... I didn't want to compete for the Philippines unless I was ready and good enough. Making U.S. nationals in senior was a goal and a test for me. I didn't want to compete for another country until I had "U.S. national competitor" on my resume.
There is a huge responsibility that comes with being a national champion, or even just a representative of your country. It's important to not just compete and do well but also to be a good example to your community.
I knew I was ready because I earned and deserved the right to compete internationally and to represent the Philippines. I'd done my job in the U.S., and many people from the U.S. actually supported my decision. It was time for me to do it, and I don't regret it.
Icenetwork.com: How do you see skating developing in your country?
Caluza: I believe that skating can grow in the Philippines. I know that many of the kids are really working hard, and I have become a fan and friend of a lot of them, including the coaches. It is very much a privilege to be able to even skate competitively in the Philippines.
My parents talked about what it is like there, and it is nothing compared to actually experiencing it. It's very hard. I see thousands of people trying to find work, trying to do anything to support their families. I cried leaving the country my first time because I was going back to the U.S., where we have everything, and a lot of people don't.
I believe a sport can grow and get bigger with more people representing it. I heard there is going to be an ice rink south of the Philippines, so that is good. Skating can grow and, hopefully, become popular there.
Icenetwork.com: What are your plans for the next season?
Caluza: I'm still picking my long, but I'm skating to "Jumpin' Jack" (by Big Bad Voodoo Daddy) for my short. My free skate will be another concerto. I'm still planning which competitions I'm going to be sent to. I've been working on my triple Axel and quad loop, so I hope to make this season my best one yet.
This may be my only chance for the Olympics, as I still don't know what I will be doing the next four years from now. This season will be difficult, but I love what I do.