Baguio City, Philippines: The city government of Baguio organized a vibrant parade for the 109th annual Baguio City Day last Saturday, 1 September, to celebrate the town’s feat as the first Philippine city to make it to the prestigious global creative circle and highlight Baguio City's outstanding personalities, including the members of the legendary martial arts group Team Lakay.
Despite being located at an elevation of 5,050 feet above sea level in the mountains of Baguio City, Benguet, Team Lakay has been recognized as one of Asia’s elite mixed martial arts camps, spawning remarkable Filipino athletes such as Eduard Folayang, Geje Eustaquio, Kevin Belingon, Honorio Banario, Joshua Pacio, Danny Kingad, Edward Kelly, Gina Iniong and April Osenio.
Kevin “The Silencer” Belingon, who captured the ONE Interim Bantamweight World Championship against two-division titleholder Martin Nguyen last July, was the centerpiece of the parade as he received cheers and adulation from the crowd.
The parade featured performers in traditional Igorot garb native to the province of Benguet and its neighbors in the Cordillera region as they rode a pick-up truck along Session Road bearing a mock display of the ONE World Championship belt attached to the vehicle's bullbar. Belingon and his Team Lakay comrades waved to fans as the parade traversed down the city’s most populous areas.
Locals likewise lined up to see Geje “Gravity" Eustaquio, who became the undisputed ONE Flyweight World Champion by defeating Brazil’s Adriano Moraes in a rematch this past June. Joining Eustaquio during the motorcade were fellow ONE Championship athlete Edward “The Ferocious” Kelly and Team Lakay member Jon Chris Corton.
Baguio City fans were also able to catch a glimpse of two-time ONE Strawweight World Championship challenger Joshua “The Passion" Pacio, who stood beside Filipino flyweight contender Danny “The King” Kingad.