Philippine Rowing Team proves that passion seizes the impossible

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on whatsapp
Share on email

In photo, The Philippine Rowing Association during their team building activities in Baguio last February 2020

By Victoria “NIKE” De Dios

Despite limited resources and funding, the Philippine Rowing team brought home numerous medals won across different tournaments. Just recently, the members of the Philippine Rowing Association brought home one gold medal, two silver medals, and one bronze medal competing at the 2019 Asian Rowing Coastal Championships in Thailand. They also bagged three gold medals during the 30th SEA Games.

Armed with passion and determination, the record of achievements they have led in getting more support for their team, given more attention to the sport by making it accessible and promoting it in schools and provinces all over the country.

It is not an easy process to build a team given the fact of the stringent qualifications set to make it in the Philippine Rowing Association. Not to discriminate, a height requirement of at least 5’6 for girls or at least 5’11 for guys, and training three times a day from Monday to Sunday are mandatory. The team is hoping to recruit more members in time for the 31st SEA Games.

Interestingly, the coaches originally started with different sports but eventually developed their passion for rowing due to the practice and level of discipline that it builds up in the athlete. The sport easily allows individual training and provides whole body workout while enjoying nature. For the athletes, challenging oneself and setting progress goals are the main motivations.

On starting their impossible, the coaches and athletes gave their respective inspiring and heartfelt pieces of advice which further shows their passion for the sport:

“Kung mas pinaghuhusayan ng kung sino man yung may pangarap, kung pinaghuhusayan na nila ngayon, mas paghusayan pa para maabot yung mga talagang gusto nila. [Whoever has a dream, if they are working hard, they should work harder to achieve it.]” – Cris Nievarez, 30th SEA Games Gold Medalist for lightweight men’s single sculls

“Keep on going sa pagpupursue nung goal mo. Yung samin nung SEA Games ganun din yung nangyari parang impossible to possible kasi yung sa gold tingin namin nung una talaga impossible… nung trainings kahit iniisip namin na parang imposible talaga. Dun nalang kami nag focus sa goals namin tapos nagawa namin siyang possible. [Keep on going to pursue your goals. For us, the impossible happened during the SEA Games because we thought it was impossible to achieve Gold. Even though we were thinking it was impossible during our training, we focused on our goals and we made it possible.]” – Melcah Caballero, 30th SEA Games Gold Medalist for women’s singles sculls and women’s doubles sculls

“Continue dreaming… just love what you’re doing then go lang ng go para maachieve mo yung goal mo… yung dream para sa lahat, hindi lang yan para sa mayaman, sa mahirap. [Para] sa lahat ng nangangarap… yung mga kababayan natin na medyo kapos sa buhay pero maraming pangarap nagiging sikat o nag iimprove yung sarili nila sa pagsisikap nila. [Continue dreaming… just love what you’re doing and keep going to achieve your goal. Dreams are for everyone, not just for the rich or for the poor. Some of our fellow men who are less fortunate but have a lot of dreams garner success or improve themselves through their hard work.]” – Coach Nicanor Jasmin

While working together as a team in the training and other activities, the spirit of camaraderie is developed and plays a crucial role in having one goal for the team. Last February, the team headed to Baguio for their team building activities, where the team bonded and strengthened the team’s dynamic while still incorporating a few training routines as they enjoyed the local scenery of Baguio.

Knowing their need for mobility, Toyota Motor Philippines turned over the 29-seater Coaster to the Philippine Olympic Committee last December 2019 to be used by the Philippine Rowing Association. Thus, becoming one of the country’s teams who are using the 29-seater Coaster and this transportation support is part of TMP’s efforts to help Philippine national athletes reach their fullest potential through mobility.


The 29-seater coaster from Toyota Motor Philippines turned
over to the Philippine Olympic Committee last December 2019
Photo by Sean Michael Amador

Prior to the Philippine Rowing Association’s team building activities, the Coaster was also used by the national athletes who competed in the recently concluded SEA Games where the Philippine team claimed the overall top position in the rankings.

Meanwhile, POC President Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino expressed his gratitude to the generosity and support given by Toyota Motor Philippines.

“This is a big help to Philippine sports, especially to our athletes, coaches, and officials. It offers mobility, convenience, and comfort especially when commuting is difficult. The POC will see to it that it benefits as many of our national teams as possible” the POC President said,

“As the Official Worldwide Olympic and Paralympic Partner, Toyota takes pride in harnessing the power of movement to achieve dreams and change lives,” says Ms. Cristina Arevalo, TMP’s First Vice President for Brand & Product Planning.

“We further realize the Start Your Impossible philosophy “Mobility for All” by empowering our athletes with the Philippine Olympic Committee’s new Toyota Coaster. We hope to make transportation easier and more convenient for the country’s best athletes and representatives.”

Toyota’s Start Your Impossible (SYI) is a global initiative that supports Mobility for All, and the pursuit of excellence through hard work and determination without being limited by challenges. Previously, TMP has conducted numerous projects that support multiple advocacies leading up to the Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020, including the donation of one Toyota Coaster unit to the Philippine Paralympic Committee.

For more Toyota updates, visit or check out Toyota’s official social media pages at ToyotaMotorPhilippines (Facebook and Instagram), and @ToyotaMotorPH (Twitter).