Tucked in a corner of Paranaque City, right before the marker which delineates the city from Muntinlupa, is the small, developing community of Masville. Its narrow streets snake inside to a community of more than 10,000 people, competing for space and resources, living nearly shoulder to shoulder to each other. Its people are warm and friendly and they offer you turon and kakanin as you pass by.
At the end of one of the streets is Masville National High School, where the teachers and students though happy, are struggling to make ends meet. We were invited over because they asked for help in supporting their Sepak Takraw team. They needed help in getting funding for their uniforms and we responded to their call. Led by Founding Chairman Ronald Rodriguez, we gave our donation and we were introduced to the world of Sepak Takraw.
To the uninitiated, Sepak Takraw is a game similar to volleyball. There’s a net in the middle of a box court, and you take turns keeping a rattan ball from falling on your side of the court. The difference? You can use any body part, except your hands and arms. Incidentally, it is also our national sport.
So imagine these young boys, leaping around, and making kung fu kicks that defy your imagination. They are dancing, keeping the ball from hitting the ground and then they twist in the air and deliver a roundhouse that sends the ball careening to the other side. The skill involved is tremendous. And to top it off, we just heard that they won first place in their recent cluster meet.
We talked with some of them. Lupen Reginio, one of the smallest in the group, is feisty. Lupen is nicknamed Father, because he’s the one who leads the group in prayer before every match. He dreams of getting a scholarship because of Sepak Takraw.
Christian Alvarez on the other hand has bigger dreams. “Gusto ko pong makapasok sa National Team, gusto ko pong lumaban para sa bansa sa SEA games.” (I want to get in the National Team, I want to represent the country in the South East Asian Games.) Tall and lanky, his powerful kicks are getting him noticed and he just might get his wish.
The current administration is currently moving forward its drive to eliminate drugs. But more than that, the question isn’t just ridding a place of drugs. It’s also developing the community so that drugs don’t have room to proliferate in the first place. Alongside the drive to eliminate drugs, we should also be building a strong foundation for the community. Investment in sports does that because not just because it distracts or entertains, the values learned in the sports form a vital piece in forming character and discipline which these children will carry into adulthood. It sustains and keeps their dreams alive, and helps them hope for a better future. It keeps them believing in good.
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