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‘MAD’ runners demand refund

‘Zombie’ event scrapped after City Hall hype
/ 03:12 AM November 06, 2013

Disappointed that they were not chased by 3,000 zombies as promised, participants in the “Makati After Dark” (MAD) Halloween fun run are now going after the organizers and demanding a refund.

The Oct. 31 event which the Makati City government even promoted was a flop, according to disgruntled runners who aired their gripes against J. R. Usi and other organizers on social networks.

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Usi, the event’s main organizer, was described on the Internet as a successful concert organizer and US-based promoter in Las Vegas and Los Angeles, California.

Makati After Dark was billed as the first “zombie run” to be held at the Makati Central Business District. Participants paid P1,000 each for the experience of being chased by 3,000 people dressed up as zombies from 6 p.m. on Oct. 31 until 4 a.m. the following day.

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The event was endorsed by the city government and Makati City Tourism Office with portions of Gil Puyat Avenue and several intersections closed to traffic to give way to the fun run.

It was also advertised as a fundraiser for victims of the 7.2-magnitude earthquake in Bohol and Cebu provinces.

But to the disappointment of thrill-seekers who gathered at the intersection of Makati and Gil Puyat Avenues hoping to be chased by zombies, the organizers cancelled the fun run at 8 p.m.

When runners flocked to the registration booth on Gil Puyat Avenue an hour later to ask what was going on, they were told that some street kids who had pretended to be zombies harassed the participants, prompting them to cancel the event.

A concert featuring popular local bands following the fun run also did not push through based on comments posted by people on Twitter and Facebook. Neither did the participants receive all the freebies they were promised.

The Inquirer tried to contact the organizers but was told an official statement would be released within the day. Angelo Lopez, one of the organizers, did not respond to phone calls or text messages.

Sought for comment, Joey Salgado, head of Makati’s information and community relations department, said that Mayor Jejomar Erwin Binay Jr. had ordered the city administrator to conduct a probe.

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Lito Anzures, head of the city’s tourism office, clarified that the city government was not a co-organizer of the event.

“There was no joint venture. We did not spend a single cent for the event nor were we entitled to a share from the revenues generated from it,” he said, adding that the city government merely offered its assistance in managing traffic and closing several roads for the fun run.

Meanwhile, a Facebook fanpage named “Makati After Dark Bogus” has been put up to demand a refund from the event organizers.

A netizen with the Twitter handle @Sk3pticmind said: “The organizers suck. They didn’t even inform everyone in the event that it was cancelled.”

“Don’t let them get away with our money #makatiafterdark #refund,” he added.

A blogger, David Gonzales, said that the organizers had vanished just like ghosts.

“The official Makati After Dark website is down and the official Facebook fanpage which I shared with my friends less than 48 hours ago seems to have disappeared,” he noted.

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TAGS: “Makati After Dark Bogus”, “Makati After Dark”, “zombie run”, Central Business District, fun run, J. R. Usi, MAD Halloween, Makati City government, refund, social networks, zombies
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