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The David and Goliath in Quirino's Palarong Panlalawigan

Like David in the biblical story entitled “David and Goliath,” Saguday, the smallest town of Quirino was able to outsmart  the municipalities of Diffun, Maddela, Cabarroguis, Aglipay and Nagtipunan (which are considered giants when it comes to size, population and resources) during the recently concluded Palarong Panlalawigan 2023.

With an impressive harvest of 137 gold, 67 silver, and 43 bronze medals, Saguday defeated its biggest competitors, Maddela and Diffun which settled to 78 and 71 gold medals respectively, thus making green as the new gold in the history of Palarong Panlalawigan in the division of Quirino. Green is Saguday’s official color during the provincial meet.

In its official Facebook Page, Saguday likened its triumph to an underdog story, with the small municipality hailed as the David to the Goliath, their larger competitors.

Despite the constrained resources, the local government and the Department of Education headed by the husband and wife tandem of Mayor Jerry Pagbilao and Public Schools District Supervisor (PSDS), Dr. Sonia Pagbilao, together with the two sports coordinators, Renato Vicmudo and Joey Mata Dagdag ignited the  bayanihan spirit alive among the Sagudayenos to augment the limited funds and provide the best possible support for their athletes.

The FB Post further underscored the overwhelming support of the local leaders and parents, who rallied behind the athletes and helped boost the morale of their athletes during the competition.

Sharing his observations, Dr. Rodante Nadal, education program supervisor for MAPEH and the sports general athletic manager, said that aside from strong leadership and full support from the LGU and the PTCA, the DepEd Saguday also has a well- established Sports Development Program.

“Their mentors and trainers are dedicated, passionate and selfless in continuously training their athletes even during the pandemic. They also have well-organized Sports/Athletic Clubs with members both from the secondary and elementary levels,” Nadal said.

“Being in a small town is an advantage for the athletes and coaches, according to Dr. Nadal because they can organize a training within short notice and they can also maximize time,” Nadal added.

Mayor Jerry Pagbilao agreed with the observations of Dr. Nadal, adding that their victory can be attributed to the full support and coordinated efforts of the DepEd, the LGU, the parents and the community as a whole.

“Indeed, discipline, passion, hardwork, unity and strong community and family support can breed champions,” Mayor Pagbilao shared.

On her part, Public School District Supervisor Sonia Pagbilao stressed that the financial constraints that they went through did not dampen the winning spirit of the Saguday delegations, instead, it served as their challenge to do their best and aim for the overall championship trophy.

“I advised the athletes to just enjoy, be humble and believe in their abilities and they will be able to end the competition triumphantly. And here we are, celebrating our triumph and we can even get the most of our crown since there has been no provincial meet for a long time due to the pandemic,” Pagbilao said.

PSDS Pagbilao however said it's not really about winning that they want to showcase but the inspiration that in the small town of Saguday, there is a culture of unique oneness which can make things possible.

“When I was not yet a PSDS, I used to oppose sports activities. My focus was on academic and I even earned the name “academician” due to my perception that sports is a waste of time and it can affect the grades of the students,” Pagbilao shared.

It was when she became a supervisor that she was able to realize the importance of sports in shaping the personalities of the learners.

“Sports activities shall not stop after this meet. It should continue as an avenue for training our youth, especially nowadays that social media has been affecting the youth.

Through sports, they will be freed away from vices so I now support this program as one way to develop our learners holistically,” PSDS Pagbilao said.

More secrets of success unveiled

On her Facebook account, PSDS Pagbilao said they have no secret as every district also did what they have done during the preparation.

“But I would just like to share my reflection, not considered as the best practice. When we were adjudged as the champion before the pandemic with just one gold ahead of our closest opponent, it boosted our confidence and that served as our stepping stone for the championship trophy,” she added.

The LGU Saguday’s mantra, Tatak Saguday, Serbisyong Mahusay” which made the town a consistent SGLG awardee also contributes to their success according to the district supervisor.

“While we were chanting, “Tatak Saguday, Serbisyong Mahusay," the athletes and coaches were inspired to do their best to live up to the “Mahusay” brand,” she said.

The district supervisor further shared that during the meet, the foods, uniforms and sports equipment were never a problem because they were taken care of by the schools which the athletes represented.

“Through the close monitoring and evaluation of District Sports Coordinators, Sir Renato Vicmudo and Sir Joey Mata Dagdag, we were able to address the issues and concerns,” she said as she lauded the strong camaraderie of the elementary and secondary levels and the full support of the municipal officials, parents, barangay officials, Sangguniang Kabataan and other stakeholders.

She thanked the passionate coaches, school heads and teachers for their sacrifices not just for the training of their athletes but also spending their own money and the teachers who played  very important roles as cooks, purchasers and even “solicitor-general.”

As the province’s athletes and coaches prepare for the Cagayan Valley Regional Athletic Association or CAVRAA meet, the district supervisor has expressed hope that the same unity and cooperation will prevail in the entire division of Quirino.

If that happens,  Quirino, although a small province can reap gold during the CAVRAA.

This time, all of us will chant “I Love Quirino, Matalino,” PSDS Pagbilao concluded. (TCB/PIA Quirino)

About the Author

Thelma Bicarme

Information Officer III

Region 2

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