By the time you are reading this, you should be aware that what was once impossible for the Philippines became a tremendous breakthrough – national weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz (her official Twitter and Instagram) defeated her Chinese competitor in the Tokyo Olympics women’s 55 Kg. weightlifting competition and won for the Philippines its first-ever Olympic gold medal the other night. The mainstream media of the Philippines went full blast with their coverage of the pioneering achievement.
That being said, we Filipinos should praise and thank our Heavenly Father for anointing Diaz to win the often-elusive Olympic gold medal for the Filipino people. Her victory is a clear reminder that with God, nothing is impossible. The Olympic gold victory is pioneering for Diaz and also marks the beginning of a new age in the history of the Philippines even as it remains struggling with the COVID-19 crisis. Before checking on the official news story, watch first these three relevant videos.
And now we can proceed with the official story of the Philippine News Agency (PNA), the excerpt of which is posted below. Some parts in boldface…
After 97 years, the elusive Olympic gold has finally been taken by the Philippines.
Hidilyn Diaz became the first Filipino athlete to win it all in an Olympic event after winning the women’s 55-kg. weightlifting competition at the Tokyo International Forum in Japan on Monday night.
Diaz, the 2016 Rio Olympics silver medalist, prevailed in a neck and neck showdown with China’s Liao Qiuyun in the clean-and-jerk lift as their battle for the gold went down the wire.
Finishing tied with Diaz in the snatch with a 97-kg. maximum lift, Liao lifted 126 kg. in her final lift, forcing Diaz to go for 127 to steal the top spot from Liao.
Diaz, however, smoothly cleared the 127-kg. lift to win it all, also setting an Olympic record in the process.
Her 224-kg. total is also an Olympic record.
“I don’t know what to say. It’s a dream come true. I just want to say that we Filipinos are strong. We Filipinos can compete here at the Olympics. We can do it,” a high-spirited Diaz was quoted as saying by Xinhuanet.
The 30-year-old Diaz gave advice to younger Filipino athletes to “please dream high.”
“That’s how I started. I dreamed high and finally, I was able to do it,” she added.
Liao admitted that she was surprised by Diaz’s improvement.
“I feel good today. I can lift 123kg at most due to injuries, and never thought of a successful 126kg lift. I didn’t expect her strength like this,” Liao said.
“I didn’t expect such a situation,” he said. “Liao has gone all out, so it’s not a huge pity for her to lose the gold medal. It’s just because we did not expect our opponent (Diaz) to be so strong.”
Diaz has also assured herself of a total of PHP33 million from various people who pledged monetary rewards to the gold medal winners.
Zulfiya Chinshanlo of Kazakhstan claimed the bronze with a total of 213 kg. lifted.
Muattar Nabieva of Uzbekistan, despite setting the Olympic record for the snatch with a 98-kg. lift, missed out on the podium as she could only clear 114 in the C&J for a total of 212.
Malacañang joined the entire nation in celebrating the country’s first-ever Olympic gold medal since it joined the most prestigious quadrennial event in 1924.
As you can see in the above PNA story, the first-ever Olympic gold medal won for the Philippines is tremendous and the good news is that, as of this writing, there are still opportunities for other Filipino athletes competing at the Tokyo Olympics to win more medals (even gold) and help lift the nation in the medal rankings. Going back to Hidilyn Diaz (who was born in Zamboanga City in 1991), her pioneering achievement will earn her tremendous (and deserving) financial rewards from both the government and private sector. Check out the respective reports of the Manila Bulletin, GMA News and Nikkei Asia. To nobody’s surprise, a big welcome-back-home for her is being prepared.
Unsurprisingly, a lot of people around the Philippines, notably public officials who enjoy the automatic mainstream media magnification, expressed their admiration for Diaz and congratulated her. Among the many acknowledgements and congratulatory messages for Diaz expressed by lots of people and organizations (both domestic and foreign), Planetshakers Church in Australia and the Embassy of Israel in the Philippines posted their congratulatory messages for her via their official their respective Facebook pages yesterday. Look at the screenshots below.
Hours after her victory, Diaz posted a picture of herself and the Olympic gold medal on her Instagram as a picture story post. She thanked the people for their prayers.
National fame and Olympic achievement aside, Hidilyn Diaz’s gold medal achievement shows that nothing is impossible with God. Learn from the holy scriptures below…
Jesus looked at them and replied, “With people it is impossible, but not with God—God makes all things possible!”
Mark 10:27 (TPT)
Not one promise from God is empty of power. Nothing is impossible with God!
Luke 1:37 (TPT)
I am convinced that my God will fully satisfy every need you have, for I have seen the abundant riches of glory revealed to me through Jesus Christ!
Philippians 4:19 (TPT)
I know what it means to lack, and I know what it means to experience overwhelming abundance. For I’m trained in the secret of overcoming all things, whether in fullness or in hunger. And I find that the strength of Christ’s explosive power infuses me to conquer every difficulty.
Philippians 4:12-13 (TPT)
To our Lord is all the glory and let us praise and thank Him so much for anointing Hidilyn Diaz who not only won the Philippines’ first-ever Olympic gold medal but also all the many medals and honors she achieved in other international events as the representative of the Philippines. She truly deserves the financial rewards and the inevitable long-lasting fame that comes with being the nation’s first-ever Olympic gold medalist. Still you must always remember that worship is only for the Heavenly Father, Lord Jesus and the Holy Spirit. Never let idolatry dominate you for it is not only unholy, not only foolish but also will separate you from the Lord.
Let me ask you readers: How much of an impact did Hidilyn Diaz’s Olympic gold medal victory have on you as a citizen of the Philippines? Did you ever doubt she would win the gold medal in the Olympics? Does her gold medal victory inspire you to improve yourself?
In closing this article, posted below is a performance of the great Hillsong worship song King of Kings by Melody Hwang.
Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com
Disclaimer: This is my original work with details sourced from Love-Love Tioseco by means of an interview and research. Anyone who wants to use this article, in part or in whole, needs to secure first my permission and agree to cite me as the source and author. Let it be known that any unauthorized use of this article will constrain the author to pursue the remedies under R.A. No. 8293, the Revised Penal Code, and/or all applicable legal actions under the laws of the Philippines.
All photographs used in this article are properties of Love-Love Tioseco and were approved for publishing.
In a Time of Crisis and Quarantine, Love-Love Tioseco Gives Food to the Frontline Personnel
It’s really mind-boggling how microbes in the form of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) stopped much of the world. Not only have most economic activities stopped, people have been advised by their respective authorities to stay at home in order to avoid getting infected.
Here in Metro Manila in the Philippines, enhanced community quarantine and a 24-hour curfew (specifically in the cities of Muntinlupa, Las Piñas and Parañaque) have been implemented around which severely limited people from traveling out of their homes. Checkpoints have also been set up along national roads while businesses that were allowed to operate had to use thermal scanners and set up sanitizers for people to use.
To put things in perspective, the people who work for long hours each day at the checkpoints, at the village gates, on the roads, and inside the commercial joints still operating are referred to locally as the frontliners. At the frontline, they work not only to serve and guide people but also provide security in accordance to the guidelines of the declared quarantine. Such work is undoubtedly hard and tiring, even risky since any person infected with COVID-19 could approach them any time of the day. The frontliners definitely deserve support from anyone blessed who is generous to be a blessing to them.
Very recently, I saw my very dear college buddy Love-Love Tioseco share via social media images of her generous act of giving food to the frontliners. I was very touched by it so I immediately reached out to her and publish this exclusive article for you all.
Again, to put things in perspective, Love-Love and I were classmates at Colegio de San Juan de Letran in the late 1990s. We both finished Communication Arts there. She was a member of the Philippine TaeKwonDo Team for 11 years and, along the way, she was a 3-time gold medalist in the Southeast Asian Games (SEA Games), a 3-time bronze medalist in the Asian Games and a 3-time 5th placer in the World Games.
Back in college, Love-Love was a working student in the media and the entertainment industry. After graduation, she worked as a bartender at Italianni’s restaurant for 3 years but still continued working for the media and the entertainment industry.
Love-Love went on to become an advocate of safety oriented driving. She also engaged in motorcycling and competed for a time which ultimately paved the way for the acceptance of women who ride and drive motorcycles. Love-Love also appeared on TV in some entertainment programs as well as motoring-related shows.
Today, she is in the business of selling batteries of Imarflex Battery and is the current Secretary of the Luzon Motorcyclists Federation, Inc. (LMFI). To this day, she is still active in the motoring industry and continues to emphasize the essence of driving safely and following traffic rules to make local travel safer for everyone. Below is a 2017 Alisto video which involved her as a guest traffic analyst. Love-Love starts appearing at 0:20 on the timer.
Being blessed and being a blessing to others
Going back to assisting the frontliners who have worked so hard and long during the quarantine, I asked Love-Love what inspired her to make a move.
“During this time of the quarantine period, I asked God how can I show my appreciation in my own little way to heroes or frontliners who have been on duty while risking their lives being exposed to the virus,” Love-Love said. “Then one of my scooter friends Micar Briones Santana of The Rustic Kitchen sent a message that she had hard-boiled eggs from her bakery up for donation but she needed someone who can help her give away those eggs, so I told her right away that I will do it and, yes, I did it.”
Clearly the God answered Love-Love’s question paving the way for the opportunity to help the frontliners. After getting supply of hard-boiled eggs, she organized things first. The hard-boiled eggs with broken shells were made into egg spread sandwiches (as energy food for the garbage collectors). With the help of a fellow LMFI club member named Willy Lopez (Takaz Boyz), she received onions which became a key ingredient of her egg spread recipe.
Subsequently, Love-Love went around the metro to feed the MMDA Patrol Team on both the northbound and southbound lanes of EDSA, feed the MMDA Rescue Team under the EDSA flyovers, feed the personnel at the Mandaluyong checkpoints, feed the Makati City police officers on patrol, feed the security guards at an Army Navy branch, feed the Transportify delivery drivers, the motorized drivers of Grab Food and Food Panda, feed the attendants at a Caltex fuel station, feed the manpower staff at Bel-Air Village, and feed a truck-full of Philippine Army soldiers.
I asked Love-Love how the frontliners reacted when she first approached them with the prepared food.
“At first, they thought I was selling eggs to them but when I told them the eggs were free, some of them got more than three eggs, and I did not have time to count how many people got free eggs because my mind was focusing on giving to the deserving ones,” she recalled.
Love-Love’s generous move is a clear example of her being blessed by the Lord as well as being a blessing to others. To put things in perspective, read the words of Lord Jesus in the following scripture from the Holy Bible.
Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.
Matthew 5: 16 (NKJV)
Unsurprisingly, the frontliners thanked her for the eggs as it provided them some much needed relief from the stress they accumulated. To Love-Love’s surprise, there were delivery personnel who took selfie shots with her for them to post on Facebook.
In an April 3, 2020 Facebook page post, Lim stated: Maraming salamat sa lahat ng mga sumusuporta sa serbisyo ng #MMDA, lalo na ngayong panahon ng #COVID19! Salamat kina Ms. Micar Briones Santana ng The Rustic Kitchen at Ms. Love-Love Tengsico Tioseco para sa malasakit na binibigay niyo. Kahit sa simpleng paraan man, laking tulong ito sa pag-boost ng morale ng ating mga kawani. Makakaasa kayong paiigtingin pa natin ang ating frontline at emergency services. Patuloy ang pagtutulungan natin laban sa krisis na ito.
I asked Love-Love if she will repeat her moves of generous assistance to the frontliners.
“Yes, of course. I hope there will be more generous sponsors soon for me to distribute their donations again,” she said.
Love-Love’s special message to those who could help
“Spread the love, action speaks louder than words especially with helping others, and share the simple joys of life.”
Love-Love’s special message to those who are affected by the quarantine
“Please be a prayer warrior and pray that the virus will be gone already instead of being paranoid or being a basher, which is no help at all with the crisis we are all experiencing now.”
In closing this, here is a video of the Hillsong performance of Thank You, Lord (my Christian Music Appreciation of it right here) that will remind you to be thankful to the Lord who is the source of opportunities, happiness, protection, prosperity, provision and so much more. God is the source! Enjoy!
Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com
Disclaimer: This is my original work with details sourced from John Chicano by means of an interview and research. Anyone who wants to use this article, in part or in whole, needs to secure first my permission and agree to cite me as the source and author. Let it be known that any unauthorized use of this article will constrain the author to pursue the remedies under R.A. No. 8293, the Revised Penal Code, and/or all applicable legal actions under the laws of the Philippines.
A Chat with 2019 SEA Games Gold Medalist and Southeast Asia’s Triathlon King – John Chicano
Since he first participated in the Southeast Asian Games (SEA Games) in 2017, John Leerams Chicano raked in notable honors for the Philippines and took his career in the multisport of triathlon (swim-bike-run) even higher.
Today, Chicano is one of the highest-ranking members of the National Team of triathlon and this past December, he won the gold medal in the men’s triathlon event of the 2019 SEA Games that was held at the Subic Bay Freeport Zone (so close to his native Olongapo City). With that big victory, he established himself as Southeast Asia’s newest triathlon king replacing Nikko Huelgas (2015 and 2017 SEA Games gold medalist). It was also the big reward for the long road (about a decade) he literally took engaging in multisport events like triathlon and duathlon.
Recently I met Chicano and had a nice chat with him.
For you, my readers, here is a look at 3-time SEA Games medalist John Chicano.
A quick look at his background
John Chicano has been engaging in triathlon for many years now and has been a member of the Philippine team along the way. He represented the country in many events of the Triathlon Association of the Philippines (TRAP), most notably the annual Subic Bay International Triathlon (SUBIT). He also raced in other triathlon events organized by Bike King Philippines and other race organizers. On livelihood, he previously worked as a bike mechanic as well as a janitor. He now has his own family to support.
When it comes to triathlon at the SEA Games, he made his debut in the 2017 edition of the games held in Malaysia and won the silver medal in the individual men’s triathlon event next to teammate Nikko Huelgas who won the gold medal back then (note: Huelgas first won the SEA Games gold in 2015). His achievement was recognized by the media and the national government which in turn rewarded him (along with all other medalists) with cash incentives in accordance to Republic Act Number 10699.
Winning the SEA Games gold medal at Subic Bay
On the early morning of December 1, 2019, the SEA Games men’s triathlon event started with Chicano and Cebu-based teammate Andrew Kim Remolino representing the nation. After going through the pressure and enduring the pain of the 1.5 kilometer swim – 40 Km bike – 10 Km run event, Chicano won the gold medal in 1 hour, 53 minutes and 26 seconds. Remolino followed with 1:55:03 to win the silver medal, completing the 1-2 punch for the Philippines.
“We were confident in the sense that we prepared well for the SEA Games which includes three months of training at Clark,” Chicano said. “While I was confident to win, there were a few moments of uncertainty since the big competition (men’s triathlon) could turn out to be unpredictable.”
During the December 1 event, Chicano and Remolino raced together during the 40-kilometer bike leg and on the spot they came up with a new strategy to win gold and silver. At that particular stage, another foreign competitor biked near them. Earlier in the swim leg, Remolino was the first to emerge from the sea while Chicano was 4th (an Indonesian and a Singaporean were slightly ahead of him). During the 10-kilometer run leg, Chicano and Remolino built up their lead as a country and, ultimately, he gave it his all to win the gold, literally upgrading from silver (2017 SEA Games). The victory was witnessed by the top sports officials, the coaches, the Triathlon Association of the Philippines (TRAP), the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority officials, the spectators, corporate sponsors and, of course, Chicano’s family.
“It was a very happy moment for me to cross the finish line for the gold medal. I even felt like crying for happiness back then,” Chicano recalled the very moment he won the gold and became Southeast Asia’s best. “This was the big payback for almost ten years of effort racing in triathlon and growing to be stronger and more competitive. My triathlon effort and build-up started in 2010, preceded by biking in 2009. The feeling was so tremendous and happy.”
During the medal awarding ceremony, Chicano thought deeply about his SEA Games achievement and that he could bring further honors to the nation (plus his locality) in the years to come. The day after that, Chicano and teammates Remolino, Kim Mangrobang and Kim Kilgroe got tremendous spotlight together in the national newspapers which was expected considering their victorious achievements.
His SEA Games gold medal achievement not only raked in praise from many, financial rewards also came in from the national government (RA 10699), the City Government of Olongapo, corporate sponsors and other generous parties. Chicano even got to visit the Philippine Senate and met with Senator Richard Gordon.
As of this writing, Chicano is strongly focused on triathlon and he believes that what he achieved so far as a triathlete, and also as Southeast Asia’s best male triathlete, will be remembered for a long time and perhaps inspire the next generation of Filipinos to excel in sports.
When it comes to the near future, Chicano will go to Australia very soon to attend the Annual General Meeting and Awards Night of the FilOz Triathlon Club as their Guest Speaker. After that, he will undergo triathlon training for a few more weeks there in Australia.
From this point on, I recommend you all to take a close look at Chicano in triathlon events both local and overseas. He is, after all, Southeast Asia’s reigning triathlon king.
Disclaimer: This is my original work with details sourced from Kim Mangrobang by means of an interview and research. Anyone who wants to use this article, in part or in whole, needs to secure first my permission and agree to cite me as the source and author. Let it be known that any unauthorized use of this article will constrain the author to pursue the remedies under R.A. No. 8293, the Revised Penal Code, and/or all applicable legal actions under the laws of the Philippines.
Meet Southeast Asia’s Reigning Triathlon Queen – Kim Mangrobang!
When triathlon (swim-bike-run) made its debut in the Southeast Asian Games (SEA Games) in late 2005 at the Subic Bay Freeport Zone here in the Philippines, Marion Kim Mangrobang was still a teenager who witnessed the event as a spectator. Already a junior-level member of the Philippine triathlon team, she naturally cheered for her older teammates Ani De Leon and Sandra Araullo who represented the nation in the first-ever SEA Games triathlon event for women.
Fast forward to December 1, 2019, Mangrobang represented the Philippines in the 2019 SEA Games individual women’s triathlon event (her 3rd SEA Games since 2015) which was also held at Subic Bay and, more notably, won the gold medal in front of a large cheering crowd (with coach Ani De Leon – Brown, the other Philippine team coaches, officials of the Philippine Sports Commission, PHISGOC and the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority plus other important personalities watching near the finish line) followed by her teammate Kim Kilgroe who copped the silver.
As far as the SEA Games records go, Mangrobang won a total of four medals since her debut in 2015, specifically 3 gold medals (the first gold won in 2017) and 1 silver medal (won in 2015). In retrospect, her gold medal victory at Subic Bay was a successful defense of her gold medal achievement in the 2017 SEA Games which essentially established her as Southeast Asia’s reigning triathlon queen.
That being said, I am very happy to present to you my feature interview of Kim Mangrobang which starts right now.
Kim Mangrobang’s background
Mangrobang was born in Sta. Mesa, Manila, in 1991 to parents Richard (an engineer) and Dine (a manpower firm executive). Since the age of four, her family has been living in Santa Rosa, Laguna which is now a progressing city south of Metro Manila.
Mangrobang got into the sport of swimming as a result of her parents’ encouragement for her when she was little. She found sports to be an enjoyable pastime.
“As with most other parents, my mom and dad encouraged me to get into sports during the summer season when I was young. So I joined a swim team and along the way I felt I was playing given the aquatic aspect of swimming,” she recalled. “My teammates and I had fun with swimming and later I realized that swimming would be a serious form of competition.”
At the age of nine, she started swimming and eventually it became a daily part of her life similar with her teammates. As an elementary student, she continued swimming and eventually she became a varsity swimmer in her high school days (with the goal of making it in the Palarong Pambansa) and participated in many swimming competitions (between local sports clubs).
Being a member of her school’s swim team and of a separate swim club, Mangrobang learned a lot about competitive swimming related to national sports and inter-club competition. Along the way, she had to deal with a certain disadvantage of hers – her height.
“I really was a short girl back then. When I was twelve, my swimming coach noticed my height disadvantage and he figured out that it would be more helpful if I would try out with the Philippine team of triathlon,” she said.
That coach turned out to be none other than Abelardo “Abet” Alon-Alon who was a former national champion in triathlon as well as a former national team coach in the said sport. Historically, Alon-Alon was a standout in Philippine triathlon’s early years back in the 1990s His suggestion to Mangrobang to get into triathlon and into Philippine multisport turned out to be a blessing for her and the nation.
She immediately took part in a tryout (for the Philippine triathlon team) which was composed of a 1.5 kilometer swim and 3-kilometer run. Her swim time was 27 minutes and 36 seconds while she timed around 12 minutes in the run. She qualified and her membership with the Philippine triathlon team started on the junior (youth) level.
“That was the start of my new journey in sports and I realized that there were better opportunities in triathlon,” she recalled.
Triathlon career and rise in prominence
Gradually Kim Mangrobang redeveloped herself athletically under the guidance of triathlon coaches like Raul Cuevas (now heading race organizer Bike King Philippines), Peter Gonzales and Abet Alon-Alon to name a few. As she maintained her swimming, she learned to bike and run gaining valuable skills and experience. Before participating in triathlon, she engaged in aquathlon (swim-run) events.
At age thirteen, she took part in a Fit-and-Tri event for youth finishing 6th overall in a short distance aquathlon race held in Ayala Alabang Village. She finished 2nd to the last back then as she was still getting oriented. She went on to join a lot more aquathlon events later.
Her first-ever triathlon performance happened in another Fit-and-Tri event some time later. In that race, she finished 6th place. In further triathlon events, she gradually made her way up until reaching 1st place.
“To the best of my memory, I finished at around 4th place overall during the first year of competing in the Fit-and-Tri series. In the following year, I reached 1st place overall. Emerging 1st became normal for me in the years that followed, until I reached the age of fifteen or sixteen,” she recalled.
In 2006, Mangrobang joined the Junior Elite race of the Subic Bay International Triathlon (SUBIT) held at the Subic Bay Freeport Zone and finished 2nd. That event was her first time to compete with foreign triathletes her age and instead of feeling intimidated, she performed well and still enjoyed the experience. Her value as a member of the Philippine team grew more. That same year, she raced in the Asian Duathlon Championships held in Clark finishing 4th in the Junior Women contest.
At age seventeen, Mangrobang tested herself in a Standard Distance (1.5 Km swim – 40 Km bike – 10 Km run) event during the 2008 Subic Bay ASTC Long Distance Triathlon event and won the bronze. Ahead of her were LC Langit (gold) and Monica Torres (silver).
In May 2009, Mangrobang finished 10th in the Elite Women contest of that year’s SUBIT clocking 2 hours, 32 minutes and 45 seconds (2:32:45). In the years that followed, she kept on representing the Philippines in the Elite Women contests of not only SUBIT but also in other triathlon events of the International Triathlon Union (ITU) that were held around the world. No matter how tough the field of competition was, the Santa Rosa triathlete kept focusing and persevering on doing her best and improving herself.
In the 2016 edition of SUBIT (2016 Subic Bay NTT ASTC Triathlon Asian Cup) held at Subic Bay, Mangrobang emerged as the Elite Women champion followed by her teammate Kim Kilgroe and Hong Kong’s Kate Rutherford. She timed 2:10:40 and won several ITU qualifying points in return. For the Philippines, it was a rare gold medal victory in the history of SUBIT which has often been dominated by foreign triathletes. The said victory was also proof that Mangrobang’s overseas training (under the guidance of Portugal-based coach Sergio Santos) paid off nicely. To this day, her training in Portugal continues.
Mangrobang also achieved great honor for the nation in non-triathlon events. She emerged as the women’s champion in the Lisbon Meia-Maratona Dos Descombrimentos Half Marathon that was held on December 6, 2015 in Portugal. Her victorious performance saw her timing 1:22:40 outclassing 2nd placer Ceu Nunes (1:26:55) and 3rd placer Sofia Mateiro (1:27:34). That particular sports event was noted to be a programmed race to test the fitness of triathletes. It was also a rarity that Filipinos get to race in the said event, which made Mangrobang’s victory even more outstanding.
Triathlon at the Southeast Asian Games (SEA Games)
“I was still in high school back then. Me and my family left Santa Rosa at dawn to go to Subic Bay to watch the SEA Games triathlon. I had to take a leave of absence from school since that was a school day and I had to go back to school the very next day,” Mangrobang recalled. “When we arrived, there was already a huge crowd of spectators around the venue. The excitement was really high even before the race started.”
Mangrobang recalled that as a spectator, she felt nervous for the nation and what was at stake just as the individual participants were formally introduced during the pre-race ceremony. Like many others, she could only stand and watch the race unfold from behind the barricades (used for crowd control) and experience bouts of anxiety and nervousness. She cheered for her older teammates Sandra Araullo and Ani de Leon. Araullo went on to win the silver medal while De Leon (now a coach) finished 4th.
“I was really nervous back then as a spectator. Then I said to myself, ‘how much more nervous I would be if I was the one racing for the Philippines in the SEA Games,’” she stated. She added that she noticed the added pressure of participating and literally carrying the nation and the local people’s hope that victory would be achieved. She imagined herself in the future being in such a high-stakes situation.
After almost ten years later, Kim Mangrobang made her debut in the SEA Games (2015) in Singapore as a triathlete. Her teammate back then was Claire Adorna.
“Coaches of TRAP selected who were the best to represent our country in the SEA Games with results required,” Mangrobang recalled. “Based on the results of the time, they saw that me and Claire were the best and we were selected for the games. There were no qualifying races back then, which is different compared to today.”
In the 2015 SEA Games individual women’s triathlon event, Claire Adorna and Mangrobang worked together with a strategy to help the former gain a lead early in the event. Adorna raced with a foot injury back then and the team’s focus was to help her (and the nation) build up a good lead in both the swim and bike legs of the race, and ensure victory even if her injury would slow her down in the 10-kilometer run leg. The strategy was a success for the Philippines as the injured Adorna won the gold medal and Mangrobang captured the silver medal. Their respective times were 2:13:08 and 2:14:26. The bronze medal went to Thailand’s Arunsiri Sanruthai who was more than seven minutes behind Mangrobang.
“During the build-up heading to the SEA Games of 2017, there was anxiety and pressure among us teammates mainly because expectations for us to repeat success were so high as a result of what we achieved in the previous SEA Games,” she stated.
To put things in perspective, the Philippines not only repeated its success in the 2015 SEA Games, they exceeded it by having twin gold-and-silver medal victories in both the individual men’s and individual women’s triathlon events in the 2017 edition of the games. On the men’s race, Nikko Huelgas won his 2nd consecutive gold medal while John Chicano added more punch to the victory by grabbing the silver medal. For Mangrobang, that particular event marked her first time to win the SEA Games gold medal.
“It was a very happy moment for me personally because all the efforts and training invested paid off in the best way possible,” Mangrobang recalled her feeling of winning her first gold medal. “A lot of relief followed as all the pressure and nervousness accumulated just vanished and got replaced with the thrill of victory. Naturally, I became very thankful.”
With regards to the 2019 SEA Games, Mangrobang spent a great deal of her time overseas. As she kept training in Portugal (plus a month of training in Mexico), she represented the country in many sports events that were held in other parts of the world for the first eleven months of 2019. As such, she did not spend much time in the Philippines.
Regardless, she won the gold medal of the individual women’s triathlon once more in the latest SEA Games marking her successful defense of her standing as Southeast Asia’s triathlon queen. Her time was 2:02:00. The December 1, 2019 victory at Subic Bay also marked the full turn of life for Mangrobang who went from spectator in the 2005 SEA Games triathlon into Southeast Asia’s best female triathlete fourteen years later at the same freeport.
After winning the two 2019 SEA Games gold medals (individual women and mixed team relay), Mangrobang and her medalist teammates were greeted by lots of local spectators who also expressed their gratitude to them.
“Getting praised and being thanked a lot in return for the victory is normal. It is also a very humbling feeling to see so many spectators rooting for us national athletes to win. Through that experience, I realized there is truth to the 2019 SEA Games tagline of ‘We Win As One,’” she stated.
Mangrobang and her winning teammates (John Chicano, Kim Kilgroe, Kim Remolino, Claire Adorna and Fer Casares) plus members of the coaching staff were nicely rewarded by the national government through Republic Act Number 10699. They formally received their cash incentives in a special ceremony held at Malacanang Palace in the presence of President Rodrigo Duterte.
“The President jokingly said I resembled a certain past classmate of his from his days as a Grade 5 student,” Mangrobang said recalling her short chat with Duterte as she had her photo session with him at Malacanang. It was her 2nd time to be with the President.
The post-SEA Games buzz did not stop with Duterte. Apart from meeting corporate sponsors and having sessions with some members of the press, Mangrobang was acknowledged by the respective local government units (LGUs) of Santa Rosa in Laguna and Bauan in Batangas through social media.
Bauan claimed Mangrobang as their own since her mother is a native there. After accepting their invitation, she attended the flag raising ceremony at Bauan and was presented by the LGU officials to the locals. They gave her a certificate of recognition. Mangrobang also attended another flag raising ceremony with the Provincial Government of Batangas (headed by Governor DoDo Mandanas) held in Batangas City.
Aiming High for 2020 Tokyo Olympics
As of now, Kim Mangrobang is aiming to get qualified to represent the Philippines in the individual women’s triathlon event of the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games. With the support of San Miguel Corporation, Nike, Specialized, Oakley, Garmin and the Triathlon Association of the Philippines (TRAP) and the guidance of coach Sergio Santos, she is now in full training in Portugal and eventually she will be joining several triathlon events (recognized by the ITU) that serve as qualifying races for the Olympics.
According to Mangrobang, there will only be 55 slots for the Tokyo Olympic Games individual women’s triathlon event. The qualifying period will end this coming May and subsequently the final lineup of triathletes racing in the Olympics will be announced.
“I’m very focused now on getting into the Olympics and I’m using whatever energy I have for it,” Mangrobang declared.
Message to the Readers
“When I race, I realize that it is a big responsibility because I become an inspiration to other people and I hope that what I achieved will inspire others to engage in the active lifestyle as that is important. I also hope that once they get into triathlon, they will learn to work hard and train smart.”
Note: My special thanks to Akrotiri restaurant located at Commercenter, Filinvest City, Muntinlupa City. Akrotiri really has a nice place (which was great for this feature interview) as well as a fine selection of food and beverages. Those of you who are reading this, I highly recommend Akrotiri.
Nikko Huelgas, who is a 2-time gold medalist in the Southeast Asian Games (SEA Games) in the multisport of triathlon, achieved something just several hours ago. It’s not another victory in a race but rather it was his speech delivered to a live audience during the 2019 USANA Live Global Convention held at the Salt Palace Center in Utah, the United States.
Here are the details…
Nikko told me that his speech lasted around three minutes. The presentation was lively as his image was magnified by the organizers complete with his name prominently displayed for everyone to see.
“I simply shared a 3-minute speech about my journey as a SEA Games champion to becoming the Chairman of the POC Athletes Commission,” he said. “So I shared that for a bit and shared the inevitable struggles of a pro athlete that is comparable to that of a USANA Associate.”
This is not the first time that the BF International, Las Piñas City resident delivered a speech. A few years ago, he spoke in front of many students at his old high school Elizabeth Seton School in BF Resort Village, Las Piñas City which inspired them.
Furthermore, Nikko attended the convention representing the Philippines and he carries a convention badge which identifies him as an USANA Athlete.
What is the convention about? According to the organizers, their event is described as the only place attendees can interact in real-time with world-class trainers, get a front-row seat to industry-changing announcements, interact with USANA management team members, shop for products in a massive store, immerse themselves at the interactive expo and be celebrated on the awards stage.
Watch for more about Nikko Huelgas and triathlon-related stuff here.
Chicano tops TRI-Factor National Duathlon Championship in Clark
Clark, Philippines – March 31, 2019 – Hard work, dedication and strategies paid off well for John Chicano and Phoebe Kee as they topped the inaugural TRI-Factor Asian Series Run-Bike-Run 2019 National Duathlon Championship held this morning in Clark.
For the Elite Male (Standard Distance 10 Km run – 40 Km bike – 5 Km run) title, Chicano led all the way from run 1 with no letup in the grueling 40-km bike and cross the finish line in 1 hour, 58 minutes and 24 seconds almost a minute ahead of surging Emmanuel Commendador (1:59:21) and Singapore’s mien Mau Lim (1:59:33).
Among the ladies in the event organized by TRI-Factor Philippines and co-presented by Clark Development Corporation (CDC), the Bases Conversion & Development Authority (BCDA) and the Triathlon Association of the Philippines (TRAP) and supported by Cignal and Oakley, Phoebe Kee of Singapore coasted to a surprisingly easy victory clocking 2:20:53. She defeated former junior champion Jelsie Sabado and national standout Mirasol Abad finished 2nd and 3rd timing 2:22:15 and 2:25:06 respectively.
Other Standard Distance champions declared were Chrissa Borja and Carl Gutierrez (20-29), Jayline Balatibat and Dan Concepcion, jr. (30-39), Martes Christabel and Rene Tayag (40-49) and Jojo Macalintal (Male 50-above).
The Sprint Distance (5 Km run – 20 Km bike – 2.5 Km run) champions meanwhile were Mary Joy Trupa and Kim Remolino (Elite), Angelo Quitlong and Erika Nicole Burgos (16-19), Celina Constantino and Reymart Songco (20-29), Noelle Frances De Guzman and Stephen Zarate (30-39), Jonalyn Unlayao and Alexander Luterio (40-49).
Super Sprint Distance (2.5 Km run – 10 Km bike – 2.5 Km run) champions: Moira Erediano and Matthew Hermosa (19-below), Jena Valdez (Female 20-above), Ryan Laurino (20-29), and Marc Dela Cruz (30-39).
SuBIT Part of 2019 One Belt One Road Triathlon Series
Pasig City, Philippines – March 27, 2019 – The 2019 NTT ASTC Subic Bay International Triathlon (SuBIT) Asian Cup slated on April 27 and 28 gained added significance as it ushers in the 2019 One Belt One Road Triathlon series.
This arrangement highlights the enduring relationship for decades between the Triathlon Association of the Philippines (TRAP), the Chinese Taipei Triathlon Association (CTTA) and the China Triathlon Sports Association (CTSA).
Further, CTSA, for this year, will dispatch the Chinese national team to compete in the SuBIT with TRAP reciprocating with a team of triathletes seeing action in the 2019 Lianyungang ASTC Triathlon Asian Cup and 2019 Jiayuguan ASTC Triathlon Asian Cup. The latter events serve as the second and third legs of the One Belt One Road Triathlon series.
“For the past years, Triathlon Association of Philippines (TRAP) and China Triathlon Sports Association (CTSA) have been keeping a good relationship and communication. Thanks for the invitation and help from TRAP, Chinese National Triathlon Teams participated in Subic Bay ASTC Triathlon Asian Cups for many times and got good results.
“Meanwhile, our two national federations have always been supporting each other during ASTC Congress elections and other international activities,” CTSA Secretary General Chen Xiaoran stated.
For its part, the CTTA is sending the Chinese Taipei national team and a good number of age-groupers to join the SuBIT.
Registration for the SuBIT is ongoing with entry fees now set at P5,500 per participant for Standard Distance, P5,000 for Sprint Distance, P4,000 for Super Sprint Distance and P9,000 for Team Relay.
Organized by the TRAP in cooperation with the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) Tourism Department, the 2019 NTT ASTC Subic Bay International Triathlon (SuBIT) Asian Cup is supported by Philippine Sports Commission (PSC,) NTT, Philippine Olympic Committee (POC), Standard Insurance, Asian Centre for Insulation Philippines (ACIP) and Gatorade.
Chicano and Kilgroe top NAGT triathlon in Subic Bay
Subic Bay Freeport Zone, Philippines – January 27, 2019 – 2017 Southeast Asian Games (SEA Games) silver medalist John Chicano and 2018 Asian Games veteran Kim Kilgroe of the Philippine triathlon team emerged victorious in the National Age-Group Triathlon (NAGT) 2019 series opener held at San Bernardino inside Subic Bay Freeport this morning.
In the Men’s Elite competition of the race organized by the Triathlon Association of the Philippines in cooperation with the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) Tourism Department which attracted a record field of 731 entries, the first out of the 1.5 Km swim were JC Abad, Andrew Kim Remolino followed by 21-year-old Filipino-Spanish triathlete Fer Casares (from Madrid) who is in the country aspiring to be selected in the Philippine team. Chicano, who was only 4th in the swim leg, breezed through the first transition to catch up with lead pack in the windy 40 Km bike leg. Chicano and Casares entered the second transition together and battled toe to toe in the 10 Km run leg which saw Chicano broke away during the final two kilometers to win the gold with a time of 1:58:47. Casares finished 2nd with 2:00:01 and 2018 national junior Andrew Kim Remolino of Cebu with 2:02:12.
On the Women’s Elite competition in the event sponsored by the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC), Gatorade, Standard Insurance, Asian Centre for Insulation Philippines and the SBMA, Kim Kilgroe led from start to finish in the absences of SEA Games gold and silver medalists Kim Mangrobang who is in Portugal training, and Claire Adorna who is attending to a family commitment. Kilgroe finished first with 2:14:57 followed by come-backing Alexandra Ganzon 2:25:56 and Jacqui Lamparero with 2:30:32.
The Junior Elite Men Sprint Distance ((750 M swim – 20 Km bike – 5 Km run) saw Tonito Alejo (1:17:19) as champion followed with Jacob Taylor (1:17:55) and Juan Baniqued (1:18:37). In the Junior Elite Women, Karen Manayon (1:26:59) won the gold. She was followed by Lauren Plaza (1:29:26) and Erica Bulatao (1:35:01).
Standard Distance age-group champions: Kris Dinglasan (19-24), Heinrich Gasacao (25-29), Jhon Quinones (30-34), Ronald Mulit and Ines Santiago (35-39), Jualyn Asugbog and Mary Grace Ollindo (40-44), Abe Tayag and Vanj Endaya (45-49), Celma Hitalia (Female 50-above), Neil Ong (50-54), Dean Recupero (55-59) and Roman Totanes (60-above).
Sprint Distance age-group champions: Mykelle Bulog and Clifford Pusing (16-19), Jess Belonio and Janina Garcia (20-29), Carlo Mejia and Jilliane Caancan (30-39), George Vilog and Ma. Victoria Fereria (40-49) and Peter Gonzales and An Ping Cua (50-above). Super Sprint Distance champions were La Union Bull Sharks team members Ronel Victor Cruz and Lady Samantha Corpuz (13-15). The Team Relay competition was won by E-Racing Multisport. All participants had difficulty in the bike leg of the race due to strong headwinds.
First established in 2001, the National Age-Group Triathlon series serves as TRAP’s main development and recruitment program from the grassroots level. The future events of the series will be held in Cebu, Dipolog City, Roxas City and Cagayan de Oro.
Capiz TriAksyon NAGT event set for April 13 and 14
Pasig City, Philippines – January 14, 2019 – The emerging economic and tourism hub of Roxas City in the province of Capiz is all set to host hundreds of triathletes from around the country as the much-awaited Capiz TriAksyon leg of the 2019 National Age-Group Triathlon (NAGT) season fires off on April 13 and 14.
The event has a Standard Distance (1.5 Km swim – 40 Km bike – 10 Km run) course for the seasoned triathletes as well relay participants. There is also a Sprint Distance (750 M swim – 20 Km bike – 5 Km run) course for those who want a lighter challenge and for Junior Elite participants. At the same time there will be Super TriKids (STK) contests for youths aged 6-below (50 M swim – 300 M bike – 100 M run), 7-8 years-old (50 M swim – 500 M bike – 200 M run), 9-10 years-old (100 M swim – 1 Km bike – 500 M run) and 11-12 years-old (150 M swim – 2 Km bike – 1 KM run). Participants aged 13-15 will engage in a Super Sprint race of 400 M swim – 14 Km bike and 3 Km run.
At stake in the event sponsored by the Province of Capiz and the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Capiz (PCCI-Capiz) are cash prizes of P20,000, P15,000 and P10,000 for the Standard Category for Male and Female (overall) and the Open Elite Category for Male and Female; P12,000, P7,000 and P5,000 for Top 3 Relay Category winners; P12,000, P7,000 and P5,000 for Top 3 Sprint Male and Female; P10,000, P8,000 and P5,000 for the Top 3 Junior Elite Male and Female; P5,000, P3,000 and P2,000 for the Top 3 Super Sprint Male and Female. There also will be cash prizes for the Top 3 winners in the STK, Standard Distance age-group and Sprint Distance age-group.
Registration for the event sanctioned by the Triathlon Association of the Philippines (TRAP) is ongoing with entry fees set at P3,000 (for Standard and Sprint Distances), P5,000 for Relay, P2,000 for Super Sprint, P2,500 for Junior Elite and P1,500 for STK.
Effective January 19, the entry fees will adjust to P4,000 (Standard and Sprint), P6,000 (Relay), P3,000 (Super Sprint and Junior Elite) and P2,000 for STK.