Frisbeecation 2.0: Let The Mountains Decide

Boon Rockstars in Luzon. Trident Ultimate Battle Grounds in the Visayas and now Ultimate Frisbeecation in Mindanao is finally standing up on its own two feet as Frisbeecation 2.0 successfully gave us another amazing  Single Gender season ender. Or was it a single gender season opener? Whatever it was, Frisbeecation is here to give us a chill environment with an undoubtedly exciting weekend in the beautiful mountains of Malaybalay, Bukidnon. 
The ice cold weather in the early mornings and nights and the scorching hot mid-day sun, Malaybalay indeed made us all experience the extreme weather of Bukidnon all weekend long, plus a short but sweet burst of a cold sprinkle of rain that gave us a very comfortable evening during Popcorn night. Cheap hotel rooms with affordable and very decent restaurants, Malaybalay is definitely a perfect place for an Ultimate tournament. And do you know what made it more perfect? One word. 


The men of Bagani who made Frisbeecation 2.0 a one big hit was all about working together. Every single member of this Bukidnon open team had a task to do to make 2.0 a great success.  Yes, there will always be lapses in organizing an event, but these men showed us that they got each other's backs, no matter what the cost is, they faced all the challenges as men. As a team. As brothers.  A podium finish was indeed a big bonus for Bagani, but organizing and making the tournament a success was indeed a big victory for the boys. With Team Bagani, you know that you will have a great Frisbeecation in Malaybalay.

You can actually feel that the 13 Open teams and the 6 teams in the Women's division are saving up a lot of energy on Day 1, but as the sun rises in the east and the hangovers were finally gone from Saturday night's popcorn night, the top teams of the tournament were all about scoring a spot in Day 2. Teams like Dabawenyos, Bandits, Bagani, and Iliguns were all business on the second day, same with the Women's as the Amazons of Iligan, Davao's Dabawenyas, Hijas of Malaybalay and Kallistrate (Beautiful Army) of Cagayan De Oro leading the banner of the Provincial Women's division stronghold, took the Malayblay Capitol grounds by storm.

Though, with only 6 competing teams, The Women's division was stacked with great names like  Kyrah, April Adalim, Richelle Abuda, Abby Abs of Malaybalay, Muklit Gamboa,  Stacy of Cagayan De Oro, and Ella Mae Balancar of Dumaguete. These girls put on a great show during the weekend,  but I was really impressed by the two rising stars of Bukidnon in Tintin and Yvonne Lamigo. Yvonne, who some players of Malaybalay believe will be the next April in the coming years, worked hard together with her teammates in both ends of the field to carry their team (Team Angaray).  While Tintin's great footwork, speed, athleticism, and brains, helped team Hijas to win their second straight podium finish (second runner-up)in Ultimate Frisbeecation... And she's only 14 years old.  

No Xtian. No Dada. No Evan Boucher. But Nelson, Brylle, Botchok, Bolantoy, Bruno, Jordan, Jak-Jak, The killer trio of Iligan (YanDam... YanDam, Alud!) Are all back in the city of Malaybalay for a chance to bring the Frisbeecation trophy back to their respective homes. The Open division was definitely a battle right from the start of the quarterfinal games. 

The Women's finals between The Amazons and Dabawenyas was another classic matchup between the top two women players in the Philippines, Kyrah Tuvilla and April Adalim. As the two Nationals players were battling it out on the field, It seems like that Dabawenyas are walking away with the trophy in the early stage of the finals. But after trailing by 3 (5-8), The Amazons fought back with their own style of Iligan Ultimate and forced the game into universal point finish. Finally, after last years frustrating defeat, The Amazons can finally go home to Iligan with the Trophy. 

Talk about coming from behind victories, these two teams were no strangers at all. With their healthy rivalry going strong for the past few months, Boracay Bandits who now consist of great players from Iligan and Dabawenyos powered by players all over Mindanao, you will only expect one thing from both teams... Greatness. 

Just like in the Women's division final, the Bandits dominated the early stage of the game, showing everyone that they were back with a vengeance after a very tough universal loss in the hands of Team ATTDE during the cold rainy championship game last year. But knowing Nelson and the gang of Dabawenyos, they will find a way to eat up that big lead and eventually you will find yourselves trailing from behind if you are not too careful in protecting your lead. As the crowd rushed through the sidelines of pitch 1 and I can't see anything in my viewfinder but heads of the cheering crowd, Nelson was already celebrating a second before he caught the disc in the end zone to seal the victory for his homeland, Davao. A great way to end the universal point win, and the tournament in general. This might be the last time that these two great rival teams will face each other this year.  And if you will add the series, (AOUGCC: Bandits 0 - 1 Mulatto, Manila Spirits: Bandits 1 - 1 Mulatto) though this one is not Mixed division, looks like Davao is now one game ahead. Looking forward to seeing this very Spirited rivalry/story continue in 2018. 

Two universal point championship games for the past two Frisbeecations. It only shows that level of games was so high and the goal of winning a Frisbeecation trophy was on everyone's heads the moment the month of December arrives. Though Frisbeecation has a very chill and relaxing vibe all throughout the weekend, with cool weather and beautiful people inside and out, the level of competition on this side of the country is off the charts. If you really have what it takes to compete in a single gender format, rally up your team and head up to Malaybalay, Bukidnon. 

You may have what it takes to be great or not... 

Let The Mountains Decide. 

For more Frisbeecation 2.0 photos:

Manila Spirits 2017: Pain Is Not An Option.

I was very relieved Sunday night when I found myself still standing after three days of shooting. I wasn't 100 percent physically coming into Manila Spirits weekend, to tell you frankly, but I guess the years of working in harsh conditions here and abroad paid off every time I feel 70 percent. Just like Love, mental toughness always win. A week before the tournament, I developed two tiny boils just under my tummy where the waistbands of my underwear rub my skin. Yes, that painful area. (I know, I am not supposed to tell the nasty details but hey, it's my blog. Wink! Wink! If you don't know what boils are..... Google it!) Every day, the pain just gets too intolerable every time I walk, and even sitting is hard to handle. Not a single person knew about this that weekend except for a couple of my crew in AAU. I think that is the best way to handle it so that everyone can still focus on the job and be in tip-top shape. The registration night in Parque Espana went smoothly with plates of pizza and buckets of beer being served, top it off with some epic out of tune videoke battles, it was a good night for most of us. The next morning while everyone was lacing up their cleats, I was taping up my boils with clean bandages, making sure that it won't irritate and burst out a mess while I was shooting. But the teams were ready and the players were all set. It is time for Day one!

Day one went off perfectly. Overcast skies. Cool air. Lots of smiles. The games were exciting in the early stages of the tournament. Dada showed up all the way from his US trip without a pair of socks, and guess what... He brought the rain with him! Truckloads of rain fell from the sky to make a few puddles of water on the fields of Alabang Country Club. The official game time continued ticking, so we went back out with our cameras securely wrapped with our trustee garbage bags. That was the first time that I saw the ACC fields turn to a chocolate brown condition.

It was definitely a good Day one with foreign teams like Black Flag, Mixed Nuts, Ninja Cowboy Bears and Shiok dominating the fields. But the one big realization that I had was, you cannot do it all in one day by yourself. You don't expect yourself to photograph a thousand photos while you are doing Live streaming at the same time (Well, maybe you can if you have a tripod for your phone, BUT I DONT!) Though, I didn't reach my target number of shots, there were at least 300 people who watched the games online in the comfort of their homes. And I think that's a win right there.

Fresh from a night of severe colds, Neco Tupas who volunteered to do the live streaming for us finally felt better and ready to do some pounding on the fields and I can finally focus on making photos (hooray!). Day two was more exciting and intense just like the heat of the sun that amazingly dried out the muddy fields of Alabang Country Club. The Filipino teams bounced back from Day one mishaps and scored a lot of wins to balance the board at the end of day two. But one foreign team made a tremendous move as Shanghai Huwa scored an upset against Black Flag. It only shows that in this year’s Manila Spirits, the trophy is definitely up for grabs. You never know who will win it all. As the sun goes down and dark skies covered the whole Alabang area, DJ Tutay and his crew of great DJ´s brought the Filinvest Tent down with some tunes from the 90's. With two Britney Spears on the floor, a bunch of Bay Watch lifeguards, A pepperoni pizza and more than a dozen green turtles in Ninja costumes, the Manila Spirits 2017 Saturday party was off the hook. As always, the seasoned veterans of the community went home last at around 2 in the morning, woke up at 6am (or maybe 7) to tackle Day 3.

The boils finally burst up and the pain was unbearable (Okay, I will not tell you how nasty it was when I woke up, but yeah. It was pretty bad). I tried to keep my focus because there´s really no reason for me to make any excuses not to work 100 percent. Especially on Day 3. Every step feels like I was being stabbed by a huge needle in my belly and the sun was not helping either. I hid all the pain under my face mask and suck it all up. Tried to stay away from all the conversations on and off the field and just keep my line of sight to find the action. Luckily, Day 3 was full of it.

Filipinos are finally catching up to the rest of the world as some of the Local teams showed great Ultimate all throughout the weekend, We may still be behind in some aspects of the game, but the Pinoys are getting there. Boracay Bandits went on to defeat the giants as they used their speed and Bandits System to reach the Power Pool finals beating Black Flag in the quarterfinals and the Furuzawa, Cupcake, Lisa Pitcaithly powered Mixed Nuts in the semis. Mulatto of Davao City used their wits and teamwork, defeating Shiok in the quarters and dominated a strong team in Vicious Mob to reach the Manila Spirits power pool finals for the first time. The recreational pool is also dominated by Filipino teams as Team Utog also reached the finals to play against The future of Sunken Pleasure, Sunken Pleasure Black. SP Black has a wild and inspiring Manila Spirits story this year. From their last game of Day 2 all the way to the finals of Day 3, their games are all universal point wins. During the Rec Finals, they were down, 10-4. They worked together as Sunken Pleasure always do tie the game at 11 and won the game in-universe point 12-11. I talked to a few SP players during the weekend on how injuries plagued the whole team, Xtian and Popoy were out, and I believe Pao, Anjo and some of them are still nursing old injuries. I told Popoy and Moe, “Maybe there´s a reason for all of these, maybe something good might happen by the end of the weekend.” Though Sunken Pleasure Orange and White did not make the cut, Sunken Pleasure Black carried the SP banner on their backs and won the trophy in the Rec Division. I was right. Congratulations SP Black!

We finally have an All Filipino finals and yes, it is a rematch between these two great provincial teams. Boracay Bandits and Mulatto showed the world how provincial teams play. And these two are the perfect teams to showcase it. The lead went back and forth and it was only a matter of time that one team will commit an error for a chance for the other team to break the trend. Layouts after layouts, Bone Brothers Jordan and Paloy versus the Pirate tandem of Bolantoy and Botchok. Brylle and Kyrah connection versus PaoPao and HoHo on the other. It was such an amazing battle to see. I had a great time that I even forgot that I have a big cut on my belly. Back in August, Mulatto won the AOUGCC championship against the Bandits. A week ago, we crowned The Boracay Bandits as the 2017 Manila Spirits Power Pool Champs. Now, the playing fields have been leveled. Which team will bring home the bacon the next time these two great teams face each other.

Are we seeing a healthy rivalry here? I sure hope so, because it's going to be a great show that even the Bay Watch lifeguards, The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles or the Pepperoni Pizza guy do not stand a chance to prevent the epic battles that these two will show the world. The single-gender season is about to begin. See you in Malaybalay, Bukidnon this December!

For more photos:


I had a lot of great expectations for Tarsier 6. I did not get the chance to cover it last year due to tournament schedule conflicts, but AAU Photographer Nico Primaleon did a fantastic job in covering Tarsier 5. I've always wanted to visit Bohol ever since I was a kid. Never had the chance to go on trips around the country back then since I  don't have the means to do it, but Ultimate gave me the opportunity to see the beauty of our country and the hospitality of every people in different regions. I guess I am one of the lucky ones to witness the Majestic mountains of Bukidnon, the beautiful weather in Sagada, the Gentle people in Dumaguete, the powdery white sands of Boracay, Surf spots in Baler, La Union and Mati, the historic Vigan, the San Juanico Bridge connecting Samar and Leyte, the cheapest Durian Fruit in Davao, the sweetest pineapple I've ever tasted from Ormoc City, The Quatro Islas my personal heaven on earth, don't forget the sisig in Pampanga, and yes the most delicious Palapa, and some of the gigantic waterfalls in Iligan. And now, I finally saw the Tarsiers in their quiet habitat. The Chocolate hills that will first burn your fats out climbing the observation deck before seeing the tasty looking hills and of course the Man Made Forest that makes you feel like you've been teleported to a different planet. Bohol has some of the most amazing sceneries in the country. Beautiful historical churches and the most delicious peanut kisses and kalamay you'll ever taste. Big thanks to my Brother and Sister from another mother, Edong and Ga Larrazabal for giving me a ride all the way from Ormoc city to see all these Bohol spots. Yes, I already had my Bohol side trip fixed, a day before the tournament.

From a  five minute ride from Sunset Villa where we stayed for the three-day tournament, there stands the CPG sports complex. CPG stands for Carlos P. Garcia, the Former president of the Republic of the Philippines who was born and raised in Bohol. I have to say, the sports complex sure did see some better days.  But the building is still in good condition to accommodate the twenty-four energetic teams that participated this year. The teams were a mix of seasoned veterans and first-timers. I've seen a lot of very familiar teams that weekend (Welcome back Roaches!), but I was pretty excited to see the newer teams and players battling it out against Kyrah, April, Bruno, Popoy, Bullet, Jordan, just to name a few of the many amazing athletes  who played under the heat of the sun and under the heaviest rainfall that gave us a field of mud pools.

You can immediately feel the excitement in the air the moment the first pulls were thrown. The first two games went into full battle mode as the cheers and battle cries on the sidelines echoed around CPG. With a cup of freshly brewed coffee, a plate of Danggitsilog and a couple of sweet Moron from Leyte for breakfast, I was also excited to bust my camera gears out to start my first Tarsier experience. The best part of every Day 1 in a tournament is the smiles and the morning greetings of players on the sidelines. Together with the smell of grass, the heat of the sun burning your skin to charge you up and the weight of your camera giving your body a heads up that its going to be another long day of Ultimate, the smiles, and greetings of the players gives you the sense of comfort that you are again with the company of our ever-growing family.

The weather was perfect on Day 1, but rain clouds came to cover up the whole CPG in the afternoon of Day 2, its arrival was perfectly timed during the pool A Quarterfinal games of FASA vs BLU and SSG vs ULMIGAS. Still, the teams continued to battle it out like the rain was the eighth player on their defensive lines. They struggled on the field and us folks from the media struggled to find some plastic bags to cover our gears as well. I managed to find shelter under the big Tarsier tarp in the middle of the two pitches together with friends from One CDO, and worked my way to reach the stands near pitch 2 and stayed there until the rain died down. It was still a good day of shooting with a pair of wet socks, shoes, and shorts.

With another set of Danggitsilog and brewed coffee for breakfast and a little kick of hangover from Saturday night, I was ready to tackle the final day of the tournament. I was expecting a lot of action from the power teams, but the teams that really impressed me the most during the weekend was the high school teams, Mercenaries and Gladiators of Bohol and Team Tenacious from Gingoog who traveled for ten long hours; Tarsier 6 was their first ever tournament outside Gingoog. I had the chance to chat with some of the Tenacious players and I really wish them good luck and hope to see them again soon. Talk about passion towards the sport, these high school players from Bohol have tons of it. I encountered a lot of great ultimate stories before, but the story of Mercenaries will definitely stick with me for a very long time. The whole Mercenaries team saved up their extra allowance for their sinking fund for 3-4 months until they have enough money for their downpayment. Beryl (Tarsier Organizer) showed me a bag full of coins during the tournament fresh from the hands of these high schoolers, and until now, they are still saving up their extra school allowance to pay for their remaining balance. It was quite amazing to see that there are still people in our community willing to save up every centavo from their pockets in order for them to play the sport they love without the help of anyone but themselves. It was awe-inspiring, really.

Day 3 weather was as promising as the morning weather of Day 2, but the sheet of rain clouds again covered the already muddy fields of Carlos P. Garcia during the Pool A semifinals. The games of SSG-Mohawks and Fasa Fuego-UTI became a water polo grudge match under the afternoon rainfall. Again, I  found shelter in the stands near Pitch 2 where Fasa Fuego and UTI went for a swim, grabbing and hammering the disc from one watery end zone to the other. Unfortunately, I slipped and fell walking down the stairs, but managed to keep my camera from serious damage. On the bright side, I captured the back of Kyrah's layout bid in the final moments of their game when the rain calmed down, so I guess everything turned out just fine.

The Finals between Fasa Fuego of Cebu and South Side Guerillas of Davao was expected to be a battle to the end, but the mud pools on Pitch 1 made the game slower than I expected giving both teams a hard time to move. It was wild in every sense of the word that even Philippine Ultiverse photographer, Dodong Dela Cruz thought about Spam when he saw SSG's white uniform smothered with brown mud. Fasa Fuego went for the kill in the early stage of the game and never looked back. Fasa became the Tasier 6 Pool A Champs.

And here I thought my Bohol side trip was over. The awarding/socials night was held at Bohol Divers Beach Resort in Panglao. Panglao vibe was pretty much similar to Boracay with fewer people walking down the beach. After the awarding, the community went wild and danced the night away. The next day was very relaxing walking by the beach with friends during sunset, enjoying a scoop of Bee Farm Malunggay Ice cream. It was indeed a great way to end a successful three-day tournament in Bohol.

The best part of traveling and shooting Ultimate was seeing a lot of players that have the talent and skill to be great. But sometimes these individuals need a lot of guidance and support in order for them to reach their full potential. And Bohol Ultimate was one of the cities that has the talent and the skill to be great. The only problem is the venue. The facility. If only they have the appropriate and a less injury-prone facility (Playing field) to play on, I'm sure these young players will surprise us in the coming years. With two additional high school teams participating, the Bohol Ultimate Community is growing, and it would be nice to see a better playing field for these players, not just for Ultimate but for other sports like Soccer, and other sporting field events in Bohol. In my own honest opinion, Fiesta Carnivals need to have their own spot in the city, Not in the middle of the field of CPG sports complex.

My first trip to Bohol was definitely worth remembering. Congratulations Beryl and to the rest of the Tarsier 6 organizers. To all the Marshals who braved the heat and the rain. To everyone who became a big part of the event. Congratulations, and hope to see you all again soon!

For more Tarsier 6 Photos: