The fifth athlete in the Heroes Legends Mural project has just been finished.
Artist Gladys Anne Labsan put on the final touches on former World Wushu Championship winner Divine Wally at the fifth wall of the dugouts at the long stage just at the bottom of the big grandstand of the Baguio athletic bowl Friday, January 29.
“Inilugay ko ang buhok (I had her hair down),” Labsan told this writer after completing the face of the 2019 Southeast Asian Games gold medalist in wushu sanda, who also won the World Cup of Sanda gold as well as the Asian Wushu Championship.
Labsan actually started working on the six foot face of the most senior member of the Wushu Sanda national team who 19 years ago gave birth to a boy.
“Ang galing (That is great),” quipped Wally on a photo posted by Labsan putting on the coloring of her hair in the mural that is black and white. Then a small figure beside it shows her in action, reflecting the small one of the four previous murals of Hector Begeo, Jerry Dino, Erlinda Lavandia and Rey Tam.
But then Wally will share the seven feet by 14 feet wall with two time world taekwondo poomsae champion Jeordan Dominguez as the seven remaining walls will be having two faces instead of one for the first four.
In fact, Labsan has already done the outline of Dominguez’s face beside Wally’s as she will soon put on the details.
“They will share the wall as well as other athletes we have programmed to be painted on,” said Labsan.
Next in line will be martial artists with former three time world champion and karate sixth dan holder Julian Chees and his mentor fifth dan karate instructor Ed Kapawen.
Also scheduled to be painted on are two time SEAG gold winner Jearome Calica and former three time world muay thai champion Brent Velasco.
Calica is the only person who won in two discipline – a gold in the 2001 SEAG in wushu sanshuo (sanda) and in 2019 a gold in muay thai waikru. The Ibaloy, Baguio born athlete is also in movies where he choreographs fights as well as act, including in movies of the Philippine bad boy, Robin Padilla.
Bodybuilding greats Nick Domalsin and Sammy Ayochok are also up for painting but “when the walls are already fixed,” added Labsan.
The sixth wall, the middle portion will definitely carry the karate masters but a portion need repairs with paints chipping off.
The last five, however, need practically an overhaul as some of the cement has fallen off, leaving holes as big as a foot.
Paul Rillorta of the city sports office said the water storage built at the back of the walls will be repaired soon and sealant will be placed to prevent seepage to the walls that cause chipping off and cement falling off.
Water at the ceiling has even resulted to stalactite like formations.
If finished, the 11 walls would carry a total of 18 faces, all in black and white but with red, blue and yellow streaks that symbolize the athletes services to country and flag, some in the past and some still on active duty.
Meanwhile, 18 art works measuring two by two feet of Labsan are gracing the walls of Luisa’s Café. The Heroes: Portrait of the Cordillera Athletes feature the faces of Dominguez and Wally along with Team Lakay’s Joshua Pacio and Danny Kingad, former SEAG javelin queen Erlinda Lavandia, former SEAG marathon queen Christabel Martes, former three time SEAG gold medalist in boxing Alice Kate Aparri, OCR 2019 SEAG gold medalist Sandi Menchi Abahan, former long jump athlete Katherine Khay Santos, volleyball player Majoy Baron, former Olympics bronze medalist Marian Mariano (wushu sanda), archer Kareel Meer Hongitan (bronze, 2017 SEAG), wushu taolu’s Natasha Laxaman and Karizha Chan (SEAG 2013 and 2015 bronze) and former world junior champion Ken Omengan, tri-athlete JT Gonzales and golfers Mars Pucay (professional) and Luigi Paolo Wong (amateur).
The exhibit will be until February 26.