ALABEL, Sarangani (February 27, 2023) - Langoy Pilipinas, a new national swimming competition for children ages six to 17 years old, officially kicked off on Saturday, February 25, at the Sarangani Sports Training Center (SSTC), Capitol Compound.
Through the full support of Governor Rogelio D. Pacquiao, the Local Government Unit (LGU) of Sarangani, through its Sports Division, hosted the competition.
Dubbed as "Langoy Pilipinas-1st Governor Rogelio D. Pacquiao Cup," the activity was participated in by 10 LGUs from the key cities of Metro Manila, Visayas, and Mindanao.
The event was conceptualized by swimming coach and Langoy Pilipinas national organizer Darren Evangelista and targets not only school-based teams which established swimming clubs but also less fortunate children and out-of-school youth.
"The tournament is open to all Filipino young swimmers, regardless of their affiliations and religions," said Evangelista.
He added that Langoy Pilipinas is currently in close coordination with partner LGUs to help them identify less fortunate swimmers in the communities to join the event.
Manila, Tarlac, Cavite, and Laguna in Luzon; Bohol, Roxas, and Bacolod in Visayas; and Sarangani Province and Cagayan de Oro City in Mindanao, are the partner cities of the program.
Langoy Pilipinas is supported by the Swimming League Philippines, Philippine Swimming League, and Congress of Philippine Aquatics, Inc.
Evangelista emphasized that the conceptualization of the activity is based on various important objectives: strengthening grassroots development in swimming, showcasing sports tourism and sports programs, developing competent officials, creating livelihood programs in swimming, providing an avenue for amateur swimmers to show and enhance their skills, and developing positive values of cooperation, teamwork, and sportsmanship.
"We looked for a partner na mahilig talaga sa sports, and knowing the Pacquiaos, they are all sports lovers, which is why hindi na ganon kahirap ibenta ang idea dito sa Sarangani, and it did not take long for Governor Ruel to have us here," Evangelista said on Sarangani being the host of the national competition.
"Sarangani is also fully equipped to host big events because you have a pool na covered, which makes it conducive to cater populated competitions," he added.
The SSTC is a state-of-the-art facility funded through the efforts of former Senator Manny Pacquiao that currently serves as a training ground for student athletes of the Sarangani National Sports Academy.
Aside from the olympic-sized swimming pool where the Langoy Pilipinas is held, SSTC currently has a well-equipped gym for contact sports, an olympic-standard indoor and outdoor track oval, which will soon become fully rubberized, a basketball court, and separate dormitories for male and female athletes.
All participating swimmers competed in their age bracket, which is divided into two categories.
As explained by Evangelista, category A is composed of experts, while category B is composed of beginners.
Speaking on behalf of Governor Pacquiao, Alma Corazon Gabuat, provincial sports coordinator, said, "sports like this develop not only a winning attitude for our Filipino youth, but also the discipline that comes with it, the cooperation an athlete has with his coach, and the dedication to overcome one’s own limitations to achieve greater goals."
Gabuat also expressed the governor’s gratitude to all the organizers, technical officials of Langoy Pillipinas, the participants, and their families.
Based on the combined team scores, Team Iligan Arhangel Swimming Acad from Iligan City dominated the first day with a total of 321 points, followed by Red Sail Arcadia ST from Davao City and Lemmoda Aqua Glidervalencia from Bukidnon on the second and third spots with 266 and 248 points, respectively.
Ten best swimmers in the competition from Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao will be selected and will be part of the Philippine team to join the invitational international swimming competition in Guam.
The Langoy Pilipinas 1st Governor Rogelio D. Pacquiao Cup runs from February 25 to 26. (Joshua John S. Pantonial/SARANGANI PROVINCIAL INFORMATION OFFICE)
Photos by Jake T. Narte