Saving Philippine eagles-A A +A
Sunday, November 3, 2013
The sun had barely emerged over the Philippine Eagle Center in Malagos, Davao City when the participants of Globe Arakan XC2 started trickling in with their bikes in tow. Many were from Davao City, but many others had come from Cagayan de Oro, General Santos, and even Manila in anticipation of the ultimate bike challenge of the season.
Globe Arakan XC2 wasn’t any ordinary bike challenge. As a fundraiser to save the home of the Philippine Eagle, the challenge sought to support the Philippine Eagle Foundation’s Forest Corridor Development Initiative (FCDI).
The FCDI aims to provide educational and livelihood support, as well as Paralegal and Raptor Management Training to the communities that act as stewards of the forest in the Arakan Valley in North Cotabato.
Globe employee Ronald Rivera had caught a bus from General Santos the night before, arriving shortly before midnight just to make it to the event. He was hoping for a challenging ride and wasn’t disappointed.
“I really looked forward to this because I heard a lot about this last year. Hindi ko inexpect na ganun kahirap yung (I wasn’t expecting the trail to be that hard) trail but it was very enjoyable.”
A total of 75 bikers stepped up to the challenge of taking on the 60-kilometer loop from the Philippine Eagle Center to Salaysay and back. The trail was a mix of road of and rugged terrain, with many parts involving a steep uphill climb.
Composed of both seasoned athletes and recreational bikers, participants ranged from teenagers to those in their mid-fifties. Many had come with their friends, others came alone.
Salome Zamora, one of the two female bikers, had come all the way from Sultan Kudarat. She says, "I heard it would help indigenous communities in Arakan so I joined."
One of the oldest participants, 55-year-old retired colonel Rodrigo Turno says, “I wanted to give support to the Philippine Eagle Foundation para makatulong ako kahit paano."
Although Globe Arakan XC2 wasn't a race, Globe recognized the top finishers. The top 10 guest bikers were presented with limited edition jerseys, the fourth to seventh registered finishers were given Huawei phones, and the top three registered finishers were awarded Huawei tablets.
Triathlete Jean Patrick Serreno was the first to cross the finish line at 2 hours, 14 minutes, and 52 seconds. The 29-year-old admitted to having difficulty at some parts, but says, “Hindi talaga nag-cross sa isip ko na mag-stop. Inisip ko lang continue, continue hanggang sa dulo."
For Jean, the adventure doesn't end here. He says, "Aabangan namin ‘yung sunod!"
Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on November 04, 2013.