Bona buried “Werweran ed Mangaldan”
By Jesus A. Garcia Jr.
AS long as Bona de Vera Parayno is the town mayor of Mangaldan, the chance to revive the town’s prestigious bikefest called “Werweran ed Mangaldan,” is nil. This was the consensus of the Mangaldan sports fanatics I gathered particularly among the town’s prominent cyclists joining the annual Le Tour de Filipinas and Ronda Pilipinas multi-stage bikathons. This was echoed by some Pangasinan media men (including this writer) that followed the annual bikefest since 1974 pioneered by the town’s former chief executive the late Atty. Macario G. Ydia.
Originally called “Mangaldan Cycling Grand Prix,” it was first staged on March 14, 1974, won by Urdaneta City-born tour veteran Winselmo Baguio. The one-day cycling road race name was changed to “Mangaldan Bikefest” sponsored by the town’s famous Jet Store, and eventually dubbed as “Werweran ed Mangaldan” in 1994 engineered by the town’s well-known tres amigos and bike lovers: Johnny Valencia, Ajie Cabrera and Dr. Domesthenes Ydia. I still recall when Werweran was discontinued once by the town’s former hizzoner Tito Sarzaba in 2003 due to financial constraints but was immediately revived the following year and onward.
Then Mayor Bona stopped it since she became mayor in 2013.
When my barangay mate now the municipal councilor Trisha de Guzman became the chairperson of the Youth and Sports Development Council last year, hopes were high that the Werweran bikefest will be revived this year. Alas, it was not to be.
Evening of January 24, I was at Clark International Airport waiting for my flight to Macau when I received a call from Councilor Trisha. She told me that Mayor Bona, without even giving her request a thought, thumbed it down. “Si Jess Garcia lang ang may gusto diyan at hindi ko aaproban yan, sabihin mo sa kanya,” was the mayor’s message obviously aimed at me. “Wala tayong magagawa dahil siya ang ina ng bayan natin and at the same being the hermana mayor (again) during our town fiesta celebration.” I replied.
Trisha tried to reassure me and others: “Let’s just wait Uncle, for the years to come after her term. I believe that will be the right time to revive the Werweran, Uncle.” I agree.
I was born, raised and educated in Mangaldan and followed thoroughly and religiously my town’s development in sports, from the various seminars and clinics, to mentoring and I can’t remember any athlete or sport (apart from cycling) that gave Mangaldan the honor of being represented in international and national competitions except its homegrown cyclists. There were the Cariño brothers (Samson and Ruben) of Barangay Landas, Cesar Catambay of Barangay Malabago as champions of multi-stage racings, Alex Lopez and Emeterio Natavio of Barangay Guesang winning gold and silver medals, respectively, during the 1987 and 1981 SEA (Southeast Asia) Games. Now the new Carino siblings Joshua and Daniel of Barangay Landas landing prominently in the top ten in Le Tour and Ronda bikathons. Hopefully the duo will shine better in the coming big races this year. Modesty aside, I, too, did my share for Mangaldan having won titles in multi-stage racing here and abroad.
Mayor Bona is clearly politically anti-cycling so let’s forget about Werweran for now. With God blessings, I know there will still be Mangaldan cyclists that can reap more honors for the town without help or motivation from her.
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QUOTE OF THE WEEK: And Jesus Christ said, “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” MATTHEW 6: 14-15