By KIMBERLIE NGABIT-QUITASOL
BAGUIO CITY— Cordillerans have one more reason to watch this year’s Southeast Asian Games, with the first Igorot female athlete to compete in the Taekwondo Kyurugi (sparring).
Realis Lorena Dawiguey Tabiando of Baguio City is set to represent the country at the South East Asian Games in December. The 19-year old lass will participate in the “under 62kgs” division of Taekwondo Kyurugi (sparring).
Chowaley (Tabiando’s Igorot name) was introduced to Taekwondo when she 5. Her mother enrolled in a ballet class at a Baguio gymnasium where her older brother also trained. Watching her brother’s high kicks convinced her that the Korean Martial Arts is what she wanted to do not ballet.
However, her father forbade her to train early. She finally took up the sport when she turned 11 when they moved to Bontoc, the capital town of Mountain Province where no ballet school was available.
According to Tabiando, the sports taught her discipline, humility, and resilience.
“I will not forget these lessons. The training tested my limits. I learned to persevere and take courage,” she said in an online interview.
The young athlete just came from South Korea where she trained together with members of the Philippine Taekwondo team. She is currently in Calamba, Laguna for the in house training.
“I wanted to show them what I am made of, the ‘angas’ of being an Igorot,” she revealed.
She became taekwondo jinn in October 2010 and joined the Philippine Team for Taekwondo Senior Women in November 2018.
A jinn’s journey
Tabiando won her first gold medal at the provincial athletic meet in Mountain Province in 2012. She consequently represented Mountain Province in the 2013 Cordillera Administrative Region athletic meet in Apayao. She earned her second gold in the event and advanced to the Palarong Pambansa.
She was the first Taekwondo lady jinn to represent Mountain Province in the Palarong Pambansa.
Tabiando returned to Baguio and enrolled at the University of Baguio High School. She was a regular member of the Cordillera taekwondo team at the Palarong Pambansa while in Grades 8, 9 and 10. Her love and skills for the sports also brought her regular spot in the Baguio Team for the All Taekwondo Competition, Batang Pinoy, Private Schools Athletic Association (PRISAA), Milo and Philippine National Games.
In all these competitions, Tabiando never came home empty-handed, bringing gold, silver and bronze medals for the region.
In 2016, the PRISAA Meet in Koronadal City named her the Most Outstanding Athlete for the Taekwondo Women’s Division.
After graduating high school, the University of Santo Tomas (UST) offered her full scholarship. She is now a first-year taking up a psychology course at the College of Arts and Letters.
She debuted in the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) in Season 82 that opened last September. Her team emerged as the 1st Runner-up, but she received the Rookie of the Year award.
Her resilience showed when a fever failed to prevent Tabiando from winning her last fights in the meet. She won all her six matches during the season. # nordis.net