More than eight years ago (Dec. 8, 1999, to be exact), I wrote a feature story in The Freeman newspaper on a young triathlete named Chris Aldeguer. At that time, Chris was less than two years into the sport and, as we look back now, would continue to compete in triathlon for three more years and eventually join 100 races. I dug through my files and, good news, was able to find that Dec. 8, ’99 interview. So here it is…
Chris Aldeguer is by no means an ordinary athlete. The 24-year-old youngest son of Cebu’s acknowledged Godfather of Sports, Antonio Aldeguer, holds a key position in the family-owned business. He’s VP for Marketing of some of the country’s most recognizable brands: Loalde, Islands Souvenirs, Wacky, USA Sports, Bisaya Ispisyal. The fact Chris still has time for sports is, in itself, amazing. But mind you, what’s most extraordinary is Chris is not just into any sport, but the ultimate of sports: Triathlon. Here’s his story, I’m sure it will inspire you….
ALA is The Father. You know him. Everyone knows him. Mention the words “boxing” and “godfather” and “Cebu” in the same line and you receive one reply: Antonio Lopez Aldeguer.
ALA has three children—all boys. The eldest is Jay. You know Jay. If you read this paper’s Business Section or visit the Ayala or SM malls and gaze at the Sinulog colors of Islands Souvenirs, then you know the creative genius behind the Aldeguer Group of Companies. That’s Jay. Next, there’s Michael. And this ‘007, nobody’s been more visible than Michael. If you recall the World Cup of Boxing, it was Michael in gelled hair and dark black suit who climbed the ring as manager of Boom-Boom and AJ. The eloquent speaker and new face of the ALA Boxing Gym? That’s Michael.
ALA’s youngest son? His name is Christopher Myles.
My good friend Noel Villaflor, the former Copy Editor and, at one time, Sports Editor, of Sun.Star Cebu, has returned to writing. Today, Saturday (Dec. 29), is the first day of his first column on the sports pages of the leading regional newspaper in the Philippines.
Noel is a big, big football fan. He follows the worldwide football news, reads about the latest RP soccer stories and, best of all, plays football himself. So his column, aptly called “FOOTNOTE,” is perfect for Cebu. You can read his column here.
If you’re still in search of gifts to hand out this Monday night, search no more: Buy the gift of exercise. No, no, no. You can’t burn calories for your mom, spouse or best friend—but you can buy a gift that’ll make him or her sweat. Here are some suggestions…
Treadmill. Ever since 12 months ago when I started running and running—my mileage up to 65 kms. per week now—the best purchase I’ve made is a treadmill. Our family started with a P25,000 machine. It was good. For six months. Then the rubber padding contracted a disease: It wouldn’t turn well. And so a few months ago, considering four in our family use the machine, we bought a P70,000 Kettler unit from JB Sports in SM. Today, if there’s rain outside or I want to sprint at 12 noon—which I would never do on the asphalt road—I jump on the treadmill. Simply put, it’s the best exercise equipment we’ve purchased.
More than two years ago (on Nov. 27, 2005, to be exact), I wrote this article about the Opening Ceremony of the SEAG here in Cebu City…
If you were among the 20,000 who screamed and raised fists in the air last Friday night at the Cebu City Sports Center, you’ll shout this in unison with me, “I’m proud to be Filipino! I’m proud to be Cebuano!”
I’ve watched many shows in my life—from Gary V and Martin Nievera concerts to the Ati-atihan and Maskara festivals to The Phantom of the Opera in New York City’s Broadway. But believe me, nothing gave me more goose bumps, nothing made my blood pressure zoom past its limit and my heart pump three times faster than the opening bang of the 23rd SEA Games.
I remember the 23rd Southeast Asian (SEA) Games. That was just 24 months ago. The venue? Our very own, the Philippines. I remember RP’s No.1 song then, “Pinoy Ako.” We sang the Orange and Lemons tune, nodded our heads, swayed our hips, waved, danced, and pointed our right index finger to the sky signaling that, yes, we’re number “1.”
“Eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow we shall…. diet!”
Haven’t you noticed? Santa Claus singing this tune every single Christmas for hundreds of centuries now to no avail? And for good reason…
Think of that mouth-watering La Marea warm-brownie cup. Or the turtle pie only Coffee Bean perfects. Or Homebakers’ merceditas and Leona’s Chocolate Surprise. Feast your taste buds on Victoria pineapple ham, Marca Piña queso de bola, fruit cake, Dondi Joseph’s red wines…
But wait, ho-ho-hold it! Before gorging any further, did you know that U.S. studies have concluded that the average weight gain during Christmas is seven pounds! Yup. Seven pounds of excess baggage. And we’re going to pay for it. Funny how we spend 11 months flicking that shuttlecock, pushing that barbell, or rolling down those tenpin orbs—only to lose it all in three weeks!
Two years ago when the Philippines hosted the 23rd Southeast Asian (SEA) Games, we won our first-ever overall title. We bested powerhouse nations like Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia. It was a historic moment in our sports history and made us all sing and dance to the tune of “Pinoy Ako.” You and I were proud to say… PINOY AKO!
Fast forward to 2007: In the past week or so, we’ve been deluged by sad news after sad news coming from Thailand. The defending champions have lost! Today, it’s official: From first place just 24 months ago, the Philippines has slipped and is down to sixth place in the SEA Games.
When we won the SEAG title in 2005, I wrote an article that appeared in Sun.Star Cebu entitled, “Why We’re Champions.” Here’s the article below…
(All photos, including below, by top Cebu photographer Benjie Ordonez)
We won because of basketball. Thanks to its no-show, one million and five spectators instead scattered and spread out among the different sports.
We won because of Paeng Nepomuceno, the six-time world bowling champion. No, Paeng did not compete. But each morning at 9 last week, he showed up at the Pearl Bowling Center and calmed the shaking hands of his fellowmen. Here at home, we won because of Danao Mayor Ramonito Durano and Oscar “Boying” Rodriguez of mountain-biking and dancesports’ Edward and Eleanor Hayco.
Congratulations to Cebu’s very own, Fr. Vicente Uy, for being appointed yesterday as the Executive Director of the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC).Next to PSC Chairman Butch Ramirez, his position wields the most power. But Fr. Vic, one of the humblest people I’ve met, is not overawed. In an interview, he told Manila Bulletin’s Nick Giongco: “I don’t look at it as a position of power.”
At 7:15 p.m. yesterday, I got the chance to talk to Fr. Vic for a few minutes. I congratulated him and asked how his day went. “It’s only my second day so, as expected, I was very busy,” he said over the phone. “I’m at the airport now to welcome our SEA Games athletes who are returning home.”
I’ve known Fr. Vic Uy for many years now and it’s hard to find a nicer person. Here in Cebu, he yielded influence. At the University of San Carlos, he held one of the school’s highest positions as VP for Finance. To relinquish his role, he sought the permission of USC President Fr. Rod Salazar. “I asked for a ‘leave of absence’ from USC,” I recall Fr. Vic, 58, telling me a few months back. “And good thing my colleagues at USC understood my mission to help RP sports.”
Jun San Juan, the Vice-President of the Cebu Volleyball Association (CEVA) and the husband of one of Cebu’s all-time greats in volleyball, Marichu San Juan, sent me these photos of the various events CEVA has organized. Together with Governor Gwen F. Garcia and CEVA President Glenn Soco, this organization has done a lot for Cebu sports. Check out these photos…