Strizak finds Filipino hospitality hotter than the weather

ABS-CBN Sports on May 22, 2017 06:21 PM
Strizak finds Filipino hospitality hotter than the weather
American Michelle Strizak (left) attempts a dig while another Pocari Sweat foreign guest player Edina Selimovic of Bosnia bends to avoid interference during their match against the BaliPure Water Defenders.

Immediately upon her arrival in the country middle of April from Ohio, Pocari Sweat import Michelle Strizak found the prevailing summer weather and slow-as-snail traffic very discomfiting.  

But a four-day vacation with the family of a fellow Lady Warrior in Bataan had the 22-year-old, six-foot-one kinesiology graduate from the University of Illinois singing praises for the Philippines and its people.

"The hot weather and the traffic here may be unbearable," she says, "but the people's hospitality is disarmingly hotter. Those I run into everywhere I go are always ready to flash me their most radiant smiles.”

During the long wait for their International Certificate Transfers that had the foreign guest players and their local teammates in the ongoing Premier Volleyball League gnashing their teeth in exasperation, Strizak readily said yes to fellow Lady Warrior Jessey de Leon's invitation for a four-day vacation with her family in Bataan.    

The de Leons, she says, welcomed her like she was a member of the family, overwhelming her with out-of-this-world hospitality.    

"They were all so nice and warm to me, not once making me feel uncomfortable in their home. But they seemed intent on fattening me by gorging native delicacies and me on seafood galore. Anywhere I went there, the folk were smiling at me. It was a great way to soak up other peoples' cultures."     

Strizak and Edina Selimovic of Bosnia, the other foreign reinforcement for the Lady Warriors, had an auspicious debut in the PVL, a joint project of Sports Vision in cooperation with Asics as its official league partner and Mikasa as its official game ball. They provided the spark of Pocari Sweat's successful fight back from two sets down to eventually win in five.   

Selimovic, 25, immediately returned to her parents' home country of Bosnia after graduating from the University of Arkansas with a degree in international business. She says she was overjoyed by her participation as a member of the Bosnian national team in the European Challenge Cup. Another invitation to try out for a spot on a new Bosnian national squad came to her rather a bit late.

"This," she says referring to the PVL, "is happening at the same time and for which I already committed myself, so I could not attend our national tryouts."


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