Faces of Cebu Life! People and Ideas

FACES OF CEBU: Rustico Mabunay, 82, ‘Legend of Manipis’


Lolo Ekoy. | photo by Stefners Fotographia

CEBU CITY, Philippines—At 82, nothing’s stopping Rustico Mabunay, or popularly known by fellow cyclists as “Tatay Ekoy.” 

He is also referred to as the “Legend of Manipis” by the local cycling community. 

Tatay Ekoy recently gained online attention after he was photographed by Stefners Fotographia while biking along the challenging Manipis Road, a narrow road with sharp curves and steep climbs in Talisay City. 

Netizens admired Tatay Ekoy’s active lifestyle, some curious on how he is able to deal with the uphill climbs of Manipis. 

READ:Legend of Manipis’ a source of inspiration for newbie bikers

So what is the secret to to his vigor?

Tatay Ekoy said it isn’t even anything special.

“Akong sekreto kaon jud ug mga utanon kay naa diha ang mga vitamins pa kusgan sa lawas. Lihok-lihok sa lawas ug ang pinaka importante, pirmi mag exercise pasingot para kusog ang immune system dili dali masakit ug himsog pirmi,” said Tatay Ekoy, who also works as a village watchman in Barangay Biasong, Talisay City, where he lives. 

(The secret is to eat vegetables because that’s where the vitamins are for a healthy body. Keep on moving and the most important is to exercise regularly to boost the immune system and avoid getting sick.)

Never too late

Tatay Ekoy is actually a late bloomer in cycling. He started biking at 65 years old, or 17 years ago. 

He said that riding his bike helped him maintain a fit and healthy body. 

“Tungod sa pag bike, himsog na panglawas akong nakuha. Abtik ko pirmi unya dili ko dali maluya. Hanginan ko ug lig-on pirmi akong kabukogan mao nang makaabot ko ug lagyong lugar,” said Tatay Ekoy. 

(Because of biking, my body is fit. I’m always active and I don’t easily get tired. I have a lot of stamina and I feel my bones are healthy that’s why I am able to go to far places.)

So how far as Tatay Ekoy gone?

He has actually done what elite bikers have done, bike around the northern and southern parts of Cebu. He does this along with his fellow riders from the Talisay City Biker’s Club, which is composed of senior bikers from Talisay City. 

Since he started cycling at 65, he decided not to try competing in races.  Instead, he bikes for leisure and for good health.

Tatay Ekoy also is an active village watchman in Barangay Biasong. 

“Samtang himsog pa ko, mo serbisyo gihapon ko,” he said. 

(While I am still healthy, I will continue to serve.)

Tatay Ekoy has three children and five grandchildren. He revealed that some of his grandchildren are also into cycling and triathlon. 

As most seniors are not as active as him, Tatay Ekoy has a piece of advice for them. 

“Ayaw mo padala sa inyung luya-luya tapolan nga style. Lakaw-lakaw mo, exercise, stretching og unsa pana para lig-on sa mga kabukogan natong edaran na,” said Tatay Ekoy.

(Don’t give in to being weak and lazy. Go out, exercise do some stretching so we seniors will have healthy bones.)


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