Sports Eye

Werweran ed Mangaldan

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By Jesus A. Garcia Jr.

THE province’s most popular annual bicycle race, “Mangaldan Cycling Grand Prix”, was started on March 14, 1974 and pioneered by the late mayor, a sports buff, Atty. Macario G. Ydia.

The very first race was won by my former teammate Winselmo Baguio of Urdaneta City. That first race is so memorable to me because I placed second in a close finish with Baguio.

The following year I captured the title with much ado. And because I was at the prime of my chosen career during those years, I was victorious for three consecutive years from 1975 to 1977, overpowering my contemporaries and big names in Philippine cycling like Manuel Reynante, Domingo Quilban, Cesar Catambay, Benito Obedoza, Amado Go, and Fermin Zabala to name a few.

The race was cancelled in 1978 when I migrated to Uncle Sam’s land but was revived a year after.

From Mangaldan Cycling Grand Prix, the race’s name was changed to Mangaldan Bikefest managed by Samson Cariño, the 1975 Tour of PICCA champion, also my town mate and former teammate.

I took over anew when I came back in 1993 and my friends in Mangaldan, cycling enthusiasts Johnny Valencia, Dr. Butch Ydia and former town’s dad Adjie Cabrera renamed it “Werweran” (meaning “spinning” in Pangasinan) to make it different from the rest. Since then Werweran has become the buzzword among the participating cyclists, organizers and cycling admirers.

Many scribes now consider the annual bikathon as one of the most prestigious single day bicycle road race because of its maturity, length of the course, prizes and the quality of participants.

The 16th edition of the Werweran was held last March 1. It was a 178-kilometer trek that passed through towns in La Union and the eastern part of Pangasinan, another first. A throng of spectators at the finish line—I believe a record— received the new Werweran hero, Manaoag son Ericson Obosa where. His first after many tries. Fortunately, no untoward incident happened last Sunday, thanks to the Lord and to Our Lady of Manaoag.

This year’s event main sponsor was Emperador Distillers, Inc. ably supported of the town’s hizzoner Hermino A. Romero and backed by NCRPO chief Gen. Leopoldo N. Bataoil, LTO chief and former PNP chief Arturo C. Lomibao, a Mangaldanon, Dagupan City Mayor Al Fernandez Jr. and Engr. Rosendo So, chairman of the Abono partylist.

Friends of this piece maker like my bayaw Felipe Movida Jr. of Guam, Engrs. Rodolfo Dion, MacArtur Samson, Joey Aquino, John Garcia, businessmen Abraham Yu and my son Jazy Garcia, Dr. Randy Oriel, Norman Sanchez of Canada and Houston-based Blandino Caguioa also supported the event with much gusto. Thanks to all of you, guys.

I hope to see you again next year with Emperador and hopefully we can have an even bigger cycling event.

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