LAGAWE, Ifugao—A 10-year-old boy used his wooden stilts to help Boliwong Elementary School bounce back and take the akkad or stilt-walking relay race gold medal Sunday in the first Gender and Development Indigenous Games here.
Three of his teammates stumbled, so Roy Bumulo took charge as the last runner of the 10-member team and became the first to reach the finish line of the 30-meter course at the Provincial Capitol basketball court.
“Binilisan ko na lang po,” said Bumulo, who uses a personally-crafted pair of minila wood stilts to go home to school up in the highlands of Boliwong, one of the villages known for growing rice in the famed mountain terraces of Banaue.
The kids of Boliwong earned P7,000 as cash prize for beating the boys of Burnay Elementary School and Caba, which settled for silver and bronze, respectively.
Meanwhile, a soccer player joined a team of four seasoned tracksters in ruling the elementary boys’ 5-kilometer relay run
Luigi Atluna, the son of two police officers, reached the finish line all by himself and helped his team bag the top honors for Lagawe Central School.
One of the team’s coaches, Eddie Bert Paco, said he was not disappointed in choosing Atluna.
“Iyung iba niyang teammates tumatakbo talaga sa mga provincial at district meets at short distances. Pero siya, takbo dito at takbo duon na walang pahinga sa soccer, kaya binigay ko na sa kanya,” said Paco.
This won them the top purse of P15,000, one of biggest in the meet, which features ethnic Ifugao sports.
Meanwhile, Boliwong ES relied on their barefoot runners to rule the girls’ action.
Pint-sized Armie Jade Lumauig of the Tuwali tribe, showed how comfortable she is without shoes when she reached the finish line with the baton.
Lumauig and her teammates outran rivals from Lagawe Central School and Caba.
“Binilisan ko lang po. Madalas ako mag-practice iskuwela,” said Lumauig.
She was joined by teammates Kryhz Hornog, Shadeil Pagal, Shardy Ayoc and Jeslyn Mae Bubod, who was the only one who raced with shoes.
Close to 450 elementary and high school boys and girls displayed delight and enthusiasm in the Ifugao traditional games, such as the batawel (rice-stalk relay race), guyyudan (tug-of-war), hinukting (shoulder wrestling) and bangngugan (leg wrestling) at the Provincial Capitol Plaza grounds.
“We are delighted by the response of our children to these Ifugao traditional games. They really seemed to enjoy the games, which encourage them to have a healthy lifestyle instead of just focusing on gadgets,” said commissioner Celia Kiram of the event.
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