May 23, 2024

HER SIDE OF THE COURT | Jiu-jitsu champion and children’s advocate Meggie Ochoa featured on chocolate bar

HER SIDE OF THE COURT | Jiu-jitsu champion and children’s advocate Meggie Ochoa featured on chocolate bar
Art by One Sports

Meggie Ochoa’s list of achievements goes on and on—3 gold medals from the International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation World Championships, and another 2 golds from the Jiu-Jitsu International Federation World Championships. Now she adds another milestone to the list: Her face on a chocolate bar.

Ochoa is one of several outstanding Southeast Asian women featured on Hershey’s chocolate bars this Women’s Month. The Celebrate #HerSHE bars, which feature “unsung sheroes,” are available in supermarkets and convenience stores nationwide. This is the first time a Filipina athlete has been featured this way on a Hershey’s bar.

“It means a lot,” Ochoa shared on the new episode of the ‘Go Hard Girls’ podcast. “When I saw the chocolate bar, I thought, siguro iisipin ng mga makakakita ng chocolate bar, would be ‘ay, karatista ito’ or ‘ay, taekwondo’ kasi those are very popular martial arts diba?”

“Pero there’s a QR code that leads to more information about jiu-jitsu, and then they can learn more about our sport.” Ochoa added. “I’m imagining how it could build curiosity, especially among girls.”

Ochoa sees 2023 as the biggest year of her career thus far. In January, she won the National Team trials, officially booking her ticket to the SEA Games. During this competition, Ochoa will be competing No Gi for the first time: a new risk and challenge that she’s excited to take on.

After the SEA Games, she will be looking forward to the Asian Games and Asian Indoor Martial Arts games—with many smaller competitions in between. Alongside this, Ochoa continues to develop Fight To Protect, her organization that empowers children who survived abuse through teaching them martial arts.

“Right now at Fight to Protect, it's now more about depth rather than expanding it to more children. I wanna focus on the children that we have now, in seeing where they can actually go talaga,” she said. Many of the kids she has worked with now compete in jiu-jitsu as well, helping them gain confidence and a sense of purpose.

It is Ochoa’s hope that the exposure she gains from every competition—and from the chocolate bars—leads to more Filipinos caring about the plight of children as well.

“[Finding your purpose], that depends on your context. You may not be an athlete. You may have different interests,” she said. “But wherever you are, there is a way for you to maximize whatever you have.”