Thursday, June 10, 2010

No Running

In Patin-ay, Proseperidad town where the Government Center of Agusan del Sur stands its grounds, the Provincial Government is shifting high gears in preparation for its 18th Naliyagan festival which will commence on Saturday, June 12, together with the Independence Day celebration of the rest of the Philippine islands.

I do not know the origins of the weeklong Naliyagan festival, I don’t even know where the word comes from but from scant sources, I learned that it is equivalent to the Sinulog of Cebu, albeit on a much smaller scale.

Festivities prop up like pop corns and already the Rizal monument is littered with booths displaying native food delicacies unique to the province to anything from hardware to ‘ukay-ukay.’

People speak of the much anticipated Bautos boat race on the 500-meter long man-made lake fronting the Provincial Capitol, where the much cultured catfish abound; ‘Battle of the Bands’; the Manobo-inspired dance competition, and a host of other events I plan to see.

This I observed as I made my runs yesterday and the other day amidst the tight formation of the Philippine Army practicing their drills for the festival opening.

This is the first time I will be able to witness the annual event. During my father’s time when he was Provincial Administrator in the mid-90s, I was only able to attend one event—a 6k run from Poblacion San Francisco to the Provincial Capitol—vividly recalling the cramps and bumps I suffered the day after the event.

After that, school took me away from the Naliyagan festival.

Now that I am back, I was hoping that there would be one running event in the works but sadly not this time.

Running may have infected other cities and areas in the Philippines but it has not resurfaced yet here in Agusan. There used to be events like these before—dashes mostly and some mile races (that’s why they call runners here either ‘dashers’ or ‘milers’) but not anymore.

On most occasions I run around the Provincial Capitol grounds, 1.22 km from end to end, I see a few relics of past events—dashers and milers mostly who continue the sport in their own time and place long when ballroom dancing and badminton has had its ups and downs replaced by online computer games, Friendster and Facebook.

Me? I am a runner, a ‘miler’ mostly because I don’t run sub-30 minute 5ks or sub-1-hour 10ks, not even a sub-Piolow in my wildest dreams but I have ran my half marathon in less than ideal conditions.

But I will persist, I promise myself. Long before races or events die or resurrect on me, I will make time to run because I can. Hope you will do, too.

Catch you on the road, my friends!

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