Marissa Nolasco Fernan, SM’s top official here in Cebu for many years now, showed my dad and I the SM Seaside City design when we met a few afternoons ago at the Radisson Blu.
It’s Cebu’s version of the Mall of Asia (MOA). Only better. And more modern. With a glass-encased towering tube rising at the middle of an open garden. Ready for occupancy two years from now, it will be Cebu’s all-in-one, must-visit place soon.
Marissa also showed my dad and I a structure which, if realized, will change the sports and entertainment scene in Visayas and Mindanao: our own version of The Arena. I’m sure you’ve heard of MOA’s Arena, the 16,000-seater indoor coliseum where Lady Gaga danced, where the ALA Boys boxed, where Jennifer Lopez sang and where the UAAP games are being played.
Imagine an SM Seaside City Arena? In Cebu! Well, according to Marissa — now on her 25th year with the Sy family — this should be realized. If it does, we can host NBA exhibition games, a Djokovic-Murray 3-setter, a UFC Asia fight…
Remember the Megadome that then-Governor Pabling Garcia wanted to build? Where the CICC is right now? The Arena will be the same — only so much more modern and world-class (the MOA Arena reportedly cost P3.6 billion!).
SM2SM. For now, as the SM Seaside City construction is underway, we can visit the Chapel of San Pedro Calungsod. We can hear mass there today.
Even better, seven mornings from today, we can join the run that’s the biggest this season: the SM2SM Run.
Fifty thousand pesos to the 21K winner! Yes. No misprint there. This, by far, is the largest paycheck anyone can receive outside Manila. (As comparison, our Cebu Marathon 21K event only offered P20,000.)
The 21K champion gets 50K. The runner-up, P30,000; the 3rd placer, P20,000. Just on those podium finishers alone, that’s P100,000. In cash. Plus, there are plenty of other prizes: Radisson Blu overnight stays for two, buffet dinners, raffle items and more.
Now on its third year, runners joining the Feb. 24 race will start at the SM City Cebu. Parking, always a concern, is plentiful. There are four distances: 21K, 12K, 6K, and 3K. All distances, if you compute it, are divisible by 3K — which makes this event not only unique but also “runnable” for everyone.
A couple of weeks back, I got the chance to meet with Jen-Jen Amigo, the Assistant Vice-President for Marketing (Visayas). We were in their conference room together with Joan Zanoria (SM City Cebu’s Marketing Manager) and RJ Leduna, the SM Supermall’s Public Relations Manager for Vismin. Joining us was the race director, Joel Baring.
I listened to their plans. Full hydration by Nature’s Spring. There will be entertainment along the way — including at the South Road Properties (SRP). And there is proper coordination with the government agencies: Citom, the SRP, the DPWH.
What’s also new this year are the use of Timing Chips. Within hours after the race (for those doing 12K and 21K), participants can visit the SM Facebook page and see the electronically-timed finishing times. Few races in Cebu use the timing system but, in major events worldwide, this is a must-have race component.
Beneficiary? Of course. Based on earlier press releases, the event donated P200,000 last year. For the 2013 edition, an amount will again be contributed to two organizations: the Cebu City Task Force for Street Children and the Cebu Newspapers Workers Foundation (Cenewof).
I know that, almost every Sunday, Cebu has a road-running race organized. The 21K distance — once a rarity in our streets — has become a monthly occurrence. But next Sunday’s event is different. It’s big. You can make the sign of the cross (or say the Sorrowful Mystery, if you’re suffering in the 21K) while passing the Chapel of San Pedro Calungsod. You will run unopposed at the SRP. You’ll see the future SM Seaside City. And, who knows, 10 days after Valentine’s Day, thanks to a prize or raffle win, you might bring your wife on a dinner date or overnight stay at the Radisson Blu.