THIS YEAR’S Mt. Apo Boulder Face Challenge and the Mt. Apo Sky and Vertical Race in Sta. Cruz, Davao del Sur are pushing through in April, banking on the participation of local extreme sports enthusiasts and other domestic guests. “Hindi na kami nag-expect ng foreigners na mag-participate ngayon (We are no longer expecting foreigners this year) because of the travel bans,” Julius R. Paner, senior municipal tourism officer of Sta. Cruz, said in an interview last week. The Mt. Apo Boulder Face Challenge, set April 18, is a 24-hour extreme adventure race that involves four activities — mountain climbing, trekking, water tubing and road running — leading up to the peak of the country’s highest mountain. The Sky and Vertical Race on April 25 to 26 covers various tourism sites of the town. Mr. Paner said they are still hoping to have around 100 participants to the races this year. He added that health safety measures will be observed based on the directives of the Department of Health. “Okay na ang aming preparations sa (Our preparations are okay for the) races. As of now, we are awaiting for the final list of the participants,” he said. — Maya M. Padillo