Aishera Japhrodite Pis-ing
Region II

Every punch should aim not at inflicting damages to others, but for the attainment of self-direction for the sake of those who wish to survive the hard truths in life.

Growing within the confines of a family that puts premium on hard work even at a young age, Mansueto “Onyok” Velasco learned the basics of surviving in a world where only the strong and persistent survive. Luckily, through his determination to elbow his family’s name up in the rank, he began to push himself to chase for gold.

And the only opportunity he saw available back then was to enter boxing which to him was a useful tool to box away those who grew fond of wronging him physically.

Now, who would have thought that once in his life, this legendary Filipino boxer from Bago City, Negros Occidental who put our country in the limelight when he was medalled with silver during the Summer Olympics in 1996, used to handle a different kind of ring? A different kind of fight? That before, he was not the one who’s brave enough to fight, but the one who’s being underestimated by the dwelling smug souls around him?

The counter-punch
During the press conference at Maa Elementary School, Onyok told his story briefly. Standing brilliantly in his white Team Philippines shirt and with genuine smile on his face, he unleashed the inspirational spirit within him during his talk with the young athletes of Region 6.

Noong una, wala naman talaga akong hilig sa boxing,” he started smoothly. “Nagsimula akong nag-aral ng boxing para matuto akong lumaban…lagi kasi akong nabu-bully noon dahil sa maliit ako,” Onyok said, emphasizing the word lumaban while holding his microphone with a tight grip. His success in the present gave a huge counter-punch to those who underestimated him in the past, a punch that would tug at their heartstrings.

Olympic silver medalist and Palarang Pambansa sports icon, Mansueto “Onyok” Velasco, shares his journey in his boxing career during a gathering with young aspirants from Western Visayas Region. Photo by Geraldo Ugaddan Jr.

Keys to getting gold
Kapag atleta ka, hindi sapat na magaling ka lang. Ang pinaka-importante ay disiplina,” he quoted, looking straight at the athletes, like a father teaching his kids. He also did not forget to mention the dos and don’ts when you are an athlete. Like a legend looking for his heirs, he stood there, being a great example and inspiration, telling every young boxer and the ones who have interest in boxing to be brave and to always focus on their passion instead of their fears.

Now, who would have thought that a young man who learned boxing just for his family and for self-defense, made it all the way to the Olympic ring? This is an upper cut to the limitations that reality presents to him.

The final move
Today, Onyok already stopped digging medals in the world of boxing, but he continues to share the diamonds he had earned during the long run of his career. He now works as a boxing consultant in the Philippine Sports Commission to continue inspiring and helping the sport grow for the generations to know that whatever odds life throws at them, they just have to keep moving and stay persistent, because it is only through learning to brave the storms that one can really become the person he or she ought to be.