11.18.2007

Dumaguete Trip

It was my first time in Dumaguete. Invited by Puyat Sports everything was taking care of. My flight, my transportation and accomodation. Dumaguete is a city in the Visayas, just south of Cebu island. It took us one hour flight from Manila.



After the arrival a police escort cleared the way to the convention center where a brief opening ceremony was held. The highlight for me was the performance of the song "Prayer" by two local children - wow, two fantastic voices...
The same evening we were invited for a dinner at one of the local restaurants.





Probably the best 32men field I have ever seen. Some of the players were

Johnny Archer
Corey Deuel
Ralf Souquet
Mika Immonen
Wu Chia Ching
Yang Shin Chung
Efren Reyes
Ronny Alcano
Francisco Bustamante
Niels Feijen
Alex Pagulayan
Kunihiko Takahashi
Rodolfo Luat
Ramil Gallego
and Thorsten Hohmann

The following day we had a press conference. One funny thing happened. There was one funny local reporter who asked Niels about his 0:11 lost to Roberto Gomez during the World Championships. Niels gave a nice answer but the reporter wasn't happy. He asked again.. Yeah, but what's your comment to your 0:11 desaster against Gomez. How can you prepare yourself mentally for this event after losing 0:11?" - very rude this guy...

Again there was a buffet set up. Filipino's like to eat...



The center court arena was nice. The tournament was broadcasted live in the region and recorded for airing a couple month later on national tv on Solar Sports...



There were five Puyat tables set up on the other side of the building. Unfortunately the room had no carpet and the floor was very slippery. Wet towels were places everywere so players were able to wet'n their shoes for a better grip.



The players, media and guest were put in two different hotels. My place with Ralf, Niels, Mika, Corey and some Filipinos was a little resort at the beach. We didn't have warm water or windows, but therefore a nice ocean view and plenty of mosquitos. And mosquitos love my blood. Every night they came to visit me. And the good host that I am, I provided them with plenty of food...The liked my hospitality and came back every night.





The tournament story is short and simple. The draw brough me Wu Chia Ching in the first round who destroyed me. I wasn't able to adjust to the speedy table in the corner and Wu played decent.
My first loser round match I had pretty much under control, but again I found an early out in the tournament after the next round against Warren Kiamco on the same table as my first match. I wish I would have played on the tv table which played much slower and controllable as all the other ones...

The best day I had the following day, when Johnny Archer asked me to join them for an adventure tour organized by some American's who have a little adventure ATV business in Dumaguete.

It was me, Johnny Archer, Rob Saez, Niels Feijen and his girlfriend Katrine Jensen. We started our trip with one of the guides, a girl. The ride was smooth and easy...



We drove uphill further and further. We saw a lot of local people and waved at them. All of them were friendly and waved back at us. Only when they saw me they had to laugh. Because dirt keep flying into my face and eyes I found some googles which looked more like a diver mask and I had to put it on. I have to admit I looked a little dumb, but it was practical...

video video

We made a bunch of stops to enjoy the view and get something to drink. The first time I spend 3 1/2 hours driving and my thumb still hurts from giving gas...



The was one little path we had to drive downhill and it was pretty damn dangerous. Huge rocks and deep whole were covering the tiny path down and we had to be very carefull. I almost fell and Rob actually did. But when we all made it down with no injuries we were very relieved...



Soon it started raining and we had to put on our cool yellow ponchos. It was even more fun then and we left the good paved roads and into the muddy, stoney jungle of Dumaguete...








Johnny is so funny and a very good driver. There were so many cows on the way and everytime he saw one, he drove straight towards it and honkted at it. I should have taken a video or at least taken a picture. I have never seen a cow jump sideways with all four legs - hillarious !

The night came and with it a bad ass rain-thunderstrom. And of course, it had to happen - in the middle of nowhere Rob's ATV broke down. We first tried to fix it, but there was no way. All of a sudden it was pitch black and we were surrounded by lightening and frightning thunderrolls...

Before we had agreed to watch out for each other. Always keep an eye on the driver behind you. But now it was - everybody on his own. The guide raced downhill. We had a hard time following. The streets were flooded and I was barely able to see. I had to hold my poncho with one hand and drive with the other. It was fast, dangerous and I loved it !



We finally made it back. What a trip. I was soaking wet like everybody. My muscles soar but full of adrenaline and happiness. Hope we can do it again one day !



I wanna mention that the first four places in the tournament went to the Philippines. Alex Pagulayan beat Ramil Gallego in the final. I left Dumaguete the day before to spend more time with my friends in Manila but I heard next year there will be a huge tournament again in Dumaguete with 50 000 US $ to the winner. Sounds like I will be back...