Spot check

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Tuesday, April 22, 2014

FOR some kids who refuse to grow up, life is a skate session.

Youthful silhouettes fading into sunset is a swell scenario, if not for patrol cars chasing them from behind, ready to lecture them about skating in a private arcade downtown.

Scouting for ideal grounds where skaters (newbie, wannabe, poser, it doesn’t really matter) can “waste” their Vans or DC sneakers (as if mom and dad owned a shoe factory) is an old struggle down south. That’s because possible skating spots are (one) few, as in very few; (two) isolated; or (three) barricaded by a big guard.


But wait. There’s more. The Cebu City Traffic Operations Management (Citom) Board recently passed a resolution to ban skateboarders and alike from ripping the streets of the metropolis.

What would skaters do? What else but skate? Duh! It’s not like the flock is also deprived of playing rights in legit parks.

Nestled in a lush, green subdivision in Mohon, Talisay City, is a skate pasture.

“Damage” (read: entrance fee) is only P50. With support from the local skate community, The Visioneri Skate Park is the brainchild of one of Cebu’s pioneer skaters, Dr. Eugene Neri. You heard it. A doctor (actually, a dentist) and a skater.

He must have thought it’s time to make it real. You know, an actual locus for gnarliness. The 45-minute drive from Cebu City drops as a natural sweat maker. Why?

Because if you’re not excited about the sight of stairs, rails and obstacles packed into one convenient venue, what are you? (Answer: Not a skater.)

It started as a grill place turned into a skate corner courtesy of DC Shoes Philippines rider Ian Bacalla. Yussir, that beardy, skinny dude has been gleaming the cube since the early ‘90s and guess what? Uhuh! No skate park. And so, the birth of a mini ramp at the back of the sports complex in South Poblacion, San Fernando Cebu, happened last Feb. 8. Finally, a spot for southern rippers.

The now defunct Concave Skatepark along Gen. Echavez St. in Cebu City could have made all this easier but its death last year hinted at a sequel.

You miss the cave, sure, but mourning is over, kiddo! Melrose Skate Park is now open to serve enthusiasts of that natural high, literally because it’s located on the rooftop of Mango Square Mall at General Maxilom Ave. in Cebu City. And by the way, parents, it’s safe. All those good old inclines and bumps are available for only P40 per head and tickets can be scored inside Melrose Skateshop in the same building.

Can’t get enough of the euphoria? Skating by the cliff, you like? Absurd? Not really.

Hit the quarter-pipe at Doce Pares Mountain Skatepark in Busay, Cebu City. Nail those flips but just don’t drop your jaw with the view below.

Here’s more. Your crazy stunts have a special place at the front yard of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (a.k.a Mormons Labangon) inBarangay Punta Princesa, Cebu City. And the best part? It’s free. The Mandaue City chapter in Barangay Guizo is also a melting pot of assorted rad feet, mostly from up north.

Who would have thought that the rotten park under the Marcelo Fernan Bridge in Barangay Umapad, Mandaue City, is home to the “insane” recreation? The Pajara Park is a secret playground for skaters and is now in a makeover stage, thanks to the city government and affiliates. What more could children on wheels wish for? Well, free boards, maybe?

Further on the road is the NRP Cansaga Bay Bridge in Barangay Tayud in Consolacion, Cebu. Longboarders normally frequent this spot but skateboarders are still welcome, of course, bro. The distance might not be that friendly but isn’t skating about pushing the physical limits, too?

Last year, the community terminal of Lapu-Lapu City in Barangay Pajo was alive with boys (and some girls) popping pieces of flat wood, flying, grinding. It’s unfortunate someone was just not wary enough that the young skaters had to be shooed away from the public premises. But when God closes a dingy parking area, he reopens a plaza. He still had mercy on the little punks, after all. After a long hiatus, the park (a.k.a Oponside) under the Marcelo Fernan Bridge in Barangay Pusok, Lapu-Lapu City, is now accessible again to players. But bars and fun boxes are only allowed until five in the afternoon. Hey, respect isn’t too much to ask, and neither is cleaning your own mess, too!

Now, skaters get stoked! Just this March, Lapu-Lapu City Mayor Paz Radaza headed the groundbreaking of the Lapu-Lapu Skate Park. A concrete paradise is soon to rise on the open lot behind the Hoops Dome Stadium in Barangay Gun-ob in Lapu-Lapu City. Pegged as a P2.5-million project, the ambitious sports development is slated for completion prior the city fiesta this November. Halleluiah!

A lot of good finds are still out there waiting for the skater, where he can crank out the next big trick. Yes, authorities can’t dodge that itch to roll, that cruise sensation but kids, you can always bring your rants to legal spots. Skateboarding is not a crime but it can be if rules are violated. Be a good citizen, for a change. Stop whining. Skate responsibly.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on April 23, 2014.


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