The heart of champions

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By Regina May Cajucom

Serendipity Couch

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

THE stage mothersmother strikes again.

As soon as Panagbenga season officially opened last February 1, I knew I was in for an exciting, albeit super tiring month. I couldn't take my daughter Gelai away from her dedication to the Panagbenga prep of her beloved school, Baguio City SPED Center, despite long hours, weekend practices and tiring routines as she twirled, threw, danced with and just simply "owned" her baton as a majorette. Admittedly I tried to dissuade her from joining, telling her she should just devote her time to the academics, but just like in 2011 when she first joined, I failed.

She has this passion for her craft and, well, she is her mother's daughter, so stubbornness is one of her strongest traits. Plus, I didn't get the support of Hubby in discouraging her; sometimes, it feels like he is the better "stage parent" than I am.


Her joining the SPED Center Baguio Team for the street dancing competition meant not only long hours of practice but also early call times for all three parades, including the Panagbenga Opening in Feb 1. As early as 3 o' clock in the morning, the house would be all abuzz with preparation - with Gelai lazily eating her breakfast while I work on her makeup and hairstyle, Hubby waking up the rest of Gelai's "entourage" because we have no nanny and had to bring everyone to the parade. SPED Center at 4:00 o' clock a.m. would be alive and bustling with teachers, participants and their parents all doing their share in preparing for the parades.

Our amazing kids walked, danced, stomped and graced the roads supported by an excellent repertoire of professionals: their beloved Principal Sir Niño Tibangay who not only led the preparations but, without hesitation, joined the parade, helping push the lyre set with undeniable pride for his team; their very patient and devoted teacher-mentors Ms. Eunice Uda and Ms. Teresita Pundo among others; tireless parents who toiled in blood, sweat and tears for costumes, props, and everything they used for their splendid performance; Kuya Glenn, Kuya Rainier, and Kuya Fido who worked on their dance steps and choreography, and the infallible, indefatigable, seemingly superhuman creative artistic/musical/all-in director extraordinaire Manong Johnny Martinez. I knew the (reported) 2 million people in the streets witnessed something magnificent, and I am not just talking about their roaring performance. The spectators were only able to see half of the accomplishment - their spectacular presentation in Session Road and at the Baguio Athletic Bowl - but way beyond that, we who witnessed these kids and this team from Day 1 of the Panagbenga preparation know that what they did and what they had was a true testament to passion, love of one's craft, dedication to the team and the triumph of the spirit - all belonging to the heart of my true winners.

They may not have ended up with the grand prize (they ranked third) but without a doubt, the SPED Center Drum and Lyre and Street Dancing Team possesses the heart of champions we are most proud of. (

Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on February 27, 2014.


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