Central Luzon athlete shows resiliency amid physical adversity

Ricky V. Tid
Central Luzon athlete shows resiliency amid physical adversity
Ma. Cielo Dimain Honasan has had to overcome much since birth. She remains resilient and dreams of one day competing in the Asian Games.

LEGAZPI CITY, Philippines – It was almost twilight and everyone was preparing to go back to his or her respective quarters. Sweepers and maintenance personnel started to clean the BU-Albay Sports and Tourism Complex in preparation for the big event the next day.

But a young lady was in no rush to leave.

Instead, she kept on running, leaping, and running again from one corner of the track to another. Her enthusiasm and energy with her routine grabbed the attention of some people.

But what was more conspicuous was the giddy sprint she did as she limped untiringly towards the finish line. If you had seen her, you would not have thought she could make it to the finish line.

The young girl was Ma. Cielo Dimain Honasan, 14, from Botolan, Zambales-Central Luzon, who managed to live a normal life with indomitable spirit despite being born with physical impairments.

Braving life’s challenges

Though young, Honasan is already a survivor after surpassing an early battle.

She was born with a birth defect called gastroschisis, where her stomach was formed outside her body. She also has an abnormal body build with the upper and lower limbs uneven, and the left is shorter than the right. 

Nung ipinanganak daw po ako sa PGH (Philippine General Hospital) nasa labas po yung bituka ko kaya inoperahan ako. Pinasok po yung bituka ko sa loob kaya wala po akong pusod,” Honasan shared.

(When I was born at PGH my intestines were outside. It was returned inside that’s why I don’t have a belly button.)

But the ordeal did not stop there.

Honasan lives with her stepfather because her parents separated when she was young. Her father is a close relative of Senator Gringo Honasan but she doesn’t use the fame of the latter to dig gold. Instead, she lives by her own strategy. She works hard for her dreams. 

Hindi ko na rin po pinapangarap magkabalikan sila [Mama at Papa]. Masaya na rin po naman ako sa stepfather ko. Wala po akong masabi sa kanya. Suportado po niya ako sa pagtakbo mula pa noong elementary ako,” she said moved her chin up and her tears started to fall from her twinkling eyes.

(I don’t dream anymore of my parents getting back together. I’m happy with my stepfather. I can’t say anything bad about him. He supports my running ever since elementary.)

This two-time Palaro qualifier has also experienced bullying in school because of her physical appearance, which has given her more reason to push forward.

Hindi ko na lang po sila pinapansin dati. Nung nag-chachampion na ako, hindi na nila ako tinutukso (I didn’t pay attention to them before. When I became champion, they stopped teasing me),” Honasan said.

Chasing the dream

Whatever challenges she may encounter, whatever pain she may endure, Honasan remains calm and resilient. There is only one thing she keeps in her heart – the dream that is bigger than her fears and disappointments. 

Mataas po kasi ang pangarap ko. Gusto kong lumaban sa ibang bansa. Gusto ko po ng makarating ng Asian Games (I have big dreams. I want to compete internationally. I want to reach the Asian Games),” Honasan uttered in a cheerful voice.

Honasan has been the most bemedaled athlete in Central Luzon Regional Athletic Association (CLRAA) Meet for two consecutive years. This achievement led her to fame but she keeps her feet on the ground.

Nung palagi na po akong nananalo, nirerespeto na po ako ng karamihan. Pero hindi po ako nagyabang (Once I kept winning, people respected me. But I don’t brag),” she said. 

There are many values she learned from Palaro but there are two major ideals always etched in her heart and mind – humility and optimism.

Suddenly, a gentle voice was heard. It was her coach calling her out to return to their quarters.

Slowly, she walked away from the field only God knows can be her platform for victory. She held her head high and darted past the majestic Mayon standing over the track oval, perhaps thinking of the arduous journey she must endure before reaching the summit. – Rappler.com

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