali wala akong nakuha, nasaktan ako at parang lagi akong sinisisi kasi ako daw po ‘yung laging mali,”said a teary-eyed Aldeguer.

(I’m happy. I’m very happy because the first time I competed in the Palaro, I did not win any medals and they always blame me for my losses. They say I’m always wrong.)

The win was a breakthrough for Aldeguer but not before suffering heartbreaks in the past. Four times she was denied a gold medal in the Palarong Pambansa.

‘Second best’

Aldeguer said she began her Palaro career as a Grade 6 arnis athlete in the 2011 Palarong Pambansa, where she did not win any medal.

The next 3 editions of the Palarong Pambansa were déjà vu for Aldeguer — she always ended up as runner-up or third placer.

“Nung next year po sabi ko babawi ako, first year po ako noon sinikap ko pong makakuha ng gold kaso nalaglagan po ako ng baston noon maggo-gold daw po sana ako,” said Aldeguer. “Bumawi ako sa ibang events. Nakakuha ako ng dalawang bronze sa synchronized solo baston.”

(The following year I told myself I will bounce back. I was in first year high school back then and I worked hard to win the gold but I dropped my baston. They said I could have won the gold. I bounced back in the other events and I got 2 bronzes in the synchronized solo baston).

Aldeguer again competed in the 2013 and 2014 Palarong Pambansa but it was almost-but-not-quite yet again.

The Palarong Pambansa is the largest grassroots sporting even in the Philippines that aims to develop the potentials of the youth to become responsible and globally competitive citizens. 

It is the Department of Education’s way of promoting physical education and sports as an integral part of the Basic Education Curriculum.


Failing to win the coveted gold for 4 times was a bitter pill to swallow for Aldeguer but she remained unfazed and made sure she will finally win one before kissing her Palaro career goodbye.

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Giving up, despite the frustrations, never crossed Aldeguer’s mind.

“I always said to myself I’m not winning the gold because maybe I’m not yet giving it my all,” she said.

According to Aldeguer, in the event she fails to win the gold this year, she will quit arnis.

“Ngayon po sabi sa akin ng trainer ko na last year ko na at ipakita ko na kaya ka pa ring maka-gold. Kahapon, dinare ko sarili ko na kapag natalo pa ako sa laban hindi na ako maglalaro ng arnis,” said Aldeguer.

(My trainer told me it’s my last year and I have to show that I can win the gold. Yesterday, I dared myself that if I lose in this battle, I will quit arnis).

It will not happen. 

Aldeguer — so used to being the second best — has finally became the best.

Wind beneath her wings

Where does Aldeguer draw inspiration from?

“My teammates and parents always give me encouragement. Usually, they are always present during Palaro but not this year because it’s far. I told myself I needed to win for them,” she said.

Aldeguer picked up her arnis sticks and went back to the Aces gym to watch her teammates play. Tomorrow, she will be competing again in 3 events and winning the gold is not impossible.

It was a story of “what ifs” but Aldeguer did not give up. Her message to athletes who are on the brink of giving up — saddened by losing — is plain and simple.

“Wag silang panghihinaan ng loob lagi lang mag-pray kay God. Walang impossible.” (Do not lose hope and always pray to God. Nothing is impossible). –

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