As we talk about the role of perseverance in the path to success, we take a look at three Filipinos who have proven themselves, the country, and even individuals from across the globe that anything can be achieved if you put your heart and mind into it. Despite having gained significant success in their own spheres, these three individuals never quit. Instead, they continue to push themselves and work harder using the talents they have been greatly gifted with.
The Barefoot Runner
If you were to ask us the most famed individual in the country for his sheer talent in running, we’d tell you that Coach Rio dela Cruz is the man. Known for organizing various running events in the country under his RunRio company, he is possibly the country’s most popular professional runner, coach, and race organizer to date.
Just like most success stories, Coach Rio had to start somewhere to get to where he is today. It all started with a vision, a desire to rise above himself and the conditions he found himself in. When he was younger, he had to take on different jobs just to earn– from doing construction work to selling ice to cutting grass, and even taking out the neighbor’s garbage. “These experiences motivated me to improve my life.” Coach Rio said. (Source: GMA Network)
No matter the hurdles, Coach Rio remained focus with his vision and persevered. His is a story of humble beginnings. “Early on, he saw his future in running. He asked the school coach to let him join the tryout for the varsity team. But the teacher chose two others. But Rio was persistent so when his schoolmates were unable to consistently attend training, he stepped up and asked the coach again to accept him. He got in. He had no shoes and ran barefoot. He placed first in the race he joined. Rio continued running barefoot until a neighbor “with a good heart” noticed him running around, got so moved and gave him his first pair of shoes. They were too small for his feet, though, so he cut off the front ends to expose his toes.” (Source: Coach Rio dela Cruz on Hardships and Running by Earl Victor Rosero, GMA Network)
Through running, he was able to get in the University of the Philippines and even finish with a degree in Physical Education. Like with any athlete in college, he had to make sacrifices so that he could manage his time between academics and sports. When he joined his first race in UAAP, he was able to finish second and was able to get the Rookie of the Year award. During his second year, he established the record in the UAAP 10-kilometer [run]. In his third year, he won three gold medals from three events. After graduation from UP, he got a job at Manila Water Company, but resigned after putting in just a few days of work because he got a sponsor for the first race he organized. The sponsor, Sta. Lucia Realty, gave him P120,000.” And that’s how the country’s biggest race company started, and how Coach Rio created a name for himself. (Source: Coach Rio dela Cruz on Hardships and Running by Earl Victor Rosero, GMA Network)
(Source: Pinoy Mountaineer, http://www.pinoymountaineer.com/2007/09/about-author.html)
For many mountain enthusiasts, Gideon Lasco—more commonly known as Pinoy Mountaineer– is a great source of knowledge and inspiration.
In his blog, pinoymountaineer.com, he documents every new conquest, sharing every bit of detail from suggested itineraries and trails, to basic expedition costs, to tips, and of course to photos showcasing the trails and stunning summit views. This is why the blog has become a default go-to for newbie mountaineers and regulars alike. But more than that, what really makes his blog interesting is that for Gideon, every week is a different adventure. He can be exploring a mountain in the Philippines one weekend, and then be in a mountain in some foreign country the next. If this sounds easy, we assure you—it’s not. Climbing a mountain is no easy feat, but Gideon surely makes it seem like it is.
Like any extreme outdoor activity, mountain climbing requires preparation—mental, emotional, and physical. And the training ground for all the practice and preparation is no other than the mountain itself. Gideon climbed his first mountain at the young age of 8 and when he turned 19, did a solo expedition in the country’s highest peak—Mt. Apo. Now, at 28 years old, he has climbed more than 100 mountains in 4 continents and 14 countries around the globe, with his highest altitude being the Stok Kangri in the Indian Himalayas at 6153 meters above sea level. (Source: pinoymountaineer.com) He doesn’t stop in his journey of discovery, continuously challenging himself to reach new heights and surpass difficult trails. Inevitably, this only fuels his passion even more, leading him to newer places, making him more skilled than ever before. At the rate he’s going, we wouldn’t be surprised if one of these days he gets the title of “The First Filipino to Have Climbed Mountains Across the 7 Continents”.
Pacman, the Man
A source of pride for many Filipinos, Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao is no doubt one of the Philippines’ greatest athletes of all time.
For Pacman, it’s not just his skill that led him to become a boxing icon. He is never arrogant, never spiteful, and is humble with every win or defeat. He congratulates the opponent when he loses, and even apologizes to the nation for failing them, promising to prepare for the next match so he can make the country proud by being victorious. More than his skill, it is his character that made Filipinos and non-Filipinos alike honor him. And it is also his character that led to his colossal success, making him the Filipino with the most boxing titles in the world.
“Born of a typical poverty-stricken Filipino family, Manny Pacquiao left elementary school when his father left his mother to be with another woman. As an out of school boy, he helped his mom by selling breads and home made doughnuts peddling the streets of General Santos City.
As a young boy, Manny had his interests in boxing already. When not wandering the streets to sell his merchandise, he would be seen visiting other nearby villages and towns to compete for boxing matches most especially during town fiestas for a reward of just P150 for winners and P100 for the loser. The money that he gets would be a great help for his mom to support their living expenses.
Pacquiao started his professional boxing career at the age of 16 at 106 lbs. With his agility and power in boxing, he won a lot of boxing fights. One day, he got invited by one of the boxing personalities to go to Manila to hone his skills in boxing. He did not hesitate and sailed to Manila to continue his training.
Manny had such an amazing dedication that he trained like there was no tomorrow. Each day he would wake up the earliest and leave when all others left already. With his commitment, he raked eleven straight wins before he had his first professional loss to Rustico Torrecampo on February 9, 1996. Torrecampo is the only Filipino so far who had defeated Manny.
Manny continued with his fights knocking out opponents in Japan, Thailand and South Korea. It did not take long before he got his World Champion title on December 24, 1998 at a very early age of 19 when he defeated Chatchai Sasakul, the reigning World Boxing Council (WBC) World Flyweight Champion at that time.
Pacquiao went on with his fights training harder and increasing his weight to join heavier boxing division. He had his first boxing fight held at the MGM Grand Arena in Las Vegas Nevada with the then International Boxing Federation (IBF) Super Bantamweight Champion Lehlohonolo Ledwaba in 2001, and emerged triumphant.
Manny went on to defend his new title then with the training of his coach Freddie Roach at the Wild Card Gym improving his hand speed and mental preparation. In 2003, he won The Ring Featherweight title when he defeated Marco Antonio Barrera with a TKO. Since then, he has been unstoppable, winning one fight after another. His fights would empty the streets of Manila and all other cities, sending people over to their homes to watch his fights, making a zero criminal-related incidence in the country during the duration of his fight. (Source: Manny Pacquiao Success Story by Tyrone Solee, Millionaire Acts)
Despite having been defeated twice last 2012, Pacman continues to be an inspiration to many– a relentless spirit symbolic of hope.
“When asked with his formula for success, Manny often says dedication, perseverance, courage, extreme self-discipline and prayer are his secrets. He once claimed: ‘Anyone will succeed in whatever field of endeavor in life by acquiring the same virtues and character that boxing world champions do.’” (Source: Manny Pacquiao Success Story by Tyrone Solee, Millionaire Acts)
Article written by The Brew Your Best Year Editor