LIFE AFTER PALARO
“OPTIMISM is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence.”
These words by Hellen Keller has been a guiding principle for Raymond Bautista, an athlete from Mangaldan who has just bid goodbye to his years of participation in the Palarong Pambansa.
Bautista, who graduated from high school last March, played his final game in the Palarong Pambansa 2012 and thanked the country’s premiere school-based sports competition for helping open another door for him: an opportunity to further nurture his sports skills and pursue a college education.
The 17-year-old spiker from Alitaya, Mangaldan started playing volleyball when he was 12 and has since pursued the development of his skills with passion and dedication.
When he was in 5th grade, he became part of the Ilocos Region volleyball team in the Palaro 2007 held in Coronadal, South Cotabato, wherein their team bagged the championship in the Volleyball Boys (Elementary Level).
Last year, he played for the same team under the high school category.
Raymond, the youngest among four siblings, comes from a poor family and so aside from his studies and volleyball training, he helps his father in planting crops, fruits, and vegetables for their livelihood.
And using his volleyball skills, Raymond sometimes visits other towns in the province together with his friends to play against informal volleyball teams for a bet, and he later shares his winnings with his family.
Raymond always thought that given their poverty, he would unlikely be able to go to college.
But with his exemplary volleyball skills, he has been offered a scholarship by several colleges in the province and the chance to play in the varsity team.
“Kung hindi rin naman dahil sa paglalaro ko ng volleyball, baka hindi rin talaga ako makapag-college,” he said.
Raymond has yet to decide which university to go to but already he is grateful for the opportunity.
In life, just as in volleyball, Raymond has learned that no matter high or tough the blockers are, he can work with determination to reach his dreams.— Leene Camo, UPB