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Saturday, January 20, 2018


 "Be fearless in the pursuit of what sets your soul on fire." - unknown.

These three women featured are my go-to inspiration of real life stories proving that it is possible to make your dreams happen.

As we get to know them, may we learn from them and embrace our own courage within.

    1.   Athena Beltran-Mendoza

Image from Athena Beltran - Mendoza's Facebook

In 2005, she was the lone female bet in the male-dominated sport of Downhill Mountain biking who represented the Philippines for pre Southeast Asian (SEA) Games and Asian Invitational.

Image from Athena Beltran - Mendoza's Facebook

Now a National Mountainbike Commissaire, her focus is to develop the sport and apply all the learnings that they have in their travels and previous races back to the Philippines.

Her current project is a Bike Playground with a pump track where riders can enjoy biking and choosing their own lines.

It also has an outdoor trail and a kid’s outdoor track where lessons and coaching are

                 The author and Athena Mendoza- Beltran

Her ultimate dream is that, this project be a good training ground for future athletes that will represent the country and that we can share the beauty of our country as a riding destination.  

I am honored to have competed and learned from her during the times when I was actively competing in the mountain biking community. 

2.   Ani Karina De Leon – Brown
Image from the net

The first Filipino (woman) to qualify and compete in the Ironman World Championship in Kona, Hawaii (2008), Ironman Distance Triathlon Record Holder 2002 to 2011, 2014 and the only Asian in the Timex International Multi sports Team.

Her bio can be found here.

Ani and the author during a bike ride in Boracay

She paid it forward by leading and training Marie Claire Adorna, to be the first Filipino (woman) to win the Tri Gold Medal during the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games.

Being the daughter of the chair of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts, Felipe M. de Leon Jr., (son of National Artist for Music Felipe Padilla de Leon Sr.), she was originally trained mostly in visual arts (drawing and painting as an artist).

However, this did not stop her from fulfilling her dream to become a world class athlete.   

And the rest is history.

3.   Carina Dayondon
Image from the net

In 2007, Carina and the Philippine Mount Everest Team successfully climbed the highest summit in the world. 

The three women in the team were recognized as the only women in the world to scale Mt Everest by taking the path less traveled – not the usual commercial up and down one side of the mountain. 

They climbed up from the North Side (Tibet) and down the South Side (Nepal).

The road to Everest was not a walk in the park since there was no funding and they have to figure out ways to train and at the same time, survive.

The preparation took three years, and due to budget constraints, they joined races to win and have funds for their training. 

The author and her husband with Carina during a get together.
Family problems almost had her giving up her dream since she needed to support them financially – however, winning an adventure race made her enough money to send back.  She also found employment in the Phil Coast Guard serving as LTJG/1stLT.

After climbing the highest summit, she then took on a personal project of climbing the rest of the seven summits with the goal of inspiring the youth to explore their own summits and find ways to go beyond their limits.

As of this writing, she has climbed Mt. McKinley in North America, Mt. Elbrus in Europe, Mt. Kosciuzsko in Australia, Mt. Kilimanjaro in Africa and Mt. Aconcagua in South Americais  –the last mountain would be Mt. Vinson in Antartica.

These amazing Pinays never fail to motivate me and remind me that anything is possible once you put your heart and mind toward your set goal.

Go after what you want or you will be forever asking "what if"

Remember that the only limits you have are those that you impose upon yourself.

As I close, I leave you with this quote: " There is freedom waiting for you, on the breezes of the sky. And if you ask, 'What if I fall?' Oh but my darling, what if you fly?" - Erin Hanson   

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