OFW from Antipolo carries Olympic torch

by Rose Eclarinal, ABS-CBN Europe News Bureau

Posted at Jul 23 2012 01:54 PM | Updated as of Jul 24 2012 05:36 PM

LONDON (UPDATED) - On the last Sunday before the Olympic Games, the flame was carried by overseas Filipino worker Reymund "Apol" Enteria from Antipolo, Rizal.

Torchbearer number 80 for the second day of the torch relay in London was Enteria, an occupational therapist working in Tonbridge, Kent. He carried the flame in the 350-yard distance along Coombewood Drive in the London borough of Havering.

"Para sa akin it's my greatest contribution sa Pilipinas, kumbaga sa history. Para sa akin, napakalaking responsibility na-irepresent and buong bansang Pilipinas. Ito na po ang chance na ipakita sa buong mundo how we should be recognized as an inspiring individual, sa bawat isa sa atin alam natin kung gaano kagaling at kasipag ang mga Pinoy," Enteria said.

Enteria was chosen as one of the 8,000 torchbearers in the UK through one of the partners of the London 2012 Games because of his inspiring story as an OFW.

"I think ang naging karanasan ko bilang bata at bilang individual ay isang halimbawa ng ordinaryong Pilipino. Ngayon ako ay isang occupational therapist sa England na nabigyan ng chance," he said.

His parents flew in from Manila to watch their son carry the Olympic flame.

For 59-year-old Luz Enteria, who worked as a factory worker in Hong Kong for many years to give her family a better future, her son’s achievement surpassed her expectations.
"Bilang isang ina, proud na proud ako sa aking anak lalo na at napili siyang torchbearer dito sa London," she said.

Apol’s father shared the struggles he had to overcome to provide for his family. As a jeepney driver, he said his son would often help him make money.

"Namamasada kami. Siya ang kunduktor, ako ang driver," said 58-year old Santiago Enteria.

Tears of joy clouded his eyes when he thanked Apol for bringing them to London and for the honor he brought to the family.

"Nagpapasalamat ako dahil nakapunta kami dito, kaya tuwang tuwa," his father said.

Apol was also grateful for the support he received from his friends and co-workers from Kent who lined the streets to watch him carry the flame.

"Sobrang saya na parang gusto kong maiyak, especially nang malaman ko na sa place namin, sa place kung saan ako nakatira, 10 cars and nag-effort na mag-convoy and we all have flashing lights," said Apol.

Apol gets to keep the torch he carried. He said he is willing to donate it to a government museum in the Philippines to share the pride of being chosen as a Filipino torchbearer in the London 2012 Games.

For many who know Apol, his story in overcoming poverty to achieve his dreams will continue to inspire and motivate them to excel and be recognized.