Kirstie Alora, Hidilyn Diaz thrilled to expand pin collection with rare finds from Rio Olympics
Filipino Olympians Kirstie Elaine Alora and Hidilyn Diaz display their growing pin collection. Jerome Ascano

RIO DE JANEIRO—Collecting pins in multisports events like the Olympics have been a tradition in itself among all the world's athletes, and Filipino Olympians Kirstie Elaine Alora and Hidilyn Diaz proudly bared their collection with the latest addition, the Rio Olympics pin.

Alora and Diaz have been collecting pins, which usually display a country and the event's logo embossed on it, in every competition they've joined in, including in this year’s Rio Olympic Games.

“Eto kasi ‘yung parang pinakamadaling souvenir,” said Alora, who already has 58 flags in her pin collection that she started obtaining from her stints in the Southeast Asian Games and the Asian Games.

“Almost all Asian countries po ito. ‘Yung mga Southeast Asian countries kumpleto ko na po,” she added.

Pins are usually obtained through trading with fellow competitors, and Alora bared that she was shy at first to trade for pins until her collection grew.

“Sa umpisa, mahirap kasi mahihiya ka. Pero kapag naka-sampu ka na, manghu-hunting ka na talaga,” said Alora, preferring to trade for pins from countries not as common as the United States.

“Kailangan mo lapitan lalo na ‘yung mga mahirap (na bansa), ‘yung mga hindi mo masyado alam na lugar. Hahabulin ko na po talaga ‘yun,” she added.

Her purpose for chasing such rare pins is for her to have a souvenir to keep as she may never be able to travel to all the countries in her pin collection. And for her first Olympic stint in Rio, Alora already has some targets.

“Katulad ng Maldives, pangarap ko mapuntahan ‘yun pati Europe, ‘yun din ‘yung gusto kong mapuntahan. Magandang souvenir. Hindi mo alam kung masusundan ko pa ‘yung Olympics,” said Alora.

Like Alora, Diaz has also been collecting pins ever since her first Olympic stint in 2008. The weightlifter said Alora was one of her inspirations to begin collecting pins.

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“Na-inspire lang ako. Masaya ngayon (mag-collect) kasi may kasama,” said Diaz, who already has more than 50 pins and seeks to pad her collection with rare additions from the Rio Games.

“Gusto namin ‘yung mga Africa at ‘yung mahirap hanapin,” she added. “Hindi siya mahirap. Kinakapalan ko lang mukha ko. Masaya siya kasi nakaka-meet ka ng iba’t ibang tao.” 

Both collectors also have the same thing in mind on what to do with their pin collections.

“Ife-frame ko, display sa bahay para makita na nakapunta kami sa Rio Olympics,” said Diaz.

Follow the writer on Twitter: @jeromeascano