Ingrid Taojo: From scrawny to athletic

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Sunday, August 10, 2014


WHAT drives you? For Ingrid Taojo, it’s her passion to achieve a personal best. In turn, she is enjoying the benefits of living an athletic life.

At an early age the sport she got engaged in was golf. Wanting to stay active when she found herself in the capital city for college, she tried out for the rowing team at the Ateneo de Manila University. Unfortunately she ended up last, “I was the weakest on the batch of rower wanabees, always the weakest in the fitness tests,” Ingrid admitted, ”I played golf as a kid but I wasn’t really sporty and got into rowing in no shape whatsoever.”

“This weakness turned out to be my greatest strength,” said Ingrid,” Awareness of that weakness developed in me a strong sense of determination, discipline, patience and perseverance—values which eventually led me to become one of the fittest in the women’s team, values that to this day aid me most greatly I pursuing my dreams.”

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In her bucket list, though, are more, “I'd love to learn and master Sepak Takraw, football, Muay Thai and Jiu Jitsu. But if only I was younger, I think its too late now,” she said as she laughed at her confession.

But nothing is impossible. Knowing this young woman’s self-determination to succeed, expect Ingrid to be good, perhaps master the sports she gets into, most especially now that she built a “playground” where home is.

This playground Ingrid built in her dreams took form and turned into reality with the recent opening of a fitness center—Activo Fitness. “It was a dream that began eight years ago, ironically, when I was a scrawny girl,” she said, and added, “The willingness to overcome my weakness eventually led me to that conversation with my dad three years ago, when we both decided to make Activo Fitness happen. After three years of planning, sourcing and training, now it’s here! This is a dream come true not only for me but for all Tagumenyos as well.”

Activo Fitness is an 800-aquare meter state-of-the-art fitness center, the very first of its kind in Tagum and, perhaps, in Mindanao as well. Throughout the space covering most of the second level of the newly built Bibu Square along the main highway of Tagum, are zones that will satisfy every active cell in your body, if not set it in motion: a well equipped weight-lifting area, cardiovascular machine zone, spinning room, group fitness room for aerobic and yoga classes, the playground—a “blank space” that can transform to accommodate various exercises like the TRX suspension training, boxing, Parkour and the high intensity circuit training, an al fresco cafeteria to serve healthy bites, and spacious men’s and women’s locker rooms each equipped with a sauna.

When asked how she came up with the name Activo, Ingrid’s reply was,” I wanted to give the gym a distinct name, like something you would give a person, so that the gym would have a personality and identity. I tried to coin the term “Activo” from “Active+Vivo”, which I discovered only later that it was actually the Spanish word for Active.”

“I also wanted a name that in the future I could use in case I make sports teams to represent Activo Fitness, for example Activo Dragonboat Team, Activo Rowing Team,” she said.

Somehow, rowing keeps on popping up in the conversation with this young woman. Admittedly, rowing is her first love. But to date, Ingrid has added surfing and Crossfit, which she refers to as “the sport of fitness,” to her list of favorite sports.

“I used to row three to four times a week back in college but now no more because there are no rowing clubs or Olympic rowing boats in Davao, Tagum or nearby. I used to surf once or twice a month but since Activo opened I wasn't able to surf anymore. Now, I guess I'm a full time CrossFitter and a full time businesswoman,” said Ingrid with a smile on her face.

But believe it or not, the businesswoman is far from disconnecting herself from the sports she loves. Rowing may not be in a boat on water and surfing, riding the board on crest of waves, but in the fitness facility she opened and personally runs. She found an avenue to keep rowing and surfing with Activo’s rowing machine and Indo Board, a balance-training device that mimics riding a surfboard. Ingrid is still “in the loop,” so to speak.

With regards to running the business successfully, Ingrid follows a cardinal rule—to know every aspect of the trade. Having a Legal Management diploma on her sleeve and the position of Vice-President for Finance of Hexat Mining Corporation since early 2012, she is very adept in the corporate aspect of Activo.

But more importantly, this lady “greases her elbows” as well. Aside from gaining adequate athlete training as a rower and surfer, Ingrid is also a certified Crossfit L1 Trainer and soon-to-be a certified yoga teacher, making her officially one of Activo Fitness’ team of well-trained and competent professionals. “I hold regular classes at the gym,” said Ingrid.

When asked where she sees herself in 10 years, Ingrid answered, ”Stronger, better, faster than ever.”

No doubt, with Activo Fitness, Ingrid will get there and she’s taking Tagum along for the ride to health. To them, this is her heartfelt message: “I opened Activo Fitness because taking care of your health not only involves taking blood tests and pills. It means eating well, working out and staying fit. I want to share the immense joy of being fit with your, my fellow Tagumenyos. I want to be with you on your highs and lows. I want to be with you as you slowly reach your target weight, your target body fat percentage, your max rep, your fastest sprint, your personal record. I want to be with you when you do that best ever elusive snatch and butterfly pull up. I want you to be at your fitness prime. Join me and let’s fulfill our fitness dreams at Activo Fitness.”

Activo Fitness is at Bibu Square, Liwayway Village, Tagum City, Davao. For more information, call (084) 655-0309 or email them at activofitnes@yahoo.com.

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on August 10, 2014.

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