Three-time Olympic swimming gold medalist Natalie Coughlin loves lumpia and halo-halo and went to a predominantly Filipino school when she was a child.
The swimming champion, who has won a total of 12 Olympic medals, is one-fourth Filipino and has always been proud of her Filipino roots. In fact, she grew up in a household strongly influenced by Filipino culture.
“My mom’s half-Filipino, my grandma’s from Cavite, and they raised me with a lot of Filipino culture,” Coughlin said in an interview that aired on GMA News TV’s "News to Go" last September 6. “Where I went to my first nine years of school, from kindergarten to eighth grade, was primarily a Filipino school. And so I was very much exposed to Filipino culture."
Coughlin also revealed she was actively involved in the Filipino community in her hometown of Vallejo, California, where she was born and raised.
“I even started learning Tagalog with Rosetta Stone (a language-learning software) but my accent’s terrible so I’m not gonna tell you anything because I speak really slowly,” said the 32-year-old, who won a bronze medal in the 4x100 freestyle at the recent London Olympics.
As for Pinoy dishes, Coughlin has two favorites.
“My grandma’s lumpia is by far the best,” she said. “I can tell my grandma’s lumpia from any one of her sisters. Even if she tells me, ‘No, no no. I made that one,’ I can tell when she made it and when she did not. And then halo-halo. I love halo-halo, especially on a warm summer day.”
Coughlin ended the interview with a message for all her Filipino fans:
“To all my Filipino fans, out there, thank you so much. Salamat. I appreciate everything that you guys do for me. I appreciate all the tweets and all the messages and all the support. You have no idea how much that means to me and how it puts a smile on my face.”