If there’s anything that Deanna Wong prides in herself, it’s that she loves—hard. The Lady Eagle lets it take over her life; she’s a firm believer in loving yourself and what you do.
Case in point: dedicating herself to volleyball. From a sixth grade who just got dragged by her bestfriend into trying out for her school’s intramurals, the now-20-year-old continues to live for the ball. “All I really care about is playing the sport, kasi ‘yun talaga ‘yung mahal ko ever since,” she relates. Now that playing season is on the roll, Deanna is dead set on making it far, especially in her latter years as a student-athlete.
Of course, juggling school and being a varsity player is a common hurdle. Deanna suddenly sighs, “Minsan hindi mo na alam ang gagawin mo,” and relates how shifting from being a Disciplinary Studies major with a mountain of schoolwork to accomplish to athlete with trainings and other collegiate commitments can take a toll on her. But at the end of the day, it’s passion that drives her to work hard and give it her all, both struggles and joy in tow. “It’s going to be worth it in the end,” she exclaims.
In her four years of playing ball, it taught her the importance of sorting out her priorities. Her routine of getting out of bed early in the morning, then training, going to class, and sneaking in meals and naps in between are keenly followed—a plan to make it work. Too much time on social media or regular night outs are taking a backseat, as these sacrifices are necessary to reach her goal. Her instinct keeps her on track, to make it easier to reap the fruits of her labor.
Her passion for volleyball is also driven from people she looks up to. She mentions Jia Morado as one of her heroes on and off the court. “She taught me how to play, how to be able to do this and that. She also helped me become more confident to play. Sabi niya, kaya ko daw, and I believe her,” Deanna shares.
When haters point out her faults, the fire within encourages her to stay strong and keep on improving. “Kapag sinasabihan ako na hindi ako magaling, I prove them wrong,” she says.
It’s through the sport that she also realized how important it is to love another important part of her life—herself. The Atenean values passion for one’s self to discover your true purpose. Deanna reveals, “I learned to love myself so much. Dati, I used to used to say, ‘What am I doing here? Ano ‘yung purpose ko?’ As I grew older, I realized that there is a reason to where I am right now.”
The first step to self-love? Being true to yourself. She confesses her lack of self-acceptance before, but coming to terms with the realest person that she is allowed her to break free and feel inspired. In the process, she’s also able to inspire others with this kind of attitude.
Deanna Wong loves wholeheartedly, and it’s what makes her strong. She believes that it begins within—so when you’re lacking confidence in yourself, she recommends you to play her go-to anthem, “This Is Me,” from The Greatest Showman soundtrack and instantly feel it uplift your mood—and start your journey to a stronger you.
Photographed by Erwin Canlas
Creative Direction by Madel Asuncion
Art Direction by Mikka Caronan
Styled by Aldrin Ramos
Assisted by Daphne Aranilla and Sammie Rodriguez
Makeup by Janell Capuchino, Andi Sapina, and Jean Lim
Hair by Francis Guintu, Nikko Bruel, and Jhear Abellar
On Deanna: Top by Forever 21, Sports bra and pants by H&M
Catch the UAAP Season 81 Women's Volleyball games starting on February 16 on ABS-CBN Sports+Action.
ALSO READ: #TheStrongSide: These UAAP 81 Volleyball Stars Get Real On Embracing Their Truest Selves