My Sport, My Work, My Passion

We would like to share with you a compelling story of one’s love for work and his pursuit of his passion. Our very own Mr. Manly Bayona, who works as a junior supervisor at the Monterey Meatshop of C & Triple A Supermarket. Here is his story.

 Manly proudly shows his gold medal from the 2015 Philippine National Games Luzon Qualifying Leg where he won in the Arnis Middleweight Division last  July 2-6, 2015. (L) Patrick Aquino, Operations Manager of C & Triple Supermart (R) Manly Bayona, Junior Supervisor of Monterey Meatshop.
My Sport, My Work, My Passion
By: Manly B. Bayona

I never imagined that arnis could make an impact in my life. I grew up in Iloilo. During my younger years, I learned to break back and bone to earn and contribute to my family’s budget for food. I planted rice in my tito’s plot of land and he would give me a little extra to help with the everyday needs as well as allowance for school, I was 8 years old at that time. Life was hard and challenging for me then.

However, everything changed when Mr. Rigulus Navarro Jr. introduced me to the art of arnis, I was 17 years old at that time. He was a businessman and an arnis master who had an arnis gym in his resort. I was invited to train in his gym and that is where my passion for arnis began. I often waited for Mr. Navarro to finish his duties in his shop and would ask him to train me after his shift. We trained until 11PM.

Arnis opened a lot of doors for me. I started winning in local competitions. I started realizing my self-worth. I started believing in myself. I often told myself, “I am good in what I do and I would like to do this for as long as I can.” In 2011, the first Philippine National Games was held in Silay, Bacolod, this is where all my hard work paid off when I won my first major gold medal. In 2012, I competed in The Dinagiang Festival Arnis Competition where I also won gold, and this is where I met Mr. Jayson Vicente, the current Commissioner of Arnis in Baguio City. He spoke to me and presented the scholarship program of The University of the Cordilleras where I could pursue my studies as a varsity member of the UC Arnis Varsity Team.

I grabbed the opportunity, I told my grandmother, packed my bags and went to Baguio City. I didn’t know anyone n Baguio, I only knew my coach Sir Jayson and my Assistant Coach Mr. Ayatollah Gadaoni. My stay in Baguio had its ups and downs but through the guidance of my coaches, I learned to make both victory and defeat as my motivation to strive harder. Winning is a good experience, but victory is always a product of sacrifices and perseverance. As they say, “If you want something , you have to work for it.”

I saw the struggle of balancing time for training and studying and maintaining the grade requirement for my scholarship was really difficult. I came across another road bump when I had to stop schooling because of conflicts in the grade requirement. I did not want to go back to Iloilo at that time so I looked for a job so I could stay in Baguio City. I found a job in a construction site but still continued to train after work. The rigors of working in construction took a toll on my body and in turn wasn’t able to compete as well as I did before. After one of my training sessions, I accompanied one of my teammates to do some grocery shopping at C & Triple A Supermart. While in the store I saw the sign of a job vacancy for bagger. I thought that it would be better for me to get a job that was not as physically taxing as construction so I could still train properly after work. I quit my job at the construction site and landed the job as bagger at C & Triple A. After a few weeks as bagger another opening for a position as Monterey Butcher was posted. I knew that this would entail more physical labor than being a bagger but it was an opportunity for me to learn a new skill. I told the HR about my intent to apply for a higher position as a butcher and thankfully I got accepted. I trained as a junior butcher and worked my way up until just this January 2016, everything came full circle when I was asked if I would be willing to train for a higher position as junior supervisor. I was hesitant at first knowing that work as a junior supervisor entailed a higher level of thinking and leadership. I found strength and determination in arnis and if I was able to achieve what I was able to achieve as an athlete, I would also like to do this in my career, so I took on the challenge.

Things in life did not go as I planned. The circumstances I faced changed my purpose and direction in life but nonetheless helped me reach a certain level of fulfillment. I realized that in hardship a firm and willed character may still take you places. I haven’t given up my passion for the sport, I still train but have taken it a step further by training younger aspiring athletes. Thankfully, the 2 athletes that I trained have also won gold medals in competitions that they have joined.

Manly Bayona of Baguio Arnis Arnis All Star Team wins Gold in Arnis Labanan (Sparring) in the just concluded Philippine, National Games National finals in Lingayen, Pangasinan last March 6-11, 2016.

I am very thankful to everyone who prayed for me and my team who brought home five gold, seven silver, and a bronze medal in the recently concluded Philippine National Games finals held in Lingayen, Pangasinan last March 6 to 11, 2016. I am very fortunate to be employed in a company that supports the passion of their employees. The support and understanding of bosses and co-workers helped boost my morale and gave me the additional drive to continuously pursue my passion and improve myself both in arnis and in the workplace. I will forever be grateful and will always acknowledge that part of my victory is attributed to my C & Triple A family.