The recent months in Marawi city have seen a series of unfortunate and saddening events, with many families being displaced and seeking safety in Northern Mindanao. Despite the news, Marawi’s community continues to fight and stay together in their own little ways. One inspiring story comes from the city’s football team, and their recent showing at the Fiesta Football Cup in Barangay Carmen, Cagayan De Oro.
Neither the lack of training, displacement, or conflict could stop the futbolista’s from competing in the game they loved. In fact, a lot of the team’s members are bakwits or runaways with no place to go home to.
As team head coach Bingay Paran says, “Sanay na kami sa bad news. Actually ‘diyan na kami lumaki sa Marawi at marami na kaming napagdaanan at hindi magandang balita. Sa mga futbolista ng Marawi, makalaro lang kami di na namin pinapansin ang mga balita na yan.” (We’re used to bad news. The actually grew up in Marawi and we’ve gone through a lot of tough situations. For the footballers of Marawi, playing the game makes us forget about the trouble surrounding.)
Paran actually experienced the siege firsthand when he was trapped inside a local university before being rescued by the authorities.
Today, Paran continues to teach, as one of Marawi City’s two coaches spreading the word about the beautiful Game. Paran treats football more than a competitive game, which is why he returns to Marawi despite the trouble surrounding. “Ito lang ang paraan na makatulong sa bata sa Marawi. ‘Diyan ako galing at ‘diyan din ako natuto mag football,” Paran says. (This is the only way I can give back to the kids of Marawi. I grew there and that’s where I learned football too.)
Although Team Marawi failed to advance further into the tournament, they did show everybody what they were capable of with the amount of resources at hand. “Hindi naman prize ang habol namin. Basta mag-enjoy lang kami okay na sa amin. Kahit walang practice naka pasok pa kami sa round of 16,” Paran recalls. (It’s not the prize we were after for, we just wanted to enjoy. Despite the lack in practice, we still managed to advance.)
The war continues to be a problem for the entire community and nation, but team Marawi’s love for football will always remain.