Ironman PH: Marawi medals weave hope
SUBIC, Philippines – As the Philippines hosts its first full Ironman, the finishers will likely experience indescribable pain and exhaustion.
But a unique reward awaits them – a memento that also serves as a reminder that passion and perseverance will always pull them through.
The finisher medals in the 2018 Century Tuna Ironman 70.3 Philippines feature a new look as medal designer Daniel de la Cruz collaborated with Maranao weavers from war-stricken Marawi to create the medal ribbons.
“I’m quite happy that we were able to help a few displaced Marawi [residents] who suffered through the war,” De la Cruz said.
With the job opportunity, the Maranao master weavers were able to create handmade ribbons for the Ironman medals. Collectively, the woven ribbon and the sculpted medal make up what is called the “Alab ng Puso” (Flaming Heart) award.
The medals will be given to the finishers of the grueling 3.8 km swim-180 km bike-42.95 km run event on June 3, Sunday, at Subic Bay in Zambales.
“The Marawi people have gone through very extreme hardships,” said Dela Cruz. “And I can attest to the fact that with very minimal tools at their disposal, they managed to create 1,200 of these individually-handwoven ribbons for the medals.”
That’s why De la Cruz sees Salika Maguindanao, who’s at the helm of the medal weaving project, as his hero.
Maguindanao, like many of her unfortunate brothers and sisters, was among the hardest hit by the war against the Maute group last year.
But fellow weaver Jardin Samad also shared they were fighting a different war long before terrorism wreaked havoc on their city – a war on prejudice.
“Gusto namin na mabago ‘yung tingin sa amin ng mga tao,” Samad said. “Na pag sinabing Maranao, sinasabing mga terorista agad… mga [may] hindi magandang trabaho.”
(We want to change the people’s perception of us, that if they refer to the Maranao, they liken us to terrorists or people with shady dealings.)
“Dito namin papatunayan na hindi kami masasama, kundi magaganda ang [gawa] namin lalo na sa kultura,” he added.
(This is where we prove that we’re not evil, but rather we create something good as well, especially for the culture.)
Maguindanao said she’s thankful for the opportunity Ironman Philippines has given their weaving community.
“I just want to say thank you to everyone who believed in us,” said Maguindanao. “Because of that belief, we started to believe in ourselves, that we are not merely survivors but we are also defined by the achievement we have brought with the Ironman race medals.”
So come Sunday, when the medals adorn the Ironman finishers, they won’t be mere tokens of victory. But rather, they also serve as symbols that they, like the Maranao, survived in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds. – Rappler.com