Dream that started in Burnham fulfilled in Korea
BAGUIO CITY—One morning 12 years ago, Tony Candelaria was walking in Burnham Park here and saw a boy, then about 11 years old, mimicking the movement of a group of elderly people doing tai chi (a martial art characterized by slow movements).
Candelaria, head of the Wushu Federation of the Philippines’ Cordillera chapter, quickly saw potential as he watched the boy, Daniel Parantac, move gracefully.
He said more than Parantac’s ease in learning the art, what struck him most when he first saw the boy at the park was his heart.
“He was so focused and was learning tai chi from the heart. You could see it in his face,” said Candelaria, who took Parantac under his wing.
That partnership bore fruit as Parantac, now 23, continues to reap honors for the country. He delivered the Philippines’ first silver medal in the Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea.
Candelaria said Parantac did not achieve this overnight.
“He showed his love for the sport during the Incheon games, where he stretched his limits and won the silver even with an injured knee,” Candelaria said.
“I know it was painful at some point but he kept his focus and gave his best,” he said.
Parantac started as a member of the Baguio wushu team. His impressive performances in regional competitions won him a slot in the Philippine national junior team and later, in the Philippine wushu team.
In 2010, Parantac competed in the Asian Games in Guangzhou, China, where he ranked 14th among 45 competitors in the men’s Taijiquan and Taijijian all-round event.
In 2011, after winning silver in the same event in the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in Indonesia, he represented the country in the world championships in Ankara, Turkey, and ranked 9th.
He returned to the world championships in 2013 and won two medals—bronze for Taijiquan and silver for Duilian. He bagged gold in the Taijiquan and Taijijian all-round event in the 2013 SEA Games in Myanmar.
Candelaria said despite limited resources from the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) and lack of proper training facilities, Parantac and members of the region’s wushu team have shown dedication and continued to hone their skills.
“We have to make do of what we have. The community support has been very helpful but we need more to sustain and move forward from where we are now,” he said.
Candelaria said Parantac is a dedicated and diligent athlete who has not missed a single training day in the past 12 years. “In wushu, training is important and to be able to perfect it, you must not stop training,” he said.
Parantac’s mother, Nora, said her son, a graduating education student of the University of the Cordilleras, had to squeeze in his training with school work.
“He had to miss classes because of his training and competitions,” she said.
Candelaria said Parantac shares his time coaching the national junior team and wushu teams in other universities. “We have many wushu coaches in Cordillera. But with Daniel helping in developing the next generation of wushu athletes, I am sure that more will follow in his footsteps and make the country proud,” he said.