BENGUET. A referee watches over an arnis match at Philex Mining’s Padcal camp as stick fighters battle it out for the gold. Philex Mines recently hosted the 2nd National Martial Arts Games. (Contributed photo)

FOURTEEN athletes from Philex Mines punched their ticket for a stint in Europe after winning their respective events during the 2nd National Martial Arts Games held recently in sitio Padcal, Camp 3, Tuba, Benguet.

Philex Mining’s Julie Ann Manungod and April Langaoan won gold and bronze, respectively, in the girls – juniors division category while Joey Gapuz clinched the silver medal in the adult division.

“I am so happy that my efforts have paid off,” Renie David, a pump tender at Padcal mine’s Central Mechanic Services Dept., who coached the squad said. “Well, I have never been disappointed by the performance of my wards.”

David, a member of the Philippines’ national arnis team and who teaches martial arts at the Padcal mine, free-of-charge, but with the support of Philex Mining, said the international martial-arts games will be held at the Minsk-Arena Complex, a multiuse indoor arena, in Minsk, Belarus, on November 29 to Dec. 4.

Winners in the sikaran games include Jam Tolentino and Arvy Abalos adjudged champions in the large category – white belt division, while Justin Montino also clinched the championship in the division’s medium category.

Manungod also won a gold in the girls B category, junior division, followed by Ashley Cerna, while Sugar Cabaltera clinched the gold medal in the girls C category. Gapuz bagged the silver medal in the boys B category.

In the kids division of sikaran, Philex Mining’s Raymond David and Edward Fagto were awarded the gold medal in the boys A and B categories, respectively, while Mico Mayen got the silver medal (Boys B). Maricar Viernes and Sedin Daquingas won gold in the kids girls A and B categories, respectively, while Rosenda David clinched the silver medal (Girls B).

Three athletes from Bulacan—Manuel Daliyong, Carlo Daragato, Renz dela Rosa—clinched the gold medal in the boys C, D, and F categories, respectively, of the kids division. Another Bulacan participant, Jazylyn Baluarte, won silver in the girls A category. Rovic Arzador, of Baguio City, won gold in the boys E category.

The event aims to foster a holistic development of children, youth, and other residents of Philex’ Padcal mine camp with 120 players participating in the event also dubbed Open Invitational Tournament and Festival of Arnis and Sikaran.

Stressing arnis, a Filipino national sport and martial art has gone global, Jonathan Abaya, international president of Arnis Philippines, said his group now has chapters in Japan, the US, Nepal, Australia, Iran, and India.

“This sports intends to promote health wellness and fitness, but, most of all, it is a skill to protect oneself or for self-defense, coupled with the right attitude,” Abaya said, addressing participants and the audience in a speech during the event. “Arnis has greatly influenced the young generation in terms of engaging in worthwhile events, such as tournaments.”

Roy Mangali, Padcal assistant resident manager, said Philex Mining will continue to support athletic events—either competitive, friendlies, or regular activities—in line with the company’s initiative to promote a healthy and holistic community built and nurtured through responsible mining.

“We have various sports events here at the mine camp, including our annual sports fest among officers and employees, as well as other athletic activities participated in by the host and neighboring villages,” he added. “We have a holistic community here, as we provide free education to children as well as free health services to our workers and employees.”

Teresita Biscaro, president of the Jendo Philippines Association meanwhile said jendo is one of the many styles of arnis, but has “safer” movements than other techniques.

Biscaro added jendo motivates the athlete to execute the principles of linear and circular movements, a fighting art that utilizes empty hands as a means of self-defense formulated based on the ancient system of discipline.

“We do tournaments around the country to encourage the youth to immerse themselves in sports that builds their character, health, physical, and emotional wellbeing,” she said. “We are thankful to the Philex Mining management for hosting this second national tournament.” (Roderick Osis)