Jaclyn Ruby Garcia spent most of her childhood growing up at her grandparents’ house in Watsonville and the one thing she remembers the most is they were always in a giving spirit, helping those in need.
Last year, both Quirino (Lolo) and Purificacion (Lola) Sulay passed away in the Philippines, but their granddaughter wants to honor their legacy in town and their memory by continuing their philanthropy.
“I wanted to do something to kind of remember them and honor them,” Garcia said.
Garcia, 38, is competing in an online fitness competition to be on the cover of Muscle and Fitness HERS magazine as well as a cash prize of $20,000.
If she wins the contest, Garcia plans to donate money to Pantay Tamurong Elementary School in the Philippines where Lolo was a teacher, and where their family is originally from.
Garcia said a high school is being built next to the elementary school where Lolo taught and it’s also where her aunts and uncles attended school.
The grandparents also took in a couple of distant relatives that they essentially raised and continued their hospitable ways in Watsonville.
“If you were their neighbor, or they knew you like my grandmother would cook food and send you home with food,” Garcia said. “They were just very giving people wherever they were.”
Garcia—who currently resides in San Jose—said she’s proud to be part of the Sulay family, which has a long history in Watsonville.
She is the great-granddaughter of a Filipino immigrant Mamerto Agustin “Max” Sulay, who started a new life in Watsonville and was featured in an article published on UC Santa Cruz website.
According to the story, the couple in 1944 purchased a one bedroom house on Broadis Street in Watsonville next to a member of the Crosetti family. The property was placed in Sulay’s wife, Virginia, due to exclusionary property laws that barred Filipinos from owning land.
Sulay’s son, Quirino (Lolo), married Purificacion (Lola) who then raised a family of nurses, engineers and technicians that continue to live in town.
The competition is based on votes through Facebook and those interested in voting can visit https://mshealthandfitness.com/2023/jaclyn-rub.
It’s cumulative voting until the quarterfinals at the end of June and then one final round of voting at the beginning of July.
Garcia is competing against thousands of other women across the country and recently made it past the third round of cuts.
Garcia—who is a fourth degree black belt—trains at Ernie Reyes West Coast Martial Arts and is also a marathon runner.
Prior to her career in the tech industry, Garcia mentioned she wanted to teach just like her grandfather. It didn’t go according to plan but she still believes in education, especially during the development years of children.
“One of the things he always said was education was the best inheritance,” she said. “Even if he couldn’t give his family a lot materialistically, education was the one thing in my family that they felt like they could give their kids.”