Kamali’i: Surfing For the Children of Baler

Buddies and founders of Overhead Sports, Niki Grafil, Marc Aguimatang and Jeho Laguyo  were hit with the idea of giving back to the community after their years of warm welcome in Baler. They wanted to create a sustainable program that would directly affect the children of Baler; thus, Kamali’i was conceived. Literally translating to “children”, Kamali’i grants chosen recipients full scholarships for the next school year.

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By creating a yearly competition to raise funds, the group hopes to inspire more of the groms to do well in school, and strike a balance between surf and studies, in a time where many kids are reliant on temporary sponsorship deals.

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With the help of ASRAI (Aurora Surfriders Association Incorporated) and friends, Min Manuel, Jussell Laguyo and Dag Angway, Grafil and her team were able to choose three of the brightest recipients from financially challenged families in communities all around Baler. Each of the three will receive apart from the scholarship, a monthly stipend and an allowance for supplies and books. However, the chosen children need to meet a certain grade as a part of the deal.

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Surprise visits and constant coordination with the teachers are must-dos that the team is willing to undertake to ensure the consistency of the scholars’ performances.
Despite the heavy rains and harsh winds brought about by typhoon Karen, Kamali’i held last October 15 to 16 was an overall success. As water conditions became a tedious paddle out for many of the contestants, the two-day competition, including the Beginner’s, Men’s Open and Women’s Open, ended with a number of winners, many from Baler and Manila.

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Winners for the Beginner’s Division include:
Margarito Pacilan (Champion)
Martin Ferrer (1st Runner Up)
Corics Cuorke (2nd Runner Up)
Nin͂o Ramcola (3rd Runner Up)

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Winners for the Wahine Open include:
Yneh Tena (Champion)
Ella Namoro (1st Runner Up)
Monica Ritual (2nd Runner Up)
Laarni Ritual (3rd Runner Up)

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And finally, the winners for the Men’s Open include:
Mark Aguila (Champion)
Pakito Tena (1st Runner Up)
Daniel Tapucol (2nd Runner Up)
Okoy Rojo (3rd Runner Up)

Having pulled off the competition despite the looming typhoon, along with sponsors and guests backing out at the last minute, is a milestone for the first ever Kamali’i event, and is a strong indication of the future accomplishments this collaboration is sure to achieve in its next ventures.

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All in all, 80 out of the 100 registrants showed up; who all partied as hard as they could even with the intermittent blackouts caused by the typhoon. After all the massive effort put in, Mikyla Antonio, Juliana Lazaro, and Sean Kaian Anding were given scholarships they deserved and out of the goodwill of like-minded people who were brought together by the love of the ocean and the love of surfing.

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Check out Kamali’i’s Facebook Page for the event recap and future announcements!

Photo credits to both the writer and mostly Kamali’i team that made everything possible

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