DURING the first-ever beach-side rally of presidential aspirant Vice President Leni Robredo in Borongan, dubbed “Pink Wave Ha Este: Grand People’s Rally,” she received a token from volunteer organizers and the local government unit inspired by the sport the city is best known for: a pink surfboard.

The pink surfboard was made by a local in Borongan, Brandale Balid, who happens to be a Leni supporter and also a heart attack survivor.

"Syempre masayang masaya at proud kasi para sa Bise Presidente yun. At maliban lang doon, 'yun ang first surfboard na ginawa ko matapos ako atakehin. Kaya special siya," Balid shared.

(Of course I’m elated and proud because the surfboard I made is for the vice president. Aside from that, it’s the first surfboard I made after I had a heart attack. It’s very special.)

Balid, 39 years old, the owner of the Pokdaw Surfboard Shop and a long-time surfboard shaper, had a heart attack in February 2022.

Balid shared that the life and death incident changed his perspective regarding his choices in life.

"Life is short, kaya dapat gawin at ayusin natin mga desisyon natin. Kung boboto tayo ngayong Mayo, bumoto tayo ng tama," Balid aired.

(Life is short so we need to make good decisions and actions. If we’re voting, let’s vote for the right person.)

This incident temporarily ceased his passion to craft. However, when he was offered to shape the token for Robredo, he immediately grabbed the chance as his small way of showing support to the candidate.

“Noong inoffer sakin na gawin yung board, agad akong pumayag. Maliit na paraan ko lang 'yon para ipakita ang suporta ko kay VP Leni," said Balid.

(When they asked me to make the surfboard, I immediately agreed. It’s a small way to show my support to VP Leni.)

Balid, a shaper of 10 years, admires the actions of Robredo in poverty alleviation. He described Robredo as someone reliable, competent, and responsive to the needs of Eastern Samar province. For the past years, Robredo repeatedly visited the province to give aid to communities in need personally.

Meanwhile, Daniel Ledesma Tinagan, the artist who decorated the pink surfboard, also shared his inspiration for coming up with the design. He emphasized the burning heart artwork in the middle of the board that gives the nod to the Philippine National Anthem.

"The burning heat was an old design concept I released on BKNWA. It is a play on a line from our national anthem, ‘alab ng puso, sa dibdib mo’y buhay’. I saw how powerful those lines were, and I am seeing it again with VP Leni and how she can ignite the hearts of the masses to move towards a common objective," Tinagan shared.

Eastern Samar is one of the provinces in Eastern Visayas that received help from the Office of the Vice President’s Angat Buhay Program, particularly in Balangkayan, Hernani, Quinapondan, and Salcedo municipalities. The program provided Food Security, Housing and Resettlement, Public Education, Rural Development, Universal Healthcare, and Women Empowerment to far-flung communities in the province.

Borongan City is known for hosting Surf in the City -- the biggest surfing competition in the Philippines where surfers can surf within the city proper of Borongan. Surf City started in 2019 and brought huge tourism exposure nationally and internationally to the local government.