March 16, 2018
Pakighinabi Room, 3rd Floor Community Center of the First Companions, Ateneo de Davao University

Instead of celebrating Araw ng Dabaw on the streets with everyone else, some women spent their day in the Pakighinabi Room, getting to know each other and finding ways to work together. The inspiration for the event were Inday Santiago’s Women’s Peace Tables and Sheryl Sandberg’s book, Lean In.

The event was a collaboration between Ateneo de Davao University, Girls Got Game Philippines-Mindanao, and Mindanao Peace Games. The forum’s objectives were to 1) Bring together the community of women in sports of Davao and Mindanao; 2) Understand the challenges and needs of women in sports; and 3) Create and commit to concrete action plans in responding to these challenges and needs. The event had a total of 17 participants that were composed of social workers, coaches, and athletes: 7 from the City Social Services Development Office (CCSDO),  4 from Philippine Women’s College, 4 from University of Southeastern Philippines, 1 from Datu Ibrahim Paglas Memorial College, and 1 from Ateneo de Davao University.

To prepare the group for the afternoon workshop, two speakers shared their stories and insights in the morning. The first speaker was Atty. Mariana Lopa, Managing Director of Girls Got Game Philippines, a former Basketball Lady Eagle, currently works at the Siguion Reyna Montecillo and Ongsiako Law Office, and Team Owner and Head of Basketball Operations of Navotas Clutch Basketball Team. She discussed the importance of leaning in and why women should initiate and not hesitate to lead. Sharing her experiences in all the things that she has done and what has led her to this point in her life, she emphasizes the need to disrupt—to do what others are rarely willing to do, to swim against the current and challenge the norm—because this paves the way for many women to follow and step up too.

Step Up. Back It Up. Pay It Forward.
Atty. Mariana Lopa, Managing Director of Girls Got Game PH, Team Owner and Head of Basketball Operations of Navotas Clutch Basketball team

The second speaker was Princess Jacel Kiram-Hasan, the president of the PhilSilat Sports Association, Inc. She is the only woman who holds that position in the international scene of Pencak Silat—a martial art endemic in Southeast Asia that involves holistic training from grappling to striking to weaponry . She shared the challenges they had to go through growing the sport in the country and also her initial hesitation to take the reigns as President of their National Sporting Association (NSA). But that hesitation disappeared once she asked a male elder if it was right for a woman to lead their community. He told her that if a woman is capable of giving birth then she is more than capable to lead. As Pencak Silat grows in the country and shows its competency in the world stage, bagging medals, and giving opportunities to athletes from less affluent families, Princess finds the expereince well-worth the difficulties.

Princess Jacel Kiram sharing the story of the two Princesses (Princesslyn Enopia, a Pencak Silat athlete who earns for her family through doing well in her sport; and Princess Kiram herself who overcame her hesitations to lead her NSA

The morning talks and group discussions set the tone for the afternoon workshop where the participants identified and prioritized their needs and challenges, planned out activities to address these, listed down their target participants and partners, and set a period for when they will do these activities.

The top challenges and needs identified were the minimal access to facilities and equipment, followed by support (family, administration, financial) and values formation/character development (to address discrimination and to improve program implementation), and the need for more opportunities to play (women’s teams). Participants have committed to working with the CCSDO  in their involvement in their Summer Sports Camps and Children’s Fund Day, in terms of manpower, equipment, and as venue partner. This was identified as a priority since the CCSDO works with all the districts in Davao City and the volunteers can work with a diverse youth group. Participants from the schools have also commited to work together to provide opportunities for their teams to play together and create forums like these in their own schools.

The plans have been set, now all these women have to do is to take action.

Afternoon workshop

Written by: Celina Simone E. Jaldon, ADDU JHS Sports Officer, ADDU Men’s Football Team Head Coach