Cebu’s rich cultural heritage hugged the limelight last July 31, as the Province of Cebu played host to 2,618 triathletes at the carbo-loading event of the Ironman 70.3 Philippines at the Mactan Shangri-La Resort & Spa.
Different dance groups from schools and local government units presented festivals that represent the various parts of the province, including Karansa of Danao City, La Torta of Argao, Mantawi of Mandaue City, Rampada of Lapu-Lapu City and ‘the grandest of all festivals in the Philippines,’ the Sinulog of Cebu City.
Winners of the Sinulog Idol singing competition provided the vocals in the production numbers. These were referred to as the ‘Pride of Cebu.’
Vice Governor Agnes Magpale welcomed the participants and guests on behalf of Governor Hilario P. Davide III who is currently on an official trip in Japan. She acknowledged the role of sports as a “wholesome activity for human development and growth.”
She likewise thanked the organizers for bringing Ironman to the province, which “made Cebu grab the international spotlight.”
Wilfred Steven Uytengsu, CEO of Sunrise Events Inc., organizer of the Ironman 70.3 Philippines, declared his being “a proud son of Cebu” and expressed delight for having staged the event in “my hometown, in the wonderful province of Cebu.”
Uytengsu narrated that his vision in bringing the Ironman to the Philippines was “to give Filipinos the chance to participate in an Ironman event” and to give “foreign visitors the chance to visit our wonderful country.”
From 400 athletes in 2008, the number of participants grew to 2,618 this year. For this, Uytengsu thanked his “fellow triathletes” for their trust in his organizational abilities.
Hosting the international triathlon for the fourth time does not mean the end of the excitement for Cebu.
At the carbo-loading event, Uytengsu reiterated the announcement made at the press conference held earlier, which is the holding of the 2016 Asia-Pacific Championships “here again in Cebu”, summing it up by saying “we’ll return in 2016.” The statement drew a loud applause from the audience.
In the same press conference, multi-awarded and internationally known Cebuano furniture designer Kenneth Cobonpue unveiled the medal and the trophy which he designed for the race. It’s his fourth time to do the job.
He admitted that it was ‘difficult and the pressure rises year after year in designing a unique medal.’
He divulged that the medal is composed of ‘cast resin and crushed stone’ with the three figures, the swimmer, the biker and the runner, attached to it. It took him two months to make the trophy, still featuring the three figures in the race.
On his part, Uytengsu said that the pressure even rises as he commissioned Kenneth to make the designs for the medal and the trophy for next year’s Asia-Pacific Championships which the crowd gladly applauded.