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Mark Sangiao and the Legacy of Team Lakay

Mark Sangiao leads Team Lakay to prominence in Baguio City's MMA community and beyond in Asia. Explore their legacy and impact on martial arts.

 |  6 min read

Team Lakay, under Mark Sangiao's guidance, dominates the MMA scene in Asia. Explore their legacy and martial arts triumphs.

Mark Sangiao, the driving force behind Baguio City's martial arts dominance, continues to shape the landscape of combat sports with his renowned gym, Team Lakay. From his own journey as a fighter to his role as a mentor and coach, Sangiao's influence extends far beyond the confines of the gym walls. Let's delve into the ongoing saga of Mark Sangiao and Team Lakay as they cement their legacy in the world of martial arts.

Mark "The Machine" Sangiao

The Evolution of Mark "The Machine" Sangiao

Mark Sangiao's journey into martial arts began in his formative years, where he displayed a natural affinity for combat sports. Growing up in Baguio City, he was drawn to the discipline and focus required in disciplines like kickboxing, taekwondo, and wushu. Despite initial objections from his mother due to concerns for his safety, Sangiao's passion for martial arts only grew stronger with time.

In 2001, Sangiao achieved a significant milestone in his career when he secured a gold medal at the Southeast Asia Games, showcasing his prowess on the regional stage. This victory marked a turning point in his journey, solidifying his commitment to pursuing martial arts at the highest level.

Team Lakay Logo

Transitioning from a successful competitive career to coaching, Sangiao founded Team Lakay in Baguio City, a gym that would later become synonymous with excellence in martial arts. Drawing from his own experiences as a fighter, Sangiao sought to instill values of discipline, perseverance, and humility in the next generation of athletes.

As a fighter, Mark "The Machine" Sangiao amassed a respectable MMA record of 7-2, showcasing his skill and determination in the cage. His experience as a competitor provided invaluable insights that he would later impart to his students as a coach.

Under Sangiao's guidance, Team Lakay quickly rose to prominence, attracting talented fighters from across the region. Sangiao's unique coaching style, characterized by a combination of technical expertise and unwavering support, set the foundation for the gym's success.

As a mentor and coach, Sangiao's impact extended beyond the gym walls, influencing the lives of countless athletes and shaping the trajectory of their careers. His commitment to excellence and his unwavering dedication to his students earned him the respect and admiration of the martial arts community.

Photo: ONE Championship

Team Lakay: Forging Champions

Team Lakay, under Sangiao's stewardship, has become synonymous with excellence in martial arts. From humble beginnings, the gym has blossomed into a powerhouse, producing champions and contenders across various promotions, most notably ONE Championship.

Among the Igorot MMA fighters who have risen to prominence under the Team Lakay banner are Honorio "The Rock" Banario, Kevin "The Silencer" Belingon, Geje "Gravity" Eustaquio, Joshua "The Passion" Pacio, and Eduard "Landslide" Folayang. These athletes have captured titles and accolades on the global stage, showcasing the depth of talent within Team Lakay.

Other notable athletes from the gym include Mark "El Terrible" Eddiva, Rey "The Punisher" Docyogen, Dave Galera, Jerome Wanawan, Eric "The Natural" Kelly, Crisanto "The Slugger" Pitpitunge, Stephen "The Sniper" Loman, Lito "Thunder Kid" Adiwang, and many more. While predominantly composed of Igorot MMA fighters, Team Lakay welcomes athletes from all backgrounds who share a passion for the sport and a commitment to excellence.

Transition and Evolution

While Team Lakay has been a bastion of success in the martial arts world, the journey of its athletes is not always confined to a single path. Some fighters, after achieving great success under the Team Lakay banner, have chosen to retire from competition or move on to different ventures. Others have ventured into coaching or started their own gyms, contributing to the growth and diversification of the martial arts community.

Retired athletes like Eric "The Natural" Kelly and Crisanto "The Slugger" Pitpitunge continue to inspire with their contributions to the sport, while others have taken on new challenges outside of the cage. Additionally, some former Team Lakay members have established their own gyms, nurturing the next generation of fighters and fostering a spirit of collaboration within the martial arts community.

Though their paths may diverge, the bond forged within Team Lakay remains strong, serving as a testament to the enduring legacy of Mark Sangiao and his vision for martial arts excellence. As these athletes continue to evolve and chart their own courses, their contributions to the sport and their shared experiences with Team Lakay will forever be etched in the annals of martial arts history.

The Legacy Continues

As the journey of Mark Sangiao and Team Lakay unfolds, their legacy grows ever stronger. Beyond the confines of competition, Sangiao's impact resonates within the hearts and minds of his athletes, instilling values that extend far beyond the realm of martial arts.

With each new generation of fighters, Sangiao's influence reverberates, shaping the future of combat sports in Baguio City and beyond. As Team Lakay continues to write their chapter in the annals of martial arts history, one thing remains certain: the legacy of Mark Sangiao and Team Lakay will endure for generations to come.

Moreover, the instrumental role of dedicated trainers who have worked tirelessly behind the scenes to develop and nurture Team Lakay's talent cannot be overlooked. Their guidance and expertise have played a pivotal role in the success of the gym and will continue to shape its future endeavors.


1. What is the history of Team Lakay?

Team Lakay was founded by Mark Sangiao in Baguio City and has since become synonymous with excellence in martial arts, producing champions and contenders in various promotions.

2. Who are some notable fighters from Team Lakay?

Prominent fighters from Team Lakay include Honorio "The Rock" Banario, Kevin "The Silencer" Belingon, Geje "Gravity" Eustaquio, Joshua "The Passion" Pacio, and Eduard "Landslide" Folayang, among others.

3. What disciplines does Team Lakay specialize in?

Team Lakay specializes in various martial arts disciplines, including kickboxing, taekwondo, wushu, and mixed martial arts (MMA).

4. What is Mark Sangiao's role within Team Lakay?

Mark Sangiao is the founder and head coach of Team Lakay. He plays a pivotal role in training and mentoring the gym's fighters, guiding them to success in their martial arts careers.

5. How has Team Lakay impacted the martial arts community in Baguio City?

Team Lakay has had a profound impact on the martial arts community in Baguio City, inspiring aspiring fighters and promoting the values of discipline, perseverance, and humility.

6. Are all Team Lakay fighters from the Igorot ethnic group?

While Team Lakay has predominantly consisted of Igorot MMA fighters, the gym welcomes athletes from all backgrounds who share a passion for the sport and a commitment to excellence.

7. What are some challenges faced by Team Lakay fighters?

Team Lakay fighters face various challenges in their careers, including tough competition, rigorous training regimens, and the need to balance their athletic pursuits with other aspects of their lives.

8. How does Mark Sangiao balance coaching and mentoring Team Lakay fighters?

Mark Sangiao manages his responsibilities as a coach and mentor by instilling discipline, fostering a supportive team environment, and providing personalized guidance to each fighter under his tutelage.

9. What is the future outlook for Team Lakay?

The future looks promising for Team Lakay, with a new generation of talented fighters emerging and the gym continuing to make strides in the world of martial arts.

10. How can aspiring fighters join Team Lakay?

Aspiring fighters interested in joining Team Lakay can reach out to the gym for information on tryouts, training programs, and membership opportunities.


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