When friends get together for a cause – INQUIRER.net

An island sports camp for kids


Longtime girl friends are the best kind. These buddies for life are additional life support, aside from one’s own family. BFFs will always shower you with love, kindness, sympathy, compassion and laughter.

My Assumption High School Batch ’81 classmates have remained in contact long after our graduation, especially because we have our Velada celebrations every five years. We will be celebrating our 40th homecoming next year, so we are already preparing for additional charity projects.


Every year, a large part of the charity funds raised at the Red Charity Gala is earmarked for livelihood projects of the Assumption Mission Schools and for Christmas donation packages for selected families in the provinces. This year, we turned over grocery packages and lots of toys to the over 200 families and children in the fishing barangay on Balesin Island.

Generous Alphaland CEO Roberto V. Ongpin donated a Balesin Island Club share for auction for last year’s Red Charity Gala. Beautiful and bubbly friend Erica Brenner bid for and won the share, as well as for a gamut of Ultherapy treatments auctioned as part of the bid.

Balesin Island Club is one of my fave beach destinations. Apart from the water activities and delicious seafood, I enjoy the weekly entertainment the club offers for free. There have been several showbiz artists who have performed in the club over the years. Just this holiday season, nine different artists had shows—Jaya, Randy Santiago, Erik Santos, Christian Bautista, Janno Gibbs, Thor, Christine Allado, Katrina Velarde and Mojofly.

 Expert coaches

This summer, Balesin Island Club is mounting its first-ever Summer Sports Camp starting April 1. The camp offers four different sports programs: basketball, tennis, baseball and soccer, for kids aged 8 to 16.

Headed by an all-star roster of expert coaches and instructors in the sports industry, Balesin Summer Sports Camp will be great for kids to keep active throughout summer.

The basketball camp is headed by Vince Hizon of the PBA team Ginebra San Miguel, while the tennis camp is led by  national team coaches PJ Tierro, Niño Alcantara, Roland Kraut, Karl Santamaria and Dennis Sta. Cruz. The baseball camp is run by National Mustang and Bronco coaches Eric Gesmundo and Jhoel Palanog, along with the 2018 University Athletic Association of the Philippines MVP and star pitcher Kiko Gesmundo.


The Summer Sports Camp is run by sports camp director and International Professional Tennis Registry coach Marty Ilagan. Marty has picked coaches who use a modern and scientific approach to athletics, and incorporate character-forming lessons in their programs so participating kids can become a champion “not just in sports, but also in life.”

The Summer Sports Camp allows kids to hone their sports skills while their parents get a medi-spa experience at Aegle Wellness Center, the premier integrative health and wellness center in the country. Headed by medical director Dr. Benedict Valdecañas and associate medical director Dr. Ruby Magpantay, both pioneers in integrative medicine, Aegle offers clinical and therapeutic services, such as comprehensive blood chemistry work-up, physician, nutritionist and sports physiotherapy consultation, hyperbaric oxygen therapy, intravenous therapy, thalassotherapy and massage treatments. All are included in the sports camp package.

Each package includes a five-day, four-night stay in one of Balesin Island Club’s well-appointed villas, round-trip airfare to Balesin and breakfast, lunch and dinner for four people. It should be the ultimate summer getaway for families with young, sports-minded children. Register by Feb. 28 to get a five-percent early-bird discount. For inquiries and registration, contact Marty Ilagan at 09175662453, e-mail mrilagan@alphaland.com.ph or Luisa Banta at 09175979651, e-mail ldbanta@alphaland.com.ph.

Zumba girls

My Zumba girl friends also shared a fun Christmas party of dancing together with the children of ACAP (Action for the Care and Development of the Poor in the Philippines). Our #Zbabes group teacher Robby Nee got the kids to dance before lunch and get their loot bags and toys. Hapee toothbrushes and toothpaste were also distributed to the kids. Generous Elena Coyuito and the Zumba girls arranged for all the gifts and giveaways.

For my running and fitness needs, I bank on my #GirlsRunForBreakfast gang to keep me active and race-ready, even if I haven’t joined a triathlon in years. Coach Ani de Leon-Brown continuously shares her running program so we can do drills on our own.

For our holiday gift-giving, Ge Santiago prepared some Christmas packages for some Makati Jail inmates and Department of Social Welfare and Development women. We have also given gifts to Right Start Foundation.

I have my Baclaran BFFs Rosan Cruz and Vina Francisco, who join me in our weekly novena to Our Mother of the Perpetual Help. We usually pass by events on our way to the shrine.

One of these events was Tina Hidalgo Jacinto’s recent coffee-table book launch for  “Having a Ball,” published in celebration of her 10 years as a society columnist. Held at the City of Dreams ballroom, the event had as ribbon cutters former Miss International Gemma Cruz Araneta; Dr. Emil Yap III, president of the Manila Bulletin; Kevin Benning, COO of City of Dreams; lifestyle editor Arnel Patawaran; Linda Gamboa, executive director of the Advertising Foundation of the Philippines; Tita Trillo of Titania Wine Cellar; and international portrait photographer Rupert Jacinto.

“Having A Ball” features 12 stunning ladies on its cover. The 258-page book was sponsored by City of Dreams, Titania Wine Cellar, Liquid Gold, Ozeki Sake, Volvo, Bulgari, Stores Specialists Inc., Amigo Entertainment Technologies and Madison Galeries. Copies are available at the Advertising Foundation; call Lynn Vergeire at 09178412034.

More pics on Instagram @seaprincess888.

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