Thursday, August 23, 2012

One badminton game for the Habagat Flood Victims

An unexpected disaster in Philippines, which puts the whole city of Metro Manila submerged in the flood, is enough for the Filipino badminton community here in Singapore to respond in the call for help. This is the 2nd badminton for a cause game in which the Filipino badminton community had begun when a flash flood struck Cagayan de Oro City and Iligan City last December 2011.

Kristian Anquillano, President of PinoySG Badminton Club, in cooperation with Carlos Gavieta of Team SBL and Ronel Galapate of Samahang Pinoy Racqueteers led the donation drive last August 12, 2012. All the leaders of badminton teams and groups were invited to join the game for a cause. Achiles Iglesias, PSGBC officer mentioned, “This is our 2nd successful badminton game for a cause, and the Filipino badminton groups has always been very cooperative when it comes to helping our kababayans”.

The open badminton game was scheduled last August 12, 2012 at Yishun Secondary School where 40 players came to show their support. Others who have not played just gave their donation to the organizers.

Pinoy Shuttlers leader, Eric Cruz who is fondly known as “Mayor” to the badminton community also quips. “Our group is always at hand and in support for any events that aims to help our fellow Filipinos. Isang tawag niyo lang, andiyan na kami”.

Players from PinoySG Badminton Club, Pinoy Shuttlers, Pinoy Shuttlecockers, Samahang Pinoy Racqueteers, Singapore Badminton Ltd(SBL) and United Pinoy Badminton, came in full force and joined the open game at Yishun Secondary School. Other badminton groups like Tropang Smashers, KBG, Hotshots and Laklakers were not able to make it due to conflict of schedule, however pledges to send their own donation. The Filipino badminton community here in Singapore has grown tremendously in terms of the number of Filipino professionals here, embracing the sport.  The community has been very active in promoting badminton to all the Filipino OFW and also making friendship with other local Singaporean badminton groups.

For that one day game, the groups were able to raise 1,027sgd or an equivalent of 32,864 Pesos. The amount was given to Philippine National Red Cross in support of their relief and rescue operations.

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Life Stories: Stucked in Queshm Island, Iran

Place: Queshm Island, Iran
Year : 2001
I came to Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates  last 2001, when I was hired as a test engineer by an agency to work in an Alcatel hybrid fiber broadband network project for Etisalat. It was my first time to work abroad and I was very worried and scared of whatever that may happen to me. I came to work as a quality test engineer even though  I don't have any experience nor knowledge on fiber testing. And what was more scary is that I am working on a Visit Visa, and I was appointed as Test Engineer. The agency that handled us, was telling us that we need to wait another 3 months before they will apply us for a working visa. Trusting them enough, we settle for a 3 months Visit Visa temporarily.  Visit Visa holders are considered illegal workers in the kingdom of Abu Dhabi, so working on field is quite risky. As for myself, being caught by the police, is just like taking a suicide, imagining the gory things that would happen to me in jail. We worked and lived in fear everyday.

With 6 days work in a week and Friday as the only rest day, I manage to learn everything about my job from scratch. I have to wake up at 6am, study the manuals, go to work by 8am, comes home at 9pm and study again until 12 midnight. We work on field, so we have to battle the scorching heat outside, especially when the Fiber Nodes are installed in a non air conditioned rooms.

 After 3 months, our Visit Visa has expired, and the agency have told us that we need to "exit" to renew our visa and to start the processing of our working permit. Yeah, it has been 3 months already and yet that elusive working permit has not yet arrive,as they claimed. There are two islands in Iran where most of the foreign workers traveled to process their visa. It is called Kish and Queshm Island. There is a remote hostel there in the middle of the desert where you can stay temporarily until your visa has been renewed. If lucky, you would be able to leave after days, or if not you might end up stuck in that place for quite a long time, if your employer decided to abandon you.

I was sent to Quesm Island, a far flung island in Iran. We boarded a worn and old, small airplane in Dubai. By the appearance of the plane alone, it could make you say a lot of prayers, the moment you come inside. It was this plane that you usually see in WW2 movies, It has 2 propellers on its wings. Before it takes off, a manual air conditioned pump has to blow the  air inside to make it cooler. Once the plane cools down, the door is shut down immediately, to keep the cool air inside enough for the 30 minutes flight. Tsug.. tsug.. tsug.. tsug..tsug! tsug! Yes, thats the sound of engine.The plane runs, and together with all the Pinoys with me, we said our prayers. History wise, the plane did crash before, killing a lot of passengers on board, because the plane had malfunction in midair. It was a scary flight.

We arrived in a small airport where most of its building are old and dilapidated. A man came to fetch us and distributed long dresses to the ladies. Jeans and shorts for ladies are banned in the island, and everyone was asked to cover their faces as well. We boarded a van and we traveled for almost an hour, seeing nothing but huge rock formations, cactus and a long barren desert.  We were housed in a compound which consist of several small two story bungalow. Ladies are separated from the guys, because it is their tradition that no woman and man had to be together if they are not married.Although some may try to break the law by bribing the guards at night.

I met a group of young teens of a Pinoy band based in Sharjah, in one of the houses. Feeling bored, I went with them for shopping. They have rented a van to take us to a nearby mall for 50 thousand rial. The mall was an old dilapidated building, which look more like a market than a mall building. Vendors were selling their wares from thousand to a million rials. A branded sounds system cost 2 million rials then. We ate in a food shop which took us 30 minutes explaining to the vendor that we want a cheeseburger without chili. Nobody could speak English in the mall except us and a few Indians also roaming around the area.

Then on my 3rd day, I was called by the receptionist that my Visa had arrived. I was so happy to know I am leaving the place. I was having difficulty eating because they only served Indian curry everyday and nothing else. We have to bribe the cook just to cook plain rice for us. The rest of the rice were cooked the Indian way, spicy and oily. There are times that I got so hungry that I am forced to eat the spicy curry they served in breakfast, lunch and dinner. 

I came running to the receptionist and hurriedly opened the envelope. I had already packed up my bags, because we were told that once we received our Visa, we will be taken quickly to the airport for departure back to Dubai.

As I tore down the envelope, I breathe deeply and slowly read my name..Kristian .....Nationality : INDIAN!!  And yes, until now, I still don't know how it happens. My surname, sounded very Filipino, but the person in charge wrote Indian in my nationality.

I got back to my room, and waited again for another 4 days, to mail back my visa for correction. It was one hell of a week for me, considering that I have not even brought any food to last for a week. I tried to survive for another week by making friends with the newly arrived Pinoys so I could ask for any food aside from the curry being served in the restaurant. There was no other food in the hostel. It is exclusive to Indian curry only and nothing else.

There was one bungalow there which most of the occupants are Filipinos. A middle aged lady was running the house there which she uses to welcome newly arrived Filipinos there. The lady was living there for almost a year because her employer had abandoned her. She welcomes all the Pinoys there, and she would prepare the food for us. She will collect the money from us and she will use this money to bribe the kitchen staff, so we could get the ingredients for cooking and rice. My last 3 days then was not that bad, because I only know about that secret gathering after my Visa was sent back for correction. We also have to bribe the guards at night so that they would allow the ladies also to dine with the guys in the bungalow house.

After 1 week of stay in Queshm Island, I have heard a lot of sad stories about the plight of our kababayans who are trapped there. There were a lot of Pinoys who got stuck there for months because their employer has abandon them. Stories about prostitution to survive is the usual drama of the place, especially for the ladies. That was 2001 then, I don't know now, if it is still the same. Guys who have been there for a year has to settle down on begging from newly arrived Pinoys to survive.

Anyway thats my story back in 2001. :-) Keep the flame burning :-)

Monday, July 02, 2012

Shooting PAIN and PAINTBALLS with PSG Warfreakz in Singapore

Operation Velocity Wipeout 2012
Last June 24, my former team mates from the all Filipino paintball team PSG Warfreakz, decided to compete in Operation Velocity Wipeout at Novena Sports mall. We have put up two teams to play against other local paintball teams. Though most of us have not played since 2010, it was still a good game as we were able to capture the 4th and 5th place. Team Alpha as the top 4 proceed to compete in the Grand Finals where they captured the 1st runner up after battling with 16 local teams.

Singapore Paintball Novice Series 2008
PSG Warfreakz has been quite popular already in the paintball community of Singapore. We were one of the pioneers of paintball here when Paintball Association of Singapore in cooperation with Red Dynasty Part organized the first ever Singapore Paintball Series last 2008. There were a few players that time and most of us were just relatively beginners of the game. PSG Warfreakz was composed of 40+ Filipino paintball enthusiasts that time. We had organized several speedball and jungle games in Johor Bahru for all the members. Our group was then represented by a team in several paintball tournaments.

Red Seven ( was the first local paintball team of Singapore who have represented the country on all of the international paintball events around the region. They were the first local Singaporean team that inspired most of the home based teams to compete and train for paintball. Red Seven local paintball players were also instrumental in giving us the opportunity of competing as a Singapore based foreign team during the Singapore Paintball Series 2008.  Their initiatives in bringing all paintball players around Singapore had allowed the sport to flourish in spite of the limitations in the ownership of paintball markers here.

Singapore Paintball Series 2010
PSG Warfreakz was my team, when we did try our first ever paintball match last 2008. And yes, we were hooked on it, the first moment we ran and shoot around that inflatable bunkers. Adrenaline rush to the highest level, is what I could describe, the feeling when you’re playing the game. We were the first Series Champion after 3 legs of Singapore Paintball Series 2007. We did have some few-seconds-of- fame moments when we were mentioned in Strait Times sports news, seen in Channel News Asia evening news, and invited by UNTV cable for an interview. It was our golden year as we proceed to win championship and podium places in several tourneys in Johor Bahru, Malaysia. PSG Warfreakz then was well known for being the most aggressive attacker in the field and playful when not on field. We were also the first to put up an all women paintball team who also competed during the Singapore Paintball Series games and in Johor Painball leagues.

Malaysian Paintball Official Circuit 2008
Most of our tournament players before had stopped playing, but we reunite once a while for some minor tourneys in the country. Just like the recent Operation Velocity Wipeout organized by Red Dynasty and Novena Velocity Mall. It was a close quarter battle setup, where each player has to hide and shoot around room cubicles and obstacles. A car in the center field was an added visual challenge, as you will feel ,the reality of the battle as you climb and crawl around it, while engaging your opponents in a heated shootout. It was fun indeed, and I hope that the organizers will have that kind of tourney next year.

So how does it feel to play PAINTBALL? If you’re not fond of pain, then this sport is not for you. The hit is usually followed by swelling and sometimes blood if it is being shot in a close range. It is painful, but that's what make the sport very exciting. I’m sure; you will have the highest respect to those soldiers fighting in war once you experienced the game. It is very fast pace, action packed and the high adrenaline rush will test your speed, agility, focus and calmness during the battle. Please see this old video clip during the 2008 Leg 2 SPS Finals. This was our first tourney playing in a 3 on 3 battle. Old times...

I have been playing badminton for a long time already but nothing compares to the excitement I felt when I am out there shooting paintballs in the field. Team work is MUST in this game. This is where you learn to communicate, analyze and work as team under extreme pressure from the hail of paintballs flying around your head. And when you’re hit, damn sweet painful indeed. This is not for the weak and not for the poor (lol). Reason why I only played few times only. It is quite an expensive sport though.

So that’s it for now, in my resurrected blog, till we meet again my readers. Keep the flame burning.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Promoting Racial Harmony through Badminton

Last September 3, 2011 at Clementi Sports Hall, PinoySG badminton Club met with the popular and very strong local Singaporean team of Twister Badminton Club. The “Twisters” is a local group who were widely known for their skills in badminton community. They were usually seen in Jurong East Sports and Recreation Center every Tuesday and Friday evening.  Their members are multi racial, who are mostly from Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, China, etc.
Twister Badminton Club is under the leadership of Lydia Tan and Boon Ng Oon. They have a thread in Badminton Central forum where you could invite them for fun matches. They are bunch of smiling "twisters" whose speed in court corresponds with their hospitality in their home court.

The game started at 6:15pm, with PSGBC Tourney head Brenda Vistan and Vice President Nino Amores preparing the game and lineup for both groups. All players were in a very warm disposition as both leaders from PSGBC and Twisters welcomed the players.  First game was started and the Twister did not fail our expectations as their players were quite strong and very fast. Intense smashes and sharp drop shots were exchange but the Twisters were dominant in most of the games.

This game as initiated by PinoySG Badminton Club is aim to develop friendship and harmony with different races in Singapore through Badminton. This program was started last 2009 with the club playing against Badminton Mates and Lion Badminton Group(Clementi).

With a lot of Filipinos playing badminton sport nowadays, it is the objective of the leaders to use this sport as a medium for harmony with different races here in Singapore.

Last May 2012,  PSGBC Badmintoneros, arranged another 2 legs of friendly game with Chua Chu Kang Group lead by Clifford, which is composed of recreational players from Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia and China. Game 1 was played at Chua Chu Kang Sports Hall, the home court of the CCK players. It was a tough game and CCK was able to win most of the games. Game 2 was then played at Endeavour Primary School, home court of PSGBC. This time we have some guest players from other Filipino badminton groups. We were able to secure enough wins but by the end of the day, CCK team still has the highest number of wins.

Another fun and fulfilling experience, as we made new friends with other nationalities through badminton sport. This is a very nice way of initiating friendship and camaraderie among local and foreigners here in Singapore.

One very nice lesson learned indeed is that we were ONE in having fun. When the shuttlecock is on play,  each one of us is bound by similar excitement and passion.

We were badminton shuttlers and we speak ONE language at court…BADMINTON. Long live the sport and the players.

Filipino Shuttlers rises to the Challenge during the 5th PinoySG Badminton Open 2012

The most prestigious, anticipated and awaited all Filipino annual badminton open ended with a big bang last June 9 to 10, 2012 at Jurong West Sports and Recreation Center. The crowd roared and cheered their respective teams amidst the sweltering heat inside the huge sports hall.

There were 12 different badminton groups who came to compete for the events in Singles, Mens Doubles, Womens Doubles and Mixed Doubles category. The players were divided into 3 different levels of skills, in which Level A as the highest and followed by Level B and Level C.

Almost 300+ players came to represent their respective teams, bringing their own banner and wearing their uniforms. The 12 badminton groups were led by the host PinoySG Badminton Club, followed by Pinoy Shuttlers, Tropang Smashers, Team Hotshots, Team Laklakers, UPAAS-Pinoy Shuttlecockers, Team SBL, Samahang Pinoy na Racqueteers, United Pinoy Badminton, Team WinWest, Team BisdakSG, and Team Kigwa.

The two day event ended with Pinoy Shuttlers winning the Challenge Cup. The challenge cup was awarded to the team who garnered the highest points for the overall player performance, attendance, discipline and sportsmanship. PinoySG Badminton Club captured the coveted Best Support Group, as the team with the most number of cheerers and supporters. 

Trophies and cash prizes were given to the winner on the last day of the event. The championship singles event was played by both veteran players, Jeremy Maniago and David Batalla. The game ended with Jeremy taking the last match point, successfully defending his Singles title last year. Level B Singles Finals saw Mark Canillo conquering Joshua Batula in the 3rd set.

Mens Doubles Level A Finals was heart stopping duel between Jeremy Maniago/Sherwin Suratos of Tropang Smashers/Kigwa tandem against Luis Gomez/Frederick Pabustan of Pinoy Shuttlers. The final match point in the 3rd set ended with TS/Kigwa tandem wins by their non stop onslaught of offensive tactics.

The last game for Mixed Doubles Level A Finals was another high intensity match in which Jeremy Maniago with new partner Andrea Tongco against the PSG Open 2011 defending mixed doubles champion last year, Roland Amores and Armhi Sumalinog. Nino chose to change his usual aggressive attacking strategy by adopting a very slow pace game, opting for more pushes and drops shots at the midcourt. The game ended after 2 sets with Roland Amores and Armhi Sumalinog still undefeated at Mixed Doubles.

Other game results:

Mens B : Johnwin Custodio / Joshua Batula
Mens C: Larry Demelites/ Jhayr Rodriquez
Womens A: Barbara Macaraig/Michelle Cadiz
Womens B: Czarina Jimenes/ Mary Grace Andres
Womens C: Arlyn Cirujales/Dio Ann Pena
Mixed B: Mark Canillo/Ady Doctolero
Mixed C: Jhayr Rodriguez/ Karen Dogilio

PinoySG Badminton Open started last 2007 and initially started with few competitors from the Filipino badminton community. After a year, the competitors dramatically increased after private companies started supporting the event and the organizer, PinoySG Badminton Club.

PinoySG Badminton Club is the first Filipino badminton club in Singapore which was registered with Registry of Society of Singapore last 2008. For 5 years, the group has initiated several badminton friendly games among the Filipino community and as well with other local Singaporean badminton groups. The group is currently under the leadership of club’s co-founder and current President Kristian A. Anquillano with his top officers, Roland Amores as Vice President, Victoria Jane Parot as the secretary and Dr. Lira Dumaguing as the treasurer. As a registered society, PinoySG Badminton Club is governed by their By Laws and Constitution and has to submit an Annual Returns to the Registry of Society of Singapore.

PinoySG Badminton Club would like to thank the whole Filipino badminton community of Singapore for their participation, BAGONG BAYANI (Modern Day Hero) magazine as our official media partner and Singapore Badminton Association umpires.