Pres. Montito Garcia of Cebu Country Club

After 12 years at the top of the leadership board of the Cebu Country Club, Douglas LuYm has relinquished his throne. Last Friday, March 11, the CCC held its annual General Membership Meeting and elections of the Board of Directors. The new skipper? He’s the most acclaimed golfer of the crowd: Ramontito Garcia.

Montito with Jovi Neri (photo by Frederic Chiongbian)

An eight-time winner of the yearly Club Championship (from 1991 to 1995; in 2003, 2007 and 2009), Montito had long been the club’s Golf Chairman. For over 20 years, he told me in our phone conversation yesterday afternoon, he had been part of the BOD, “on and off, after two or three years, I’d rest,” he said. Finally, he is president.

“Douglas (LuYm) and the previous Board, of which I was a part of,” said Montito, “were engrossed in winning the court case involving the club’s property. That consumed most of our efforts. Kudos to Douglas for getting it done. But now that we’ve won the case, it’s a new and fresh Board. We’ll have fresh ideas.”

The term Montito uttered most? Upgrade. “The club, as you’ve noticed,” he said, “needs a major upgrade. It’s stuck in the 1980s. We’ve fixed things here, there. Now, with the court case behind us and with a new team, we’ll be talking to architects and interior designers. We’ll seek the best plans. And based on the proposals, we’ll make projections. Then we’ll raise the funds.”

Ramontito G. was not supposed to inherit his new first name, “President.”

“I wanted to quit the Board this year and rest again,” he said. “But then, members started asking, ‘Let’s go forward. You should lead it.’ And so the opportunity presented itself. It was only recently that I decided and said yes. And, you know, I love this club just as much as anybody else.”

One more factor tipped the decision to a Yes: His late father, Cheling, was formerly the club president. Theirs is a first-ever father-and-son CCC presidency.

Finally, I asked Montito if the new position would mean less or more time on the golf course. He paused for three seconds. “When I’m under pressure, I play more golf to relax. And so, yes, more time playing golf!”

Good news for Cebu Country Club. Bad news for his competitors–especially with the Club Championship unfolding next month…

BOD. The rest of the new CCC Board of Directors? Dr. Edwin Medalle (VP), Anton Florendo (Secretary), Steve Paradies (Treasurer), Ed Alegrado (House Chairman), Atty. Julius Neri (Activities Chairman) and Frederic Chiongbian (Golf Chairman).

Also yesterday, I interviewed, via email, Frederic Chiongbian. “I have pretty big shoes to fill,” he said. “My predecessor, Ramontito, did an awesome job.” Less than a week old in his new position, Frederic has yet to meet with the different golf-related committees. But he sounded positive, saying, “We do have a lot of things to do but I know that my team will, and can, deliver.”

Any improvements on the golf course? “We have existing projects right now. We’ve had a little bit of a setback on the completion of the par 3 hole number 5. This has been an inconvenience to the golfing membership, for which we apologize, but we hope to complete this area in the next 3 to 4 months. After, we move on to the completion of the remodeling of the Par 4 Hole number 6. Also, we have stepped up on the maintenance schedule of the Golf Course.”

Summer activities? “The CCC always has its Junior Golf program in the summer,” said Frederic, who plays three times each week, often with a group of Class A golfers: Carl Almario, Eric Deen, Dr. Tony San Juan, Jonji Chiongbian, Jovi Neri, Bayani Garcia, and Evans Tumaliwan.

“This year, the program starts on the 25th of April. For the last eight years, the JunGolf program was helmed by Jovi Neri and has been very successful. Under his watch, this program has produced top-rated golfers, some of whom represented the Club in the recent PAL Inter-club where CCC placed 2nd to Del Monte in the Championship division. For more, visit our Facebook page, cebucountryclub jungolfprogram.”

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