TACLOBAN CITY- Fishermen from Barangay 70 of this city were the biggest winners of the Banca Race 2014 held last April 27 organized by Help Direct Initiative(HDI) and Universal Sports Promotions in collaboration with the city government of Tacloban thru its Fishery Law Enforcement Team, led by Noel Ligtas.
“This is a victory for the fisher folks of Tacloban City. Together with our dedicated team, we are proud to be given the opportunity of producing and organizing this important event with the end view to destress survivors of the typhoon. They joined, they paddled and they smiled” Jane Salomon, founder of the HDI.
HDI is a social enterprise and public relations firm that aims to provide an alternative, effective platform to implement initiatives and directly advocate social change and provide solutions, through economic and social initiatives, and environment and cultural interventions, consistent with community benefit and public interest.
Jeffrey Amarilla and Francis Esperas garnered the top prize of P 10,000 and other consolation prizes. Brothers Nikki Comendador and Rey Comendador came in second with P7,000 prize and cousins Lawrence Amarilla and Limar Amarilla came in third with P5,000.
All are residents of Barangay 70, a coastal village in Anibong Area where ships washed inland during the supertyphoon Yolanda.
“We are so happy to win this banca race. Prayers, teamwork and focus helped us a lot. Actually, we were so exhausted already after the 500 meters and on the way back but we were so motivated to get the 10,000 pesos prize, which is a big amount of money to us already” Amarilla and Esperas said.
Wearing bright yellow t-shirt uniform, the top 3 winners bet the fisher folks wearing red shirts from Brgy 88, the other contingents who were able to join the semi finals.
Contestants from Brgy 71 wearing white t-shirts gave a good fight too, while Brgy. 66-A came with their orange team. Not to be outshined were the green team from Brgy. 68 and light blue team from Brgy. 67.
Six women from Brgys. 70 and 67 surprised the crowd as they competed against the muscled men.
Residents from nearby barangays cheered in front of their houses along the shores, while guests led by Councilor Vangie Esperas, Federico Anido who represented Mayor Alfred Romualdez, Engr. Danilo Morano from MARINA, P01 Alexander Rabuyo from Philippine Coast Guard, George and Tila Vacal from Vino De Coco, Hannie Avila of ABS-CBN, members of the JICA project team in Samar and Leyte and other foreigners and members of International Humanitarian Organizations, watched in amusement.
The competition, joined by 138 fishermen, was the first of its kind since Tacloban was pummeled by supertyphoon Yolanda.
Jollibee mascot also graced the event and danced to the delight of the excited crowd.
“This is just the beginning. We are happy with the result and together with our sponsors supporters and followers, we are positive and looking forward to Banca Race 2015”, Salomon concluded. (PR)