UP Fighting Maroons’ Inspiring Visit to UP-PGH Kids: A Celebration of Community Spirit

UP Fighting Maroons UP-PGH Kids
UP Fighting Maroons’ Captain CJ Cansino leads the spreading of joy and hope in the UP-PGH Pediatric Ward through a gift-giving event. UPMBT photo.

The UP Fighting Maroons Men’s Basketball Team of the University of the Philippines (UPMBT) recently embarked on a heartwarming mission to spread their #UPFight. Their destination: the UP-Philippine General Hospital (UP-PGH) Pediatric Ward, a place where young warriors bravely battle their health challenges.

The team’s visit, laden with toys and smiles, wasn’t just a gesture of goodwill but a vibrant testament to their enduring spirit of volunteerism and gratitude for the unwavering community support they’ve received over the year.

Accompanied by the nowheretogobutUP Foundation, team captain CJ Cansino and veteran Gerry Abadiano led this expedition of hope on December 15, 2023. Their arrival, with gifts from Toys R Us in hand, was a beacon of light, transforming the hospital’s halls into a playground of joy and laughter.

Cansino, with the warmth of a true leader, expressed his heartfelt emotions: “Nakakataba ng puso na maging part ng ganito and makapagpasaya ng mga bata (It’s heartwarming to be part of something like this and to bring joy to the children).)

“Everyone’s fighting their own battles and it’s our time to show them that we’re in this together,” added the team captain who led the UPMBT to its stellar UAAP season and a silver finish, echoing the team’s collective desire to bring comfort and happiness to those in need.

Abadiano, reflecting on the profound impact of their visit, shared, “Mabigat para sa akin na makita yong condition nila. Pero iba sa feeling makita yong mga ngiti nila kahit sa simple gifts at laruan (It’s difficult for me to see their condition. But the feeling is different when you see their smiles from simple gifts and toys).”

“Masaya na napasaya namin sila today, pero mas marami kaming nakuha[ng inspirasyon] sa kanila (It’s good to make them happy today, but we actually gained more inspiration from them),” shared the relentless guard on the hardcourt. His sentiments underscored the emotional depth of their experience, highlighting the reciprocal nature of giving.

See photos from the UPMBT gift-giving at the UP-PGH here:

The UPMBT’s connection with UP-PGH isn’t new. During the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, they engaged in a ‘Zoomustahan’ session with the hospital’s staff and frontliners, fostering a bond that transcends the virtual realm. Their recent visit allowed them to deepen this connection, offering personal thanks and festive cheer to the medical heroes on the frontlines.

Welcomed by Dr. Gerard Legaspi, UP-PGH’s Director, the visit was seen as the beginning of a heartening tradition. “We are so happy to have our Fighting Maroons here with us today, spending time with the children under our care, spreading love and joy this holiday season. Hopefully, this is the first of many times we’ll do this. #UPFight!” Dr. Legaspi said, his words filled with hope and gratitude, painted a picture of a community united by compassion and resilience.

The involvement of the nowheretogobutUP Foundation’s founding chairman, Renan B. Dalisay who champions volunteerism, added another layer to this narrative. Emphasizing the significance of such initiatives, he said, “We want the Fighting Maroons to have this meaningful experience of getting to know and giving back to the people we play for. Ngayon, tapos na ang mga UAAP games, serbisyo muna uli (Now that the UAAP games are over, it’s time to serve again),” Dalisay said, highlighting the dual role of these athletes as sports icons and community servants.

This touching event is just the beginning of a long-term commitment by nowheretogobutUP and the UPMBT to support the UP-PGH Pediatric Department. The 2022 UAAP Champions‘ journey, from underdogs to championship contenders, has been immortalized in the book “NowhereToGoButUP,” as well as through poetry and songs, showcasing their dedication to humanitarian causes beyond the basketball court. The UP Fighting Maroons had also helped victims of the Taal volcano eruption and supported struggling Filipino farmers.

“Manalo o matalo, UP will keep serving. We will keep on fighting. Yan ang Tatak UP, yan ang mga Iskolar-Atleta para sa bayan (Win or lose, UP will keep serving. We will keep on fighting. That’s the mark of UP, those are the Scholar-Athletes for the nation),” he added, his vision reflecting a deep-seated commitment to service and community engagement.

WATCH the video highlights of the UP Fighting Maroons sharing their #UPFight community spirit with children at the UP-PGH here:

Celebrate the spirit of giving and community with the UP Fighting Maroons by sharing this inspiring story. Let’s spread the word about their incredible work and continue to support these outstanding athletes and humanitarians. Share your thoughts and experiences with us, and let’s keep the #UPFight spirit alive!

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Angie Quadra-Balibay
Angie is a self-confessed reformed news critic who vows she has finally found infinite value in delivering the good news. She teaches students of all ages how to make the important interesting for audiences across media platforms.