It started from a curiosity, a challenge to tame a wild mare, the intimate connection with the horses and then comes the idea of having a day of pleasure being in the saddle with his Team Lakay brothers. Thanks for the nod from Kabajo Handlers Associations, a horseback riding service association based in Camp John Hay, Baguio City – it was a wish granted for Geje Eustaquio.
“I want my brothers to experience the fun, most especially Coach Mark. I remember his stories of how he rode a horse in the dessert of inner Mongolia, said Eustaquio.
“The pony boys also deserves promotion for them to have a better income in the future, he added.” Horseback riding services is one of the city’s main tourist attractions but Covid-19 pandemic padlocked the horses’ stables, thus bringing drought to Baguio’s pony handlers and trainers.
The City of Pines is planning to open tourism gradually later this month but tougher guidelines will be in place and VISITA (Visitor Information and Travel Assistance), a digital tracker for guests will be activated. “We’re very grateful to Kabajo Handers Association, their Vice President, Mr Joeward Segundo and of course, the pony boys for this moment.
It was a fun and adventurous day galloping in the rejuvenating natural green landscape of Baguio, said Team Lakay’s Head Coach, Mark Sangiao. “It was energizing and a good bonding time for us but more than that, we’re also very hopeful that through our simple way, we could help our brothers, the pony boys, promote their livelihood. It’s a trying time and we need to help and look out for each other. Plus, the horses need to feed,” added Sangiao.
It was indeed an enterprising day for the team and Kabajo pony boys. Presents together with Sangiao and Geje were Eduard Folayang, Kevin Belingon, Honorio Banario, Edward Kelly, Joshua Pacio, Danny Kingad, Lito Adiwang, Jeremy Pacatiw, Jomar Pa-ac and Jhanlo Sangiao. New friendship was created and a healthy Igorot meal was shared among in one of Kafagway’s pine forest, where horses freely roamed even back in the olden times.
“The pony boys are very happy. Everybody were tired on that day but you could feel the vibe of overflowing happiness. They (horse handlers and trainers) manage to bring the best team of martial artists in a place considered as IP land. They’re very proud of us,” Eustaquio said.
Later that day, you could hear ONE Championship Strawweight World Champion Pacio, Pacatiw and the rest saying “Enjoy, bitin lang!” ( “It was fun but it left us hanging!”) while they stride lazily but fulfilled up the stairs to the gym. All to fully complete the eventful day and mend the muscle soreness – the dear prize they won from a day saddling was a soothing sauna and a good talk of their raw and incalculable adventure.