All About U's Seven On The Line: Aldwin Ibanez and John Larracas. The Rockstars of Boon.

This band of brothers doesn't need any introduction in the Ultimate world. They are the ones responsible for your awesome Ultimate jerseys and shorts, really cool Rucksacks and comfortable socks. (I love the socks!).  They have this little tournament this weekend in Clark, Pampanga with teams and athletes from all over the world headlining the event. It's called Boon Rockstar Cup. And these two right here are the real rockstars of the weekend. 

Let's get to know more about the people behind Boon Technical Clothing, and how important it is for this dream become a reality. 

Aldwin Ibanez, John "Jolas" Larracas and Joseph "Jopet" Manzano are on the hot seat today to answer the Seven Questions in this very special edition of AAU's Seven On The Line.   

All photos are from Aldwin Ibanez, John Larracas, and Boon Facebook pages. 

Who is, and can you tell us something about the man behind Boon Technical Clothing?

There is not one man behind Boon Technical Clothing. Although the vision may have started
with one person, it wouldn’t have been executed well without friends, partners, and all the support that Boon has encountered all these years.

Aldwin Ibanez

Can you share with us the humble beginnings of Boon?

Boon began the same way most things in life begin, with a vision. Aldwin was on a climbing trip when he had the idea to make his own climbing gear. He went into making climbing gear, then it expanded to yoga, marathons, and when he and his mountaineering friends started playing Ultimate, he also ventured into the sport, which is the Boon Technical Clothing that we know now in the community.

John "Jolas" Larracas

Where did you get all the inspirations, ideas and motivation all these years?

Everything that has happened in Boon resulted from that one vision in the beginning stages, and everything that’s happening now is a cycle of observation-vision-execution. What does the community need, how can we make that happen, and so on.

Why do we have Boon Rockstar Cup?

Having had the chance to witness Ultimate in different countries, we have observed what these communities had in contrast and in common. Let’s say, comparing US and Asia, there is a huge gap between these two communities, and what we’re aspiring is to be instrumental in bridging that gap by bringing elite-level competition to Asia.

The first Boon Rockstar Cup was mainly a result of friendship. We have been blessed to have made a lot of friends in different parts of the world, and what we wanted for BRSC2017 was gather these friends in one venue, in one project, and of course, here in our home.

How did the dream start?

This dream started as little thoughts in our heads. You know, those aspirations that you get when you watch intense games, go to events and such. It started taking shape one night while sharing a few beers, ideas just kept flowing out, and after some crazy and tedious preparations, there we had it, the 2015 Under the Manila Lights Exhibition Game Series.

What does it take to fulfill the Boon Rockstar Dream?

We are now on the third phase of our Boon Rockstar Dream - first, the exhibition games, BRSC2017, and this coming BRSC2018. It’s a learning process to know everything it takes to fulfill that dream. What we discovered is that the single most vital element to fulfilling this dream is to have the community share this dream with us, too. We can be dreaming big things for Ultimate but we cannot achieve that dream if the community doesn’t share this vision with us. Without it, to act towards the Boon Rockstar Dream is futile because we are dreaming for the community.

What are the real aspirations of Boon for Philippine Ultimate? What are the challenges that you face for having this ambitious event, and what does it take to make this year's Boon Rockstar Cup unforgettable?

We have too many aspirations both for Philippine Ultimate and Asian Ultimate as a whole. As we mentioned earlier, one is to bridge the gap between the leading countries and Asian countries. We aspire to provide our athletes' venues for improving their game so that they get equipped with skills and confidence to face strong countries in international and worlds championships. We aspire to discover and groom young athletes so that one day, when Ultimate finally gets to share the Olympic stage with other sports, we can say, “Yes, we are Olympics-ready!”

Big dreams always come with huge challenges hahaha there are a lot, and what we like about it is that it gets us to think critically and open our eyes to realities we never had thought in the planning stages. The biggest challenge that we face is having people onboard to share our dream. We’re blessed to have our partners, our team, our sponsors, and all we need is the support of the community for which we do these things.

This is definitely going to be an unforgettable Boon Rockstar Cup! We have a great pool of teams - our Rockstar headliners Buzz Bullets and Black Widows, all these teams preparing for the Worlds, and all these upcoming teams who are out to test themselves and see how they match up against these elite teams. For all our Rockstar players, what it would take to make Boon Rockstar Cup 2018 truly unforgettable is for them to play with all they have - heart, mind, and most important, Spirit.

Ladies and gentlemen, the Rockstars of Boon!

See you all this weekend for the 2018 Boon Rockstar Cup at The Villages at Global Clark Freeport Zone, Pampanga.

This Is Smells Like Good Spirit by Nirvana!

After Typhoon Yolanda hit Tacloban City in 2013, a lot of things changed in the city of Hope. Especially with our brothers and sisters in the Ultimate community. But with the help of some of the most generous people, Ultimate Frisbee in Tacloban bounced back in no time and they continued on to play the sport that we all love. 5 years later, a new breed of young-ins with the impressive guidance of Taboy Gaspay, was taking the Tacloban Ultimate scene by storm. And just last weekend (February 17 - 18, 2018), Team Nirvana hosted their first ever Smells Like Good Spirit Ultimate Frisbee Tournament (SLGS). Though, it was one of the most fun weekends I had in this early part of the Ultimate season, some tourneys like SLGS suffer major setbacks prior to the opening day of the event. They did not have a playing field 24 hours before the first pulls. The provincial government decided to temporarily close the whole Leyte Sports Complex for immediate renovation even if the SLGS organizers had the venue booked a month before the event. The long weekend situation did not help at all either as most of the schools that has a decent size playing fields were closed as well. Only after hours of searching the whole city, their prayers had been answered by the sisters of Holy Infant College. Though the playing fields were a bit small and narrow (plus walking around the campus half-naked, music with explicit lyrics, and saying %$@## and !$@%$#* are prohibited), HIC field is good enough than nothing at all. And besides, having a small venue for 14 participating teams was actually a good way to interact with friends from other teams and cities. And keeping us from saying bad words make our sport a little bit..... wholesome?

The weather was perfect the day before the tournament.  Marjorie, one of the organizers was even surprised that the sun was out since they had the bad rainy weather for days. I guess the Ultimate gods heard their call for a sunny weekend, I said to myself.


The sound of rain woke me up on Day 1. "By the gods of White plastic saucers” here we go again, eh?! So I packed my gear with my trusted black garbage bags to keep my camera dry and went on to see the field situation for the first time. It was actually not bad at all, except for the “ulang mayaman” shower. The fields were smaller than usual but it seems like everyone didn’t mind at all. They came in to play their hearts out and to support the freshest tournament in Tacloban City.

The rain gave a sweet effect in the already action-packed first two sets of games at Holy Infant College. This is the first time that I covered a tournament in Tacloban, and what I immediately noticed was the toughness and the no fear attitude of the players in this region. They will chase down the disc with no hesitation, and they have some of the most decent female handlers in the country as well. I have to say, Region 8 definitely has a lot to offer in Philippine Ultimate. As long as they work together and throw away all egos in the trash, this side of the country is a powerhouse just like Iligan, Dumaguete, and other well known Ultimate provinces. 

The rain finally died down around noon, but the field situation became out of control as the green grass of pitch 2 turned to Chocolate brown pool of mud. Pitch 2 became a Mud Ultimate Frisbee tournament. Some teams decided not to wear their cleats anymore so they can run faster, and to some, well, they became masters of layouts all weekend long. Did the mud situation keep them from playing? Heck no! They played 110% all the way. In fact, Pitch 2 had a lot of very exciting games during the weekend.

There were a lot of Showstoppers. Like the man, they call DADA. Dada will not do anything in particular. He will just stand there and the rest of the universe will stop moving. 

But kidding aside, if the Dragons had their trio of Bone brothers, Team Maasin Newhorns have their own version of Bone brothers as well. Japhet and Jaykee. These two has the height, length, speed and the athleticism. They are a force to be reckoned with when they are both on the field. I had a great time photographing these two. I’ve seen her play before in Ormoc and in other cities, but I've never seen her shine like last weekend in Tacloban. Queenie of Team Quiots showed us how great of a handler she is. Even with her petite structure, she took control of her team’s offense with ease. She was the little big boss of the weekend. They are fast and deadly all throughout the weekend. And It was actually quite a lot of fun seeing them play.  But the one thing that got my attention was their Team name. Team Save Samar Sports Complex are campaigning to stop the demolition, reclassification, and privatization of the said sports complex in Catbalogan City. I really hope that they will win this battle. Losing a home is definitely the hardest part of a community with a lot of great talents, not just in Ultimate but in other sports as well.

Day 2 was hot. I mean literally, the sun was chewing us up all day long. Though the playing fields were still wet and muddy, the action was more intense with fewer daredevils in sight. The games got serious and the throws were more perfect this time around that they don’t need to go for that suicide bid. The Pool B finals between DiscPicable Me and Airbenders, two of the promising young teams in the region battled it out in the Muddy field of Pitch 2 up to the last point where Team Airbenders finally scored the final goal. In Pool A, on the other hand, DBN (Disc By Nature) showed everyone that experience win championships as the Noel Cardines led team took control of the situation in the latter part of the game. DBN is one of the pioneering teams of Region 8, and it shows fairly well on how they work together and how they manage the pressure during end games.  

SLGS 2018 is without a doubt one of the most promising tournaments in the country. Taboy, Marj, Christian and the rest of Team Nirvana did an amazing job in organizing the event. Working under pressure especially during the playing field problem.  It seems like everything ran so smoothly up to the end. Congratulations guys! 

Region 8 has the toughest and bravest players in the country, but they are also one of the nicest and hospitable human beings on the planet. Their resiliency towards every problem (and calamity) that they face also reflect on how they play the game. They never backed off from anything. And I respect them for that.

For more SLGS 2018 photos:

Sun Soaked The Ilocos Sur Beach Fest 2018 . A Heck Of A Weekend!

New Venue. Three Sporting events. Burning Sand. Fantastic Beach Ultimate action. Parokya Ni Edgar. 

The 2018 Sun Soaked Beach Fest was definitely the perfect Opening Salvo of Beach Ultimate season in the Philippines. Now on its 5th season, Sun Soaked organizers finally found a venue in Ichthus Beach Resort located in Magsingal, Ilocos Sur that can accommodate all three beach sporting events in one place (Beach Ultimate, Beach Volleyball, Dragonboat). Though it was about 20-25 minutes away from Vigan City, Ichthus Beach Resort is the perfect venue for the event. Beach Volleyball stars like Bea Tan and Amanda Villanueva dominating the Beach Volley net; International Paddlers like the Boracay All-Stars charging the waters of Magsingal, Ilocos Sur; The highflyers of Ultimate led by our National players Boboy Famorcan,  Xtian Guerrero, Popoy Pascua, Dada liboon, Bolantoy Francisco, Qhinjune Villanueva, Jeff Dela Cerna, Brylle Quimintan, Kenneth De Guzman, Pao Peralta, Marv Debouzet, Mikko Gonzalez, Vincent Balucanag, April Adalim, Kyrah Tuvilla, Angelique Cortez, Ysa Chua, U24 National players, Dann Avena, Jessica Resch, AJ Baliong,  Diego Barrios, there's too many to mention. The playing field was full of stars and there's only one thing that you expect from these men and women when they step foot on the sands of Magsingal... Greatness. 

Most of the games ended quickly and you can easily identify the top teams of this year's Sun Soaked. As expected, the players tackled the sand with no fear, flying from one end zone to another, converting goals or grabbing an impressive layout D. But the real enemy was not the opposing team that you are about to go up against or the 8 hour road trip from Manila to Ilocos, but the unforgiving heat of the sun that makes the grey sands of Ichthus Beach Resort unbearable to walk on barefoot. That might be one of the reasons why some of the games ended quickly because the players wanted the games to be over as soon as possible, to stay away from the hellish sands. I've seen a lot of players wearing sand socks before, but last weekend was the first time that I saw a few players wore slip-ons during the game. Every time they score a goal, they all rush to the sidelines, make a sand pit, pour water in it and dunk their feet in for a few seconds of cool comfort. Did that make them stop from playing one hundred percent? No, it didn't. They all went out there with the same intensity all day long. 

The AAU crew started shooting Day 2 during the quarterfinal round as Manila United, Mulatto and Boracay NexGen went on cruise control during their games, dominating the still scorchy Magsingal sand. The Tandang Sora Pleasure (TSP) - Pancake game, on the other hand, was intense as the Popoy led TSP was up for most of the game. Pancake worked as a team the whole time to close the gap putting their female players to good use (Angelique and Ysa), but came in short and gave TSP the chance to battle Mulatto in the Semis.  The semifinal game between Manila United and Boracay NexGen was, in my opinion, the game of the tournament. The game was scheduled at high noon where the heat was unbearable. Both teams were mostly composed of the seasoned Veterans and the future of the Beach Ultimate Legends, The Boracay Dragons. If you were watching the game, it was basically a showcase of what was the past-present and the future of the said team. It was full of action, Intensity and quite a lot of fun to watch. The NexGen who were being guided by one the best handlers in the Philippines, Boboy Famorcan & Qhuinjune, AJ Maming and Jessica Resch leading the pack managed to cut down the big lead of Manila United and forced the game to Universe point. But experience always wins games as Xtian, Dada, Pao Peralta, and April Adalim scored the final point of the game and will face the unbeatable Mulatto in the 2018 Sun Soaked Beach Ultimate Championship game. 

The sun finally decided to hide behind the clouds, and the sands in Ichthus Beach resort cooled down,  the stage was set for the final battle. Team Mulatto, led by Brylle Quimintan, Vincent Balucanag, Jeff Dela Cerna, Rex "Black Daddy" Villanueva, Kyrah Tuvilla and Mimi Balancar came out strong, putting up a very comfortable early lead in the game. Manila U tried to cut the lead down, but the lightfooted on sand players from Mati, Davao and the rest of Visayas and Mindanao took control of both ends of the field to improve their third place finish last year. Team Mulatto is the 2018 Sun Soaked Beach Ultimate Champions. A perfect way to start the season for the team who will represent our country in the upcoming World Ultimate Club Championships in Cincinnati, Ohio this July. 

As the day turns to darkness, all of the athletes from Beach Volley, Dragonboat and Beach Ultimate had a wonderful buffet dinner during the awards night, unlimited cans of beer being served and Sun Soaked would never be the same without a Band giving us a rockin' night in Ilocos Sur.  This year, Parokya Ni Edgar took the house with classic hits from the past and the present. It was a  perfect way to end a very successful Beach Fest. 

Filipinos are really good at Beach Ultimate. (We are number 4 in the world in both Mens and Mixed Division during The World Championships of Beach Ultimate in Royan, France) And we all know that we have a LOT of beautiful beaches around the country. It would be awesome to see if we also focus our attention on beach ultimate just like we are trying to focus our attention on single-gender ultimate.  Kudos to places like Ilocos, La Union, Siargao, Nasugbu, Mati and of course Boracay for putting up venues for Beach Ultimate through the years. And I'm really hoping to see more beach tournaments in our country in the coming years because I believe that we are really that good on sand.

Congratulations to all the organizers of the 2018 Sun Soaked Ilocos Sur Beach Fest. To the Provincial Government of Ilocos Sur. To Congressman Ronald Singson. Governor Ryan Singson. To Karen Cabrera for making this year’s Sun Soaked Beach Ultimate a success. And to all the teams who traveled for hours just to play and compete in the beaches of Magsingal, Ilocos Sur. It was definitely a heck of a weekend! 


With a glass of liquor in my hand, I couldn't hide my tears right in front of dozens of my close friends and families in the Ultimate community one Friday evening in Vigan. To be honest, I couldn't afford to have an upgrade. I'm almost maxed out in my budget for gear maintenance. And I am actually ready to turn my back to the people who I cared for, for the past 3 years. But there are still people in this community who are crazy enough to help me realize my dream. I guess the Ultimate dream lives on. 
As what Henry David Thoreau wrote: 
"Rather than love, than money, than fame... Give me Truth." In my case.... Give me Friendship.
To the people who gave me REAL Friendship all these years, Thank you for still believing in me.

Thank you for the lens. That's all I gotta say.

For more photos of Sun Soaked 2018: