The 2013 Cebu Horse Congress and Festival


A “Horse Congress?” Ha-ha. It’s true. (And I thought only members of Congress did the horsing-around!)

Anton Quisumbing — whom I’ve known for decades since he and my brother-in-law, Jake Mendez, and a group of others co-founded CEOBSA — is back with the annual sporting event.

It’s the 3-day horse show and competition with over 180 participants from Davao, Bukidnon, Cagayan de Oro, Dumaguete, Bohol, Clark, Masbate, Bacolod and Cebu.

“I coined the name, The Cebu Horse Congress and Festival, since it is the biggest gathering of horses, associations and clubs from all over the country,” Anton said.

There will be plenty of activities starting tomorrow until Sunday at the South Road Properties (SRP), at the vacant lot right beside the St. Pedro Calungsod Templete.

First, the races. There will be three types: the Barrel, the Obstacle and the Traditional Oval.

“Horse-racing has always been a favorite spectator sport. Unlike motor (car or bike) racing, the horse is only 1 horse power! And this where the H.P. of the engine derives it’s name from,” Anton said.

“To watch the horse and rider maneuver thru the obstacles, you will be able to see the seasoned riders and horses flawlessly and effortlessly.”

Here’s how the event will look like: Two riders of the same handicap (level) will race through a course (mirror courses); then, they switch after the 1st heat.. total of two heats per rider.

They’ll also offer the following classes: Class A (big horses), Class B (medium-sized horses) and Class C (“Bisaya class,” Anton says). “Very fun to watch,” he adds.

In the Barrel race, there are further divisions: expert, intermediate, novice, youth, auxiliary, royal and kiddies. There’s room for all horses and competitors.

The president of the Philippine Horsemen’s Federation, Anton explains that this weekend will not be all about horse-racing.

There’s also serious horse-talk. Expert speakers have been invited to talk about a variety of topics. For example, said Anton, “Horse-shoeing technicians from abroad will lecture about modern ways to shoe your horse.”

Also, as part of their advocacy, there’s a Program that allows Vet students to enroll and apply the 1-week activity as part of their Clinics, which is part of the Vet-med curriculum.

Topics, listed by Anton, include the following: (1) Horse handling/transport from Pier to venue thru a trailer or livestock transporter; (2) Animal health management before/ during and post event; and (3) Processing of travel documents and inspection of papers/ permits. (Dr. Alice Utlang of the Cebu City Veterinary Office is heading this weeklong program.)

Several instutitions will also be busy joining this weekend, among them: the PVMA (Philippine Veterinary Medical Association), Cebu City Veterinary and Fisheries Department, Department of Agriculture Region 7 Quarantine dept and Livestock Dept., Visayan State University (VSU), SouthWestern University (Vet dept) and more.

Thus, the term, “Horse Congress.” Spearheading this event is, of course, CEOBSA — which stands for the Cebu Equine Owners Breeders Sportsmen’s Assocation — an organization that started in 1997. Since their founding year, they’ve organized the annual Horse-racing competition.

CEOBSA is assisted by two city-led groups: the Cebu City Sports Commission, headed by Ed Hayco; and the Cebu City Tourism Commission.

“The Horse Congress and Festival will help promote sports in the grassroots and will help promote sports-tourism, eco-tourism and animal welfare awareness,” adds Anton.

Finally, and as a way of inviting the Cebuano public this weekend at the SRP, the owner of the Big Q Farm — Anton Quisumbing — says: “This is the biggest horse event in the Philippine Horsemen’s Circuit.. it is the Kick of the year. Entrance is free. Plus, for the kids (at minimal fees), there will be pony rides!”

Categorized as SRP

Brian Lim leads the Cebu Sports Festival

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

My mom Allen (far right)