By Pigeon Lobien
BAGUIO CITY (19 Oct) – Eighteen of the 41 athletes who won medals in the 2019 Southeast Asian Games were feted with a photo exhibit at the Baguio City Hall lobby here Monday, October 19.
Gold medal winners Jearome Calica of muay thai, kickboxer Jean Claude Saclag and Sandi Menchi Abahan of obstacle course race led athletes in the opening of the SEAG Heroes photo exhibit by Eliza Consul.
They were joined in the simple ceremony at the city hall lobby by muay thai silver medalist Islay Erika Bomogao, Jomar Balangui (silver, kickboxing), and wushu taolu’s Daniel Parantac (bronze) in the opening ceremonies with Consul and councilor Vladimir Cayabas and Levy Lloyd Orcales, chairmen of the committees of education, culture and creativity, and youth and sports, respectively, as guests.
“We will work together in providing assistance to you our athletes,” said Orcales which was backed by Cayabas, who is a member of the youth and sports committee also.
Orcales said that they are in the process of passing the sports code that will provide more assistance to athletes not only after winning but also in the provision of the needed training and proper coaching.
Other athletes begged off since most are students and had classes during the opening ceremonies which was also a celebration of the Indigenous Peoples month here.
Sixteen of the 18 athletes featured belong to IP groups in the Cordilleras.
Calica is Ibaloy (Southern Benguet including Baguio), Saclag is Kalinga, and Kankana-ey (northern Benguet) and Abahan are from Barlig, Mountain Province, and Ifugao, for instance.
Balangui is Baguio raised but of Kalinga stock, Bomogao is a Kankana-ey from Sagada, Mountain Province, and Kankana-ey from Kapangan, Benguet, while Parantac is a Baguio raised Kankana-ey from southern Mountain Province.
Also featured in the exhibit are photos of Jeardan Dominguez (taekwondo), Gina Iniong (kickboxing), Abegail Dulawan, Crisamuel Delfin Elmer Manlapas and Eza Rai Yalong of arnis, Divine Wally and Jones Inso of wushu, muay thai’s Jenelyn Olism, and Rusha Bayacsan.
Non-IP members include double gold medalist Stephanie Sabalo of dancesport and Mark Striegl of sambo.
Photos of Nars Padilla, who wrote the Athletes Incentives Ordinance and former Gintong Alay camp director, as well as Thai boxing promoter and philanthropist Naris Singwangcha, were also feted. Singwancgcha for 10 years has helped create boxing champions from the Cordilleras including Alvin Tam, Dayer Gabutan, and Rex Wao, to name a few.
The exhibit, coordinated by the eponymous Publications and Media Works (e-Pub) is part of the Heroes Portrait project that include murals of sports legends and the famed Team Lakay at the Baguio athletic bowl and backed by Davies Paints, BCF – UC Alumni Association, Singwangcha Foundation and the Benguet Electric Cooperative.
The murals will include the faces of sports legends Hector Begeo, boxer Rey Tam, judoka Jerry Dino, javelin queen Erlinda Lavandia, and muay Thai great Brent Velasco as well as future legends Dominguez and Wally. These murals will be done by artist Gladys Ann Labsan, who two years ago did portraits of many Cordillera athletes.
The Team Lakay mural will have founder Mark Sangiao, former ONE champions Eduard Folayang, Kevin Belingon, Honorio Banario, and Geje Eustaquio, ONE strawweight king Joshua Pacio, former PXC king Cris Pitpitunge and Brave FC king Stephen Loman. It will be undertaken by Team Lakay fighter Harold Banario.
IN ATTENDANCE. Southeast Asian Games medalists Jearome Calica (muay thai gold), Islay Erika Bomogao (muay thai silver), Jean Claude Saclag (kickboxing gold), Jomar Balangui (kickboxing silver), Sandi Menchi Abahan (OCR gold), and Daniel Parantac (wushu taolu bronze) as well as Highland Boxing Promotion’s Brico Santig during the opening of the SEAG Heroes photo exhibit at the Baguio City Hall lobby Monday, October 19. Eighteen winning athletes from the 2019 SEAG that helped the Philippines to the overall title are featured in the exhibit by noted Baguio photographer Eliza Consul.