Lingayen Gulf landing, so memorable to me

By December 19, 2021Sports Eye

By Jesus A. Garcia Jr.

FOR two consecutive years (2018, 2019), my December 18 birthday celebrations were held in the middle of bicycle road races. The third bikefest was supposed to happen last year but unfortunately, the world’s unseen enemy, COVID-19, spoiled my annual affair. Not only were my projects but all the world’s sports activities were also derailed for almost two years since. Admittedly, the invisible enemy of planet Earth is still lingering around us to this day but slowly and surely, I believe the situation is getting better and better every day, our big thanks to God.

Sports activities like boxing, basketball, volleyball, billiard, lawn and table tennis, cycling, to name some, are beginning to be held around the world. This is the main reason why the temporarily shelved birthday races of mine will now be definitely be held. But instead of the usual December 18 affair which my town of birth Mangaldan hosted every year, I decided to conduct the race on December 19 this time, a day after my natal day, and chose the well-improved and grand looking capital town, Lingayen, to be the start and the finish line with the town’s chief executive Leopoldo N. Bataoil who gave me the green light.

Unknown to many except my barrio mates and some media colleagues like Rhee Fer Hortaleza, Al Mendoza, Recah Trinidad, and the late Herme Rivera, to name a few, knew that I was born because of the Second World War. Yes, the Lingayen Gulf is so memorable to me because it was the landing site of the American forces spearheaded by the late General McArthur. My beloved father, the late Mexican-American army private Jesus Rivera Garcia, was with Gen. McArthur’s army who came to our country to liberate us against the invading Japanese Imperial Army. This is the reason why these friends in media would call me (then) “war time baby” during my prime in cycling because my mother had me during the 1944-1945 world war. I don’t blame them because it is the truth. Well, while we hate war because war kills and destroys the economy of any nation, admittedly, I have to say that I have to thank there was a second world war because if it had not happened, I believe I would not have been born unless the omnipotent God destined me to be born in some other way.

The cycling road race on December 19 will be called “Lingayen Gulf Cycling Challenge Jess Garcia Jr. Bikefest” and it will be run in three categories: the Grandmaster for 50 years old and above, Master division for 40 to 49 years of age and the Open class, the main event of the day featuring some superstars of the country and mostly from Pangasinan. The short and well-paved 63 kilometers road battle will be sponsored by Excellent Noodles like in the past. It will start at Baywalk Marcela Resort with Sen. Panfilo Lacson together with Senate Pres. Tito Sotto and Mayor Bataoil set to flag off the130 participants. The official start time will be clocked only upon reaching Barangay Baay junction that will traverse the barangays Quibaol, Balococ, Socony junction (Bugallon), Bacabac, Polong, Samat, Magtaking, Don Gonzalo, Magsaysay junction (Labrador), Dulig, Domalandan West, and back to Baay. The cyclists will traverse the same route three times and the finish line will be across the Baay Elementary School. Of course, cash prizes and medals will be at stake. Admittedly, this is my first road bike directed race after 23 months being idle due to the pandemic. See you there.

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QUOTE OF THE WEEK: For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Child is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. ISAIAH 9: 6

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