LAPU-LAPU CITY, Philippines — A 12-year-old dancesport champ from Sitio Matumbo, Barangay Pusok is Lapu-Lapu City’s newest source of pride.
Elizabeth Joy Bolo, a grade 6 student of Mactan Airbase Elementary School, and her partner, Chelsea Siarza, harvested four gold medals in the Borneo Open International Dancesport Championship and Convention 2023 at Kuching, Sarawak in Malaysia last June 3 and 4.
Bolo and Siarza competed in the duo category for all-girls junior for Samba, Chacha, Rumba, and Jive.
Bolo’s mother, Rollyn, is a plain housewife while her father, Arvin, is a retired Air Force and is currently working as a helicopter mechanic abroad. She was the youngest of four siblings.
She said that she started dancing in 2019 after she was encouraged by her modeling coach to join the dancesport training at their school.
“First ato kay nag-modeling ko then giingnan mi sa among coach sa modeling nga naay dancesport nya ni-apply mi,” Bolo said.
However, dancing was not new in their family. She said that her elder sister was also a talented dancer and singer.
Before competing in the international arena, Bolo said that she already joined different dancesport competitions in the Philippines winning a silver medal in Cagayan and a bronze in Manila for the South East Asian (SEA) Games qualifiers last year.
One day, her coach Crisaldo Rendon, sports director of the Philippine Dancesport Federation, asked her and Siarza to compete and represent the Philippines in the Borneo Open International Dancesport Championship and Convention 2023 held at Kuching, Sarawak in Malaysia.
The competition was participated by 11 countries.
Bolo and Siarza competed in the solo and all-girls junior duo.
Although they only became finalists in the solo competition, Bolo and Siarza won gold medals in the duo category for Chacha, Samba, Jive, and Rumba.
“Happy, very happy po,” she said when asked what she felt after winning gold medals.
On Tuesday evening, June 6, Bolo and Siarza arrived at the Mactan-Cebu International Airport, where they were welcomed and greeted by Vice-Mayor Celedonio Sitoy and some members of the city council.
She was also welcomed by members of the Matumbo Center Youth Organization.
“Ano na-shock,” she of the unexpected welcome.
Bolo and Siarza were also scheduled to pay a courtesy visit to Mayor Junard “Ahong” Chan on Friday, June 9.
Her mother, Rollyn, said she was brimming with pride for her daughter’s accomplishments.
Aside from being a dancesport enthusiast, she said that her daughter is also a consistent honor student.
“As a parent, proud kaayo ko sa iyaha, grabe kaayo ang iyang achievement. Twelve years old palang siya pero nakagawas na siya, international. Kaya niya i-balance ang iyang skwela, kaya niya idungan ang iyang pag-skwela,” Rollyn said.
“Mag-practice siya pirmi every after class, bisan gabie na siya mauli bisan ten o’clock na, pag-abot niya sa balay kay mo-review pa gyud na siya sir, mobuklat dayon sa iyang bag para makatuon lang kay pagka-ugma naay exam,” she added.
Message to Fellow Youth
Bolo also encourages other youth to participate in the different sports activities in their schools.
She said that by such, they can stay away from playing with gadgets and this can make them healthier.
“Ang dancesport sa Cebu City ug sa Lapu-Lapu City kay free ra and i-encourage nako ang ganahang moapil sa dancesport. And maka-avoid sad siya sa gadget and it’s healthier,” Bolo added.
Bolo said that she will continue to participate in different competitions in the country and worldwide if given the chance. /rcg