DASMARIÑAS CITY, Cavite, Philippines—Through hot pavement and rough roads, up mountain trails and giddy passes, they pedaled for 22 days across the Philippines to raise funds so that those who cannot afford it can have an education.
Turning their passion for biking into a means of promoting a cause, De La Salle University (DLSU) alumni Frederick Agustin and Gio Paolo Espital on Saturday concluded a 1,500-kilometer ride from Luzon to Mindanao in a historic journey that may well leave an impact beyond their lifetimes.
“It was a very difficult ride. It was a long, hard ride. And sometimes I asked myself, ‘Why am I doing this?’” said Agustin yesterday after they crossed the finish line on the DLSU campus here.
“Being a Lasallian is not just about being green, about color. It’s a lifestyle. So there’s this sharing that must be done, and biking is not just for fun. There’s something more than just riding a bike, going from place to place,” he told a small crowd of Lasallians gathered to honor them at the DLSU-Dasmariñas Centennial Botanical Garden here.
Called the “Amazing Raise,” the fundraiser brought the two bikers to 17 La Salle schools across the country from June 15 to July 7 and raised money for the One La Salle Scholarship Fund (OLSF) which subsidizes the education of deserving students.
The pair’s three-week journey has so far raised some P800,000 from the 17 La Salle schools, partner organizations and other sponsors. Organizers will accept donations until the middle of the month.
Part of the activities of the year-long
DLSU centennial celebration, the ride also aimed to raise awareness about the university’s Project Carbon Neutral, which seeks to minimize the carbon footprint of La Salle schools.
“We are bikers but we noticed that while many ride as a hobby, there is no deeper purpose. So we thought of biking for a cause,” said Agustin, a 36-year-old DLSU-Dasmariñas Communications graduate.
Both mountaineers and bike commuters who frequently bumped into each other at different Dasmariñas sports events, Agustin and Espital got together in November and conceptualized the project, which they hoped would contribute to the DLSU Centennial celebration.
“Basically, the toughest parts were the physical challenges. But we prepared for it, we trained for five months, from November (2011) to April. We were fit for the journey but the challenge was the terrain, we didn’t know the kind of terrain we would encounter,” said 27-year-old Espital, an adventure sports veteran.
“The question that always popped up in my mind was, how could the La Salle brothers have reached the very remote [school] sites? There was one in a mining site, at a paper mill site,” said Espital, a 2010 Community Development graduate from the Dasmariñas campus.