LAGAWE, Ifugao – With participants gaining greater appreciation for their rich traditional and cultural sports heritage, the first Philippine Sports Commission Gender and Development Indigenous Games featuring ethnic Ifugao sports came to a successful close here on Saturday.
Close to 450 elementary and high school boys and girls displayed delight and enthusiasm in seeing action in Ifugao traditional games such as the “batawel” (rice-stalk relay race), “guyyudan” (tug-of-war), hinukting (shoulder wrestling) and “bangngugan”(leg wrestling) at the Provincial Capitol Plaza grounds.
“We are delighted by the response of our children to these Ifugao traditional games. They really seemed to enjoy it and encourages them to have a healthy lifestyle instead of just focusing on gadgets,” noted commissioner Celia Kiram of the event.
“As I earlier said this is just a prelude to a bigger Indigenous Games in the Cordillera Automous Region,” added Kiram, who oversees grassroots sports in Northern Luzon as well as its women-in-sports programs, at the close of the two-day event supported by the Ifugao provincial government led by Gov. Pedro Mayam-o.
“We have done similar competitions of ethnic sports in Davao and were planning one for Mindanao until the Marawi crisis happened,” said Davao-based commissioner Charles Maxey at the windup of the friendly games also backed by the Lagawe municipal government led by Mayor Martin Habawel Jr.
One of those who was thrilled to take part in the “batawel” relays was Loenver Dulnuan, who was the lead runner 10-man squd of the Riverview Polytechnic and Academic School, which ruled the high school boys division.
“Masaya po ako at nakasali. I’m proud of my ancestors,” said Dulnuan, who took off in flash that gave his team the lead it never relinquished while carrying 20 kilograms of rice stalks on a pole in the first leg of the run that went around downtown Lagawe.
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