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Team Bla-agers Explored Siquijor

I was assigned as the blogger mentor for team number 7, originally team Mapinanggaon and later on Vibrant Visayas team at the start of the 1st #InfoTourismAdventureRace during Day 2 of the 22nd annual RADIO 7 (Regional Association of Development Information Officers) convention at #SensationalSiquijor. The race was to start at Coco Grove Beach and Dive Resort in San Juan, Siquijor and will take the teams around places of interest in the mystical island of fire. Team bla-agers provided the twist, proudly finishing last, yet becoming the team that also enjoyed it the most.

22nd RADIO 7 Convention

The Bla-agers!

Probably composed of the more senior personalities in the convention in terms of age, the team knew from the start they have a very slim to no chance probability of winning as the fastest team. The team was composed of PVAO Cebu's (Philippine Veterans Affairs Office) Reggie Sabandal, Ayungon's (Negros Oriental) Jedda Noblefranca, BIR's Quennie Auditor, Maria town ex-mayor Irving Roy Vios, Bohol province Effective Development Communication Unit chief Augustus "Tootsie" Escobia, Ayungon's Maria Paz "Butch" Patricio, Ubay's (Bohol) Noel Villanueva, former Miss Negros Oriental April Joy Bebsy Lamis of the Negros Oriental provincial tourism unit, San Remigio's (Cebu) tourism officer Pat Muñez, Romy Cabillon also of San Remigio, and San Juan's (Siquijor) sangguniang bayan secretary Jacinto "Toting" Maata.

It's more fun with Team Blaagers


It Was Never About Winning

By design, we were to finish as the last team to arrive at the finish line. When the race started though, it seemed like the team had a chance. So the team tried to keep up with the rest of the field and tried to compete during the sack race at Coco Grove Beach and Dive Resort and the swim at Capilay Spring Park. 

But not long after, team leader Augustus "Tootsie" Escobia who swam at Capilay Spring Park, knew there was no point spending too much energy to lose in the end anyway. So by the time the swim challenge was over, the team decided to enjoy the rest of the day by taking side trips to places of interest not part of the challenges. This happened specially after the lunch at Triad Restaurant and Coffee Shop on top of the hill in Larena. This was when the Vibrant Visayas team became "bla-agers" because from this point we were in laag mode, the #InfoTourismAdventureRace became #InfoTourismAdventureCraze. bla-agers is actually a play of the English word "blogger", and the Cebuano word laag, thus Bla-agers. 

Before lunch, the team was still tied at 3rd place along with two other teams. Soon after that, we fell behind everybody, one full hour behind the 5th running team. Because we took it real slow making sure that we enjoyed every bit of the journey, we even put the activity marshals off guard.

The game master utilized only two (2) adventure coordinators or marshals alternating on each station during the adventure race. The station marshal will have to wait for the last team to arrive before he leaves to head to the next station he is assigned to. And since, we were a full hour behind the 5th running team, some teams have already finished the succeeding station and were to head to the next station whose marshal was still waiting for us two activity stations behind. 

The Team That Had The Most Fun

We have no qualms about not winning. In fact, I'm sure, teams who finished ahead of us envied our entire experience. Beside being the team having the most fun, we were probably also the team that is most-fulfilled. For one, we experienced going around most of the places of interest in Siquijor, one thing the other teams missed. Surely, our team members won't have any regrets of not being able to visit the places of interest in the island because they focused more on winning. We knew from the start that some of us may not be able to be back in the island for quite sometime. But at least, we maximized our stay during the time we were there.

Sandugan Beach Boulevard
We had lots of fun indeed!


Challenges Completed

Despite deciding to just stroll around the island during the adventure race, we still made it a point to complete the required challenges. The team completed the sack race at Coco Grove Beach and Dive Resort, the swim at the Capilay Spring Park, the lana-making at San Antonio, the cooking for lunch at Triad Restaurant and Coffee Shop, the native bread baking at Enrique Villanueva, and the group photos at the Salagdoong Molave Forest, Cambugahay Falls, and at the fish spa under the balete tree. We even went beyond what was required. For example, while other groups were content with taking a group photo with the rattan saplings at the Salagdoong forest, our group actually planted the saplings. At the Cambugahay Falls, the other groups simply posed for a photo. Some of our team members did the vine swing as indicated in the original plan for the race.

A photo posted by Vibrant Visayas (@vibrantvisayas) on

Beyond the Challenges

Knowing for sure that we would finish last, there was no pressure at all on our team. Because of that, we had all the time in the world to maximize our experience and visit all the other places that the other teams missed because they focused more on finishing the race strong and have a chance at winning it all. So, beyond the 7 challenges required of all teams, our team went to have a fun shoot at Sandugan Beach Boulevard in Larena, invited the mayor of Enrique Villanueva town to join us as we feasted on the native bread we baked at Lilybeth's humble shack, some members buying some of the other breads from Lilybeth's, visited the old Cang-isok house, dropped by the Poor Clare Monastery and the Our Lady of Divine Providence parish church at Maria, went inside the Salagdoong Beach Resort, marveled at the wooden floor panels at the San Isidro Labrador parish church and the oldest and biggest convent in Asia at Lazi, and took a lot of time buying souvenir and pasalubong items at the stalls by the balete tree in Campalanas, Lazi. It was good that Maria town's ex-mayor Irving Vios was with us and made a great tour guide alongside San Juan town's SB secretary Toting Maata.  By the time we got to the finish line at the Coco Grove Beach and Dive Resort, the marshals were not even there anymore. So we just dispersed and either slept, showered, swam at the pool, and just did anything we wanted to. It didn't even matter if we did not finish the race. What mattered most was that we enjoyed our journey so much. We would not have done it any other way.

Sandugan Beach Boulevard
Jumpshot attempt fail..LOL

Enrique Villanueva Beach
By the beach near Lilybeth's humble bakery

Siquijor Native Bread
With Mayor Pal-ing of Enrique Villanueva town

Cang-isok House
At the Cang-isok House, one of the oldest in Siquijor

Salagdoong Beach Resort
At Salagdoong Beach


Maria Church
Our Lady of Divine Providence Church in Maria

Poor Clare Monastery
Poor Clare Monastery in Maria

Cambugahay Falls
Vine swing at Cambugahay Falls

Lazi Church
San Isidro Labrador Church in Lazi


Lazi Convent
Asia's biggest convent

Note: Photos are courtesy of April Joy "Bebsy" Lamis of the Negros Oriental Provincial Tourism Office who was part of Team Bla-agers during the 22nd RADIO 7 annual convention's #InfoTourismAdventureRace.

#SensationalSiquijor #iBlogforCBC #iBlogforSiquijor
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