Everybody wins in city tribal run
DENNIS Sales, 17, a bush-haired, firmly built high school graduate, topped the 5-kilometer street race of the Palarong Pinoy feast day celebration in San Miguel, Barangay Plainview, Mandaluyong, on Thursday, May 1.
He got P2,500 in his first shot at an informal mini-marathon. It took the 5-foot-7 Sales a little over 20 minutes to negotiate the five-lap course through burning summer streets.
There were 25 participants in the village run, aged 20 and younger, five each from each of the puroks or tribal nooks around San Miguel, a thickly populated city backdoor peopled by poor wanderers from the sleepy, obscure countryside, gypsies who seemed happy enough, if not truly content, to lead refugee existence in the country of their birth.
* * *
Sales, son of a worker at Nestlé, was easily the star of the day that also saw assorted winners in tug-of-war, beer-drinking, needle-and-thread joining, sack race, hampas palayok, and other patented fiesta-day games.
Only eight of 25 starters finished the street race. The runner-up got P1,500, the third-placer won P1,000, while the five other survivors, including a couple of gritty 13-year-olds, were given P200 each.
Sun-smelling kids, their parents, brothers and sisters who never had a chance to participate in any of the contests all got their share of joy and gifts, like packed lunch, ice cream in cup, Chippy junk food, drinks, candies and, like it were Christmas, P20 each from a ninang, the godmother head of the village senior lady leaguers.
The story doesn’t end there. If the mini-marathon was indeed the centerpiece of the Palaro, the festivities achieved a rare, significant cultural high with the wonderful performance of a dance troupe and a brass band from nearby Rizal Technological University.
* * *
The fantastic folks dancers captivated with their native grace, sunny smiles, an honest, demure Filipiniana soul and rhythm, all warm, virginal and wholesome.
Just like magic, the lovely Filipino dancers, brown and beautiful, blended with the sun, and performed barefoot under the scorching heat, thus rendering the unforgettable pandango sa ilaw like an Amorsolo [masterpiece] come to life.
Yes, nothing fancy, and truly deprived of artificiality often seen on the international stage.
To see is to believe and the city government of Mandaluyong would do well to present this gifted world-class group in one of its future programs.
* * *
Actually, there’s an outreach program being worked out with RTU to teach music and dance to the poor kids of San Miguel.
Civic worker Nandy Charvet, main man behind the Mandaluyong Palarong Pinoy, said a memoramdum of agreement between RTU and the Mandaluyong City government, should be on its way.
Anyway, Charvet, chief executive officer at Printwell, lead printing firm in Asia, said he would be leaving next year’s Palaro wholly in the hands of those who organized and supervised it this year.
Charvet singled out Len-Len T., who astounded with her sharpness, wit and punctuality, as the lead person, the MVP, in the program.
A born organizer, Charvet said Len-Len, who works as a janitress in a Makati office, will surely land a managerial job in a year or two at Printwell.
* * *
Needless to say, the well-admired civic leader has also lined up the Palaro to serve as leadership training for promising participants and aspirants from San Miguel.
“Emotional comfort is something you can’t buy with your credit card,” Charvet mumbled.
He refused to elaborate.
He has, by the way, never endorsed a single candidate in all the years he has been living and dreaming the dreams of the eternal gypsies in his beloved San Miguel.