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Friday, March 6, 2015

Eddie Vega runs barefoot for a cause, breaks Guinness record

Why is the Guinness World Record holder for the Most Barefoot Marathons Run in One Year, running without shoes?
Eddie Vilbar Vega, nicknamed the “Barefoot Bandito,” says he created a world record with marathons run on bare feet to raise awareness and funds, and send shoes to over 300 million children worldwide who are without shoes, including those in his native Philippines.
Guinness World Records officially acknowledged the barefoot marathoner as having completed 101 marathons across the world from January 1 to December 31, 2014.

Vega ran in all 50 US states, in Japan, and the Philippines for a total barefoot distance of 4,258.65 kilometres which Guinness required to be extensively documented on GoPro, a cam on his chest directed on his feet to ensure his barefoot run was done on just his bare feet without aid of plasters and other foot aids. Pictures of the start, during and end of the race baring his soles were required, attested to by witnesses.
Vega also holds the record for Most Barefoot Marathon Runs on Consecutive Days (Male) for running races across California, Oregon and Texas, USA from June 28 to July 7 also last year.
The California-based IT professional ran as an ambassador for Soles4Souls, a charity organization collecting new and gently worn shoes from shoe companies and individuals for donation to the world’s underprivileged children.

To date, he has raised over $13,000 and has distributed about 7,000 pairs of shoes in his home province of Leyte and in Davao, Philippines, with another 6,000 pairs scheduled for distribution in April and August this year through the Davao-based Seeds of Dignity Ministries.
Vega revealed to GoodNewsPilipinas the story of why he can actually relate to children without shoes who need protection from contracting infectious diseases by not having adequate footwear.
As a child in Leyte, he would sometimes take off his shoes to run around barefoot with other kids who could not afford shoes so he could fit in. As a result, he contracted hookworms and became infected with tuberculosis from a contagious neighbour who would spit blood on the grounds they played on.
He credits his survival from the deadly infections to his family’s immigration to Guam which had modern facilities to treat his diseases.
The Barefoot Bandito dedicates his barefoot run for the children without shoes to his demised parents Charlie and Rita Vega.
Vega decided to adopt the Soles4Souls cause as his own after the attention he got from running his first barefoot marathon on the occasion of his 50th marathon run in 2013. He realized then he could use the “rock star” publicity of the Guinness World Records for a higher purpose, to address the needs of the world’s children.
“It is said that ‘to really understand someone you need to walk a mile in their shoes’. Well, in my case, and for the cause that I represent I decided to run and/or walk thousands of miles barefoot to honor these kids and to create awareness and let everybody know that there are over 300 million children worldwide who are without shoes or adequate footwear because they cannot afford them. To compound the problem, most countries like the Philippines, will not allow children to attend school unless they wear shoes. This contributes to the vicious cycle of poverty,” Vega writes in his memoirs of his desire to have children be able to live a healthier life and pursue their education.

His barefoot marathons caused injuries, sometimes superficial, at times grave enough for him to discontinue the race. He was even once hit by a car from behind during his world record attempt.
His record attempt to run barefoot in 7 continents ended in Antarctica, a run which he had to finish wearing shoes because he had already started bleeding on the snow after running mostly on gravel and jagged rocks.
But when the thought of quitting crossed his mind, Vega says he kept thinking about how the survivors of the World War II Bataan Death March were able to endure much harsher conditions during their 128K march from Bataan to Camp O’Donnell. The image of that deadly march kept Vega going, thinking of his pain and suffering in his own 42K run relative to what the prisoners of war then endured.
Vega will be in the Philippines this April to distribute more shoes to children without shoes.
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Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Bwaya wins Gold at Asian Cinema Festival in France

Bwaya (Crocodile), an indie film based on actual events involving deadly Philippine crocodiles won for the Philippines its first gold at the Vesoul International Film Fest of Asian Cinema in France.
The festival’s Golden Cyclo top jury prize was awarded by four international jurors led by its chairman director Wang Chao of China, Mohammad Rasoulof from Iran, Prasana Vithanage of Sri Lanka, and Laurice Guillen of the Philippines.
The film tells the story of Divina, a mother who searches for her child after receiving news that her child Rowena has been attacked by crocodiles in the Agusan del Sur marshlands of Mindanao in Southern Philippines.
The film stars Angeli Bayani who plays Divina to Jolina Salvado’s Rowena, together with Karl Medina and RS Francisco.

Ninety films competed at the FICA Vesoul festival which was created in 1995 and is one of the most popular events in Europe attended by thousands, recording an audience of 30,000 in 2014.
Pasion, an Ateneo de Manila University graduate is currently an ABS-CBN network television director.
Bwaya received its first international recognition winning as Best Film at the Tokyo Filmex in 2014.
The film which was first recognized at the Cinemelaya 2014 Philippine Independent Cinema Festival, is helping raise local and international cultural and social awareness.
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Mark Chan aims to win World Latte Art contest in Sweden

Young overseas Filipino worker Mark Chan will be the first ever Filipino barista to compete and represent the Philippines in the World Latte Art Championship in Gothenburg, Sweden.
Chan won the right to represent the Philippines in the most esteemed latte art competition in the world when he was declared champion at the 1st Philippine National Art Latte Championship held in Paranaque City, south of Manila,

The Philippine competition used the same criteria used for the championship in Sweden, as sanctioned by the World Coffee Events (WCE). The worldwide recognition paved the way for the Philippine champion to compete in Sweden.
Six baristas competed in the championship, given 10 minutes to create their entry in design pattern, espresso macchiato, and free pour.
Chan who flew back to Manila from Singapore where he works at Common Man Coffee Roasters impressed judges with patterns the likes of Three-Layered Tulips, Inverted Tulips and his Semi-Picasso Swan.
“I’m gonna have to study my score sheets first and see my ‘strengths’ and ‘opportunities’. Make my strong points stronger and capitalize on it, make serious consideration on ‘opportunities’ for improvement,” says Chan in a published interview.
Sonja Bjork Grant, a judge from the World Coffee Events, says she looks forward to the competition especially since this will be the first time that the Philippines will have a representative in the world competition where baristas are judged based on visual attributes, creativity, identical patterns in the pairs, contrast in patterns, and overall performance.
The World Latte Art Championship highlights artistic expression in a competition platform that challenges the barista in an on-demand performance. Around 40 to 45 competitors from all around the world will battle for the title. The competition will be held in June 15-18 this year.
Chan, a graduate of St. Joseph’s Academy, is optimistic about the third wave coffee scene in the Philippines saying, “It is getting ready to explode most probably early to mid-2015.”

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Tuesday, March 3, 2015

NY Daily reports PHL a key global travel destination

The New York Daily News reports the Philippines is now becoming a favourite destination for travellers looking for unspoiled natural wonders and its unique history.
The NY Daily counts the over 7,000 Philippine islands as having “some of the best scenery on the planet.”

The report by Mike Quane noted that the negative experiences of the country in the last three decades such as economic and political misfortunes and high-profile natural disasters have actually contributed to the islands’ scenic areas avoiding over-development.
The NY Daily, commanding nearly 50 million unique viewers monthly, lists must-see spots such as UNESCO World Heritage Sites, Banaue Rice Terraces, the Puerto Princesa Underground River, and Tubbataha Reef Marine Park.
The list also includes the Apo Reef, Chocolate Hills of Bohol, and Taal Volcano.
A rundown of the many cultural and historical sites is given, such as Spanish colonial churches like San Agustin Church in the walled city of Intramuros, and the island fortress of Corregidor in Manila Bay.
Action-oriented travellers are directed to diving, parasailing, and river rafting, and even rock-climbing in the cooler mountainous regions of Baguio.
Beach people are referred to perfect white sand beaches in Bohol, Boracay, and Puerto Galera.
The Manila malls like Glorietta, Mall of Asia, and Megamall are listed as a shoppers’ paradise for good bargains.
Condo housing for expatriate retirees are referred to as allowing retirement funds to stretch longer than in their home countries. For tourists who prefer hotels, Manila is cited as having some of the best hotels in the world such as the Shangri-La Hotels.
The report rounds of the list with mentions of good restaurants with traditional local Filipino offerings, as well as Chinese, Spanish, and Polynesian cooking.
The top draw in the list is the Filipinos themselves. “The most beautiful thing about the Philippines remains the sweetness of its people. The ‘Good morning, sir’ and ‘Good evening, ma’am’ one hears so often are sincere and heartfelt, delivered with a distinctive warmth that will be long-remembered.
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