ILAGAN, Isabela—The traditional Filipino martial arts sports of pencak silat and arnis took centerstage in the Philippine Sports Commission’s Grassroots Coaching and Sports Science Series in Ilagan City, Isabela.
These two sports, which are expected to serve as gold mines when the country plays host to the Southeast Asian Games in 2019, are among the six sports disciplines that were included in the Northern Caravan of the Philippine Sports Institute (PSI) headed by Marc Velasco.
More than 300 PE teachers from Ilagan and neighboring towns participated in the officiating and organizational training which included basketball, taekwondo, swimming and volleyball.
”These are the six sports requested by the LGUs here in northern Luzon,” said the northern caravan tour spearhead Paul Ycasas, whose team of coaches and staff also held the same program in Ifugao and Kalinga. The team will also split into two for the Cabaroguis,Quirino and Dingalan, Aurora swing.
The Ilagan leg was held in cooperation with city mayor Evelyn Diaz and graced by PSC Commissioner Celia Kiram.
Pencak silat and arnis are included as regular sports in the Palarong Pambansa and the Philippine National Games.
They are also expected to boost the country’s gold medal production in the 2019 Manila SEA Games with pencak silat offering 22 gilts and arnis 30 gold medals if all their events and weight categories are contested.
Nearly 50 teachers joined the pencal silat course under coaches Diosdado Cantomayor and Ronald Perena of the Phil Silat Sports Association while 38 participants tried arnis.
“We were not expecting too much but we were overwhelmed and happy at the turnout and active participation of the teachers who chose the sport (arnis) in this training series,” said Ryan Gialogo of the Kali Arnis Martial Arts Organization (KAMAO), who conducted the program.
KAMAO is under the umbrella of the national association for arnis sport, Philippine Eskrima Kali Arnis Federation (PEKAF) headed by senator Juan Miguel Zubiri, who actively pushed for the law that made arnis the country’s national sport.
The grassroots training series also conducted lectures and seminars other aspects such as sports psychology under Ben John Montaron, sports nutrition (Ashly Villa) and sports science (Aira del Cruz) on the first day.