CULTURAL POTPOURRI| Kyle V. Pajarito: Swimming His Way to Education

“LIFE is harder in the small, far-flung barrio in Babak, Samal, compared to that in Davao City, especially in terms of how parents attend to their numerous children even in affording them good education. It’s understandable that they have to devote most of their time working and earning a living to support the family. There are times though when education is taken for granted and children, because of the circumstances they are facing, have to work to help their parents. This was what encouraged me to get into swimming so I could get scholarships for my high school and college education,” confessed Kyle V. Pajarito, the third son from a brood of six children of Babak farmers Eddie and Emma Pajarito. “It was my elder brother, Ewen, who encouraged me and my younger brothers to get into swimming like he did. Because of swimming, he was able to get scholarships as well and was able to get his college degree.”

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KYLE V. Pajarito with his 5 gold medals

Kyle V. Pajarito was recently awarded the Best Male Athlete during the National Private School Athletic Association (PRISAA) 2017 held at the Zambales Sports Complex in Iba, Zambales, from April 22-29, 2017. How I wish Mayor Sarah Duterte-Carpio and Mickey Aportadera of Sports would take the time out to acknowledge the inspiring feat of Kyle. After all, he carried the banner of Davao City so proudly. PRISAA is committed to harness the potentials of the country’s top student athletes, trainers, coaches, sports directors, physical education instructors, technical officials and other stakeholders of member schools for excellence in sports.

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EDDIE and Emma Pajarito with their 6 children in Samal

     Kyle V. Pajarito won five gold medals in the 200 meter freestyle, 200 meter butterfly, 400 meter freestyle, 400 meter IM, 1.5K freestyle; and two silver medals in 4X100 meter freestyle and 4X200 meter freestyle. Such an achievement for a Davaoeno swimmer who never made it to the news in Davao’s local papers. “He’s such a hardworking and humble athlete, despite his meager resources, who has gone unnoticed despite his recent achievement in the National PRISAA 2017. Kyle deserves to be acknowledged as he also has an inspiring life story to tell in swimming his way for his education,” said Cheche Tan whose sons are taking swimming lessons at the Holiday Gym and Spa under swimming instructor Haroon Cali with Kyle V. Pajarito as assistant. Coach Haroon is Kyle’s swimming coach at the University of Mindanao where he is presently enrolled. Proud, too, is Haroon of his other protege, Matthieu Adrian Tao, for his winnings in the Palarong Pambansa held in Antique at about the same time as the PRISAA. Unlike Kyle, Tao comes from a family who could well afford to provide him good education and a good life which Kyle can only dream of. And the ever generous coach Haroon provides Kyle his free accommodation while studying in Davao City. UM doesn’t provide free board and lodging for the scholar athletes.

     “I have to help out some of the swimmers on scholarship at UM or they might drop out of school due to lack of financial resources. Kyle has been working hard to improve himself and I see the dedication, discipline and passion in him. The recent awards he got at the National PRISAA 2017 he truly worked hard for. He has improved a lot since last year,” revealed Coach Haroon who, somehow, sees himself in his struggling protege. Oh I truly hope sir Willy Torres reads this.

     Kyle started his training in swimming under Myrna Formoso, a graduate of UM, who was then teaching at the Nieves Villarica National High School. He was winning bronze medals for individual events which meant a lot for him as Mayor Aning Antalan would reward Samal winning athletes with 3,000 pesos for gold medalists, 2000 pesos for silver medalists, and 1000 pesos for bronze medalists. On his fourth year high school, Kyle transferred to the Baculin National High School in Bo. Lambajon, Davao Oriental, where he continued swimming under a new coach, SPO3 Emilio Lim. Mati’s local government would also reward athletes with cash prizes of 1000, 700 and 500 pesos for gold, silver and bronze medalists.

     “When I started swimming in Samal, we would train on the beach for 2-3 hours daily on weekdays; and 3-4 hours on weekends. Now that I’m here in Davao City, I get to enjoy using swimming pools. I was once offered by a university in Manila an athletic scholarship but my parents refused to allow me to go as they said it’s too far. No, my parents never even once watched me compete in swimming. I guess they’re just busy with their work. It’s my brother Ewen who always supports me and watches me compete. I turned out to be a better swimmer than him, hahaha. After my winnings in the National PRISAA 2017, a representative from the University of Cebu offered me an athletic scholarship to transfer there. I guess I have to stick to UM where I am taking up BS Social Work. It’s my goal to help the less fortunate ones once I finish schooling and start working,” narrated Kyle.

     “It’s people like Kyle who remind us of how fortunate we are in life with our parents able to provide us good education. There are those well-off kids who do not take their studies seriously and would rather concentrate on gimmicks with the barkada. That feeling of entitlement in them I truly don’t understand. I’m so happy to have encountered Kyle who assists the 4-5 year-old kids in swimming under coach Haroon. His endurance in swimming and in life for that matter is something for the kids to emulate,” expressed Cheche of her opinion on Davao’s swimming champ.

Thank you, Cheche Tan and coach Haroon Cali, for the Kyle V. Pajarito encounter.

Posted in Lifestyle