May 13, 2008

Notes on the EJAP 'Olympics'

I JUST got back from Boracay where it drizzled due to the typhoon which I heard was ravaging Mindanao. So the island and its revelers, like the usually hard-working members of the Economic Journalists Association of the Philippines (EJAP) who were there for its annual sportsfest, cooled down a bit.

For those who don't know, EJAP is the one of the oldest journalism groups in the country with its members mostly reporters and editors who give you your daily dose of stock market reports, telecoms innovations, rice crisis updates, peso-dollar rates, and investments/trade outlook from the major broadsheets, wire agencies and TV networks. I have been a member since as far back as I can remember (I joined the business media in 1987--oof! did I just date myself?) and have, on occasion, participated in its events like its awards for the best business reports, Christmas parties, and forums.

Unfortunately, I have never participated in any of its sportsfests, a recent creation, as the event usually falls on a Saturday when I would be editing my paper's business section. But I've often heard of the revelry that goes on during these games, the petty arguments that sometimes ensue from the heated competition, and eventually, the sportsmanship that the members practice. After all, these games are all done in the spirit of fun.

This year, with Donnabelle Gatdula of the Philippine Star as its president, the EJAP sportsfest was kicked a notch higher by being held outside Manila for the first time, at the Two Seasons Resort in Boracay.

Coca-Cola Bottlers Phils., now back in the fold of the Atlanta-based parent The Coca-Cola Co., sponsored the event as part of its commitment to health and wellness. So the EJAP members were continuously pumped with Coke Zero the entire duration of their stay in Boracay from May 9-11. (As a healthy lifestyle choice, I stopped drinking softdrinks years ago, but I had to make an exception this time because it was just sizzling hot in Boracay during the day and that Coke Zero really helped quench my thirst...without the fear of added calories and pounds to my otherwise svelte,ahem, frame.)

It was by far the most fun I've experienced as an EJAP member (although technically I didn't join the games...unfortunately, there is no Business/Lifestyle category, hehe), watching the various teams battle it out in the zaniest games, e.g. downing a mouthful of soda crackers then trying to whistle, or how about shuffling backward ala Michael Jackson with a colored plastic ball squeezed between your thighs and dropping it in a small plastic basket? But I clicked, clicked away and will soon post some of the photos of the action here.

While all the players gave their all in the games, there can only be one winner. The top prize went to the Banking team, whose members exhibited the most ingenious moves to win most of the games. In the game where they had to fold and unfold a streamer, the male players carried the female players on their backs, so the members' feet would not go beyond the boundaries of the streamer! Aba, aba, aba, ang gagaling talaga! Gov. Say Tetangco of the Bangko Sentral must be extremely proud of this extremely talented and united bunch.

The team also took the Early Bird prize for being first to assemble the hellish hour of 6:30 am on the day of the sports fest, and for Best Attire, sporting their blue Speedo swimsuits and matching aqua Nike skorts for the women, athletic shirts and shorts for the men.

While the awards and festivities went on throughout the night, I, on the other hand, took my leave and went up to my room for a much-needed massage from Manang Flor, my suki on the island. It was the end of a humongously entertaining day which I think, will be hard to beat in the years to come. I can only take my hat off to Donna and her tireless fellow officers and board members Lenie Lectura, Alena Mae Flores, Darwin Amojelar, Paul Isla, and Mitch Remo, and the rest, for making sure everyone had a great time. And to all the participants, cheers to a job well done!

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