Pinoy racers remember meetings with Paul Walker at memorial

By Steve Angeles, ABS-CBN North America Bureau

Dec. 9, 2013

SANTA CLARITA, Calif. – It was a day of mourning in Santa Clarita as thousands visited the site of where movie star Paul Walker and his friend Roger Rodas died from a car crash last week.

Filipinos were among the thousands that paid tribute to Walker through memorial banners and a car show.

“We’re movie fans,” said Noel Del Barrio of Montclair. “[We] stopped by pay tribute and homage.”

“Paul Walker made a big impact on the automotive scene, so we’re just paying our respect,” said Leighton Villanueva as he made his way to the crash site.

Some Filipino racers say Walker lived the life he depicted on the big screen, often seeing him at the track.

“I raced with Paul walker a few years back,” Marlon Daraco recalled. “We actually shared track time and we’d see each other every so often on the track. I figured he’s pretty genuine. As a matter of fact, he would see me son. He met at the track in ‘08, ‘09 and every time we’re at the track he’d come by our pits, to sit down talk with us.”

Despite the stardom, they remember Walker as down to earth.

Walker was attending a Philippine typhoon relief event held by his nonprofit organization Reach Out Worldwide when the Porsche he was riding in, driven by friend and business partner Rodas, crashed into a tree and burst into flames. Countless candles and tributes have collected on the sidewalk since the fatal accident.

Just days before his untimely death, he released a video message rallying help for Typhoon Yolanda victims.

“We love the Philippines,” Walker said in the video. “Our fans— we want to rally you up. It’s better to be armed and ready and let’s start sending in some aid.”

One couple from Las Vegas says their charity organization plans on honoring Walker by naming a village in his honor.

“The Gawad Kalinga leaders responded very well and would like to build a legacy village for Paul Walker to honor him,” Luzvaminda Macbalo said. “Walker died after raising funds for the victims of Typhoon Yolanda.”

As police continue investigating the fatal crash, close friends and family are still planning out what they’re calling a special funeral for the 40-year-old actor.

You may contact Steve Angeles at steve_angeles@abs-cbn.com for more information.

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