Lumad kids relish chance to play in Mindanao Games
DAVAO CITY—Diane Astilla and Gretchen Superales had to wake up at dawn and travel almost 60 kilometers for three straight days just to play in the Philippine Sports Commission-Mindanao Children’s Games volleyball competition at the Almendras Gym.
But instead of feeling weary and exhausted, these kids, along with their six other teammates from the Ubo Manobo Lumad tribe in Barangay Bantol here, had been gripped with euphoria and gratification.
“We’re hoping to create a sustainable sports program for our tribe,’’ said barangay captain Dionisio Sayad in Filipino. “It will encourage our kids to stay away from drugs and live a better life through sports.’’
The Lumad kids won two straight games before eventually losing to Barangay Mulan, 21-25, 25-23, 25-15, in the girls’ 12-under division of the Games designed for out-of-school children in Mindanao.
“This is a great experience for us and we enjoyed playing in this tournament,’’ said the 12-year-old Astilla. “We don’t really mind the long travel and waking up early,’’ added Superales
Other members of the Bantol spikers coached by Salimar Panugo were Angelica Altobar, Jeramie Agsililacia, Ruby Mae Unting, Mari Verna Unting, Rhea Mie Villarte and Quinne May Luayon.
Over 600 out-of-school youth from various barangays here participated in 3-on-3 basketball, volleyball and traditional Filipino games. A storytelling on Sports for Peace also highlighted the three-day program.
“We want to show the world that peacekeeping starts with the children. It doesn’t matter if you’re a Christian, Muslim or a Lumad, sports is a unifying force regardless of region and religion,’’ said PSC chair Butch Ramirez.
The next stops of the Children’s Games Mindanao leg will be in Cagayan de Oro and Butuan City before going to the Visayas in Bacolod, Cebu, Catbalogan and Tacloban.
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