Team Lakay muses not martial arts, but visual arts this time

BAGUIO CITY — Team Lakay stalwarts led by founder and head coach Mark Sangiao and Eduard Folayang proudly commended the Team Lakay mural work of one of their own, now nearing completion at the Baguio Athletic Bowl.

Mayat. [Na]Pintas (Good. Beautiful),” were the only words Folayang could come up with in describing the 13 by 24 feet mural work of Harold Banario at a wall of the seven-hectare sports complex.

Super ganda, nakakaproud. Sana ado pay ma-inspire nga youth ditoy ayantayo (It’s really beautiful. It makes you feel proud. Hopefully this will inspire the youth here in our place),” Kevin Belingon also said.

Gwapo (looks good). Hopefully Harold has the time to complete it,” echoed Geje Eustaquio in the vernacular.

Among the Team Lakay members, Eustaquio virtually grew up at the Athletic bowl as a student from the nearby Baguio City High School which uses the facility for its Physical Education.

The three along with Sangiao and Lito Adiwang recently arrived from Singapore for the Inside the Matrix series of the ONE Championship where only Eustaquio survived the tough competitions.

The five left for Singapore last October 26 just a day before Banario started with the mural. The younger brother of ONE inaugural champion Honorio needed barely seven days of three hours work each to come up with a realistic portrayal of his fellow mixed martial artists.

It features eight of the present and former champions led by Sangiao on top, followed by Folayang and Belingon.

The bottom tier comprises of Stephen Loman, the Brave Fighting Championship bantamweight champion, former PXC FC bantamweight king Crisanto Pitpitunge, Eustaquio, the older Banario and ONE strawweight champion Joshua Pacio.

In his Facebook wall, Sangiao wrote: “The mural is taking its complete form, slowly but firmly and powerfully. The lines are not perfect straight, the colors are not flawless and even the surface has cracks and bumps. But that’s the beauty.”

The imperfection of the mural, Sangiao said, could well describe how it started for the team, which could be yet the most successful in the ONE Championship, “from nothing.”

Sangiao said: “The crooked lines, the blemished colors, the rough surfaces— these imperfections are not ugly, rather the perfect additives to create a solid team, a solid family, a solid path, a solid goal. A team that started from nothing. A team that proved to the world that you can create something big from zero, something beautiful from plain.”

Sangiao added that Banario’s work could “serve as an inspiration to us all to enhance our lives. Let this be a reminder to keep hunting our dreams down and to believe that inferiorities in life are not valid excuses for us to give up. Impediments are the springboards to champion life. Just keep going.”

He concluded: “Remember that these faces on the wall did not start from the top, they started from the very bottom and they haven’t reached the peak yet, not yet. The journey is unending and ruthless. But that’s the beauty.”

Banario whose last two fights with Brave FC was canceled due to the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic, says that he will soon put on the finishing touches for his work.  He is also hoping to include other faces, maybe including his own, at the remaining parts of the wall that border the big grandstand with the sepak takraw courts.

The mural is also the second artwork done in honor of ONE champions, the other is that of former middleweight king Aung La Nsang of Myanmar, who still reigns as the light heavyweight king, a statue.

The Team Lakay mural is part of the Heroes Projects that include murals of sports legends at the nearby dugouts inside the sports complex.

Seven of 11 faces are to be painted there by Gladys Labsan, who started work last Tuesday with the face of two-time Olympian Hector Begeo.

She will soon do the murals of the late judoka Jerry Dino, a two time Olympian, former Southeast East Asian Games javelin queen Erlinda Lavandia, boxing great Rey Tam, former three time muay thai champion Brent Velasco, former world wushu champion Divine Wally and former two time world taekwondo champion Jeordan Dominguez.

Earlier, five Team Lakay members were featured in the SEAGames Heroes photo exhibit at the Baguio City Hall: kickboxers Gina Iniong, Jean Claude Saclag and Jomar Balangui as well as muay thai players Jenelyn Olsim and Islay Erika Bomogao. ●