There is a unique sense of freedom in running. Aside from the long list of health benefits one gets, there is a great sense of pride in the capacity to traverse distances on your own two feet, literally. For De La Salle Araneta University (DLSAU) chancellor Christopher Polanco, who’s first running experience was with his alma mater, things are slightly different. He doesn’t just run for himself, he runs for future Filipino farmers.
“The first official run I did was during the One Run, One Family, One La Salle Run organized during the Centennial Celebration,” he shares. But he began running seriously in 2016. His first 10km run was in Bacolod. From there he’s moved on to half marathons in 2017 and he took on his first full marathon in 2019 during the Los Angeles Marathon.
At first, Polanco was running for fun, fitness, and health. Running, he shares brings him calmness and an opportunity to reflect on life. After noticing others who used running to raise funds and awareness for certain advocacies, he was immediately drawn to the idea. “So I started to run and raise funds for the DLSAU BS Agriculture Scholarship Endowment Fund by February or March 2018.”
The Salikneta Farm in San Jose Del Monte, Bulacan houses the BS Agriculture program of DLSAU. There, students are able to learn and experience—first hand—concepts and theories on agricultural and farming systems. The students live on the farm for the entire duration of their studies, three years to be exact. “Almost 99% of our students in the program are on scholarship,” Polanco says. The University covers their education together with their lodging and food.
This dedication to Filipino Agriculture is a response to the shortage of capable agriculturalists. Polanco, together with the University, strongly believe that agriculture continues to be the key to developing our country. We are, after all, still an agricultural country. “There seems to be little focus and attention, especially government funds, in strengthening the agricultural sector in the country,” he shares.
“I run regularly and encourage generous individuals and groups to contribute varying amounts for every kilometer I run and the donations go to the endowment fund.” To date, Polanco has raised almost Php 600,000.00 from running and plans to continue running, with several runs scheduled in the coming months: the OYM Run (21km) on September 15 the Runrio Trilogy Leg 3 (42km) on September 22, the Yakult Run (16km) on October 6, the Chuncheon Marathon (42km) on October 27, and the HOPE Run (21km) on December 8
But more than donating, Polanco wishes everyone to take part in building up Filipino farmers. “You can also help by caring for the environment by planting trees. You can also plant vegetables in your home gardens, that you will eventually consume. You get a better appreciation of what our farmers are able to do for us when you do this. And, of course, support our local farmers by purchasing local produce,” he says. For now, he does what he can. And, with the help of generous donors and his own two feet, he continues to run and give new life to future Filipino farmers.
If you wish to contribute to the BS Agriculture Program of DLSAU you may contact Chancellor Christopher Polanco through the following avenues:
Mobile: +63917 522 5683 or +63918 911 0626