NONOY ALBA is the new president of the Casino Español. During the annual Voters’ Meeting two nights ago at Cebu’s prestigious “Spanish House” along V. Ranudo St., Jose Luis “Nonoy” Alba was chosen to lead the club that’s celebrating its 90th year. The other members of the new Board of Directors include Manny Sainz (VP), Gabby Leyson (secretary), Rene Kintanar (treasurer), Buddy Veloso (house chairman), Boy Limkakeng (cultural affairs director) and Rico Gandionco (sports director). Felicidades!

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RIVALRY. Soon after Simon Losiaboi arrived from Kenya last October, he was unbeatable. Race after Sunday morning footrace, he won. Our local runners, who had never before experienced running alongside a towering African, were tormented. They stood at the starting line aiming for second place. Engraved on the gold medal were the words “Simon Losiaboi.”

That all changed last weekend.

Mendel Lopez, who was the Simon Losiaboi of Cebu before Simon Losiaboi arrived, joined the Ramon Magsaysay trek called “Paghandum Ni Magsaysay.” Beside Mendel, who had just arrived from Hong Kong and won third place in the 21K race, was his forever-nemesis, Simon. The gun blasted in Balamban. The runners sprinted not on flat asphalted road but on steep uphill terrain often littered with pebbles and dirt.

Guess what? Lopez beat Losiaboi.


Well, guess what: the following morning, last Sunday, the two stood beside each other again. They sprinted off; each with a different stride, both with the same goal: to finish No.1 in a lung-busting 8-km. climb to the foot of Tops in Busay in a race called “Run To The Clouds.”

Lopez beat Losiaboi. Again.

Dili taghap.

This is amazing. And thrilling. It’s like a movie we enjoyed so much that we can’t wait for Part 2. Which brings me to ask:

Who’ll win in Part 2? Will Mendel, looking extremely lean when I saw him two weeks ago as our awardee during the 28th Cebu Sports Awards, with his renewed confidence, strive harder, run even faster, and continue to beat Simon?

Or was that a partial taghap? Since Mendel trained, in the weeks before last weekend, up the hills and mountains to prepare for Hong Kong, was he better conditioned for the vertical climb? And when they return to the flat runs, will he settle for the silver medal?

Maybe not. Maybe. Or will Losiaboi, having tasted the sour taste of defeat, fight harder, train not twice but thrice daily, eat even less and become thinner than a bamboo pole and reclaim his gold?


LTO EXPERIENCE. It’s sad but often true. When the term “Philippine government agency” is used, synonyms like “inefficient” and “corrupt” and “slow” are mentioned. Not my experience last Thursday morning during the renewal of my driver’s license at the SM City.

What an efficient system the Land Transportation Office has. (Three years back and having gone through the same noteworthy experience, I vowed, but failed, to write about my observations. So finally...)

I arrived early and was customer No. 7. Everything was methodical and organized. The front guard had the forms ready. The signages “Step 1, Step 2” etc. were visible. The staff were in a hurry (unlike other government agencies?). The physician in-charge of examination, Dr. Roy Abellana, was cordial and helpful. We even engaged in chitchat, commenting that he knew my grandmother, Dr. Paulina “Bing” Pages.

The LTO office was clean, well-lighted, plus the location in SM is convenient. Technology was properly used: from the onsite card printer to the fingerprint scanner to several 32-inch LCD screens that showed children’s Christian movies. Best of all, the dreaded word “corruption” does not exist.

In all, from my arrival at 10:05 a.m. until I got my license, it took just 50 minutes. Amazing. (Here’s a tip: Line up early outside SM then, when the doors open, sprint to their office.)

Kudos to the LTO.