Fil-Am Tri Club - East Coast held a successful benefit event on November 11, 2012 in Central Park to raise funds and collect much needed supplies for those most affected by Super Storm Sandy. Several members got together through Facebook and with some quick planning and organizing Handog Tulong (To Offer Help), was created. In less than a week, over 40 runners and supporters arrived at The Bandshell on a beautiful Sunday morning. Many said that the day couldn’t be better to hold such a meaningful event with temperatures in the low 50’s and the sun shining. Coffee and hot chocolate helped to break the morning chill, and bagels and pan de sal helped fuel the runners for the planned 4-mile run.

The event wasn’t a timed race, which made the day more relaxed and fun. Arland Macasieb and Isang Smith led the group in a cheerful warm-up exercise routine. The informal start, which was across the Bethesda Fountain and Terrace on the 72nd Street Transverse, led runners out to East Drive heading north passing notable landmarks such as The Boat House, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir. There were many others runners, walkers, cyclists, and roller bladders enjoying Central Park, but Fil-Am Tri members stood out with many wearing Fil-Am Tri shirts. Paul Casino served as pace setter on his bicycle while carrying the Philippines flag.

Because the 102nd Street Transverse was closed due to storm damage, runners had to continue north passing the Lasker Rink and Pool, and the Conservatory Garden to tackle the hills of Harlem. After heading south on West Drive, runners passed The Lake and Strawberry Fields before turning east on 72nd Street Transverse to finish at the Bandshell. The unexpected detour resulted in a 5-mile run.

Handog Tulong was a great success with almost $1400 collected that morning with another $850 collected through online contributions. We had supporters from the Bike Lane Group (Rowell Roxas, Ivan Franco, Aileen Poliran-Franco and Rey Pentecostes). We also had supporters from outside the New York/New Jersey area. Greg Garcia from Indiana and Jen Wilson from Kentucky were in the local area helping with relief efforts when they heard of and supported the event. They even posted on their respective Facebook page that they were attending Handog Tulong. The power of social media helped make Handog Tulong a resounding success!

Three carloads of supplies were also collected and brought to a shelter in New Dorp, Staten Island by Jose Lesh, Shalini Sia-Lesh, Lloyd Omoso, Geralyn Ramos-Omoso, Jansen Tubo and Rolan Ocampo. They also helped with the clean up of some homes. Future events are currently in the plans because the recovery and rebuilding of New York and New Jersey will take some time.

Fil-Am Tri truly builds a sense of community and fellowship through the medium of endurance sports!

Below is the coverage by ABS-CBN reporter Lenn Almadin Thornhill

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