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Janelle Mae Frayna: New Philippine chess grandmaster

Janelle Mae Frayna

welcome By: Elena Grace Flores

The country’s talents never fail to excel. Times of turmoil and uncertainty are balanced. Knowing that Filipinos are great people. Don’t let this news pass you.  Hear it from Rappler:

Frayna is 20 years old and a psychology student at Far Eastern University. Learn more about the first Filipina chess grandmaster

The News

MANILA, Philippines – A few years ago, Jayson Gonzales noticed one of his players read every book he lent to members of the FEU women’s chess team. So, he took her aside, gave her special instruction and honed her skills for something higher.

Last Sunday, Janelle Mae Frayna became the country’s first woman grandmaster after she drew her ninth round game against Mongolia in the 42nd Chess Olympiad in Baku, Azerbaijan.

Although Frayna’s final norm for her woman’s grandmaster title will have to pass through FIDE, the ruling body for world chess, Gonzales is confident the last norm is in bag. “We have earned more than enough,” said Gonzales in an email to

The Experience

Nobody thought Frayna, who was in sight of the world junior championship a few weeks ago only to lose two of her last 3 games, would regain her bearings quickly in time for the Olympiad.

But doubters did not reckon that the 20-year-old Frayna, who is known for her focus, could recharge her batteries in time for the Olympiad.

Second Round

In the second round, Frayna’s mettle was tested as Georgian grandmaster Naza Dzagnidze sacrificed a piece for two pawns to stir up an attack. In the tense position that followed, Frayna answered her foe blow-for-blow, repulsing her attack and sending the game to a truce. That draw helped sustain the momentum of the Philippines’ 3-1 upset of fourth-seeded Georgia.

Seventh Round

In the seventh round against Hungary, Frayna mishandled a superior position against the former Vietnamese world junior champion Hoang Thanh Trang and lost. But she recovered from the defeat and scored 1.5 points, including her draw against Mongolia, in her next two games.

Her triumph is certain to create more interest in chess among women in the Philippines.

Victory Celebrated

“This is very good news,” said Mila Emperado, who has run the successful Milo Checkmate Clinics for the past 26 years. “Girls now enroll in our classes because they like the game.”

Emperado is a member of the first Philippine women’s team to a Chess Olympiad. The others are then top board Herminia Cartel, Andrea Lizares and Carmelita Alvarez, both of whom are lawyers.

Girme Fontanilla, the country’s first Woman International Master, said Frayna’s performance was “great.”

Frayna, whose parents are government employees in Legazpi City, Albay, is also pursuing her cum laude degree in psychology at Far Eastern University at the end of this year.


After she gets her psychology degree, Frayna will have a long campaign to improve her game and hopefully break the stranglehold of the Vietnamese in the Asian Zonal tournament. Vietnam has ruled Southeast Asian women’s chess for close two decades.

Frayna may help give them a run for their money for years to come.


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Philippine shooters made it big at Australasia 2016 Tournament

Australasia 2016

welcome By: Elena Grace Flores
Philippine shooters dominated the recently-concluded Australasia 2016 in Surabaya, Indonesia. The guys just made it big. The Filipino top shooters garnered a total of 56 gold medals, 15 silver medals, and 7 bronze medals at the four-day tournament, rising to the top among 480 competitors from 20 countries.

The Star Shooter

According to Philippine Practical Shooting Association (PPSA) President Jack Enrile, champion shooters Jethro Dionisio and Jeufro “Jag” Lejano will bring home three gold medals with three trophies each, out of the 56 gold medals won by the 101-strong shooting team.

Team Effort

Forty out of the 56 gold medals were from team awards, based on aggregated scores from individual performances.
“PPSA and the entire nation is thankful to all the members of the Philippine shooting team. Once again you made all Filipinos proud,” Enrile said.



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Filipino Sportsmanship Gone?: Hurdler Eric Cray Must be Cheered up not Bashed as he sets eyes on finals


welcome By: Elena Grace Flores
Southeast Asian Games goldmedalist Eric Cray aims to bring the Philippines its first gold medal on his bid to make it to the finals of the 400m hurdles in his first ever Olympic stint at Rio de Janeiro. 49.40 seconds in the 400m hurdles during the 2015 SEA Games was a big win. The Fil-AM athlete is 27-year-old and was born in Olongapo City but grew up in the United States.

“Hopefully, I get a good Rio showing to I can make it to the finals. I feel real good,” Cray said after travelling 17 hours to Rio. Cray will only need to cope with the three-hour difference between time zones unlike other Filipino athletes who came from Philippines which is 13 hours ahead of Brazil.

“The trip was pretty long, and I’d be racing like 50 or 49 seconds,” he said. Cray said he was excited about a couple of other things — and they don’t include seeing the world’s “fastest man,” Usain Bolt. “I’ve seen him in a lot of meets. I’ve been used to it so it’s not gonna be too exciting for me. I’m not gonna be too excited to see him,” he said. “But definitely I want to see some NBA players.” The Filipinos are indeed proud of Cray who never forget his roots and it does not matter if he win or lose. He’s already a winner in the eyes of the Filipino majority who are composed of mixed bloods contrary to some racial discrimination comments via social media.


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Man on heatstroke rescued by Pokemon Go Player


welcome By: Elena Grace Flores
Being aware of the surroundings despite looking for Pikachu of the popular augmented reality game Pokemon Go, made a player from Davao City rescued the life of a man initially diagnosed to have suffered heatstroke. Bon Vallite, 29, was playing the game outside a hotel compound when he saw Dondie Mark Gadon vomiting blood and was very weak.

“So it turned out, instead of finding my first Picachu character in Pokemon Go, I find a man looking for help while he was flimsy and later vomited blood,” Vallite said.

Vallite, a first aider from Sultan Kudarat then conducted first aide procedures on the man, then identified as Dondie Mark Gadon from Tagum City. “I gave him water, laid his back to the wall because he is bending downwards to breath comfortable as he keeps on vomiting and since I have bottled water with me, I put some to his face to normalize his pressure”, Vallite described his rescue moves.

Vallite asked a security guard nearby to call emergency number 911. An ambulance then came a few minutes after and Gadon was brought to the Metro Davao Medical and Research Center. Initial assessment showed Gadon had a heatstroke. Pokemon Go, was just launched in the Philippines recently by Niantic, Inc. Players are cautioned to be aware of their surroundings at all times while using the application right at the beginning of the game. However, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA)warned motorists not to play the game while driving – just like not texting while behind the wheels.


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Weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz got silver for Philippines in Rio Olympics


welcome By: Elena Grace Flores
Hidilyn Diaz put a stop on the country’s 20-year dry spell in the Olympics after bagging the silver medal in the 53-kilogram class of the weightlifting competition at the Riocentro Pavilion. Filipinos delegates in the gallery were already celebrating her third-best, bronze-clinching total of 200 kg when China’s erstwhile front runner Li Yajun failed in her third and final attempt to lift 126 kg in the clean and jerk and scratched out of the contest. It was Li, who actually tied the Olympic record in the snatch, but failed in all three tries at 126.

After realizing that Li had failed in her attempts, the three-time Olympian Diaz cannot hold it any longer and jumped in joy then raised her arms in triumph. She’s the country’s first medalist in weightlifting that made her coach proud. Diaz’s total lift was only 12 kg lighter than that of the gold medalist Hsu Shu-ching of Chinese Taipei who got 212. The silver is already as good as gold this early. South Korea’s Yoon Jin-hee is the bronze medalist with a total lift of 199 kg. Diaz felt the presence of God while weight lifting. She’s only 25-year-old and from Zamboanga City.

The silver medal under the government’s incentive program for medalists in the Olympics can easily be worth P5 million a cash bonuses accumulation.


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