The Women of Negros Arnis: Ellah J. Alvarado
Ellah J. Alvarado is one of the young rising Arnis players from Bago City, primarily known as the hotbed of boxing, producing two of the ten Olympic Games medalists from the Philippines namely brother Roel Velasco and Mansueto ”Onyok” Velasco. But not known to many non-Arnis aficionados, Bago is also a breeding ground of some of the best Filipino Martial Arts (FMA) systems in the province of Negros Occidental.
Bago is home to Yasay Sable of the Yasay Clan, Original Filipino Tapado long stickfighting of Founder/Grandmaster Romeo “Nono” C. Mamar, Guarra Style Modern Modern Arnis of the late P/Sgt. (Ret.) Estanislao “Eslao” T. Guarra, Arjuka of Grandmaster Isaac T. Guarra, Oido de Caburata Arnis of the Gubaton brothers, and Oido Fencing of Grandmaster Sotero Tario among others.
Alvarado, 18, the eldest daughter of Randy A. Alvarado and Mylene J. Alvarado (the other is Arreanah, 6), descended from the fencing style of Yasay Sable, currently under 3rd Generation Headmaster Paterno “Pater” Yasay and his nephew and. Chief Instructor of the art Master Ferdinand Emmanuel “Bobot” Y. Gayoles. Alvarado started learning Arnis when she was 12 from his father, Randy, who was a student of Master Gayoles. Prior to that she was into swimming and badminton and loves to dance. She also learned from her uncle, Wilson A. Alvarado, another student of Master Gayoles.
It is interesting to note that while the brothers Randy and Wilson Alvarado are teachers at the Ramon Torres National High School (RTNHS), their instructor, Master Gayoles, is also teacher at the University of Negros Occidental-Recoletos (UNO-R), handling DefTac (Defensive Tactics) for BS Criminology students.
Randy Alvarado has already produced national champions. He trained the Hon. Mayor Ramon Torres-sponsored Bago City College (BCC) Arnis Team who took the overall championship during the 3rd Alculympics held in 2011 at the City College of Calapan, Oriental Mindoro with a 12-5-7 medal haul, beating 5 other teams. He and his brother Wilson trained the overall all boys champions for the 2015 Laguna and 2016 Albay Palarong Pabansa Arnis competitions.
Alvarado duplicated that feat in her daughter. Ellah J. Alvarado was crowned champion in the featherweight (52-55 kg.) category in the sparring division during the Arnis National Encounter 2017 sponsored by the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) on May 27-30, 2017 at the Philsports Arena, Ultra Sports Complex, Pasig City, after she beat a player from the University of the Philippines (UP) in the semi-finals and a competitor from IloIlo in the finals. The win qualified her to be the first and only Arnis player to represent Bago in the 1st Arnis World Encounter held last July 27-30, 2017 at the Mall of Asia (MOA), Pasay City.
Alvarado, currently a Grade 12 Humanities and Social Sciences (HUMSS) student, represented RTNHS during the Palarong Pambansa Arnis competition in April 2016 in Bicol Albay and in April 2017 in Patnungon, Antique.
Alvarado, despite her fondness for Arnis, managed to be ranked Top 1 in her class for the 1st Grading of the 1st Semester for AY 2017-2018. She was also Top 1 when she was Grade 11 and Top 3 when she was Grade 10. She is currently the RTNHS Student Government President.* (James U. Sy, Jr.)