Category Archives: Cebu

Cebu vs. Visayas

One school, founded in 1919, will turn 100 years old in two years’ time. The other, named after our city and province, used to be called “Cebu Central Colleges” before carrying its present initials: UC.

These are two proudly-Bisaya institutions with a combined population of over 150,000 students, making them a couple of the largest educational systems in our 7,107 islands.

Founded by Don Vicente Gullas, the University of the Visayas used to called “Visayan Institute.” Its buildings were ravaged by World War II but instead of closing, it flourised; in 1948, it became Cebu’s first university: UV.

The two sons of Don Vicente and his wife Josefina (fondly called “Inday Pining”) took over the headship of UV. They are Talisay City Mayor Eddie Gullas and his brother Jose “Dodong” Gullas. I have been privileged to have collaborated with the two Gullas leaders and they are some of the finest gentlemen that you can meet. The year 1919 is a much-anticipated year for the Gullas family. They will be celebrating two 100-year-old celebrations that year: The Freeman newspaper and UV.

Atty. Augusto Go founded his school in July 1964. It began as Cebu College of Commerce then changed its name to CCC. Then, 25 years ago, it transformed into what it is today, the University of Cebu. Like the Gullas brothers, Atty. Gus Go is not only a visionary and iconic Cebuano businessman, he is simple and kindhearted.

Why this talk of UV and UC? Because after several months of Cesafi basketball action, it will either be “Cebu” or “Visayas” who will be triumphant. At 4 p.m. today inside the Gus Go-owned Cebu Coliseum, the season-ending Game 3 of the men’s collegiate finals will be played.

UV and UC both can claim to early victories this week. The UV Baby Lancers defeated the Sacred Heart School-Ateneo de Cebu Magis Eagles to win the high school crown. For UC, Atty. Go celebrated his birthday with an astonishing gift from his school: the top 12 examinees of the Naval Architecture and Marine Engineer exams all came from UC.

Who will win today? The fairytale ending would be seeing Coach Yayoy Alcoseba’s Webmasters dethroning the defending champions. UC has not won the title since the PBA’s upcoming 4-time MVP June Mar Fajardo donned the blue-and-yellow uniform.

But UV will be the favorites. They led all teams in the preliminary rounds and were heavily-favored before getting shocked with UC’s Game 1 victory. But with their win in Game 2 last Friday, the momentum is back. Who will win tonight? Only one will carry the trophy.

University of Champions? University of Victory?

Be Honest

Archbishop Jose Palma (2nd from right) with Guy Ceniza, Alan Larot and Boy Villanueva

Of the dozens of values that are important in life, and these include Respect, Excellence, Compassion, Responsibility, Gratitude and having a Caring heart, the single most important value might be this: Honesty.

In the several companies that we operate, and in the over 1,200 team members that we employ, nothing is more important than integrity. It doesn’t matter if you’re the best waiter or the smartest teacher or you possess exemplary leadership skills, if you’re not honest, you’re out.

This advocacy is at the heart of the Brotherhood of Christian Businessmen and Professionals. The BCBP was founded in 1980 with the mission “to bring Christ to the marketplace and to win the marketplace for Christ.” And what is BCBP’s signature campaign?

Be Honest. Even if others are not. Even if others will not. Even if others cannot. And from Proverbs 10:9: “He who walks honestly, walks securely.”

Next Sunday, August 27, it’s the BCBP Be Honest Run. The main goal is to help promote the culture of fairness, fidelity and faithfulness. To be honest at home. To be honest with your people. To be honest in business dealings. To be honest with yourself.

Over a thousand participants are expected next weekend and registration is still open. The distances offered are not intimidating: you can walk or run the 2K or 4K or 8K distances. There are no winners. And here’s a first, possibly for any race in the country: We will award a prize to the fastest finisher… based on honesty! Sure, a clock (courtesy of Joel Juarez of Coco Running) will be hanging on the finish line but there will be no timing chips or U-turn bracelets to check if you’ve passed all the corners. The Be Honest Run will be won by the first placer who is honest!

The August 27 event will be held at the Ayala Center Cebu. The start and finish is at The Terraces and the runners (and, yes, leisurely-walkers) will navigate the streets inside the Cebu Business Park. The run will start at 5:45 a.m. and everyone is advised to arrive at 5 a.m. for the prayer, opening remarks and the warm-up exercises.

The “Be Honest Run” is open to all BCBP members, family members, friends and colleagues. It’s open to all. The registration fee is P300 and this entitles you to a Meyrick Jacalan-designed shirt and a race bib. Raffle prizes will be given and there will be free Thirsty drinks for all.

The registration booth will open tomorrow until the end of next week at the Active Zone of Ayala Center (near Bo’s Coffee). Just bring your P300 and, subject to availability, you may immediately get your shirt. Then we’ll see you at the starting line next Sunday.

More on honesty, I’d like to leave you with these inspiring words: If it’s not right, don’t do it; if it’s not true, don’t say it. Simple. / Wrong is wrong, even if everyone is doing it. Right is right, even if no one is doing it. / If you want to be trusted, just be honest. / Everybody wants the truth but nobody wants to be honest. / When in doubt, tell the truth. / If you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything. / And from St. Teresa: Honesty and transparency make you vulnerable. Be honest and transparent anyway.

‘Heart for Soles’ by Kyle Kokseng

Given the thousands of running enthusiasts that pound our streets — including this Sunday’s awaited SM2SM Run — underneath each pair of legs is a pair of running shoes. We all have one, some two, others three or four pairs of running shoes.

This love month comes an excellent idea to share. As the saying goes, “There is no excercise better for the heart than reaching down and lifting people up.” I paraphrase that by saying, “There is no better exercise than running.. and reaching down for a pair of running shoes to share.”

Kyle Kokseng is a runner. He has finished three 42Ks: In 2013, the Cebu Marathon; and last year, in Tokyo and Chicago. Kyle has conceptualized a big-hearted project.

“Heart for Soles is a passion project by an average guy who likes running a little too much,” Kyle said in the poster. “After cleaning out his closet, he found several pairs of shoes that were still useable and hard a lot of mileage left in them. So instead of throwing them out, he decided to donate them to athlete scholars from public schools in Cebu City who have the ability but no capacity for equipment and gear.

“Later on, he realized that there were a lot of people in Cebu with the same love for running and the same closet filled with shoes. So he decided to create a program that would allow all running enthusiasts to give back to the city’s athlete scholars. Here’s a reSHOElution for you. Your shoes have come a long way, it can go a little longer.”

How to join? Kyle explains: (1) Donate your old running shoes (running shoes only). Must be clean and in good condition. No tears, no holes. You wouldn’t want someone else wearing your smelly damaged shoes, right? (2) Tie the shoelaces of the pair so we won’t be searching for a missing shoes. (3) Attach an info card/sheet with the ff. details: size, men’s or women’s, inspirational message to the recipient. (4) You may or not put your name on the info card. (5) Drop off your old and preloved running shoes at the donation boxa at the main mall ground floor of Banilad Town Centre (BTC).

Since Kyle started last Feb. 1, he’s collected 14 pairs. “I want to see the running community grow by helping those who have the ability but no capacity,” he said. “Who knows, one of the recipients might be a future Olympian!”

For more details, check Instagram or FB: @heartforsolesph. And in advance for donating to our less fortunate runner-friends, Kyle says: SHOE-lamat!

Tour de Cebu drives to Bohol

I asked Chris and Chris (Aldeguer and Tio) to comment on the third staging of the Tour de Cebu — a car rally that spans three days and 1,000 kms. and was held last October 14 to 16.

Chris Aldeguer, the chairman of PACE (spelled in full as Performance and Classic Enthusiast of Cebu), said: “The Tour de Cebu 2016 was successful. The Rally brought all of us to witness and experience so many amazing roads and places we never even knew existed. It was satisfying to see the participants have a great time. It is a goal of the event to have an element of competition while enjoying the drive and the camaraderie. The beautiful island of Bohol and our host BE Grand Resort made the whole experience spectacular.”

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Co-organized by the Manila Sports Car Club (MSCC), the tour only accepts cars that are dated 1972___ or older. The first two Tours required the enthusiasts to drive not only aroud the Cebu island but also to Bacolod, Dumaguete and San Carlos.

Chris Tio, a founding member of PACE and this year’s Grand Marshal, explained at length this year’s Tour (all quotes by Chris Tio):

What made this year different? “The biggest difference was the route as we decided to do all 1,000 kms. in Bohol. We chose to have a host venue for 3 days and 2 nights in the breathtaking BE Grand Resort. This changed the atmosphere completely as it allowed a home to return to and encouraged families to come. This can also be seen in the participating teams as there were married couples, fathers and sons, and even a father and daughter. Bohol is just so beautiful. They have roads that crisscross the island allowing us a different scenery and discoveries. The people are very friendly and welcoming.

“The technical team led by 5-time Formula Asia champion Pepon Marave also did a fantastic job of auditing and preparing the routes. This led to a very competitive atmosphere. The field was impressive as the Tour attracted several Historic Racing veterans: the current hill climb champion as well as the current GT Champion of the Philippines. We were also honored to have a veteran of the world’s toughest classic car rally, the East Africa Classic Rally with us. Another change was the debut of the Tour De Cebu Champions Cup, a more than two-foot high vintage racing trophy wherein the grand champions are permanently etched into the trophy.”

What makes this event special? “This is the only classic car rally of this type in South East Asia. Largely patterned after the Mille Miglia, the Tour De Cebu prides itself also on its role as a touristic rally, showcasing the beauty and scenery of our side of the world as well as the ease of accessibility and dependability of our RORO system. Hopefully, we encourage more visitors and incentivize investments in modern RORO vessels. For the participants, the camaraderie of like-minded enthusiasts as well as the opportunity to drive competitively in a controlled environment their precious classic cars.

“For the public, it’s the opportunity to see restored classic cars in full motion and not as a static display. To be able to see these magnificent machines run, hear them rev and smell the gasoline is quite an experience. A case in point: it’s different reading about the Toyota S800, the smallest car with a tiny 2-cylinder air-cooled motor. It doesn’t comment the most respect to the general public, but seeing it attack the curves and showcase its maneuverability made a lot of new believers and fans.”

What “new” cars joined this year? “We had several very interesting cars: an extremely rare Matchless GT, a Triumph TR6, a trio of Datsun 240 Zs and of course the Grand Champion, Toyota S800. In total, we had 33 participants with the vehicles ranging from Porsche 911, Porsche 914, MGB, MGB GT, Pontiac GTO, Morgan Threewheelers, Mercedes 280 SL, Mercedes 350 SL and more.”

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My brother Charlie with Chris Aldeguer

Is this event a competition? “It’s a competition based on Sampaguita Rally rules. It is a Time Speed Distance (TSD) accuracy test of man and classic machinery. To complete 1,000 kms. in the correct time, per minute early, penalized 2 points, per minute late, penalized 1 point. The winner is the most on the time all the time with the least penalty points.”

What’s the plan for 2017? “We will be returning to the BE Grand Resort in Panglao and we are finalizing several international participants, as interest has been generated. We are planning to increase the field to 50 participants. We hope to develop this into a world-class international motoring event that makes our country proud.”

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The S in SM can stand for Sports

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(Photo by Tony Pionilla/Manila Bulletin)

Did you read the news in the national papers? The SM Group plans to build a major structure in Calamba, Laguna. No, it’s not the Sy family’s usual business. It’s not a mall, cinema or grocery.

It’s a sports academy. Yes, the first of its kind in the country and SM is investing P1 billion to build a sprawling campus on a four hectare property.

I’ve had a chance on a few occasions to meet Hans Sy. He’s the fourth of six children of Mr. and Mrs. Henry Sy, who head the country’s richest family with an estimated net worth of over $14 billion.

I’ve seen Hans Sy on multiple occasions during SM mall openings in Cebu and Iloilo. I saw him in a different setting last February. It was the final weekend of the UAAP competition for tennis. My daughter Jana, representing Ateneo, was part of the collegiate meet.

The venue was the Rizal Memorial Tennis Center and Mr. Sy was invited to witness the championship matches of his family-owned National University (NU).

Since the Sy family bought majority ownership of NU in 2008, they have invested heavily in sports development. This focus has resulted into NU (founded in 1900) being a sports powerhouse. 

In basketball, the NU Bulldogs won the UAAP crown in 2014, besting FEU in its first championship in 60 years. In volleyball, the men’s squad won back-to-back trophies in 2013 and 2014. In cheerdance, they’re the three-time champions.

Tennis? The same golden result. Three months ago when Hans Sy watched, he witnessed the NU tennisters win the women’s and men’s crowns — the third straight year that NU won the two UAAP tennis divisions. The NU men’s netters were so dominant that they won their 44th straight tie — the second longest in UAAP history behind Adamson University’s 72-game winning streak in volleyball.

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Hans Sy did not stay for a mere 30 minutes. He stayed for over three hours the entire Saturday morning, clapping when the Patrominio sisters collected their singles wins and cheering for Leander Lazaro’s MVP performance. Mr. Sy joined both teams inside the tennis rectangle during the awarding.

Smiling, proud, and holding aloft the trophies, Mr. Sy has grown to enjoy taste of sports victory.

You see, the Sy family are major players not only in business but in sports. For where can we find the only ice skating rinks in the country but in SM, including our very own SM Seaside City.

Sports stadium? The country’s best today — the 16,000-seater SM MOA Arena — has hosted top international exhibitions like the UFC (Edgar vs. Faber), FIBA Asia Championships, the Intl. Premier Tennis League (Serena Williams and Rafael Nadal), among many others.

And, of course, here in Cebu, there’s the road race everyone looks forward to: the SM2SM Run. Plus, the entire Vis-Min is looking forward to the construction of the SM Seaside Arena. Finally, we will have a world-class facility to precede the 1962-founded Cebu Coliseum.

Back to that P1 billion investment in sports that’s soon to rise, here’s what Hans Sy had to say a few days ago in a press conference (from an article in The Standard written by Darwin Amojelar): “The whole study is there already. We are starting to get architects to finalize. We have foreign consultants. We want to have it international standards. In fact if we can invite even an NBA team to come over to have a training program here so we can make sure all the facilities are there.”

At first, the facilities will be for volleyball and basketball.

“I think tennis is there, too,” he said. “It comes in stages. But it’s just not really going to be sports itself. That we felt that is something we should go into because of course, we want to have sports development but at the same time, (care) about these athletes. What happens to them after their prime years. We want to be able to give them certain education.”

In behalf of the sports community, kudos to Hans and the Sy family.

33 years of honoring Cebu’s best

“I always turn to the sports pages first, which records people’s accomplishments. The front page has nothing but man’s failures.” – Earl Warren, former U.S. chief justice

I talk about these “back pages” because the women and men who report and publish sports stories have, for the past 33 years, practiced an unbroken tradition. We, the sportswriters, congregate and deliberate on the previous year’s best performers and, on one grand occasion, we honor these athletes and sportsmen for their outstanding feats.

The 33rd SAC-SMB Cebu Sports Awards will be this Tuesday, March 31, from 3 to 6 p.m. at the Activity Center of the Ayala Center Cebu. SAC stands for Sportswriters Association of Cebu while SMB is one of the nation’s largest conglomerates, San Miguel Brewery, Inc.

What we, the sportswriters, do is this: We meet several times, submit nominations via email; we research on the top achievers of the past year; from a long list, we trim down the names, classify whether last year’s victory was international or national until we decide on the final list of awardees. At the end of the deliberations, we have accumulated a full set of honorees. The Major Awardees, the Citation Awardees, and the Special Awardees, which include the Sportsman of the Year and the Presidential Awardee. Finally, among the list of over a hundred athletes, we award that one person who will be named “Athlete of the Year.” While all other names are announced beforehand, the suspense of this AOTY trophy is reserved until the very end, up on stage this Tuesday in Ayala, when his or her name will be announced.

I’ve been writing sports for 20 years now and, like Nimrod Quiñones, who’s been around even longer, I’ve been attending the Awarding for a long time. I recall Z Gorres in Casino Español, just months after his near-death Las Vegas scare, walking to the stage to receive his award with boxing godfather Tony Aldeguer as our guest of honor. Manny Pacquiao, Nonito Donaire and Gerry Peñalosa graced one star-studded affair.

Is the 33rd Cebu Sports Awards open to the public for free? Absolutely. Here are the honorees:

MAJOR AWARDEES: BASKETBALL: June Mar Fajardo and Aldrich Ramos. BEACH VOLLEYBALL: Edmar Bonono and Edward Ybañez. BOXING: Donnie Nietes. CHESS: Kim Steven Yap. CYCLING: Nino Surban and John Mier. Dancesport: Charlea Lagaras and Ronnie Vergara. FOOTBALL: Itsuko Bacatan, Alexandrea Gumilao, Arantxa Mari Trebol, Jan Reese Jumawan and Alexa Ceniza. GYMNASTICS: Daniella Reggie de la Pisa. JUDO: Kiyomi Watanabe. MUAY THAI: Joel Zaspa. RUNNING: Mary Joy Tabal. SOFTBALL: Isaac Bacarisas, Jasper Cabrera, Ben Maravilles, Oscar Bradshaw IV and Jerome Bacarisas. TABLE TENNIS: Richard Gonzales. TAEKWONDO: Clement Tan, MacAvyngr Alob, Nichole Maurin, Rinna Babanto and Glen Lava. TRIATHLON: Joseph Miller, Frederic Yuan Chiongbian and Aaliyah Ricci Mataragnon.

CITATION AWARDEES: ARCHERY: Lloyd Apawan and Vincent Villa. Athletics: Mike Lopez, Ninolito Justiane and Ivan Miguel Santos. BADMINTON: Zinah Marichelle Bejosa. BASKETBALL: SWU, Sacred Heart School-Ateneo de Cebu, UV Passerelle team, UV 16-Under team, Mark Tallo, Felixberto Jabonetta IV, Greg Slaughter, Jerick Canada, Kent Vincent Moral, Ken Gato, Arnie Christian Padilla, Andres Desiderio, Dave Yu, Leonard Santillan, Andrew Velasco and Mary Jean Pascual. BEACH VOLLEYBALL: Jade Becaldo, Louije Tipgos, UV, and SWU. BILLIARDS: Rubilen Amit and Warren Kiamco. BOWLING: Jomar Jumapao, Alexis Sy, Xyrra Cabusas, GJ Buyco and Alex Lagcao.

BOXING: Milan Melindo, Genesis Servania, Arthur Villanueva, Ian Refuela, Junrel Jimenez, Kit Garces, Jorge Edusma, Vicente Sios-e, Jr., John Nino Vega, Albert and Jason Pagara. CHESS: Elwin Retanal, Dwyane Abella, Kyle Sevillano, Jerish Velarde, Catherine Quinanola, and Laila Camel Nadera. CYCLING: Ica Maximo. DANCESPORT: Dancesport Team Cebu City. EXTREME SPORTS: Dandoy Tongco, Rafael Trinidad, Joshua and Jan Joseph Suson. FOOTBALL: Cviraa elem. team, Don Bosco futsal team, Joaquin Buyco, Charles Unabia, Enzo Ceniza, Yves Caballero, Jesse Semblante, Kyle Ronquillo, Marcel Ouano, Roygbiv Barro, and Leo Maquiling. GOLF: LJ Go and Charles Hong. JUDO: Joaquin Fernandez. KARTING: Vince Rojo and Craig Aleman.

KARATEDO: Nino Avilla, Precious Belicario, Charen Villamor, Karylle Perez, Hayashi-ha Shitoryukai team, and Rafael Vidal. MMA: Yawyan ArDigma. MOTOCROSS: Jon Eleazer Adlawan and BJ Pepito. MUAY THAI: Ken Caniga and Lara Jane Flores. RUGBY: Aiumi Ono, Madille Salinas and Cebu Lady Dragons. RUNNING: Maritess Bitbit, Brian Guillan, and Noel Tillor. SCRABBLE: Michael Tuba and Frances Lim. SEPAK TAKRAW: Rhey Ortouste and Metodio Suico. SWIMMING: Psalm Deniel Aquino, Ichiro Kong, and Lorendale Echavez. TABLE TENNIS: UC team, Berto Bas, and Sherlyn Love Gabisay. TAEKWONDO: Luiji Estrada, Veronica Garces, Mayn Corna, Zozen Prajes, Wendil Rama, and Dineson Caneda. TENNIS: Jan Godfrey Seno, Arthur Craig Pantino, Zethley Mae Alfrez, Shyne Villareal, Jana Pages and Jerico Bohol. TRIATHLON: Justin Chiongbian, John Philip Dueñas, Kristian Lim and Lorhiz Lopez. UNDERBONE: Simon Solon. VOLLEYBALL: Central Visayas team, Gretchel Soltones, Matthew Navace, and Isabel Molde. WEIGHTLIFTING: Leonida Cambajiran and Evangelit Ceniza. WRESTLING: Luis Ansag.

To all the awardees and to the sporting fans who want to witness the affair, see you on Tuesday!

Balamban and Naga

I met Mayor Val Chiong last Wednesday in Naga City. Wearing shorts and wielding a tennis racket, he played doubles. A Class-A tennister who often represented Cebu in the PAL Interclub, Mayor Val plays nightly on the clay courts that he built. When I watched, he and his partner led 7-5 before the opponents won the next game to inch closer to a tiebreak. That’s when Val, armed with a topspin forehand, steady volleys and a forceful smash, attacked the next relentlessly to win the final point. Game, set, match, 8-6.

Naga City is active. In tennis, they’ve produced two national-caliber junior stars in Anday Alferez and Shyne Villareal. Of their two public courts, one was occupied by the adults while the other was reserved for young girls and boys.

Volleyball? A rectangle court sits across. Dozens of spikers and setters volleyed the ball back and forth. Badminton was played nearby, inside four indoor courts. Our most popular game, basketball, stood meters away. An oval, previously a cemented road that was closed to vehicular traffic so joggers can use it, circled this complex beside the boulevard. If I heard it right from the parents of Anday Alferez (Andoy and Nova), a swimming pool might be constructed in the newly-reclaimed land near the boulevard.

Here’s more: lights are for free until 10 p.m. Play all you want, dribble all that you can bounce, lob that shuttlecock, slice that backhand — you pay zero to exercise in Naga City.

“We’ll build a roof to cover the tennis courts,” said Mayor Val when we spoke, him all-sweating and all-smiling after his win. “It will not be as enclosed as Alta Vista but will be open so wind and air will come in.”

A lifelong tennis player, never mind if he had surgery a couple of years back and if his knees are wrapped with injury-preventive bands, Val has brought the game of “commercial” tennis to his city. Since Baseline has closed, the hordes of players there have traveled south to play in Naga. I saw several who came from Mandaue.

If the city is led by an active sportsman, the citizenry will follow the leader.

BALAMBAN. My daughter Jana and I traversed the Transcentral Highway to cross to the Western side of Cebu to watch the CVIRAA.

The “CV” stands for Central Visayas and an estimated 9,000 athletes and coaches from all over Region 7 were in the municipality that’s nicknamed “The Shipbuilding Capital of the Phils.” The regional meet is the final qualifying tournament where the winners will go on to the national event called the Palarong Pambansa (slated this May in Tagum City).

Last Saturday, Jana and I first visited the tennis venue, housed within the property of the Provincial Hospital, to watch the high school girls and boys. (Anday, whom I mentioned above, went on to win the gold in doubles with Beverly Enriquez.)

In the afternoon, we parked inside the church and visited numerous sites. First, we witnessed gymnastics. A line of judges sat on stage to score the girls who, one by one, would perform with a rubberized ball. Daniela de la Pisa, the Palaro’s multi-gold medalist, was there. As expected, she won gold. We also got to meet her mom and coach, Darlene.

Next, we walked towards the Experanza S. Binghay Memorial Sports Complex where the football games were played. A track oval encircled the complex. Though not rubberized in surface (it was anapog), the measurements were standard-size. When we watched, the 4 x 100 meter relay squads were getting ready.

Behind the grandstand was a covered court that housed the Futsal games. Futsal is indoor football played on a basketball court. The shoes don’t have spike soles. We watched the semifinal game between the Cebu City Ninos (represented mostly by players from STC) against Negros Oriental. Futsal is often more exciting than the 11-aside regular game on grass. Coached by my UP Cebu classmate Tirso Rio, himself a football star during our college days, the Cebu City girls would go on to win the gold.

For hosting the CVIRAA, kudos to Mayor Ace Binghay.

Tour de Cebu: marathon for vintage cars

I asked Dr. Peter Mancao: What passion does driving a vintage car bring? “When you drive these cars you are talking of the bare essentials of motoring,” he answered. “There is no power steering, it’s manual transmission, no a/c, the brakes… hmm, they stop but you have to put a little engine brake here and there and the ride is on the stiff side.. you literally feel the road.”

This weekend, Dr. Mancao will join 25 other vintage car enthusiasts, driving from Cebu to Dumaguete to Bacolod and back, joining what is termed as the country’s first-of-its-kind Mille Miglia-inspired touristic rally: the Tour de Cebu.

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Peter explained that this is not all show-and-drive. “The ERUF is building a training center in Mandaue,” he said. Extra funds generated will be donated to the organization. “ERUF is giving us its full support. One ambulance will be with us for the entire event,” he said, adding that the ERUF team will be on full alert during the Cebu leg.

As for his personal reason for joining, “I’ve crossed out running a marathon in my bucket list. This ranks next to it,” said Cebu’s top heart surgeon, who’ll be motoring his red 1970 Volkswagen Beetle Cabriolet (convertible). “Everything is stock in the car (not modified),” he added, “and I would be very happy if we can just finish the race!”

I, too, had first-hand experience last week. My brother Charlie, a car enthusiast just like my dad Bunny, lent me his toy for the night. I drove it home. A tear of sweat trickled down my face. The reason: his 1969 BMW 2002 had no aircon, no power steering, one window couldn’t be opened and I had to press hard the brake. Maneuvering and parking required all of my muscular strength. This screaming loud orange BMW (with the occasional fireworks-like blast) will be driven by Charlie as he joins PACE this Friday.

Another participant is Chris Aldeguer. “I have always been a car fanatic since I was 18,” he said. “Which is why being part of this is exciting for me personally.”

Chris explains that this event is rare because it will bring many historical cars in one setting and, he said, “We will get to do what these cars were designed to do in the first place: Be Driven.”

Iconic cars are often displayed in public during a car show. “This time, these will be driven and driven long. Therefore, the limits will be tested for both cars and drivers,” said Chris, a top triathlete whose physical and mental prowess will be tested as he drives the fully-open ’55 Porsche 550 Spyder.

“Any car enthusiast would appreciate the design and engineering of these vintage cars. It will be more exciting for the enthusiast to see them running for 1,000 kms. across the Visayas,” said Chris. “I hope it will be exciting for the 42 towns and the 12 cities that we will be passing through. It works both ways. Historical cars in a rally will be witnessed by the locals and, at the same time, we will be witnessing these beautiful places.”

Prior to the Friday start, the organizers (PACE) have invited two of the country’s foremost automobile enthusiasts to give a lecture on “the wonders of owning, collecting, restoring as well as racing of vintage cars.”

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Andy Sta. Maria and Gonzalo “Nene” Syquia, the founders of the Manila Sports Car Club, will be here to give a talk entitled, “What is the Meaning of Vintage?” It’s by-invitation only on Thursday at The Henry Hotel, and will be followed by the official race briefing.

Now, the question: Where can we see these cars, all 26 of them, prior to the call, “Gentlemen, start your engines!” The flag-off is at 7 a.m. this Friday at the Cebu I.T. Park. The cars are expected to depart at 8:30. “What’s good is that you can go near the cars to have photos taken and you can talk to the drivers,” said Chris. The finish: it’s on Sunday at 4 p.m. at the Northwing of SM City Cebu.

Brian Lim: eSports is the modern-day Chess

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I visited SM City Cebu last Friday. Upon arrival, I went straight to witness an event that had intrigued me. It’s called “eSports.” Does the term stand for “Extreme Sports” or “Endurance Sports” or “Exciting Sports?”

Yes, it’s all of the above. It’s those words transformed into one name that’s spelled… Electronic Sports.

Inside the Cebu Trade Hall of SM, I met the organizer himself, my good friend Brian Lim. Everybody knows Brian Lim as a sportsman-businessman. His family owns the giant Rose Pharmacy and he’s CEO of Salon de Rose and Pyroworks. With sports, he’s a multi-athlete: He’s completed the IM70.3 and Xterra triathlons; next month, he’ll travel to Hawaii to join the Xterra World Championships. But last weekend, Brian sported a different role: As chairman of PESO — that’s Philippine e-Sports Organization.

“eSports is the modern-day equivalent of Chess,” said the always-smiling Lim, the organizer of last weekend’s event dubbed “eSports Festival: Rigs. Cosplay. Games.”

“It’s a mind sport but without any physical boundaries as it can be played across the internet and across different genres or game types,” he added.

My younger brother Michael explained to me that the most popular game is Dota 2. Brian adds, “Dota 2 is similar to basketball which is a 5-on-5 game but highly strategic in which players go through a draft phase in the beginning to pick and ban certain characters to best pit themselves against the opposing teams. Games can last anywhere between 15 mins. to a little over an hour.”

I must admit: I’m not a gamer, although I did enjoy the Space Invaders and Pac-Man games by Atari (this reveals my age). But here’s what I know: Tens of millions of people worldwide today engage in e-sports. Here in the Phils., the organization PESO is helping put us in the international gaming map.

With the leadership of Brian and PESO’s executive director Tryke Gutierrez, whom I also met last weekend, their Vision is clear: For the “Phils. to excel in eSports internationally by 2015… where we are not limited by height, weight or size but rather the competitiveness of our mind and the Filipino fighting Spirit.”

The event at SM helped advance these goals. “We had over 500 participants,” said Brian. “We held qualifiers in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao; the champion teams flew in from each region.”

Sven Macoy Schmid, an avid gamer and eSports fan, wrote this in his blog (svenmacoyschmid.com): “I only attended the 3rd and last day to watch the Championship games but I came without much expectations since I thought that the eSports scene was on a decline. But as soon as I entered the trade hall I was stunned by how many spectators the event drew and contrary to what I thought the eSports scene was actually getting bigger! As usual there was the cosplay event, the rig competition and the beautiful creatures called ‘booth babes.’”

Sven added: “As for the games, there was Hearthstone, Street Fighter 4, Tekken Tag Tournament 2, Star Craft 2 and the much awaited Dota 2. Dota 2 was the main event once again with participants from Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Mongolia, South Korea, Manila and our Local team Arcanys. Arcanys dominated Group B having a flawless 3-0 record while MVP from South Korea took 2nd place. In the other group The Prime (Indonesia) and MSI-EvoGT (Manila) upset one of the favorites coming into this tournament Mith.Trust (Thailand) and Orange Esports (Malaysia) both ending up with a score of 2-1.”

The highlight was Cebu-based team’s Arcany’s beating the heavily-favored team (and eventual champion) MVP Phoenix during the group stages. “The game is akin to a high level chess game where they sacrificed their queen in order to produce a check mate eight mins. into the game,” said Brian, “beautifully outwitting their Korean opponents who made it to 2nd place in the South East Asian qualifiers for the TI4 or the international — a whopping $10,000,000 prize pool tournament.”

eSport? Electrifying Sport.

Honoring the best

It’s called “The Oscars” of Cebu sports. It’s that one afternoon when all the star athletes from Badminton to Golf to MMA to Rugby to Volleyball to Wrestling get-together and get recognized.

It’s tomorrow from 3 to 6 p.m. at the Activity Center of Ayala Center Cebu. It’s for free. It’s also the 32nd year that this event has been produced. Venues have changed. From the 1521 lounge at the San Miguel Beer headquarters to Grand Convention Center to Casino Español and, tomorrow, at Ayala Center.

What doesn’t change is this: Each year, with no miss, the sportswriters of Cebu celebrate by honoring the year’s best performers. Tomorrow’s awardees are being applauded for their accomplishments in 2013.

The Cebu Sports Awards is important because of many reasons. It happens only once a year. It’s organized by an independent group, the Sportswriters Association of Cebu. It’s long-standing (32 years). It’s held in partnership with one of Asia’s top conglomerates, San Miguel Corporation (special thanks to SMB’s Girlie Garces).

Rico Navarro is our SAC president. Joaquin “Quinito” Henson, the preeminent sports columnist and TV personality, will join us tomorrow. He’ll give the Keynote Address. Quinito is that rare individual who is at the top of his field but one who’s remained humble and approachable. We were together in Macau for Manny Pacquiao’s last fight and, during breakfast just hours before MP’s battle, it was admirable to chat with such a respectful and enthusiastic person. Quinito is flying in and out of Cebu solely for the awards.

Sportsman of the Year? My good friend Tony del Prado, the man who’s helped steer the artistry of taekwondo, is the deserving executive.

Athlete of the Year? Ha-ha. I know the name but I won’t divulge it. That’s reserved for those who’ll attend.     See you tomorrow!

MAJOR AWARDEES: Rubilen Amit, Johnny Arcilla, Wilbert Aunzo, Rinna Babanto, Mikaela Calamba, Pearl Caneda, CCC men’s golf team, Justin Chiongbian, Johnreil Casimero, Mary Grace de los Santos, Andres Paul Desiderio, Don Bosco Technology Center, June Mar Fajardo, Kim Lao, Glenn Lava, Joseph Miller, Julius Nierras, Donnie Nietes, Rhey Jay Ortouste, Arnie Christian Padilla, Arthur Craig Pantino, Paref Springdale football, Elwin Retanal, Merlito Sabillo, Jan Godfrey Seno, Mary Joy Tabal, and Kiyomi Sarausad Watanabe.

CITATION AWARDEES: Pearl Angeline Abellar, Mike Abria, Jonjon Adlawan, Zethley Mae Alferez, Moiselle Alforque, Macavynger Alob, Luis Ansag, Banilad Elem. School badminton team, Felix Shaun Balbona, Hipolito Banal, Jade Becaldo, Jusabelle Brillo, Maegan Bugarin, Moises Bullecer, Cary Bullos, Miguel Calamba, Jette Calderon, Val Calvo, Yuan Chiongbian, Val Andre Chiu, Diego Abraham Claro, Team Cebu City table tennis, Club Filipino de Cebu, Clark Cuico, CEPCA, CFA, Cebu Lady Dragons, Elson Dorimon, and Team Cebu City Dancesport.

Philip Duenas, Majordean Ebarle, Bruno Escalante, Jeffrey Estella, Joseph Falcone, Joaquin Nicolo Fernandez, Junia Gabasa, Tonette Gambito, Veronica Garces, Danika Gendrauli, Jimrex Jaca, Eloisa Jordan, Michael Ichiro Kong, Ericka Lim, Ulyross Lopez, Erik Ngitz Lovitos, Aaliyah Ricci Mataragnon, John Mier, Daniel Miranda, Nichole Maurin, Ana Patricia Maximo, Milan Melindo, Neil Minoza, Kintaro Miyagi, Gen Nagai, Anthony Lynn Navarro, and Daniel Noval.

Jason Pagara, Jana Marie Pages, Ivan Palmero, Paolo Pascual, Bj Pepito, Mark Kevin Petancio, Neil Perino, Daniela dela Pisa, Kimberly Gabrielle Paler, Kelle Kay Rojas, Madil Salinas, Apple Saraum, Genesis Servania, Rhenzi Kyle Sevillano, Vergilio Silvano, Greg Slaughter, Ralph Eduard So, SHS-ADC, SWU, Nino Surban, Marlon Tapales, Mark Javen Tallo, John Rey Tongco, Arantxa Trebol, UV, Shaia Uy, Jerish John Velarde, Arthur Villanueva, Yaw-Yan Ardigma Cebu, and Edward Ybanez.

Cebu is a sports island

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To all visitors and balikbayans, maayong pag-abot sa Cebu! Welcome to the Land of Sports. In our city and province, sports is a major influence. Through the years, Cebu has played hosts to some of the biggest events of our nation.

Davis Cup tennis. Antonio L. Aldeguer (ALA) Promotions boxing. Ironman triathlon. Dancesport championships. The Cebu Marathon. Kopiko motorcross racing. Philippine Azkals exhibition games. The Xterra offroad mountainbike experience. A Guinness world record in Chess. Name the sport, Cebu offers it. Our island is ideal for sports because of several reasons.

First, the central location. If you’re looking for a venue that’s the midway point for those flying from Manila and those coming from Cagayan de Oro or Davao — then this province is perfect. Because of it’s location, Cebu is also home to some of the country’s biggest universities. These schools have invited and developed thousands of top-caliber athletes. To name two Cebuano giants of the PBA, we have Greg Slaughter and June Mar Fajardo.

Two, the excellent partnership between the private and public sectors. Last year, Cebu had the rare privilege of hosting three Davis Cup tennis ties. Our Philippines battled Syria, Thailand and New Zealand. Thanks to the partnership of Plantation Bay Resort and Spa, the Phil. Tennis Association (Philta) and the Lapu-Lapu City govt., these triple major events were possible. This doubles tandem (private + govt.) is ideal in sports development because, quite often, one sector can’t handle everything. Cebu is one example of this amazing partnership.

Three, the selfless and passionate sports movers. Take Edward Hayco. He’s the chairman of the Cebu City Sports Commission. Because of his devotion to sports, the name “Cebu City” is imprinted in the annals of the Guinness World Records. We’re proud to own two world records: the largest dance class and the biggest chess tournament. (Soon, there’ll be a third in Archery.) Ed Hayco’s passion to help — at zero cost to the city but millions poured from his pocket — is called volunteerism.

Four, Cebu is a sports-hungry crowd. Take ALA Boxing. Almost every other month, a mega-promotion is held inside the Waterfront Cebu ballroom. Filled to the rafters, devoted boxing fans scream and cheer for the courageous pugilists. Cebuanos love sports. Always have, always will. The large crowds in boxing events is a testament to this. That’s why we’re home to three world champions: Donnie Nietes, Johnriel Casimero and Merlito Sabillo. Even Manny Pacquiao frequents Cebu — and trained here in 2007 prior to defeating Marco Antonio Barrera.

In basketball, the CESAFI — our version of the UAAP and NCAA — draws a huge following. The recent rivalry between UV and SWU has elicited major crowds.

Five, Cebuanos love is running. In the past six or so years, thousands of previously sedentary, no-exercise individuals have become runners. A few hundred of them have turned marathoners. This is excellent! Running is the easiest of exercises to do. Just tie a pair of rubber shoes, wear shorts (or even Levi’s jeans).. then off you go. These days, hardly a Sunday passes when there’s no road-racing event. Seven days ago, a few thousand runners braved the 21K and 42K distances in the Cebu Marathon.

Six, the brand “Cebu” elicits a positive image. Let’s talk about the Ironman. For the first three years, it was held in Camarines Sur. Fine. It drew plenty of participants. But this number was nowhere compared to the volume of triathletes who trooped to Shangri-La’s Mactan Island Resort to join the Cebu editions. The brand “Cebu” is thought of by foreigners as positive because of our many advantages: the nearby white-sand beaches, the friendly and eager crowds. These draw sports-goers to Cebu. Apart from the Ironman, there are multiple triathlons that will grow bigger each year. One notable event is the Tabuelan 111. Again, welcome to Cebu. Pit Señor!

u65b(The Freeman photo/Ferdinand Edralin)

Swimming with the Gentle Giants

BUTANDING. Like the thousands of you who’ve done an expedition to Oslob to dance with the whale sharks, we did the same last Monday. What a super experience!

Our group of 25 arrived in Brgy. Tan-awan, Oslob past 6 A.M. We each paid P500 and listened to a short briefing. After awaiting our turn, we boarded three bancas that transported us about 150 meters from the shoreline.

With our masks, snorkels and life-vests on, we jumped. The water was 30 to 40 feet deep. Within a few minutes, we sighted a giant creature gliding. It coasted like a Boeing 747. Unbelievable sight! I’ve never seen such a huge living thing (the whale shark is the largest fish species in the world).

Then, it disappeared. For nearly 10 minutes, with the current strong, we waited. No giant. Oh no, we thought. Maybe that was it.

But then, Jourdan Polotan shouted. Shark attack! It floated and slithered. Over 20 feet long with gray/blue colors and white spots scattered around its humongous frame, the butanding drifted. Its heavy body swayed. All our scary eyes sat frozen and transfixed.

It stood up! Yes, another shark, over 25 feet long, stood vertical with its tail nearly touching the bottom floor and its mouth open to devour the baby shrimps (“uyap”).

In our 30 minutes on water, we saw three or four whale sharks. Once, I was so near touching one (maybe two meters away) until a boatman called for me to stay farther. At another time, my mom Allen was aboard the small banca when another whale shark emerged. I shouted for her dive and look. Instead, it was the large fish who lurked near, as if to say, “Hi there, Tita Allen!”

In all—like all who’ve swam in Oslob—it’s a memory to treasure for life. I’ve had a chance to visit aquariums from San Diego to Singapore—but never to swim with these jumbo fishes.

TIPS. For those planning to visit for the first time, here are some suggestions:

Go now! This is No. 1. Why? We can’t control these giants. What if, next month, they decide to have a Board of Sharks Meeting and say, “Let’s transfer to Leyte or Camiguin.” Go now. And be there early: 5:30 A.M.

Visit on a weekday. We camped in Bojloon on Sunday and, early Monday, we traversed to Oslob. Sure, hundreds of people still lined up… but not thousands. Mondays to Thursdays are best.

Go with friends and family. Our group from the BCBP included: Jourdan and Jingle Polotan; Benjie, Connie, Bea and Bienco Cimafranca; Albert, Lynn Rose, Krisha and Chleo Nuñez; Docks, Reshel, Patricia and Krista Rodriguez; Francis, Michelle, Micco and Micaela Palmares; Jack and Malu Mendez; my wife Jasmin, daughter Jana and mom Allen Z.

Stay at Granda Resort. Yes, this is an endorsement: the exclusive resort in Boljoon is only 25 minutes from the site. The breathtaking property sits at the corner of a cove and the famous Baluarte (tower) resides within their property. And, guess what: it’s owned by Stu and Anne Gould, the parents of Chad Gould, the member of the PHL Azkals. Said Mrs. Gould: “Chad, Phil and James (Younghusband) would come here twice a year!”

Wear a rash guard. My only complaint (not anyone’s fault) was the sporadic jellyfish stings that now scatter around my body. Apart from shorts and the life vest, my bare skin was exposed to the tiny jellyfish. No, they’re not visible and plenty—but they’ll sting. Cover your body. (On the lifevest: if you can bring your own, better; the ones we borrowed were not snug-fit and would float up to our necks.)

Bring your own mask and snorkel. Or borrow from a friend and sterilize. It’s more hygienic. Also, bring an underwater camera. If not, they have one for rent at P500.

Eat a little before heading for the water. This will give you enough energy to visit another must-see site after: Oslob Waterfalls.

Finally, to the Oslob officials and the DOT: you have the country’s best tourist attraction! Continue the orderly system; impose further strict measures. Invest the millions you’ll generate back to improvements. Maybe have a glass-bottom boat?

Sports Wishes for the New Year

Boying Rodriguez: 1) Fred Uytengsu invited Lance Armstrong to the XTERRA—I hope he can make it! Wow! 2) A successful Cobra Ironman Triathlon this August. As of today, 1,200+ registered coming from 40 countries! 3) I hope I recover from all the holiday eating and have a decent time in the Cebu Marathon!

Rico Navarro: I pray that the sports industry be united to push Cebu as the country’s sports capital. This covers a lot of ground from: all sports stakeholders to have the same mindset; competent hosting of events; having the most competitive athletes in all events; and having all sports/events/local NSA’s taking a united stand for all their activities.

Al Mendoza: For Pres. Noynoy to chase the masterminds of the illegal loggers that triggered deaths at the height of Sendong’s fury up to the ends of the earth. For the Pacquiao-Mayweather fight not to push through. For me to visit Liverpool, England, the birthplace of The Beatles.

Igi Maximo: To represent Cebu and race for my country in the 2012 Asian Junior Cycling Championships in Malaysia and the World Juniors in Netherlands. To be an example to the youth that being a student-elite athlete is possible. That schools would support cycling and include it in their varsity program.

Cecil Mamiit. 1) Wishing a lot of luck and success to the young tennis players with a lot of motivation and inspiration to be the next tennis hopeful to really represent the Philippines in whatever level or opportunity given to them. 2) Wishing a greater number of supporters that will be new to give help to fund or volunteer work to put tennis in a higher level with greater number of players and coaches… which we can call a great supporting cast for tennis. 3) Wishing health and guidance to a lot of the Philippine athletes to really make a possible push for Olympics.

Graeme Mackinnon: 1) That the AZKALS v CF Madrid, DILI KAMO NAG-IISA game at Rizal on Jan. 7 be a success in raising funds for the victims of Sendong. 2) That the 2012 Olympics be controversy free and be a TV fans paradise. 3) That GLOBAL FC will take out the UFL League in Manila.

Mike Limpag: Another semis stint or two for the Azkals in the Challenge Cup and Suzuki Cup, another slam or two for Maria Sharapova and I hope to run a couple of 21Ks and my first marathon.

Brian Lim: 1) Sports Tourism in Cebu to grow – emerging sports such as rugby, flag football, airsoft, electronic sports, mixed martial arts, water sports. 2) Get a multipurpose field built – For emerging sports to practice along with traditional sports. 3) To carry out the Great Cebu Sports Festival.. drawing attention to Cebu as a sporting destination.

Jean Henri Lhuillier: Wishing the best for the Philippine Tennis Academy (PTA) and that these players play to the best of their ability… to the success of the Davis Cup team. Wishing that the Cebuana Gems win the 2nd season of the PBA d league.

Yong Larrazabal: 1) That Filipinos would love the Phils. even more by stopping illegal logging, illegal poaching of its wildlife and destroying/wasting our natural resources. 2) That Cebu would regain its spot as the no.1 city in terms of quality of life, Sports and Medical Tourism. 3) That only 1 run be allowed every Sunday in Cebu so as to build a strong camaraderie among runners and not to induce divisiveness.

Noy Jopson: Cobra Ironman 70.3 offering Kona slots again. My wifey Amale improving at least 18 seconds on her 3:46.17 Marathon PR and qualifying for Boston. Our new The Brick Multi-Sport Store at the J Center Mall fulfilling the needs of the Cebu Triathlon community.

Samsam Gullas: Filipino unity. Fighting together, not against each other for one common goal. Everyone will do their part to help out in the recent flooding in Cagayan, Iligan and Dumaguete. Pacquiao fights Floyd and knocks Floyd out. Double championship for UV basketball.

Guy Concepcion: That Lance Armstrong joins the XTERRA Phils. in Liloan. That all participants have a good/safe race in XTERRA and Ironman 70.3 Phils.

Jack Biantan: Pacquiao vs Mayweather fight to push through. More success for the Azkals. Gold medal finish for the Phils. in the London Games.

Jesse Bernad: That leadership in the Philippine Amateur Baseball Association be resolved so that baseball can move on with newer programs. That local leaders continue to support baseball/softball with tournaments and provide an adequate playing field. That Cebu shall send the best team to the 2012 Little League Baseball and Softball Philippine Series.

Ricky Ballesteros: To finish the newly-refurbished track oval before March. Cebu Sports Museum and Hall Fame to complement the Cebu City Sports Center. Host the Palarong Pambansa or any international competition.

Michael Aldeguer
: 1) For all the Filipinos to unite for the good of our country. 2) Philippine Boxing to bring more pride and joy to the Filipinos all over the world. 3) AJ Banal and Milan Melindo to fight for World titles as both are WBO rated #1 and #2.

Cebu’s SRP and Singapore’s Marina Bay

The best way to travel when visiting a new city is not via bus, MRT, or taxi. It’s not even while riding on a chauffeur-driven E-class Mercedes Benz. It’s by foot. I did that last Friday. Starting at 7 in the morning, I stepped outside our hotel and was greeted by the Singapore sunshine. I walked, stretched, jogged towards the Singapore Recreation Club, just 300 meters away, where green fields awaited. Football rectangles, covered with pristine grass, smiled. Then, I saw a sight that sparkled: Grass courts. Yes. The same ones you’ll see tonight on Star Sports. The club is exclusive and I did not carry my Babolat gear—so no chance to swing a volley. But the sight was more enticing than any 70-percent-off store in the Singapore Sale.

I ran. Along the famous The Fullerton Hotel, I glided. This was the same strip that our Cebu Executive Runners Club (CERC) group passed during the 2008 Singapore Marathon. I relived that 42K. As sweat rolled down my cheeks while running, another smile emerged. For that’s the secret of running; the satisfaction earned comes from within. Some call it “runner’s high” or “adrenaline rush.”

In Singapore, running is the most popular recreational sport. At their annual Marathon held every first Sunday of December, 50,000 join. Last Friday, I saw snippets of that as dozens exercised, planting one rubber shoe in front of another.

The best part of running Singapore? The Marina Bay. You’ve seen the Marina Bay Sands Hotel. Its design adorns every postcard of this first-world nation. With three colossal towers standing to hold a “boat” at the summit, the sight is majestic. (It’s the world’s most expensive stand-alone casino at $8 billion.) The Marina Bay Sands is the Eiffel Tower… The Burj… the Petronas Towers of Singapore. It’s now the land’s most photographed structure.

Imagine running beside the Sands? For that’s what amazes you about Singapore: their planning and consideration for open, clean and green space. Along the Marina Bay is a boardwalk. That’s where, for 90 minutes, I ran. That’s where you’ll find tourists and locals strolling. It’s a haven for exercise that’s exercise heaven. Fresh air. The water streaming beside you. The Esplanade (or “durian”). I even found solar panels scattered around the boardwalk that provided lighting and cooling (with large fans) to passers-by.

Just last year, when Singapore hosted the Youth Olympic Games, they built the Youth Olympic Park. Plus, around Marina Bay are the Singapore Flyer (Ferris wheel) and the Helix Bridge.

Which got me to thinking: this is how our South Road Properties (SRP) should aim to look like. The similarities with Marina Bay are obvious. Both are on reclaimed land. Both sit on large tracts of land (ours is 300 hectares; theirs is 360). Both sleep beside the water.  Our city leaders should visit the Marina Bay project—and copy portions of it for the SRP.

Back to running; another thought came to mind: the Ungo Runners (Max Limpag) vs. Bobby Nalzaro debate on “Road Revolution.” Max and his fellow runners immensely enjoyed that Sunday when Osmeña Blvd. was closed to vehicles; Bobby opposed it. In Singapore, there’s no quarrel. There’s no need for road closure. Why? Because they’ve got sidewalks, open spaces, boardwalks, parks. We don’t. What we don’t have is strategic thinking. (Decades back, Lee Kuan Yew set aside wide roads and planted huge trees that now benefit his people.) Which leads me back to SRP. This open area is the only one we’ve got to do right. There’s nothing much we can do to save our Cebu City inner city roads. They’re narrow with zero sidewalks.

The SRP is bare. The Marina Bay (www.marina-bay.sg) is our best, nearby example. Their vision? “A green-field site surrounded by water and gardens… that provides an opportunity for further urban transformation, attracting new investments, visitors and talent, as well as becoming a new destination for the local community.” They call it “Garden City by the Bay.” How should our SRP be named?

Sayang! How Cebu missed a mega-chance

If there’s one magazine I suggest you buy, it’s this: “A Tribute to The Legend.” On the cover, in black-and-white, is the Congressman from Sarangani raising his boxing gloves after another victorious fight. All of 73 pages of glossy photos and innumerable facts, if you’re a Manny Pacquiao fan—who isn’t except Antonio Margarito?—then you ought to visit Fully Booked or National Bookstore to get one. We know PacMan is the greatest Filipino athlete ever—and his heroics may never be surpassed. And so I consider this P299 booklet a collector’s item—something I’ll show my grandson 28 years from now.
MILO. This weekend and the next, a total of 5,000 girls and boys will kick in sepak takraw, glide through the blue water in swimming, flick their wrists in ping-pong, score a header like Spain’s football team, and smash an overhead badminton lob. It’s back. The 15th Milo Little Olympics, like it does for two Saturdays and Sundays each August, is in Cebu. In total, 207 schools will compete for the golden medallions. Thanks to Nestle.

FACEBOOK. Having resisted joining the cult for years, I finally relented three months ago. Today, like you, I’m one of 500,000,000 users of the most widespread social network in this planet. I don’t get to visit each day. But when I do, what do I do? I scan comments and browse photos. Just this week, I’ve learned a technique to upload multiple photos (I know, I’m a FB latecomer!). And so, to all those who joined last January’s Cebu City Marathon, I’ve posted in my FB never-before-released “01-10-10” photos. Check it out.

MEGADOME. Remember the time when Gov. Gwen Garcia’s father, Pablo Paras Garcia, was our Cebu governor? And how he proposed to build the Cebu Megadome? How I wished the current Representative of Cebu’s Second District made that a reality. Imagine Cebu with a world-class stadium? That’s air-conditioned? With comfortable seats? And electronic timing devices plus a giant LCD screen hanging at the center?

We wish. This thought came to mind while sweating at last Saturday’s opening of the Cesafi. Inside the oven called the Cebu Coliseum, there’s only this good news: you exercise by perspiring as much as the basketball players you’re watching.

I can’t blame the Coliseum owners, Frederick Ong and Atty. Gus Go. They’d have to invest hundreds of millions to cool our bodies and fully-rehabilitate this derelict structure. And the all-important three letters in business—ROI—does not look good. That’s why the Cebu Megadome was essential. We had the money. Pabling Garcia had the vision. Sadly, due to critics, due to the then-Provincial Board’s obstructionist tactics, what we have is the CICC. Good. But not good enough. The Megadome would have been far more productive. Imagine PBA games between San Miguel Beer and Alaska. Volleyball contests by short-shorts-wearing Brazilian hotties. Roger Federer vs. Rafael Nadal (hahaha). Futsal. Badminton’s Lin Dan vs. Lee Chong Wei. Lady Gaga in concert. All possible with the Megadome. Sayanga uy!

TIGER. What’s wrong with him? After winning seven of 11 at the Firestone Country Club in Akron, Ohio (LeBron’s hometown), what does Mr. Woods do? He shoots a 4-over 74 in Round One and, the next day, scores 2-over. Excluding his performance last night (RP time), he’s tied for 75th place out of 81. Unbelievable. Tiger is 6th… to the last!

Is it the impending divorce? The worldwide condemnation? Maybe. One thing’s for sure: Golf is mental and what’s damaged is the tissue found between Tiger’s ears. It used to be his strength. The CPU that his body accessed like a computer to win. Now, that CPU has malfunctioned. Inside, there’s a virus. And this disease inside his brain is affecting his putting… everything. And with TW about to lose the No.1 mantle to Phil Mickelson and with him turning 35 years old this December, can he still break it? I mean, his 14 majors overtake the 18 of Jack Nicklaus? While we thought this was 100 percent sure—before a Cadillac SUV smashed a tree—now, we’re unsure. So is Tiger. Mr. Unsure.

ACTIVE ZONE at Ayala Center Cebu

This October will be exciting. Apart from Barack Obama trying to convince the IOC officials to choose Chicago in 2016 (and Brazilian President Lula Da Silva reminding the delegates that never before has a South American nation hosted the Olympics), this month will be fascinating.

Here in Cebu, we will see, for the first time, the opening of an all-sports, all-lifestyle, all-wellness center. The venue? Ayala Center Cebu. Remember the former Ayala Food and Entertainment Center, where the likes of Ratsky and Don Henrico’s and Tequila Joe’s used to be found? Continue reading ACTIVE ZONE at Ayala Center Cebu