Before being crowned Mutya ng Pilipinas Intercontinental in 2010, you were a student athlete. Have you always been into sports?
My whole family is very athletic. My kuya Joseph Lizardo used to be the top tennis player in the country, so bata pa lang ako, tinuturuan na niya akong mag-tennis. But when I turned seven years old, I got vitiligo—it’s a skin condition that would worsen if I get exposed under the sun for long periods of time. So they had to move me indoors, ha ha! Kaya napunta ako sa badminton.
Was it difficult to grow up athletic?
At first I thought it was the normal thing, but as I grew older, napansin kong marami rin palang differences. Like, nung high school, my friends would all go to the mall after classes and I’d go straight to training. I’ve always had to balance school, training, family time, and also my personal time. I usually missed field trips kasi I didn’t want to miss training. Ayoko kasing mapagiwanan. I’ve always been competitive.
That’s a lot to juggle. How were you even able to date?
It was always my studies and badminton first, so when a guy once pointed out na wala na akong oras for him, sabi ko talaga, “Hey, I’m sorry, pero these would have to come first.” That’s the reason din siguro why I didn’t have a serious relationship when I was younger, kasi I didn’t make time for going out and dating.
Is it difficult to meet guys when you’re that competitive?
I think sometimes people mistake my being competitive for being unapproachable; but when you get to know me, you’ll know that I’m not going to be competitive about everything. Sa sports lang, ha ha! It’s more of, like, I’m competing with myself.
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Photography Ria Regino of Fat Cat Studio Styling Debra Bernales Makeup Janina Dizon Hair Emmanuel Hernandez II