10 Things You Didn't Know About Hidilyn Diaz

Written by: Carla De Guzman/Saturday, Aug 20, 2016 09:27 AM

Interview by Shin Kitane; Header image from sports.abs-cbn.com

From joining the Philippine Air Force (recently being promoted to 1st Class Airwoman), conquering the SEA Games and making her mark in Philippine history at the Olympics—is there anything weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz can’t do? This two-time Olympian gave the Philippines something to cheer about by grabbing the silver medal in weightlifting in Rio this August, raising a total of 200 kg to secure our first medal in 20 years! It was definitely amazing news to wake up to on this side of the Pacific, and we couldn't be prouder.

Fresh off her unexpected but amazing win at the 2016 Olympics in Rio, we catch up with Hidilyn’s best friend, Roanne Beltran, who spills the beans on the ten things we don’t know about Hidilyn. She tells us why this disciplined athlete makes such a great role model, and the best friend any girl could have:


Hidilyn and Roanne, hanging out!

We [Hidilyn and I] became friends when she moved to our dormitory. After that, we jive[d] and always have bonding time through kwentuhan (talking) and kainan (eating out).

I'm so happy that Hidilyn ended the Philippines’ 20-year Olympic medal drought. I've witnessed her sacrifices and hard work. She really deserves everything she’s recieved. Through her victory, she inspired a lot of people especially my co-athletes who also want to excel in the field of sports. I remember when I was watching her game, I was holding a rosary and a prayer book while cheering and praying so loud. I also sent my support through flood posts about her on Twitter. 

My message to young women is not to give up on their dreams. Hidilyn almost gave up on her sport but she persevered and worked hard. If she gave up, then we wouldn’t be celebrating a new Olympic medal today. 

1. Hidilyn is a supportive friend.

I remember when she watched my last competition in gymnastics. I didn't expect that Hidilyn would watch because she said that she had a schedule that day. After the competition, she was there and told me that she waited for my performance. She even posted a picture of us that day on her Instagram and congratulated me for a job well done! It was really touching. Days before my competition, I was really upset and sad that I wanted to quit but she was there to encourage and motivate me.

Also, whenever there's something new with me: new job, productive training or any good news. She's always happy for me.

2. Hidilyn is God-fearing.

She's the one who invited me to join the Feast, a weekly gathering which features Holy Mass, worship and talks which I declined to attend many times before. She helped me [with] my spiritual life. Every Sunday, when she's in our dorm we attend the mass and worship at The Feast PICC  together with our friends.  I also noticed that there’s not a day where she doesn’t read the Bible and "Straight from the Heart," a collection of Catholic prayers which I gave her for her birthday last Saturday. 

3. Hidilyn loves reading nonfiction books. 

She has lots of nonfiction books. I always borrow her books, especially when it’s written by Bo Sanchez. Right now I'm currently reading her copy of The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. Most of her books are inspirational. She also has some hugot* and love books. :) 


Spending quality time together with love, food and good books. 

4. Hidilyn loves food. 

Our bonding time is to eat food, she loves nachos! Whenever we have free time, we go out to try different foods but try to be healthy! She also likes bananas. 

5. Hidilyn is sweet.

She always asks for a hug. Whenever I'm on her bed, after we chitchat, she'll always ask for a hug. She's really sweet. We always call each other "bae-friends." Every time she thinks I get tampo (pouty or upset), she'll text right away and say sorry. 

6. Hidilyn is honest. 

She is prangka (frank). Plus she has many, many many hugots. In our dorm, we call her "hugot queen."

7. Hidilyn is a shoulder to cry on. 

Whenever I have problems and want to cry, she will listen and give bits of advice. I can't remember how many times I cried in front of her. Even if she's training abroad, we always talk through Facebook messenger and talk about our problems. 


Friends who work out together have fun together!

8. Hidilyn has a kind heart and shares her blessings. 

Aside from the weightlifters that she has been helping in her town in Zamboanga, Mindanao (Check them out on her Instagram, they are so cute!), she also gives me her vitamins, supplements and other excess training-related stuff that I can use. 

9. Hidilyn is a disciplined person. 

In our dormitory, she is the most disciplined person that we know. She's strict in the foods she eat[s] and she doesn't want to be late [for] training. She wakes up at 6am to jog, 9am she goes for a weightlifting training and sometimes, she invites me to join her 3pm strength and conditioning training.

10. Hidilyn also loves to travel. 

We want to travel around the country but we don't have time yet. So before she headed to Brazil, we planned to go to Davao and Cebu right after the Rio Olympics. But after that unexpected win, we had to put our plans on hold!

*Hugot is Filipino slang for phrases/lines that usually tackle the pain of falling in love (ex. all these Pokemon and you didn’t choose me…). It's popular in romantic movies!

How do strong women like Hidilyn inspire you? Share your thoughts below!


About Carla De Guzman
Carla de Guzman is the author of self-published books Cities, Marry Me Charlotte B! and We Go Together. She loves to travel, coming home to her dog Kimchi and spending her weekends having dinner with her crazy family by day. By night, she’s writer and an artist, spending her midnights at her desk. Follow her on Instagram (@somemidnights) for more!
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