Saipan community turns out for 3rd JP Walk

Rather than sleep in on a chilly, early Saturday morning, hundreds of family members, close friends, and former colleagues of the late Tan Holdings Corp. executive John “JP” Pangelinan gathered last Feb. 26 for the 3rd Annual “A Walk to Remember.”

The annual walk pays tribute to the former Saipan Tribune publisher who passed away in 2008 after a long battle with cancer.

Most of the 554 participants arrived before sunup to take part in the walk, which began from the JP Center in Garapan all the way to Susupe Beach Park. Water stations were set up for participants throughout the course, with refreshments, entertainment, and shuttle transportation made available at the end of the walk.

This year, various organizations including the Northern Mariana Islands Football Association, TanHoldings Football Club, Shirley’s Football Club, United Knights Badminton Club, and the Northern Mariana Islands Badminton Association took part in the event.

Among those who took part in Saturday’s walk included JP’s siblings Herman Pangelinan, Sophia Tenorio, and Martina Ada, who is former Saipan Mayor Gilbert Ada’s wife; JP’s daughter Christina Sablan; nephews and nieces; Tan Holdings president Jerry Tan; Lt. Gov. Eloy S. Inos; and Mayor Donald Flores with wife Chilang Flores.

“This is the third year that my brother’s friends and family have come out to walk in his memory. It touches my heart to see that there are still so many people that love and miss him. Thank you to Tan Holdings, the volunteers, and especially Jerry Tan whom my brother loved like a son,” JP’s sister Sophia Tenorio told Saipan Tribune.

Niece Ruth Sablan quipped that her uncle would be laughing at her since it was such a chore for her to even walk to the store to get him a drink. “Now I walk three miles each year to show how much I love him and miss him,” she said as she thanked everyone who supported the event.

Jenny Pangelinan, JP’s daughter who’s based in California, thanked everyone who organized and walked for her father. “It moves all of his children when we see and feel the love. My brothers and sisters miss him dearly and we can’t express how much all of your efforts mean to us,” she added.

Tan Holdings president Jerry Tan, a close friend of the Pangelinan family, said JP will always be remembered in their hearts. “I’m sure he was happy that so many of his loved ones, old friends, and new faces showed up to walk in his memory. We really miss him and know that he’s smiling down on us all the time.”

Participants in last Saturday’s walk were also asked to donate $5 each as the event also served as a fundraising activity. A total of $2,142.50 was raised, to be donated to the Marianas March Against Cancer.