MANILA, Philippines ? A Hong Kong-based team of Filipino trail walkers has completed the grueling 102-kilometer Oxfam Walk Against Poverty and Climate Change in Hong Kong, considered one of the biggest charity events in the territory.
In his report to the Department of Foreign Affairs on Tuesday, Philippine Consul General in Hong Kong Claro Cristobal said the team, fielded by the University of the Philippines Alumni Association in Hong Kong (UPAA-HK), finished the course that traversed the east-west corridor of Hong Kong in 36 hours and 23 minutes last November 21.
The Oxfam Trailwalker is an ultra long-distance organized annually by Oxfam Hong Kong.
Cristobal congratulated the team and their support crew for their achievement, for raising at least HK$10,300 (approximately P61,800) in poverty-reduction and climate-change funds, and for enhancing the Filipino community?s profile by participating and succeeding in an event that is widely covered in Hong Kong.
The epic hike of the Philippine team began in Pak Tam Chung in eastern Hong Kong at 11 a.m. on November 20 and was completed at 11:30 p.m. the next day at Tai Tong, a village on the western side of the city.
Cristobal said the non-stop hike meant that the team had to walk without any sleep through some of Hong Kong?s highest peaks and treacherous valleys.
For instance, on a knife-edged ridge that divides Kowloon and the New Territories at dawn on the event?s second day, the hikers had to endure a strong and chilly northwesterly wind that threatened to blow them over to the Kowloon side.
?This, along with the need to overcome leg injuries and logistical issues, made the hike a truly challenging endeavor,? Cristobal said.
The team was composed of Jerico Abila (team leader), Victor Bautista, Wilbert Jarata and Mario Libunao, Jr. ? all of whom are employed by local companies and are members of UPAA-HK. Joining them at three of the 10 checkpoints along the route is the support team led by UPAA-HK President Gal Roma.
As the trailwalkers approached each of the three major checkpoints, the support team prepared tinola, congee, pandan cake, chocnut candies, and other Pinoy delicacies to the amusement of some Hong Kongers.
Aside from refilling water bottles and replenishing the trail food, the crew also provided sleeping bags, painkillers and a ?hilot? (massage) service to reinvigorate the hikers and enable them to proceed with their adventure.
Also joining Oxfam Trailwalker 2009 was the Pinoy Ultra Runners, a team organized by a runner?s club in the Philippines. The group, which had three men and one lady hiker, finished the course in 30 hours and 10 minutes.