Triathlon, after having pedaled downhill, swims back to life

My good friend EUGENE SANCHEZ, a longtime swimmer, biker and runner all bundled into one (in a word, “triathlete”), emailed me with fantastic news. Says Eugene (who, last Sunday, ran the 10K Rotary Run in a speedy 47 minutes):

“For years, triathlon has been silent in Cebu. Gone were the days when we were represented in national races and Cebuano triathletes placed well in podium finishes. That is, until last Dec. when ex-triathletes unified under one Cebuano Tri-club to bring back the sport.
“Thus, SUGBU TRIATHLON was born. First event was the Pipit-Pipti Mini-Triathlon, which consists of a 300-meter swim, a 15K bike and a 3K run. Entry fee was pegged at only P50—thus the name “pipit-pipti tri.” The first event was held last Jan. at Scuba World in Mactan where 30-plus athletes joined.

“The 2nd Pipti-Pipti Tri event will be held on March 1 at the Bachao Beach Resort in Catmon. Race distance is the same. With Catmon’s flat bike-and-run course, athletes will be treated to a nice day of fun racing… if you consider pushing yourself to your maximum heart rate as fun!

“The people behind Sugbu triathlon are inviting all athletes not just from the swim, bike and run sport, but anybody who’d like to have a go at something different on a Sunday morning. So put on your swimming trunks and goggles, dust off your father’s old bike, grab your worn-out running shoes and head up to Catmon and see if you have the speed and endurance to finish this mini-sprint triathlon. Do the tri, bai.”

Categorized as Triathlon

Trying to be No.1 at Tri, that’s Noy Jopson

I’ve dribbled a basketball, putted on a golf course, swam 25-meter laps, flicked my wrist in badminton, ran 10-Ks along Osmeña Blvd., swung volleys in tennis and mountain-biked to Tops, but the one sport that I have yet to try is…. Tri.

Yes, tri. As in, three. Triathlon is it’s full name and, if one speaks of one of the most backbreaking of endeavors—think of the Ironman and it’s 3.8-km. swim, 180-K bike, and 42-km. run—then you’ve got to try… Tri.

Here in Cebu, when “triathlon” is muttered, one name above all enters my mind: Noy Jopson.

Categorized as Triathlon

Fred Uytengsu lectures on the Olympics

(This photo and the ones below from

He is the CEO of Alaska Milk Corporation, one of the nation’s largest food conglomerates. Yet, for all the business hours and mental strain that he pours into his work, the one passion that is forever etched in Wilfred Steven Uytengsu, Jr.’s DNA is this: Sports.

He swam. “As a young boy,” he said, “I recall watching Mark Spitz win his seven gold medals in Munich which became a defining moment for me to focus on competitive swimming.”

His goal? The Olympics. “Spitz’s feat motivated me to train for the next 12 years (4 hours a day, 6 days a week and 50 weeks a year),” he added. And though Fred did not join the Olympics, he was a member of the RP national team (’78 to ’83) and competed in the SEA Games.

Next, he moved to triathlon, helping form the first RP triathlon club (POLO Tri-Team). His motto, based on what I gathered from a triathlon website, is a fabulous line we can all learn from: “Why (do I do it)? Because we may be measured by what we accomplish, but we are defined by what we attempt.”

Categorized as Triathlon

Running alongside Chris Aldeguer

Last Sunday, we ran. Starting at 5:30 a.m., we jogged a few circles inside Cempark then headed for the Asiatown I.T. Park where, at that early hour, dozens stretched, trotted and biked. Next, we scooted along Juan Luna Ave. then entered the Cebu Business Park and weaved ourselves around the Ayala Center and Marriot Hotel. A few more turns until we scrambled back to finish in Banilad.

My watch? It read 8:15. Nearly three hours had passed and, yes, sweat still dripped off our shorts as our legs continued to push forward. Then, just 100 meters before we finished the 28-km. trek, Chris Aldeguer blurted the question, “Don’t you ask yourself sometimes why you’re doing this?”

‘The Ironman’

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….

Categorized as Triathlon

At the Aldeguer home, Chris is the most athletic

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.