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 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, Councilors Vladimir Cayabas and Levy Lloyd Orcales.
"We will work together in providing assistance to you our athletes," said Orcales which was backed by Cayabas.
Orcales said they are in the process of passing the sports code that will provide more assistance to athletes not only after winning but also in 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 is from Barlig, Mountain Province and Ifugao.
Balangui is Baguio raised but of traces his roots from Kalinga, 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 Jeordan 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 dancesports 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 Wa-o, to name a few.
The exhibit 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 straw weight king Joshua Pacio, former PXC king Cris Pitpitunge and Brave FC king Stehpen Loman. It will be undertaken by Team Lakay fighter Harold Banario. (SunStar Baguio)