Philippines, 29 Sep 2020
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Laura Elorde, the original front-liner


PhilBoxing.com





Kindly share this fervent farewell message:

“Thank you for everything. Ma miss ka naming sobra. Thank you for all the lessons and memories that you’ve shared with us. Thank you for showing us how to be patient and religious. You are our light. Lola. Forever in our hearts.”

That’s from Nico Elorde, grandson of ring immortal Flash Elorde and starting point guard of the North Pole team in the PBA.
Nico’s beloved grandmother, Laura Elorde, widow of Flash Elorde, passed away on Saturday. She was 92.

**

There was a rich, almost endless flow of loving tribute for the well-loved and devoted Laura Elorde, popularly known as the matriarch of Philippine boxing.

“The boxing world lost a shining light when Laura Elorde passed away of natural causes, leaving behind a legacy of a matriarch who was an inspiration to her late husband and hundreds of fighters brought out of poverty by her family,” wrote veteran sports journalist Joaquin Henson.

From roving international boxing correspondent Carlos Costa: “Always kind and lovely, the beautiful angel soul of Laura Elorde lives in Peace and Joy in Heaven…to Eternity, together with her beloved husband.’

“With a very sympathetic and understanding wife as Laura, it’s no wonder Gabriel Elorde became a big name and Hall-of-Fame world champion that lasted long in boxing,” said boxing historian Teodoro Medina Reynoso.

**

The poet-novelist Erwin Castillo remembers Laura Elorde as a kind, caring, brilliant and strong—“mabait, marunong at matapang, magandang mag-kwento.”

What would also stand out was Laura Elorde’s boundless religiosity and deep love for God.

She never missed hearing early morning Mass, and continued to complete the daily devotion, getting up at 4:30 a.m., fighting her way to be with her God and receive Communion from a wheelchair.

Until a few years back, this reporter often chanced upon her Friday mornings at the Quiapo Church for her devotional novena to the Blessed Black Nazarene.

**

There were also big trials, which put Laura Elorde’s fortitude to test.

A truly big problem came with the lurking foreclosure years back of the vast Elorde Sports Complex in Paranaque by the Development Bank of the Philippines.

Laura’s younger brother, Jun Sarreal, an international matchmaker like their father Lope Sarreal Sr. of world renown, swore they nearly gave up and lost the complex, run by the family corporation, with Laura as its president.

From a starting loan of P20 Million, the family debt swelled incredibly to ghastly P200 Million, no thanks to unpaid galloping interests.

“We did not know how to get out of the hole, it was hopeless, wala na talaga,” swore Jun Sarreal.

**

Until today, Jun Sarreal continued to be amazed how Laura, an education and accounting graduate, took it upon herself to find a way to wiggle out of the financial abyss.

Singled out was the fabled newspaperman Rod Reyes who helped out to resolve the hopeless credit situation during the administration of former President Joseph Estrada.

It was a slow but sure recovery process with Laura orchestrating the reconstitution of an enterprise that now includes boxing promotions, world class fitness gyms (under the Elorde brand), and real estate concerns, among others.

**

By the way, Jun Sarreal said they are continuing with the charity works started by Laura, starting with the orphanage run by nuns in the Sta Rita chapel in Paranaque, which she built with her husband.

There’s also an annual feeding program, whose beneficiaries, started at 300, now exceed 1,300.

Laura just loved to help and give solace and food to those in need, mainly the sick and destitute.

“She’s a healer, an original front-liner,” Jun Sarreal, who continued to glow from a thumbs-up sign given him by Laura from her death bed, exclaimed.

Photo: Laura Elorde (C) with her son Johnny (L) and Manny Pacquiao during one of the Gabriel Flash Elorde Boxing Awards.



Click here to view a list of other articles written by Recah Trinidad.


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