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.

DepEd’s Borgonia: Please explain the rules

My daughter Jana, who is 12 years old and in Grade 6, competed in the Cebu City Olympics last October. Her sport was tennis. Among the many who swung backhands and volleys, she finished second. She’d represent Cebu City in the Central Visayas Regional Athletic Association (Cviraa) meet. That came last November when, together with her grandparents Jack and Malu Mendez, we traveled to Dumaguete City for five days. Out of the dozens of elementary girls from Bohol, Tuburan, Dumaguete, Mandaue and more, Jana reached the finals. She lost to Zethley Mae Alferez of Naga. But, by claiming second place, she would represent Region VII. She qualified for the Palaro.

Or so we thought. Because, days after, an announcement was broadcasted: Palarong Pambansa selection was unfinished! What? We were confused.

Fast forward to today—Feb. 6—and still, no final list has been announced. I’m glad Cebu City Vice Mayor Joy Augustus Young voiced out his sentiments. Last Thursday, in an article penned by ace writer Marian Baring, VM Young said: “I am very much disappointed. We had targeted to improve the region’s finish in the Palarong Pambansa but the DepEd has decided to choose another path and this is throwing the plan off…  It defeats the purpose of holding the regional meet earlier. Mao ra gihapon mura ra ta nag Cviraa og February because until now, we do not have the final list of athletes and it’s already February.”

I have spoken to parents, coaches and even several DepEd officials about this and they, too, are confused. Ruel Dihiansan, my close buddy from the Rotary Club of Cebu West, called me to complain. His daughter, Janel, is one of the best badminton players in this island. Janel qualified for the Palaro. Unfortunately, she was asked to join another “elimination tournament.” But, as Ruel explained, that weekend coincided with Janel’s Juniors-Seniors Prom.

“What if Janel loses?” Ruel asked. Does this mean she’ll no longer go to the Palaro? What use was the Cvriaa? Is this small-time elimination event more important than the regional sports meet?

In another example, a champion gymnast who won in the Cviraa was stricken with fever during the day of the eliminations. He could not join. Does this mean he’s no longer part of the Team Region VII?

Three weeks ago, I sought clarification. Two times, I called the office of Dept. of Education Regional Director Recaredo “Ric” Borgonia. He was in Manila. I left my number and requested for a return call. I mentioned that I was a concerned Cebuano: a parent, a Sun.Star writer, a member of the sports community. We never spoke. (Well, if Vice Mayor Joy Young himself asked to speak to the regional director and got snubbed, I’m not surprised he didn’t entertain my calls.)

Dr. Borgonia, whom I have yet to meet, I am sure, is a fine man. His reputation–as reinforced by Godofredo Roperos’ column last Friday: “I know that Ric is a careful planner himself and is a career executive service officer”–is positive. That is irrefutable.

But, as head of our athletes, he has to be more forthright and clear. He must answer this query: What use was the Cviraa? This supposed “performance evaluation”–postponed twice already (it was originally set two weekends ago)–is a subjective way of choosing athletes.

Sports—anywhere around the world—is successful because of its objectivity. In running, whoever crosses that finish line first wins the gold. In the NBA or PBA or any “liga-liga,” whoever scores more points when the final whistle is blown, wins. In chess, whoever is “check-mated,” loses; in football, the team with more goals wins. Simple. Erasing this objectivity—and replace it with a subjective way of choosing—robs the sport. It’s unfair. It makes the Cviraa useless.

With only 93 days left before Dapitan City lights the torch opening the Palaro, I hope, on this matter, for one thing from the Department of Education: educate us.

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.

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.

Good Sportsmanship: will we see this after tomorrow?

Out of the 10 presidential candidates, only one will emerge as the President of the Republic of the Philippines. Nine will lose. Out of eight vice-presidential aspirants, seven will be defeated. Of the 61 vying for the 12 senatorial slots, 49 will go home millions of pesos poorer and become, like you and me, an ordinary Filipino mamamayan.

Here in Cebu, either Tommy Osmeña or Atan Guardo will lose. Same with Mike and Alvin and Georgia and the seven others vying to be Cebu City mayor: only one will smile 40 hours from today while the beaten candidates will sulk and cry foul. Jonas or Nerissa? Pelaez vs. Radaza? Tining or Benhur? In each contest, only one wins. Plenty lose.

It’s like sports. One is awarded the Olympic gold medal while dozens, sitting below, dejected, look up at the podium where the smiling champion stands tall. In sports, like politics, there’s no second place. “You don’t win silver,” someone once said. “You lose the gold.” That’s life. That’s politics. That’s sport.

The question is, after tomorrow, will these multitude of beaten candidates for councilors and congressmen and vice mayors and governors—will they, like good sports, accept defeat?

Sadly, the answer is often NO. It’s easy to complain. To say that you’ve been cheated, that your opponent did this dirty-trick or that vote-buying or this smear-job. Nanikas siya, plenty argue. Sure, sore losers do that. My interest is this: Who can accept defeat like John McCain? Or Hillary Clinton?

If you recall, the U.S. elections in November 2008 was one of the fiercest. Out of near-obscurity, this neophyte black senator from Chicago named Barack Obama had the temerity to run for president. He had the guts to attempt becoming the most powerful man in the world! And Obama dared battle against the seemingly-unbeatable Mrs. Clinton, the former first lady. Obama won. Against John McCain, we know who won.

My point is this: In both contests, first in the Democratic primary, as soon as Hillary lost, promptly, she faced CNN and the worldwide audience to accept defeat. Though the battle was long and ruthless, Hillary congratulated Barack and vowed to support him. McCain? The same. In less than 30 minutes of Obama’s victory, the former POW hero stood before his Republican base to proclaim Obama’s greatness.

That’s greatness. That’s fairness. That’s being a good sport. That’s in America, not in the Philippines.

My wish is, like good sports who’ve fought hard but came in second or third or seventh place, tomorrow’s losers will possess the same poise and class.

Remember MVP? Manny V. Pangilinan was disgraced last month when it was uncovered that parts of his Ateneo graduation speech were copied from, among others, J.K. Rowling and Oprah. MVP promptly resigned as Ateneo chairman. He returned his honorary doctorate degree. That’s class. That’s accepting a mistake and moving on. That’s being a good sport. MVP’s move reminds me of my all-time favorite quotation: “I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career, lost almost 300 games, missed the game-winning shot 26 times. I’ve failed over and over again in my life. That is why I succeed.” Who said that? Michael Jordan.

Losing is painful. Though I’ve never been a political candidate—and, in all likelihood, never will be one—I can imagine the suffering of the loser: months of campaigning are now history, all that hand-shaking, the pulong-pulongs, the non-stop smiling. Losing is dreadful. Nobody wants to lose. But, in this earth and since we’re not yet in heaven, this is reality. Though inhuman, it’s being human. Only one wins. In politics. In sports.

That’s why to me, as much as I’ll be impressed by tomorrow’s winners—for their political acumen in victory—my loudest applause and proudest salute will go more to the losing candidates who accept, quickly and with humility, defeat. As basketball coach Harry Sheeny once said: “It is your response to winning and losing that makes you a winner or a loser.”

Categorized as Cebu City

Comments on the Palarong Pambansa

Four (4) responses I received yesterday from the Palaro article….

Joy Augustus Young, BOPK vice mayor candidate for Cebu City and the main proponent of the 1994 Palaro Games in Cebu City: “As long as somebody else is interested to bid and host the Palaro, we will never bid. We will offer to give the opportunity to others who have not yet hosted. That’s our policy and the reason why…”

Graeme Mackinnon, Cebu Hall of Fame awardee, now residing in Australia: “Good morning John. Interesting article. Does the renovation of the sports center complex track also include the football field as well. Hopefully if it does they will do it correctly this time with underground drainage as well as a the proper foundation that will give the grass a chance to grow correctly. Of course with the heavy traffic that the ground gets it will always suffer. Is the football ground still used for the cadet training or has playing soldiers been scrapped.

“Any way you would expect that if the Palaro was to be held in Cebu football would be played at the Aboitiz fields. Incidentally John in all the number of Palaro’s has any city hosted on multiple occasions? Let’s hope that this promise of the long overdue renovation of the rubberized track is not a vote catcher (why am I so skeptical of political promises) and that it will indeed push through.

“On another note, TV ads are beginning to appear here now for Roland Garros which trumpets the beginning of the European Grand Slams (French and Wimbledon). At this early stage picking a winner is like trying to pick the winning numbers of the Lotto. There are just too many combinations. Nobody is dominating at the moment which would through up a first choice favorite for the title. Even among the women’s I think it will a choice of many with Kim and Serena most probably the frontrunners.

“It all means that the Slams are going to be throwing up “unexpected” results maybe in some instances in the very early rounds. Are you salivating at the prospect John? It is going to be very interesting. Too bad the games here are televised so late LIVE. Oh well I can always catch up with the re-plays during the daylight hours. Catch you later mate. Graeme”

John Henry Osmeña, former Senator of the Philippines: “PALARO will come to Cebu City when I am Mayor. We will build a new Cebu City Sports Center at the SRP with both track oval and basketball coliseum, athlete’s accommodations, sports academy and a parking facility for both buses and cars. Cebu City will be a sports MECA. PBA will play here twice monthly.”

Atty. Mike Yu, president of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) – Cebu City chapter: “Hi John. The purpose of holding Palaro alternatively Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao and not in the same province is to expand the exposure of sports nationwide. Other provinces need also modern facilities in the hope that it will sustain the sports program in that locality after the Palaro. Just like in Cebu City after the Palaro in 1994, I have not seen any upward surge in sports involvement. Not in my time from 1983 to 1985. Let us support the national program the Palaro was intended for. Our city has grown. Perhaps we can host our own premiere sport to rival the Palaro… the Cebu City Games which can be held a week after Palaro so that the players are still in peak form. Start toying with this idea.

“We should not forget the purpose. Palaro is the grassroots sports program. A program followed from other countries. It starts from the Unit Meet, the winners advance to the Provincial Meet, then advance to the Regional Level. The best of the best fight it out in the Palarong Pambansa, the national meet. The best of the Palaro are recruited by Gintong Alay to represent our country in international competition. It’s simple… daghan lang buaya!”

Categorized as Cebu City

When will Cebu City host the Palaro?

The last time our city organized the “National Games,” as the Palarong Pambansa are called, the president was Fidel V. Ramos, our track oval at the Abellana grounds was brand-new and named the Cebu City Sports Center, and Alvin Garcia and Tommy Osmeña were best friends as vice mayor and mayor.

That was 1994. Since then, cities like Naga, Iloilo, Lingayen, Bacolod, Tacloban, Puerto Princesa and, just concluded yesterday, Tarlac, among others, have hosted one of the largest sports meets of the Philippines.

In fact, when I researched the history of The Palaro, which was restarted in 1974 after a brief hiatus during Martial Law (it was previously named the Bureau of Public Schools-Interscholastic Athletics Association or BPISAA Games), a total of 27 Palarong Pambansa hostings were organized and, lo and behold, Cebu City hosted it only once. Yes. This Queen City of the South, the land preferred by athletes and officials because of our Cebuano hospitality, our showmanship (“Pit Senyor!”), our SM City mall and Ayala Center restaurants, our location at the center of the archipelago—yes, despite all these advantages, we’ve only hosted one Palaro the past 27 times.

Unbelievable. Preposterous. Sure, there are dozens of other cities spanning Batanes to Tawi-Tawi that can host these every-summer-Games, but, if a survey were to be conducted with the question, posed to competitors and sports leaders nationwide, “Which city would you want to go to next?” I bet the query would yield an answer that has four letters.

For Cebu has proven itself. Just look at the Milo Little Olympics. Last year, the first-ever nationwide competition (it used to be divided among the Luz-Vis-Min regions) were held at our backyard. Guess what? We electrified the 1,223 participants. During the Opening and Closing Ceremonies—thanks in large part to the overall architect, Ricky Ballesteros—fireworks brightened the black night ceiling, Dancesport Team Cebu City shakers and movers enthralled the audiences, the venues were well-manicured and prepared—everybody was impressed. At the event’s conclusion, my ears opened wide to listen to the comments from our NCR and Mindanao neighbors and, if a rating were to be made, we scored an A+.

For we are Cebu. And when Cebuanos host, we host not a mediocre, so-so banquet but an awe-inspiring party. For here’s the shortcut for the name Cebu: Celebration.

The Palarong Pambansa? The event that’s called The Olympics for the elementary and high school students? Why, I ask, after 27 stagings, have we hosted it only once and, in the past 15 years, have we not hosted any?

The answer, I realized, is elementary. It’s our Sports Center. It’s rotten. It’s oval surface, which used to be called rubber, is now soft clay. It’s decomposing, it’s soft, it has formed corrugated snake lines, it’s crumbling. (In one incident not long ago, a spectator during the Sinulog couldn’t stand up after her pants got glued to the ground’s rubbery surface.)

Ka uwaw. That’s sad. For, like hosting visitors at home, how can we invite guests over if our house is broken? Not for long. Thanks to the P40,000,000 that has been allocated by the city, the oval will finally—after it was built in time for the 1994 Palaro Games—be fixed.

When? Supposedly, now. But, because of the ban on construction projects nearing the elections, our officials have scheduled it after May 10. Which means one beautiful realization: By year’s end, we should have a new Cebu City Sports Center.

Next year’s Palarong Pambansa hosting?     Ha-ha. That’s too soon. Two years from now? Yes. That’s perfect. London hosts the Olympics. Cebu, the 2012 Palaro.

Milo and Nestle: Building champions in life


Last Friday night, I attended a spectacle. The Lumad Basakanon dancers, many-time Sinulog champions, astonished the crowd. Raki Vega sang the Olympic theme, “Reach.” Marichu Jao San Juan, the Hall of Fame volleyball star, helped light the torch. Govt. cabinet secretaries Ace Durano and Jesli Lapuz spoke. So did Vice Mayor Mike Rama.

It was the Opening Ceremony of the 1st Milo Little Olympics National Finals. And, who else to host this “first” but our very own, Cebu City? A total of 2,333 athletes and coaches jam-packed the Cebu City Sports Center. The four contingents that paraded the oval—representing Luzon, Visayas, Mindanao and NCR—were, I’m sure, impressed.

A bad Dream

Meyrick and Perl Jacalan are furious. Devoted sports enthusiasts (Meyrick has completed the Hong Kong and Singapore Marathons and follows F1 racing while Perl finished the Singapore 21K and relishes Federer vs. Nadal), they’re infuriated because they can’t watch any sports.

Hooked up with Dream Satellite TV, since May 1 almost all the top channels have been abolished: There’s no Solar Sports, no ESPN, no Star Sports. Even HBO and Cinemax have been eliminated.

Categorized as Cebu City

Mike Limpag’s column

Another excellent piece from Sun.Star Cebu sports editor Mike Limpag yesterday. To read his full column entitled, “Parents vs. DepEd,” click here.


Categorized as Cebu City