Ferdinand Berongoy feels that being the “whipping boys” is one of the best impetus to strive to be giants.
The coach of the sole Filipino team at the first Asian Karl Popper Debate Competition 2012 and the IDEA Asia Youth Forum, says that the right attitude is all that matters.
“We were literally the ‘whipping boys’,” says the 32 years old lecturer from the faculty of the college of commerce in Cebu, Philippines.
“There was one tournament where out of five rounds, we only won one. But I told my team that it was the best experience we could gain and while we may be getting ‘whipped’ by the giants now, in the future, we can be the giants.”
Berongoy is leading the Philippine team, consisting of 20-year-old Jacques Estola from Leyte, 19-year-old John Dalag from Daanbantayan and 19-year-old Joseph Bacayo from Cebu .
“Don’t give up. It doesn’t matter if you lose, next time, you can come back and do better,” says Berongoy.
It is with this mindset that they went on and got through to the semifinals of the Asian KPDC.
This debate team is part of the Cebu-based Elite Debate Society in which Estola is the president.
He said the idea to start the society came after he and a group of friends joined a debate competition.
“Compared to other countries, people in the Philippines are not very expressive and debate would be a good way for them to learn public speaking,” he says.
For Dalag, debate was initially intimidating but he soon found it to be a great way to express thoughts and ideas.
Bacayo agrees. “Debate moulded us to become more responsible. Before I was a loner in school, but debate boosted my confidence and allowed me to express and improve myself.”
Their debate society is not planning to stop at just competitions and self-improvement. They plan to replicate the teaching materials from the forum and embark on a school “adoption” program where they would train schools in their own provinces in debate.