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About Town | FWD Sends Off Sole Filipino Runner to the North Pole Marathon


Pan-Asian Insurer FWD Life Insurance, one of the fastest growing insurance companies in the Philippines, is sending off the country's lone representative to the FWD North Pole Marathon.

Multi-sport athlete and cancer survivor Luisito "Louie" Sangalang is set to fly to the northernmost point on earth to represent the Philippines in the Marathon, which will be held on April 9.  He will join ten (10) other FWD sponsored runners from Hongkong, Indonesia, Singapore, Vietnam, and Japan in the grueling marathon.  Collectively the 11 runners are dubbed "FWD Team Asia".

The FWD North Pole Marathon runners, hailing from all over the globe, will be running on ice sheet measuring 6 to 12 fee think which is above 12,000 feet of the Arctic Ocean, literally on top of the world.  They will be traversing a 42 kilometer path with an average termperature of negative 30 degrees centigrade, even going as low as negative 40 degrees centrigrade at times.  The marathon is unique because it is run on a smal 4.22 kilometer loop about 10 times, over hard snow or ice.

The FWD North Pole Marathon is recognized by the Association of International Marathons and Distance Races (AIMS) and is the only certified marathon that is run entirely on the frozen water of the Arctic Ocean.

FWD Life Insurance prepares Louie Sangalang for this once-in-a-lifetime experience

To prepare for the race, Louie has joined various local marathons to keep his body fit and in tip top physical shape.  To enable his body to adjust to the extreme negative thirty extreme cold weather, he has continuously trained inside an industrial freezer.  The temperature similar to that to be experienced at the North Pole.

Helping him train, a FWD Squad has been formed to prepare him for the FWD North Pole Marathon.  Composed of outstanding Filipinos in their respective fields, we start off with Triathlon coach, Ani De Leon-Brown with Ige Lopez providing athletic training and guidance.  Romi Garduce, the first and only Filipino to have completed the Seven Summits in 2012, trains Louie with the rigors of extreme coldness.  Other squad members are celebrity mom Maricel Laxa-Pangilinan and son Benjamin offering motivational support and radio DJ and comedic host Sam YG who acts as his training buddy.

From overcoming life challenges to conquering the world's coldest marathon

According to FWD Life Philippines President and CEO Peter Grimes, Louie's resilience in overcoming challenges is one trait tat resonates well with Filipinos which made Louie the perfect choice to represent the Philippines in the FWD North Pole Marathon.

"Louie's inspiring story of being a cancer survivor and his passion for fitness, which he uses to inspire Filipinos to live an active lifestyle, also best represent what FWD stands for: embracing the opportunities in your life without hesitation," said Grimes.

Apart from Louie, FWD is also sponsoring other runners who have had their own life challenges but are pursuing the marathon nonetheless.  Representing Singapore and Hongkong, respectively are para-athlete Sharif Abdullah, dubbed as the Singapore Blade Runner, and the visually impaired Leung Siu Wai.

Louie's send off party was held last thursday at the Bonifaction Technology Center in Bonifacio Global City in Taguig.  The FWD send off event was attended by its executives and team members, North Pole Marathon campaign collaborators, Louie's friends and relatives and his support squad.

This is the second year that FWD has sponsored the North Pole Marathon.

FWD Life Philippines Head of Marketing, Roche Vandenberghe shared, "FWD saw the North Pole Marathon as a unique and important platform to communicate the idea that everyone should live life to the fullest, stay true to their passion, and not give up on their goals, because FWD will always have their back!"

About FWD Philippines

FWD Life Insurance Corporation ("FWD Life") is the first life insurance company licensed by the Insurance Commission of the Philippines under the new Insurance Code.  FWD launched its commercial operations in September 2014.  After its second full year of operations in 2016, FWD ranked #12 in total premium income, up one notch from its previous year, according to the Insurance Commission's report.  By March 2017, FWD Life is the highest capitalized life insurer in the Philippines with Php2.3 Billion in paid up capitalization.

FWD group spans Hongkong and Macau, Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines, Singapore, Vietnam, and Japan, offering life and medical insurance, general insurance, and employee benefits across a number of its markets.  Established in Asia in 2013, the FWD is the insurance business arm of investment group, Pacific Century Group.  In the Philippines, FWD has nine business hubs located in key cities nationwide with is headquarters in Bonifacio Global City in Taguig.

FWD is focused on creating fresh customer experiences, with easy to understand products, supported by digital technology.  Through its customer led approach, FWD aims to become the leading pan-asian insurer that changes the way people feel about insurance.  For more information please visit

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