Lapu-Lapu awards artist, skateboarder

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Thursday, June 20, 2013

THE Lapu-Lapu City Government has awarded a mosaic artist and a professional skateboarder during its 52nd Charter Day celebration last Sunday night.

Mayor Paz Radaza gave a plaque of recognition to John Rex Tongco, 19, and Lhee Isabel Deiparine Taneo, 20, who are cousins.

Yesterday, Radaza sent off Tongco and three other professional skateboarders who will represent the city in an international competition in Malaysia.


The mayor also gave a plaque of appreciation to Japanese technical diver Satoshi Toyoda, who uploaded the controversial video of a submarine hitting a wall of corals off Mactan Island.

The video caught the attention of the City Government, which immediately suspended the operation of the Cebu Yellow Submarine Undersea Tour Corp. last April.

The tour resumed last weekend after the City temporarily lifted the suspension while waiting for the final report of a group of marine biologists who are assessing the damage caused by the submarine.


Japanese consul Shoji Otake received the plaque on behalf of Toyoda, who was in Japan, during the awarding ceremony at the Mactan Liberty Shrine.

Tongco, son of a tricycle driver, won several national and international skateboarding and longboarding competitions, including the 2012 Thailand Slide Jam and Slalom Competition and the Malaysia Rimba Alam Downhill Race.

Taneo, a fine arts graduate of the University of the Philippines Cebu, created shell mosaic depicting the life in Olango Island, his hometown.

His shell mosaic of Datu Lapu-Lapu was put on display in an exhibit during the City’s commemoration of the Battle of Mactan last April.

“Her visual art is fueling the city’s effort to instill pride and inculcate a sense of identity… Her portraitures of island folks is helping the city preserve the identity of the people of Olango,” Radaza said.


On Tongco, she said, the skateboarder “showed us how to win the war against poverty.”

“He was once a school dropout and now a Southeast Asian longboarding champion. He proved to every Oponganon that success is for us to take,” she added.

Yesterday, Radaza unveiled the proposed Skate Park at the back of the Hoopsdome for skateboarding and longboarding enthusiasts.

She said the park will not only be a venue where local skateboarders and longboarders can practice, but also for competitions. The City will spend P1.5 million to create the park.

Longboarding and skateboarding, she said, will be an added feature to the city’s sports tourism program.

Tongco left for Malaysia yesterday with John Den Escarda, 23, John Rey Ricablanca, 25, and Jerico Baccay, 24. They received financial support from the City.

The four are members of Grupo Nopo, a group of skateboarders and longboarders from Lapu-Lapu.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on June 20, 2013.

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