December 7, 2023

Eight sports luminaries and an outstanding youth leader were honored by the Ifugao provincial government with a motorcade and honor rites on weekend.
Leading the awardees who were paraded from the historic Yamashita Shrine in Kiangan to Lagawe are mixed martial arts champions Stephen Loman and Kevin Belingon.
Southeast Asian Games 2019 kurash gold medalist Estie Gay Liwanen and wrestling silver medalist Jasol Balabal also attended the event.
Newly-minted Philippine Boxing Federation bantamweight champion Carl Jammes Martin also joined the luminaries, together with 2019 Shinhan University World Peace Taekwondo Festival 2019 gold medalists Lyka Bulayungan, Ariel Licyayo, and Yonica Yuson.
Asia Youth International Model United Nations Most Outstanding Youth Model fellow Micah Salvador was also honored.
It is the first time that the Ifugao LGU sponsored a motorcade for more than five sports luminaries.
Belingon and Loman have been carrying the country’s flag in International MMA events with the former having elevated the level of striking among Filipino fighters.
Belingon is a one-time ONE bantamweight world champion, but regarded as one of the best fighters in the division while Loman is the longest reigning bantamweight king in the Bahrain-based MMA promotion.
Balabal, on the other hand, has been an outstanding member of the Philippine Wrestling Team for almost a decade now. In 2013, Balabal honored his roots when he wore the traditional Ifugao garb when he was chosen as the flag bearer of the Philippine delegation to the 2013 SEAG in Myanmar.
Salvador, meanwhile, was honored as the most outstanding delegate in the 2019 Asia Youth International Model United Nations held in Malaysia from the roster of 98 delegates, who were selected from the more than 35,000 applicants. – Harley F. Palangchao