Saturday, May 15, 2021

Intimate Interview with The Apprentice ONE Championship Filipino Finalist Louie Sangalang | Monchster Chronicles

It was an hour of insightful exchange between Louie Sangalang and select members of the media. A passionate revelation, and intimate discussion of his thoughts and feelings surrounding his experience that comes from the heart, where we can also learn something from. So as not to miss a single word of this interview, I am sharing with you the highlights of the transcript.

Watch the full interview:

Q: Given the nature of the Apprentice, how did you come up with your gameplan heading into it? Are things going the way expected from their end?

Louie Sangalang: Very Interesting question, kasi I don’t really have a gameplan coming into the competition and the reason why I didn’t have a gameplan was because I didn’t know what to expect. So, ang preparation ko dyan was quite simple. Sabi ko sa sarili ko that I’m just going to be at my best at my professional and mental toughness, then along the way I will adapt to the situation. I think one key element kasi dito is that before I arrived in Singapore, hindi ko kilala kung sino ‘yong mga competitors. I didn’t even bother to check social media and I just didn’t know who applied in The Apprentice. The funny thing is, I think I can talk about this now because Lara is officially out of the competition. I actually met Lara in the airport so she was the only person na talagang kakilala ko na part of The Apprentice. The reason I got to meet Lara in the airport was because we got held by the immigration, ayaw kami paalisin. Ayon ‘yong actual first challenge namin dito sa The Apprentice, hindi kami makalipad. But fortunately enough, we got the right documents from the Singapore government, from ONE Championship, pero and tagal namin doon, we were really negotiating with the immigration officers despite the kasagsagan ng pandemya.

Q: How does your Apprentice experience stack up with your North Pole quest?

Louie Sangalang: Magkaiba talaga siya. Mentally draining yong both experiences. The main
differences kasi ‘pag nasa North Pole, yong period of time na tumatakbo ka, nakakabaliw eh. Kasi ‘pag tumigil ka, alam mong pwede ka na maaksidente or pwede ka mamatay if you cannot manage yourself. Ang kinaganda sa Apprentice wala kang risk na ganon, although syempre ayaw mo matalo and yong impact kasi non sa self esteem mo iba rin yong level eh. Kasi dito there’s 16 of you competing head-to-head eh. Imagine losing in front of other people who want the same price as you do. Sa North Pole, you’re all competitors but everyone help each other finish. Ang maganda pa don is ‘yong camaraderie niyo lumalabas as competitors or participants ng marathon, ganon yong level. Dito [sa Apprentice] kasi, well lalabas siguro sa ibang episodes, nagsisimula na siya lumabas na may mga agenda yong bawat candidates na ngayon ko lang rin narealize after ko mapanood.

Q: What makes working in ONE and under Chatri a dream job for you?

Louie Sangalang: To be part of an organization, really that organization is something that I build myself. We're an organization that you know, I'm part of because someone invites me to join or become part of it because I apply for it. And I think yung vision ko na yun comes from the fact na tayo as Filipinos and us as individuals, we can do so much more. Ako kasi ganon mindset ko lagi eh, what else can I do during my very limited time in this world? You know, I've been given several opportunities to excel and to also fail. People have allowed me so that I realized an okay marami pa pala ako dapat matutunan at marami pa ako dapat gawin, and eventually once I’ve been able to do that marami pa ako dapat tulungan. I think that working for ONE Championship will give me a lot of resource estimate, you know, but I really think in the realm of professional sports, whether it’s mixed martial arts or esports I have a lot to offer and that’s the reason I want to be part of ONE Championship - to embody the values that I also look up to and the practices that I like and Chatri is a very good role model.

Q: I just want to find out because alam mo naman when you started this roll call of friends to give you support to join this contest I was one of them. It's because I believe they knew you know when we first met in the FWD North Pole event. I was already a fan because you had so much of this, strength in your character. So my question is, what made you join the apprentice?

Louie Sangalang: Other people naman who know me and know what I’ve been through, also know na in my past life as a professional mixed martial artist, talagang first love ko ‘yung martial arts. Talagang doon ako natuto ng maraming bagay, also help me recover from my illness, also from depression. I went to alcoholism, marami ako pinagdaanan na ganong issues and martial arts, basically the foundation of taking care of yourself and physicality, helped me to go through that. When I left MMA, it was one of the biggest decisions I have made in my life and I must say one of the most disheartening decisions I made in my life kasi parang tinalikuran ko yung isang bagay na parang gave me so much to offer sa mundo. And I went into my professional career sa field ng marketing, strategy to purchasing and procurement, inaano ko yan operations but in the end, I realized na, teka lang ano ba pwede ko gawin sa buhay ko? So I made a promise at the right time for me, I’m going to leave corporate no matter where I am in my life. I’m going to leave it and build a business on my own. So I started doing procurement consulting, but when I was doing that, I wanted to also actually in the back of my head, I also wanted to go back to the same state when I was 28 because I left professional mixed martial arts when I was 28 eh. So for two years wala ako ginawa kundi magtrabaho siguro in my last three years kasi in 2015 i did triathlon but I wasn’t as complete as when I was in martial arts. I received an offer from one championship, because I went on one warrior series tryouts and say, I impressed Mr. Rich Franklin. I got a call actually to be a part of ONE Championship. Guess what happened, North Pole marathon. So namili ako, that was the second most difficult decision of my life. This is a story that a lot of people didn’t know but this is the reality. I chose the North Pole marathon not because I wanted to do the North Pole marathon but because it is my wife’s dream to actually see the Aurora Borealis. Sabi ko, this is a two-in-one situation but I lost my chance to compete in ONE Championship. In fact, ‘yong usapan namin nong guy handling the fight, sabi niya you can come back, you can do it again pero it never happened eh. For one reason or another, hindi na natuloy ‘yon. Sabi ko I missed my opportunity until this came about and maybe this time hindi na ako lumalaban but I do something else for the organization. When the auditions came about, talagang nagpapasalamat ako sa mga tulong ninyo kasi talagang ang daming nag-show ng support. Ang masama nangyari non is my Instagram account got deleted kasi I turned off my Instagram account for two weeks. I had X number of followers eh. Turned off my account for two weeks, nawala ‘yong video wherein everyone is showing their support. I really felt bad about it, but again thank you so much for the support and that’s basically the story behind it. These opportunities come to you, later you let them go, and something else will come about.

Q: Now you are the only gentleman among ladies, How does that feel for you? And what do you think are your chances? And who is your Who do you think is your number one nemesis?

Louie Sangalang: To be brutally honest, I don't really care if my competitor candidate is male or female. Lahat ng candidates dito, they are here for a reason, for several reasons. But the main reason is Chatri because he's part of the evaluation of candidates na pumapasok. He found these strong characteristics and abilities sa bawat tao na kinuha niya to be a part of The Apprentice. So I don't see any difference whether you're a male or a female to me, we're here and there's a reason why we're here and probably Chatri sees some greatness in you na
pwede niya ma-unlock once na ikaw ang pwede niya na maging Apprentice. So let me clarify that first. You know, I treat everyone equally. Everyone is on a level playing [field]. Second, how does it feel to be surrounded by ladies? I’m married so doesn't really matter to me, I don’t find them attractive. They're beautiful, but I'm not attracted to them, of course, especially because my wife is here listening to me. But the bottom line is that it doesn't matter to me. By the way, in my experience as a manager, most of my staff members are women, and they're very capable, they're very strong capable women. And without them, I would not have succeeded in my career. So I appreciate them, I owe a lot to them. 

And I think the last question was, who is my nemesis or let's just say sino ‘yong pinaka-nakikita ko na magaling an competitor. I think that because of her experience, I would say age but she’s more advanced than the others. I would say that it’s Paulina [Purnomowati] because of her maturity, ‘yong maturity niya brings so many things sa competition. She has an operations background, she has a marketing background, she knows her numbers. She’s well-versed, pagdating doon sa brands and branding, and she’s basically the total package. Most of all, I think that meron siyang truthfulness in her, she’s very authentic. If she doesn't like something she will tell you directly, but she will not be disrespectful. I’m not sure if that's because she has an Asian background, pero meron silang, meron tayong rather na character of not shaming people, parang meron I wouldn’t say humility, but I would say may practice na we’re respectful and she strongly shows that in the competition regardless of whether she likes you or not. So she has a way of really putting things out there that's very respectful, very professional. So it has to be Paulina [Purnomowati].

Q: But yeah, you mentioned a lot of your experiences in your life before being an MMA champion. And then, of course, you know, beating cancer and also a lot more challenges in your life. How has this, you know, helped you or equip you for the apprentice and all the challenges that you know, you face on the show, not just physical, but also the business challenges in the boardroom?

Louie Sangalang: I remembered one of my mentors, CEO of one of the biggest insurance companies in the Philippines. He and I, and I was the head of the corporate planning of the company. He took me one time, sabi ko, “You know what boss, I get so frustrated with a lot of things that’s happening in my life.” Sabi niya, “Frustration is inspiration.” Una di ko nagets kasi parang ang lalim eh. Anong ibig sabihin nong “frustration is inspiration.” Sabi niya, when you’re frustrated don’t you get inspired to do stuff? I moved from frustration to action. That’s the bottom line eh, when you’re inspired, when you're frustrated, it should move you to action. That’s why, one or the other, it’s just flipping it, right? What does it have to do with your question? In my life, ang daming frustrations, ang daming failures na nangyari sa buhay. Instead of blaming the world for the things I didn’t get, I started flipping it around. Sabi ko, okay I’ll probably do more things now. Kasi I can only do things that I can manage. In my readings, in my studies, na-realize ko na that it's what is called the dichotomy of control. So you do some things, especially things that you can do at the present, which you have control of. Cancer, wala naman ako magagawa dyan eh. I can’t explain why I had it. ‘Yong failures ko sa buhay, you know, I can blame the market but maybe I didn’t do something right. All of these failures, all of these experiences, especially ‘yong mga sobrang samang nangyari sa akin, have prepared me and have really made me so resilient to the point na parang nothing can really hurt me. That may sound arrogant but it’s the reality eh. Ayon ‘yong realization ko sa sarili ko. Kasi we have to be very honest with ourselves eh, like ano ba ‘yong nakakasakit sa akin? And itong experience na ‘to aside from making me resilient, they also made me grateful and appreciate the things that I have now no matter how small they are. This experience with the Apprentice is not a smooth one kaya nga napaka-grateful ko for this experience and for all the people who have been very supportive of me from the very start.

Aside from the Apprentice, I think my experiences have me prepared for what is happening now. ‘Yong pandemya, except that’s a bigger problem we have, so kailangan natin danasan talaga ‘yong paghihirap to first of all, make it stop. Second, to appreciate what we have. I look at things from a much bigger perspective and that keeps me grounded and that keeps me humble sa mga nangyayari sa buhay ko.

Where to Watch The Apprentice: ONE Championship Edition

Thursdays on AXN Asia 8:50pm
Saturdays on TV5,11pm
Mondays on One Sports, 9pm

About Monchster

Monch "Monchster" Henares is an award-winning automotive journalist.  He is the founder of, which ranks No. 6 in the TOP TEN Car Blogs of the Philippines

He is also a tech and motoring specialist, inventor, and automotive engineer. He managed the motor pool for a limousine company in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. He is now based in the Philippines, and together with his partner, Arabelle Jimenez, he co-founded motourismo.phand is currently the President of BuildMeUp Corp, a digital media company.

You may e-mail him at monchnrs@gmail.comFollow on FacebookInstagram @themonchster 
Youtube Channel Monchster Chronicles

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