20 Feb 2018
- By Junhan B. Todiño – [email protected] – Variety News Staff
TINIAN — Benjamin “Huk” Borja won the arm-wrestling competition, the newest contest introduced by the Marianas Visitors Authority for this year’s two-day Tinian Pika Festival held at Kammer Beach.
To secure the title and $150 first prize, Borja had to face his high school buddy, Dennis Borja, in a three-round final match. Dennis, who received $100 for finishing second, is left-handed while Benjamin is right-handed.
The two other contestants — Alfredo Guevarra and Harris Alex — lost their matches in the elimination round.
“I’ve been doing arm-wrestling since high school,” said Benjamin “Huk” Borja, an accountant with Bridge Investment Group.
He said he knew that Dennis Borja would be his main competition.
A police officer, Dennis arm-wrestled with Benjamin in high school.
Dennis said festival organizers should hold an arm-wrestling competition each year, but added that there should be another category so there will be more participants.
“When they found out that Benjamin and I were joining the competition, many cancelled their plans to participate,” he said.
MVA community project manager Martin Duenas said they will discuss how to improve the arm-wrestling competition to allow more participants next year.
In the eagerly awaited hot-pepper-eating competition, Cory San Nicolas emerged as the winner, defeating nine other contestants.
This time, contestants had to eat a regular hot pepper, then an extremely hot pepper, and finally a bowl of noodle soup mixed with super hot ground pepper.
Second place went to Jay San Nicolas while JB San Nicolas was third. Both are Cory’s uncles.
All of the contestants had competed in past years.
“This is my sixth time to take part and I’ve won first place four times,” Cory San Nicolas said.
He won a cell phone courtesy of IT&E and $100 while the second and third place winners received $200 and $100 respectively.
Cory San Nicolas said organizers should “upgrade” the pepper-eating competition next year with “more Donnie [hot pepper], two [noodle] soups and more cash prizes.”
The other competition winners:
• Hot-pepper eating, female category — Tina San Nicolas, first place; Valerie Napah, second; Alyssa Villegas, third.
• Booth decoration — JM Pika House, first place; Team Chadic, second; Sanchez Pastries, third; and RD5 and Brands, fourth.
• Tug of War, adult category — Team Pika Pika Pedro, first place; and Team Chinapot, second.
• Pika cooking contest — Tina San Nicolas, first place; Mikicia Castro; and Luis Mundo, third.
• Beach volleyball — Team Pikayu, first place; High Flyers, second; and Team Pika Pika, third.
• Outrigger canoe — JC Café Team, first place; Chance “Em,” second; and Pika Pika, third.
MVA Managing Director Chris Concepcion said they were pleased to again host the festival, now in its 14th year, in historic Tinian.
“Tinian will always be an integral part of MVA’s marketing portfolio. Signature events like this make it all the more important for everyone to come out and take part in island festivals and events that make the visitor experience worthwhile,” he said.
“The famous donni sali was as hot as ever. Those that know me know I like spices but the Tinian hot pepper is the best pepper in the world. The contests were exciting. The crowd was hyped up. It was amazing,” he said.
Concepcion thanked Tinian Mayor Joey P San Nicolas, the Municipal Council of Tinian, the Tinian Legislative Delegation, the Office of the Governor, other participating government agencies, and sponsors Extreme Pika, IT&E and Bridge Investment Group.
He also thanked the sponsors and the food and drink vendors as well as visitors and the residents of Tinian.
“They made all the events memorable,” he said.
Source: Marianas Variety : http://www.mvariety.com/cnmi/cnmi-news/local/102373-at-pika-fest-benjamin-huk-borja-is-strongest-man-cory-san-nicolas-is-hottest-man