PENCAK silat champion-turned-beauty queen Cherry May Regalado delivered on her promise to put her home province of Kalibo, Aklan in the sporting map.
Now, Regalado is hoping more young and talented pencak silat athletes will come out of this popular resort island in Panay and follow her footsteps.
Regalado, nicknamed “Silat Princess”, believes Aklanons can do it anytime, anywhere.
“With the pandemic, I took the opportunity to train with my fellow Aklanons here even online. Puspusan pa din ang training,” said Regalado during the “Usapang Sports on Air” by the Tabloids Organization in Philippine Sports (TOPS) via Zoom last Thursday.
“We were told to stay at home , but continue our training. So now I serve as a coach and trainer to my fellow Aklanons. This is the best time for me to share my knowledge and skills in pencak silat,” explained Regalado, who rose to prominence by winning the bronze medal in pencak silat in the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta, Indonesia.
Regalado, now 24, is hoping to add a gold medal in the coming 31st Southeast Asian Games in Vietnam.
“Nabalitaan nga namin na-cancel uli yung AIMAG (Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games). So now I’m looking forward to represent the country in the Southeast Asian Games if given another chance,” added Regalado during the weekly session sponsored by the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC), Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) and Games and Amusements Board (GAB).
Regalado, who bagged the silver medals in Seni Putri Tunggal in Belgium Open on April, 2019 and 18th World Pencak Silat Championship in Singapore on December, 2018, lamented her missed opportunity to compete in the last SEA Games in Manila.
“Actually, I was surprised when they told me na hindi na ako palalaruin two days before the actual competitons. I was already replaced (Mary Francine Padios). Masakit talaga dahil hindi naman ako nagsabi na hindi ko kaya kahit pa I was already experiencing knee pains.Sabi ko, kaya pa,” said Regaldo, a nutrition graduate of the Aklan State University.
Regalado admitted she had an ACL tear.
“But I was not worried about it. I recalled na-hospital din ako before the finals sa Asian Games. Na-food poison ako that time, pero I was able to compete and deliver a bronze medal. I was only one point behind for the silver medal. It’s like mindset. With only a three-minute performance, baka I’ll hit the gold.”
Regalado said she is still waiting word from their national sports association, PhilSilat Sports Association, about the SEA Games in Vietnam this November.
“As of now, hindi pa namin alam kung sino ang mga members ng training pool for 2021. It’s still up for approval.But if you ask me, I want to join the team. And I think I’m more than ready to compete again. Sa tingin ko nga, mas gumanda ang kundisyon ko ngayon with all the training I have dito sa Aklan. Na-develop ako physically and mentally,” claimed Regalado.
“And hopefully, less issue sa national team this time.”
Regalado also said her club, Philippine Lightning Speed- Pencak Silat Aklan, did very well and placed third overall in an international virtual competition hosted by Indonesia.
“We garnered 12 golds and placed third in Indonesia. We could have been the overall champion in the competition but fell four golds short,” recalled Regalado.
“In PLS-Pencak Silat Aklan, we trained students from different schools in taekwondo, arnis and other combat sports. I think the youngest is only five years old. But we focus more on pencak silat because this is where we really excel. I think more than 40 years na nag-exist itong club na ito where I started. Our coach Freddie Jizmundo is also from the national team. His father is also a martial artist from Sikaran,” added Regalado.
“So yun online training namin dito even with this pandemic, I know very competitive.
It’s not all pencak silat for Regalado, however.
Only recently, Regalado was also crowned as Miss Kalibo Ati-Atihan Festival Queen 2021.
“This is the biggest beauty pageant in Panay and I’m very happy to be crowned as the Miss Kalibo Ati-Atihan. I was really surprised sa daming suporta ko. Parang feeling ko nagco-compete din ako internationally kasi in terms of voting, bumuhos ang tulong from diferrent provinces and even friends from different countries. Pati mga kapwa ko atleta and even media friends, tumulong,” said Regalado, who tried her luck before but was not able to continue due to her pencak silat training in Manila.
“I’m really happy that I was also able to promote the sport of pencak silat. We all know naman na hindi gaanong sikat ang pencak silat dito sa atin unlike in other countries such as Malaysia and Indonesia. Sa beauty contest, I still use the introduction na “Silat Princess” so I was given the chance to explain what the sport is all about.”
Added Regalado: “Actually, ang pinakamaganda dito sa pag-join ko sa Miss Kalibo Ati-Atihan, hindi ko ginamit ang talent ko as a pencak silat artist. It’s really a battle of beauty and brain. Instead of talent, pinalitan din siya ng advocacy pitch. And my advocacy focuses on health and wellness program. As Ms. Kalibo Ati-Atihan, this is the best time for me to also promote sports.”
“I will be part of Youth Development, especially in terms of Health and Wellness. I will working hand-in-hand with the Municipality of Kalibo. As of now, I’m part of the Moto-Tourism not just Aklan but the whole Panay Region. I will be having events with motor vloggers and motoring enthusiasts to promote the safety driving practices. We will be giving a lot of information in safety driving policies, including motorcycles. Lately, nagiging Lady Rider ako and promote motor tourism, motor vlogging and safety practices.”
Poetry is another soft spot for the pencak silat champion.
“There’s another project I am doing right now. It’s about unspoken poetry. This will be good for the youth na mahilig magsulat, gumawa ng mga tula at essays at iba pa,” explained Regalado, who was also a part of the AkLit or Aklan Literature.
“This is something I always like to do. I was part of the journalism program of our school. I did broadcasting and feature writings. I was editor of our school paper. Usually life hacks yung mga sinusulat ko na supported siya ng local government ng Aklan,” added Regalado, also a poetess at the Filipino Spoken Word.
“Kasi if you are in sport, you are also motivating people. You have to be strong, both mentally and physically. Pagdating sa writing, we have the freedom to write whatever we feel. You have to enjoy life and have fun but always consider yung safety,” said Regalado, who also did several independent films in various movie/ TV companies.
Asked about her plans to join the showbusiness, Regaldo said: “There’s nothing impossible if you really want to achieve your dreams.”Publication Source : People's Tonight