Kids, hundreds others run for ailing infant

Published: September 15, 2019 07:22pm | PHILIPPINES


More than 200 runners from all walks of life joined the first-ever run for a cause organized by turmeric beverage-maker Yamang Bukid Healthy Products Inc. (YBHPI) in Baguio City.

Donning orange and green shirts, at least 274 runners took off from Burnham Park and sprinted in three to five-kilometer categories in designated routes around downtown Baguio amid an overcast sky and chilly Saturday morning for the Run for Life charity event.

The fun run was aimed at generating financial support for Ariel Fesetan Jr., a one-year old boy from Baguio who has been suffering from biliary atresia, a congenital liver disease that needs surgical treatment abroad for him to live normally.

(Photos by Redentor Glen and Brother George)

It was a fun-filled event, with a zumba exercise at past 5 a.m. pumping up the joiners. Participants included employees of the Philippines’ number 1 turmeric tea brand, Yamang Bukid Turmeric 10-in-1 Tea, as well as school-based organizations, sports groups and even entire families.

“This is my second run. I’m excited to finish the full three kilometers,” said Jasmine Guadana, an 11-year old student from Baguio Patriotic High School, as she and 14 other students were doing pre-race warmups.

Other participants included Team Cordillera, a sporting group based in Baguio that had earlier raised funds for baby Ariel.

(Photos by Redentor Glen and Brother George)

Runners also included several children with disabilities (CWDs) as well as entire families.

Among them is the father-and-son tandem of Jenard and Jerald Christopher, both surnamed Cervantes.

(Photos by Redentor Glen and Brother George)

“It was somehow painful in the legs but fun. I would love to run again,” said nine-year old Jerald Christopher.

His 52-year old father, Jenard, is an athletic man who often brings along his family to events like Saturday’s.

“We are fond of joining fun runs to stay fit,” said the elder Cervantes, adding his wife was not able to take part due to health reasons.

He said he also felt happy the registration fees he and his son paid would go a long way to help save an infant’s life.

Ariel Fesetan Sr. said he and his wife Mary Grace were grateful to the organizers and participants of Saturday’s fun run.

The family needs about P2.5 million to shoulder Ariel Junior’s operation, which is clinically-ideal to be done in an hospital in India.

“I’m thankful to Yamang Bukid and to those who joined for helping my son. Whatever amount we will get will come a long way to help save my child,” said the 29-year old Ariel Senior, a construction worker. His wife, also 29, is a public high school teacher. The charity event coincides with YBHPI’s sixth anniversary.

(JL)


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Englishwoman, over 500 others join Palawan run for farmers

  • PUERTO PRINCESA—For Freya Scrowston, a five-kilometer run is a breeze despite the steep climbs and drops of the trail. More so when she knew she was doing it to raise a point and funds to help impoverished farmers in a country over 10,000 miles away from hers.

    (Photos by JM Zap)

    “We were five friends who agreed to join. But they were not able to get up on time. I went ahead and left,” Scrowston, a tourist from the United Kingdom, said. Over 500 others like Scrowston opted to defy their morning schedules to rise early, put on their running shoes and white sleeveless shirt to join the Takbo Para sa mga Magsasaka (Run for the Farmers) by this city’s fast-rising farm tourism destination, Yamang Bukid Farm.

    The run, organized as part of the events to coincide with Yamang Bukid Farm’s second anniversary, was participated in by different groups and organizations, both local and abroad.

    “I usually run for five kilometers back home. This is a minimal distance to me but the terrain’s just challenging, with the steep climbs and drops,” said the English girl. She said she admired the place as well as how enthusiastic her fellow participants were.

    “The place’s so amazing. The hills are lush and green, and the people are warm,” the foreigner said.
    Saturday’s run for a cause was also meant to raise awareness about the plight of farmers in the country, with the focus on those agricultural workers affected by the plummeting farm gate price of palay, according to Hope Alas, Yamang Bukid Farm tourism officer.

    With each ticket costing P350, organizers had hoped to attract at least 1,000 runners said Alas.
    Massive promotions and other activities to hype the activity led to the tickets being sold out a week before the charity run, prompting organizers to reprint new tickets that were also gobbled up by the public.

    Majority of those who bought the tickets hailed the event as a noble act that could influence others to care for the farmers.
    Among them was 86-year old Nuevo Umambong, a wheelchair-bound great-grandad from the southern Palawan town of Batarraza.

    “I wanted to run but my wife and our children did not let me,” said Umambong, his remaining teeth glinting in the afternoon sun as he smiled.
    Umambong said he was a farmer nearly all his life so he felt the pain of the farmers who had to endure because of low palay prices.

    “I’ve been a farmer since I was 20. I only stopped working in the farm five years ago. I’m inspired because I was told by my granddaughter this was meant to help the farmers. They really need our help,” said the octogenarian, whose first ambition was to become a teacher but was forced to shift to farming following World War II.

    Race organizers said the run’s proceeds are set to be used to help a community-based non-government organization (NGO) helping farmers—the Palawan Center for Agriculture Research and Technology (PCART)—and a farmers’ association in the town of Narra, Palawan’s so-called rice granary which has been battered by the plunging prices of palay, with farm gate prices nosediving to P7 per kilo.

    The run started at 4 a.m., with the first runners sprinting past the finish line at the Farm’s huge marker at Sitio (Sub-village) Candes III some 30 minutes after gunstart.
    Most of the hundreds of participants strived to reach and run past the end marker.
    “I struggled but this is my first time to join a run so I really tried to finish the entire distance,” Carlo Dapitan, 51, a Yamang Bukid farmer-employee, said in Cebuano. Fifty-six year old Vivencio Arcilla, another farmer agreed.

    “I run because this is for my fellow farmers,” Arcilla said. Scrowston, the Englishwoman, said she was awed when friends told her the run she was about to take part was aimed at raising awareness about the sorry economic state of most Filipino farmers.

    “I’m elated there are many people who want to help the Filipino farmers. After all they are the ones working in the fields so people can have something to eat,” she added. With the proceeds, Alas said they would buy palay from Narra farmers at P20 per kilo, have these milled and the rice given back to the farmers themselves for free.

    The run was followed by a zumba exercise and short program, with farm guests and other visitors gyrating and shaking their extra calories off to the tune of modern dance music.
    (JL)
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Yamang Bukid’s
Eco-Biking for a Cause

  • From summit to the sea – Yamang Bukid Farm and participants of the ECOBiking for a Cause, together with Puerto Princesa Vice Mayor Nancy Socrates headed towards the one-kilometer stretch of Talaudyong Beach from the mountains of Barangay Bacungan.

    A coastal clean up activity was held wherein in just a span of an hour, around one hundred kilograms of solid wastes were collected. This initiative was conducted to not just to raise awareness on the threats imposed to our marine life, but also to take part on micro efforts that would create macro effects on the preservation and conservation of our environment.
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Yamang Bukid, Christian group reach Ifugao community in charity mission

  • The area that is now an island 30 minutes away by motorboat from mainland Aguinaldo town, Ifugao was a farming community when the administration of the late President Ferdinand Marcos built the “biggest irrigation dam in Asia” over 40 years ago. Most of the locals were relocated to as far as Isabela province to the north to give way to the project that sought to water vast rice plains in the Cagayan Valley, said longtime resident Julie Bulahao.

    (Photos by Dianne Kathryn Datu)

    When the megastructure, named Magat Dam was completed, many of those who were uprooted went back to their former community, now a virtual waterworld and started to build new settlements there. While some resettled on the mainland, most of the original settlers set up communities along the banks of Halag River, one of the tributaries that feed the dam. “They became fishermen and owners of fish cages,” Bulahao, the head of Barangay Halag said in Tagalog. “Life here is simple but difficult.”

    While the artificial lake Magat Dam has created made fishing easier for the villagers, the vast and deep waterway that cuts the island-village off the mainland has made the access to and delivery of basic services for the riverine community challenging. “People here spend at least P20 for banca fare to the mainland docks and another P200 for motorcycle fare to the town proper just to buy medicines or foodstuff,” said resident Villamor Furok. “So goods brought in are quite expensive, and they do not come by as easily as well,” he said.

    (Photos by Dianne Kathryn Datu)

    Schoolchildren who live on both sides of the “island” had to travel by boat either to go to school or buy supplies on the mainland. In this backdrop that representatives from Yamang Bukid Healthy Products Inc. (YBHPI) led by Ms. Kim Malipe, vice president for special events, partnered with a religious and medical volunteers to bring supplies to the community, nearly 500 kilometers northwest of Manila.

    The YBHPI team composed of Ms. Malipe and a support team of two drivers, two sales staff, a quality assurance officer, documenters and Mr. R-Jay Falisong, a full-blooded Igorot Man of Philippines 2019 winner and YB social media ambassador, set out with volunteers of Christian missionary group Mensaheros for Halag late on Friday night. The two-vehicle convoy that also included doctors and dentists reached the drop-off point near Magat Dam shortly before noon on Saturday, after nearly 15 hours of land travel and crossed the river for half an hour. On the other side, as the boat’s bow touched land, a throng of men, women and children were gathered at the front of a school yard under a canopy of tarps, early meeting them.

    The two-day mission included the distribution of school supplies from YBHPI to dozens of schoolchildren from two Halag elementary schools. “I am so much grateful for these gifts to the children. Life here is not that easy so these school supplies are a big help to the children and their parents,” said teacher Josephine Gammad. At least 427 families live in over 100 households throughout the riverside village, officials said.

    On Sunday, Yamang Bukid’s partners—Mensaheros evangelists shared the Gospel as volunteer physicians and dentists extended medical and dental assistance to residents. “Thank you for you and the doctors and dentists for giving us free medical services. I had four of my decayed teeth pulled out, so I won’t be bothered with toothache anymore,” said 9-year old Helm Armielle Ataman. The Grade 5 pupil said it was the second time in two years that she had an extraction. “The first was also done during a medical outreach,” she said in Tagalog. Wens Gonzales, Mensaheros team leader, said the partnership with Yamang Bukid and some volunteer medical practitioners was meant to give a spiritual dimension to the act of kindness extended to far-flung communities like in Halag. The outreach program was expected to benefit about 300 individuals, mostly from the indigenous Ifugao community in the area.

    “This is more than helping other people. We also want to share the Gospel because this is what we do. Having something material to give them is just a bonus,” said volunteer Hope Gumabay, an accountant who spends her off-corporate time with the missionary group.
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