Fil-Am figure skater jumps to Team PH

By Don Tagala, ABS-CBN North America News Bureau

Posted at Oct 19 2011 09:53 AM | Updated as of Oct 19 2011 08:31 PM

Fil-Am figure skater jumps to Team PH 1
Filipino-American figure skater Melissa Bulanhagui poses with Olympic figure skating champion Oksana Baiul / Balitang America
NEW YORK – Filipino-American figure skating champ Melissa Bulanhagui has won medals for Team USA; including a bronze medal at the 2010 Nebelhorn Trophy in Germany.
But this time, 21-year old Balanhagui said her only goal is to represent the Philippines at the Olympics.
“I’m very proud of what I have done for Team USA, I feel like I have done as much as I could for Team USA, now I’m representing the Philippines because I'm a natural-born Filipino citizen. My parents were both born in the Philippines... I’m doing this for my parents so, now I have the chance to represent my roots,” said Bulanhagui.
Olympic figure skating champion Oksana Bauil said she wanted to meet the Filipina figure skater after she saw one of Bulanhagui’s recent performance.
“I saw Melissa’s triple axel, actually, it’s great, it’s big, it’s wonderful,” said Bauil.
Bulanhagui is making her debut at the Philippines National Championships in November. Winning this competition, she said, will open doors for her to be able to compete internationally for Team Philippines.
 “I love competing. I love performing, in front of people, I feel like it’s a different way to connect to people rather than just talking to someone. I can skate and I can make people feel a certain way about my skating,” said Bulanhagui.
Bauil’s biggest advice to the Pinay skater: “Enjoy what you’re doing. My best advice is to be happy, and try to do well every day.”
Bulanhagui, who is still under contract with Team USA, can only compete internationally for Team Philippines after her US contract ends in March 2012. But she will leave for the Philippines next month, in time for the November 26 competition.

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