When weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz won the country’s first gold medal after a near century-long wait at the Olympics, Filipinos from all over the globe rejoiced and celebrated her historic triumph. Hidilyn’s winning lift, which also set a new Olympic record, was a result of years of hard work, resilience, and dedication that she put into reaching her dream.
And this inspiring journey of Hidilyn—with all the challenges she had to overcome—is at the center of the latest Kwentong Jollibee short film entitled “Ginto”. Jollibee, in collaboration with its partner agency McCann Worldgroup Philippines, hopes to share Hidilyn’s story to bring joy and inspiration to every Filipino.
Looking back on her humble beginnings
Hidilyn vividly remembers when she first started training. “Ang gamit kong weights noon ay mga gallon ng tubig. Mayroon akong mahabang bakal, ‘yun ang bar ko, tapos sa magkabila ay mga bote na may lamang tubig o kaya buhangin,” said Hidilyn. There were a lot of challenges at the start of her career, she shared, and many instances when she wanted to give up. But these did not discourage her.
Her hard work paid off when she bagged the silver medal in the 2016 Rio Summer Olympics.
“Noong nanalo ako sa Rio, doon mas naging malinaw sa akin na maraming nakababatang atleta na nakatingin sa akin para sa inspirasyon. Kaya sabi ko, hindi ako pwedeng sumuko. Ilalaban ko hanggang makuha natin ang pinakamimithing ginto,” said Hidilyn.
Reliving her winning moment
To launch the short film “Ginto”, Jollibee held a virtual press conference last October 14. Seeing the film in full for the first time, the Olympic champion was touched to have witnessed her story from the lens of a viewer. “Naiyak po talaga ako, lalo na yung doon sa part na chini-cheer ako ng mga frontliners, ng mga bata. Masaya po ako na na-inspire ko sila gaya ng pag-inspire nila sa akin.”
The image of Hidilyn clenching her fists in victory will forever be remembered by the whole nation. With “Ginto”, she got to relive this moment, along with the challenges she had to overcome leading to the Tokyo Olympics.
When asked how it was like re-enacting her own journey, Hidilyn said, “Bumalik lahat ng emotions — ‘yung saya, ‘yung hirap, at ‘yung pagpapalakas ng mga tao na tumulong sa akin para maabot ko yung pangarap ko.” To her, starring in her own Kwentong Jollibee short film was like another chance to relive her winning moment. “Masaya dahil ibang experience din for me ‘yung mag-act and rewarding dahil nakita ko ‘yung personal journey ko through another lens,” she added.
Long-time Kwentong Jollibee and award-winning director Pepe Diokno said it was a great honor to work on this project. “I’ve done a lot of Kwentong Jollibee films, and each story is different. But what sets ‘Ginto’ apart is that it’s a story of a sports icon that’s being revealed to the world. Hidilyn’s journey to success is the inspiration we need in these difficult times, and I treasure that I was able to do it with her and of course, Jollibee,” shared Direk Pepe.
Beyond her golden win
Now, with multiple awards and recognition, what more does a Hidilyn Diaz dream of? “For me, gusto ko po makatapos ng aking studies,” she said. At present, Hidilyn is taking up Bachelor of Science in Business Administration in De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde. “Gusto ko po makuha ang aking diploma at makapag-develop pa ng training schools para sa mga aspiring na atleta gaya ko noong nag-uumpisa ako. Nandito pa rin ako kasi weightlifting ang passion ko at gusto kong i-share ito sa mga kabataan,” Hidilyn added. She also mentioned plans of setting up an outreach activity similar to a community pantry in the coming months.
Hidilyn’s Kwentong Jollibee special “Ginto” serves as a reminder that Filipinos can rise above challenges through “lakas at puso,” armed with the love and support of those around them.