New Documentary Shows Margie Didal’s Lasting Legacy in the Skateboarding Community

“Woman In Action: Beyond the Board” Details Margie Didal’s Origin Story, Rising Above Challenges and Inspiring Generations

On June 21, Gretchen Ho’s Woman in Action releases “Beyond the Board” documentary which chronicled the journey of young Filipina skateboarding sensation, Margielyn “Margie” Didal. The screening, held last June 21 at the Powerplant Mall Cinema, gathered esteemed guests to witness the story of resilience and determination that defines Didal’s career.

“Woman In Action”, a travel-documentary program hosted by Gretchen Ho, took the viewers from the bustling streets of Cebu, where Didal first discovered her passion for skateboarding. Didal’s journey is one of trials and triumphs, marked by her indomitable spirit and unwavering dedication to her sport.

Born on Rough Roads

Didal’s story began in the streets of Cebu. In the documentary, she shared that compared to other countries, she began skateboarding quite late at 12 years old. Didal narrated how she started learning about skateboarding after she spotted skateboarders riding at a university’s parking lot. She loaned one of their boards to try skating after asking one of the skateboarders how it was done. Since then, her interest in skateboarding only grew. 

“I used to borrow boards from other skaters,” said Didal in the documentary on her early beginnings as a skateboarder. Because she did not have her own board, Didal found another way to scratch her itch to skate. “We didn’t have phones then, (so) I would pay five pesos at computer shops to spend thirty minutes watching videos in slow motion (to learn) how to do this,” she shared.

As a teenager, Didal spent most of her free time at Concave Skate Park, where she was soon hired to do random jobs like cooking noodles for the skateboarders. Dani Bautista, Didal’s coach, recounted his early encounters with Didal at Concave. He said that Didal “would ask a lot of questions” and “was super into it.” About two months later, Bautista said, Didal would know how to do most tricks on the skateboard. This, he found, made Didal truly special.

Riding Against the Odds

Didal’s path was far from easy. Financial constraints and limited access to proper skateboard training facilities were only some of the factors that added layers of difficulty to her pursuit. Yet, despite these challenges, Didal’s determination only grew stronger. Three months after she learned to skateboard, she joined the first, of many, local skateboarding events in Cebu. She competed against male skateboarders in the competition and reached the finals.

“Most events before were joined mostly by men,” said Didal. “So, you didn’t really have a choice. You just join.” 

She added, “There were other skateboarders who were girls, but they rarely joined competitions. At the time, I didn’t know men and women competitions were supposed to be separate. I thought it was a joint competition, so I think that built me into who I am now.” Her tenacity and skill made childhood friend, Jemath Libre, believe she would go far in the skateboarding world. “She competed against guys, and she really would place,” remarked Libre.

As Didal further honed her confidence and skills, her community of skateboarders, together with her team and sponsors, rallied behind her in support. She took her skateboard training more rigorously, and soon, her name started making waves in the international skateboarding scene. “I appreciate the people around me and they appreciate me,” said Didal of her team and supporters. “They value me.”

The Real Breakthrough

Didal’s career breakthrough came when she won gold at the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta, Indonesia. She was only 19 years old. A year later, Didal struck gold twice at the 2019 Southeast Asian (SEA) Games. Her meteoric rise soon became a symbol of hope and inspiration for many young skateboarders in the Philippines, including John Michael Abarca, aged 15, whom Didal took under her wing. 

“He reminds me of myself,” she said happily.

Beyond the trophies and the medals, Didal’s enduring legacy lies in how she changed the game for skateboarding. Sports journalist Paolo Del Rosario pointed out that focusing on Didal’s international competition achievements overlooks the profound shift she has catalyzed in the discourse surrounding skateboarding. Her influence extends beyond the podium; she has become a source of inspiration, igniting passion and ambition in the hearts of young skateboarders.

Del Rosario emphasized that Didal’s journey is far from over, as she continues to push herself to new heights in her sport. He expressed,  “At the end of the day, Margielyn still won. You can see it in the kids playing, in the (crowds) in the venues. That’s her gold medal.” Didal’s journey serves as a testament to the power of perseverance, determination, and resilience in breaking barriers and reshaping perceptions within the skateboarding community and beyond.

Asked what she wanted to tell aspiring skateboarders, Didal said, “If I can do it, you can do it too.” She added, “We each just have our own time and pace.”

“Woman in Action: Beyond the Board,” delves deep into Didal’s personal journey, showcasing not just her skill but her fierce determination and indomitable spirit. The documentary highlights the impact of Didal’s success on the skateboarding community, especially among young skateboarders in the Philippines. Featuring interviews with coaches, childhood friends, and fellow skateboarders who have witnessed her trials and triumphs, it portrays Didal’s strong support system cheering for her as she faces challenges head on and always with her infectious smile intact.

Discover Margie Didal’s inspiring journey of courage, determination, and resilience, as she rises in the skateboarding scene in “Woman In Action: Beyond the Board,” through Cignal TV, One PH and Gretchen Ho’s YouTube page. 

Cignal TV One News Premier on June 21, 2024 from 5PM to 6PM

Cignal TV One News Replay on June 22, 2024 from 7:30PM to 8:30PM

Viewers may also catch up on One PH from June 23, 2024 from 2:00PM to 3:00PM and from 7:00 PM and 8:00PM. Additionally, the documentary will also be played on Gretchen Ho’s  YouTube page on June 23, 2024 at 8:00PM. 

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