“14 years ago, I dreamed of becoming an archery player – a boy with a deep passion but with few resources to start with. Looking back, when I was 4 years old, I can still remember vividly that I used to make a bow out of a broom stick and a nylon rubber band as a string. Little did I know that becoming an archery player is way from what I was thinking. It’s not an overnight success or as easy as 1, 2, 3,” he said.
Just a little bit of knowledge about how poor his life was, he experienced harvesting rice at the early age of 12. He also helped prepare the farm for planting rice and corn and carried sacks of rice from the middle of the rice field to a nearby road under the sun’s heat.
He was in grade 7 in high school when he saw that there was an archery sport offered in school. In grade 8, he started joining this sport at the school where he was enrolled. Since his parents couldn’t afford to buy equipment for him, he used to borrow from school. The bow that he used for years, from grade 8 to grade 10, was a wooden bow. Then in 11 grade, someone from another school allowed him to borrow a bow, which was better than the one he had used before. That bow was a big help for him to compete in Palarong Bicol or the Regional Meet as they called it. Regional Athletic Meet is the only highest level he achieved for two consecutive years in high school, from grade 10 to grade 11 (2016-2017).
Then, he stopped shooting archery, and the 2017 Palarong Bicol was the last time that he shot. From 2017 to 2020, he trained archers for his former and other high schools for free. After the pandemic in February 2021, he joined a virtual 18-metre archery tournament organised by World Archery Philippines (WAP), a dry-run for the upcoming Indoor Archery World Series Online organised by World Archery (WA). One week later, he registered for that event and was the only archer from the Bicol Region to participate in this World Ranking Event. He also competed in the 3rd Japan Remote Archery Festival, organised by the All Japan Archery Federation (AJAF), one day apart from the World Archery Event.
After those competitions, he encouraged other archers in nearby provinces and cities in the Bicol Region to return to archery, who had stopped shooting because of the pandemic. “I realised that I had never been to the Palarong Pambansa (National Games), but I now had the opportunity to represent the Philippines in international competitions due to the virtual format. The pandemic brought us negative effects, but, it also gave me an opportunity in archery that I had never achieved before,” he added.
When he heard about the Chengdu 2021 FISU World University Games, he felt nervous and excited because it came to his mind as he had previously only watched it on YouTube and the World Archery Facebook Page; now, he has the chance to participate. However, it was too slim a chance for him to compete at the FISU Games because it required a significant amount.
“I’m so blessed because the Official Website and Social Media Team of the Chengdu 2021 FISU Games assisted me in finding a sponsor for my participation. I am genuinely grateful to the anonymous person who made my dreams come true. My family is overjoyed by this. Then, I travelled alone to Chengdu and competed at the FISU Games without a coach or teammates,” he said gratefully, “I want to express my gratitude to the Official Website and Social Media Team of the Chengdu 2021 FISU Games because they picked me in the airport. While on the bus from the airport to FISU Games Village, I didn’t notice my eyes tearing up. Until then, I couldn’t believe I was in Chengdu and the dream I had been praying for was now a reality.”
On the field, although he was the only archer from the Philippines, he never felt alone because Team Switzerland and Team Australia helped him a lot. The coaches of both delegations guided him during his first match, where he won against a higher-ranked Slovakian archer. “The Chengdu 2021 FISU Games is very memorable – I had the chance to meet other top-ranked archers from around the world, including one of my South Korean idols who also won an individual title, and I made new friends,” he noted.
“I’m incredibly blessed and happy. Thank you to the anonymous person who sponsored my participation. To the Chengdu 2021 Official Website and Social Media Team – Thank you so much for everything you’ve done for me from the very start! Thank you to all the people who helped me. Lastly, to my family for the unending support and love that you gave to me.”
In the future, He plans to be a teacher rather than a seafarer to pursue my dreams in archery. He was setting his sights on the Rhine-Rhur 2025 FISU World University Games if he could participate. Also, he is planning to continue to train archers for free, to inspire them and to motivate them to keep going, no matter what happens.”I firmly believe that as I reflect on my journey in archery, the Chengdu 2021 FISU World University Games will forever stand as one of the most significant and cherished moments of my career.”