So many Koreans fell in love with the Philippines and its people that they chose to stay and adopted the country as their second home.
One of them is Kwon Mi Sook, former Korean female coach Kwon Mi Sook of the Philippine team for two years and one of those responsible for honing the skills of Rio Olympian Ian Lariba, who is now fighting acute cancer in a hospital.
But even when her services are no longer required, she is still around to help the Philippine Table Tennis Federation, led by president Ting Ledesma.
Just recently, Kwon helped facilitate the donation of equipment from the Korea Table Tennis Association (KTTA) as well as financial assistance to Lariba.
No less than 2004 Athens table tennis gold medalist Seun Min Ryu paid a visit to Ledesma to personally hand the equipment.
Ryu, who is the International Olympic Committee representative to Korea and former president of KTTA, also visited Lariba at the hospital and handed her US$10,000 contributions from players and members of KTTA.
Ryu was accompanied by World Athletic Association chairman Yoon Man-Young, Kwon, Ledesma, IOC representative to the Philippines Mikee Cojuangco and Philippine Philippine Korean Table Tennis Association President Noh Jun-ho.
“Yan talagang sina coach Kwon, malaking tulong sa Philippine table tennis sa lahat ng paraan. Dito na nakatira yan dahil napamahal na sa bansa natin,” said Ledesma, who gets the payment from his own pocket for the services of Kwon. “Medyo naubos na budget natin so stop muna.”
“I’m very grateful sa tulong ng KTTA, laluna kay Mr. Ryu who personally visited Ian to give the inspiration na lumaban,” added Ledesma.
Ryu said the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) is also set to donate US$20,000 which came from different table tennis communities all over the world.
“It’s not about the amount, it’s about to show our help to Ian. I see her smile and I think she will come back to the arena soon to play again,” said Ryun, who also gifted Lariba a Korea national team uniform signed by all its players.