INCHEON, Korea—Daniel Parantac had vowed to pay it forward even before he won the Philippines’ first medal—a silver in wushu—on Tuesday in the 17th Asian Games here.
The graduating secondary education student at the University of the Cordilleras is happy he has only three months left to complete his major in MAPEH—combined subjects in music, arts, physical education and health—before he embarks on a journey to teach young children the art and beauty of his sport.
Wushu was popularly known as kung-fu, and what attracted Daniel and his brother Denver to the sport may attract younger batches of children to it, too.
Daniel is looking forward to a teaching job and a more formal vehicle to spread his sport.
“I got attracted to wushu when I saw a group of people whom I thought were practicing karate-do while we were jogging at the Burnham Park in Baguio,” shared Parantac. “I was 11 then and Mr. Tan Sui Tong Candelaria invited us to join them.”
Candelaria is local silver screen bad man Tsing Tsong Tsai, whose oriental looks made him a top choice for an adversary for many actors who thrived at the height of martial arts movies’ popularity in the 1970s. He helped in putting up the national wushu federation with Julian Camacho, the Deputy Chief of Mission here.
He guided Parantac to a stint in the national championships, and then a gold medal in the Southeast Asian Games, and finally let him go as he bid for the gold medal of the Asiad men’s taijiquan event.
He lost the gold medal to China’s Chen Zhouli. But winning the silver medal was still a big bonus for Parantac and the rest of the Philippine delegation.
“Nanginginig na yan e,” shared Camacho. “Basang-basa na ng pawis ang kamay niya before the tournament. But since nandun na sya, we told him he better go for it since he already survived the semifinals. Sayang e.”
He was ranked No. 8 after the taichi (sword) event, with a Korean rival in front of him that made him more nervous. But he stayed focus and clinched the silver medal that the Philippines had waited for four days since it started on the wrong foot with a bomb in weightlifting.
His bare hand (taijiquan) performance was exceptional. He scored 9.68 against his Chinese rival’s 9.78. But he has no complaints.
He came into the event with a hurting left knee. He got out of it P500,000 richer.
Parantac was unaware of the incentive given to Asian Games medalists by the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC). He accepted the news in disbelief.
“Mapapagawa na rin po namin ang bahay naming sa Sandanga (Mountain Province). Pangarap po naming ng tatay (Julio) ko na maipaayos ang bahay namin,” Parantac said.
Also receiving an incentive of P100,000 is Francisco Solis, who still played the quarterfinals with a broken rib but beat a Hong Kong opponent just to make sure he’ll come home with a bronze medal in the -56kg men’s Sanda, a combat event. Solis did not face China’s Fuxiang Zhao in the semifinals on the medical team’s advice.
Jean Claude Saclag was to play the final of the men’s -56kg Sanda against Zhao with no less than another silver medal assured for the Philippines.
“They’ll get their incentive when we come home,” said PSC Chairman Ricardo “Ritchie” Garcia. “We won’t mind if we’ll be giving out millions of pesos as long as the medals come.”
The wushu artists did not fail.