Featured photo by Kayla Gonzales
Last November 30, the Philippines witnessed a grand spectacle at the opening ceremonies of the 2019 Southeast Asian Games. We swelled with pride as we watched athletes from different sports march around the Philippine Arena, ready to make the country proud.
As the photos of the athletes’ march made their way around the Internet, K-Pop fans zoomed in on one athlete—she was holding out her cellphone which had the words “STAN LOONA” scribbled on the screen.
That athlete is none other than Xsandrie Viande Guimba, a member of the Philippines’ speed skating team. Their team competed last December 3 and 4 at SM Megamall. Prior to the SEA Games, she won gold in the 2000m Mixed Relay during the 2019 South East Asian Open Short Track Speed Skating in Singapore. She was also one of the four Filipino short track speed skaters who represented the country at the first Children of Asia Winter Games in Russia.
KStreetManila managed to catch Xsandrie after her competition for an interview:
How long have you been speed skating? What makes it an enjoyable sport?
I’ve started speed skating around April or March of 2018 after being introduced to it by a friend. We met when we did figure skating as a hobby, so we already had some on-ice experience.
I personally enjoy speed skating more because of the thrill that comes with racing. Actually, after competing at the SEA Games, I’ve come to appreciate it more since I managed to be less nervous at my races. I promise myself I’d work harder to improve my racing and skating skills to produce results that would show the country that this sport is worth watching and enjoying.
What made you decide to promote LOONA during the opening ceremonies of the SEA Games?
I don’t think it was a conscious decision for me to promote LOONA because I’ve been saying it ever since I have heard of the group. In short, it’s really just part of my daily lingo.
How did you come up with the idea to include “Stan LOONA” on your phone?
We were waving at random people on the way to the arena on EDSA and I guess I’ve got a habit of saying or writing “Stan LOONA” from time to time. I figured there would be cameras that would be recording us, so out of [curiosity], I decided to show the sign to see if anyone would recognize it—and since I’m now here, it did!
How long have you been a fan of LOONA and what made you become their fan? Who is your bias?
LOONA came to my attention while yxxy were promoting, but I gained interest or started stanning [them] around Hi High era. Other than their discography and interesting concept, the “Stan LOONA” phrase really brought the group to my attention since Orbits were really the ones [who] popularized the “Stan [insert group here]” terminology. Also, Yeojin is currently my bias.
How did you get into K-Pop?
Back in 2017, I was still using Spotify Free and I got irritated from hearing the same BTS ad during their DNA promotions. I eventually gave in and checked them out while also upgrading my account to Premium (not sponsored). I also considered some aunts on my mom’s side being fans themselves as a factor on how I got into K-Pop, so there’s that, too.
Do you stan other groups?
I listen to a lot of different artists, but SEVENTEEN, Day6, Stray Kids, MAMAMOO, BTS, and TWICE are among the other groups I am currently listening to aside from LOONA.
Are you into aspects of Korean culture (beauty, drama, food, etc.)?
I haven’t had much free time these days to focus on other aspects (especially dramas since it’d take a lot of my time). The only aspect that I know for sure I’m kind of into is food. Maybe it’s because I trained in Korea for a while to prepare for SEA Games, but I had to adjust to their cuisine, and I can at least say that this was when I was starting to at least be open to trying spicier food, which would be a lot of the Korean food I had like tteokbokki.
How do you feel about getting a warm response from Orbits online?
I simultaneously [felt] welcome, scared, and impressed [by] the reactions I got online. The [welcoming] feeling is a given since it’s cool to see fellow fans noticing me with the phrase we’re familiar with. However, I got a bit scared since some people were actively trying to find my stan account (they did, by the way).
Ii might have been a bit overwhelmed by that, too, as I’m not entirely sure how to react getting this much attention when I’m used to being more low-key. I was impressed to see that I got spotted in the first place by some Orbits, though I would have never known if it weren’t for my friend David. I wasn’t sure if the text would be readable at all, especially from a far distance, but I guess I got lucky!
Do your teammates know you’re a K-Pop fan? What do they say about it?
Some of them are fans, too, so I’m pretty comfortable with them knowing about it. We’d often talk about it and play some songs during training when we get the chance to do so.
How has LOONA (and K-Pop) inspired you in your sport?
I use music to go through my daily routine, which would include some form of training. LOONA happens to be one of the artists I currently love listening to and their music just slaps/bops/etc. Their songs are empowering too, like Butterfly, so while it doesn’t directly inspire me in my sport, LOONA manages to be one of my biggest inspiration in general.
Thanks so much for accommodating us, Xsandrie! And the best of luck in your sports career!