MANILA – Chooks-to-Go's quest to honor forgotten sports heroes continues.
The Ronald Mascariñas-owned company has given Leopoldo Serantes a lifetime PHP100,000 monthly allowance to pay homage to his success during the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul.
Serantes, who won a boxing bronze in Seoul, is confined at the Veterans Memorial Medical Center with a chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
Mascariñas himself went to the hospital to hand the first check to Serantes' daughter Leodelia with Atlanta Olympics silver medalist Onyok Velasco, who helped Mascariñas in finding the now 59-year-old retired pug.
"Si Leopoldo Serantes, isa yang alamat sa boxing. Nung naguumpisa pa lang kami, nandiyan na siya. Siya na yung tinitingala na namin, (Leopoldo Serantes is a legend in boxing. When we were only starting our careers, he was already there. He's the one we're looking up to)," shared Velasco. "Nung nag-Olympics siya, dun na nagumpisa yung pagkaidolo namin sa kanya. Naka-medal siya tapos hindi rin siya ganun kalaking tao, maliit lang pero naka-medal at talagang malakas (When he played in the Olympics, that's where our admiration for him started. He won a medal despite not being a big man, small but really strong)."
Over the weekend, Velasco, who himself was left out of the radar after calling it a career, was handed a Chooks-to-Go franchise plus PHP100,000 from Mascariñas.
Upon receiving his own perks, Velasco decided to inquire about the possibly of helping Serantes too.
"Naisipan ko na ilapit siya sa Chooks-to-Go kasi natulungan din ako. Si Serantes, nangangailangan din ng tulong. Nangangailangan talaga siya ng tulong (I thought of raising his concerns to Chooks-to-Go because it helped me. Serantes also needs help. He really needs help)," Velasco said.
Mascarinas never hesitated in saying yes to Velasco's plead.
"Just like with Onyok Velasco, we cannot just forget the sports heroes that gave honor to our country in the past. We should continue to honor their legacy. In the case of Leopoldo Serantes, we decided to give him a monthly allowance of PHP100,000 for the rest of his life so that he can live with dignity befitting a living hero,” Mascariñas said.
Upon accepting the help, Leodelia Serantes said, "Sobrang laking tulong po nito para sa tatay ko. Hindi na siya mamomoblema sa araw-araw niya na gastusin para sa oxygen, sa gastusan niya sa gamutan na pang buhay. Maraming salamat Sir Ronald sa tulong niyo po sa papa ko. Malaking tulong po ito sa kanya. Maraming salamat po (This is a huge help to my father. He will not anymore have problems with his daily expenses for oxygen and medicines. Thank you, Sir Ronald, for your help to my father)."
In his own thanksgiving, Velasco said, "Sir Ronald, taos-puso po akong nagpapasalamat sa inyo. Natulungan niyo po ang isang kapwa boksingero ko na nagmedal din sa Olympics. Nung nilapit ko siya sa inyo, hindi na kayong nagdalawang isip. Talagang approve kaagad (Sir Ronald, I am giving my heartfelt thanks to you. You helped my fellow boxer who also won a medal in the Olympics. When I inquired his case to you, you didn't think twice. You approved it quickly)."
Velasco even believes Serantes would echo what he told Mascariñas upon receiving his own Chooks-to-Go store, saying, "Kung nandito po si Leopoldo, baka sabihin niya, hulog rin kayo ng langit sa kanya (If Leopoldo is here, he might also say you are heaven-sent)."