AUSTIN John Hampac and Aaliyah Zareena Silapan conquered the currents of Zamboanga Peninsula and ruled the second leg of the Regional Zamboanga Peninsula Open Water Swim Circuit (ZPOWSC) over the weekend.

Mr. Hampac covered the enduring 5-kilometer swim around the Buluan Island in one hour, 38 minutes and 33 seconds with Ms. Silapan clocking 2:34:26 to reign supreme in the women’s division.

Kenie Emanuel Colico (1:39:32) and Jetro Paul Abilla (1:46:41) completed the men’s podium as Gichelle Grace Villaflor and Noraine Ibba timed 2:37:30 and 2:48:26, respectively, behind Ms. Silapan in the women’s race.

Buluan Island, the hall of fame awardee as the Best Managed Marine Protected Area and a pristine location in Zamboanga Peninsula, proved as a tough watercourse to overcome but the elite tankers defied the odds in style.

Ethan Hugh Dacer and Danielle Filoteo, meanwhile, won the 2.5K category as swimmers from around the nation got to enjoy a 360-degree view of the famed island on top of their fierce competition.

The race, organized by Department of Tourism Region 9 headed by director Ms. Dara May Cataluna, is part of a noble advocacy to make Zamboanga Peninsula the center of aquasports tourism, natural conservation and community development to uplift the lives of the grassroots community of the island.

The ZPOWSC is also aimed at identifying talents in open water swimming to produce more national athletes, especially Olympians, from Zambaonga, after the feat of pride and weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz — who became the country’s first Olympic gold medalist.

Tourism Promotions Board with undersecretary Myra Paz Valderosa- Abubakar and the Provincial Government of Sibugay led by Governor Ann K. Hofer also backed the event organized by Zampen Open Water Swim Club.

The next leg of ZPOWSC is on April 30 at the Mt. Timolan Lake Macaragay in Zamboanga Del Sur. — John Bryan Ulanday