Postcards from the Philippines ft. Mak Feliciano

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Our last postcard has arrived and so we wrap up this series of interviews, kindly undertaken by Isabell Kittell, with Mak Feliciano’s lockdown story:

Mak is a reputed Skater in the Philippines, he won a Silver Medal in the Southeast Asian Games in 2019 and is a member of the TAGA-BALER SKATEBOARDING COMMUNITY INC.

“I am Mak Feliciano from baler and I am a streetstyle skater. That’s where I started – at 11 or ten. And now I am 23, and I haven’t stopped skating since ever.”

What is your preferred skating style?

Streetskating! My brother originally was the one to start skating and I just started skating with them, they taught me how to skate.

What do you consider your personal biggest success in skating?

“For me, a sign of it, I got a lot of friends because of skating. It’s not winning any competition, but I found a lot of friends. If I go to other places where I have never been before, I meet new people, sometimes some guys know me from facebook maybe, and there I get introduced to their friends – and I have so many connections everywhere in the Philippines. We have a great skate family here [in Baler], but we don’t have a good street skate spot here with handrails or a ledge.”

What is your fear in skating? Getting injured I guess – that’s the worst feeling for skaters. Just being injured.

How were the first few weeks of lockdown and how did you feel?

I skated on parks in Manila, before this lockdown happened. I went to a skate trip, then it happened. Lockdown feels different, it’s a different vibe – I am in my hometown [Baler] for a while, which is actually a good thing for me, I went to so many different places before. I am done studying, I did aircraft maintenance, but for now I am just focusing on skating, as now there is nothing to do.

What was the first skate get-together like?

It feels weird to skate with your friends – it’s been awhile since then, and it was just a weird feeling, everybody was hyped to skate. For me, when the lockdown was ongoing, we could still skate, as we have a private mini ramp on a different place here in Baler, just for close family and friends. And as we did not have any cases, we felt safe.

It was hard to adjust, you can’t go anywhere and skate here and there, but everything is restricted, you can’t skate at all the places, that is hard for us.

Describe your favourite skating place in Aurora?

I like the area around Ermita hill, it’s a nice spot here – its both for street skating and downhill. It’s the perfect spot where we always go.

I generally go skating, if its not raining, surely minimum 5 times a week. It depends. And of course when the swell is coming and we have waves, we go surfing. Actually, I only started surfing consistently during the lockdown.

Did you ever get in trouble because of skating?  Not really, but they were just kicking us out from the spot.

How would you like the skate community to evolve through this pandemic? yun, may spread naming yung skateboarding and downhill sa mga bata [I want ], all the kids know only basketball or volleyball, but I would like to spread skateboarding and downhill here in baler.

Any motivational message for your fellow co-skaters? Keep skating, and skate for fun! That’s where we all started. Skate safe!

Thanks for this great interview, Mak!

Mak and the Taga Baler Skate Group submitted a project to build a skate park to the local government unit and are hoping they will build it for them. A few days after the interview was taken, the group got the message that are among the Top Teams to potentially win the Red Bull DIY Team competition, a community program that aims to develop and promote skate spots around the Philippines – we are crossing fingers and wishing the best of luck!

Once again, we would like to thank the Filipino skate community who took time to contribute to this series of articles. It isn’t often we get to hear how lockdown has been for skaters across the globe and this has been an eye-opener. Take care, all of you, and stay safe 🙂 Sabina.