Sport is not immortal.
It is the demigodlike deeds of the ordinary folk, the heroic feats of those who give their heart for a people that might have no place for them in theirs, the passion that thunders beyond the halls of arenas – those are what transcend generations. It is when we remember greatness, and reflect on how we could be, too, are these deeds catapulted into eternity.
And that is what Pagpupugay – an exhibit of art and artifacts of Filipino heroes at the Resorts World Manila from now until June 15, 2014 (with a special recognition day on June 12) – is all about. Pagpupugay honors those who blazed new trails from the pre-war age in the 1920s, to the Twitter age. From Dr. Regino Ylanan (The Father of Philippine Sports. I knew about him only today!), to Lydia de Vega, Eugene Torre, Flash Elorde, Onyok Velasco, and of course, Manny Pacquiao.
(Again, it’s in Resorts World. It’s an entire strip on the ground floor. You won’t miss it!)
Chino Trinidad, the main proponent of this celebration of sorts, was quoted by my father (who is his friend), as saying, “Hindi naman nakakalimot ang Pinoy. Kailangan lang paalalahanan.”
That is the spirit running across the 500 meters or so of the exhibit placed in a very high traffic area of Resorts World. The pictures and pieces of information are more than enough to inspire this sport-struck country. Families who are about to enjoy lunch, a movie, a play, and even adults who are about to go the casino, can take 5 minutes or so to check out the exhibit. There are pictures from past Philippine Basketball teams (the seal on the heart area is the same until today!), Lydia de Vega’s shoes, and even the silver medal of the late Villanueva, and very interesting artistic takes on the sports greats Efren Reyes, Paeng Nepomuceno, and Manny Pacquiao. You could see the families look at these artifacts, and some of the fathers would narrate some of the stories to their kids. I saw some senior citizens look at the pictures, probably recalling the time they followed and cheered for these teams, or even fact-checking the exhibit. Or he might have actually played for some of those teams, and he was having a moment recalling comrades.
Lydia de Vega’s shoes!
I was blessed because I had my dad, the sportsman he is, as a tour guide through this exhibit. He educated me on whose the medals were, their histories and significance, and introduce me to some names every Filipino should probably know.
The greatness that transcended generations and the stories that transcend time and space are probably what make the heroism of these sports greats most potent.
Some of these athletes reportedly just disappeared into obscurity. Some of them did not even get the recognition due them. Through this, however, our collective recognition of their sacrifice will not just be for them, but for generations to come. Generations that will want to remember the blood of heroism running through their veins.
Thanks to Chino Trinidad and all those who helped him in this cause, in a time when Filipinos need to recall that they are great, they need only to go to Resorts World and remind themselves that they are. That they always have been.They only need to take the time para magbigay-pugay and remember.