Governor Eleanor “Leah” C. Bulut-Begtang rewarded WNM Mhage Gerriahlou Sebastian a brand-new laptop and pledged monetary incentives for her latest historical achievement in chess, being the 1st Apayao Chess Master and the 1st ever Woman National Master in the Cordillera Administrative Region and of the Far Northern Luzon at the age of 15.
Gov. Leah commended WNM Sebastian for carrying the Apayao flag in national and international chess tournaments. She encouraged Sebastian to continue what she’s doing and push even further to achieve more in the royal game. “Itultuloy mo daytoy narugyam ken aglalaing ka pay tapno nangatngato pay ti maragpat mo (continue what you started and hone further your skills and you will achieve more),” she said.
WNM Sebastian thanked the governor for her full support and vowed to pursue her dream to become a Grandmaster.
The native of Flora, Apayao said without the support of the Provincial Government, Municipal Local Government Units as well as the kind-hearted individuals, athletes cannot go far.
Sebastian was also recognized by Vice Governor Remy Albano and the Sangguniang Panlalawigan Members, Mayors Rodolfo Juan and Evelyn Martinez, Vice Mayor Jessica De San Jose, her former elementary and secondary schools.
With this title, WNM Sebastian has put once again the name of Apayao in the chess map of the country. Feared and respected over the board, WNM Sebastian has long list of chess achievements since she formally started playing chess at the age of five.
One of the career highlights of WNM Sebastian is her inclusion in the regular Philippine National Woman Chess Team last year at the age of 14, the current youngest member of the team.
Before heading to Far Eastern University, she raked gold medals for Apayao during the Cordillera Administrative Regional Athletic (CARAA) Meets and represented the Cordillera in the Palarong Pambansa Thrice.
In UAAP Season 82, her first appearance, she bagged the Rookie of the Year award and silver medal in Board 1.
She already went abroad 10 times in seven different countries and consistently brought home gold medals.
Currently, she is the Top Board player and team captain of FEU Baby Tamaraw High School Girls Chess Team. By GERRIAHZON S. SEBASTIAN