Text by Peter Paul Duran and photos by Lino Santos
BACOLOD CITY—Even though the competition has grown fiercer every year, the Philippine Airlines Interclub, one of Asia’s longest running and most prestigious amateur team golf championships in the country, has always put camaraderie first since its inception more than 70 years ago.
Concluding its 71st edition today, the PAL Interclub has stayed true to its promise to bring together different golf clubs from around the country, the world even, for a week of unwavering brotherhood that spans well beyond any course.
But more than that, what PAL has realized throughout seven decades of hosting the Philippines’ biggest amateur golfing event, is that it gets to flaunt the beauty of the country through this auspicious event for all the world to see.
“This is our opportunity to showcase the wonders of the Philippines to a lot of foreign guests, who participate in the tournament,” PAL VP for Corporate Communications Jose Enrique. L. Perez de Tagle told Manila Standard in a brief talk during the third day of competition.
The tournament here in Marapara and Binitin attracted more foreign teams and players than local bets in its Seniors’ Division, while clubs in the championship flight featured a slew of international talents.
“This a great opportunity to showcase the Philippines in the best possible light. And when it contributes to the local economies in the various destinations that host us, then so much the better,” he added.
“But more than (attracting foreign interest), it serves a lot of amateur Filipino teams and players (who want to experience topnotch level of play). It really is a test of golfing excellence,” the exec pointed out.
According to “Josen,” as colleagues fondly call him, they feel it is their responsibility to continue sponsoring this tournament as a real form of support to sportsmanship and the promotion of Philippine tourism.
“PAL has always been trying to promote the Philippines, as a tourism, adventure, and a sporting destination. It’s even more important for us now because PAL is also transforming to cater to the needs of the many growing destinations outside Metro Manila,” De Tagle continued.
Right now, the PAL Interclub has rotating venues in Davao, Bacolod, and Cagayan de Oro, with plans to stage the 72nd tourney in Cebu’s Alta Vista and Cebu Golf and Country Club next year.
“We want to show the countrysides to foreign and Filipino golfers alike, other than concentrate in Manila. This is really for our regions to shine,” he added, while Corporate Communications Department’s Jonathan P. Gesmundo says that this could materialize sooner than later.
“The trend (of more international contingent joining) should continue with the opening of more non-stop routes via PAL from Europe, Northern America, and the Middle East to Manila,” he said.
“The trend of more foreign teams joining the Interclub is expected to continue in the coming years as PAL opens more new international destinations, enticing golfers from the local Filipino communities to participate in a distinctly Filipino golfing tradition,” said Gesmundo.
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