Freeman Cebu Sports

Cebu's Pride 1 of 2: History of triathlon in Cebu

Allan Choachoy - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines - It is always good to look back from where it all started. I had a chance to chat with Mr. Anton Regis, who shared to me some pieces of the history of triathlon in Cebu.  Anton mentioned that there was a decline of triathlon races from 2004 to 2008. One triathlon race per year was all Cebu had, the National Age-group Triathlon Series organized by Mr. Boying Rodriguez and TRAP, which was the only race and it kept the sport alive in Cebu. With this realization, an attempt to gather Cebu's triathletes was made in one special occasion of December 2008. A possible unified solution spearheaded by RJ Balbuena, Anton Regis, Coach Benjoe Gimenez and Dax Sarabosing. It was the first time where majority of Cebu's triahtletes gathered. Present also during the gathering were Jose Ricardo Dizon, Team Tri-locos represented by Eugene Sanchez, Jun Villamor, Jerome Mill, Ian Gonzaga and lawyer Roger Cuenco. This was then the creation of Sugbutriathlon was made with the goal of reviving the sport in Cebu.

Pipti-Pipti Triathlon was the first race organized by the group in January 25, 2009 held in Scuba World, Mactan Island. It was a super sprint triathlon (300m swim - 15km bike - 3km run), a very friendly distance. The event was just purely for fun. No bike racks and cash prize. Registration fee was only P50 thus the name Pipti-Pipti or 50-50 triathlon. It was just a group of friends inviting other friends and surprisingly there were more than 30 participants who joined. It was historical since it was the first of its kind and it jumpstarted the  triathlon spirit in Cebu. From that day on, many triathlon events sprouted, most of which were organized by Sugbutriathlon hand-in-hand  with Mr. Boying Rodriguez and the Danao City Sports Commission. Together, they were able to organize 12 triathlons and 4 duathlons in  2009. From there, Sugbutriathlon was able to stand on its own as an independent event organizer. There were challenges though since most of the members have full time job and family commitments but still managed to organize successful events. Sugbutriathlon deserves as much credit to be part of the growth of triathlon in Cebu forever we should be grateful to  them namely Coach Benjoe Gimenez, Anton Regis, Joel Peconcillo, Jess Arriola and Jose Ricardo Dizon. These guys paved the way for what the success of the sport is having now.

Triathlon teams in Cebu have sprouted left and right, Team YUGS is one of  the featured team this week, Yugz- is how they call each other: it is like “ bai.” Thus the name Tri Yugz. As explained by team leader Mr. Melvin Banzon. Banzon recalled that it was because of one alarming laboratory result of a good friend which drag him into the sports realizing how important is it to live a healthy lifestyle. Back in their college days at USC-TC, the barkada was into dancesport, pop jazz, in particular but all the while the group was into drinking and billiards wherein the only thing that matters for them  was to get drunk every now and then.  So after that life changing laboratory result the group then decided it is now or never. So in 2013, they signed up for the 70.3 Ironman in August 2014, although clueless to what the magnitude of the race really was, they took on the chance to force themselves to prepare for  it. Although individually the group is not an accomplished swimmer, bike nor runner, they decided to sign up in the relay team with Melvin A. Banzon for the swim, Miggy Aparri for the bike and Faye Acomo for the  run. With the strong finish in 2014 it paved way for  the group to form another Relay team in 2015 in the name Peter Mantaring for the Bike: Virgil Allena Run and Joana Pay swim, Fr. Renante Rabanes joined the race as an individual.

The group had been busy from then on joining almost all races in Cebu namely AWUM ( All Women Ultra Marathon), Sm2SM run, ARGAO Hunat Sugbu triathlon, Pilipinas National Duathlon in SRP, Cebu City Marathon as well races outside Cebu, the CONDURA Marathon in Manila, Subic Tri United, Bohol 5150, the VIP open water swim race in Lobo, Batangas and this coming August 7, 2016 the Cobra Ironman 70.3 Asia Pacific Championships IN WHICH Tri YUGS will be sending its biggest delegation ever  six in the individual full distance and two teams in the relay category.  From an unhealthy lifestyle, the teams now hopes that through the sport of triathlon they will be able to share the passion of the sports, thus, making one individual transform and embrace a healthy lifestyle.

Next week, I will be featuring teo of Cebu’s biggest triathlon teams, the HARD Multi-sports and the LASANG Tri Team.



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