THOUGH Philippine sports is on an extended hiatus because of the COVID-19 pandemic, there's still a long list of champions who've spent their time off the sporting battlefield to face an even bigger fight.
One of them is Philippine muay thai athlete Islay Erika Bomogao, a Southeast Asian Games silver medalist who donated her one-month allowance from the Muay Thai Association to give additional financial assistance for relief operations in Baguio City, her hometown.
“I received lots of blessings from last year. I think it’s a nice way to give back,” she told SPIN Life. “My hometown contributed a big percent of who I am, not just as an athlete but as a person."
The 19-year-old martial artist,a proud member of MMA stable of Team Lakay, credits the community for a big portion of success in her young career. And her effort is just one way to reward the culture that honed her to be the martial artist that she is.
“To be a good athlete, [I believe] you have to be taraki (a Kankana-ey word that means gritty), you have to be enthusiastic, determinded, strong-willed, kind, and positive. People here taught me all those things,” she shared.
Islay’s father, Benny, is a city councilor of Baguio. She's a witness to her dad’s efforts for their people.
“My dad has this organization he’s heading that aims to help indigent families here, aside from soliciting he pledged his one-month salary as a city councilor. So, I thought of doing the same,” the University of Baguio freshman continued.
The father-and-daughter tandem responded quickly with “Oplan Sagip Kamay,” and the young Islay’s outreach to her fellow Cordillerans continues to fuel her during these tough times.
She added: “Seeing the look on the beneficiaries’ faces really filled my heart with joy.”