May 30, 2017

A Unique Outreach

With outreach programs traditionally practiced during the Christmas season, seventy select students of Bonbon Elementary School in Cebu City became beneficiaries of a one-of-a-kind outreach program. 

The outreach on January 2, 2012 was organized by Dream Foundation led by PAREF Springdale Alumnus & Philippine Azkal Player, Paolo Pascual, and Miss Earth Philippines-Water 2011, Murielle Adrienne Orais. Some alumni of PAREF Springdale Batch 2008 and 2007, and friends joined them. 

It doesn't come as a surprise why Bonbon was chosen as the venue. It's because Paolo's high school batch of 2008 pioneered the outreach in Bonbon Elementary School during their senior year. Since then, Bonbon Elementary School officially became an adopted-school of PAREF Springdale School with already three work missions organized by subsequent batches.

At exactly 10:40 AM, the activity started with a short introduction of the team members. Fun games were played that broke the ice and created a bonding between the kids and the Dream Foundation Team; filling the school with loud cheers and laughter. The pupils were then treated to lunch and gifts. 

Notwithstanding the celebrity status of Muriel and Paolo, the short program was without any press.

They’ve both implied that the children’s smiles and their simple “thank you’s” are in themselves PRICELESS! Their example reminds one of a proverbial phrase, “But when you are giving in charity, let not your left hand perceive what your right hand is doing.”

Text by Choy Tura

IGIMAX makes waves in Tour of Bohol

CEBU, Philippines – Promising Cebuano junior cyclist Luis Miguel "Igimax" Maximo of YKKBikes bagged the juniors title in Stage 1 of the 90-kilometer Tour of Bohol over the weekend.

The 16-year-old Igimax, a fourth year high school student and Student Council President of PAREF Springdale, finished the lung-busting race in two hours, 53 minutes and 23 seconds.

Foto grabbed from Igi's Facebook

"It was a tough race for me. I was behind by 33 minutes from the overall winner and that is a big gap in our sport. I could have done better if not for a stomach upset (hyper acidity) during race day," said the Sportswriters Association of Cebu (SAC) awardee.

It was also the first time that Igimax made use of his new equipment courtesy of Fizin, an Italian cycling company which is the lalest addition to his growing list of corporate backers.

"What I like most about the race is that I was able to try my new equipment provided by Fizik and YKK. The Fizik saddle is very comfortable to sit on even if you have to ride 90 kilometers," Igimax said.

Another Cebuano rider and The Freeman columnist JV Araneta also made a good showing as he landed at eighth place in the men's open category 4 with the time of two hours, 27 minutes and 48 seconds.

The tough race was participated in by amateur and executive cyclists from Manila, Luzon, Cebu, Bohol and other cities.

It was sponsored by the 3rd District of Bohol under Rep. Arthur Yap and Loay Mayor Rose Imboy and organized by Bike King Phils., a Manila-based sports event firm headed by Raul Cuevas.

Published in the FREEMAN on September 28, 2011.

Paolo Pascual: Being a part of the Azkals is a very, very big achievement

MANILA, Philippines — Yannick Tuason and Paolo Pascual leave everything behind for the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to play with the Azkals.

Paolo Pascual, goalkeeper: The other ‘Papa P’

He may not be Piolo, but Paolo Pascual now has his fair share of crazy, adoring fans since joining the Azkals as one of its newest homegrown recruits.

Paolo and the rest of the U-23 (Under 23) players are currently preparing for the Southeast Asian Games in November in Indonesia where he will be the first goalkeeper.

He is also getting back to fighting form after he dislocated his shoulder almost two months ago.
 
Photo grabbed with permission from Paolo's Facebook.

Paolo was just a regular Business and Entrepreneurship college junior at the University of San Carlos in Cebu when he got a call from the Philippine Football Federation asking him to try out for the Azkals.

While it’s already an achievement to try out with other experienced and talented players who come from the other parts of the globe, what sets Paolo apart is the fact that he made it to the national team at only 20 years old. The 5’11” Cebuano native has been training with the Azkals since January.

Paolo started playing football when he was seven years old at Paref Springdale School. He was a striker until Grade VII when his coach Mario Ceniza realized Paolo had the potential to be a good goalkeeper given his height. He has since played in Global Smartmatic FC and in the Philippine U-19 team that competed in China.

Paolo is supposed to be in fourth year college now, but because most of the trainings are conducted in Manila, he is now looking for a school in the capital city where he can continue his studies while he attends the national team trainings at the same time.

Even if he is away from home, Paolo relates that he is always reminded by his father to “always be an intelligent athlete” by balancing academics and sports.

How did you get into football? I started when I was seven years old, for school. Since then, I’ve been playing football in elementary, high school and college. It has always been my childhood dream to play football.

Who are your football idols? Being a goalkeeper, I look up to Iker Casillas. Locally, I look up to my partner, Eduard Sacapano. He has a good work ethic and he has been with the team for so long so I think he deserves to get noticed, he deserves credit.

How would you describe yourself as a player? A goalkeeper should have discipline and a good work ethic. You shouldn’t give up. Even up to the last minute, you should give it your all. Neil Etheridge gives us a lot of tips. When he’s here, he trains us. He’s got a lot of really, really good and useful tips.

What type of a student are you? I’m silent, kinda studious and friendly.

Was it a tough decision choosing between school and being part of the national football team? It is football for now. But I know you can’t get a living by just doing football. You have to earn after football also. So you need a college degree and all that to go through with life. I talked to my mom and dad about it first and I told them that this is just a once-in-alifetime experience. My parents have been very supportive. They’re the ones who have been encouraging me to join the Azkals.

Who inspires you during a game? Number one is God. Next is ‘yung mga na-achieve nung veteran teammates namin, all the Pinoys who have been with the Azkals ever since, like Roel Gener. Their dedication to the team and to the country is amazing.

Do you have any rituals before a game? I just pray.

How has football changed your life? Now that we’re part of the team, you should be more conscious about your health. That’s something to focus on.

What do you consider is your biggest achievement so far? I think being a part of the Azkals is a very, very big achievement already.

What was your craziest experience with a fan? In Barotac (Iloilo) it is pretty wild. The crowd there is rowdy compared to Manila. Here kasi, they keep things to themselves. There they would, they release. They do anything.

Are you single or in a relationship? I’m single.

What do you look for in a girlfriend? I like someone who is God-fearing and family-oriented.

The biggest sacrifice that you have to make as an Azkal? Being away from the family. I’m from Cebu and to move here to Manila is a big sacrifice for me.

What was the biggest adjustment for you coming from Cebu? The life and the family. Homesickness. In Cebu, I have everything there, you have a home, you’re family is there for you. But here, you have to be independent. You have to learn how to live on your own. You have to find ways to get by here in Manila. It was hard adjusting. But after probably a month, I got used to it already.

If you were not a football player, what would you be doing now? I will be studying. Get my business degree then maybe I’ll go become a pilot. It’s been my dream as well.

Do you think the Azkals will survive without the Fil-foreigners? I think we also need the Fil-foreigners. They bring a lot of experience to the team. But skills-wise, I think the pureblooded Filipinos have it.

What was your initial reaction when you saw your team captain, Aly Borromeo’s billboard? Good for him. I’m happy for him. If you have that kind of body, why not flaunt it. Aly has been with the team for so long already, he really deserves all the attention and fame that he has been getting now. Same with Ian (Araneta), Chieffy (Caligdong) and Role (Gener). I’m closest to them and Yannick (Tuason).

Is there a player in the team that you get intimidated by? In football, if you get intimidated, nothing will happen to you. You have to be strong.
 
Published in the Manila Bulletin on July 20, 2011.

Pages: Gio Gandionco’s dream: ‘Be like Rory’

By John Pages

TIGER Woods is outdated and passé. Today’s young golfers want to be like the 22-year-old Irish champion of the United States Open.

Take the son of Opep and Cora Gandionco. Only 16 years old, he possesses the confidence and maturity of Rory McIlroy.

Angelo Jose “Gio” Gandionco explained: “Rory inspired me to do better and to challenge myself; if Rory can do it, why can’t I? It may be tough to be the best or even get in the PGA Tour but if you have the will and desire, you can achieve it. Rory winning made me realize that it’s possible to win one of the biggest tournaments and beat the best. Like now, I’m touring America playing tournaments and I’m up against the best juniors. I know if I play my game I can beat them like Rory. If I focus on what I’m supposed to do and not get intimidated, I can win.”

Spunk, spirit, and self-assurance.

That’s Gio.

From the U.S., he e-mailed last week. “I just finished my first tournament this second trip here,” said Gio. “It’s the AJGA (American Junior Golf Association) Club Corp Mission Hills Desert Junior in Rancho Mirage (Palm Springs), California. Despite jet lag since I just arrived three days earlier and playing in 114-degree weather, I finished second with a score of 71-73-72, which is my best finish so far here. Most of the other players were from California. LJ Go (from Cebu) also played.”

Gio, a 2-handicapper who also idolizes Rickie Fowler (“He stands out with his fashion statement”), travels next to Pinehurst, North Carolina and Huntsville, Alabama. He then returns home to Cebu, where he is a fourth year high school student at Paref-Springdale (and a five-time Student Athlete Of The Year).

“Last April,” he added, “my mom’s family had a reunion in Hawaii so we went on to Texas to join a tournament at the Texas A&M University. I finished 14th (that was a highly-ranked junior event) and, at the PGA Golf Club in Florida, I finished in the top 10. Here in the U.S., there are 5,000 junior golf players… so I think I have been doing well.”

Gio started golf at the age of four. He used Little Tikes plastic golf clubs and his dad, Opep, who heads the family-owned giant Julie’s Bakeshop, was the person who taught his son how to swing.

By age 7, Gio joined golf events. But, he also had a similar interest in the Azkals game of football. He was Springdale’s striker. Finally, he had to choose. “When my soccer tournaments and golf coach’s schedules competed for my time,” he said, “I knew I had to make a choice. Although I enjoyed the team play in soccer with my friends, I knew it was golf I really loved! So at 11, I started to seriously work on my game.”

Mixing academics and sport has not been easy. “My schedule is very hectic,” said Gio, an honor student who consistently averages 90+. “But, I always try to put time for both practicing and studying. During schooldays, I get dismissed 4:30pm so I head to either the range or the golf course on MWF. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, I work out in the gym. I get home 6:30pm, study, eat, sleep. It is not easy being a student-athlete; you have to learn how to manage your time well. Even while I’m away for a tournament, I still have to read books and do homework to prepare for tests.”

Gio’s dream? To play in the PGA Tour. But first, he says, “My goal in the medium term is to get a scholarship at a prestigious U.S. university. I would like to play college golf, at the same time graduate with a degree in Business.”

His best score? A 5-under par in a Men’s Amateur tournament late last year. “Although I am still working on my game,” he says, “my short game has always been my strength.

Every aspect of my game is still a work-in-progress, and I am open to learning and improving.”

As to the aspects of golf that he enjoys most, he answers, “I love every part of the game: the pressure, the challenge, the intimidation, the hard work, the difficulties that come everyday and, most of all, the feeling of knowing you’re improving.”

Only 16, Gio sounds like a very, very mature person.

Just like Rory.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu on July 7, 2011.

Igimax rules Cebu Cycling TeamSix Road Race

CEBU, Philippines – Luis Miguel "Igimax" Maximo jacked up his reputation as Cebu's top junior cyclist by bagging the overall title of the Cebu Cycling TeamSix Road Race over the weekend in Uling, Naga City.

The 16-year-old Maximo, the only junior rider in the field, completed the two-stage race in one hour, 32 minutes and 54.58 seconds.

The pride of PAREF-Springdale topped the 16-kilometer Stage 2 mountain road race in 44 minutes and 17.75 seconds and then placed second behind Orville Tecson in the 27-kilometer opening stage dubbed as "The Race of Truth" with the time of 48 minutes and 36.83 seconds.

Adonis Bohol, a category A rider, came out second overall with a 1:35:34.05 clocking followed by Gary Fernandez in 1:37:19.76.

Tecson copped the fourth place honors in one hour, 37 minutes and 19.76 seconds, while Bobby Castañeda completed the elite top five list in one hour, 42 minutes and 16.5 seconds.

The lung-busting, 43-kilometer mountainbike showdown was organized by XI Sports in partnership with YKK Trading and Maximax Systems. THE FREEMAN