Zamboanga del Sur Palaro athlete banks on arnis to reach college
Zamboanga del Sur Palaro athlete banks on arnis to reach college
After her family lost their money, Palarong Pambansa athlete Nikki Gelbolingo is working hard as an arnis scholar to finish school and alleviate them from poverty

LEGAZPI CITY, Philippines – Nikki Gelbolingo, 16, is taking arnis seriously so she can stay in school.

Palarong Pambansa first-timer Gelbolingo lives in Molave, Zamboanga Del Sur where she studies in a sports academy sponsored and supported by the Zamboanga Governor. Already in Grade 11, she wants to finish school so she can help alleviate her family from poverty.

Gelbolingo’s family went through a big challenge when her father became ill with tuberculosis. All of their money was allocated for his hospitalization and medication, and they utlimately lost him in 2014. They’ve been heavily in debt since then.

Gelbolingo is the 6th child out of 8. Her mother does laundry for their neighbors as Gelbolingo works as well. After the two eldest kids graduate, Gelbolingo’s mother struggled with the financial needs for the education of her 6 other children and some were force to stop school.

Studying is everything

Para sa akin, importante talaga na makapag-aral, makapag-college para sa pamilya ko,” she said. (For me, it is very important to study, to attend to college for my family.)

She is doing her best in arnis to earn a scholarship for college. For her, studying is her key to success so that her mother won’t have to work anymore. She wants to help her siblings continue their studies so that they can have a better life, too.

As an arnis athlete, Gelbolingo has made many sacrifices such as maintaining the right weight for competing. She jogs every day and endures the heat.

Last year’s Batang Pinoy National was her first break in the sport as she won a gold medal in combat on top of two silver medals.

Despite the hardships she’s going through, Gelbolingo dreams of becoming a professional arnis athlete someday, and of course to graduate from college at the same time.

Mahirap po ang hindi makapag-aral dapat po makatapos, ako nagtatrabaho para makapag-aral. Sana wag nila pababayaan ang sarili nila at mag-aral ng mabuti,” Gelbolingo shared her advice to co-student athletes.

(It’s really hard if you have not studied. You should finish school. I work so that I could study. I hope that they won’t neglect themselves and they’ll study well.) 

Mag pasalamat sa Diyos kasi binigyan tayo ng talent natin, at wag dapat natin sasayangin ang opportunity,” she added. (We should be thankful to God because He gave us talent, we should not waste the opportunity.) – Mary Joy Gelit/

Mary Joy Gelit is a Rappler intern for the 2016 Palarong Pambansa and is studying at Bicol University.

More 2016 Palarong Pambansa stories:



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