Manila Water has hit hard times in recent years, relinquishing the overall championship in the quadrennial Ayala Olympics to Integrated Microelectronics Inc. in 2016 following an unprecedented string of three straight titles in the elite athletic competitions. For once, however, the Ayala Group’s water subsidiary relived its glory days. A runner under its banner, Roger Denolo, proved to be the fastest entry in the “Ayala Goes Healthy Pa More” Fun Run.
Denolo, running all alone after leaving the competition behind midway through the Ayala Coop- and Employee Relations Network-sponsored event, clocked 17 minutes and 30 seconds over the five-kilometer distance of the race for seasoned runners to finish almost two minutes ahead of runner-up Rashid Apostol, who came in at 19:12. Third-placer Charles de Roxas came in another full minute behind at 20:17.
Also coming in as winners were Michelle Ann Eala, who topped the female division of the five-kilometer event with a time of 19:11 to beat second-placer Maxgie Agustin (22:55) and third-placer Donna Elle Reyes (24:50); Mark and Azalea Rosal who clocked 8:51 and won the 1.5-kilometer Family/Barkada Run over the second-placing duo of Ma. Luz and Jose Maria Onanad and the third-finishing tandem of Patrick, Yodza, Janilyn, Wendielyn and Yodsielyn Balimbingan; Eleazar Nacion who won the one-kilometer Bulilit Run for boys; and Carol Ann Cerveza and her pet dog, who came in ahead in the one-kilometer Pet-Malu Run.
But the biggest winners in the race-cum-physical fitness activity held last April 14 at the former Food Terminal Inc. grounds at the ARCA South in Taguig City – the second such edition of the event after its highly successful initial run in May 2015 – were the beneficiaries of the fund-raising project, which drew the targeted number of 1,000 participants as 929 Ayala employees and family members and some 200 military personnel were on hand.
HERO Foundation and APEC
The Ayala Coop and the ER Network turned over symbolic checks for P100,000 each to both the HERO Foundation and Affordable Private Education Center or APEC after the event, with Coop Chairman JP Orbeta handing the checks to Captain Aguirre of the Philippine Army and Ayala Corporation executive Fred Ayala, who represented the two beneficiaries, respectively.
Orbeta earlier opened the day’s activity by thanking the Ayala Group’s friends from the police, the Air Force, Navy and Marines and other military personnel and police enforcers. “This demonstrates the great synergy between us as this is all about raising funds for our APEC scholars and the HERO Foundation,” Orbeta said. “This is all about Ayala in motion as employees from the different Ayala companies are involved in this event. I thank all of the participants for being here.”
The event also saw group exercises being presided over by trainers from long-time Ayala partner Gold’s Gym, massage sessions being conducted for the participants, and company booths being set up by various Ayala companies to showcase groupwide products, including those of Globe, Bank of the Philippine Islands, Isuzu, Volkswagen, Generika, Family Doc, and Healthy Family. A line of food booths was also provided for the participants to secure their breakfast from after their run.
The HERO Foundation and APEC schools actually received part of the proceeds from the event. The HERO Foundation is a non-stock, not-for-profit organization that stands for “Help Educate and Rear Orphans” and was organized by the late President Corazon Aquino in 1988 with then-Armed Forces of the Philippines Chief of Staff Gen. Renato de Villa, who called on the business community to respond to the growing needs of the families left behind by fallen military personnel who died on duty. Since then, the foundation has been providing educational stipends to military orphans.
The APEC, on the other hand, is a joint venture between Ayala Corporation and United Kingdom-based Pearson through its Pearson Affordable Learning Fund. The Ayala Coop also became involved in the APEC advocacy in 2015, when it launched a search for 20 children of Ayala Group employees-cum-Coop members that deserved a good high-school education and qualified for APEC scholarship.
Ayala Coop General Manager Dina Orosa, who spearheaded the latest “Ayala Goes Healthy Pa More” project along with ERNet Chair Sherry Gosiengfiao, had earlier urged Ayala employees to throw their full support to the project considering its noble objective of helping needy children. As it turned out, the organizers got what they bargained for.