Day 3: Today we rode from Kalibo to Nabas.
There were a few decent hill climbs here.. Hayes remembers how much I love these from our last trip through Laos. It's Day 3 of riding so the bodies are a little sore but we try to keep it positive. After every turn on a hill I hear Rusty say "never trust the corners."
Meaning around the corner is most likely another hill.
Each district on Panay Island likes to officially welcome you into their zone by putting up a big "Welcome" sign. So what we did was we said the first person to reach a "welcome" sign has captures the "yellow jersey" (like in the Tour de France bike race) and is the unofficial mayor of that town.
So since I'm riding with a bunch of guys with no grit, I have a few yellow jerseys on the day.
However Rusty took down Nabas sneakily to end the day which is unfortunate because since we're staying in Nabas I've had to get him waters all evening.
There was one funny exchange though... So usually there is a welcome sign for entering the district and another welcome sign up ahead for entering the town.
So after Ross took the Nabas District, Isaac just bolts! Looking for Nabas Town.
Ross is still celebrating behind us but i decide to go get Isaac. I gun it for him. I reach Isaac and stay very close behind him and use Isaac as to block the wind. I am expending far less energy cycling right behind him since Isaac is absorbing all of the wind. In the cycling world they call this "drafting."
The best part is Isaac had no idea I was drafting behind him for like a kilometer, so I'm riding right behind him as quiet as possible ready to make my move... You should have seen the anguish in his face when he finally took a look back and realized I was there... Unfortunately there was no welcome sign to Nabas town but I am now in Isaacs head. He knows he can't break away from me. I will always catch up. Haha!
Fortunately wehaul2play is not just about bike racing, it is about assisting and promoting physical activity to impoverished areas. so when I wasn't taking down yellow jerseys I really tried to make some observations as to how these communities are functioning. I asked myself a few questions during today's journey:
What are the kids doing before we hand them equipment?
Keep in mind right now is the summer holidays for the kids in the Philippines so most of the schools are empty. Most of the kids we see are between the ages of 8-14 years old.
I was very encouraged to see that most kids are with other kids socializing or playing. I rarely saw kids by themselves. Now the kids are very resourceful when it comes to play. There was a group of boys playing on concrete circular construction structures just jumping up having a good time and playing a little hide and seek.
I would see some kids working cutting fruit or hauling branches or doing some sort of labor for their families. The kids are very cohesive and affectionate. They are usually laughing with their arms around each other and hanging all over one another. Doesn't matter if it was boys girls or a mixture. Some groups were family members and some were friends but they mostly acted similarly. It was very difficult to tell if they were related or not just by their actions unless you asked them.
What do the children do after they receive the equipment?
I saw a wide range of responses here. Some children are very shy and think there is some sort of catch or that they have to buy it so they can be quite hesitant. In this case the 3 of us will play with the equipment showing them how it's used and then we will just leave it there and ride off. I usually look back and see if they've used it after, and once we've left they start playing with the gear. Some kids are very keen on showing us their athletic skills. We were playing volleyball with a group of 12 year olds and we were very impressed with their passing form.
All of the kids are very gracious, they have all said "thank you" when they are receiving the equipment. Even the ones we leave it for will yell "thank you" as we ride off.
Some kids/parents ask for more gear but we explain that the equipment is to be shared and they usually don't resist that notion.
Is there a difference between how the boys and the girls view sport?
Girls and boys both play. Which is great. And they play with each other which is also encouraging. However there still is a bit of the gender roles notion, that boys should play basketball and that girls should play volleyball. This is also reinforced by the adults creating boys basketball leagues and girls volleyball leagues. But recreationally I see the girls shoot around with the basketballs for fun so it is clear they don't "just" love volleyball. I was handing out some equipment and I asked a girl, what would you like? And she said "basketball..." And then she caught herself and said "I mean volleyball..". So I told her, "hey it is okay to like basketball, girls can play basketball too! Boys can play volleyball as well... I'm happy to see both genders playing but there is still some gender role stereotyping taking place here. Hopefully we'll see a girls basketball game on the courts in the near future.
What type of infrastructure do I see in the communities?
The nicest buildings I see here are the churches. They are large and quite extravagant compared to the houses and other buildings. There is a huge emphasis on sport here. Most open spaces have a make shift volleyball court. There are basketball courts and hoops everywhere. Some have wooden backboards, some have concrete ones. On the end of most of these basketball courts is a stage usually. I found this quite interesting because these communities don't have a lot in terms of material structures but they make sure their basketball courts are painted and colorful similar to the churches I saw.
I thought to myself why is such an importance on the court? My question was answered this evening in Nabas. Around 4pm we saw around 20 kids shooting around on a court... They asked me to dunk but well, ya those days are long gone for me.
Around 8pm I return and there are 2 teenage boys teams playing, with PA system announcers, chalk board as the score board and referees calling the game. But I look around and just about EVERYONE is there...
The crowd is cheering, supporting and applauding a good play. And these kids were playing hard! If they are open they attack, if a teammate is open they pass the ball. It was quite frantic as both teams are pressing but it was a fast paced entertaining game. One team used a 2-2-1 full court trapping zone and the other team was running a form of a run and jump defense. Anyways back to the court. I realized that the basketball court is the town meeting place. Everyone comes together here. Everyone has a roll as a participant, an official, or a spectator. There were kids there as young as 3 years old and there were grandparents there as well all together at one place mixing and mingling. One funny moment was when a 3 year old ran onto the court in the middle of the game while one team was shooting free throws! She ran right up to one of the referees who I'm assuming the referee was her father haha.
The people here place a high priority on sport for the same exact reasons why we do or should do back home. It teaches their young life skills, keeps kids off the street, gives them something to celebrate and it reinforces their community.
Thank you all for helping support sport and the impact it has on a community.
For Ross and Isaac