Sangiao: Recognition

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By Mark Sangiao

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Friday, January 24, 2014


BEING recognized for the something that you have worked hard for and for the job that you love doing is one of the best motivations to even continue what you have been doing. The appreciation of your craft is the best inspiration one could ever give to someone, especially if that is his passion.

When the chairman of the Kafagway Sports Achievement Award, Mr. Narciso "Nars" Padilla called me to inform me of being chosen by the committee to be the “Sportsman of the Decade” for Kafagway 2013, I was overwhelmed and the thought that it has already been 10 years since I’ve done Mixed Martial Arts was awesome. Time was so fast; I haven’t even noticed it was already 10 years since fighting in the qualifying events of URCC (the longest-running MMA promotion in the Philippines) came to my mind.

I had flashback memories since I started fighting MMA up to what we have already achieved now.

I had been awarded by the said award-giving body almost every year for being Athlete of the Year and Coach of the year since 2001. Likewise, Team Lakay was awarded the “Sports Team of the Year” for 2012. But now, the Sportsman of the Decade for 2013 award is one of the biggest recognition that I have ever received, together of course with the title that I have held as being a 3-time URCC Bantamweight Champion and a SEA Games gold medallist in the year 2001.

They have also awarded our other team members such as Eduard Folayang, Mark Eddiva and Crisanto Pitpitunge in the past and this year they have awarded Kevin Belingon for being the “MMA Player of the Year” award.

Because of these, I would like to Thank the Kafagway Sports Achievement Award for giving such recognition to me and my team.

If I am to recognize others because of their outstanding performances for the year 2013, Honorio Banario should have also been given due recognition for being the first Filipino to win a World Championship belt by being the first ONE FC Featherweight Champion which he won last February 2013. Though he has not defended his title and has not taken back the belt when given the chance, this should not erase the fact that he had been once the holder of the said World Title.

Second is Dave Galera by winning the URCC Interim Bantamweight Champion which he won last April 2013. He is also the first Filipino National who has fought in the prestigious Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). Though he has unfortunately lost his fight in the UFC, I believe this is not the last. I do believe it has opened the door for Team Lakay and other Filipino Martial Artists to step in the Octagon.

Others who should be given due recognition are Eduard Folayang and Geje Eustaquio. Even if they have lost their respective fights in their battles against tough opponents in ONE FC Rise to Power last May of 2013, they have immediately redeemed themselves when they won their battles in ONE FC Moment of Truth in December of 2013.

Gina Iniong too should be acknowledged by being the first Filipina to have stepped up in the international MMA arena. First was her fight in Martial Combat in Singapore and second in the PXC cage in Manila in 2013 where she became the first Pinay to win in an international stage.

Eric Kelly should also be commended for winning his fight in the main event of the URCC 24 Uprising last November 2013 in Manila.
Also, Roldan Sangcha-an and Harold Banario and making their names and are on their ways to greater heights in their MMA career.

Other awardees on the said award-giving body of the City of Baguio which took place last January 18, 2014 at the Malcolm Square, Baguio City, were Wushu Athletes Benjie Rivera for the Athlete of the Decade Award, Daniel Parantac for Athlete of the year Award, and special medallion for Sports Excellence were also given to Wushu’s Divine Wally, Karizza Kris Chan, Natasha Laxamana; Helen Dawa for Judo; Maricris Igam for boxing; Jason Balabal for wrestling and Arnel Ferrera for athletics for their wins in the 27th SEA Games in Myanmar last December 2013.

Also given major awards were outstanding Junior Wushu athletes Ken Alieson Omengan, Faith Liana Andaya and Vanessa Jo Chan.

The Cordillera Administrative Region has a very rich talent in terms of Martial Arts. This place is a gold mine of such talents. We have represented and brought home medals in Wushu, Judo, Wrestling and Muay Thai in the SEA Games, Asian Games, Junior Wushu Championships, and World Championships among others.

Being one of the seniors and leaders of MMA in the region, I wish to inspire others especially the younger generations to continue what we have been doing- giving honor to the region and to our beloved country.

If these are the only things that we can do to contribute in giving pride to our country, then we will not stop doing it.

A decade has passed; I hope there will be more years to come. I know challenges and more problems may come, but for as long as there are people who still believes in us and in our advocacy, then we shall keep on doing this.

Thank you to all the supporters of Martial Arts. We shall all join hand in hand in promoting the sport not just in the region but in the country as well, because I believe that together we can make a difference.

Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on January 25, 2014.

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