Sunday, March 28, 2010

Lives transformed through the Olango Challenge

THE Olango Challenge is not merely for professional and amateur swimmers staking their own personal claims, in whatever kilometer they wish to cast on themselves, on the vast seas around Olango. Through the holding of the first and second Olango Challenges, open water swimming was not only promoted as a sport throughout the nation. The challenges’ proceeds also helped the construction of a two-classroom school building which the organizers and participants formally turned over on March 11, 2010.

PBSP representatives, sponsors and swimmers watch on
as the pupils of Candagsao Elementary School perform.

The event was able to raise more than half a million pesos, which helped 36 Grade Five and 22 Grade Six pupils experience better conditions now that they have a place for studying they can call their own. The proceeds were able to shoulder the costs of the building, which include built-in comfort rooms and collapsible walls and the purchase of additional school equipment such as chairs and tables.

Unveiling of the framed “plaque” with the sponsors and swimmers
of the Olango challenges. 2.The framed “plaque” which lists all the sponsors and partners involved in the challenge.

A legacy of responsibility. In his speech, PBSP VIXCOM Chairman Jose Antonio Aboitiz shared how the Olango Challenge came about as a “crazy idea” he had on his plane while he looked at the Gilutongan Channel from Mactan and Olango and thought that he could swim it from end to end. Now, this idea has carried on for two years, with more than 70 swimmers participating.

“This school inspires the children who go to this school to pay it forward. May you use this school building very, very well and may you teach your children in this school in better conditions,” he said.

1. Ribbon cutting with Division Supervisor Dionisio Loot and PBSP VIXCOM Chairman Jose Antonio Aboitiz. 2. Blessing of the school building with Msgr. Leonel Palacio

Impact on the future. Jophet Barong is one of the Grade Six pupils who will soon use the school building. A year ago, when he was in fifth grade, he was one of those who experienced sharing a classroom with his older

Nalipay mi kay naa na mi classroom na magamit na bag-o. Karon kay mas naa ko’y gana nga mu-eskwela kay naa na mi tarong na eskuwelahan na amo masudlan ug magamit (We’re happy we can finally have a new classroom. Now I feel more inspired to study since we have a school building we can use),” he said.

Left. Students on their ceremonial entry to the classroom.
Center. The old Candagsao Elementary School building. Right. The new Candagsao Elementary School building.