TFC News

Bayanihan spirit boosts PH competitors for WCOPA

Steve Angeles | TFC News Anaheim, California

Posted at Jul 26 2022 08:45 PM

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The World Championships of Performing Arts has returned for the first time since the Covid-19 pandemic, marking the 25th year of what is considered as the Olympics of performing arts.

This year, the Philippines brought in over 90 contestants. Their Mindanao tribes theme wowed the audience at the opening day parade, where national director Gerry Mercado was honored with the Extraordinary National Director award.

"Mas mataas ang morale nila ngayon because they waited for two and a half years to compete and to show the world their talents so mas motivated talaga sila because it took a long time for their waiting time compared to the other years. At the same time, team Philippines' morale is always high because we tell them that they no longer perform for themselves but for their country," Mercado said.

Bringing the performers to compete in Anaheim was no easy task. They've been making an appeal to the community for support.

"There is a transfer of government so we were not able to secure sponsorship for the Philippine team. We’re kind of short on food, water, vitamins but the response from the Filipino community is quite overwhelming," WCOPA Philippines Creative Director Annie Mercado said.

Several community drives have been organized to help bring supplies for the team who has been in California for five days. Each donation has boosted the morale of the artists.

"When we saw the number of Filipinos supporting us, we didn't even know most of them. They will just drive by and say, 'hey, are you from the Philippines? We have some stuff in the car.' And then we see the Filipinos just drive by and drop food for us. These kids... they're overwhelmed and they're so happy that they can experience firsthand the bayanihan spirit away from home," Mercado shared.

Until the Friday night Finals, team Philippines will also concentrate on workshops and other competitions. Despite the hardships, they are focused and determined to bring home the gold.