At the 20th big bike convention in Dapitan

SHOOTING STRAIGHT - Bobit S. Avila - The Freeman

For our special presentation we bring you a discussion on the historic contribution of the Jesuits in the Philippines with Fr. Rene B. Javellana, Associate Professor of Fine Arts at the Ateneo de Manila. Fr. Rene is a walking encyclopedia when it comes to Jesuit history especially in the Philippines. For too long we’ve only known about the Augustinians or the SVD’s, but little is known that the Jesuits were already in Cebu long ago. In fact the oldest numbered residence in the Philippines is the Jesuit House that was built in 1730 as the Convento of the Parian Church, which was run by the Jesuits.

Of course there was that historic trouble within the clergy about the existence of the Parian Church which was known to be the most magnificent and ornate church in Cebu City … later torn down piece by piece. This is something that Fr. Rene and I would touch on as we had this interview inside the Jesuit House courtesy of Mr. Jimmy Sy. So watch this interesting story about the Jesuits in SkyCable’s channel 61 at 8:00 p.m. with replays on Wednesday and Saturday with the same time slot and channel with replays also on MyTV’s channel 30 every M-W-F at 7:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m.

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Dapitan, Zamboanga del Norte: Over the weekend, big bikers from all over the Philippines rode their bikes from all over Luzon, the Visayas, and Mindanao as it was the 20th Annual Convention of the National Federation of Motorcycle Clubs (NFMC) in the Philippines. This annual event is rotated every year from Luzon, the Visayas, and Mindanao. Last year’s convention was in Bacolod City, so next year it will be the Luzon Federation’s turn to host the Big Bikers all over the country.

This year’s host club was the Dapitan Brotherhood of Bikers with its President Rep. Bullet Jalosjos. We first met Congressman Bullet a few years ago while they were in Cebu for a fuel stop at the Shell Station in Escario Street. We have been motorcycle brothers since that time. It was the first time for Zamboanga del Norte (ZaNorte) to host the Annual Big Bike convention and I’m glad that we came because I would like to believe that ZaNorte has a great tourism future, especially that this convention has given riders from all over the country something that ZaNorte has to offer.

I was riding with the Easy Riders Club of Cebu, led by Pres. Ed Gonzales, Lito Garcia, Anton Perdices, Cheling Sala, Art Tudtud, Tony “Chico” Lozada, Bernard Alegrado, John Domingo, and I. What made the trip more eventful was that the Mendezona brothers, Iñaki and Johnny, (brothers of my old friends like Bube and Bingen Mendezona) with Ramon Saquin and Dino Urquiaga joined us to play host to our group as they live very near Dapitan.

I was in Dipolog four years ago when we passed there on our big bike ride to Zamboanga City. But perhaps the biggest unexpected surprise that I got was when we got into our hotel after we got off our ferryboat from Dumaguete City. We stayed at the spanking new Ariana Hotel, which was owned by Mrs. Armi Garcia, wife of former DOTC Secretary and SunStar Daily Chairman Jesus “Sonny” Garcia who personally met us.

This hotel is located so close to the Dipolog Airport and it has 4-Star hotel accommodations with a swimming pool. Yes, they have the Tablea Coffee Shop located beside the lobby and a restaurant that served Dimsum dishes and Seafood to die for at a price you’d truly be surprised. It was also my first time to see the pride of Dipolog, a very long Boulevard by the sea, which is reminiscent of the old Dewey Boulevard in Manila, before they changed its name to Roxas Blvd. I predict that this boulevard would put ZaNorte in the tourism map, as it is fast becoming Dipolog’s must-see destination.

I also learned from Sonny Garcia that World Famous Professional Golfer Greg “The Shark” Norman was here over the weekend to supervise his Greg Norman Design Golf course in Dakak. When that Greg Norman Golf Course pushes through, Dakak could be part of the Asian Golf Tour.

There is no doubt that the Big Bike convention has attracted thousands of bikers from this part of Mindanao, especially that new motorcycles are already being offered for sale in the Philippines. These are Aprilla, Ducati, and KTM, which have now followed the leader BMW which has been a yearly sponsor of the convention for more than fiver years already.

Last Saturday the Easy Riders rode to Sindangan to the family home of that famous Thomasite John Roemer who built his house on a hill in 1927. It is the home of the Mendezona Family. Lunch was in a Sutukil restaurant in Town of Sindangan, after which we rode back to Dipolog then continued on to the Dakak Resort for the Gala Night of the Bike Convention. It was my first time to come to Dakak and perhaps we just might return for a weekend in this peaceful part of Mindanao.

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