Captured soldier’s kin appeal for his release

GENERAL SANTOS C ITY – The mother and sister of Pfc. Khen Subere today (June 5) appealed to both the New People’s Army and the Philippine Army to agree to a suspension of military operation to facilitate the release of the 26-year old soldier who was seized by the rebels close to 2 months ago.

In a tearful plea, Lucia Subere said her son went missing after he left a relative’s house in Tboli, South Cotabato. He was last seen on April 11.

On Tuesday, June 2, the New People’s Army in Far South Mindanao announced it is holding Subere captive and a prisoner of war (POW).

Ka Alejandro Magiting, spokesperson of the NPA rebel’s Mt. Daguma Operational command, said in a press statement that “Subere was arrested while conducting civic military operations within a guerrilla zone” on April 12.

Magiting did not explain why it took more than 50 days before they made the announcement.

Duterte help

Lucia Subere said they have also sought the help of Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte in negotiating for the release of her son.

Motabang daw siya,” Lucia told the local media here.(He will help)

The Suberes are from Carmen, Davao del Norte.

Duterte has been approached by families of soldiers and policemen captured by NPAs for his ability to convince the rebels to release their captives.

But Fr. Raul Valle, who was contacted by the NPA rebels, said military operations and rebel processes prevented the early release of Subere.

(From left) Fr. Raul Valle, Bishop Redeemer Yañez, Lucia Subere and Khlaunden Subere.FOTO BY EDWIN ESPEJO
(From left) Fr. Raul Valle, Bishop Redeemer Yañez, Lucia Subere and Khlaunden Subere (holding microphone).FOTO BY EDWIN ESPEJO

Niingon man sila (rebels) na ilang i-release,” the Catholic priest said.(The rebels said they will release him)

Subere’s sister Khlaunden also appealed to the rebels to free her brother who, she said, is supporting her studies.

Khlaunden is fourth year in college and will graduate this school year.

Siya lang gapa-eskuwela sa ako,” the 19-year old Khlaunden cried.(He is paying for my studies)

Lucia Subere (left), mother of Pfc. Khen Subere, and her daughter Khlaunden appeal to his captors and the military to suspend military operations so that her son will be released safely.FOTO BY EDWIN ESPEJO
Lucia Subere (left), mother of Pfc. Khen Subere, and her daughter Khlaunden appeal to his captors and the military to suspend military operations so that her son will be released safely.FOTO BY EDWIN ESPEJO

She said Pfc Subere went home a week before he was seized by the rebels.

According to fellow soldiers, Pfc. Subere reportedly left their headquarters in Maasim, Sarangani on April 11 to withdraw from his ATM. It was not clear why he ended up in Tboli, South Cotabato.

The Suberes checked Landbank if withdrawals were made on his ATM accounts.

They were told that the account of Subere was intact and that no withdrawals were made on April 11.

AWOL

The Suberes are worried the military will not exert efforts for the safe release of Khen after Lt. Col. Roland Alcudia declared the embattled solider AWOL (absent without official leave).

Pfc. Khen Subere. Photo courtesy of Khlaunden Subere
Pfc. Khen Subere. Photo courtesy of Khlaunden Subere

In an earlier interview, Alcudia said Subere was declared AWOL on April 13, the day after he went missing.

Subere was also dropped from the rolls on April 23, Alcudia added.

Alcudia however said they still need to investigate the circumstances behind the earlier disappearance of the soldier.

He admitted that they had no idea where Subere was until the NPA claimed he is in the custody of the rebels.

But Fr. Valle said until Subere returns safely to his family and gives his story, he is considered captive of the rebels.

“He is a victim of circumstances,” Fr. Valle said.

Fr. Valle, along with Bishop Redeemer Yañez and Rev. Allen Veloso of the Exodus for Justice and Peace, appealed to the military to immediately suspend operations to facilitate the orderly and safe release of Subere.

NPA seizes Army soldier in Tboli town

GENERAL SANTOS CITY – The communist-led New People’s Army claimed it is holding an army soldier in custody after he was ‘arrested” in Tboli, South Cotabato almost two months ago.

Alejandro Magiting, spokesman of the NPA-Far South Mindanao Region Sub-Regional Operational Command, said Pfc Khen R. Subere was arrested on April 12 while “conducting civic military operations within (our) guerrilla zone.”

The NPA made the announcement only on Tuesday, June 2.

Subere is a member of the 27th Infantry Battalion which headquarters is located in Tupi, South Cotabato.

Lt. Col. Ronald Alcudia, commanding officer of the 27th Infantry Battalion, however declared Subere an AWOL (absent without official leave) when they lost contact with the Army man on April 13, the day after he was abducted by the rebels.

Subere is AWOL says Lt. Col. Rodolfo Alcudia (left), commanding officer of the 27th infantry Battalion.PIC BY EDWIN ESPEJO
Subere is AWOL says Lt. Col. Rodolfo Alcudia (left), commanding officer of the 27th infantry Battalion.PIC BY EDWIN ESPEJO

“Subere was dropped from the roster of troops effective 23,” Alcudia said in a statement.

The Army man reportedly expressed “interest to discontinue his military service” even before he went missing, according to the Army official.

But Alcudia said they will exert efforts to work with law enforcement authorities and Subere’s family to locate the missing soldier.

He said Subere will be investigated for his ‘unauthorized’ disappearance.

The NPAs are demanding a suspension of military operations in South Cotabato to facilitate the release of Subere who they said has not committed “crimes against the people.”

“The Mt. Daguma SROC assures the family and loved ones of POW Subere that he is being accorded with his right to due process and humane treatment while in detention in keeping with the CPP – NPA’s legacy in abiding by international humanitarian laws,” the NPA further said.

NPAs in Far South Mindanao.FILE PIC BY EDWIN ESPEJO
NPAs in Far South Mindanao.FILE PIC BY EDWIN ESPEJO

Subere’s abduction is the first case of the NPAs in the region taking a ‘prisoner of war’ (POW) since 2001.

The NPA rebels under the Valentin Palamine Command seized Rosete and the three alleged military assets — Herminia Sorongon, Wifredo Maldecir and Pepito Simbulan — on September 4, 2001, in barangay Datal Blao in Columbio , Sultan Kudarat.

The rebels later executed the four captives after the government refused to negotiate with the NPAs.

Their remains were exhumed in April 2005.

Gensan tuna catch down, frozen imports up

GENERAL SANTOS CITY – Local tuna catch in the first 4 months this year is down by 13 percent although total volume was slightly up due to an increase in frozen tuna imports.

Fresh fish landings at the General Santos City Fish Port dropped 25,849.90 metric tons from January to April this year – down from the 29,702.77 MT figure over the same period in 2014.

At least 90 percent of total fish landings here are tuna and tuna-like species.

The biggest drop in landing was in Market 3 where purse seine operators unload their fresh catch.

Market 3 landing figure was down 3,337.84 MT at 8,296.10 MT or a 29 percent drop in production over the same period.

Yellowfin tuna landings were likewise down 27 percent at 2,444.78 MT from 3,367 MT last year.

Unloading tuna in General Santos City.PHOTO BY EDWIN ESPEJO
Unloading tuna in General Santos City.PHOTO BY EDWIN ESPEJO

At the Market 2 building, fish landing area for municipal fishermen and small purse seiners operators, was however up by 3 percent – from 14,701.84 tons in 2014 to 15,109.03 tons.

On the other hand, frozen tuna imports posted a dramatic 7,790.78 metric ton increase with a total of 45,353.13 metric tons.

The frozen tuna landing made up for 64 percent of the 71,203.03 MT total landings for January to April.

Frozen tuna landings for the first 4 months last year was 37,562.35 metric tons. Last year’s frozen tuna imports was just 54 percent of the total fish landings in the city.

Last year, General Santos City fish port posted total landings of 193,867 metric tons, a 12-year record since fish port authorities began monitoring local tuna landings.

Indonesian crackdown

General Santos Fish Port Complex manager Custodio Balaoing Jr blamed prolonged dry spell for the decline in tuna catch this year.

But local fishermen here said Indonesia’s renewed crackdown on illegal fishing has affected local tuna landings.

On May 20, 11 Filipino fishing boats were blown up by Indonesian authorities, together with 30 other foreign fishing vessels that were caught illegally fishing in Indonesian waters.

Most of the Filipino fishing vessels were single-engine outrigger boats engaged in handline tuna fishing.

In February, the Indonesian consular office in Davao City reportedly served notice to the local fishing federation here that they are on the lookout of Indonesian-flagged vessels to verify reports their catches were being unloaded in General Santos.

Indonesian authorities also reportedly used a report from AsianCorrespondent to support it campaign against Filipino illegal fishers.

Only last week, 17 Filipino fishermen were repatriated after spending 2 years in Indonesian prisons.

In February, 43 Filipino fishermen were also sent back home after 6 months in jail for also fishing illegally in Indonesia.

More than 150 Filipino fishermen are reportedly still languishing in Indonesian jails for illegal fishing.

Mum

The local fishing industry here has refused to comment on the reports that Filipino fishermen continue to operate in Indonesia illegally.

Several big fishing companies in General Santos have invested in manufacturing and processing plants in Indonesia to gain access to the latter’s fishing grounds.

An industry source who declined to be identified however said they have acceded to the Indonesian policies in vessel manning and flagging.

Filipino-owned fishing vessels issued with license to operate in Indonesian have flown flags of their host country.

They are also now majority manned by Indonesian crew and are registered as Indonesian fishing companies.

Duterte dares rights group

Days after a New York-based human rights group issued a call for the Philippine government to investigate him, Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte dared everyone to directly file criminal cases against him in court.

The catch, however, is: wait till he gets the chance to cross-examine his accusers.

Come to Davao and take hold of shabu (methamphetamine). I will execute you in front of city hall - Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte.PIC BY EDWIN ESPEJO
Come to Davao and take hold of shabu (methamphetamine). I will execute you in front of city hall – Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte.PIC BY EDWIN ESPEJO

Duterte has been linked to a clandestine assassination squad that has been targeting criminals and known drug pushers in Davao City.

“I will cross examine. Each and every case of 1,000 deaths. I will let you shit in your pants. You want to experience it. Come to Davao and take hold of shabu (methamphetamine). I will execute you in front of city hall,” said the colorful mayor who has been described by Time magazine as ‘The Punisher’.

The Human Rights Watch (HRW) however said, ““Duterte’s public support for the extrajudicial killings of suspected criminals should prompt a long overdue investigation into Duterte’s possible role in those deaths.”

“Duterte has a long history of inflammatory public statements that would seem to encourage the extrajudicial killing of suspected criminals,” HRW added in a press statement.

HRW claimed more than 1,000 people had been executed in Davao City since the late 1990s.

“The Philippine government should take a zero-tolerance approach to any public official who publicly endorses extrajudicial killings as an acceptable means of crime control,” said Phelim Kine, deputy Asia director at Human Rights Watch.

Duterte, a former city prosecutor, has been mayor of the Philippine southern city for more than 20 years.

The controversial Philippine mayor has been making inroads in Philippine national politics after he crashed into the list of probable presidential candidates next year.

He is advocating federalism in his ‘listening tour’ that has brought him to several key cities in the country including a quick visit to the large community of overseas Filipino workers in Hong Kong.

He is running third in at least 2 major polling firms making surveys on probable presidential candidates.

His supporters have been pushing Duterte to announce his presidential bid but the mayor has been playing coy.

The Davao City mayor once said he will rebel against his own government if elected president.

“I will declare a revolutionary government,” he previously declared.

On Sunday during his regular TV program, he said he will turn Manila Bay into a dumping ground of executed criminals and thugs.

“I don’t want to be president. I don’t want to kill people. So don’t elect me as president,” Duterte added.

Despite his links to extrajudicial killings that have already spread in major cities and urban centers in the country, Duterte still enjoys popular support of Davao residents and is believed to corner the bulk of Mindanao votes should he run for president.

Annalie and Monique – Proud to be Blaan

GENERAL SANTOS CITY – In a place wretched in poverty, surviving the daily grind is already a struggle for a member of the Blaan tribe, one of the handful of indigenous tribes in Sarangani.

Along with the Tboli and the Tagakaolo, the Blaans have lived in this this province for as long as time can remember.

The Blaans used to lord it over the plains and valleys of Koronadal and Allah Valleys until the settlement program of the Commonwealth government of President Manuel L. Quezon pushed them further into the uplands.

(Sarangani then was part of the undivided Cotabato Empire until it became part of South Cotabato. In 1992, Sarangani was carved out of South Cotabato as a new province)

The Blaans were eventually geographically separated from their close tribal neighbors, the Tboli. They are mostly concentrated in Sarangani and Davao Occidental and Davao del Sur.

According to scholarly researches, the word Blaan, which was coined from bla and an, means counterpart or pair and suffix of an expresses ownership or possession. Its other counterpart was to bali (now Tboli), meaning people of the other side.

Thus, the historical closeness of the Blaans and the Tbolis.

There are very sparse seminal accounts of the Blaan as a tribe although its traditional weaving (mabal tabih) is among the intricate and colorful in Mindanao – some say even better than the more popular tinalaks of the Tbolis.

They are historically nomadic which explains the lack of literature and history of their tribe.

Annalie (left) and Monique, both barely out of their 20s, are to of Blaans who are proud of their indigenous people's roots.FOTO BY EDWIN ESPEJO
Annalie (left) and Monique, both barely out of their 20s, are two Blaans who are proud of their indigenous people’s roots.FOTO BY EDWIN ESPEJO

Story of two

It is their lost history and vanishing culture and tradition as a tribe that brought Annalie Edday and Monique Kawari together.

They are in their early 30s, both are still single but not for long.

They are among the younger generation of their tribe that were able to go and finish college, albeit in different circumstances.

Annalie worked her way into an academic scholarship using her intelligence. She took up Bachelor of Science in Secondary Education.

Monique availed of scholarship given to lumads and finished her Business Administration as an accountancy major.

Both graduated college at the Notre Dame of Dadiangas University.

They were already making headways into their respective careers when they were introduced to each other by a common friend, Arjho Cariño-Turner, who is now living with her American husband in Georgia, USA.

Arjho is also a Blaan and was Annalie’s co-worker at the provincial government.

By then Monique already had a flourishing beauty parlor while Annalie was working as program director of the Quality Education for Sarangani Today (QUEST) program of former Gov. Miguel Rene Dominguez.

“My first work in the government is serving as Project Development Officer in the Indigenous Peoples Development Program of Sarangani in 2006,” she recalled.

Annalie was then 21.

Annalie is committed to a life of a development worker.FOTO BY EDWIN ESPEJO
Annalie is committed to a life of a development worker.FOTO BY EDWIN ESPEJO

The following year, she was tasked to head the Galing Pook-awardee QUEST program at the age of 22.

Today, she prides herself for having been part of QUEST which helped built and opened of more than 600 new classrooms in the province over 9-year consecutive term of Dominguez.

Annie’s stint with the local government of the province also opened her up to numerous opportunities.

In 2011, she was among the Filipinos fellows to the Asia 21 Young Leaders Initiative.

“I was (also) chosen to be part of the Philippine Youth Leadership Program in 2009 and the Asia Pacific Leadership Program in 2013,” she added.

The Asia Pacific Leadership Program a fellowship grant by the East-West Center brought her to Washington, DC for where she stayed for over a year.

Annalie said she could have explored an opportunity to work for a United Nations program for indigenous people but she chose to return to her village.

“I always want to see successes in a micro level. QUEST had taught me to focus and to work directly with my communities because results will be transformative and will provide long-term gains. Above all, I always had that energy boost and deep sense of fulfillment once I am deeply involved not only in planning but of making things happen,” she explained of her decision.

Annalie added, “I find my deeper value of being with my community than of anywhere else.”

Eloquent and intelligent despite her diminutive 5’0” height, Annalie is nearing the libun funday stature, a status granted to Blaan women who are sought for their sage and intelligence.

Many viewed here aggressive development work in the community as an asset.

Annalie, who is the youngest among the Edday siblings, has been goaded to run for town councilor.

But Annalie said joining politics is farthest from her mind.

“I am contented with helping the tribe restore their pride. To build the Blaan People’s Academy,” she said.

“It,” she explains, “aims to educate and empower the younger Blaans while strengthening their cultural identity.”

It is a passion shared by Monique Kawari, 31.

Life’s challenges

Monique knows how it is to be discriminated as a lumad (tribe).

Kasi nuong nag-aral ako ng college grabe ang discrimination sa amin mga tribu,” she recalls.(The discrimination was worse when a I was studying in college)

Monique knows how it is to be discriminated as a lumad (tribe).FOTO BY EDWIN ESPEJO
Monique knows how it is to be discriminated as a lumad (tribe).FOTO BY EDWIN ESPEJO

She vowed to finish her school to prove that they are entitled to the opportunity of finding a better place in society.

But she didn’t finish her college until 2010, when she was already 26.

Monique and her other siblings in the brood of 12 had to quit school after her mother died that zapped his father’s buy and sell business.

Determined after a year of foregoing college, Monique applied as a working student at the Notre Dame of Dadiangas University.

“Science lab. Computer lab,” she said of her time as working student.

Another challenge befell her. She developed a cyst in her lungs and had to be operated on. She again quit college for a year and a half.

When she finally graduated in 2010, she landed a job in Manila as member of the accounting staff of a TUBU Foods Corporation.

Her sister Saturnina however told her that an opening for a job in Australia is being offered if Monique is interested.

It took a while before she accepted the offer. Unknown to her, the job would take her farther to Solomon Islands, in the world class Tavinapupu Island Resort where Princess Kate and Prince William used to go on vacation.

Hindi ko nga alam na may bansa pala na ganun. Basta tinanggap ko ang work na hindi ho alam kung ano ba ang magiging buhay ko dun,” she now reminisces.(I didn’t know a country like that existed. I accepted the job not knowing what awaits me there)

She did not regret it.

Simula noon naging maganda naman ang takbo ng buhay dahil sa pagtiyaga,” Monique added of her stint.(Since then, my life turned for the better because of my patience)

She stayed with her job for 2 years and invested her savings to put up a beauty shop.

Yan na ang (It is now) Orchid Infinity Salon and Fashion,” Monique said.

The bond that put them together

It is in the salon where she met Annalie, who had her hair fixed for the latter’s trip to the US.

Before the two parted, they agreed they agreed to put up a wedding gown boutique that fuses and adds a touch of their tribe’s elaborate and intricate weaves.

Annalie returned in 2013. Last year, they put their dreams of a partnership into a reality.

The shop is now called International Touch.

Former Gov. Miguel Rene Dominguez (middle carrying a child) gracing the opening of International Touch.FOTO BY EDWIN ESPEJO
Former Gov. Miguel Rene Dominguez (middle carrying a child) gracing the opening of International Touch.FOTO BY EDWIN ESPEJO

Life-changing

Not only was Monique’s life changed with her decision.

She is soon marrying one of the owners of the resort, her boss, who became her boyfriend.
She and John are getting married in October. It will be a dream beach resort wedding, according to Monique who just arrived from a pre-nuptial photo session in Coron, Palawan.

Annalie is not getting herself left out. She made a promise to herself to marry when she reaches 30. Her boyfriend, a mechanical engineer from Batangas probably is excited.

While Annalie is deep into her development work and giving back her time to her tribe, Monique is a patron of arts and works of her fellow Blaan.

Last year, Monique bought a pair of dress – worth P15,000. Not much for a woman who will soon wed the highest paid lawyer in Solomon Islands and who is the major controlling partner of a top law firm in the island.

Annalie turns emotional when fellow members of the tribe are no longer ashamed wearing their hearts on their chests.

The dresses that symbolize their ingenuity and creativity have become emblems of their honor and pride.

Proud to be Blaan, they say.

Gensan’s new thrills: Love the adventure, enjoy the outdoor

Whenever one is asked what is there that General Santos City has to offer for travelers seeking adventure, the first to instinctively come to the mind is the fishport.

After all, this city did not get its moniker as the Tuna Capital of the country for nothing.

Largely located in a humid plain that is exacerbated by the heavy hot sea breeze, the first thing that comes to the mind of a visitor is to hie off to faraway beaches or mountain resorts.

Or beating the afternoon heat with a visit to the mall.

But are there no other places to cool off without going out of the city?

Trekkers thrill

Go look for mountaineers and trail seekers and they will tell you that in less than an hour you can cool off you heels and get some chills without somebody ripping off your pockets and wallets.

Up Sanchez Peak or Leyson Hill Park, one can enjoy afternoon breezes like they should be and have a panoramic view of the city’s skyline when dusk envelopes the horizon and the city lights begin to flicker.

Group junkies and outdoor geeks can camp overnight where the temperature drops to 12-19 degrees Celsius.

If one is a professional photographer, these twin sites are excellent for pre-nuptial and concept photo sessions. On a clear night, one can shoot the Milky Way using long exposures. Be sure to bring a tripod though. And always be ready to protect your equipment in case it rains.

The blue hour.FOTO BY EDWIN ESPEJO
The blue hour.FOTO BY EDWIN ESPEJO

Best time to be at the top of these hills is between 4pm and 7am when you can shoot the photographers’ golden and blue hour delights.

And the thrill will not cost one over P300 per head (to include food and other stuff).

Highest peak

Sanchez Peak is said to be the highest elevation in General Santos City rising up 800 meters above sea level (asl). It can be reached through two points by trail – through Balakayo in Conel or Balsinang in Olympog – or by utility motorcycle that reaches the top.

The city skyline from atop Sanchez Peak.FOTO BY COCOY SEXCION
The city skyline from atop Sanchez Peak.FOTO BY COCOY SEXCION

At the apex is a little house owned by Jun and Mising Sanchez who will gladly cook a free-range ‘native’ chicken for P250 and collect P20 for entrance and camping fee.

As there are not cottages to be billeted, an outdoor tent is a must for adventurers who wish to spend and enjoy the night.

Leyson Hill Park

Some 4 kilometers away atop Nopol Hills is Leyson Hill Park.

It is nearer the city and is slightly lower in elevation at 501 meters. But it offers a clearer and closer view of the city.

Leyson Hill Park in Nopol Hills is ideal for pre-nup shoots.FOTO BY NOEL NACION/Imahenacion
Leyson Hill Park in Nopol Hills is ideal for pre-nup shoots.FOTO BY NOEL NACION/Imahenacion

It is more accessible and can be negotiated by 4-wheel drive vehicles.

Unlike Sanchez Peak, Leyson Hill offers more than just camping at the top. With some forest covers still untouched, games abound the ravines with monkeys, wild boars and wild dogs hiding deep but away from sight of humans.

At dusk, however, huge fruit bats begin to appear in the skies for their nocturnal hunting.

Acoustic performances to cap a ‘KatKat Nopol’ weekend adventure are now occasionally being organized by Martin Leyson who manages the family-owned hill park.

On some weekends, Leyson Hill Park offers acoustic nights.FOTO BY EDWIN ESPEJO
On some weekends, Leyson Hill Park offers acoustic nights.FOTO BY EDWIN ESPEJO

Leyson Hill can be reached via Mabuhay Road. One can securely park his or her vehicle at the foot of the hill and trek or ride up the site. The distance from the foot to the peak can be negotiated in one and a half hour at a pace urban trekkers are likely to adopt.

Otherwise one can ride a motorcycle or, on occasions, an off-road jeep or 4-wheel drive pickups.

Both however charge P200 round trip per head.

Camping fee is P100 per head.

City attractions

Mayor Ronnel Rivera said these accessible but largely untapped attractions can help the city find its own niche in the tourism market.

He has ordered the city environment and natural resources office to protect and preserve the areas.

“Not all urbanized cities have these kinds of attractions,” he said.

How to get there

There is no established protocol going to Sanchez Peak but the city government is encouraging trekkers to coordinate with local barangay where the adventurers commence their trail.

The city government recently held a meeting to address concerns over litters and trashes left behind by mountaineers and trekkers.

To get to Leyson Hill Park, parties can call 09088103747 for bookings or through Facebook Account @Katkat Nopol. They also accept reservation at JGG ticketing office corner Champaca and Kadulasan Sts.

Pinoy ‘aquaman’ conquers Sarangani Bay

Triathlete Ingemar Macarine triumphantly emerged from the waters some 5 hours and 55 minutes after he swam the shark-infested Sarangani Bay to become the first man ever to cross the 12.95 kilometer channel – solo.

It was also the first ever solo swim attempt ever at the treacherous Sarangani Bay.

The exploit further added to the long list of Macarine’s conquests which included crossing Alcatraz Island Penitentiary to San Francisco City, California, USA and a failed attempt as the first Filipino to ever to cross Visayas and Mindanao by swimming unaided.

Ingemar Macarine became the first man to swim solo across the treacherous Sarangani Bay for a distance of 12.9 kilometers in 5 hours and 55 minutes.PHOTO COURTESY OF SARANGANI PIO
Ingemar Macarine became the first man to swim solo across the treacherous Sarangani Bay for a distance of 12.9 kilometers in 5 hours and 55 minutes.PHOTO COURTESY OF SARANGANI PIO

Although the bay has been conquered before during the annual marathon Swim Across the Bay event of the Sarangani festival, this came through a 5-man team open relay and in a competition participated by accomplished amateur swimmers.

Macarine’s time was more than one hour off the course record but no less extraordinary.

He took off in Tinoto in Maasim and swam across the bay to supposedly reach Tango in Glan.  But strong and shifting currents drifted  him off course.

“There were shifts in current and they were strong. He ended up in Sumbang Point, Taluya village instead of Tango, Glan,” said Michelle Solon, wife of Sarangani Gov. Steve Solon.

In photo with Ingemar Macarine (left) is Michel Solon, wife of Gov. Steve Solon.PHOTO courtesy of Ms Michel solon
In photo with Ingemar Macarine (left) is MichelleSolon, wife of Gov. Steve Solon.PHOTO COURTESY OF KIM TIBLANI

He was watched by several spectators who rode motorized bancas.

“Conquered Sarangani Bay by swimming 12.95KM in 5Hours and 55minutes,” Macarine said in his Facebook account.

Macarine’s long-busting feat served as opening spectacle for the 2015 Sarangani Bay Festival which now enters in 9th year.

He thanked Sarangani Gov. Steve Solon for sponsoring his exploit.

“(The) swim is to promote tourism in Sarangani Bay and for clean seas and beaches,” Macarine added.

Macarine is a lawyer and works as election officer of Tubigon in Bohol.

(Photos below were from the 2014 Sarangani Bay Festival taken by Edwin Espejo)

sarbay-2sarbay-3

Bay festival

The Sarangani Bay Festival is billed as Mindanao’s biggest beach party and has attracted thousands of beach and party goers.

Last year, more than 20,000 visitors partied from dusk to dawn that regularly features popular performing bands and artists from Manila.

2014 Sarbay beach volley tourney.FOTOS by EDWIN ESPEJO
2014 Sarbay beach volley tourney.FOTO by EDWIN ESPEJO

The main festival events are held in Gumasa, Glan where some of the finest white sand beaches are often compared to the world-famous Boracay in Caticlan, Aklan.

The festival, now popularly known as Sarbay Fest, is happening this weekend May 15-16.

The local government of Sarangani is pushing for a clean Sarbay Fest this year after beach goers left behind heaps of garbage in 2014.

New Zealander scores KO win in pro debut

GENERAL SANTOS CITY – Lanky Benny Jade Slight debuted with a big knockout victory over Michael Manambay in the first round Saturday evening at the Oval Plaza Gym here.

The New Zealander Slight connected with a left uppercut that brought Manambay to the seat of his pants after.

Benny Jade slight of New Zealand connects with a left uppercut that dropped Michael Manambay to win by KO 2:59 in the first round.PHOTO BY NOEL NACION
Benny Jade slight of New Zealand connects with a left uppercut that dropped Michael Manambay to win by KO 2:59 in the first round.PHOTO BY NOEL NACION

Manambay was counted out with just one second left in the first round.

The two earlier traded heavy bombs and body punches and were looking for a knockout.

Manambay staggered Slight midway in the opening canto but the New Zealander refused to buckle.

After connecting with several combinations to the head that dropped the mouthpiece of Manambay, Slight went for the kill to score the KO win.

In the main event, substitute Adam Dui Abdulhamid avenged his first career loss with a unanimous win over former tormentor JR Mendoza.

The taller Abdulhamid, pitching in for the injured Harmonito dela Torre, used his reach advantage to keep Mendoza at bay.

Dela Torre was a late scratch after he injured his right shoulder.

Meanwhile, all 7 boxers from the Sanman Promotion swept all their assignments in the 7-fight boxing card with Romero Duno and Mark Angelo Plaña stopping Rey Liparanon and Marwin Cristuta, respectively.

Marquil Salvaña suffered cut in his left eyebrow due to accidental headbutt but prevailed over game Davie Ugbamin over six rounds.

Other Sanman boxers who scored decision victories were Ronnie Tanallon and Raymart Gaballo who separately outsmarted Jonathan Rimablanca and Paolo Perono.

The boxing card promoted by Sanman Promotions was part of the patronal fiesta of the Bula Parish which celebrated feastof the Black Sto. Niño on January 15.

Sanman Promotion is owned by brothers JR and JC Manangquil and Dexter Tan.

De la Torre injures shoulder, skips fight

GENERAL SANTOS CITY – Rising boxing star Harmonito dela Torre was a late scratch after he injured his right shoulder and instead will be replaced by Adam Diu Abdulhamid in the main event of Sanman’s initial offering for the year.

Dela Torre pointed to his right shoulder when asked by Sanman co-promoter Dexter Tan during lunch inside SM Mall after the weigh in Friday morning.

New Zealander Benne Jade Slight (left) makes his pro debut Saturday against Michael Manambay (second from right).  They are flanked by Sanman Promotion's Dexter Tan (second from left) and JC Manangquil (right).PHOTO BY EDWIN ESPEJO
New Zealander Benne Jade Slight (left) makes his pro debut Saturday against Michael Manambay (second from right). They are flanked by Sanman Promotion’s Dexter Tan (second from left) and JC Manangquil (right).PHOTO BY EDWIN ESPEJO

He was supposed to meet JR Mendoza in the main event of Saturday’s boxing card at the Oval Plaza Gym here.

Dela Torre totes a perfect record of 14-0 with 9 of those victories coming via stoppage.

JC Manangquil, the other half of the Sanman Promotion duo, apologized for the dela Torre’s injury.

Sanman Promotion however said the Abdulhamid-Mendoza promises to be an exciting fight after the two figured in a close fight which Mendoza won over 8 rounds.

The night’s other featured bout is the pro debut of New Zealander Benne Jade Slight who goes up against Michael Manambay. The bout is slated for 4 rounds and at 140 pounds.

Slight is the lone foreigner in Sanman’s growing stable of 15 professional fighters.

Other Sanman boxers seeing action are Ronnie Tanallon, Romero Duno, Markquil Salvana, Reymart Gaballo and Mike Angelo Plania who will go against separate opponents.

Sanman’s Tan was earlier voted Promoter of the Year by the World Boxing Federation (WBF).

Sanman was among the busiest promotional outfits in Mindanao in 2014 with 6 boxing cards tucked under its name last year.

Among its notable boxer is Randy Petalcorin who captured the World Boxing Association interim flyweight title via a 7th round technical knockout victory over Panamanian Walter Tello in Shanghai last year.

Tomorrow’s bout will be held at the Oval Plaza Gym and preliminary bouts featuring the finest amateurs in the city will start at 5:30 pm. Admission is free.