Doubles partners Ed Hayco and Harry Radaza

Our Central Visayas – Region VII has never before been Palaro national champions. Our country, the Philippines, though an Olympic participant for 86 years, has never before won a gold medal.

These will change. For Edward Hayco is a dreamer. Restless, enthusiastic, forever-smiling and optimistic, he always has a vision. This is rooted in his DNA. He loves to foresee the unforeseen, to visualize the unrealized.

His latest dream? His major goals as chairman of the Cebu City Sports Commission? Two impossible-for-the-ordinary-man-but-possible-for-Ed-Hayco objectives: Palaro champions by 2013. An Olympic gold by 2020.

Does Mr. Hayco hold a 20/20 vision of the future that ordinary Cebuanos can’t see? Yes he does. And he’s proven it. With Dancesport Team Cebu City, in a short nine years, the four-letter brand called “CEBU” has become world-famous because of dance. True, the dancing inmates of Gov. Gwen Garcia have popularized Cebu — thanks to YouTube’s millions of hits. And so that’s a major, major boost to Cebu dance.

But Ed Hayco has done more: From an obscure, for-mature-ladies-only activity called Ballroom-dancing (complete with DIs in all-black attire and gelled-back hair), he has transformed our definition of Dancesport.

Today, over 30,000 girls, gentlemen, boys, and ladies boogie, strut, cha-cha, and move to “Mambo No. 5” — thanks to dancesport. To top it all, we own a Guinness world record. From these success stories, Ed Hayco has climbed out of his one-sport-only shell to become the leading choreographer of all of Cebu sports.

Palaro champions three years from now? A Cebuano Olympic gold medalist 10 years from now? If there’s one man and one city who can do it, it’s Ed and Cebu.

LAPU-LAPU. Not to be outdone is Ed Hayco’s “twin brother” in Lapu-Lapu City, the new head of their city sports, Harry Don Radaza. Elected as councilor last May, he heads Lapu-Lapu sports.

Like Ed, Councilor Radaza is a visionary with a track record. A lifelong sports buff whom I’ve known since high school, Harry popularized the sport of Flag Football a few years ago. Because of his all-out excitement, Harry convinced hundreds of Cebuanos to join.

Now, from just one sport — flag football — he has become (like Ed) a leader of a much larger pool: all of Lapu-Lapu City’s sports programs.

Harry’s vision? It’s 20/20: to make Lapu-Lapu City the sports tourism hub of the nation. Much like what Camarines Sur is today — the leading province in terms of visitors because of water sports — Harry envisions to best Camsur. And isn’t Lapu-Lapu geographically-perfect? With its blue skies, blue waters, and dozens of resorts including two of Asia’s best (according to Conde Nast), Plantation Bay and Shangri-La?

This March 4 to 6, 2011 is Lapu-Lapu City’s “coming out” party. It’s their Olympics. Their grand welcome to the world saying, “Welcome to Cebu!”

It’s the Davis Cup tie between the Philippines and Japan. Can it get any bigger than this? Nation versus nation, intruders versus the Mactan island where Lapu-Lapu slaughtered Magellan?

Harry plans an international triathlon event towards the end of 2011. That’s good news to Tenggoy Colmenares, Lohriz Echavez and Tyrone Tan. Plus, you’ve probably heard of Hoops Dome, the 7,000-seater facility just meters after the Mactan Bridge. Why, it’s a beauty. When I visited last month, I couldn’t believe this fully-airconditioned gymnasium complete with NBA-like electronic scoreboards was in Cebu. You have got to see it to believe it.

Kudos to the city named after our first Filipino hero.

COMPETE? With Cebu City pursuing an ambitious agenda and Lapu-Lapu City attempting the same, does this mean a rivalry? No. The world of sports is vast. Our Cebu population is in the millions. Nationwide counting our OFW heroes, we’re 92 million-strong — or the 12th most populous nation on this planet. And that’s only within our country code-named “PH.” The more Olympic medals, triathlons, Sports Institutes and Davis Cup events — the better. Cebu wins.

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