Women Strengthened by Passion

Leo Amadeus Ruiz • 31/03/2021

Many sports activities have been traditionally stereotyped as masculine. As such, women of the yesteryears were usually limited to less strenuous sporting events. Among the first sports activities that were opened up to females were archery, gold, and croquet as these would not lead to excessive sweating nor would it involve physical contact which were considered non-ladylike.

Over the years, women have proven that these stereotypes are nothing but obstacles that can be challenged, and they have successfully done so, with the field opening up more and more sports for women. 

Some of our own women colleagues in Cushman & Wakefield Philippines have taken the challenge, showing the world that women can compete with men in the realms of sports.

Jenny – Triathlete & TAG’s Resident Fitness Advocate

Jenny Liban-Gappi, the Department Assistant for Cushman & Wakefield Philippines' Tenant Advisory Group (TAG), is a true fitness buff. She’s one of the handful of people who used the pandemic to do more workouts, albeit at home instead of the gym. 

When Jenny started working, she was assigned in the graveyard shift. She soon realized that this setup was not very healthy and so she knew she had to find ways to make up for the stresses of her working arrangement. So together with a close colleague, Jenny participated in a fun run. Having enjoyed the experience, running has become a hobby, and she then joined more fun runs.

In 2015, as a way to cope up with the loss of her mother, Jenny wanted to be engaged in more sports activities. She then tried swimming and fell in love with it. She became serious with swimming and joined her first aquathlon in March of the same year. She also levelled up her running and joined her first full marathon (42 kilometers) the following year. 

Taking it up a notch, Jenny also immersed herself in biking, allowing her to join her first triathlon in 2016. She also joined the following year, and earned 3rd place in the 20-29 age group. 

Women Strengthened by Passion

Jenny also joined the Spartan Race in 2019. The Spartan Race is famous among fitness enthusiasts as it doesn’t only involve running, but also includes over 20 obstacles which tests the challengers’ strength, power, and stamina. Jenny was not only able to finish the course but was also able to gain good friends with other participants in the race.

Asked for her inspiration, Jenny said, “It all started with my brother. He was a varsity player for basketball and I saw his passion in training and working out. I also wanted to embody the same level of passion in order to inspire other people as my brother inspired me. I also wanted to show other women that they can compete alongside men. Finally, I wanted to see how far I can go. I kept pushing my limits until I found myself competing not only with myself, but also with experienced triathletes. I want women to challenge themselves in order to better than who they are today.”

Because of the pandemic, there’s not much opportunity to participate in sporting events for now. But Jenny sure has not stopped training and is looking forward to compete in the near future.

Tina – CDS’ Basketball Champ

Pre-pandemic, you’ll see Kristina Castillo, Production Coordinator for the Manila-based team of the Creative & Design Services (CDS), playing basketball in Nike Hypercourt located just across the Cushman & Wakefield Philippines office. 

Tina fell in love with sports from a young age. She comes from a family who loves playing basketball. “I grew up in a household that loves playing basketball – including my aunts,” she said. She is, however, the first in her family to be able to play competitively in college.

In grade school and high school, Tina competed for volleyball, badminton, and track & field – all because there was no women’s team in her school. These sports activities, she believed, are still relatively stereotyped as “women’s sports”. 
When she entered college at UP Los Baños and found that there was an opportunity to join the Women’s Basketball varsity team, she quickly signed up and eventually got into the team.

During her stay, Tina and the team were able to earn 3 silvers and 1 bronze in regional meets organized by the Southern Tagalog Regional Association for State Universities and Colleges (STRASUC).
Women Strengthened by Passion

Tina’s passion and loyalty for the team was so strong that after graduating, she became the team’s Assistant Coach from 2015 to 2017.

Then, in 2018, Tina joined Girl’s Got Game (GGG), a non-profit organization that seeks to help young girls find their place in the realms of sports and use this to help them get out of poverty.

“There are still a lot of young girl who have accepted the fact that they cannot afford to go to college. I want these girls to see that there is a way to overcome this challenge through sports. We hold sports clinics to help young girls become competitive so that hopefully, this can help them land sports scholarships in schools that will allow them to have a brighter future not only for themselves but for their families.”

Because of the pandemic, GGG is unable to organize training camps at the moment. However, they are making sure that their beneficiaries still get some form of training by providing video modules. The team also sponsored their Internet connection so that they will have the means to access these videos, as well as to help them with their online classes.”

Tina believes that like her, women should start challenging themselves early. “It takes time to be great in what you do so you must start training from a young age. This will help open up opportunities for you that can make your life better. And in a world where women must be exceptional in order to stand out, we should start training our sisters young!”


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