My Batang Pinoy Finals Journal – Aug. 26, 2019

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Day 3 – My knee is betraying me.

Puerto Princesa, Palawan — Despite retiring late, I was able to wake up at 6:25 AM. Both Christian and I were up early, excited for the first day of action. Six gold medals are at stake in track and field events, 22 in swimming and four in chess all happening in the proximity of the Speaker Ramon V. Mitra Sports Complex in Santa Monica.

After my morning rituals which were cut short by 70 percent (back home it would take me at least two hours to finish), we were already at the breakfast table. My breakfast includes four toasts, two sunny-side-up, salad, two spoonfuls of beef tapa, six slices of sausage and three slices of fruits and black coffee.

Again we failed to catch the service van so we had to take a tricycle again. After about an eternity we arrived at our destination. SRVM was already bustling with athletes, coaches and officials as the complex and its neighboring Palawan State University and Puerto Princesa Balayong Park host 11 events that include athletics, archery, baseball, boys basketball, chess, cycling (road race), rugby football, swimming, triathlon, duathlon, and girls volleyball.

Here I felt alive again. Standing under the heat of the sun, with the only thin canvass of the tent protecting us from direct sunlight, I can’t help but smile! It’s yesterday once more. The rush of interviewing an athlete after his/her race or event, Chit-chatting with coaches are just so cool that it made me forget that I was a 100-pound heavier than when I first had my multi-event coverage in 1996.

My bodyweight and the distance that I had to walk to get from one place to another were punishing my knees.  However, my knees may tend to give up, but my spirit would not. Still, I was able to make a total of 9092 steps or walked a distance of 6.49 kilometers and burnt 195 calories, before calling it a day!

On our way to the sports complex, I saw signs – it says “Tabuan ig Barakalan” what the heck does it mean? The words might suggest a place for trade.  Taboan in Cebuano literally means a market place, derived from the word Tabo, which means a place where trade and commerce are done in the old times. In Barangay San Nicolas in Cebu City, they call their market Taboan, that’s the same place where you can buy “buwad” or dried fish.

I visited the place on my way to visit the chess event that was held at the Palawan State University Performing Arts Center. It was a bustling business center where trade fair, food and souvenir shops can be found. Since I was thirsty, I tried to buy myself a bottle of water, but alas no bottled water sold in those food stalls. They offered juices and concoctions of any kind but not that pristine-colorless-liquid. I shopped for at least a dozen stalls before I was able to find one that sells water. Even if it ain’t cold, I bought 2 500-ml bottles and drank it like a camel to quench my thirst.

I won’t elaborate how much I sweat it out on my way to the chess venue that the sight of a chair made my feet jump with joy.  From the PSU Performing Arts Center, my next destination was the City Coliseum where the media center was located.

A quick shower back at our hotel then we were off to the Mercado Park where the boxing competition was held. And we end our day by visiting Team Cebu City’s billeting center in San Pedro Central School. We arrived there in time for the welcome party thrown by the host teachers.

We went directly to the weightlifting team quarters to interview and took photos of the gold medallists and were off to get our dinner at the 24hours eatery we first ate early dinner last Saturday.

Back at our room, we got an invitation for a bottle of beer by Sun.Star CDO’s Lynde Salgados and Jon Develos of Mindanao Times, but I had to decline because I have to write the events of the day and this journal were my first priority. There will be other nights for a good ol’ boys night out guys!/RCM

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