Category Archives: Cebu City Sports Commission

Edward Hayco, in his own words

As chairman of the Cebu City Sports Commission (CCSC) since 2010, Ed Hayco has accomplished plenty. In his own words, Ed shares with us his thoughts:

ON CULTURE: Instead of accomplishments, we prefer to call it our contributions. At the top of our list is Culture and Believing in one’s self. Confidence would have been an easier word but believing in one’s self has a deeper meaning.

Let me tell you a touching story. The father of an archery athlete named Niño approached me in a gathering. I didn’t know him. He explained how happy he was that his son was helping out as a volunteer coach in Guadalupe public elementary. Their family was supposed to go on a 3-week vacation but he pleaded with his father to cancel the vacation because he was assigned to give lessons in archery. The father recounted to us the story with so much pride in his son for how responsible he has become.

Another story was during the Batang Pinoy in Tagum. A father approached me during badminton competition. He wanted to say thank you and explained that his daughter was very shy. But as a volunteer coach during summer, her daughter was able to learn 3 things: 1) Overcome her shyness; 2) Develop leadership through coaching; and the most meaningful and the exact words of the father, 3): “My daughter developed “a heart for others!”

The Guinness records in archery, chess, arnis, and winning the overall title in Batang Pinoy, the summer grassroots, the volunteer coaching, etc. were all tools to achieve this culture. The success of any nation or business is its culture.

Our theme, “Transforming our youth thru sports,” is about character-building. Sports can either bring out the best or worst in an athlete.. the gold medal is just part of the journey, not the end.

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Ed Hayco (2nd from right) with Mars Alison, Mike Limpag, Girlie Garces, Hidelito Pascual and John Pages

2017 PLANS. To work closely with DepEd. 1) We have plans to implement a school for sports where all athletes will be in one classroom. They will have different class schedules. 2) An assistant principal for sports in the schools for sports. 3) Develop incentives for public school teacher-coaches and school principals so that the athletes and coaches will be better attended to. 4) Assign high level coaches to train public school teacher-coaches to raise the level of coaching competence. 5) Institutionalize strength and conditioning programs into public school sports programs. 6) Assign 25 volunteer high-level coaches to offer free coaching thrice-a-week, year-round in the Abellana sports center catering to Abellana high school and city central elementary. That’s a potential source of athletes having a population of 9,000 students. If this succeeds, we’ll do similar programs with other schools.

Why are our focus in public schools? Because the students have the least opportunities and resources and yet, they are our richest sources of athletes. Most of these kids cannot afford a P300/session coach. But these kids have the heart of an athlete — they thrive in adversity. We provide them with a hope for a better future.

ON BUTCH RAMIREZ. The PSC Chairman is supportive of Cebu because he has been closely watching our programs when he was chairman in 2005. Since then, we’ve been in touch and have always appraised him of our grassroots program which now covers 25 sports, and also our Guinness records.

Thru volunteerism, we develop the passion and dedication of the athlete for the sports, instead of being obsessed and entitled. This culture has a rippling effect. Winning medals now has a deeper meaning and a gold medal weighs heavier in a different way. When an athlete who has volunteered wins a medal, he wears it with a deeper sense of pride.

ON DEPED. I’ve been trying to lobby this idea, still a hard sell, that the PSC chairman needs to be the undersecretary of DepEd for Sports. As long as PSC is not part of or not an insider of DepEd, the sports programs policies of PSC cannot be implemented effectively, especially the grassroots program.

Just like CCSC. We have a sports program but who do we implement it with? There is no single unit in Phil. govt. that has the command of warm bodies. Only DepEd can make a memo, require and produce the number of kids. That’s why CCSC works closely with DepEd. All our programs are thru DepEd. Once we realize this organizational “flaw,” we can be an effective conductor of the orchestra.

FINAL WORDS. I’m not really a sports person. During the Los Angeles Olympics, the stadium was in front of our hotel. I didn’t even watch! It doesn’t excite me to be in a competition. I’d rather watch Broadway! What an irony? In short, sports to me is a tool. A social screwdriver or pliers to pry open the potential of the underprivileged kids and “make them believe in themselves.” As businessmen, we approach the sports program like a social entrepreneur: we see coaches as managers, athletes as employees, the product as medals and the grassroots training pool. Right culture plus motivated employees equals productivity!

He walks the talk

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Ed Hayco, PSC Commissioner Jolly Gomez, Mayor Mike Rama, PSC Chairman Richie Garcia, Dondon Sombrio, John Pages and Ricky Ballesteros

Wearing one’s black leather shoes while hiking the track oval of the Cebu City Sports Center is disallowed. So is strolling along the maroon-colored rubberized surface wearing long pants. Worse, if you wear long-sleeves — even if the brand is Lacoste — that’s unacceptable attire to be worn while circling the Abellana oval.

One man did that two Sundays ago. And, no, he wasn’t reprimanded or asked to change to sleeveless running wear. In fact, right beside him was the Sports Center manager, Ricky Ballesteros.

How was this possible?     Because that man was our city’s chief executive officer. And he was walking the entire circle not to exercise or sweat but to give instructions on the upliftment of the CCSC.

Mayor Mike Rama, two weekends ago, was inside our sports complex together with our nation’s top sports leaders: PSC Chairman Richie Garcia and PSC Commissioner Jolly Gomez. Part of the group was Edward Hayco, the “Guinness World Record” man who is our city’s sports honcho.

After the formal turn-over of the gymnastics equipment from the PSC to the CCSC and after speeches were delivered by Garcia, Rama and Hayco, that’s when we stepped out to the track oval.

The Cebu Sports Museum is one of the major projects of our city’s sports commission. As the past president of the Sportswriters Association of Cebu (SAC), now headed by Rico Navarro, I volunteered to help develop the museum.

Mayor Mike gave us tips. One of the most passionate and energetic of men that you can find — always on-the-go, forever smiling and chatting, endlessly hopping from one project to another — Michael Rama was his usual charismatic self when he talked to Ed Hayco, Ricky Ballesteros, Dondon Sombrio (our bemedalled archer and architect of the museum), volleyball’s Eric Licain, and myself.

“Let’s call it ‘Walk and Run with the Sports Heroes,’” said the mayor. Originally, we wanted the sports museum to be confined inside the building complex.

Why don’t we include the outside, the oval, the entire complex? the mayor suggested. Excellent point. With thousands of joggers and people who exercise around the track oval, why not let them be witnesses to the museum?

Like Hong Kong’s Walk of Fame boardwalk where, along the breathtaking view beside the water, you walk amidst heroic men and women who’ve made Hong Kong popular, we can do something similar in Cebu — for sports.

“We can place Flash Elorde’s statue here,” said the mayor, pointing to a spot at the oval’s first bend. Then, several meters later, he pointed to another vacant area. “If Manny Pacquiao is okay, we can ask that he be included here and we can place Manny’s life-size figure here.”

Brilliant. Under the 11 a.m. morning heat — when Mr. Sun’s rays beamed brightly upon us — and with Rama wearing a red-striped Lacoste, he toured us not on a halfway walk of the 400-meter oval — but the entire turn, pointing at a possible idea there, excitedly and animatedly expressing his views at another spot there.

Along the way, he shook hands with athletes. We spotted the UC football team (my UP classmate Tirso Roa, who helps the squad, was there). About to play next on the soccer field, Mayor Mike shook hands with them. Then, he did another unexpected act: with long-sleeves shirt and cowboy-style jeans, he borrowed a football and dribbled it. He did a cross-dribble that delighted the UC players. They clapped.

In the oval’s final bend, we spotted an oasis with a huge grass area. Like a little boy who found a playground, he said, “We can make this the Sports Garden!”

In our entire tour, one word described the experience: Passion. This man has it. Finally, as we reached the exit and as his white Toyota Hi-Ace with the “MAYOR” plate number was waiting, we chatted for a few final moments.

Ed Hayco, applauded repeatedly by Mayor Mike (the day before was the Dancesport Championship at the Waterfront Hotel), ended our talk with these words: “Mayor, your passion comes from here,” said Ed, pointing to the heart.

Best speech I’ve heard from MLR

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PSC Commissioner Jolly Gomez, PSC Chairman Richie Garcia, Mayor Mike Rama and John Pages

I have listened to Michael Lopez Rama render an oration many, many times before. Often, our Cebu City mayor is accused of speaking too long; enunciating words that curve and twist and stretch longer than desired.

Not seven days ago. We were inside the Cebu City Sports Center. It was a multi-ceremony occasion: Cebu’s Olympians, CCSC’s quarterly newsletter, was being launched by the indefatigable Ed Hayco. So was the Monthly Relay event. Gymnastics equipment were turned-over. The Cebu Sports Museum was being presented.

In attendance last Sunday morning were the country’s top sports leaders: Phil. Sports Commission (PSC) Chairman Richie Garcia. PSC Commissioner Jolly Gomez. Our own chieftain, Cebu City Sports Commission (CCSC) Chairman Edward Hayco. Ricky Ballesteros, who heads the Sports Center and our numerous sporting events, including today’s Milo Half-Marathon. Volleyball supporter Eric Licain and archery legend Dondon Sombrio.

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Atty. Jolly GomezScreen Shot 2013-09-22 at 5.23.33 PM

Edward Hayco

RICHIE GARCIA. The PSC chairman spoke first. “I was born and raised in Bacolod City but I’ve always loved coming to Cebu,” said Mr. Garcia, a dapper mestizo with golden white hair and an even more golden score in golf (4-handicap). Garcia has numerous friends in Cebu, including his golfmate Montito Garcia.

“We donated a full container of gymnastics equipment,” said the PSC top honcho. “Next, we will send a boxing ring.” Speaking to the dozens of children who sat and listened, he said that Cebu is lucky to have a sports leader like Ed Hayco.

Richie Garcia mentioned that he’s been appointed to the PSC a record three presidents. First, with Pres. Erap. Next, with GMA. And now, as chairperson, with P-Noy. Why? he asked. Because he’s not a political person. He strays away from politics at all costs. “Politics should have no place in sports,” he said.

MAYOR’S TALK. Mike Rama gave the inspirational speech. As I said, I’ve heard him give a homily plenty of times in the past — and this was the best impromptu, from-the-heart speech I’ve heard him deliver.

“Hi!” he started. “Hello,” the children answered. “Hello,” he countered. “Hi,” the children echoed.

Instead of standing in front of us — the adults — he walked towards the children, who sat by rows on the staircase. He stood with them. Yes, he was speaking to the sports leaders but, more importantly — and instinctively — this inspirational speech was intended to inspire one audience: the boys and girls.

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Michael Rama

MLR talked about gymnastics and basketball — but beyond games, he touched on the greater good that sports imbibes. Minutes into his speech, he integrated words that sounded familiar:

“I believe the children are our future. Teach them well and let them lead the way. Show them all the beauty they possess inside.” Then, in a deliberate and articulate voice, he whispered… “Give them a sense of pride.”

Yes, we know our mayor to be a singer, but this time, he voiced-out the words — not singing Whitney Houston’s “Greatest Love of All” — weaving the words perfectly into his speech.

“Give them a sense of pride,” he told us, looking and smiling at the children.

Sports = Pride. The mayor made perfect sense. Those words made sense. He spoke to the teachers who joined us. He spoke to the leaders. He spoke in behalf of the children. Sports give pride to our children.

Gold medals, the mayor added, are important; but what’s even more important is what the children learn from and through sports. Being fair. Accepting defeat. Sportsmanship. Sport is more than physical development. It’s about developing the whole person. It’s when we develop individuals while they’re still young — the children — that we help mold them for life, said our impassioned leader.

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Chess world record: ‘Proudly Made In Cebu!’

Want to witness history? Today? The Guinness World Record? Visit the Cebu City Sports Center. I did yesterday. What did I see? Thousands of students with their brain cells activated. They pushed the pawns forward. They gobbled up hundreds of rooks. They smiled when the King collapsed. They screamed, “Checkmate!”

Why is chess important? I asked the brains behind this brain-game, Edward Hayco. “Reading a book, for example, instead of watching a movie, affords the child a deeper, more profound and thorough understanding of a certain concept,” said Ed, the chairman of the Cebu City Sports Commission. “In this case, we’re talking about the theories of chess… how the game is played, its rules, how the pieces moves, how you achieve your goals; how to be patient and when to be aggressive… it creates a deeper sense of awareness and creativity in the minds of the kids. It develops their character to be patient, to analyze and strategize aside from just being a game for the intellectual.”

Ed added: “If we plant the seeds right and nurture it well, Cebu may just be the next CHESS MECCA OF THE WORLD!”

Ambitious. Visionary. Sensational. These are the words to describe Mr. Hayco. And, as grandiose as his dreams are, he’s able to fulfill them. Look at Dancesport. Ed promised a “Largest Dance Class In The World.” He delivered in 2009. This weekend, he promises the “Largest Chess Tournament,” easily outnumbering the 1,214 of Russia. He delivers with 43,157 participants. Also, Cebu is the world-record holder in “Most Fireworks Launched in Less Than a Minute” (thanks to Brian Lim of Pyroworks, that’s 125,801 firework rockets).

In the Philippines, Cebu is the “Sports World Record City.”

Yesterday, I watched the Opening Ceremony at 1:30 P.M. A total of 1,500 pairs of students sat across each other with chessboards in between. They filled the entire Abellana grandstand.

A six-year-old Grade 1 student read the Oath. Rening Ylaya, aged 76, joined to face a high-schooler. The highlight? The dance presentation on a giant eight-by-eight grid chessboard. From the left entered the “live” chess pieces dressed in formal, Medieval attire. They were the 16 black pieces. From the right emerged the Sinulog-dressed tribal human pieces. Move after move, dance after dance, they battled on the same stage as last Sunday’s Sinulog. In the end, our own indigenous pieces won. What a show!

(SunStar Cebu)

Ed told me the story of the night high school students. In one public school, only 60 percent attended the classes. But, miraculously, after the chess tournament started, the attendance jumped to 90 percent. Said Ed: “They wanted to attend school so they can play chess!”

Volunteerism is at the heart of this endeavor. “We partnered again with DepEd,” said Ed, “with Dr. Rhea Mar Angtud, Dr. Jimenez, Mrs. Gocotano, Mrs. Veloso. Boogie Lim of Rose Pharmacy with Roger Abella, Felix Poloyapoy, Odi, Louie.. Julie’s Bakeshop, thru their president, Opep Gandionco, Paul Peyreyra, provided our snacks! And IPI, thru its pres., Junpi Castillo, Tito de la Merced, and Dean… the 2,000 chess mats and corresponding pieces and 10 giant training boards. PSC Chair Richie Garcia gave 100t! We had Ricky Ballesteros, Brando, Gayle, April, Bernard Ricablanca… achieved thru the efforts of passionate volunteers. Again, PROUDLY MADE IN CEBU!”

The Cebu Chess Festival ends today. But, in truth, it’s only the start. “The impact may not be felt now,” said Ed, “but when we start discovering Grandmasters years from now, we know they are the fruits of the seeds that were planted today. We were told that there are now many kids seen along school corridors during recess, along the street sidewalks and sari-sari stores playing chess. Many of them playing with their fathers! It’s a nice sight. We feel we have made the kids REDISCOVER THE ART OF CHESS, creating the intellectual warrior in them. We hope we have taught them that it’s more exciting to read a book than to watch a movie… more exciting to play chess than to play a computer game.”

From dancing to chess, Cebu is the world-record city

Pit Señor! To all balikbayans and guests visiting our beloved and historic Sugbu… maayong pag-abot… welcome!

Cebu City is not only known for hosting the country’s biggest festival—the Sinulog—that dances off the streets this weekend. Cebu City is not only home to the nation’s oldest avenue: Colon Street. It not only boasts of such iconic landmarks as the Fuente Osmeña, the Magellan’s Cross and the newly-renovated Plaza Independencia. Cebu is the World Record City.

In sports, we own the title of the world’s largest-ever dance group. Back in June 2009, a total of 7,770 dancers congregated inside the Cebu City Sports Center to boogie, waltz, do the samba and swing, to twist and turn.

From SunStar Cebu

Thanks to Edward and Eleanor Hayco, the couple who lead the dancesport fever in this island, our city owns the title, “Largest Dance Class in the World.”

Later this week—on Jan. 21 and 22—another Guinness World Record will be added to our resume; only this time, it’s the sweat-less but mind-exercising game played on a checkered board with 64 squares.

Would you believe, a record 40,000 players will play chess. Yes, no misprint there: Forty thousand!

“The idea started when we were invited to the Shell Active Chess competition and we saw 500 players,” said Ed Hayco, who leads the Cebu City Sports Commission as chairman. “There were kids as young as 8. We saw one playing with good players over their 30s! I don’t know if the 8-year-old won but he was giving the 30-yr.-old a hard time.”

Thanks to chess patron Boogie Lim and several other chess aficionados, Ed and his CCSC team felt passionate about this sport of Garry Kasparov and Bobby Fischer.

“We planned to organize a monthly chess tournament at the Sports Institute to sharpen the competence of these kids, many of whom come from public schools,” said Ed. “To kick off the idea, we thought of doing a Guinness record to create awareness.”

But Ed had a problem. The world record, owned by Russia, said that they had 1,240 participants.

“Cebu only had a thousand players,” he said. “Where will we get the other 300 players to beat the record? So we partnered with the Department of Education (DepEd) to hit two birds with one stone. Instead of just aiming to break the record, we instead use the Guinness Record to excite the public school kids to learn, play and compete in chess.”

And so from 1,300, the number ballooned to…..  40,000. How is that jump possible? “We have labored for two months providing seminars to public school teachers, PE, MAPE, PESS, and sports coordinators to teach, coach and conduct chess tourneys,” said Ed. “After those two months, the teachers were given another two months to train the kids.”

After the chess tutorials, the students joined tournaments. It was limited to within their classrooms. Then, it was elevated to the whole school. Next, it’s the record attempt.

“What will happen on Jan 21/22 is the finals,” said Ed. “Each public school will send 32 school-wide finalists. We expect 100 public schools to send and that would make 3,000 finalists. The Guinness World Record is based on the total participants, from classroom-based to school-wide to the finalists over a three month period. That’s how we’ll achieve the 40,000 total.”

This grassroots strategy is the expertise of Mr. Hayco and his CCSC team. It’s how Ed was able to convince tens of thousands of children—many of them out-of-school youth—to do the foxtrot, tango and dance to “Mambo No. 5.”

The best part? This is not a one-time, after-this-week-let’s-forget-about-chess program. “We have prepared 2,000 chess boards for Jan. 21 and 22,” said Ed. “The public school teachers will bring home the chess boards so they can continue the program. We plan to sustain this by a bi-monthly tournament in all public schools. This should be able to sustain the interest, and hopefully, we will find grandmaster kids from one of our lesser barangays, who may give Cebu a shot for the Olympic gold in 2020!”

Brian Lim leads the Cebu Sports Festival

Novak Djokovic has beaten Rafael Nadal four straight times. All, in the finals. And, during the last two times, on a surface that Rafa calls his territory: the clay-court. What’s happening? Where’s R & R? Are we seeing a new No. 1?

Since Djokovic won the Davis Cup for Serbia last December, he’s been tennis’ Michael Phelphs on the Olympic pool. Unbeatable. But, interestingly, he’s still world No. 2. This showdown between Rafa and Novak will culminate in the most enticing of venues: the French Open. Imagine a final between the Spaniard and the Serb, with the top-ranking as trophy?

“I’m amazed with way I’m playing,” said Djokovic. “I was able to perform maybe my best play on clay and I beat the number one in the world on clay.”

As to Rafa, he was asked if he was still the best on clay: “I was,” he said. “There is one player who is better than me, one who is winning everything but I am trying. I shall be working to improve my level but it is the truth, what he is doing is amazing.”

BULLS. With Boston out and Los Angeles embarrassed with an 0-4 demolition, the new Celtics-Lakers rivalry is called “Miami vs. Chicago.” Yesterday, with the 6-foot-8 LeBron James targeting to dwarf the 6-foot-3 Derrick Rose, it was the team of Michael Jordan that won. Today’s MVP beat yesterday’s MVP.

Bulls, 1. Heat, sub-zero. This should have been the NBA Final. This is the NBA Final. For the two protagonists at the opposite, Western hemisphere — Dallas and Oklahoma — are nobodies. At least, compared to the East side.

Chicago, with an MJ pedigree that includes the boast, “Barack Obama’s City,” and Miami, “The Cruise Capital of the World,” are the stars of the NBA playoffs. All eyeballs will be on both red-colored jerseys.

AZKALS. I just received an email from Wilma Entera of Ayala Center that the Azkals Football Team will be in Cebu for a mall tour on May 30. To the thousands who’ve longed to see the athletes who’ve achieved movie-star-like popularity, remember that date: two Mondays from now.

BRIAN. The owner of Rose Pharmacy and Pyroworks – and a commissioner of the Cebu City Sports Commission — I asked Brian Lim about last weekend.

“The start of the 2nd Cebu Sports Fest was a blast,” he said. “We had more sports participating in this year’s opening weekend with skydivers opening the Sundown Run, softball/baseball, ultimate Frisbee, rock climbing…”

While only 10 sports were offered in 2010, this year has over 25. Explained Brian on the unique offerings at the SRP: “Kiteboarding with the PHL team, wake-boarding with Asia’s top pros, an airsoft military simulation unlike the traditional CQB (Close Quarter Battle), Stand Up Paddle, Duathlon, Sky Diving accuracy jump, Live Human Chess match, as well as Zumba, Yoga, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu demos.”

Long-term goal? “Through Cebu Fest, Cebu will become a top sports tourist destination known around the world for its great sporting atmosphere, accessibility with an international airport and a highly-urbanized setting with hospitable locals. Just like Sinulog which attracts millions of tourists, the economic impact of such an event outweighs the investment.

“Places like Boracay, Siargao and Camsur have some sports that attract a good influx of tourists. In Cebu Fest, we are hitting over 25 different stones in one time by attracting several groups. That’s more than double the amount of organizations participating and we’re only on our second year. What more in 3 to 5 years or if we have a stadium built in the very heart of Cebu?”

MOM. Mother’s Day was the other Sunday. So, this is a belated greeting. Only, it’s not. Today, May 17, is an important day. To Maria Elena “Allen” Zaldarriaga — the person who reared me in her womb, watched all my games as a child and was the noisiest cheerleader; the beautiful woman who was once — embarrassingly for me — mistaken as my wife because of her youthful looks; and one of the most passionate and expressive people that I know — Happy Birthday, Mom!

My mom Allen (far right)

The S in SRP can stand for Sports

I just arrived from an eight-day trip to Dipolog and Dapitan. My daughter Jana joined the Palarong Pambansa for the first time, won four of her five singles matches and helped our Region VII win a tennis bronze.

What did I learn from the excursion? Many. For one, I realized, upon landing in Mactan and crossing the Marcelo B. Fernan Bridge and gazing at Cebu’s mountainous and water-surrounded terrain… that the best city in the Philippines is our own. Manila is busy, polluted, hectic; Dapitan and Dipolog, at the opposite end, offer too relaxed a lifestyle.

Second: I’ve realized the importance of the Palaro. Started in 1948, it is a must-program for our sports-hungry nation. Before the elementary and high school students get to participate in the Palaro, they’ve got to pass through a rigorous process. In our case, there’s the Cebu City Olympics (city meet), then the CVIRAA (Central Visayas meet). Only the best — from the tens of thousands of participants — get to compete each summer. The Palaro is essential. That’s why it should be kept as a yearly expedition.

Third lesson: Cebu — the capital of the Visayas and Mindanao; the leader of our archipelago in many disciplines — needs to think long-term. In Dapitan and Dipolog, though Jasmin and I joined our daughter for over a week, we hardly had time to visit the other sporting events. The reason? The venues were spread out. Sayang.

Which brings me to our South Road Properties. Can we incorporate sports in the SRP? We can. We should. As you read this, the Cebu Sports Festival is on-going at the SRP (it started yesterday) and it features 26 events that encompass the “air, land and sea.” (Think NAVY Seals in sports.) There’s rock-climbing, Moto-cross, the Sundown Run, ultimate frisbee, softball and baseball, kite surfing, rugby, taekwondo… There’s even Zumba fitness and wake-boarding. (Kudos to Edward Hayco, the leader of the Cebu City Sports Commission, and the main driver of this spectacle, Brian Lim.)

The Cebu Sports Fest, held in the SRP, is terrific. But, more than this 9-day long (May 14 to 22) event, we need the SRP for a more grand undertaking.

Mayor Mike Rama and Congressman Tommy Osmeña must agree on allocating space for sports in the reclamation project. The SRP is 300 hectares in area. That’s a lot of green-land. For now, we know that Filinvest has purchased 10.6 hectares and engaged in a joint venture with Cebu City for another 40. That’s 50.6 hectares for Filinvest.

SM? Led by SM Prime Holdings President Hans Sy, the retail giant purchased 304,100 square meters (or 30.4 hectares) for P2.7 billion. They made a down-payment of P406 million last year and, the balance, payable in six years. That’s a total of 80 hectares by the Filinvest and SM groups. Which leaves about 220 hectares as open space.

My suggestion? Allocate 10 hectares for sports. (That’s only 3 percent of the SRP.) The dream? To host the Asian Games in 20 years.

Held every four years, the Asiad started in 1951 and will be 60 years this year. The first Games were held in New Delhi, India. In 1954, the second Asian Games were organized. Guess who hosted? Manila.

Since then, Bangkok has hosted four times, and mega-cities like Beijing, Tokyo and Seoul have also played hosts. The Philippines? Wala na gyud. Can the City of Cebu — assisted by Lapu-Lapu, Mandaue, and, of course, Metro Manila — host the games, possibly in 2031? Why not! If we’ve done the ASEAN Summit here in 2007, the SEA Games co-hosting in 2005, and regularly host international CEOs at the Shangri-La, we can host a giant tournament.

But we need the SRP. Without earmarking a sports zone, we cannot host. Or, even if we do play hosts, even to smaller contests like the Palaro, we’ll suffer the same fate as Dapitan. The SRP — imagine a wide-open, all-in-one arena where football fields sprout, baseball diamonds glitter, tennis courts smash, and the swimming pool splashes — is perfect. Cebu, like it always does, must take the lead.

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.

The first 77 days of Edward Hayco

Ed (2nd from right) with Mars Alison, Mike Limpag, Girlie Garces, Hidelito Pascual and John P.

He is always dancing his feet, go-go-go, a man of action, restless, on the move. Just-turned-50, Ed Hayco started his stint as Cebu City Sports Commission chief last August 5—less than P-Noy’s recent 100 Days speech—yet he’s achieved plenty. In text messages, e-mail, and phone conversations the past 44 hours, here’s Chairman Ed….

Your projects and goals? “We’ve started free boxing clinics, now on its 8th week. From six kids it has grown to almost a hundred. Boxing is under Commissioner Lorenzo Chao Sy. He personally oversees and trains the kids. The kids overwhelm you with their raw talent and enthusiasm. You can see in their eyes the excitement and the energy that awes you to no end.

“The free taekwondo classes under Commissioner Tony del Prado started last Saturday and had 30 kids. Tony oversees the training and the response was very positive. These programs were promoted in a grassroots approach. The enthusiasm of the kids was overwhelming. They want the training daily. But we need to take things slowly as the volunteer program might just be too sudden. You have to take note it took Dancesport years to create the culture of volunteerism and dedication the team possesses today. The free boxing and taekwondo sessions are at the Sports Institute–the former San Nicholas Sports Complex–every Sat. from 2 to 4 p.m.

“We also started the barangay Wellness Program with Aerobics now on its fourth weekend at the I. T. Park every Saturday at 6 a.m. This is chaired by Emi Alfonso and Ema together with Brgy. Capt. Ramil of Apas. Hopefully we can duplicate this with other barangays soon since this program is sponsored by Bgry. Councilor Dong-dong and the Brgy. Councilors League Cebu Chapter. We need to train more aerobic teachers as well.

“A monthly chess competition is planned… A barangay fun run will be up and running in a month, chaired by Tony del Prado. There will be fun runs along barangay areas (hills and trails)—not main thoroughfares.

“We also plan to focus on specific sports in certain areas; like Sepak Takraw is strong in Inayawan, boxing in San Nicholas, Pasil, Duljo area. We’re not sure which program will take root. But if it does, the Institute of Sports should institutionalize the programs so it will be continuing for the next 10 years.

“We started the used-sports gears donation program, a brainchild of Comm. Nimrod Quiñones. Right now we have three boxes of rubber shoes donated by Cambridge and other schools. Some people donated their time like Dr. Tony San Juan who offered three hours a week to train our athletes regarding sports medicine and body mechanics.”

“We finished our Strategic Planning last August which is our road map for the next three years (short term) and 10 years, long term. Namely: 1) Value-laden sports program, chaired by Comm. Rengelle Pelayo. 2) Talent and Coach Identification program, chaired by Nimrod Quiñones. 3) Palaro 2013 championship, chaired by Comm. Ryan Aznar. 4) Link public-private sectors, coaches and patrons, chaired by Lorenzo Chao Sy. 5) Athlete prioritization to bring the gold, chaired by Tony del Prado. 6) Emerging sports and sports tourism chaired by Comm. Brian Lim. 7) Cebu Sports Museum, chaired by John Pages. 8) Sports Institute.

That’s plenty. How does managing Dancesport compare to running the CCSC? “Gosh! It’s a gigantic whale of a difference. That’s why I was very hesitant about the role I have to play in the CCSC. I’m asked to duplicate what we did in dancesport.

“We only have three years to work on 17 sports. The CCSC’s role is to be the catalyst. To make the athletes believe they can. As what Mayor Mike said, ‘Together we can make it happen.’

“I know I’ll be consumed by challenges. But hey, life begins at 50. I’ll try to do just baby steps. One small step at a time. If we make a difference in the lives of others, no matter how small, the Sports Commission would have done its job.”

The Sportsman

His name and photo were permanent fixtures of these back pages. He was the chairman of the Cebu City Sports Commission. He shot basketballs, birdied golf holes, flicked his wrist in badminton, swung tennis backhands, and even donned bathing trunks to swim, pedal and run in triathlon.

Sportsman? Check. Politician? Check. Businessman? Cheque. His empire spans not only our city but nationwide. He has outlets and herbal medicine in just about every corner drugstore of our 7,107-island archipelago. And with money, he not only has the luxury of acquiring a sleek, white Jaguar XJ or owning several homes in Cebu, but, best of all, he shares.

During his four-year reign as Cebu sports’ Team Captain, he often turned his right hand backwards to pull out his wallet. He’s generous. Very generous. Athletes, sports teams, tournaments—they always flocked to him and he rarely said “I’m sorry.”

He is—of course you know him—Jonathan Guardo.

Guardo (right) with world boxing champ Nonito Donaire Continue reading The Sportsman

Finally, it’s here! War! It’s Mexico vs. RP

I live in Talamban. Veco says that we’ll experience power interruption starting 10 last night until 9 this morning. I hope they turn on the switch at 9 or earlier today. I don’t want to miss the World Cup. Who wants to? Nobody. I know that this morning, traffic will halt. Streets will stand deserted. Cars parked. Engines asleep. Cebuanos will be facing the flat screen to cheer, clap, slam the table if our own is KO’d, stand and touch the ceiling if a Mexican is twisted and mangled like a taco. Go, RP!

SISO. Did you watch Star Sports last Thursday at 10 p.m.? I hope you did. Me? I got teary-eyed. The story of the three Siso children—Nino, Sally Dine, Sally Mae—of how they were tutored and nurtured by their late father Dino (who passed away last year to cancer), is both heart-breaking and inspiring. Asked if they’ve given up hope in tennis now that their father is gone, the Siso siblings replied, “No. Because dad was happiest when we’re playing.” (In case you missed it, e-mail me at john@pages.ph. I’ll send you a DVD copy.)

FOOTBALL season is back. Next weekend, it’s the annual San Roque Football Festival. On August 25, it’s by Mizuno. This is excellent news. Football today, among children, is more popular than basketball. Not to criticize the game with the orange Spalding ball and 10-foot-tall ring. I played elementary basketball varsity at La Salle Bacolod and recall those moments as some of my life’s most memorable. But football is better for Filipinos. Why? Because while we cried and lost in Tokushima, Japan, on the football world scene, we have a chance. Not as an RP team. But as individuals. For you don’t need to be 6-foot-8 like LeBron James to be a star. Look at Maradona. He stood 5-foot-5. Continue reading Finally, it’s here! War! It’s Mexico vs. RP

Siso siblings on Star Sports tonight!

Sally Mae and Bernardine Siso with coaches Butch Bacani (at the back, right) and Mike Mora

You’ve read their three names. Clapped at their trophies. Saw her photo receiving the Outstanding Cebuana award from Mayor Tommy Osmena. Last year, we wept upon hearing of the shocking death of their 40-year-old father, Dino.

Tonight, if you have cable TV, I urge you to tune in to Star Sports at 10 p.m. The show is called “ACE by Sony Ericsson.” It’s no ABS-CBN or GMA-7 production. It’s a weekly tennis show aired all over Asia. Maria Sharapova? James Blake? They’re often featured there. Whose turn is it tonight?

Bernardine, Sally Dine and Sally Mae Siso. It all began four months ago when Mikel Ugarte called to say that Anthony Suntay, the famous TV host, wanted to video a short documentary on the Sisos. I called Anthony, made arrangements for us to meet two Saturdays later at the Casino Espanol and, next thing we knew, the Sisos were being interviewed by Anthony. And so tonight, finally, it’s here: Star Sports, 10 p.m. Continue reading Siso siblings on Star Sports tonight!

Cebu City Sports Commission

THE VERY FIRST MEETING of the new Cebu City Sports Commission: (from right) Dr. Danny Villadolid, Gene Faelnar, Rolly Diorico, Alex Pacquiao, John Pages, Councilor Yayoy Alcoseba, Nimrod Quinones, Councilor Jack Jakosalem, Councilor Gerry Carillo, Dennis Reyes, and a representative of Councilor Joey Daluz.

We talked about Barangay sports. We tackled the resurfacing problem at the Cebu City Sports Center. We vowed to organize a September 9 Half-Marathon Run. We ate the sumptuous feast offered by Yayoy’s Grill. We smiled. We agreed to hold a planning session to map out the city’s sports development for the next three years. We’re all bound by the same love and passion: CEBU SPORTS.

Read these articles by Marian Baring of Sun.Star Cebu: “Sports Commission targets ‘P30 million repair’ for track oval in Cebu’s only stadium” and “CCSC eyes Boston Marathon for Cebu.”