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Balanga City grabs world record; also wins tobacco-free tag

BALANGA, Bataan—Sixth-grader Louise Lei Borale was up at the crack of dawn on Friday.

“I was told we’re going to make history today and I think it’s going to be fun,” said the 12-year-old, a pupil at T. Camacho Elementary School here, who later joined more than 16,000 residents who sweated it out and danced their way to a world record.

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The Guinness World Records officially declared this city the new record holder for the biggest dance fitness class in a single venue for gathering 16,218 dance enthusiasts, breaking the previous record of Mexico City with 6,639 dance class participants.

Local officials were handed a plaque by Kimberley Dennis, Guinness World Records adjudicator, after the participants completed a 37-minute dance fitness class that started at 6 a.m. on Enrique Garcia Sr. Avenue here. Most of the participants came from various Bataan schools. All 25 villages in the city and various youth organizations sent delegations.

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The record-breaking feat was accomplished shortly before Balanga was officially recognized as the first tobacco-free-generation city in the world by the Tobacco Free Generation (TFG) international organization. The TFG movement, which was started in Singapore and is called TFG2000, aims to educate and encourage the generation born after 2000 to say “no” to cigarettes.

“Health and fitness go together. This event is one way to promote a healthy lifestyle,” said Allan Torres, the secretary to the city administrator.

“This milestone will forever stay in our hearts since we’re part of this dream. We will bring Balanga City to the whole world,” Dr. Carolina Violeta, Balanga City division schools superintendent, said in her remarks.

Violeta said the participants had to dance to various upbeat contemporary songs with synchronized steps.

A group of dance fitness instructors gathered on a makeshift stage set up in the middle of a 2.5-kilometer road as they led the participants in dance exercises for more than 30 minutes.

The participants were divided into 54 bays with six sections. Each bay had about 50 dancers, according to Torres. Additional dance fitness instructors were assigned to each bay section to coordinate dance moves.

“Our self-imposed target was 15,000 participants. The turnout was unexpected since we reached more than 16,000,” Torres said, adding that many walk-in participants who were unable to join because there was not enough space.

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“This day is very significant because we are doing something historical,” said Mayor Jose Enrique Garcia, who joined the dance fitness class along with other local officials. Before the event began, Garcia encouraged the participants to keep dancing and refrain from leaving their group at any point during the class.

Aside from aiming to be recognized as a Guinness World Record holder, the city would like to be recognized for its position against smoking, the mayor said.

In August 2015, Dr. Koong Heng Nung of TFG2000 visited Balanga to attend the Family and Child Convention, which inspired the city government to undertake an antismoking program.

Garcia described the program as an “end-game” reform initiative to eliminate tobacco consumption among people born after 2000.

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TAGS: Dr. Carolina Violeta, Enrique Garcia Sr. Avenue, fitness, Guinness World Records, Health, Kimberley Dennis, Mayor Jose Enrique Garcia, Mexico City, T. Camacho Elementary School, TFG movement, Tobacco Free Generation, Wellness, Zumba
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