Sun.Star Baguio

Mural artist gears for first female legend athlete


FORMER Southeast Asian Games javelin queen Erlinda Lavandia will be the first female to be featured in the wall paintings at the sports complex after three time Olympian Hector Begeo (steeplecha­se) and two time Olympian Jerry Dino ( judo) and the eight Team Lakay warriors nearby.

The Surigao del Norte born Lavandia, who has made Baguio her permanent residence since joining the Gintong Alay program,

is considered one of the greatest javelin throwers of the biennial meet, which she won in four occasions – 1977, 1979, 1981 and 1985.

Lavandia, who retired as a police major, has since been competing in the masters edition of athletics and has expanded her events to the other throwing events – discus throw, shotput and hammer throw.

In 2017, she pocketed the bronze medal in the 23rd World Masters Athletic Championsh­ip in Spain.

Last year, the 68year old won all throwing events in the Singapore Masters Athletics 40th Anniversar­y Track and Field.

Lavandia hurled the javelin at 25.6 meters, the discus at 18.99 meters, shotput at 7.25 meters and 20.8 meters for the hammer to claim the top podium in the four events.

“Tuloy pa rin ang ensayo at laro habang kaya pa (We will continue training and competing while we still can),” Lavandia told this writer in an interview last year.

“I am proud and honored to do their painting,” said Labsan of the athletes, most of whom she only knew after starting the project and Google as source of her informatio­n of their achievemen­ts and faces.

“I am just said that most of the young ones do not know who they are,” she said after getting that feedback while doing then mural of Begeo, the first in the 11 walls of the 11 dugouts of the long stage of the bowl’s grandstand.

Former assistant superinten­dent of the Department of Education – Baguio Soraya Faculo has expressed her disappoint­ment upon seeing the Team Lakay mural with no female mixed martial artists.

“There should be female athletes,” she said after she was informed that only champions from MMA organizati­ons were included in the Team Lakay mural.

Lavandia is one of the two female projected to be featured in the dugout walls of the bowl. The other is Divine Wally, who has won all the major wushu sanda tournament­s including the SEAG.

Labsan is also expected to do the mural of boxing legend Rey Tam this coming week.

“I do hope to finish the mural by next year, hopefully the walls will be repaired to facilitate painting.

On Tuesday, repairs were done on four of the six previously repaired walls so that Labsan can do her work.

“I just did the art works at the walls that are still okay,” she said. Six of the 11 walls were repaired last March as the murals were supposed to be done before the opening of the Cordillera Administra­tive Region Athletic Associatio­n sports meet which was supposed to be staged on that month.

The CARAA was cancelled because of the lockdown as coronaviru­s disease (Covid- 19) pandemic worsened.

The Team Lakay mural is a work that measures 13 by 24 feet at a wall below the giant tree at the west side of the grandstand. It features Team Lakay founder Mark Sangiao, former ONE champions Eduard Folayang, Honorio Banario, Geje Eustaquio and Kevin Belingon, ONE champion Joshua Pacio, Brave king Stephen Loman and former PXC titleholde­r Crisanto Pitpitunge.

The mural is done by Team Lakay member and Brave FC fighter Harold Banario, known in the MMA world as The Artist.

 ?? Contribute­d photo ?? ATHLETE’S MURAL. Artist Gladys Labsan is gearing to make the first female athlete at the Baguio athletic bowl after completing two former males, both former Olympians.
Contribute­d photo ATHLETE’S MURAL. Artist Gladys Labsan is gearing to make the first female athlete at the Baguio athletic bowl after completing two former males, both former Olympians.

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