MANILA -- “Sangko taman sa langit akong kalipay. (The spectacular feat had literally put me in a heavenly ride).”
Thus, said Leo Villegas after the Philippine arnis team surpassed dancesport as the biggest contributor to the country’s treasure chest in the ongoing 30th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games.
The PH eskrimadors, that gained full support from Senator Juan Miguel “Migz” Zubiri of Bukidnon, finished with a total gold haul of 14, eclipsing the 10-gold output of the ballroom dancers who fueled the Filipinos’ initial medal rush in the biennial meet.
“Siyempre dako kaayo akong kalipay di matupngan especially that naka-contribute pud atong mga players from Mindanao such as those from Davao and Tacurong. Isa gyod si sir Migz (Zubiri) nga mapasalamatan kay very supportive kaayo siya sa arnis being a blue-blooded arnisador himself nga ga compete aside sa iyang trabaho sa senado,” Villegas told SunStar Cagayan de Oro.
The 41-year-old arnis trainer and referee Villegas and fellow veteran Danilo Jimenez of sepak takraw are the only officiating officials from Cagayan de Oro that qualified to spare quality time in helping to run the show in the 11-nation regional competition.
On Tuesday’s final day of arnis action at Angeles University Foundation in Pampanga, Crisamuel Delfin and Mary Allin Aldeguer capped the Filipinos’ dominant showing when they ruled in anyo (form) men’s and women’s nontraditional open weapon, respectively.
Mindanao’s Sheena del Monte, Jesfer Huquire and Jezebel Morcillo were among those who hauled off arnis gods, while Erlin Mae Busacay contributed a bronze, also in full contact category.