The organizers led by Southern Leyte congressman Roger Mercado, Hinunangan Mayor Reynaldo Fernandez, and former Customs district collector David 'Kuya Boy' Odilao, Jr. pose during a press conference to drum up the 1st Hinunangan Bay Marathon and 'Balik Baroto Regatta' yesterday sa Cafe Laguna. They are joined by PSC commissioner Ramon "El Presidente" Fernandez and Hilongos Mayor Jay Roble.
Manny Villaruel
Historic marathon, boat race set in Hinunangan, Southern Leyte
Emmanuel B. Villaruel (The Freeman) - May 18, 2018 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines — The municipality of Hinunangan in Southern Leyte will celebrate its 165th founding anniversary on June 24 with two landmark sporting events - the first Hinunangan Bay Marathon and 'Balik Baroto Regatta', a colorful boat race featuring fisherfolks from all over the Visayas and Mindanao region.

The twin events conceptualized by former Customs district collector David 'Kuya Boy' Odilao, Jr. were formally launched yesterday by congressman Roger Mercado and Hinunangan Mayor Reynaldo Fernandez. They were joined by Philippine Sports Commissioner Ramon 'El Presidente' Fernandez and Hilongos Mayor Jay Roble.

"We are having these two big events primarily because we want to promote the beauty of Southern Leyte. We have so much to offer in our province," said Mercado, the representative of Southern Leyte's lone district, in a press conference yesterday at Cafe Laguna.

"This marks for the first time that we are having this kind of activity in our municipality and without doubt it's going to be the biggest celebration of our founding anniversary," said Mayor Fernandez.

For Odilao, bringing the two major sporting spectacles in his hometown is a dream come true.

"I've been dreaming about this for several years now, and I can't contain my happiness that finally it has come into fruition," said Odilao, a highly esteemed event organizer who is acknowledged as the "Father of Sinulog" and "Bahug Bahug sa Mactan" among the many events of historical value and cultural significance he helped establish almost four decades ago.

As for the ground-breaking marathon, close to P300,000 in cash prize will be given away to the winners.

 Aside from trophies, the champion in the grueling men's 42km race will pocket P30,000, while the women's top finisher will take home P20,000.

The top winners in the 21km will receive P10,000 each, while the 9km champs will get P8,000 apiece.

Registration fee is pegged at P500 for 9km, P1,000 for 21km, and P1,500 for the full marathon.

Entry forms are available at the Hinunangan Mayor's Office, Southern Leyte Provincial Capitol, and the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC)-7 office at the Cebu City Sports Center.

For further information, one may contact Kuya Boy Odilao (0915-1429580/0922-3942349) or race director Joe Deresas (0933-5484858).

"I hope the Cebuano sports community will support and help us in making our fiorthcoming event a highly successful one," said Mercado.


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