Namahig Asa Mahiwo, 17, graduated Salutatorian in high school and is currently taking up Sociology at the University of the Philippines. He is also a member of the UP swimming team.
Asa is sharing the character building experience and learning adventure he had with the PSL family.
Here is Asa’s Revelation:
“I was in the 6th grade then when my school was looking for students who can participate in the swimming competition in the Legazpi City selection meet. Our school has only two girl swimmers at that time and my P.E. teacher announced that there should be at least one boy who can join.
My teacher looked at me and said, “Asa, you took swim lessons, didn’t you?” I just answered with a simple, “Yes.”
That was the moment when my somewhat unregimented life as a schoolboy completely changed. I did not realize it then, but I think my simple “Yes,” answer to my teacher marked the start of my discipline in competitive sports.
More importantly, I think my simple “yes” also paved the way for me to experience the most wonderful learning adventure and meaningful character-building lessons in my young life. Let me tell you why.
After competing in the city meet, I was lucky enough to qualify for the regional competition. I was very happy because even though it was my first time to compete, I qualified for the Palarong Bicol and got my first medal in competitive swimming. Not long after my first Palarong Bicol, there was an invitation to compete in a swim meet in Batangas City, which was organized by the Philippine Swimming League (PSL). I can very well remember that our swim club then did not allow us to join the PSL competition but my parents together with the other parents of young swimmers like me decided to join the Batangas competition. It was the first time that we participated in a PSL competition and we got our medals for our efforts. It was also the first time that we met Coach Susan Papa, the president of PSL.
From then on, my life as a swimmer evolved as I learned my first character-building lesson with PSL: young swimmers should be given all the opportunity to develop not only their full potential in competitive sports but more importantly, to learn the value of good health, self-discipline and excellence.
Through the PSL, I got the chance to participate in local competitions and compete with other young Filipino swimmers. I went to beautiful and historical places like Bohol, Palawan and Mindoro. In these competitions, I just didn’t just swim and compete. I experienced the best study tours in my own country! I traveled to these places and know more about my country while enjoying the company of my family and my teammates. Not only did I gain experience in my swimming, but I also had quality time with my family and friends where my bond with them grew stronger and better. There was never a dull moment in every competition that we went to. I learned the value of education, family and friendship.
Thanks to PSL, my exposure to swimming competitions was not only limited to local competitions.
On December 2011, PSL gave me the chance to compete and represent the Philippines in an invitational competition in Bangkok, Thailand. I was anxious, excited and happy because it was my first time to compete with non-Filipino swimmers.
On May 2013, I again got a chance to compete in Hong Kong. Competing with swimmers from other countries was really a challenging and one of a kind experience for me. These tough international competitions gave me the exposure and allowed me to swim with other swimmers on a different level. Of course, after these competitions, we did our sight seeing in Thailand and Hong Kong.
I was also able to see and experience other cultures and the way of life of our Asian neighbors. These learning experiences will forever be in my memories.
I gained experience, exposure and went to places that I didn’t even imagine going to before I became a PSL swimmer. But these are not all I am thankful for. I am even more grateful that I met my PSL family.
Because of PSL, I met many swimmers and competitors who share and nurture my passion for swimming. I met friends that I competed with and friends that inspired me to be a better swimmer.
I met Coach Susan, Coach Doc Benasa and all the PSL coaches and members. It was more than just the competitions. I was welcomed into a family, a family that supports each other and gives each other strength and motivation.
Competitive swimming and PSL made me a better swimmer in and out of the pool. PSL indeed shapes swimmers not only to be excellent in swimming but also and more importantly, to be good persons in life.
Now I think you now know why I said that PSL is a most wonderful learning adventure and meaningful character-building experience in my young life.”
The revelations of Asa show his character and strength as well as his walk in the path of righteousness.
He is among the PSL swimmers that are invited to join the 2017 Summer World University Games to be held in Taipei, Taiwan.