Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Worthwhile plunging

Worthwhile plunging
creates waves—one stroke at a time


Against the sizzling heat of summer, swimmers gathered at the beachfront of the East Wing of Tambuli Beach Resort for the 3rd Olango Challenge.

It attracted swimmers from all over and as far as America and Japan to compete and help make a better life for the communities of Olango Island.

Swimmers heading towards the starting point of the race course.

From more than 50 competitors, Nikita Dacera and Erika Lukang came out victorious in the 5K competitive category. Respectively, Jason Ong and Lorhiz Echavez both got the top spots for the 2.5K competitive category; Rey Suerte and Alali Villocino capped the 1.5K competitive swim; and Franz Baguio emerged as champion for the 5K Fun swim.

The 3rd OLANGO CHALLENGE is organized by the Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP) in partnership with the Philippine Aquatic Sports Association (PASA) to help highlight the importance of preserving the marine environment in Olango Island. As a pioneering event of such kind in the country, the Olango Challenge also aims to promote open water swimming as a sport in the Philippines.

Click here for to see the full results of the 3rd OLANGO CHALLENGE.

Over P124,000.00 worth of cash prizes were awarded, while champions of each category received Timex watches as well. Gift certificates and other raffle coupons were also given away.

New records set.
The 24th of April was a record-breaking day with swimmers besting their personal records and collecting on the pledges of their peers to help organizers meet the P1.2 million fundraising target for the event.

Nikita Dacera's win for the third straight time earned him the first grand slam winner of the Olango Challenge. Dacera also beat his personal record last year, where he finished the race in one hour and 11 minutes. This year, he compelted the challenge in 56 minutes and 21 seconds.

The 3rd OLANGO CHALLENGE also witnessed the surprise attendance of Erika Lukang and Loren Dale Echavez, rivals from the recently capped Palarong Pambansa, who both earned the top spots in  the 5K competitive category of the women's division. 

Kiefer Ticao, Nikita Dacera, Erica Lukang and Loren Dale Echavez.

The event also attracted the participation of Japanese swimmer Tamotsu Takashi, who, at 70 years old, became the oldest competitor for the 3rd Olango Challenge. He also plans to join the event next year.

For being the first person to register for the event, Michael Vega received a gift certificate courtesy of Shangri-la's Mactan Resort and Spa.

To collect on a pledge, PBSP VIXCOM Chairman Jose Antonio Aboitiz also finished his 5K swim in one hour and 28 minutes, raiding additional funds for the 3rd OLANGO CHALLENGE.

VIXCOM Chairman Jose Antonio Aboitiz as he reached the finish line.

Changes beyond the sea. 'Teary-eyed' was how PASA President Mark Joseph felt as he explained how the Olango Challenge sought to change the lives of communities in Olango Island.

“We care, we love Cebu, we love swimming and we help together to make a difference,” he said in his opening speech during the event's awarding ceremony.

Last March 11, swimmers and sponsors visited Candagsao Elementary School in Olango
official turnover of the two-classroom school building. The construction of the two-classroom school building was made possible from the proceeds of the 1st and 2nd Olango Challenges.

Jose Antonio Aboitiz and the 5K winners of the 3rd OLANGO CHALLENGE

VIXCOM Chairman Jose Antonio Aboitiz also thanked the sponsors and those who pledged and participated in the competition for making the event successful and technically feasible.

Among the major sponsors were Nestlé's Milo, the Department of Tourism, Aboitiz Foundation, Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corporation and Timex.

Click here for the complete list of sponsors and partners of the 3rd OLANGO CHALLENGE.

“We did some swimming and we did our work,” Aboitiz said.

Proceeds of the Olango Challenge will be used to fund inland reforestation as well as the construction of water catchment systems throughout Olango Island.

For more pictures, you may visit PBSP's Fickr page.