Breaking News: The resilience of the Filipino conquered the 2018 North Pole Marathon.
FWD Life Philippines representative Luisito “Louie” Sangalang, multi-sport athlete and cancer survivor took us on an amazing journey that was pure energy but also pure love and compassion. Clocking in 11hours and four minutes on that fateful April 16 is nothing short of history as Louie embraced all the challenges of training and the racing with that perennial boyish smile and candor.
62 participants from 23 countries took part in the marathon, which marked the second year of FWD’s title sponsorship and the first region-wide participation of 11 FWD-sponsored runners, dubbed FWD Team Asia. The entire trip to the North Pole was approximately two weeks long as participants needed to acclimatize and train before the race. FWD Team Asia raised over USD32,000 as they completed the race for the organizations they support, including Special Olympics, the largest sports organization for people with intellectual disability.
The marathon participants ran on a 42-kilometer path in a terrain with temperature ranging from negative 30 to negative 33 degrees centigrade. Adding to the challenge of the race was the icy path which was in parts soft and powdery and sometimes solid and slippery.
“Around 75% to 80% of the course was in snowy, uneven terrain which made it difficult to find firm footing. As a result, we had to walk on some parts of the race course,” Louie said. “We had great weather with clear skies and minimal wind. However, the extreme cold made the race very challenging.”
Living in tropical Philippines could not have given Louie a vantage point as he claimed that the biting cold was so extreme he had to find some distraction using the panoramic all-white (snow) and all-blue (sky) that presented everywhere he looked. Of course it also helped that Squad-adviser Maricel Pangilinan to focus on the most important persons in his life while racing. We’re surethat only pretty wife Kaye was on his mind the whole time!
FWD Life Philippines President and Chief Executive Peter Grimes extended his congratulations to Louie for completing the run. “We are very proud of Louie! His healthy lifestyle and background as a multi-sport athlete made him the perfect choice to represent FWD Life Philippines in the North Pole Marathon,” said Peter. Obviously, Louie was another shining example of the unrelenting commitment of Pinoys to their goals, pretty much the same spirit of Peter’s Filipino managers and staff in the local subsidiary.
“How Louie overcame all the challenges in his life, including this latest one, truly embodies what FWD Life Insurance stands for. FWD believes in grabbing the things you want out of life, to not let anything stand in the way of living your best life. Louie was determined to finish this marathon despite all odds, and he did it!” Peter added.
Roche Vandenberghe, FWD Life Philippines Head of Marketing, said, “The FWD North Pole marathon was a great and equally unique platform to celebrate living, which is what FWD is all about. As the country’s most exciting insurance brand, we are here to encourage people to overcome their fears and fulfill their biggest dreams!”
“That may be as extreme as fulfilling their bucket list by running a marathon on the North Pole or as simple as planning for their future today with proper insurance protection. If it helps them live their lives to the fullest, FWD Life Insurance definitely has got their back!” quipped Roche.
At the Welcome Party on April 25, Marquis Event Place, BGC
Fireworks exploded in a roomful of admirers and advocates, hoping to catch a glimpse of Louie and watch him cast new goals for what’s next in his colorful life.
As usual, FWD put together an unforgettable “hero’s welcome” complete with the people instrumental in making the North Pole feat possible. His support squad, composed of Coach Ige Lopez, Coach Ani deleon-Brown, Romi Garduce and Maricel Pangilinan, beamed with pride at how he played this marathon so well that he has set a bar high enough for Pinoy marathoners to start dreaming of the same achievement.
I went through the amazing journey with Louie, too. Like a stage mom, I stalked the NP Marathon facebook page for updates and cheered on all the runners in their quest for the near-impossible. Cannot recall how many people I’ve passed on the story of this unique human being for the past weeks, yet each time I felt blessed and truly honored to have known him personally.
He made it. HISTORY, as well as INSPIRATION. What we need today.
About FWD Philippines
FWD Life Insurance Corporation (“FWD Life”) is the first life insurance company licensed by the Insurance Commission of the Philippines under the new Insurance Code. FWD launched its commercial operations in September 2014. By March 2017, FWD Life is the highest-capitalized life insurer in the Philippines with PhP 2.3 billion in paid-up capitalization.1 Based on premium income data published by the Insurance Commission2, FWD Life now ranks 10th in the insurance industry in terms of weighted new business premiums.3
FWD Group spans Hong Kong & Macau, Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines, Singapore, Vietnam, and Japan, offering life and medical insurance, general insurance, and employee benefits across a number of its markets. Established in Asia in 2013, FWD is the insurance business arm of investment group, Pacific Century Group. In the Philippines, FWD has nine business hubs located in key cities nationwide with its headquarters in Bonifacio Global City in Taguig.
FWD is focused on creating fresh customer experiences, with easy-to-understand products, supported by digital technology. Through this customer-led approach, FWD aims to become a leading pan-Asian insurer that changes the way people feel about insurance. For more information please visit fwd.com.ph.
1www.insurance.gov.ph > Statistics > 2017 > Based on Paid-Up Capital
2www.insurance.gov.ph > Statistics > 2017 > Based on Premium Income
3 Weighted New Business Premium Income: 100% of first-year premium on regular-pay plans + 10% of single-pay premiums